Biography of Bicknell Young

It is fascinating to consider the individuality of the luminaries of the early years of Christian Science, those who are of particular interest to us: Edward Kimball, Rev. Kratzer, Martha Wilcox, Gilbert Carpenter, Herbert Eustace, and now under consideration, Bicknell Young. We are hard-pressed to find anything similar in their backgrounds or their personalities, and there is little to suggest they shared much with each other, with the exception of the teacher-student relationship of Mr. Kimball and Mr. Young — and yet they each left a precious heritage, their wonderfully individual and clearly stated understanding of Christian Science.

Bicknell Young grew up a Mormon, pursued an ambitious and successful career as a musician, had a dramatic healing through Christian Science, and spent the rest of his years dedicated to the practice of Christian Science. Taught by Mr. Kimball in 1895, he became a teacher himself in 1902, and then followed Mr. Kimball into the lecturing circuit in 1903. Like his mentor, Mr. Young was an excellent communicator, and filled halls wherever he went. From 1909-1913 he was resident practitioner and teacher in London, England. He was selected by Mrs. Eddy to replace Mr. Kimball (who had passed on) as teacher of the Normal Class in Boston (the class to teach teachers) of 1910, an indication of the high regard Mrs. Eddy had for Mr. Young.

What was extraordinary about Mr. Young was his ability to remain above the fray after Mrs. Eddy’s passing. Although Mr. Young taught that the material universe “is the spiritual creation dimly seen and incorrectly interpreted” — and this was unacceptable to the “intuitional approach” promulgated by the central organization — nevertheless he was selected First Reader of the Mother Church for 1917-1920, during the contentious Litigation which had the movement in turmoil. Later, in 1937, he was chosen to teach the Normal Class again. That Mr. Young felt the sensitive position he was in is reflected by a remark he purportedly made to the class: “‘You don’t want to get your teacher into trouble, do you? Then don’t pass notes around of what I have said.’” Having been left untouched by a heavy-handed organization that had disciplined others for far less, is testament to his tremendous popularity, and his ability to rise above his detractors, rather than get into the mud with them!

As can be seen by the selections from his writings, Bicknell Young was a master metaphysician, and wonderfully practical at the same time.

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