The basic philosophy of Christian Science is idealism. “Nothing is real and eternal; nothing is spirit- but God and his ideal; evil has no reality. ” The primary theme of The Bible is that spiritual power always triumphs over material power. As a result, illness is not real. Instead, it is simply a failure of faith and this can be documented, “scientifically,” in the lives of those who have genuine faith. Christian Science was discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy. “The Mother Church. ” Raised in a strict, religious home, she derived her lifelong interest in Christianity and the Bible. Throughout her childhood and into her adult years, she was plagued with ill health. This motivated her to study alternative methods in healing, which deviated from the then current medical techniques, which had failed her. After her first husband’s death, she began to study a number of healing ministries. At the age of forty-one, she sought a cure from a healer, Phineas Quimby. Mr. Quimby was a clockmaker who developed a method of natural healing. He emphasized the role of the human mind in achieving bodily health. Mr. Quimby felt that the key to healing lay in the confidence by the healer in the patient’s recovery, and in the confidence that the patient has in the healer’s ability. Mrs. Eddy was a student-associate of Mr. Quimby until his death in 1866. Initially, her health improved under his care, but later she suffered a relapse. Shortly afterwards, she fell on an icy sidewalk and severely injured herself. Some did not expect her to survive. On what she believed to her deathbed, she read one of Jesus’ healings and suddenly realized that healing comes not from internal bodily processes, or from the power of a person’s mind, but from the Divine Mind, God. She was instantly cured. Mrs. Eddy withdrew from society for three years in order to concentrate on a deep search through the Bible and discover precisely how her healing had taken place. She wished to share this knowledge with others, and to give them the tools to take away sin and achieve health. Mrs. Eddy then wrote her book, Science and Health, later called Science and Health with key to the scriptures. This book explains how Christian Science heals and by just reading it, people are healed. Many people have speculated on the source of Mrs. Eddy’s new beliefs. Some skeptics have implied that she plagiarized much of Mr. Quimby’s writings and teachings. The difference between the two was quite obvious, Mary Baker Eddy had always been deeply committed to Christianity and Mr. Quimby was highly antagonistic towards it. Mrs. Eddy determined that it was the Divine Mind, God, who healed, no the human mind. After the book was published, her teachings were welcomed and adopted by many Americans, but bitterly opposed by many traditional Christian authorities. The church went though a period of rapid growth during the first half of the twentieth-century. Membership leveled out by 1950 and has gradually declined. They operate Christian Science Reading rooms where the public is invited to read the Bible and literature published by the church. These reading rooms are in many communities and anyone is welcome. An estimate of about 400,000 people follows Christian Science teachings. The church has about 2,300 branch congregations in 60 countries. There are about 1,600 congregations in the United States and about sixty in Canada. Christian Science is practiced worldwide except for Northwest Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and parts of the Central, East, and Southeast Asia. Christian Scientists do not generally use medicine or go to doctors. They respect the work of the medical profession, but choose prayer as treatment for themselves and their children rather than medicine because they have experienced prayer’s effectiveness many times in their lives. The regeneration of heart and mind that brings about physical healing is the most significant element of healing. The teachings of Christ Jesus are central to Christian Science, and his healing work provides and example of how his followers can turn to God’s omnipotent love for healing. Over the years, Christian Science religious publications have provided thousands of accounts of healing through prayer. Each week testimonies of healings are published to the Christian Science Sentinel and each month in The Christian Science Journal. Healing is accomplished not though blind faith but through a growing understanding of God and a recognition of one’s identity as God’s reflection. This can be gained through the study of Christian Science. It is the result of drawing closer to god through coming to know the loving kindness of his divine laws and the perfection of his spiritual creation. Christian Scientists often pray for themselves and find healing. If one feels the need for additional prayerful assistance, however, he or she can call a Christian Science Practitioner. Practitioners are men and women who devote their full time to helping others through prayer. The practitioners claim no personal healing power. God alone heals. The practitioner just as the patient turns to God in humility and willingness to hear his direction and followed his guidance. In church, Christian Scientists practice the daily stuffy of the Bible and Science and Health. There are no ordained clergy in the church. Services are conducted by readers who read from the Bible, from Science and health, and from lesson sermons sent from the mother church. Christian Scientists believe in one, infinite God who is all and all good. They believe that God is not distant or unknowable, but that God is all encompassing and always present. And that God loves each individual, cared for by him, and made in God’s image- spiritual, not material.