An early case of trial by media? Mary Baker Eddy and the ‘Next Friends’ Suit’

Mary Baker EddyA 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…

If you want to read the complete article, you can view it on or you can download it .

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Categories: Christianity, Mary Baker Eddy, Women's spiritual leadership

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and edit articles on spirituality from the perspective of the practice of Christian Science as an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the teachings of Christian Science transformed my life and re-shaped my career.


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2 Comments on “An early case of trial by media? Mary Baker Eddy and the ‘Next Friends’ Suit’”

  1. February 14, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

    Thanks for the write-up!

    When I was researching for this article, I found much of interest not only in the teaching of Christian Science, and much that was admirable in the character of it’s founder.

    — Lorin Geitner

  2. February 14, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

    That’s great to know, Lorin. It always means a lot to Christian Scientists when an independent scholar recognises the merits in what Mary Baker Eddy shared and the qualities she expressed while doing so. Thanks for dropping by!

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