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.
Interested in more Journal content?
Subscribe to JSH-Online to access The Christian Science Journal, along with the Christian Science Sentinel and The Herald of Christian Science. Find the current issues, the searchable archive, podcasts, audio for articles, biographies about Mary Baker Eddy, and more.