Christian Science Committee on Publication, “Mary Baker Eddy: Another View,” American Heritage (Feb/March 1982).

From a commentary by The First Church of Christ, Scientist:

“One thing on which Mrs. Eddy’s admirers and critics agree is that she was a ‘remarkable’ woman. The fact that she founded a major American religious movement in an age and at an age when she might have been expected, in her own ironic words, to be a little old lady in a lace cap, justifies at least that much of a generalization.

“But remarkable people are more often than not complex….

“One need not be a believer in [Mrs. Eddy’s] teaching or even in Christianity itself to see that realism in biography does not, cannot, exclude the religious dimension of human life. That was the attitude of the facile iconoclasm in biographical writing which flourished a half-century or more ago…. But an interdisciplinary approach generally opts for some understanding of the fuller dimensions of the subject.

“With an insight into the human spirit born of his own experience as a survivor of Auschwitz, psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl has written, ‘ …Humanity has demonstrated ad nauseam in recent years that it has instincts, drives. Today it appears more important to remind man that he has a spirit, that he is a spiritual being.’ Frankl is not speaking of preoccupation with religion in the conventional sense but of that profound concern with the meaning of life which is an irreducible part of the human spirit.

“Mrs. Eddy’s wrestlings with this question simply cannot be excluded from any meaningful account of her life and struggles…. To the end of her days she counted herself (as she figuratively put it) ‘a willing disciple at the heavenly gate, waiting for the Mind of Christ.’ Her writings refer frankly to the intense struggles she went through in carrying out what she felt to be her mission….

“No more than the life of a Jonathan Edwards, a Mother Mary Seton, or a Martin Luther King, Jr., can Mrs. Eddy’s life be separated from the religious purpose that dominated it. Indeed, it is only by transcending their own purely personal concerns and involving themselves passionately with man’s quest for meaning that any such figures attain the status which history-however reluctantly-grants them.”