We cannot discuss Mrs Eddy’s system of healing without bringing in PP Quimby. There has been accusations that she stole his work however his system was rather unlike hers in many ways. She developed a system of Science, whilst for him it was clairvoyance, showmanship as well as a very popular hypnosis and healing centre based around him entering the person´s thoughts in contrast to Mrs Eddy who helped people to see that they needed to get out of their own personality.
If we consider Mrs Eddy as founder of Christian Science, there are three things to consider:
- The founding of the Church
- The founding of the Healing Practice
- The Science of Christian Science as it came to be known.
If she did steal anything from Quimby it must only have been the healing practice idea as the other two are almost certainly not related to Quimby in any way. It may be that in the early years of Christian Science, both systems looked alike. She did work as a mesmerist for a time with Richard Kennedy after leaving Quimby, but soon left that behind to create something more Spiritual.
PP Quimby was all about showing people that their Priests and Doctors were actively making them ill by finding a cause and seeing that God is good. Mary Baker Eddy looked at it another way, in that how powerful God good actually is and what it is without cause. Quimby did not promote religion or faith as such. But he did carry a lot of ideas we can see in see CS, such as cynicism against mainstream religious groups, anti-medicine as well as the importance of helping oneself, being selfless in helping others and changing a person´s ideas about God.
In my opinion his “practice” of healing was what she modelled her business on, she even adopted his ideas like “absent healing” and Jesus the man, separate from “the Christ” and his manner of talking to people with phrases like “disease is independent of man”. We can see remnants of his organisation in the Office of Christian Science Practitioners.
Over the last few days I have been going through some of the archives of Quimby. He was not the bumbling old illiterate clock maker which we are led to believe in CS sources he knew exactly what he was doing and he did actually develop a system of healing which he left before he died. His family, particularly his grand daughters fought to ensure his system did not become known as a religion as it became more associated with CS, and were tired of people from both Quimby and Eddy Camps trying to work out if Mary Baker Eddy was simply stealing his ideas.
Lets look at the story:
From infancy Mary Baker Eddy was an invalid suffering amongst other things, from dyspepsia. She could not eat a normal meal. When she went, in 1862, from Dr. Vail’s Hydropathic Institute in Hill, New Hampshire to Portland, Maine, to see Dr. Quimby who claimed to have discovered a new method of healing it was with a last hope for her. They had been writing to each other. Following her treatment she felt strength and health she had not had before, so she stayed there for a time offering to work as his secretary and at the same time studying his writings. it was there that she met Julius Dresser who was a close companion of Quimby. Much later, him and his wife were very vocal in claiming that Mary Baker Eddy had stolen Quimby´s ideas. They even tried to take her to court but were unsuccessful.
According to the Quimby archives, when she fell on the ice in 1866 she reached out to Julius Dresser (Christian Science had not been discovered yet) who could not offer treatment at that time and felt it was not serious. (as did the original Doctor when he gave evidence a second time in 1907) However the following did appear in the local newspaper:
Mrs. Mary Patterson, of Swampscott, fell upon the ice near the corner of Market and Oxford streets, on Thursday evening, and was severely injured. She was taken up in an insensible condition and carried into the residence of S. M. Bubier, Esq., near by, where she was kindly cared for during the night. Dr. Cushing, who was called, found her injuries to be internal, and of a severe nature, inducing spasms and internal suffering. She was removed to her home in Swampscott yesterday afternoon, though in a very critical condition.
– Lynn Reporter, February 3, 1866
It was at exactly this point she claims to have founded the Christian Science movement as she reached to her Bible to help her and she moves away from the treatment by Quimby into something more Biblically based finding herself completely healed. It was also at this point the Quimby camp begin to see her developing something which they recognised as “Quimby” and not designed by Mary Baker Eddy.
So, there´s no doubt a little bit of Quimby in the system of Mary Baker Eddy, but it seems there´s a little bit of Quimby and his system in all of us, rightly or wrongly.
For a full indepth study of the debate, I suggest this site https://ppquimby-mbeddydebate.com