On October 3, 2010, I found myself in a jail in Los Angeles, California, asking myself how I got there. Everything was so confusing. I had never been in jail before.
One of the men I became friends with let me use his Bible. I had tried to read the Bible when I was younger, but I didn’t understand it with all the “thee’s” and “thou’s.” And since I’d dropped out of school in the eighth grade, my reading skills were not good.
My friend had a New American Standard Bible, and when I read it, I understood everything. That Sunday we had church in the jail, and I asked Chaplain Bob, a Protestant chaplain, if he could get me a Bible of my own. Two weeks went by and Chaplain Bob gave me a MacArthur Study Bible. I read it every day. It took my mind off where I was and gave me peace of mind.
One of my cellmates handed me a book and told me I should read it. It was a brand-new Science and Health.
One day while I was reading, another one of the men I had become friends with told me that I should check out a woman named Mary Baker Eddy. I told him I’d never heard of her. He wrote her name down on a piece of paper, and also the name of her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. I told him that I would ask my sister to send it to me. I put the piece of paper in my file folder and forgot about it. Three months later I was moved to a jail across the street to a four-man cell. Things were worse there. I was still able to go to church, though, and still read my Bible every day.
About two months later one of my cellmates handed me a book and told me I should read it. It was a brand-new Science and Health. I set it down and went back to reading my Bible. Later, I gave the Science and Health back to him.
The next Saturday I went back to my cell after church. Then I heard a correctional officer announce: “Anyone who wants to go to a Christian Science service, step out.” So, I did.
That’s when I met Chaplain Miller. The service she conducted was different from anything I’d ever heard. But I liked what I heard and wanted to know more after church. I stayed to talk to her. She was a Christian Science chaplain, and she told me that God loves me and that God does not know evil, just love. We talked for a while, and she gave me a copy of Science and Health and suggested I read the last chapter, Fruitage.
Instead, I started with the first chapter of the book and got all the way to page 50 when I realized I was having trouble understanding what I was reading. So I started to read Fruitage, as Chaplain Miller had suggested, and then went back to the first chapter and started reading the book from the beginning again. I understood a lot more this time—not all of what I read, but most of it. I couldn’t wait to see Chaplain Miller again. I had so many questions to ask her.
I couldn't wait to see Chaplain Miller again. I had so many questions to ask her.
Before our next visit, I woke up one morning with a sore throat. I could hardly swallow. I thought, “Oh, no. I’ll have to stand in line for the doctor and there’s no telling how long that will take.” I read a little from Science and Health—which pages I don’t remember. I lay down and went to sleep.
When I woke up, I had no pain in my throat. At first I couldn’t believe it. Then I had a feeling that’s hard to explain—I felt good all over. Now I really couldn’t wait to see Chaplain Miller. When I did see her, I told her what had happened, and she told me that I’d had a healing. From that point on I wanted to know everything about Mrs. Eddy.
Chaplain Miller gave me the book Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy by Irving Tomlinson. I was amazed by all the things Mrs. Eddy accomplished and by her healing work. And as I read the book, I realized that I could do the same healing in time, with spiritual growth. I started studying the Bible and Science and Health, and Chaplain Miller brought Prose Works. I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to read all of Mrs. Eddy’s writings and everything I could about Christian Science.
All that I’ve read about it makes so much sense and has helped me understand myself and God better. So I know Christian Science is for me. One day something happened that I took as confirmation of that. Every now and then the correctional officers come into our cell and take us out and search our cell. Once, when the search was over, I came back and my belongings were everywhere. As I started to put things back the way they were, I found, tucked in my Bible, the piece of paper on which my friend had written the name of Science and Health. The last time I had seen the paper, it was in my file. I had forgotten all about it, but now, here it was in my Bible.
Harvey Brooks was accepted for membership in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, in 2012.
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