Treatment Choice Statement
Individual choice is a keynote of Christian Science. As Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love” (p. 106). We all must come with open and honest hearts to our study and practice of Christian Science. As a community, we are not here to judge one another on that road but to support, encourage, and bless one another.
In spring 2018, the Principia administration held a series of open conversations on both campuses around this topic. They heard widespread support for not dictating the treatment choices of community members—whether students, faculty, or staff—as well as concern that Principia maintain a climate that gives spiritual healing primacy.
With Trustee support—and drawing on input from a number of campus meetings on the subject with faculty, staff, and students—the administration developed this statement of our approach to this issue:
As a Christian Science community of practice and education, Principia seeks to nurture, support, and inspire spiritual progress and spiritual healing among its members. It does not seek to dictate treatment or prescribe conditions for healing; those decisions belong to individuals and their families. Nor will Principia bar the employment or admission of candidates based solely on their treatment choices. It will continue to see every member as a unique child of God and to encourage everyone’s contribution to a culture of spiritual healing at and beyond Principia.
While this statement represents what has been Principia’s operating principle for quite some time, it explicitly expresses Principia’s commitment to and confidence in spiritual healing; it also permits and encourages embracing each community member just where they are.
Love is our guiding principle as we seek to support, not judge, each Principian's individual spiritual progress. Principia has always been a community of spiritual seekers as understood in Christian Science; that commitment remains at our core. Compassionate support for individual treatment choice is entirely consistent with Principia’s commitment to fully support the promise and experience of spiritual healing. Principia will continue to be a place where spiritual healing is supported, cherished, and experienced.
We are confident this approach is in full harmony with The Mother Church’s statement on healing on ChristianScience.com: “Christian Scientists are always free to choose for themselves and their families the kind of health care that meets their needs. However, by practicing Christian Science, many have lived happy and healthy lives free of drugs and other systems of physical care.”
We also believe this approach to be consonant with Principia’s Policy 4, which says that Principians are “expected to rely on Christian Science for healing.” The Christian Science standard of healing remains of utmost importance at Principia, and we are guided by Mary Baker Eddy:
Emerge gently from matter into Spirit. Think not to thwart the spiritual ultimate of all things, but come naturally into Spirit through better health and morals and as the result of spiritual growth. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 485)
If Christian Scientists ever fail to receive aid from other Scientists, — their brethren upon whom they may call, — God will still guide them into the right use of temporary and eternal means. Step by step will those who trust Him find that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 444)