Analysis by Rolf A. F Witzsche, of the court case to annul The First Church of Christ Scientists in Boston Mass., by declaring its Pastor Emeritus to be dead

 

The estoppels-clause court case 

against the Mother Church,
 The First Church of Christ Scientist,
In Boston Massachusetts

unfolding to annul its existence, its Branch Churches, its Church Manual, and its worldwide Membership

Note: The above heading does not reflect the stated intention of the court case, or of the plaintiff, but reflects the unfolding potential, if not its inevitable, outcome.


Is the Pastor Emeritus dead?

by Rolf A. F. Witzsche


overview of the intention of the estoppels court case

When love drifts out of sight...

The court case aimed to dissolve the Mother Church of Christ Scientist, The First Church of Christ Scientist In Boston Massachusetts, is a case of great public concern, since this church, the legacy of Mary Baker Eddy to all mankind, has become a part of the cultural and spiritual dimension of mankind that should not be abolished for light and transient causes, much less so unilaterally by individual pursuits, thereby eliminating the worldwide Mother Church membership that would cease to exist by abolishing the Mother Church, and further eliminating all titles received from the Board of Education from 1911 onward, as the Board of Education was then operating under the auspices of an illegally operating Christian Science Board of Directors, if the case succeeds.

In his 2009 book, The Betrayal of Mary Baker Eddy by the Christian Science Church, David E. Robinson writes in the chapter, The Coup d'Etat, that "Mary Baker Eddy provided for the discontinuance of... the Board of Directors of the Mother Church, and with them the Mother Church." He stipulates that this is so, because as he says, the By-Laws of the Church Manual make it impossible to "fill a vacancy on that Board, without Mary Baker Eddy's approval and consent." On this basis he launched a court case, aiming to annul The Mother Church, Mary Baker Eddy's church, that she named the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston Massachusetts, leaving remaining only the congregation which shall worship in said church ... styled "The First Church of Christ, Scientist.." 

The reality is quite different.

The intended separation of the Mother Church and its annulment, from the congregation that is to continue to be styled The First Church of Christ Scientist, is not possible. The separation is not possible, because the The First Church of Christ, Scientist, is the legal name or title of The Mother Church that the lawsuit would abolish, which would thereby abolish all the derivative names of the Branch Churches that by their name identify them as Branch Churches of the Mother Church. With the Mother Church annulled, the entire worldwide Mother Church Membership, and Branch Church Memberships would become abolished. 

See: The name of the Mother Church

In like manner would the professional titles related to the Mother Church (certified by its Board of Education) become abolished. Even the physical assets that the Christian Science Board of Directors hold in trust for the benefit of the members of the church that became the Mother Church, would be dissolved and become the property of the State as no heirs have been specified in the Deeds of Trust. It is not possible, that if one eradicates the foundation of a great building, that the building will not collapse in its entirety, If one aims at the heart, one aims at the whole. This tragic outcome might not be the intention behind the estoppels case lawsuit, but it is the unavoidable consequence.

The plaintiff rests his case on the assumption that since Mary Baker Eddy passed on in 1910, the Pastor Emeritus is no longer here in person to give the consents required of her since 1910, so that the numerous actions that require the consents of the Pastor Emeritus, can no longer be carried out. It is deemed by the Church Manual, her Deeds of Trust, and the codicils to her Will that it was Mary Baker Eddy's intent that The Mother Church be terminated after the Annual Meeting of June, 1911, as it could no longer function without the tangible consents of the Pastor Emeritus, leaving remaining The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and other branches reverting to Societies in its stead. 

For example, Manual actually states: 

The Christian Science Board of Directors shall consist of five members. They shall fill a vacancy occurring on that Board after the candidate is approved by the Pastor Emeritus.

Since the case has been served as a claim, to the Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley (case,2008-P-0580), and the case itself is but the end of a long train of similar claims, it becomes important to consider the significance of how Mary Baker Eddy utilized the term Pastor Emeritus to separate her person (Mary Baker Eddy) from the spirit of what she stood for and her relationship to the public as a leader who lives on through her works, (the impersonal Pastor Emeritus) who still speaks to the congregations of the world.

See: Details of the estoppels claims that have no merit

In summary, on March 20, 1895, after the completion of the construction of the church building for the Mother Church, the Board of Directors called on her to become its permanent pastor. Her reply may have shocked the directors. 

Beloved Directors and Brethren: - For your costly offering,
and kind call to the pastorate of "The First Church
of Christ, Scientist," in Boston - accept my profound
thanks.  But permit me, respectfully, to decline their acceptance,
while I fully appreciate your kind intentions.
If it will comfort you in the least, make me your Pastor
Emeritus, nominally.  Through my book, your textbook,
I already speak to you each Sunday. 

The idea of an impersonal pastor was totally new at the time. The term, Pastor Emeritus, became her founding term for the concept of an impersonal pastor. The universal Bible Lesson sermon appeared to have been launched shortly thereafter, in 1898. When the first Church Manual was created in 1895, the term that represented the impersonal pastor (the spirit of what she represented) became incorporated as a guiding hand for the decision making processes. In this context, if one looks through the Manual carefully, one will note that Mary Baker Eddy defines four types, or levels, of approvals.


1. approval by the Pastor Emeritus
2. approval by the Pastor Emeritus in her own handwriting
3. approval by the Pastor Emeritus, Mary Baker Eddy
4. approval by Mary Baker Eddy (personally, in writing, signed, etc.)


 She represents herself in type 1 as your teacher, asking the individual to act in the spirit of what the individual knows in his heart that she stands for, as he has discerned it through her teaching. 

In type 2 she demands that specific decisions or actions be in correspondence with what she has publicly written. Note, the type 2 cases all involve cases of public concern and public office. 

In type 3 she demands obedience to the spirit of what she stood for, and adds her legal authority as the giver of the trust (see page 103, the removal of the building). She is saying in essence, don't you dare to demolish what I stand for, and demolish what I have granted you. This is more than just an estoppels clause. It is a spiritual warning to the individual. 

Only type 4 is a real estoppels clause that prevents actions from being carried out, such as the one that prevents the Manual from being altered. - I believe this has been violated to some degree as the Manual has been altered in the Appendix. The directors should make amends or resign, or be vacated and new directors be appointed (Manual p.29).

 It is evident that the four types of approvals that she is consistently using throughout the Manual, are specific in their application to the level of compliance that is required. 

The great consistency with which she uses the type 2 to apply to offices that interface with the public, indicates that she took great care in distinguishing between the four types. 

It is evident thereby to me that the attempted court case to shut down the church, has no merit, as it is built on a perception of the details involved that represent a denial of the Pastor Emeritus as an element of Mary Baker Eddy's person, an element that is still alive in the world, a spiritual dimension of a person that lives on through all times by the achievements of that person. We cannot say that the Christ is dead, as Jesus is no longer with us. Nor can we say that the music of Johan Sebastian Bach is dead, since that person is no longer with us. Likewise is it a fallacy in my estimation to suggest that the Pastor Emeritus is dead, on the assumption that the Pastor Emeritus can no longer be consulted. It is certainly possible to consult the music of Bach as an authority for principles of music that he discovered and pioneered and is still associated with his name.

In this context, Bach and his music are living elements of the history of the spiritual awakening of mankind that created a profound renaissance in the early 1600s, out of which came the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 -- the only peace treaty in history that had left no one vanquished, that ended the Thirty Years War, and led to the conception of the USA as a sovereign Nation-State republic, and the eventual founding of it as the first such State in the world. Bach's music came out of this profound humanist and scientific and spiritual development. Bach inspired a phase shift in musical composition that became almost immediately reflected in the music of other great geniuses of this period: Franz Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and later Johannes Brahms.

This 17th Century renaissance was to some degree a revival of the Golden Renaissance of the 15th Century in which the scientific pioneers of Nicolas of Cusa played a profound, spiritual, pioneering role, which in a sense was carried forward by the scientific genius of Gottfried Willhem Leibniz who was one of the driving forces of the post-Westphalian renaissance era. The high-level perceptions of fundamental Truth that these individuals represented are still regarded as way marks in the development of mankind, and are referred to, to the present day, as authoritative standards. Mary Baker Eddy's work was of this nature, only in a more profound sense, and she knew it, and she gave it a name. When, for example, I hear it being said, 

"The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, - a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love. Regardless of what another may say or think on this subject, I speak from experience." 

then I hear the Pastor Emeritus speaking, as presented in her own handwriting. In terms of stating the Truth, she took on the title of Pastor Emeritus herself, just as she attributed the title "Christ" to the man, Jesus.

Oh yes, it is being said by many that the Christ is dead, but is this true? Doesn't the Christ still speak to us in individual consciousness, and if we are wise, let it guide us? Mary Baker Eddy is saying to her church officers, let yourself be guided by the Pastor Emeritus, and in some cases according to the written statements of the Pastor Emeritus.

The important question of today is, is the Christ really dead? And reflected in this question is the question of whether the Pastor Emeritus is dead. Mary Baker Eddy herself is said to have raised this question, with the statement that she is to have made as the last statement of her life, that she had asked to have written down, "I was mentally murdered." Apparently it was written down, decades later, through I do not know were. Be this as it may, the question remains: Is the Pastor Emeritus dead to us? Was it murdered? The murdering may have already begun in 1902 when the movement was afoot to build the large extension of the edifice of the Mother Church. She didn't attend the dedication 'celebration' in June 10, 1906, but sent a message to be read, with the title "Choose Ye." The message ends:

  You have dexterously and wisely provided for The
Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, a magnificent temple
wherein to enter and pray.  Greatly impressed and
encouraged thereby, deeply do I thank you for this proof
of your progress, unity, and love.  The modest edifice
of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, began with
the cross; its excelsior extension is the crown.  The room
of your Leader remains in the beginning of this edifice,
evidencing the praise of babes and the word which proceedeth
out of the mouth of God.  Its crowning ultimate
rises to a mental monument, a superstructure high
above the work of men's hands, even the outcome of
their hearts, giving to the material a spiritual significance
- the speed, beauty, and achievements of goodness.
Methinks this church is the one edifice on earth which
most prefigures self-abnegation, hope, faith; love catching
a glimpse of glory.

One could see this statement, as a statement that a mass-movement was not on her horizon of intention, but neither can I see it as a statement that suggests an intention to cause the abolition of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, The First Church of Christ Scientist, in Boston Massachusetts, of which she said in its Manual (p.19) under the heading "Historical Sketch" that it "is designed to be built..." Ultimately, the individual has to choose. And she added that it needs to 

be built on the Rock,
Christ; even the understanding and demonstration
of divine Truth, Life, and Love, healing and saving
the world from sin and death; thus to reflect in some
degree the Church Universal and Triumphant.

My perception is that this building hasn't even begun in earnest, nor did Mary Baker Eddy suggest that the task would be easy, but she did suggest that it is a pioneering undertaking, and the scope appears to be such that the survival of civilization may depend on it. If one considers the 16 segments of the Church Manual, the sequence represents clearly a progression of unfolding. If one further maps the 16 segments onto her foursquare pedagogical structure, the first segment that deals with the Church Officers, becomes thereby associated with the lowest position in the first column, coincident with depravity, night, and hell. With this association, through the Manual, she defines a challenge for mankind, not to allow its government leadership take on the role of dictatorial depravity, as we see it so vividly in the world today, but have this office healed in Christian Science, so that it becomes a servant of the Constitution and the defender of it. This is an enormous task, but which will some day be accomplished. Shouldn't the Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, be the first to be so healed, as a pioneer for mankind?

Affidavit: Comments by David Robinson on his court case

The evident facts is, that the Pastor Emeritus still speaks to us all through her books, her teachings, her examples, and her scientific accomplishments. The Pastor Emeritus is by no means dead.

The great universal question

The court case raises a question that each one needs to answer individually: Has the Pastor Emeritus ceased to be alive in individual consciousness? Or does the Pastor Emeritus still speak to the individual?

1. Is the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a dead issue? 

2. Is the Church Manual a dead issue? 

3. Is Christian Science itself, a dead issue? 

I would answer that the full unfolding of each of the three issues has not yet fully begun.

Re. question 1, it should be noted that Mary Baker Eddy's vast pedagogical structure, that the textbook itself is but a small part of, is largely unknown to even exist. 

Re. question 2, it should be noted the Church Manual is itself the tallest model for scientific government and self-government that has ever been created, even a structural foundation for civilization, with a relevance that is likewise largely unknown to exist.
(see: The significance of the Church Manual)

Re, question 3, my personal experience in researching the foundation for civilization has been that the relevance of the principles that Mary Baker Eddy has put on the table, have barely been recognized, much less become obsolete. (see: Empire of Mind )

For more, see:

In this context, seeing the the Pastor Emeritus is far from being dead, but remains to be the guiding determinant in countless respects, I suggested therefore to Mr. David Robinson, that his case against the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston Massachusetts, also known as the Mother Church, should be withdrawn. 

However, another vital point needs to be noted here.

Under segment 7  

RELATION AND DUTIES OF MEMBERS
TO PASTOR EMERITUS ART. XXII 

we read:

Unauthorized Legal Action. Sect. 9. 
A member of this Church shall not employ an attorney,
nor take legal action on a case not provided
for in its By-Laws - if said case relates
to the person or to the property of Mary Baker
Eddy - without having personally conferred
with her on said subject.

It is interesting to note that Mary Baker Eddy did not label the above segment of the Manual to define the required relations and duties of the membership as related to herself as a person, but she defines it as related to the office of the impersonal Pastor Emeritus. Obviously, legal actions are not possible against the office of the impersonal Pastor Emeritus. In other cases, relating to her person and property, the members are prohibited to engage in legal actions without her personal conferral. The suit of law that is launched under the heading, The Betrayal of Mary Baker Eddy, is by this statement of intention related to her person, and is thereby rendered technically illegal under the above By-Law, and should therefore be withdrawn also for this reason. 

The danger inherent in the, defined by Mary Baker Eddy as illegal

In the book The Betrayal of Mary Baker Eddy, the Christian Science Board of Directors is charged with numerous misconducts, for which it is deemed that the shutdown of the church is necessary. However, there is another side to this coin.

The technicality in this instance (blocked by Mary Baker Eddy), has a tremendous implication for civilization as a whole. The severity of what is involved here did not manifest itself until more than two decades after her death. I am referring to the rise of the Nazi empire of Adolf Hitler in Germany. Considering vast scope of the fascist 'holocaust' and war in all its facets, the question arises as to who was at fault. During the Nuremberg trials many of the Nazi officials were condemned and executed for their crimes, even the crimes committed by policy. But was this ultimately a just response? Did the fault lie with the leaders, or with the people of society who empowered the leaders? Ultimately, a nation is a nation of people, and what is committed by this nation, by whatever means, needs to be charged to its account. In other words, the nation of Germany has failed to uphold its culture. Germany had one of the most highly developed humanist cultures in Europe at the time. Still, it allowed itself to be crushed by not taking the responsibility that comes with a highly developed culture. Hitler could have been stopped, in spite of the rich financing and political support he received from the British Empire and some of its factions in the USA. But he wasn't stopped. The effort wasn't made. Heaven is expensive, the easy-chair is free. A tall culture requires tall efforts to be maintained. Germany chose the easy chair, and with it the consequences of zero actions in its self-defense.

What has this got to do with the above court case? There is a striking parallel between the two cases. Mr. Robinson justifies his court case as a response to the misconducts of the directors that he sees as a danger to society. He is even suggesting that Mary Baker Eddy had expected this internal collapse, for which she put a closure in place to shut down after her death, the church that she created. But this is not what Mary Baker Eddy is saying. She established a high spiritual culture with a scientific dimension and established simple avenues for resolving disputes, which are sufficient on a high cultural basis, though they are tremendously demanding in terms of alertness to principle and dedication to the truth. Mary Baker Eddy says in essence, I have set up a high standard for you. I demand of you that you live up to it, that you demonstrate the healing efficacy of the principles of Christian Science. But society says nay, heaven is too expensive, we choose the easy-chair, the easy-chair is free. And so the door becomes opened to the courts to have them do for the field of Christ, Scientist, what the field doesn't care to do for itself. Mary Baker Eddy warns against this fallacy and demands all who subscribe to her leadership to pay the steep price in efforts committed for establishing heaven on earth. And so she blocks the path to the easy chair, She seems to warn that the easy chair comes with dire consequences, as indeed it does. For Germany the consequences involved the destruction of the nation and its future, that Germany has not yet recovered from. For the field of Christ, Scientist, the consequences promise the destruction of the Mother Church if the above court case against the church, succeeds, together with the destruction of its Manual, which then becomes a Manual of nothing, rather than standing as a model for scientifically advanced forms of government and a platform for civilization.

The amazing aspect about the above court case against the Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, is that there is near zero interest in protecting the church as if it had no value. The court case should not have progressed as far as it has. Reason should have closed the door to it. Maybe it is not too late yet.

Indeed, there are many tragic events happening in the world that should not have progressed as far as they have, happenings of war, looting, economic destruction, genocide, fraud, thievery, lying. For example, the entire planet should be in a renaissance stage around the world, preparing the world for the return of the Ice Age that's on the horizon. Instead of dreaming of global warming that the greatest fraud in history has brought about -- opening the door to the bio-fuels genocide that commandeered farmland that would be feeding 50 million people, who are thereby condemned to death -- the world would be in a crash program to develop indoor agriculture in preparation of the loss of agriculture in the deep cooling of the coming Ice Age climate that might be just a hundred years away. We need those hundred years to develop the vast infrastructures for global indoor agriculture. And again, society says nay, survival is too expensive, we choose the easy chair. Mary Baker Eddy says to this entire trend, don't you dare even think of it.

It is tempting to assume that a solution to the conflict in this court case must be applied from without. This is tempting, but ultimately not possible in principle. I am certain that Mary Baker Eddy understood this. For example, the entire world is presently in the throws of a global financial collapse crisis with bailouts already exceeding $36 trillion for the USA alone ($24 trillion under the TARP program and app $12 trillion by the Federal Reserve itself), while the physical economics situation is getting constantly worse, with more unemployment, more homelessness, more starvation, and more war, in spite of all the monetarist measures. Should we wait for the Martians therefore, to land at our doorsteps and solve this problem for us? No, this is a problem that mankind owns. There is no external solution possible. The solution has to be found within, by means of the discovery and application of the principles of civilization, the principles of a renaissance. The same holds true for our smaller problems. Thus Mary Baker Eddy counsels her church membership not to look for external solutions (no legal actions - Manual.p67),

I see a strange case orchestrated here, in which the actual defendant is the membership. The defendant is the membership, since the reason for the existence of the Christian Science Board of Directors as an operating entity, is the membership paying the board's salaries in exchange for services rendered. 

If the board exists illegally, it does so, because the membership employs it so. Thus we have a interesting case here, which is instigated illegally (contrary to the By-Laws created by Mary Baker Eddy), which is conducted on her behalf (in the name of Mary Baker Eddy as it were) over dispositions of her property - in a lawsuit carried out against the membership of her own church, and for a tradition dating back more than a century - aiming thereby to achieve the redistribution of the church's property, in the wake of eliminating the Mother Church, and its Manual: the Manual of the Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, In Boston Massachusetts. This case is therefore essentially a case against an essentially public institution, and against the public itself that is related to it, for the potential privatization of property.

In essence, the entire membership is on trial here, as the goal is the dissolution of its church and thereby of the membership, which has been instituted with the Mother Church, according to Manual segment of Church Membership. And the key to all that is an issue of property law with a minute timing difference in the order of a few weeks, and the related denial of the existence of a spiritual institution, the Pastor Emeritus, that speaks daily to the field, but is deemed to have no validity (being considered functionally dead) as a guiding entity under the regime of property law.

A point of history comes to mind here as to what is subsumed to what? Is the welfare of society subsumed under contract conventions, or are contract conventions subsumed under the general welfare principle. In modern times the contract conventions have become increasingly dictatorial contrary to the general welfare, to the point that the entire global financial and economic system is fast disintegrating. In historic situation of such a magnitude the contract conventions were revised and made subservient to the general welfare, typically in times of an emerging renaissance. Thus, in applying law, the primary focus has historically been on the advance of the general welfare. Much of that has become lost in modern times, in the now bold new era of universal looting, for ever-greater 'profits.' The question should therefore be asked if there exists a real legal foundation in principle, serving the advance of the general welfare, that would impel the annulment of Mary Baker Eddy's legacy for the world, the Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, In Boston Massachusetts. No such imperative exists that I can see. Of course, I speak from the biased standpoint as a defendant.

However, I can also see many reasons for which a person would be tempted to agree with Mr. David Robinson, who suggests that the Pastor Emeritus is functionally dead in the world, and therefore cannot guide the directors in fulfilling their duties, for which the should resign. Spiritual institutions seem to carry no weight anymore in the general scheme of things, just as this was the case in the days of Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes had declared that love should not be considered a factor in affairs of business and State, and so on. We are back to that in many ways. Even life itself is no longer deemed sovereign, as depopulation is evermore on the agenda, this time as an element of the global warming hoax. Under this hoax genocidal contracts are intended to be hammered out evermore, and they will so for as long as the lye remains an institution, especially the lye of manmade global warming. Contractual conventions, based on this lye, are already killing upwards to fifty million people a year under the current bio-fuel regime for which vast acreages have been removed from food production that would normally provide food for fifty million people. With this considered, the Pastor Emeritus may well be deemed dead in the eyes of society, who speaks to the world in terms of mankind being spiritual ideas made in the reflected image of God. But should the same be said of Christian scientists likewise?

Fortunately, it is not possible for the Pastor Emeritus to be totally irrelevant to the field of Christ, Scientist, just as it is impossible for the Christ to become so irrelevant. The divine Principle of scientific mental healing that Mary Baker Eddy discovered, and that the Pastor Emeritus represents nominally - that is still reflected in countless events of healing - is not entopic, but remains as valid as it has been before it was even perceived. The same can also be said about our humanity. The potential for great things stand before us on the horizon, for the greatest renaissance of all times, as mankind's humanity reasserts its claim, which it does, calling for honesty, love, life, truth, sublimity, and creativity to be put onto the high-seat of society once again and for evermore, for a richer culture and the general welfare of society as a whole.

Rolf Witzsche
researcher, and author

e-mail: cygni@shaw.ca

 

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