Why should there be such a controversy in regard to the way in which Jesus cured disease, also what was the real object of His mission in this world? These questions naturally arise in the minds of men and bring up doubts. By some it is believed that Jesus came to save man from being lost in another world and it is thought that He intended to reform the world. All admit He had a gift superior to other men but what it was has never been ascertained. The same controversy was going on in the days of Jesus and in fact it has always been a mystery to the natural man. Phenomena are taking place everywhere proving this power or gift and all admit it, but as yet it has not been reduced to a science so that it can be taught and learned. Its opponents speak as though it were governed by natural laws, but when asked to put these laws into practice they get off by saying, "Why it is nothing but mesmerism." When asked to explain mesmerism they say it is "psychology." Ask what psychology is, the answer is mesmerism. So the world is as wise as before. Mesmer tried to explain this power on the ground of electricity. Those who believe it is governed by some law attribute it to galvanism. The religious classes vary. The spiritualists ascribe it to the spirits of the dead; Christians to the power of God when speaking of Jesus, but when they speak of this power in man they attribute it to natural causes. Some say it is the power of the devil. When Herod the king was told Jesus was performing cures he said it was John the Baptist, that is, John's spirit came and took possession of Jesus and cured disease. When the Pharisees asked Jesus where it came from, Jesus said if they would tell Him where John's power came from then He would tell them how He performed his cures. This they could not do. So it has never been explained. Settle this point and you establish a basis for investigation. As it stands it puts Jesus on a level with all the spiritualists of His day. If it is a gift or power, why should He be called God or anything else above His followers? And if He knew how He wrought miracles it is knowledge and not a gift, and to call it a gift or power is depriving Jesus of any knowledge superior to His followers. When it is admitted as a Science that Jesus taught for the happiness of man, man will try to learn it. Then the inquiry will be made, how can it be proved a Science? I answer, never till the people admit that matter and mind are under direction of Intelligence superior to matter. Then man will take a higher standard and be governed by Science, not mind. When matter becomes subject to Science and is the medium or power to be put in motion, this medium or matter can be changed into any form or state and be destroyed but not lost. The identity of a thing can be put out of this world, as it is called, and only remains as a thing that once was but now is not.
I will give an illustration: Suppose a person believes he has a tumor in his left side. His error believes in the idea of tumors independent of his mind; he then admits an error to begin with. His mind gives direction to matter and the idea is formed; this seems to be proof that there is such a thing as a tumor. No one will deny that one is a phenomenon brought about by false knowledge, and that true knowledge or Science can destroy that tumor or idea and establish a knowledge of the truth that will prevent the person from being deceived into that error again . . . Our bodies [in relation to mind] are nothing but an idea of matter that is either under the control of error or false knowledge, or under the control of Science or true knowledge. If Truth or Science reigns, all goes well; if error reigns the wage is death, for all acts of error lead to death; death is an idea or matter,¹ and all the acts of Science destroy death and lead to life and happiness.
— May, 1860
P. P. Quimby