Christian Science Committee on Publication, “An Empirical Analysis of Medical Evidence in Christian Science Testimonies of Healing, 1969-1988.” Appendix, Freedom and Responsibility: Christian Science Healing for Children (Boston: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1989), 110-127.
From a church-published study
“…The medical specificity of the testimonies also varies greatly. Since Christian Scientists do not routinely seek the care of physicians in time of illness, a large number of testifiers refer to healings of diseases or conditions that are not medically named. In most of these cases the conditions healed are described briefly in lay terms. In a significant proportion of other cases, however, testifiers do report specific medical diagnoses and prognoses, often explaining the circumstances in which these have been made, e.g., medical examinations required by employers, public health authorities, school officials, the military, or insurance companies; emergencies in which Christian Scientists were transported to a hospital but subsequently declined medical treatment; and situations in which individuals have turned to Christian Science for help only after unsuccessful medical treatment or prognoses of incurability.
“It is fair to say in general that the emphasis of the testimonies on the spiritual dimensions of healing militates against extensive discussion of either physical symptoms or clinical histories. This is understandably frustrating to medical commentators, who have often echoed Dr. Edward Mortimer’s complaint that the testimonies are merely ‘anecdotes.’ Any serious study of these accounts, however, must consider them in light of what they are rather than what they are not and do not pretend to be. While their anecdotal nature is obvious, it does not in itself nullify the possible medical significance of the experiences related in them, nor does it necessarily invalidate any strictly factual evidence they contain or point to. In some cases the published testimonies give only a slight indication of the extensive medical corroboration that exists on particular healings….
“The vast majority (over 80%) of the 7,154 testimonies published from 1969-1988 include healings of bodily disorders….
“The total number of physical healings recounted in this period is over 10,000. Of these some 2,337 involve healings of medically diagnosed conditions. The latter figure is limited to healings related firsthand by the individual healed or, in the case of healings of children, by a parent….
“Among the medically diagnosed cases, 285 made reference to specialists, 284 to X-rays, 453 to the involvement of more than one physician, 507 to the involvement of a hospital in the diagnosis. The medical contacts in these cases essentially involved diagnosis alone or else tangibly unsuccessful medical treatment, sometimes for an extended period, prior to the testifier’s decision to turn to Christian Science for healing. In 623 cases healings were medically confirmed by follow-up examinations. In 222 cases ranging from extreme trauma caused by auto collisions to serious degenerative diseases, the testifiers referred specifically to terminal or life-threatening prognoses by physicians….”
“An Empirical Analysis of Medical Evidence in Christian Science Testimonies of Healing, 1969-1988.” Appendix, Freedom and Responsibility: Christian Science Healing for Children (Boston: The First Church of Christ, Scientist), 110-127. ©1989 The Christian Science Board of Directors. Reprinted by permission.