Jan Gutteter’s trusted KJV Bible verses often relied on for healing:
“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy food from being taken.” Proverbs 3:25-26
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Christian Science healed me of TB, tuberculosis.
Judy: So Jan, how did you come to Christian Science?
Jan: My grandfather had divorced and remarried. It was she who was a Christian Scientist; although I wasn’t very well acquainted with her at that time.
I had a glimpse of its teachings through a note received from her after I had run off to marry; I was quite young, quite foolish and didn’t know the fella well. I thought when I married him, then we had to say, “I do.” But from that time on I think I probably saw him once. I don’t know what he did with his time, but we traveled to 24 states and I didn’t know he was one step ahead of the law. We married in July and the following July I had a little girl. In March, before I had her, he came to me and said, I think we’ll go back to Milwaukee because that way your family can get to enjoy the child. And, you know, something inside me just said, I wonder. So we got to my parent’s home and we were unable to get motel, so they invited us — oh, my mother was so glad to see me because she had had misgivings. She invited us to stay the night, and in the morning we got up and he informed me that he was leaving, that he didn’t want the responsibility of a family and he walked out. He was 6’1”. And I was 5’2” and I couldn’t catch him. [We laughed.] It must have looked like a cartoon because I went running after him, and my mother went running after me. She was worried because of my condition. I was expecting in July.
Judy: So how again did you come to Christian Science; or perhaps I should ask, how did Science come to you?
Jan: Well, it goes back a ways.
I was working in Las Vegas, that’s the last place we [she and her first husband] were. I was working in one of the gambling places, The Golden Nugget, downtown. I wasn’t so sure I wanted a child because of the circumstances. I hardly knew I was married.
I received a note from my second grandmother. She being a Christian Scientist, there was just something that she expressed in that note that was so clear and so loving that it stuck with me.
And, when we got to my parents place I was extremely cold because it was 90-degrees in Las Vegas. When I got to Milwaukee, it was one of those March’s that have just really cold; there was still snow on the ground. So I wanted to get legal advice to see what I was to do about this situation. And I couldn’t get it because I didn’t have the money to pay, and they [attorneys] wouldn’t help me because my parents were willing to help me, and if the parents are willing then you don’t qualify. So I was really depressed and I proceeded to have pleurisy [disease that causes pain when breathing] and pneumonia [painful lung inflammation]. And my mother was such a dear. She took care of me. I was up on the second floor; I hate to think of how many times she took that flight of stairs, I was perspiring a lot because of the fever.
I had started reading the Bible because I was feeling really desperate and I thought maybe there was an answer there. I had been raised Baptist in the Sunday School from when I was in school and was little. And my mother very much loved Jesus and very much believed in his teachings. Although she never did become a Christian Scientist, she was open to it and had healings.
Well, anyway, one day the family in that household – my two brothers were still there, because one was going to college and working, and the other was still in high school – and my grandfather would stop in each day – and my sister was there with her baby because her husband was in the service – and my parents – so it was a very crowded household and there were not enough bedrooms to go around but it worked out.
They [everyone] had left for the evening so I was alone in the house. I crawled down the stairs because I was bedridden at this time. I got across the divan [sofa] and I used the piano bench to raise myself up, and happened to glance down and saw this copy laying there, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. And that word health just jumped up. I think maybe something that my grandmother had stated made it acceptable. It was something that I could relate to. So I took the book upstairs to the bedroom and between the Bible and Science and Health I continued to read the two of them.
It was after I had my first child. I was ordered into a sanitarium for the care of tuberculosis because the x-ray they’d taken. The reason they ordered me into the sanitarium was because of this belief of contagion. However not one single person, not even my sister’s baby or my child was ever affected. You know, so much is made of contagion these days. You hear about it on the TV and you see it on the computer all the time. So, I was grateful, knowing from the beginning, knowing that God was present. HE was in charge!
So when I went into the sanitarium, I didn’t have a heavy sense of fear. I was, uhm, uh – I don’t know exactly how to express how I felt. Well, for one thing the attendant came to me right away and gave me a little glass of water and a pill. She stood over me and I was so intimidated that I felt obliged to take it. After all, I was in their care. But I only swallowed that one pill. I never took another pill while I was in the sanitarium or since. Somehow or other I had already accepted the spiritual fact that there’s no power in a pill.
Shortly before entering the Sanitarium I called a Christian Science Practitioner. I really believed God was on the scene. She lovingly informed me she couldn’t take the case because it would be an interference (conflict) with the medical belief. I said I understood and I knew where she was coming from and let it go. I had absolutely no sense of being deserted because I knew that God was still there. When I was institutionalized, my Mom brought my daughter to visit me. When they put a mask on her to protect her from me, I didn’t want her influenced by fear and so I requested not to bring her again. That lessened the burden for my Mom, too.
Judy: How long had you been reading Science and Health by this time?
Jan: Just a few months.
Judy: Just reading the textbook that short time lessened your fear and brought you healing?
Jan: Oh, yes. I had a friend that I would go visit in the sanitarium where we both resided. I had absolutely no hesitation to do so. Even though she would at times have such coughing spells that she would cough up blood while I was visiting her. (And no one would come to help her.) I just knew that blood had nothing to do with the reality of her being. I just loved her. I had absolutely no fear of the contagion at all. I was of course knowing that everybody was a child of God. And I think that she was very grateful that I was willing to spend time with her, because none of the others would go see her.
We’re perfectly safe [from the illusion of contagion]. Mrs. Eddy has something to say about that – Florence Nightingale – in Science and Health. And I accepted it. And my parents had never made a lot over diseases or doctors. But I had had a lot of instances in childhood with a couple of really nasty things. I was in the hospital twice, but I won’t go into that at this time. But I had not really learned to trust that procedure. It wasn’t that I disliked doctors, it was that I disliked what they did.
Judy: So. When the Science and Health textbook was found lying there on the floor that day by the piano – just reading of the book was how you came to rely on and trust Christian Science for healing?
Jan: Yes. Nobody in the household knew or had any memory of where it [the Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures book by Mary Baker Eddy] came from.
What’s interesting is after my father passed on, my mother was extremely ill and she called me. It was a holiday weekend. And there was a practitioner just a block away and I asked my mother if she would like her to work for her. And she said, yes!, and she was helped. I had taken two weeks off from work. After all they had taken me in and this was an opportunity to show how grateful I was. I sang hymns to her; I’d spend half a day singing hymns and she loved it.
But getting back to the case at hand [tuberculosis], they tested all the time, they took x-rays without any padding but I don’t know if they use padding today. They ran a hose through my nose and into my stomach, and I thought why are they doing this? You felt like a Guinea pig. They never explained anything, and I didn’t care to even ask because I wasn’t interested in their procedures. I was interested in what God knew. And, you know, one of the girls found out that I was studying Christian Science she had no mercy on me; she just took every opportunity to have a jolly good time making fun of me about it. But you know that I never retaliated; I never felt it necessary. I just had this sense of peace. And incidentally I never took another pill [after that first day I arrived]. The thing is, from that time on, after having taken it, I thought, why did you do that? Were you afraid of that woman? What could she have done to you? And I just didn’t take one [a pill] anymore. And I was out in one-third of the time they expected me to be there.
Judy: Did you live in the sanitarium or just check in from time to time?
Jan: I was in the sanitarium [all the time] but my child had been at my mother’s, so I knew my daughter was safe. I was in the sanitarium with eight other girls in one room. All they talked about was [their health] problems.
But I just had this sense of joy somehow. And I know what it was. You cannot be studying Science and Health and at the same time feel like you’re under a different law [than God’s divine law].
After two years they released me to out-patient care. And they told me that I should report to the infirmary to pick up medication. I hadn’t been taking any [all along] so I never went to pick it up. They discovered that I hadn’t been taking the medication, so after releasing me to out-patient care, they kept me coming back to the sanitarium for testing for six [more] years!
During that time I was married to my second husband, who couldn’t wait to adopt my daughter after we got married. He was a great man, a wonderful musician, and we had a beautiful 48-year marriage. The thing is, every time I would get that notice from the health department that I had to report out there [to the sanitarium], I would have all these [dis-ease] symptoms. I mentioned it to my husband one time. He was a member of the Christian Science church for which I was so grateful. He was my rock. He would say, you’re going out there, you’re going to be fine, you know you’re going to be fine. He was a very good Thinker. And so, I was fine. Every time I left all that discomfort [dis-ease] would just disappear once I had taken the tests and was back home. That just proves how mental that condition was.
Judy: How did your out-patient six years of continuous, required testing come to an end?
Jan: Well, I went to the Christian Science Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Committee on Publication. I talked to them about it. I said isn’t there something I can do. Anybody that is not taking medication shouldn’t have to go through all this testing to make sure they’re still okay to be out in the public. They said, why don’t you go out there and meet with the head guy and have a talk with him, and see what the result is.
So, I went out there. I was kind of a little shaky about that to begin with but then I thought, No, I know what I know and I know that God is directing and that’s all I need to know. Well, when I got out there I did get hold of one of the guys and I asked him to take out all my records. And, there was a table that was probably 15-20 feet long. He laid them out, one-by-one, well I don’t think one-by-one because he would have had to have two tables. He did have them all displayed to his satisfaction. Then, I asked him to take look at them. And he looked at me in a strange kind of way [she laughs], but he did it. He went along the table, around the end, and back. He scrutinized them, then he sat down and looked at me waiting [for me to speak]. I asked him a question. I think he may have thought I’d been talking to a lawyer or something because I asked him: if I was to be taken into a court of law today would they be able to determine me as being a public health menace? He went and looked at the records again and studied them. Then he came back and he said, no, I couldn’t. And I said, well I’m so glad to hear that because I have found a religion that puts God first, is the greatest power there is, and I’m sticking with that and I will not be out here anymore. [Laughingly she says] he sat back and said, well you may be okay today but wait ‘til 15 years from now. And I thought to myself, baloney [and she laughs]. I didn’t worry about 15 years from then; I didn’t even know when the 15 years came. That was more than 60 years ago.
~ ~ ~ ~ Jan Gutteter (recorded by Judy Piercy)~ ~ ~