Thursday, September 15, 2011

fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science - by Lucia Greenhouse

Lucia Greenhouse tells her story of being raised in Christian Science and how it impacted her life and the life of her family. One of three children raised in an affluent family, Lucia was not allowed to receive immunizations, antibiotics, or even to take pain relievers such as Tylenol because it went against her religious beliefs. When Lucia reached her teenage years, as is common with so many of us, she began to seriously question her religion and have doubts. She struggled with her father’s strict adherence to Christian Science and his dictating all of their lives. She decided Christian Science was not for her, despite the fact that her father had become a practitioner and her mother a “nurse” in the religion. The divide between her and her parents grew as she became more and more frustrated with Christian Science.

In 1985, Lucia realizes her mother is sick. Because of the tenets of their faith, her mother and father decide not to seek the help of medical professionals but to rely on Christian Science to heal her. They completely refuse the concept of going to a hospital. Her illness worsens. Eventually she is taken to a Christian Science nursing home called Tenacre. Lucia and her sister and brother are increasingly concerned for her welfare. Lucia’s father tells them not to inform other members of the family who are not Christian Science members as they would not be supportive. The siblings fear the worst for their mother, but also fear the wrath of their father. Their mother continues to becoming increasingly ill.

What would you do if your faith required you to shun medical treatment when you knew your parent, child, or spouse would likely get better if he/she received it?

I found this book to be incredibly frustrating. I wanted to scream at the author, the father, the mother, her siblings and family members – “DO SOMETHING!” “HELP HER!” I was frustrated by the fact that the author seemed to recognize that her mother was likely dying and that she could possibly (probably?) be saved with traditional medicine, yet was too afraid to do anything to about it. I wanted somebody, anybody, to rescue this poor woman before it was too late.

The book was well written, but it did tend to be a bit whiny and it could have been shorter. I think a short story would have sufficed, perhaps without quite so much complaining.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Compelling story to say the least. Alone the concept of not helping someone because of some religious belief angers me.
I often find books with a storyline that frustrates me, yet I like the author's voice.