It could lose him his place, but it would not be fair, if it happened before the edict about "Understanding Communications" was promulgated.

"READERS" AGAIN

The By-law book makes a showy pretence of orderliness and system, but it is only a pretence. I will not go so far as to say it is a harum-scarum jumble, for it is not that, but I think it fair to say it is at least jumbulacious in places. For instance, Articles III. and IV. set forth in much detail the qualifications and duties of Readers, she then skips some thirty pages and takes up the subject again. It looks like slovenliness, but it may be only art. The belated By-law has a sufficiently quiet look, but it has a ton of dynamite in it. It makes all the Christian Science Church Readers on the globe the personal chattels of Mrs. Eddy. Whenever she chooses, she can stretch her long arm around the world's fat belly and flirt a Reader out of his pulpit, though he be tucked away in seeming safety and obscurity in a lost village in the middle of China:

"In any Church. Sec. 2. The Pastor Emeritus of the Mother-Church shall have the right (through a letter addressed to the individual and Church of which he is the Reader) to remove a Reader from this office in any Church of Christ, Scientist, both in America and in foreign nations; or to appoint the Reader to fill any office belonging to the Christian Science denomination."

She does not have to prefer charges against him, she does not have to find him lazy, careless, incompetent, untidy, ill-mannered, unholy, dishonest, she does not have to discover a fault of any kind in him, she does not have to tell him nor his congregation why she dismisses and disgraces him and insults his meek flock, she does not have to explain to his family why she takes the bread out of their mouths and turns them out-of-doors homeless and ashamed in a strange land; she does not have to do anything but send a letter and say: "Pack!--and ask no questions!"

Has the Pope this power?--the other Pope--the one in Rome. Has he anything approaching it? Can he turn a priest out of his pulpit and strip him of his office and his livelihood just upon a whim, a caprice, and meanwhile furnishing no reasons to the parish? Not in America. And not elsewhere, we may believe.

It is odd and strange, to see intelligent and educated people among us worshipping this self-seeking and remorseless tyrant as a God. This worship is denied--by persons who are themselves worshippers of Mrs. Eddy. I feel quite sure that it is a worship which will continue during ages.

That Mrs. Eddy wrote that amazing By-law with her own hand we have much better evidence than her word. We have her English. It is there. It cannot be imitated. She ought never to go to the expense of copyrighting her verbal discharges. When any one tries to claim them she should call me; I can always tell them from any other literary apprentice's at a glance. It was like her to call America a "nation"; she would call a sand-bar a nation if it should fall into a sentence in which she was speaking of peoples, for she would not know how to untangle it and get it out and classify it by itself. And the closing arrangement of that By- law is in true Eddysonian form, too. In it she reserves authority to make a Reader fill any office connected with a Science church-sexton, grave-digger, advertising-agent, Annex-polisher, leader of the choir, President, Director, Treasurer, Clerk, etc. She did not mean that. She already possessed that authority. She meant to clothe herself with power, despotic and unchallengeable, to appoint all Science Readers to their offices, both at home and abroad. The phrase "or to appoint" is another miscarriage of intention; she did not mean "or," she meant "and."

That By-law puts into Mrs. Eddy's hands absolute command over the most formidable force and influence existent in the Christian Science kingdom outside of herself, and it does this unconditionally and (by auxiliary force of Laws already quoted) irrevocably.

Christian Science Page 44

Mark Twain

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