It was developed in 19th-century New England by Mary Baker Eddy, who argued in her 1875 book Science and Health that sickness is an illusion that can be corrected by prayer alone.The book became Christian Science's central text, along with the Bible, and by 2001 had sold over nine million copies.This provided fertile soil for the mind-cure groups, who argued that sickness was an absence of "right thinking" or failure to connect to Divine Mind.Eddy's idea of malicious animal magnetism marked another distinction (that people can be harmed by the bad thoughts of others), introducing an element of fear that was absent from the New Thought literature.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 viewed God not as a person, but as "All-in-all." Although she often described God as if discussing 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 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.
"She was like a patch of colour in those gray communities," Mc Clure's wrote, "She never laid aside her regal air; never entered a room or left it like other people." Mesmerism was named after Franz Mesmer (1734–1815), a German physician who argued for the existence of a fluid through which bodies could influence each other, a force he called animal magnetism.
Quimby and an assistant, Lucius Burkmar, traveled around Maine and New Brunswick giving demonstrations; Burkmar, in a trance, would offer mind readings and suggestions for cures. Quimby's theory is that there is no intelligence, no power or action in matter of itself, that the spiritual world to which our eyes are closed by ignorance or unbelief is the real world, that in it lie all the causes for every effect visible in the natural world, and that if this spiritual life can be revealed to us, in other words if we can understand ourselves, we shall then have our happiness or misery in our own hands ..." He would sit next to them and explain that the disease was something their minds could control; sometimes he would wet his hands and rub their heads, but it was the talking that helped them, he said, not the manipulation.