A colleague found a short, scholarly article on the web called ‘The “Next Friends” Suit: Mary Baker Eddy, and The Church of Christ Scientist’, on Trial. It is published by Sacred History Magazine and written by Lorin Geitner, Law Librarian at Chapman University Law School.
My colleague wrote: “The article gives a fair account of the trial of Mrs Eddy and how it led to the creation of The Christian Science Monitor.”
Here is an excerpt:
Public figures have been subject to public trial, based on self-interested rumor- mongering, at least since the time of Socrates. And new religious movements, and their founders, have always been subject to examination and, sometimes, persecution. But, in 1906, both of these, along with the relatively new phenomena of trial-by-media, where brought to bear upon a single individual and the religion she represented: Mary Baker Eddy, and the Church of Christ Scientist. In March of that year, suite was brought, in the name of Mary Baker Eddy, but on behalf of her sons George Glover and Foster Eddy and others (her putative “Next Friends”) to wrest control of her estate, because of her alleged mental incompetency to manage her own affairs.1
A confluence of forces, motivated by professional rivalry, personal animosity, and simple greed and cupidity, were responsible for this assault upon Mary Eddy, and, implicitly, the religion she had founded…