April 19th Meeting With Board of Directors in Baltimore

April 19, 2005 Dear fellow Mother Church members, This is a lengthy report of about 13 printed pages. If you want to forward it to other Mother Church members, it will help to copy and paste the contents into a new email to retain the format. There is also a PDF file attached to this email that you can use to print or to attach to emails. The following report is a consolidation of the detailed notes of several attendees. Every effort has been made to express fairly what was said. Comments aren't always word for word, and not every statement is included, but what is collected here depicts the meeting as closely as possible under the circumstances. EVENT: Town Meeting between members of The Mother Church and the Christian Science Board of Directors PLACE: First Church of Christ, Scientist, Baltimore, Maryland DATE: April 16, 2005 The meeting began shortly after 10:00 a.m. and continued until a little after 1:00 p.m. There was one break and the meeting continued without breaking into small groups as originally planned. This seemed wise, as there were issues that had not yet been covered in the Town Meeting. The moderator explained that questions (apparently submitted to the moderator before the meeting) would be addressed in the following categories: Joint Branch Church Activities Finances Board Salaries The Library Matters of Conscience The Manual Readers (style of conducting the services) Membership Requirements The Bible Science and Health The Periodicals Lectures Reading Rooms Two moderators from the host church presented questions that had been received in a particular category and invited others in the audience to ask questions in that category also. The categories not covered were Board Salaries and Science and Health, although references were made throughout the meeting to Science and Health. Individuals were able to ask follow-up questions and there were a few instances where comments were made without questions being asked. Generally, the questions seemed more specifically focused and more challenging than some of those at the meeting in L.A. The format, however, was comparable although the meeting as not as lengthy and there was not an opportunity for people to make comments at the end of the meeting as in L.A. The similarities with the L.A. meeting are to be found in the somewhat evasive answers given ("we're considering," "we're praying," instead of specifically and directly answering the questions); the adoption of repeated phrases such as "a work in progress;" the slogan of "one voice, one heart, one Mind;" the analogy of the "big tent" (which we were told is embracing everyone and perhaps various views); the analogy of the "swinging pendulum" (which is determining TMC policy or trying to find "the middle position"). But having said this, the Board of Directors did seem genuinely friendly and respectful of the members. For the most part, they all expressed at times an accurate sense of what was necessary for the movement – a stronger demonstration of healing. For their part, the members appeared grateful for the Board's time and efforts and gave them a round of applause followed by a standing ovation at the conclusion of the meeting. Almost every seat was taken in the auditorium, which seats about a thousand. (The singing of "Feed My Sheep" was glorious with all those voices in harmony!) * * * *

* The Directors were warmly received with a standing ovation and

introduced themselves very briefly. Mary Trammell, the current chair, spoke about her background and announced that the chair would rotate each year. Vic Westberg who introduced himself as a former businessman interested in "the bottom line" and remarked, "This is what we're bringing to the church," followed her. Trammell quickly suggested: "Let's tell them about church: ‘one voice, one heart, one Mind'" – a slogan that seems to appear at these meetings with increasing frequency. Tom Black said he had been praying to know that Christian Science is the "dynamic, final revelation" and not just "another candy bar" in the counter of health-care. Walter Jones spoke of what Christian Science brings to the forefront regarding supply. Finally, Nate Talbot spoke of unity, a sense of unity with God. He said if we find our unity with God, we would find our unity with each other. He said that they were there to listen and dialogue, that they had no agenda, and would respond after the meeting to those interested in staying on to speak with them. QUESTION: HOW DOES THE BOARD VIEW JOINT MEETINGS SUCH AS THESE AND WILL THESE MEETINGS REPLACE ANNUAL MEETING? Nate Talbot: The Board of Directors respects branch activities and will not try to impose on these activities except where they violate the Manual. Some ideas may work (e.g., Sentinel Radio Programs jointly sponsored by churches) and some may not. It's a matter of individual demonstration. No, they do not replace Annual Meeting, which will be much abbreviated this year (one hour long followed by a Town Meeting). QUESTION: FINANCIAL STATUS OF THE MOTHER CHURCH? Walter Jones: Discipline in matters of finance has brought expenses down from $180 to $100 million. Ways are being discussed to increase the General Fund, which at present has $60 million plus $280 million in restricted funds. Income from membership and subscriptions should cause an increase in the Fund. Vic Westberg: Another consideration is to ensure that Monitor does not draw down the General Fund. By 2008 the Monitor will draw zero from the General Fund (again reported almost gleefully as it was in the L.A. meeting.) Content and delivery are also under consideration. Mary Baker Eddy wanted the Monitor to have "short articles for busy people" such as USA Today has. We will retain what we do well. FOLLOW-UP QUESTION: What steps are you taking already to reduce the Monitor's draw from the General Fund? Vic Westberg: We have "cut out a lot of fat." Walter Jones interjected at this point to remind Mr. Westberg that there had been some bequests to help with this. When someone from the floor asked about legal ventures for capital partnerships, Mr. Jones replied that there were none, just individuals working together. Vic Westberg: The Monitor is "a work in progress." QUESTION: ARE THE PERIODICALS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE WITHOUT CHARGE ON THE WEB AND WILL THIS AFFECT SALES AND SUBSCRIPTIONS? Vic Westberg: Yes, but we want to reach more people and we might get more subscriptions online. Mary Trammell: Complete periodicals are not available now on the web except to a small degree (e.g., excerpts on spirituality.com). Spirituality.com is now part of the Publishing Society so there is a "more overt form of Christian Science" such as one would find in the periodicals, but this effort is also a "work in progress." (They would like to make this a profitable affair, but concede that making money on the Internet has also eluded other businesses. (See below for their plans for an online Reading Room and how that could be profitable.) QUESTION: WHY ISN'T THE LIBRARY SEPARATE FROM THE CHURCH FINANCES AS IT WAS ORIGINALLY CONCEIVED? Walter Jones: It's a matter of the auditors wanting everything included in a consolidated financial statement. FOLLOW-UP QUESTION: Why did the cost of the Library go from $50 to $80 million, threatening the church with bankruptcy? Walter Jones: Originally, $50 million was planned for build out and construction. $47 million came directly from the field, $11 million from fundraising and $9 million from Mother Church and Publishing Society funds not allocated – a total of $67 million. We thought that yearly operating expenses would be in the $5 million range, but we hope to bring this down. As for rumors of bankruptcy in the field, there is "not a shred of truth" to this. We must consider the whole picture, the funds, spending and expenditures. "Income now exceeds expenses." We have a "good measure of health" for the short term, but there is some concern about successful operation in the long term. Nate Talbot: Two years ago there was $2 million in the General Fund; now there is $60 million. Mary Trammell: Discipline and not just cutting back is important. As we looked at the expenses and looked at the Manual, we found that we were doing some things beyond the scope of the Manual. For example, we now publish the Herald in those fields rather than here, although Boston retains editorial control. Vic Westberg: The Deed of Trust tells us how we must run our "business." Mary Baker Eddy was a "shrewd business woman" and she knew the "human picture." COMMENT FROM THE FLOOR: If people would only visit the Library they would not count it a cost. If members are entertaining thoughts of bankruptcy, then perhaps they should increase their contributions. QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT THE BOSTON GLOBE ARTICLE REPORTING $10 MILLION MISSING? (Initially, the Directors looked puzzled, but then Walter Jones responded.) Walter Jones: This concerns a wrong amount inserted on the 990 form placed there by Ernst and Young (the auditors) for some financial reason. Ned Odegaard (who is the current Treasurer) spoke to them about this and the mistake was corrected. Nate Talbot: This figure did not change the bottom line, however. COMMENT AND QUESTION: I WAS ONE OF THE SIGNERS OF THE KEEPING THE PROMISE PLEDGE AND I RECEIVED A LETTER FROM THE CLERK OF THE MOTHER CHURCH WITH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT: "WE HAVE ACCEPTED EACH OF YOUR NAMES WITH CARE AND RESPECT" AND FURTHER "YOU ARE TRULY VALUED AS ALL MEMBERS ARE." THE TONE OF THIS LETTER IS IN STRONG CONTRAST TO THE LAST LETTER THAT WAS SENT TO THE TEACHER WHO WROTE MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE. SHE WAS TOLD ONLY THAT THE BOARD HAS FOUND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE "INVALID," AND THAT THE BOARD HAS NO TIME FOR "ENDLESS DISCUSSION." IF YOU ARE TRULY WILLING TO LISTEN TO THE MANY MOTHER CHURCH MEMBERS WHO ARE SUPPORTING THE COMPLAINT, MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE, AND IF YOU RESPECT THESE MANY MEMBERS, WHY HAVE YOU NOT RESPECTED THE TEACHER WHO WROTE THE COMPLAINT? SHE AND ANOTHER WERE SEVERELY DISCIPLINED – PUT ON PROBATION, THEIR ASSOCIATIONS DISSOLVED, AND THEIR JOURNAL LISTINGS REMOVED – ALL WITHOUT THE BOARD HAVING FOLLOWED THE MATTHEW CODE, AS THE MANUAL REQUIRES. IN FACT, THESE TEACHERS HAVE NEVER EVEN BEEN GIVEN A SPECIFIC REASON OR CHARGE FOR THIS DISCIPLINE. ARE YOU GOING TO REINSTATE THESE TEACHERS AS EVIDENCE THAT YOU REALLY DO RESPECT AND LISTEN TO MEMBERS, INCLDING THOSE WHO HAVE FOLLOWED THE DUTY OUTLINED IN ARTICLE 1, SECTION 9? Mary Trammell: "Nothing would make us happier than to have a meeting of the minds." Only Walter Jones and myself were on the Board of Directors at that time and there was much agonizing over every passage. We realized the great care that went into this. QUESTIONER FOLLOWS UP: Why could this teacher not share [the complaint] with the field [without being disciplined]? We can't just be told that you're praying about it. Nate Talbot tries to interrupt but the questioner said "I need to finish," and relates an experience she had which drove her to support Matters of Conscience in which a Mother Church employee, called the "Science and Health representative," and subsequently the lecturer herself, went over the heads of branch members and made all the arrangements for their lecture, in complete violation of the Manual (Art. XXIII, Section 1). "Even worse," the speaker said, "when this error was respectfully pointed out to both the Mother Church employee involved and the lecturer, there was no indication from them that a mistake had been made. The entire action was justified as a directive from the top and we were pressured to comply."…We (Matters of Conscience supporters) are not disloyal" but we want answers – yes or no – and not "maybe." Mary Trammell: The Manual prohibits us from discussing the business of the Board of Directors. "Not everything we've done has been totally right. Like everyone, we do our best. Clearly, mistakes have been made and I am sorry for your experience (with the lecture)." Tom Black: Quotes a reference to the Mathew Code in the Manual as calling for "immediate action" and seemed to say that he supported that in this case. "Take it to the Church" makes us seem like a Congregational Church, telling members everything about our business. [Is his last statement now an argument against acting upon the duty outlined in the Manual: Article I, Section 9, and the need to follow the Matthew Code?] Nate Talbot: I was very impressed with the thought and prayer over this issue of discipline. The sense in the Field is that the Board of Directors failed "to hear." The Board of Directors "didn't neglect to hear but had a difference of opinion." [Matters of Conscience is always referred to in terms of "opinions" rather than as matters of ethics, matters of right and wrong. There seems no willingness on the part of the Directors to discuss whether the Directors were ever in violation of By-Laws, in other words, whether their actions were right or wrong. All is "opinion."] QUESTIONER FOLLOWS UP AGAIN: If Matters of Conscience is "invalid" then why not excommunicate all who supported it and not just the teachers? Mary Trammell: Excommunication did not occur. It is important to make that clarification here and Christian Science can heal this problem as well. MODERATOR SAYS THAT WE MUST MOVE ON (some applause from the audience) THEN HE FOLLOWS WITH THE STATEMENT THAT HE UNDERSTANDS THAT THERE IS A GREAT DEPTH OF FEELING ABOUT THIS. Nate Talbot: The Manual is not here to punish; it is here to heal. Walter Jones: There has been no disciplining of those in the Field who have commented. MODERATOR: There were more questions sent to us about Matters of Conscience and people being de-listed than in any other category. QUESTION: I AM A NEW MEMBER OF THE MOTHER CHURCH AND I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS MEETING TODAY. I AM CONCERNED, HOWEVER, THAT THE CHURCH MIGHT "WATER DOWN" THE THEOLOGY IN THE PERIODICALS AND MIGHT TAKE ON ACTIVITIES JUST TO GET MORE REVENUE OR TO MAKE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MORE APPEALING GENERALLY. I WAS AFRAID THAT IF I WROTE TO THE BOARD OF MY CONCERNS THAT I COULD NOT BE LISTED. IS THIS TRUE? Mary Trammell: Around 1991 when I came to Boston, I realized that we were just "talking to ourselves" in the periodicals. When the periodicals began "to speak in a way that wouldn't exclude someone who was new or the general public," I found myself agreeing with this approach. We "went too far with spirituality.com" where there was no mention of Christian Science or God or the Bible. The aim in January 2005, however, was to adjust to "a middle position" so that members can be nourished. Thus, the Christian Science Publishing Society is now responsible for spirituality.com. [Is this "middle position" a search for a compromise between stronger, clearer metaphysics and a thinner, watered down version? What does a "middle position" mean? In future meetings members may want to pursue this, because many members do not feel that the 1991 periodicals, especially the Sentinel, were talking only to Christian Scientists or "excluding the public." In fact, many members feel that the Sentinels of that period were "abreast of the times" – and that they were very useful to share with newcomers because the writing was accessible yet had a lot of depth. Will the periodicals return to the high standard of writing, editing, and metaphysics of the period before the editors of the religious periodicals resigned (February 1992) for reasons of conscience? There could be more specific and focused questions about the periodicals and the quality of writing and editing.] Vic Westberg: I once attended what I thought was a "dull service" but I realized later that "solid metaphysics are needed as that's what the world wants and that's what we need to give mankind." (This QUESTIONER did not ask a follow-up on the Journal-listing issue, even though they only addressed part of her comment.) COMMENT FROM THE FLOOR: Please don't water it down (Christian Science theology), as it is not necessary to short-change the public. Christian Scientists need to acknowledge the world's ability to understand Christian Science. COMMENT FROM THE FLOOR: I have been a member of the Mother Church since the 1970's. When at first I had trouble understanding Science and Health, I went to the periodicals of the 1950's. They were wonderful and there was no jargon there. I have canceled my subscription to the (current) periodicals but I might re-subscribe. I still love the bound volumes. Nate Talbot: All have a spiritual sense and we are trying to address that spiritual sense. MODERATOR COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR: Reminds everyone that Tom Black has a great article in the next Journal. QUESTION (in two parts): (1) WHY IS THE CHURCH NOT GROWING AND WHY ARE THERE SO FEW YOUNG PEOPLE? (2) WHAT IS THE FUTURE LEADERSHIP OF THE CHURCH AND HOW ARE YOU CULTIVATING IT? Tom Black: There are "many answers and facets as to why Christian Science is not growing." The Board of Directors feels that all we have to offer is the theology of Science and Health. If we were raising the dead there would be no problem. (The Directors repeat this often in these Town Meetings.) What is required is devotion to Christian Science theology and the purification that comes from this. As for future leadership we don't look to a particular age group but to a level of spirituality. (He then spoke of what he thinks the membership needs to do to cultivate this leadership: A special sized Science and Health and Bible for young people; music and a Quarterly that appeal to the young. We can put out the slickest magazines, but unless followed by demonstration, they end up in a "landfill." We must handle animal magnetism, i.e., the divisiveness. Walter Jones: (Speaks about the importance of living Christian Science teaching so that when people get to know you, that helps the movement.) Nate Talbot: As a movement, we may "have underestimated this revelation. The second coming is here as Christian Science and this is the answer for the whole world." The carnal mind, however, resists Christian Science. QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT THE RELAXED REQUIREMENTS FOR PRACTITIONER OR NURSE AND CLASS INSTRUCTION? RABBIS AND MEDICAL PEOPLE ARE TAKING CLASS WITH NO INTENTION OF JOINING THE CHURCH. Vic Westberg: Quotes Jesus as saying "If they are not against us, they are for us." [?] As for class instruction, even if they are not members, they will have the Comforter. Applications for Journal listings are increasing; 38 recent listings in the Journal, etc. Walter Jones: Obstacles are being removed to becoming a practitioner. [Since he admitted that there were, as he called them, "obstacles" being removed, it would have been interesting if someone had asked him to define these "obstacles." Many are concerned about the removal of strong standards and requirements for Journal-listing.] Nate Talbot: Spoke of a letter sent to the practitioners concerning five areas that they need to work on. They have put these concerns on a "laminated label" which they carry around with them. We should be a "church of healers and not a church of patients." We are all practitioners; let us all demonstrate Christian Science. QUESTION: IS THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS CONCERNED ABOUT THE PERSONAL SENSE EXPRESSED BY FIRST READERS AT THE MOTHER CHURCH AND SOME IN THE FIELD, AS THE MANUAL REQUIRES AN IMPERSONAL SENSE FOR THE SERVICE? WHAT IS THE BOARD DOING TO ENFORCE THIS MANUAL REQUIREMENT? [This probably would be in reference to the personal introductions, chatty announcements, little jokes, and what seem to be questionable "commercials" on various subjects by the Readers at Mother Church services, going on for some years now.] Nate Talbot: Quoted Mary Baker Eddy on visiting a CS church (with no context given): "This church is as cold as the marble floors." Hence, our efforts to bring "warmth and personal care where needed." Also, if we looked back to some in the Bible who were so enthusiastic about the Messiah, we might think that they were "too personal about the second coming." We need to give room for people to express themselves. "If the pendulum swings too far, it will swing back." [Note: This freely swinging "pendulum" is a frequent analogy, and one that causes some serious concern when it comes to Board attitudes about church policies and decisions – and not just the question that was asked about the Readers and the services. Is the way our church does things just a matter of a swinging pendulum or personal styles? There are four references to "pendulum" in S&H. None of them is positive. The pendulum is descriptive of thought not aligned with Science or Principle, having no fixity. Are members to trust that the pendulum will sooner or later swing in the opposite direction on all issues, but then, in time, will also swing back again – interminably? This "swinging pendulum" sense of things doesn't address the need for a stable, Principle-based (but not cold or rigid) standard in our church activities. "Impersonal" isn't to be equated with "cold."] Tom Black: The service needs devout prayer that spiritualizes the congregation. Don't "second-guess from tradition." Just think about the "Pentecostal fervor of those in the Bible." Sometimes there is applause after the solo in the Mother Church, sometimes not. The need is to spiritualize the congregation to attract others. [At this point Mary Trammell notes that Tom Black had given a humorous rendition of what the service would be like if a Reader followed the Manual exactly. She then asks Tom to repeat this at this meeting.] Tom Black: "If we follow the Manual exactly (shout from the balcony: "as you should!"), this is what it would sound like: (picks up Manual) "HYMN" (some laughter) SCRIPTURAL SELECTION." He concluded by saying that we should let the healing Christ guide our services and (seemed to be saying) that members should not get upset about the style of the service. QUESTION: ACCORDING TO MRS. EDDY, "ETERNITY AWAITS OUR MANUAL." HOW DARE WE GO THE DIRECTION OF THE WORLD? WHO ARE WE NOT TO FOLLOW THE DEEDS OF TRUST? SHE SAID THAT NO NEW TENETS WERE TO BE WRITTEN. MRS. EDDY EXPECTED US TO OBEY THE MANUAL WITHOUT ANY DEVIATION. CAN YOU BE TRUSTED TO FOLLOW THIS MANUAL? Walter Jones: We keep it at our side. Perhaps we need to earn that trust. We do believe "eternity awaits the Manual." FOLLOW-UP COMMENT BY SAME QUESTIONER: The greatest period of growth in our church came when there was no compromise. COMMENT FROM THE FLOOR: It is by loving, rather than judging others, that we grow. Thanks the Board of Directors for coming. COMMENT AND QUESTION: I AM GRATEFUL TO HEAR THAT CORRECTIONS ARE BEING MADE IN THE PERIODICALS AND HOPE THAT WE DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF THE THEOLOGY. HERE'S A PROBLEM: WHEN MISTAKES ARE MADE, THESE NEED TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED AS MISTAKES AND NOT JUST AS A CHANGE IN DIRECTION. (Questioner then gives example of the so-called "correction" to what was an already correct statement concerning radical reliance and not mixing Christian Science and medicine. The correct statement, called "The Standpoint of Christian Science Treatment" was published in the December 1999 Journal. That issue of the Journal was subsequently recalled and reissued with a statement (from Bill Moody, then the Editor) substituting a new statement from the Board of Directors in the January 2000 Journal called "Compassion and healing in the twenty-first century" which noticeably compromised Mrs. Eddy's theology. Then the questioner asks): WOULD THIS HAPPEN AGAIN? IF THESE KINDS OF SUBSTITUTIONS ARE NOT SEEN AS ERRORS – THEOLOGICAL ERRORS – AND ADMITTEED AS SUCH, THEY CAN BE REPEATED. WHAT ABOUT THE QUALFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP OR CLASS? WE CAN'T AFFORD THE LAXITY OF REMOVING STANDARDS FOR MEMBERSHIP IN OUR CHURCH – STANDARDS SUCH AS NO DRINKING, SMOKING, DRUGS, OR INCOMAPTIBLE LIFESTYLES. STANDARDS MUST BE RESTATED. ANOTHER SERIOUS MISTAKE IN MISREPRESENTING THE THEOLOGY OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE WAS THE PUBLICATION OF "DESTINY OF THE MOTHER HURCH" [BY BLISS KNAPP]. I REALIZE THE RETRACTION OF BLISS KNAPP'S "DESTINY" IS A HARD QUESTION BECAUSE SO MUCH MONEY WAS INVOLVED – [IN PAYMENT TO THE CHURCH FOR PUBLISHING IT AS AUTHORIZED CHRISTIAN SCIENCE LITERATURE]. DESTINY IS INCORRECT THEOLOGY, AND THE MONEY MUST BE REPAID. (Applause) Nate Talbot: Since this was a comment and not a question, we'll take this into consideration and discuss it among ourselves. (GROANS AND SHOUTS OF "NO" from the audience and then Mr. Talbot continued.) Nate Talbot: Mrs. Eddy allowed members to write recommendations for those applying for membership. Standards for Membership: You in the field approve the applicant; the teacher signs the application. We must believe in the doctrines of Christian Science and those in the field must uphold these doctrines. He notes further that standards differ in areas over the world. "What we require for someone in Nigeria signing an application may be a little different than from someone in Baltimore. Really there's only one standard: ‘Are you a believer in the doctrines of Christian Science?' Are you (those of us in the audience) finding someone who is enough of a believer in Christian Science? Mary Baker Eddy points to perfidy as one of the worst sins. If you don't know what it means, it would be a good idea to find out. It means a breach of trust, unfaithfulness. If you look up what she (MBE) says on this subject you'll find this was pretty important to her." [Nate Talbot's comment about "perfidy" seemed to deflect attention from these deeper considerations: If applicants are not fully committed to Christian Science and prepared to live its teachings, what is the meaning of membership? Does Mr. Talbot mean that we should adapt membership requirements to whatever the standards or cultural traditions are in a local community? In other words, are the moral standards of Christian Science not to be considered as firm standards of conduct, but rather as relative, and possibly shifting (like a pendulum) in the direction of what people may generally practice or be tolerant of in any given place and time? Future Town Meetings may want to pursue this further. No mention was made of Vic Westberg's comment in L.A. that the "old restrictions" such as smoking, drinking, and drugs, should be removed.] Mary Trammell: Each branch church is free to set its own standards. [The Board did not mention specifically at this meeting that the current administration feels that it is not a problem if a Mother Church applicant smokes, drinks, or uses drugs, but individual Directors have been heard to say as much on various occasions over recent years. The Board seemed to be saying, at this meeting, that it is up to the members in the field to uphold whatever standard they personally think is appropriate, but that the Board of Directors is not going to define what that standard is or isn't. Perhaps someone should have brought up some of our Leader's specific statements defining the moral standards of Christian Science such as: S&H 454:1, Ret. 65:8, '00 6:19, My. 106:22, My. 114:3, S&H 406:28] QUESTION AND COMMENT: I AM DISAPPOINTED THAT A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS WOULD MAKE LIGHT OF THE ORDER OF SERVICE IN THE MANUAL. MRS. EDDY PROVIDED THIS ORDER OF SERVICE AS MANY PREACHERS OF THE DAY WERE MAKING FUN OF IT. DOES THE MOTHER CHURCH HIRE NON-CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS? Walter Jones: We will staff as appropriate according to the expertise required. There are non-Christian Scientists at the Monitor, in the shops and the Library – any area where special expertise is required. Mary Trammell: Sometimes non-Christian Scientists have become Christian Scientists with this exposure. I've had one to apply for class instruction with me. Tom Black: Senior Managers are eager to advertise in the Journal. Currently, a senior Library official, the Office of General Counsel, and the Treasurer are all practitioners. Nate Talbot: Our first choice is for a Christian Scientist. But, if we need a plumber, for example, we might have to hire a non-Christian Scientist. (At noon we took a ten-minute break and I don't think many people left as the auditorium was still filled almost to capacity) -— PART TWO -— Nate Talbot: Before we resume questions from the floor, we would like to comment in more depth on two issues that were raised earlier. On the issue of non-Christian Scientists, Mary Trammell has a comment. Mary Trammell: I just thought that I would mention that Mary Baker Eddy had a non-Christian as Editor of the Christian Scientist Periodicals. His name was Henry Wiggins and Mrs. Eddy considered him to be a "trusted ally." Nate Talbot: And the second issue we wish to further comment on is the Bliss Knapp book. Mary? Mary Trammell: "Well, that's certainly passing the book!" (Laughter from audience) She says Nate did this as she has a background and interest in scholarship and a PhD in Literature. Therefore, she takes a great interest in this book from a scholar's point of view. The church couldn't be seen as suppressing this book just because it might have a different point of view. Since Bliss Knapp covered the history of the church from 1879 to 1892 his work is considered primary material for the history of the church and this is a "strong argument" for the book. [It should be noted that Bliss Knapp's book, "Destiny of The Mother Church" was brought up recently at another Town Meeting in California and the same reasons were given.] Mary Trammell did say that she could not accept the "colorful" theology contained in the book, but she qualified that remark by citing the Gospels of the New Testament as also containing different views. "We can pick and choose in those accounts what best fits our theology." [Of course, the Gospels don't change the theology as Bliss Knapp does.] Tom Black: This is also a "work in progress." Bliss Knapp considered Mary Baker Eddy to be the woman in the Apocalypse and "some prominent people listed in the Journal during his time also believed that." Mrs. Eddy tells us to look for her in her works. By that standard we could say that no biography gives us the true picture of Mrs. Eddy. In the "big tent" we are all embraced. It is wide enough to include every sincere thinker who is trying to demonstrate Christian Science truths." [What strikes me after re-reading and typing this discussion is that the Board seems willing to make room for differing views, even if they represent incorrect theology, as in the case of Bliss Knapp. Note that Mr. Black observed that "some prominent people listed in the Journal" in Knapp's time agreed with his theology. But on the other hand, with Matters of Conscience, which the Board has labeled "differing views or opinions" (and there is certainly no incorrect theology in Matters of Conscience), their "big tent" standard doesn't seem to apply. The teachers who took the complaint to the officers and finally to the church (as specified in the Mathew Code), should be included in this "big tent" if indeed it is "wide enough" to include "sincere thinkers trying to demonstrate Christian Science truths." Considering how transparent the scholarship/historical argument is for Bliss Knapp, perhaps one might continue pressing this issue at future Town Meetings. The "suppression" argument, too, lacks a reasonable basis, since there is a vast difference between "suppressing" a book and publishing a book as authorized Christian Science literature. Scholars would not have been deprived of access to Destiny if the Publishing Society had never issued it. The book was available through other sources. This scholarship/historical argument has been used since 1991. But such a rationale could not possibly supercede the authority of Mrs. Eddy's divinely inspired Manual By-Law (Article VIII, Section 11): "No Incorrect Literature," which unequivocally declares that "A member of this Church shall neither buy, sell, nor circulate Christian Science literature which is not correct…" and also warns that "a departure from the spirit or letter of this By-Law involves schisms in our Church and the possible loss, for a time, of Christian Science." If the scholarly/historical argument were to hold sway, the CS Publishing Society and Reading Rooms surely would end up as the "big tent," carrying all kinds of diverse opinions on Christian Science by all kinds of authors, whether or not these fairly depict Mrs. Eddy and her theology. In fact, this is exactly what has happened with Gillian Gill's biography of Mary Baker Eddy which insults and misinterprets our Leader but which nonetheless is included in the Reading Rooms and has been strongly pushed by the church. The "big tent" paradigm is very worrisome.] Nate Talbot: We understand the depth of feeling here and we are not ignoring it; we're praying about it. COMMENT AND QUESTION: THE BIG TENT HAS TO COME TOGETHER AT THE TOP. IF YOU ARE STRIVING TO STICK TO THE MANUAL, WHAT ABOUT THE STRICTLY PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE OF MRS. EDDY BEING MADE AVAILABLE IN THE LIBRARY? Walter Jones: The placement of this material in the Library enabled us to maintain the copyright for this material. The Board of Directors has a responsibility for the intellectual property of Mrs. Eddy. Advises everyone to read the copyright law as he has. Mary Trammell: Mrs. Eddy's comments about "strictly personal" or "strictly confidential" correspondence sometimes meant (in the opinion of the Board of Directors) "just for that moment" and not for all time. Example: the appointment of an individual that was later made public and then the need for confidentiality would no longer be needed. The lion's share of this correspondence was made available. A small percentage was withheld but might be released later. MODERATOR ANNOUNCED THAT FIFTEEN MINUTES REMAINED FOR A DISCUSSION OF THE BIBLE, LECTURES AND READING ROOMS. Mary Trammell: On the Bible and its different versions: The Board of Directors has researched this question thoroughly and will be publishing a 1300-word statement in the June Journal on this question. We want views and prayer from the field on this issue. Mrs. Eddy called the King James Version of the Bible "the love of my life." Many quotes come from this version and when her assistants used other versions, she said it must be the "King James Version verbatim." At one point, the editor of the periodicals said that other translations were to be used, only to be corrected by Mrs. Eddy. She had some 40 Bibles in modern and historic translations and used the Revised King James, the American Standard, etc. The logo from the Monitor, the Cross and the Crown, were all from a version other than the King James. Mrs. Eddy used the RSV for the services for an entire year. After the Quarterly was introduced, the King James Version was used but the Golden Text and Responsive Reading used another version. "No definite translation is designated in the Manual" and we ask for your views on the different versions after the research is published in the June Journal. Nate Talbot: As for the Lectures, we want to be respectful of your views. The Board of Directors does have a role to play, but we will not impose our views on you. I'm not so much concerned about the format for the lectures but the substance of the lectures must include the basics: God, the Christ, Christian Science. We must be sure that we are doing what Mrs. Eddy would want us to do with regard to lectures in the community. "There isn't much metaphysics in the Sermon on the Mount. We want the power of the spirit behind what's being said." Tom Black: The Reading Rooms fall under The Writings of Mary Baker Eddy. (I might not have heard this correctly!) A new manager was just appointed to find "a clear sense of activity." We need new hymns, new bindings for Science and Health, new translations of Science and Health, especially Spanish and Portuguese. We are also considering a virtual Reading Room – putting the Reading Room online. A lot of things are "works in progress." The meeting adjourned shortly after 1:00 p.m. [We are grateful to have received notes from the L.A. meeting prior to this one, and hope these notes on the Baltimore meeting may be helpful to others, including those who may be thinking about attending upcoming meetings in Portland, Oregon; St. Louis; Houston; and elsewhere. The L.A. recommendation for prepared, well-focused, concise questions and for keeping the microphone for possible follow-up questions was good advice. We also agree that honest and challenging questions can be asked in a respectful way, and that maintaining a truly respectful atmosphere is an important aspect of demonstrating church.]