Mary Baker Eddy made a provision for a worldwide membership in the Mother Church of Christ Scientist, The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts. Why would anyone want to be a member? What does it mean? It means many things to many people. It offers a few privileges. It also offers a form of identity and a form of punishment by excommunication. But I don't think that where its real importance lies.
The church membership lives in the Temple, not in Church. It is not a servant of Church or Temple. It is the benefactor of them. There are two individuals shown in the first half of the painting Christ Healing. One is roused from the dead, and one is facilitating the process. Both appear to be representative of Church Membership, operating in the Temple, healing and raising civilization up (from the dead). It is here, in the universal sense, operating in the Temple, were the real significance lies of the Church-process of Membership.
In the modern movie version of the Lord of the Rings, saga by J.R.R. Tolkien the wise Lady Galadriel gives to the hero of the saga, Frodo the ring-bearer, a sense of the importance of his mission, in this case a great mission to save mankind. "This task is appointed to you," she says to Frodo, "if you can't find a way, nobody will." This must also be said about us and each human being.
As human beings we have been given a mission to create a civilization that is expressed in a higher manifest of life than has ever been see before on this planet, a spiritual mission, a metaphysical mission, a mission to enrich the Earth, a mission that no other form of life can carry out, but which mankind is uniquely capable of by virtue of mankind's profound intelligence and creative and productive power as the reflected image of God. Ultimately this mission might include spreading life through the galaxy.
The mission itself is powered by our culture, and we all share in this mission universally by enriching human culture. And so, it must be said about our individual part in the mission that a task has been appoint to us, and that if we can't find a way to fulfill it, nobody will. In that case we'll die without ever having truly lived and without the faintest evidence that we ever existed. Our individual mission is unique and individual so the truly nobody but us can fulfill it. If we don't fulfill our task, it remains undone, and human culture is cheated by a lost potential. That defines our membership in humanity, unfolding in the temple. We have been given a talent to advance human culture, if we don't do it nobody will.
"The Christian Science Publishing Society" exists to support that mission. It becomes a resource for us in carrying out our mission. It doesn't exist as an indoctrination institution, nor as an arbitrator to authorize perception, but exists as the facilitator for the resulting leading edge research papers and books of an actively publishing society of members of the church. Naturally, what Mary Baker Eddy has put on the table here is a tall demand, but it is not different than the one she made herself of the printing company that printed her early editions of her textbook on Christian Science, a most revolutionary work at the time. She challenged consensus. The printer went along with that. Consensus is the mind-killer. An alert publisher might have realized that even then, acknowledging that consensus closes the door to the leading edge of discovery. That is what currently keeps the Christian Science Publishing Society impotent.