Did Mary Baker Eddy say it? “A treatment in Christian Science is ….”

June 6, 2022


The editorial staff at Reuters Press Agency, circa 1900. Robert Morton was likely familiar with scenes such as this one. © Getty Images / Hulton Archive.

We sometimes receive questions about the authenticity of this statement, attributed to Mary Baker Eddy: “A treatment in Christian Science is an absolute acknowledgment of the ever presence of Infinite Perfection.”

These words can be traced to a letter about Mrs. Eddy, written by Elise Marie Morton to the Clerk of The Mother Church and dated April 4, 1946. Read her letter (as a PDF), found in The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s Reminiscence File.

Morton recounted that her late husband, Robert Morton (c.1878–1943), interviewed Eddy in 1897 or 1898.  He was a young correspondent for the Associated Press at the time. “What, in your cult, is your definition of a Christian Science treatment?” he asked.

Eddy responded, “My boy, a treatment in Christian Science is an absolute acknowledgment of the ever presence of Infinite Perfection.”

Elise Morton then told how later, when her husband was hospitalized with partial paralysis caused by war wounds, he recalled those words and experienced healing. He later became a student of Christian Science.

What we found when we took a deeper look into Robert Morton’s background gave us evidence that history is not a static thing! New information provides new insights.

Morton, whose birth name was Dwight Logan Loughborough, served in the military from 1898 to 1899, during the Spanish-American War. By 1915 he was working for the Associated Press, while also freelancing as a writer of short stories. At some point (perhaps in the late 1920s) he also began to use the name Robert Morton. We don’t know why he did this, but it wasn’t just his pen name. In 1928 he was arrested for taking $1,000 in cash and a railroad pass. However, as more information came to light, it seemed that Loughborough/Morton was likely suffering from a mental disorder related to an earlier surgery, or even to his war experience. He was released.

This information has led us to reexamine Elise Morton’s reminiscence. Because she married her husband in 1941, she would have had no firsthand knowledge of his encounter with Eddy. And her letter is the only source for the information she relates; there is nothing else about it in our collections.

There is no documentary evidence to confirm a visit by Dwight Logan Loughborough (Robert Morton) to Mary Baker Eddy in the late 1890s, or to confirm his employment by the Associated Press at that time. He was likely living in California and working for the railroads.

Robert Morton did become a student of Christian Science in the last years of his life, joining The Mother Church in 1933. There is likely more history to be found that will give us further insight into this man and his experiences.

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