faith healing practices
involving trust in the healer’s touch and Biblical recitations might
very well have been therapeutic when combined with stress reduction,
hopeful anticipation of the future, and simple healthy nutrition.
Perhaps there should be no more shame associated with going to a powwower than there is in seeking
out psychotherapy or new-age medicine or using herbal supplements and
natural cures of all kinds.
It does seem likely components of many diseases are
mental. “Mental treatment” may be effective for those
components. It also seems likely that stress and “bad attitude”
generally hinder a body’s natural inclination to heal itself, and
elimination of these negative forces should provide more fertile ground
for healing processes.
The Church of Christ, Scientist, often called
Christian Science, is said to emphasize devine healing as practiced by
Jesus Christ. The church was founded in 1879 by Mary Baker Eddy
with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. In the 1930’s it was
reputed to have a membership of about 350,000 with 2,500 branches in
more than 50 countries. In effect, the church teaches that the
causes of disease are mental. According to some scholars, this
assertion contains both truth and falsity, but even a bit of truth is
still a bit of truth.
seemed to be aware of their limitations. In an interview with the
New York Sun, published in 1895, a famous Powwower of the time living near
the Blue Mountain in Berks County said that he would not recommend powwowing for any dangerous
disease, like typhoid fever or diphtheria. For those he
recommended the individual go immediately to see a “reputable
doctor.” He added that there were, however, some maladies that
medical science could not remedy, and for those he recommended powwowing.
There was certainly no interaction between Mountain
Mary and Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science.
Mountain Mary died in 1819, and it would be another seventy years
before Christian Science congregations appeared in New England, but
Mountain Mary probably would have agreed with some of the assumptions
and practices of Christian Science, especially with regard to illness,
healing, and stress reduction.
here if you want to read about the faith healer
Mountain Mary in my novel
'Further From the Middle
Click here if you want to go back to Superstition.
Click here if you want to
Click here for
links to Mountain Mary on the internet.