And not the less so if we keep in mind that they were "impelled by a power not one's own," as she says--Anglice. the inspiration of God.

It is a Church "without a creed." Still, it has one. Mrs. Eddy draughted it--and copyrighted it. In her own name. You cannot become a member of the Mother-Church (nor of any Christian Science Church) without signing it. It forms the first chapter of the By-laws, and is called "Tenets." "Tenets of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist." It has no hell in it--it throws it overboard.

THE PASTOR EMERITUS

About the time of the reorganization, Mrs. Eddy retired from her position of pastor of her Church, abolished the office of pastor in all branch Churches, and appointed her book, Science and Health, to be pastor- universal. Mrs. Eddy did not disconnect herself from the office entirely, when she retired, but appointed herself Pastor Emeritus. It is a misleading title, and belongs to the family of that phrase "without a creed." It advertises her as being a merely honorary official, with nothing to do, and no authority. The Czar of Russia is Emperor Emeritus on the same terms. Mrs. Eddy was Autocrat of the Church before, with limitless authority, and she kept her grip on that limitless authority when she took that fictitious title.

It is curious and interesting to note with what an unerring instinct the Pastor Emeritus has thought out and forecast all possible encroachments upon her planned autocracy, and barred the way against them, in the By- laws which she framed and copyrighted--under the guidance of the Supreme Being.

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

For instance, when Article I. speaks of a President and Board of Directors, you think you have discovered a formidable check upon the powers and ambitions of the honorary pastor, the ornamental pastor, the functionless pastor, the Pastor Emeritus, but it is a mistake. These great officials are of the phrase--family of the Church-Without-a-Creed and the Pastor-With-Nothing-to-Do; that is to say, of the family of Large-Names-Which-Mean-Nothing. The Board is of so little consequence that the By-laws do not state how it is chosen, nor who does it; but they do state, most definitely, that the Board cannot fill a vacancy in its number "except the candidate is approved by the Pastor Emeritus."

The "candidate." The Board cannot even proceed to an election until the Pastor Emeritus has examined the list and squelched such candidates as are not satisfactory to her.

Whether the original first Board began as the personal property of Mrs. Eddy or not, it is foreseeable that in time, under this By-law, she would own it. Such a first Board might chafe under such a rule as that, and try to legislate it out of existence some day. But Mrs. Eddy was awake. She foresaw that danger, and added this ingenious and effective clause:

"This By-law can neither be amended nor annulled, except by consent of Mrs. Eddy, the Pastor Emeritus"

THE PRESIDENT

The Board of Directors, or Serfs, or Ciphers, elects the President.

On these clearly worded terms: "Subject to the approval of the Pastor Emeritus."

Therefore She elects him.

A long term can invest a high official with influence and power, and make him dangerous. Mrs. Eddy reflected upon that; so she limits the President's term to a year. She has a capable commercial head, an organizing head, a head for government.

TREASURER AND CLERK

There are a Treasurer and a Clerk. They are elected by the Board of Directors. That is to say, by Mrs. Eddy.

Their terms of office expire on the first Tuesday in June of each year, "or upon the election of their successors." They must be watchfully obedient and satisfactory to her, or she will elect and install their successors with a suddenness that can be unpleasant to them. It goes without saying that the Treasurer manages the Treasury to suit Mrs. Eddy, and is in fact merely Temporary Deputy Treasurer.

Apparently the Clerk has but two duties to perform: to read messages from Mrs.

Christian Science Page 39

Mark Twain

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book