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Of this I am sure, that each Rule and By-law in this Manual will increase the spirituality of him who obeys it, invigorate his capacity to heal the sick, to comfort such as mourn, and to awaken the sinner. —Mary Baker Eddy, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 230

During the coming year, authors will explore a dozen or so of the By-Laws found under the heading “DISCIPLINE, Article VIII, Guidance of Members” in the Church Manual. We hope this new series will encourage you to take a fresh look at the Manual, be inspired and guided by the divine direction it offers, and will lead you to these and the other By-Laws offer, and share your own insights into how following these Rules is guiding you to a fuller life practice of Christian Science. 
 —The Editors

Beyond moral—to spiritual law

From the April 2012 issue of The Christian Science Journal

A Rule for Motives and Acts.
Neither animosity nor mere personal attachment should impel the motives or acts of the members of The Mother Church. In Science, divine Love alone governs man; and a Christian Scientist reflects the sweet amenities of Love, in rebuking sin, in true brotherliness, charitableness, and forgiveness. The members of this Church should daily watch and pray to be delivered from all evil, from prophesying, judging, condemning, counseling, influencing or being influenced erroneously.
 — Mary Baker Eddy,
Manual of The Mother Church, Article VIII, Section 1  

Thou shalt this, thou shalt not that. When someone cites rules, do you bristle a little? We all do. One-size-fits-all prohibitions and commands seem contrary to freedom and individuality. 

Sure, we accept that we must have rules (or perhaps that other people must have rules). Without rules, the yellow line on the highway wouldn’t be very reassuring. Without rules, lawlessness would reign. Still, rules can be onerous, especially when they are discriminatory, arbitrary, or oppressive. Bristling is sometimes understandable. Rebellion is sometimes necessary.

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