Religion: Mother, Parent & Drugs

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Obviously one of the worst taunts that may be thrust at a Christian Scientist is to claim that Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy used anesthetics at the times she was suffering, approaching death. Recently that taunt was made by a Christian Scientist. It was not denied.

With placid dignity the Christian Science Board of Directors of Boston last week took notice of the taunter and said in the Christian Science Sentinel†:"Because of aggressive propaganda, apparently circulated to discredit Mrs. Eddy and to induce belief that she abandoned her own teaching ... we deem it timely to make the following statement:

"As we are informed, Mrs. Eddy did not, at any time after 1866,** believe in the use of any drug as a curative agent in connection with the practice of Christian Science. Nor did she at any time after she became a Christian Scientist, either use a drug or allow one to be used for her, except as she employed, in a few instances, an anesthetic for the purpose of temporary relief from extreme pain."

The "discrediting" propaganda was John Valentine Dittemore, onetime member of the directing board which answered him last week, staunch believer in medicine and surgery.

Propagandist Dittemore in 1919 quarreled with the trustees and other directors of the Boston Christian Science Church and was ousted. He went to London where he allied himself with Mrs. Annie C. Bill, self-styled "successor" to Mrs. Eddy and founder of a slightly insurgent Christian Science church known as the Parent Church. As everyone knows, the Boston church is always referred to as the Mother Church.

Since his ousting, Mr. Dittemore has never been friendly with the Boston directors nor they with him. Last week's anesthetic issue seemed little more than a family squabble of long standing.

†A weekly founded in 1898 by Mrs. Eddy. Other Eddy-founded publications are the Christian Science Journal (monthly), the Christian Science Quarterly, the Christian Science Monitor (daily) .

**Christian Science was founded in 1866 by Mrs. Eddy.