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fathermothergod: My Journey Out of Christian Science

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,122 ratings  ·  353 reviews
Lucia Ewing had what looked like an all-American childhood. She lived with her mother, father, sister, and brother in an affluent suburb of Minneapolis. Lucia had no doubt she was loved and cared for. But when it came to accidents and illnesses, Lucia’s parents didn't take their kids to the doctor's office--they prayed, and called a Christian Science practitioner. 
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.84  · 
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 ·  2,122 ratings  ·  353 reviews

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Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs-bios
I have been waiting for some sustained quiet in order to write this review; Now I have it, and I'm feeling crushed by it. In no uncertain terms, I want to first declare that this is a very good book, a 4-star read for the average memoir enthusiast. It is a moving and sincere memoir of reconciling one's own beliefs with the ones you were raised with, and if that kind of book interests you, this should be at the top of your pile. At the same time, it is a book about Christian Science, and if CS pl ...more
Gere Lewis
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I always believed that every person was entitled to their own beliefs. This book challenged this belief and ultimately forced me to alter it. I now believe that each person is entitled to their own beliefs provided that those beliefs do not harm anyone else. Had I lived this author's life, I don't know if I could have survived it. I have nothing but respect for how difficult and painful it must have been to write this memoir. I have deep admiration for the author's strength and courage. I read t ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
After reading a fair number of losing-my-religion memoirs, I picked up this book with lukewarm expectations. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that, subject matter aside, Greenhouse's book kept me turning pages well into the night. Her narrative begins a tad slowly, skipping through her childhood and adolescence with well-written scenes of her own indoctrination. (Some readers will probably complain that she included too many doctrinal explanations, while others will wish for more. I' ...more
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a book I could not put down. Like Kathryn whose review is before mine, I was raised in Christian Science. We actually went to Sunday school together, but my mother was very like Greenhouse's father. Although not a teacher, she had attended the classes and went each year to her Association. I too wanted to hear about the religion and I did learn a few things, but more I wanted to hear how my experience matched that of the writer. Did we see things the same way? Did she have the same fear ...more
Jun 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
Lemme get this straight: The author went to a Christian Science Sunday School when she was a kid, then, in junior high or something, decided it was a load of crap, then refused to have anything more to do with it. I'm sorry, but how does this differ from the experience of eleventy zillion other teenagers out there who've rebelled against the religion of their upbringing? The title, of course, hints at some rugged deprogramming regimen, maybe harrowing escape from the smothering clutches of some ...more
Aug 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
I was raised a Christian Scientist and am not a practicing Christian Scientist as an adult. I was drawn to this book on many levels one of which was to compare notes between the author and myself. It all came back to me. I learned alot about the religion that I did not know. I felt the author was honest, and upfront as to what went on during her childhood and early 20s as well as the years following her mother's death. My mother also died from cancer, seeking medical assistance at the end. I hav ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book's perspective. Unlike Jon Krakauer's book "Under the Banner of Heaven", this book was written with the insight of somebody raised under a Christian Science roof.
Part 1: the basic principles of CS and their culture
Part 2: mom gets sick and the family tries to cope with her illness via CS, which amounts to only prayer and no acknowledging her illness
Part 3: fifteen years later, the author's life after CS and her dilemma about whether to publish her story or not

I liked re
J. Denis
Aug 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
There's much that's deeply pathetic about this book, and one's heart inevitably goes out to dysfunctional families in the face of death. But the self-centered and guilt-ridden efforts of the chain-smoking author to misrepresent Christian Science and its practice are at best dishonest and at worst patent muckraking for the purpose of making money and glorifying her own ego. The choices made by her parents were theirs to make, although they ignored the CS practice of leaving surgery "to the skillf ...more
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lucia thank you so much for sharing your families experience with us. Horrifying!

This tale of a family trapped by the spiritual ignorance, and theological evil, of a long dead witch doctor (Mary Baker Eddy) showed us the norms of cultic religious abuse. YES, this crap is normal - happens all the time: go chat with some Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Charismatic lunatics...even Catholics. Superstitious applications to what should be normal Biblical understandings - of course atheists can be gui
May 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
I received a proof copy of fathermothergod through a Goodreads giveaway. While Lucia's story is compelling and the book is very well written I struggled with the subtitle. Mrs. Greenhouse describes in her book a relationship with both her parents and her faith that was contemptuous from seemingly a very young age. I would say that this is more of a story about re-negotiating relationships with her parents than her faith. While her relationship with her parents is steadfast but complicated (and t ...more
Jeanmarie Quarterman
Couldn't put it down. Lucia's story is told with grace, humor, and humility.
Oct 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I just finished this book, and I feel...conflicted, I guess, is a good way to put it.

I picked it up because of the subtitle - "My journey out of Christian Science." First off, I have never known much about Christian Science - all I knew is that they were a more extreme version of the Christian religion. So I thought this would be a great way to learn more about it. Second, three years ago, I worked extremely hard to leave an "extreme" Christian religion myself (obviously not the Christian Scien
Naomi Young
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
As I said in my update, I am drawn to stories about conversion, struggles in faith, loss of faith, coming to faith. This book gripped me from the start, and I read it in a single sitting (OK, I did get up to use the bathroom, but that's all).

Lucia Ewing Greenhouse was raised in Christian Science; her parents are converts to the faith. From the beginning of the book, we see her struggles to reconcile the real human problems she sees with her parents' calm assertion that since reality is the perf
Sally Wessely
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I loved this book. I could not stop thinking about it while I was reading it, nor could I forget parts of it after I finished the book. I have a dear friend who grew up Christian Science and left it during college. When I met her, she was actually still in Christian Science, and I was her roommate as she left it. Over the years, she told me many stories about the experience and the beliefs of Christian Scientists. Everything she told me rang true with what Lucia Greenhouse had to say.

First of al
K2 -----
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Compellingly written, Lucia Greenhouse takes a complex topic and tells a candid story of her family's history as she sees it.

Raised in an affluent Christian Science family she comes into her young adulthood doubting the family's religious tradition and striving to understand how profoundly it impacted her life. Her relationships with her extended family were put to the test when her mother becomes ill and she is left as a "peacemaker" between her parent's beliefs about healing and her mother's
Oct 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
Hmmm. I feel really badly for the author and hope that she finds some peace. I found this book a polemic that lacked context...many people reject the religion of their parents and many parents try to control their children. Its unclear to me whether it is Christian Science or the author's father who should be questioned. I didn't get a real feel for the depth or meaning of the religion from this book, and I was left wanting to find out more. When I looked at and at wikip ...more
David Santos
Aug 09, 2011 marked it as to-read
Ok so I am a Christian (more specific a 7th Day Adventist) so I understand and have heard this story many times. Infact I believe there are parents still in jail for their child dying at home and not taking them to the hospital when they were sick. During illness our faith is tested. Do we fail the test if we go to ER? Thats up to God to judge. I will not say that prayer doesnt work, because God is not a genie to grant us our every wish, but there are times where the hospital is needed. In my ca ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A Perfect Book Club Selection

Lucia Greenhouse is a gifted wordsmith, and her skillful use of the telling detail drives this harrowing narrative of a famiy undone by a religion few of us know. Reflective, honest and brave, her memoir is a moving testament to the power of healing through writing. It is also a page turner; I read it in one sitting. This would make a perfect book club selection. Don't miss it.
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
I've been on a book bender lately. Three books in three weeks about women leaving the religion of their childhoods. This one hits especially close to home, as I grew up (and left) the same religion as the author. She tells her family's story with a range of raw emotions. Watching the death of a parent is never easy. Watching them make choices that endanger their lives - and by extension your own, as their child - is nearly impossible.
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A memoir that reads like a literary thriller. When Greenhouse's mother got sick, I read as fast as I could, queasy with nervousness. The revelations about Christian Scientists are shocking, but Greenhouse isn't vengeful or shrill; she's a thoughtful, measured, subtle thinker writing about religious people who, with the best intentions, commit manslaughter.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Dude, her dad was a dick
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
An honest account of an extraordinary upbringing. The extreme nature of her upbringing highlights the ties the bind us to family and the lengths we go for them. I am a sucker for a good memoir, as truth, or one's own truth as she is careful to point out, is often more interesting, and contains more insight, than fiction.
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Professional review to follow
Scott Freeman
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
This is a decent memoir though it's not really my cup of tea. I was hoping for more reflection on the religion itself and less on family anecdotes.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: npr-review, memoir
3.5 stars
This memoir came as a bit of a surprise because, based on its subtitle, I thought it would be about the author’s struggle to leave the Christian Science church. But that decision was made very early on when she was a teenager and she never wavered from it. Instead, she is struggling against her parents’ continued practice of the faith, even in light of illness.
I didn’t know anything about Christian Science when I started, except the faint idea that they don’t believe in modern medicine.
Meghan | PlaygroundParkbench
I didn't know much about this religion before reading this book - it was part of my impetus for reading it.... I would have liked to better understand the foundations of the various beliefs, as obviously some of them might be considered extreme. I could also sympathize with the writer as she endures her mothers illness - torn between her modern views, the judgment of relatives, and the wishes of her mother and father. While I will never understand the choices of her parents, I can certainly empa ...more
Mindy Stapleton
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was well written. I read it all in one night and could not put it down. The author's honest reflections and heartbreak make this a must read book.
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An amazing & heartbreaking story of love, family, & religion. A fast read that grabs you at the start & doesn't let you go. I truly love this book & I look forward to reading more from this author.
Elizabeth Merchant
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: our-library
If there's anything I enjoy more than a good memoir, it's a good memoir written by someone who grew up in the same obscure, extremist religion that I did.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
I received this book through Goodreads FirstReads Program.

Lucia Greenhouse tells her story of being raised in Christian Science and how it impacted her life and the life of her family. One of three children raised in an affluent family, Lucia was not allowed to receive immunizations, antibiotics, or even to take pain relievers such as Tylenol because it went against her religious beliefs. When Lucia reached her teenage years, as is common with so many of us, she began to seriously question her
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fathermothergod, my coming-of-age memoir about growing up in family informed --and ultimately derailed by-- the little known American-born faith called Christian Science, comes out in paperback on August 28th 2012! Available at your favorite independent bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, TARGET, and as an e-book.