An object going back and forth, back and forth, in front of someone’s face—that’s how I imagined hypnotism as a child when it would come up in the Christian Science Bible Lesson. The Lesson titled “Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced” sometimes mentioned Mesmer, a man who lived in the 1700s and early 1800s. But I wondered, I don’t see people on the street walking around trying to hypnotize me; how is this subject relevant and important right now?
I used to look forward to only the Bible Lessons with those one-word titles such as “Love.” They felt easier to grasp. But after praying over time with the Lessons on “Ancient and Modern Necromancy,” I have come to really cherish them, as well as the other more “serious-sounding” Lessons.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines necromancy as “the supposed practice of communicating with the dead.” So we know initially that this Lesson addresses the notion of talking with the dead, in the past and today. More generally, the meaning of the word also refers to enchantment, magic, and conjuration.