The platform of Christian Science is found on pages 330-340 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and forms the basis for Normal class instruction—the course taught to train teachers of Christian Science. It was first mentioned in 1877, in the minutes of Mary Baker Eddy’s students’ association, the Christian Scientist Association. Every new member of the Association was to “adopt the Platform of Christian Scientist[s].”1 In 1878 the section of Science and Health known today as the platform was published in the second (Ark) edition of the textbook. It comprised the fourth of the book’s five chapters and was titled “Metaphysics.”

At that point Mary Baker Eddy and her third husband, Asa Gilbert Eddy, were the only teachers of Christian Science. The numbered doctrinal points constituting the platform were not yet included as an aid to Normal Class teachers—no Normal classes had yet been taught. (These began some years later, in 1884.)

In 1881, in the third edition of Science and Health, “Metaphysics” was retitled “Platform of Christian Scientists.” And in the 50th edition (1891), the platform was placed at the end of the chapter titled “Science of Being,” where it has since remained. Marginal headings also appeared for the first time in the 50th edition. These provided a succinct summary of each “plank” of the platform.

Eddy made many changes to the platform over a period of nearly three decades. She revised different planks of it at different times, completing the final revisions in 1907. This is similar to her many revisions to the tenets of Christian Science, as well as to the spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer. On the other hand, it is very unlike her editing approach to the chapter “Recapitulation” in Science and Health. (Interestingly, “Recapitulation” forms the basis for Primary class instruction, which is focused on Christian Science theology and healing practice.) It appears that Eddy revised different portions of the platform at different times, while she tended to view “Recapitulation” as a totality, generally making revisions to the entire chapter at the same time.

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  1. Christian Scientist Association, EOR10.01, page 2, Early Organizational Records.