Nov. 2015 Newsletter – Carpenters

The Bookmark Newsletter V.144
November 2015
Very dear Friend,
In this newsletter I would like to share with you a brief history of the Carpenter material, where it came from, and how useful it can be in your study of Christian Science. But first, I want to thank each of you who responded to my request for contributions when I last wrote to you. Your support was so very welcome and needed. Your prayerful work for The Bookmark has also been very helpful in enabling us to meet a number of unexpected challenges that have come up lately. A very special thank you to all of you for your help.
The information I want to share with you about the Carpenters was given to me by someone who knew the Carpenters for many years. As you know, Mrs. Eddy’s basic teachings are found in her published writings. Some of her more advanced explanations of Christian Science are recorded in two books, compiled by Richard Oakes, known as “The Blue Book” and “The Red Book”, as well as other material that was first published by the Carpenters. These collections are:  Watches, Prayers and Arguments; Essays ascribed to Mary Baker Eddy; Collectanea;  Mary Baker Eddy: Her Spiritual Footsteps; Mary Baker Eddy: Her Spiritual Precepts (five volumes); Fragments;  Five Hundred Watching Points, and Miscellaneous Documents.
In 1905 Gilbert Carpenter, Sr. was invited by our Leader to stay at Pleasant View as one of several students called upon to do daily metaphysical work for the movement. After about a year, Mr. Carpenter was called home by his family. When he left Pleasant View, he was given some early editions of Science and Health as well as some other papers. His son Gilbert, Jr. took a great interest in them and decided to establish the Carpenter Foundation in order to preserve them. When it became known that the Foundation would like to share these early papers with the Field, those who knew Mrs. Eddy began to give and bequeath their papers to the Foundation. Included were such important papers as our Leader’s written instructions on how to pray daily for the movement as well as memoirs and notes on her teachings. Over the years the Foundation acquired a very impressive collection of these early writings. The Carpenters then published some of this material in the form of books, which they distributed to Church members without seeking approval of the Mother Church.
After Mrs. Eddy’s passing, The Mother Church requested that all personal communications by Mrs. Eddy and notes of her teachings be sent to the Church with the understanding that these papers would be shared with those asking to see them. It soon became evident that the Directors had no plans to share this material with Church members. Instead it was  actively collected and locked away from members.  Members were also discouraged from reading literature not approved by the Church. Thus the beginning of “authorized” versus “unauthorized” literature.
When Gilbert Carpenter, Jr. began publishing books from the material in his collection, all of them were considered “unauthorized literature” by the Board of Directors of the Church, but since the Carpenter books are a vital part of the history of the movement I feel they should be preserved and circulated for their inspirational value, not buried in a vault.
Years later, the Directors negotiated with the Carpenter Foundation to acquire the entire collection with the understanding it would be freely available to anyone who asked to see it. As soon as the agreement was finalized, the collection was packed up and moved to the Church archives. As time passed it became abundantly clear that the material was inaccessible to all but a select few.
When Mrs. Eddy passed on, there were many critical things said about her: that she was difficult, unkind, demanding. Actually she was trying to teach her students about animal magnetism and aggressive mental suggestion, and it seems Mr. Carpenter, Sr. understood very well what it was that she was trying to teach them. At first he did not talk about his experience at Pleasant View, but when the criticism surfaced, he began giving morning talks at his home in Providence, Rhode Island, telling about his year at Pleasant View. His son, Gilbert, Jr. recorded these talks and later made them into a very insightful and inspiring book, Mary Baker Eddy: Her Spiritual Footsteps.
Reading about her very advanced understanding of malicious mental malpractice, one can understand why she was so misunderstood during the years when she was establishing the movement. After Spiritual Footsteps was published, recordings were made of more talks by Mr. Carpenter. These were made into a five volume collection of transcripts: Mary Baker Eddy: Her Spiritual Precepts.
A number of the original Carpenter books were given to The Bookmark and we have made transcripts of many of them. The “Blue Book”, the Red Book, and Spiritual Footsteps are available as published books. The other items are available as transcripts. Each item is rich in the spiritual inspiration given by our Leader to her students.
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Perhaps you would be willing to support our efforts by joining me in praying daily for The Bookmark. This truly helps in finding a way to distribute these publications throughout the Field and inspire those students seeking a better understanding of Christian Science. These publications can inspire the thought in the Field and enable us all to do better healing work.

You are welcome to call me at 800-220-7767 any week-day morning from 9:00A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, or write:
The Bookmark, Post Office Box 801143, Santa Clarita, CA 91380
I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you for taking the time to read my message.
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Christian Science came to light in 1866 when its discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, had an extraordinary revelation Continue reading

Posted in Healing Power of Prayer | Tagged | 19 Comments