Mary Baker Eddy (July 16, 1821 – December 3, 1910) and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (13 February 1835 – 26 May 1908) have more in common than you might think.
Both leaders developed new scientific systems within their prospective religions, Christianity and Islam. He was nicknamed “King of the Sufis” and his movement became known as Ahmadiyya, her system was called “Eddysm” or simply “of the Boston Craze” became formally known as Christian Science. Both were called to account and in public demonstrate it in front of cynics and both came from virtual obscurity with multiple marriages behind them, with their systems turned into multi million pound ventures over time without much of a trace of their original message, resulting in fractures, law suits and continuing division today.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote 17 “Official” books outlining her system of Christian religion which has healing as one of its main attractive features. She reluctantly founded a church two periodicals and a daily newspaper which still continue. She wanted to be a reformer of Churches, but found instead that she was called to be a discoverer and writer to found her own Church,after she was rejected outright by mainstream Christianity.
Mirza Ghoulam Ahmad claimed he was the reincarnation of Christ (the second coming) which separated himself from every other Islamic group, who to this day threaten Ahmadiyya members with death in most conservative Islamic countries. Mary Baker Eddy claimed that she discovered that “the Christ” never left. In Some circles she was rumoured to be the “woman from the Apocalypse” or book of Revelation in the Bible which she did not deny. The mission of the Ahmadiyya movement, according to Mirza, was the reinstatement of the oneness of God, the revival of Islam through the moral reformation of society along Islamic ideals, and the global propagation of Islam in its perfect form. Mary Baker Eddy felt that the Churches would “be taken one by one” as they discovered her message, which she expected to be completed in around 100 years from her statement (she said this in the 1900s).
Both characters vanished for a period of time to write and perfect their message making appearances to debate or comment on their systems at other times.
To join their systems, Mirza required a promise of ten conditions (which is an application form now, appearance at the AGM (Jalsa) and a formal interview) Mary Baker Eddy required class instruction if it was possible otherwise nothing . (Now its by reference and counter signature only).
Disputes after death
One of the main sources of dispute during his lifetime and continuing since then is Ghulam Ahmad’s use of the terms “prophet” and messenger when referring to himself. His followers divided into two main factions. The main Ahmadiyya movement which has a continuing Caliphate who happens to be (at the time of writing) the Great Grandson of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the Lahore Movement who reject much of the “Institution´s” claims but still follow Mirza´s character and writings without making too much of him. Much of the Ahmadiyya work is shrouded in secrecy to avoid confrontation with Government laws where they may be deemed illegal. His writings were mainly in Punjabi, Urdu and Arabic which have been translated and copyrighted by various groups
Mary Baker Eddy´s organisation has been disputed since the moment of her death, with many people stating that the Mother Church was to be closed and reduced to a Branch Church status, this has been brought to court at least once in recent years. Her organisation then took control of its publishing arm (by force) and its branches (which were supposed to remain independent according to the Church Manual) asking the Branches to take an oath of allegiance to the board of directors which resulted in many leaving to practice independently. Court Cases followed, freeing the name “Christian Science” to be used by anyone. Historically the archives have been shrouded in secrecy, More recently a little more accessible with the founding of the Mary Baker Eddy library. Her book and most of her work thankfully now remains in the public domain. Thanks to a few brave individuals within the movement.
If you join Mary Baker Eddy´s material organisation, you become a statistic at the Annual general meeting, (your country might even get mentioned) if you join Mirza Ghoulam Ahmad´s material organization , there is a formal ceremony at their AGM called the Jalsa every year and signing the forms. Or you could join the Lahore movement where you can complete the form online as long as you promise to pay money regularly, otherwise your membership will be null and void.