Christian Scientists have been quietly turning to God for more than a century, says Muriel Ellen Horneck, the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Utah.
And while spiritual healing is a cornerstone of their religion, Christian Scientists do not see Christian healing as a miraculous event, she said, but rather as a divinely natural occurrence that is simply the outcome of living the principles laid down in the New Testament by Jesus Christ and his followers.Horneck, a practitioner since 1982, has been a Christian Scientist since she was 12 and witnessed her mother being healed. Horneck graduated from Hempstead High School in New York and attended Hofstra College in Long Island where she studied theatrical arts and voice. For many years she directed small theater groups and taught singing and dancing.
She and her husband, Warren, have three children and have lived in Utah for the past eight years.
Horneck is a liaison between the members of her church and the church's headquarters in Boston and also an information officer for the church in Utah.
She said the founder of her church, Mary Baker Eddy, was a spiritually minded woman from New England who was born in 1821 and who, in mid-life, was healed after her condition was declared fatal by her doctor.
"She had been a devoted student of the Bible since early childhood and, following her healing and several more years of deep study and prayer, she wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures - a textbook or companion to the Bible that was published in 1875. It is the full statement of Christian Science beliefs. Church members around the world study this book and the Bible daily, and lesson-sermons, compiled from these two books, are the major topics of Sunday worship at all Christian Science churches."
The Church of Christ, Scientist took its final form in 1892. There is no clergy and services are conducted by members elected to serve as readers. The church also has practitioners who devote their full time to professional healing.
"For families, living in accord with Christian Science teachings and turning to God for every need contributes to a very strong and a very close and happy family relationship."
Horneck said there is no problem of body or mind that cannot be addressed successfully by Christian Science spiritual healing.
"The teaching of Jesus Christ, that faith can move mountains, is no idle statement - we believe it is completely true. Jesus also said that, with God, all things are possible.
"Faith comes with study and with prayer and with communion with God. When spiritual healing occurs, it is the power of prayer and faith at work."
Horneck said people have the power, through God, to change what they conceive as evil, sickness and unhappiness into goodness, health and happiness.
"The kingdom of God is within all of us. Man must but seek it. As Jesus said, seek and you will find the kingdom of God."
She said Christian Scientists believe God is an infinite being, whom Mary Baker Eddy characterized as Spirit, Mind, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth and Love.
"Through prayer and faith, all evil, sin, sickness, disease and unhappiness can disappear."
Salt Lake City has three Christian Science churches and Park City, St. George, Provo and Ogden each have one. All are considered branches of the Mother Church, the First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, which was established in 1879.
All branches are governed by the Manual of the Mother Church, written by Mary Baker Eddy. The board of directors is the main governing body of the church.
Every Christian Science church has its own reading room, which is open to the public and where church publications, including the Christian Science Monitor, an international newspaper, and the Christian Science Journal monthly and Christian Science Sentinel weekly magazine may be obtained.
Anyone can seek help and guidance at the reading rooms. Names and phone numbers of practitioners are also available there.
The church has a regular radio program, called MonitorRadio, on KBYU-FM and plans to begin a television program soon that can be seen on local stations in most areas of the nation.
Horneck said the 92nd annual meeting of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston June 6 focused on the wide range of spiritual healing going on in the denomination.
"In the wake of legal challenges to the practice of Christian healing, church officials affirmed the denomination's historical commitment to spiritual healing and emphasized the context of love and responsibility and overall success in which it continues to be practiced.