Mary Baker Eddy has a singular place in history. As she wrote of herself: “No person can take the place of the author of Science and Health, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 70). The impact of her lifework on humanity is immense. It cannot be measured except through the many lives transformed and healed as a result of her discovery. The pages of this publication, from 1883 through today, offer a living and ongoing window into Mrs. Eddy’s legacy.
The Leader of the Christian Science movement, beloved by students of Christian Science, captured the attention of others as well. Through the decades, she has been the subject of a number of biographies that vary widely in length, focus, depth, and accuracy.
Mrs. Eddy understood that those trying to explain who she was generally misunderstood her. She also knew why. Christian Science claims to be nothing less than the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise of a Comforter that would guide us “into all truth” (John 16:13). Critics have sought to discredit Christian Science by attacking the woman who discovered it, relying heavily on sources that include exaggerations, distortions, and even outright fabrications regarding the facts of her life. Some who sought to defend her venerated her almost to the point of idolization. Mrs. Eddy herself knew that time and persistent effort would be needed for the world to learn the truth about her character and to prove that her life’s work was consistent with her teaching. This, then, is a moment to pause—both to celebrate the gains that have been made in doing justice to her life and to articulate a significant pivot in the Church’s efforts to share her story.