"A book introduces new thoughts, but it cannot make them speedily understood. It is the task of the sturdy pioneer to hew the tall oak and to cut the rough granite. Future ages must declare what the pioneer has accomplished." (Mary Baker Eddy)
Among the various religious movements of the 19th century, few have had as widespread an influence as Christian Science, the religious system devised by a fragile little lady named Mary Baker Eddy. Eddy was a religious woman who suffered an injury in the 1860s that led her to found a new church premised, most notably, on the belief that people need not turn to medicine or drugs to heal themselves but simply reach a better understanding of the nature of God.
Just before founding this new church, Eddy published her movement's seminal text, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875), which laid out her expansive views about Christianity and the metaphysical reasons why she believed that people could overcome illness without relying on manmade technology. In effect, since sin, disease, and death are not God's making, men could also shed them by becoming closer to God. In addition to founding her church and authoring that seminal book, Eddy wrote voluminously over the coming decades, helping establish both the Christian Science Journal and, most famously, the Christian Science Monitor.
Not surprisingly, Eddy's religious teachings were controversial, but so was the woman herself.