Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

Casualty of Christian Science

Found this article from childrenshealthcare.org.

“At the age of five, Nancy Brewster of El Paso, Texas, developed lumps on her neck and threw up repeatedly. She was too sick to go to school after first grade. A Christian Science practitioner prayed for Nancy. She urged the girl and her mother to deny the symptoms of the illness as an illusion. Nancy was constantly told that she was God’s perfect child and nothing could be wrong with her.

Nancy was made to exercise in 100 degree–plus heat and forced to eat even though she was vomiting. Both her mother and the practitioner believed that Nancy was just being stubborn. Her mother sometimes even beat Nancy and blamed her for not getting healed. Nancy got no pain relief, even an aspirin. She was not held or comforted because that would be giving reality to the disease.

Nancy died September 29, 1963, at age 7. Her death certificate lists “probable malignant lymphoma” as the cause.

She had no obituary or funeral service. Her mother told her siblings to think that Nancy had just gone on a trip to Africa. In her family home, Nancy was never spoken of again. Like illness, death was considered unreal in Christian Science theology.

Her mother later became a Christian Science practitioner and published a testimony in the January, 1984, Christian Science Journal with a disturbing omission. “Rearing four children with total reliance on God for healing was a joy. I cannot remember an activity missed because of illness,” she wrote.

As Caroline Fraser writes, however, “In fact, Mrs. Brewster had five children. The unmentioned fifth child who has been revised out of this testimony—indeed, out of life itself—was Nancy Brewster.” (Fraser, God’s Perfect Child, 428)

Nancy’s big sister published an obituary and held a memorial service for Nancy on the 40th anniversary of her death, and publishes an In Memoriam every year to honor and remember Nancy.”

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October 2, 2008 - Posted by | Christianity, Pseudomedicine, Pseudoscience, religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. That sucks! It must be so difficult to be part of a religious system that won’t even allow you to take care of your children – or even acknowledge and mourn their passing. I don’t only feel angry about this, I feel sad for people hoodwinked by such nonsense.

    Comment by thefuerstshallbelast | October 3, 2008

  2. I am a faithful christian just passing through your site in an attempt to find what Athiests believe. This women was a complete fool who did not really know God. Scriptures say don’t test the power of God, meaning he doesn’t prove that he is there. He doesn’t need to cure your daughter in order to prove he is working.
    There’s a prayer that says give me the courage to change the things I can change and the wisdom to accept the things i can not change. You can change your daughter being sick by getting some help. This women was completely wrong. Were not all as ignorant as she was

    Comment by Robert | May 7, 2009

  3. “This women was a complete fool who did not really know God.”

    She might say the same about you. For the atheist, though, all your interpretation sound just as implausible, whether someone is harmed by them or not.

    Comment by Metro State Atheists | May 7, 2009

  4. The article says it all… What more can be said. Apparently denying you’re sick will heal you if you believe in the efficacy of prayer… But in this case, it didn’t cancer apparently is out of the range of god’s things to grant. It just goes to show that the extremists need to get in touch with reality.

    As for the comments…

    “This women was completely wrong. Were not all as ignorant as she was”

    “24 Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 25 Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26 and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” Exodus 23:24-26 (biblegateway.com)

    So according to the passage the little girl should’ve had her sickness cured. I think that her faith was high. She pursued and prayed and didn’t even take drugs… how is that a misinterpretation? Please refer to the whole passage.

    The section is titled, “God’s Angel to Prepare the Way” please feel free to check for accuarcy. But it says that if you are obedient and follow god’s instruction you will recieve release from adversaries, blessed food and drink, and healing. Is this a one time deal???

    Comment by Joe | May 28, 2009


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