15 Feb JSH-Online: Current Lived Experience of Christian Science
For researchers who want to understand the current lived experience of Christian Science, the most resource-rich study is the online web app, JSH-Online.
The title of the website comes from the names of the periodicals included in this online app: The Christian Science Journal, the Christian Science Sentinel, and The Herald of Christian Science—(J-S-H-Online).
Each periodical is edited to serve a unique purpose, but most of the articles are written by individuals who practice Christian Science faithfully and are not employed by the Church. Therefore, this resource provides the voices of people who believe and live the teachings of Christian Science today.
The History of the Publications
Mary Baker Eddy established all three of these periodicals in the late nineteenth century, and now, since the archives of these articles are also digitized, researchers have access to accounts of everyday lives of Christian Scientists going back to the origin of the periodicals.
Although these publications are available in print as well as online, the online version is especially useful because of its search function.
Users can access over 80,000 verified accounts of healing, and all of the content—including articles, editorials, announcements, and testimonials—is searchable by author, title, and date.
The Three Publications
This JSH-Online website, produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society in Boston, Massachusetts, is “designed to extend and promote the religion of Christian Science as taught by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the author of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health” (as quoted from the website).
The monthly Journal includes contemporary inspirational articles, testimonials, announcements, and a directory of practitioners, official teachers of Christian Science, Christian Science nurses, military chaplains, local contacts for the press, churches and Reading Rooms. It often features interviews (both print and audio) with church leaders on topics of public concern.
The weekly Sentinel includes inspirational articles devoted primarily to a current topic of the week, as well as more stories of healings. Various columns occur periodically, such as a section for children and another one for teens. The half-hour weekly podcast, “Sentinel Watch,” a popular form of publication for the Sentinel, includes conversations on the current topic. Another significant feature of the Sentinel is a weekly column titled “Bible Lens,” which offers biblical commentary on the weekly Bible Lessons published in the Christian Science Quarterly.
The Herald of Christian Science (its German title: Der Herold) is the foreign language wing of the church’s religious periodicals. The Herald appears in these languages: German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Greek, Russian and Japanese. Some articles are translated from English; others originate in the language of the periodical. Their contents are similar to those of their English cousin, the Sentinel. Articles, testimonials, announcements and archives are available in each separate publication. The online version includes a three-minute inspirational message in the language of the publication.
Stories of Healing
Stories of healing are prominent in all of the publications. They include such recent titles as “Severe back pain gone,” “Breathing difficulty overcome,” “Finding peace and purpose in isolation,” “Heart trouble healed,” “Healed and rejuvenated” and “Healed of severe stomach pain.” These accounts, written by the person who experienced the healing, often describe some kind of difficulty (usually not medically diagnosed) healed through Christian Science prayer based on the spiritual ideas Eddy gleaned from the Bible and elucidated in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Usually the services of a Christian Science practitioner are involved. Sometimes Christian Science nurses, who support the patient during the healing experience, are mentioned. Writers explain the religious lessons they learned and experienced through their treatments in Christian Science.
The Web Application
As with the online versions of most publications, this web app makes some content available for free. An additional, and very useful feature, is that all content can be shared freely by subscribers to non-subscribers. Non-subscribers can view, read, and listen to content featured on the JSH-Online public homepage, or on Facebook or Twitter. The subscription price is $26 for every 30 days of access.
Some key online features include new podcasts and audio content released each week, audio versions of print content, curated features from the archives, mobile access on various devices, sharing through integrated email, Facebook, and Twitter, bookmarking and links from articles to Concord.
Although the Christian Science Publishing Society owns the copyright for the content on JSH-Online, the website gives subscribers extensive features that allow reading, viewing, streaming, downloading, printing and sharing of the content.
In the Words of Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of all these periodicals, named them and identified the purpose of each one. In an editorial in the first edition of The Christian Science Monitor (November 25, 1908), she wrote:
I have given the name to all the Christian Science periodicals. The first was The Christian Science Journal, designed to put on record the divine Science of Truth; the second I entitled Sentinel, intended to hold guard over Truth, Life, and Love; the third, Der Herold der Christian Science, to proclaim the universal activity and availability of Truth; the next I named Monitor, to spread undivided the Science that operates unspent. The object of the Monitor is to injure no man, but to bless all mankind (republished in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, 353).