Sayings by Peter J. Henniker-Heaton

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by Denis Glover

(Oxford-educated Henniker-Heaton was an extraordinary, down-to-earth Christian Scientist of the old sort, humbly full of many insights and good humor. His healing of long-term, “incurable” paralysis during the WWII bombing of London is a classic one.)

NOTE: On at least two occasions when Henniker-Heaton’s healing was publicized, he suffered a brief period of difficulty in walking.  For example, although his practice was to climb stairs in the old CS administration building, upon the occasions of this publicity he had to take the elevator. Henniker-Heaton must have recognized this might happen because of the publicity. See p. 101 of the book, “Man, the Divine Fullness”, by James Neal CSD: “If I believe I am a person who has been healed, I lay myself open to the personal belief of recurrence.”

“If something isn’t worth doing, is it worth doing it well?”

“There should be a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Patients.”

“Working at The Mother Church brings out the best in some people and the worst in others.”

“[A certain CS teacher] loves babies — once they get here — it’s all that stuff ahead of time she can’t deal with.”

“When I was laid up, I also read and wrote. You can’t study Science all the time.”

“I didn’t write poetry. I wrote verse.”

In reference to the fact that the Lesson-Sermon in the Christian Science Quarterly then had only six sections, Henniker-Heaton felt that meant reading one a day as a daily “lesson” — which would all be put together on Sunday as a “sermon.”

Referring to several, unpublished articles Henniker-Heaton had written, but remained in his closet: “I’m waiting for the editor to change.”
[Then he became Associate Editor of the CS periodicals and published them!]

After a few months as Associate Editor, Henniker-Heaton invited a friend in the then new Administration Building to lunch, saying, “I don’t have anybody I can talk to anymore.”

“Christian Science came to England more as science than as religion.”
[“Christian Science is a science first, and not a religious sect.” — Martha Wilcox]

“Why are Scientists so critical of medicine since our Leader says Science is leavening it?”
[“We welcome the increase of knowledge and the end of error, because even human invention must have its day, and we want that day to be succeeded by Christian Science, by divine reality.” — Science and Health]

“There should be another Christian Science for Southern California.”  🙂

“The demonstration of profession is not necessarily the same as the demonstration of supply.”

When CS Director Dewitt John asked Henniker-Heaton about where the outstanding CS metaphysicians and communicators were, he replied, “You’re looking for giants, but there are nothing but dwarves in the land.”

Related to that is Henniker-Heaton’s comment on the “defrocking” of a number of leading Christian Scientists over many years as “the slaughter of the prophets.” — I Kings 19.

About TMC outside management consultant, Bruce Payne, brought in about 1970, then fired a few years later, Henniker-Heaton observed: “He’s gone, but his chains still rattle around the halls of the Church.”

“Don’t take the bribe.”

“You’re unlikely to win in a law suit against The Mother Church.”
[Recorder’s Note: Subsequent to Henniker-Heaton’s comment, the Church lost its suit against a Plainfield NJ branch.]

“The Committee on Publication office acts sometimes like The Mother Church’s Jesuit Order.”
[Scholar Stephen Gottschalk’s humorous comment about CoP work: “The hardest impositions to correct are those that are true!”]

When he was asked by a friend about to visit England what Henniker-Heaton ordered to drink, he said, “Cider.” The friend commented, “Isn’t cider in England alcoholic?” Henniker-Heaton answered, “We never ask!”

When Henniker-Heaton was helping a Scientist write a talk, the Scientist wrote of making a demonstration over serious financial troubles by selling his collection of Georgian silver. Henniker-Heaton answered, “Not everyone has a collection of Georgian silver to sell!”

When he heard that a Scientist, who later became a lecturer, had delivered her own baby, Henniker-Heaton commented, “That seems like half-animal and half-Russian-peasant.”

Some asides:

When Henniker-Heaton asked CS Journal Editor, Helen Wood Bauman, CSB, why some people take to Christian Science and others don’t, she answered, “Lightning!”

Henniker-Heaton once gave an Association address on “The Ranges of Spirit.” They were:

the range of all-inclusive infinity
the range of fetter­less Mind
the higher range of infinite goodness
the spiritual man and the infinite range of his thought

Three favorite Eddy quotes of Henniker-Heaton:

“In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error, — self-will, self-justification, and self-love, — which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.” — Science and Health.
[Henniker-Heaton noted that “adamant” meant “something of impenetrable hardness.”]

“The Revelator tells us of ‘a new heaven and a new earth.’  Have you ever pictured this heaven and earth, inhabited by beings under the control of supreme wisdom?” — Science and Health

“Undisturbed amid the jarring testimony of the material senses, Science, still enthroned, is unfolding to mortals the immutable, harmonious, divine Principle, — is unfolding Life and the universe, ever present and eternal.” — Science and Health.
[Read to him by his wife as he passed. His last words were, “Isn’t it wonderful!”
Rose Henniker-Heaton later said, “I didn’t think I’d have him that long.”]

A favorite Bible quote:

“God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” — St. John
[This was the basis for his curiosity about, and love of, creation.]

And three other asides:

Rose Henniker-Heaton’s two favorite Bible quotes:

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

“. . . he performeth the thing that is appointed for me . . .”

And comment about her approach to reading in First Church, London:

“What is Mind saying to this congregation at this time?”

(Arms of Henniker-Heaton’s Prep School, Wellington College, in Berkshire, England)
(Arms of His University College, Corpus Cristi, Oxford, England)