Biography of Edward A. Kimball
As Paul was to the early Christian church, so was Edward A. Kimball to the early Christian Science movement. He delivered more than 1,800 lectures on Christian Science, requiring more than 400,000 miles of travel, without airplanes! His ability to communicate the message to those unfamiliar with Christian Science was unrivaled. His lectures filled every hall to overflowing. His love and respect for Mary Baker Eddy and her revelation was indisputable, as is evident from his lectures and other writings. And apparently, like Paul, he had his share of physical discomfort, which he never let stop him.
That Mrs. Eddy had the highest regard for Mr. Kimball and his grasp of Christian Science, right up to the end of his time here on earth, is supported by the fact that she asked him to teach the 1910 Normal Class. Prior to that class, when Mrs. Eddy survived the vicious attacks that came through the Next Friends Suit, she came to a much higher understanding of body, and she chose Mr. Kimball with whom to share it. Each evening for several hours, she would drill Mr. Kimball to make sure he got it correctly. Apparently feeling his own end was near, he chose three trusted associates, including his student, Bicknell Young, and shared with them this precious teaching, in turn drilling them late into the night. Mr. Kimball passed on before he was able to teach the Normal Class.
What was Mr. Kimball’s earthly reward? After Mrs. Eddy passed, he (posthumously) and his students were marginalized by the Board of Directors, accused of corrupting Mrs. Eddy’s revelation! Terms like “Kimballism” and “the Chicago School” emerged. Who was responsible for this? It is safe to say, rather than getting into personalities, it was the Red Dragon from Revelation. What was the main point of contention? Essentially, Mr. Kimball declared that what we see as material things is a wrong way of interpreting what is actually before us. Correctly seen, the “material” thing (i.e., organ of the body) is a spiritual idea. The “Red Dragon” crowd accused Mr. Kimball of corrupting Mrs. Eddy’s teaching, insisting that the so-called material organ is nothing, and represents nothing.
This explains why, very often, Christian Scientists are the most confused people on earth. “The material universe is nothing and represents nothing, while Spirit is everything, but we seemingly have to live in the material.” This has led, in practice, to a dualism that is fatal to the practice of Christian Science, and we have the Red Dragon, or unhandled animal magnetism, to thank for it.
We here celebrate that great worker, who arguably has done the most to spread Christian Science, aside from Mrs. Eddy herself, and conclude with this, her benediction after his passing: “My beloved Edward A. Kimball, whose clear, correct teaching of Christian Science has been and is an inspiration to the whole field, is here now as veritably as when he visited me a year ago. If we would awaken to this recognition, we should see him here and realize that he never died; thus demonstrating the fundamental truth of Christian Science.” (My.)