Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Christian Science - Origin & History





1a Birth: Mary Ann Morse Baker in NH in 1821 to strict Congregational parents

2a Youth

1b She struggled with illness and spinal problems and therefore reacted very negatively toward the Christian faith of her parents

2b The same hardship that strengthens one’s person’s faith with destroy another’s: two factors seem to play a significant role (same heat that melts plastic hardens steel)

1c Believer vs. unbeliever (sower and seed – chocked by weeds or burned by the sun)

2c View of God and His purpose for hardship (Js. 1:2-4): picture of God one gets from parents and particularly father

1d See God as mean and harsh

2d See God as loving – never hurt

3d See God as loving and do what is necessary


1a First Marriage

1b 1843 she married George Washington Glover who was business man and in 1844 he died of yellow fever and left her pregnant with a son

2b This event along with her illness effected her emotionally as well as mentally – she neglected her son and the child was finally sent to a school and to live with relatives

2a Second Marriage

1b 1853 she married a dentist named Daniel M. Patterson which turned out to be a very unhappy marriage (emotional and physical problems) resulting in a separation in 1866 and a divorce in 1873

2b Two important events shaped her thinking at this time

1c 1862: a healing by Dr. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

1d She traveled to Portland, ME hoping to be healed by “Dr” Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (He will be responsible for several other religions such as “Unity” and “Divine Science” – Parkhurst would fall today in the category of New Age

Quimby, Phineas Parkhurst (1802-66), American mental healer who founded the New Thought movement, a religious-metaphysical healing group. Originally a student of mesmerism and practitioner of hypnosis, Quimby subsequently claimed that he could heal by mere suggestion. Quimby believed that illness originated in the mind and was a consequence of erroneous beliefs. He taught that the receptive mind, open to God's wisdom, could conquer any sickness. One of his patients and, for a time, a disciple was Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. Quimby became a controversial figure when Eddy rejected his healing method on the grounds that healing came through the power of God, not the human mind. ("Quimby, Phineas Parkhurst," Microsoft® Encarta® 98 Encyclopedia. © 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

2d Claiming to have been healed by Quimby, she became a follower of him spending hours compiling notes on Quimby’s teaching which became the source of her later teachings and doctrine

3d After Quimby’s death, she began to disassociate herself from Quimby and take credit for many of Quimby’s concepts and ideas

1e She denied her writings and ideas had anything to do with Quimby

2e She then placed her theories a plain far above Quimby’s even though her work was nothing more than the merger of Quimby and Christian religion

“Healer and pioneer of a reliable, widely practiced system of prayer-based healing “ Christian Science Website

“Author of a groundbreaking book on spirituality and healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which has sold over 10 million copies to date” Christian Science Website

2c Feb. 1, 1866: involved a healing through Matt. 9:2 and the beginning of the Christian Science Movement

1d Having fallen on an Icy sidewalk, she claimed she was given only three days to live

1e On her third and “last” day she read in her Bible Matthew 9:2

Matt 9:2, “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.’" (NKJV)

2e This reading healed her and she therefore discovered Christian Science

2d However many discrepancies overshadow this account

1e Doctor’s Account of the Event

1f Under oath, the doctor denied declaring that she was in s such a condition

2f He also stated that she visited him four times later that year for medical treatment

2e One of Quimby’s pupil to whom Mary had written two weeks after falling said she told him she still had not fully recovered

3a Third Marriage

1b 1877: at the age of 56 she married Asa Gilbert Eddy, a sewing machine salesman

2b During this time she began to teach her principles for large fees

1c She writes her book, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures

1d She places on a level equal with Scripture and essential to understanding Scriptures

2d It is a substandard work needing many revisions and corrections (grammatical errors, rambling sentences, no logical sequences, unintelligible statements)

2c Establishes the Christian Science Organization with her husband becoming one of the first Christian Science Practitioners

3c She moved her headquarters to Boston after a number of her students revolted

III Final Years

1a Death of husband in 1882: Corner reported a heart attack but Mary concludes it is from arsenic poisoning mentally administered

1b Mary finally found a physician to confirm her claim

2b However, two problems are the results

1c The physician was arrested for having no credentials and for running a medical school

2c Medical examinations after death are forbidden for practitioners in her books

2a Her Work in Boston 1881-1910

1b Dramatic growth of Eddy’s Movement: Mary was the unquestioned authority, viewed as an equal successor to Christ, the church grows to over 200,000

2b Dramatic growth of Eddy’s Bank Account: The movement was designed in such a way that she amasses a great fortune 

1c All followers must regularly promote and sell her works

2c All followers must buy every revision of her books even though the changes were barely noticeable

3c Tea-coat scandal: she requested that all followers donate toward buying her three expensive tea-coats


1a She died in 1910 (89 years old) with a fortune of over three million dollars

2a Following her death the board of trustees seized control of the organization and have ruled it ever since