A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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iv               THE ECCLESIA AND PNEUMATIC THERAPY            175
disease, desired to have disciples who could carry on his investigations. His son George and A. G. Dresser carried on his treatments and tried to spread his doctrines, but overshadowing these was the vigour of Mrs. Glover, whose life has often been subjected to unfriendly scrutiny ; unsympathetic critics have probed deeply into the facts with cold objectivity.44,59
Her history is important because in it we can trace the origin and development of the cult she founded. She was by no means an ordinary woman. Mark Twain 233 called her ' the most interesting person on the planet . . . easily the most extraordinary woman ever born upon it \ Perhaps her most important characteristic was her single-mindedness.
So often has the story been told, and so familiar has it become to all interested in the subject of spiritual or faith healing, that there is no need to do more than present its barest outlines here. Mrs. Eddy was born in 1821 in Bow, New Hampshire, of hardy New England stock, but her mother died under the strain of child-birth and the unremitting care of the farm from which the family derived its livelihood. Her father was an intensely religious Calvinist who exercised his somewhat gloomy theology and strict morality upon all under his care. Biographers call Mary poetical and moody and cite stories of how she astounded the church elders by her understanding of Christ and by her piety. She seems to have been a precocious and sickly child. Dr. Ladd, the family physician, described her symptoms as those of hysteria ' mingled with bad temper ' and shrewdly recommended that she be taken for treatment to one of the itinerant mesmerists then amusing the countryside.
Her girlhood was spent in the small towns of New Hampshire, studying her brother's Latin books, reading