Parents and others were prosecuted for, and in a few cases convicted of, manslaughter or neglect.
In the latter half of the 19th century these included what came to be known as the metaphysical family: groups such as Christian Science, Divine Science, the Unity School of Christianity and (later) the United Church of Religious Science.
Although she often described God in the language of personhood—she used the term "Father–Mother God" (as did Ann Lee, the founder of Shakerism), and in the third edition of Science and Health she referred to God as "she"—God is mostly represented in Christian Science by the synonyms "Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love".
There is no supplication in Christian Science prayer.
At the core of Eddy's theology is the view that the spiritual world is the only reality and is entirely good, and that the material world, with its evil, sickness and death, is an illusion.
Eddy saw humanity as an "idea of Mind" that is "perfect, eternal, unlimited, and reflects the divine", according to Bryan Wilson; what she called "mortal man" is simply humanity's distorted view of itself.
Born Mary Morse Baker on a farm in Bow, New Hampshire, Eddy was the youngest of six children in a family of Protestant Congregationalists.
Eddy's Science and Health reinterprets key Christian concepts, including the Trinity, divinity of Jesus, atonement and resurrection; beginning with the 1883 edition, she added with a Key to the Scriptures to the title and included a glossary that redefined the Christian vocabulary.
Eddy and 26 followers were granted a charter in 1879 to found the Church of Christ, Scientist, and in 1894 the Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was built in Boston, Massachusetts.
This includes the view that disease is a mental error rather than physical disorder, and that the sick should be treated not by medicine, but by a form of prayer that seeks to correct the beliefs responsible for the illusion of ill health.
Her views on life after death were vague and, according to Wilson, "there is no doctrine of the soul" in Christian Science: "[A]fter death, the individual continues his probationary state until he has worked out his own salvation by proving the truths of Christian Science." "Eddyism" was viewed as a cult; one of the first uses of the modern sense of the word was in A. Barrington's Anti-Christian Cults (1898), a book about Spiritualism, Theosophy and Christian Science.
In a few cases Christian Scientists were expelled from Christian congregations, but ministers also worried that their parishioners were choosing to leave.