Why did Mary Baker Eddy start The Christian Science Journal?
As early as 1878 Mary Baker Eddy wrote that a publication could help “right the wrongs and answer the untruths” about Christian Science.1 In January 1883 she presided over a meeting of her students, in which they discussed starting a “publication for the good of the Cause.” The minutes indicate that they considered “some of the many objects to be gained by such an organ” and generally favored the idea.
That group, the Christian Scientist Association, appointed an investigative committee that included Eddy, Calvin A. Frye, her secretary, and six other students.2 Members of the committee began researching costs and laying the groundwork for a magazine. On March 14 the Association appointed Eddy as Editor and left the new publication to her direction.3
The first issue appeared on April 14, 1883, under the title Journal of Christian Science. The subheading identified it as an “Independent Family Paper, to Promote Health and Morals.” In the first article, Eddy wrote: “Dear reader, the purpose of our paper is the desire of our heart, namely, to bring to many a household hearth health, happiness and increased power to be good, and to do good.”4 In another article, she explained why the Journal was needed:
An organ from the Christian Scientists has become a necessity. Many questions come to the [Massachusetts Metaphysical] College and to the practising students, yet but little time has been devoted to their answer. Further enlightenment is necessary for the age, and a paper devoted to this work seems alone adequate to meet the requirement. Much interest is expressed everywhere on this subject of metaphysical healing, but in many minds it is confounded with mesmerism and so-called spiritualism, so that the vastness of its power is lost where it is not correctly understood.5
The first issue contained articles and poems, as well as advertisements that helped engage readers with Christian Science practitioners, church services, and Eddy’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.6 In 1885 Eddy retitled it The Christian Science Journal.
- Eddy, Science and Health, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Lynn, MA: Dr. Asa G. Eddy, 1878), 166.
- Christian Scientist Association, meeting minutes, Vol. 1, 17 January 1883, EOR10, 159-160.
- Christian Scientist Association, meeting minutes, Vol. 1, January–March 1883, EOR10, 166-167, 169, 172–176.
- Eddy, “Prospectus,” Journal of Christian Science, 14 April 1883, 1–2, https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/28zvgpu5ci8?s=t.
- Eddy, “A Timely Issue,” Journal of Christian Science, 14 April 1883, 3, https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/2cxnu6igd5c?s=t.
- Journal of Christian Science, 14 April 1883, 1–8, https://journal.christianscience.com/issues/1883/4/1-1