20 AUGUST 1948, Page 5

The road to Bedlam, of course, is paved with false

predictions, but some of them have their interest none the less. Rummaging

through some old Tauchnitzes in a Swiss hotel I picked up and re-

read Mark Twain's Christian Science. It impressed me less than when I first read it years ago, perhaps because rather more time had elapsed since the following rather remarkable passage was penned : "It is a reasonably safe guess that in America in 1920 there will be 10 million Christian Scientists, and 3 million in Great Britain ; that these figures will be trebled in 1930; that in America in 1920 the Christian Scientists will be a political force, in 1930 politically formid- able and in 1940 the governing power in the Republic, to remain that, permanently." That was written in 1899, but revising his book eight years later the

author still thought his figures were about right. Well, how far is he wrong ? Statistics about individual membership of Christian Science Churches today seem to be unobtainable, but I find that the number of such churches or societies is, for America 2,375 ; for Great Britain 375. I should suppose the average membership—for there are small churches as well as large—might be about too. But

take it at double that. We then get for America something under 480,000, for this country about 67,000. Hardly the deluge yet.

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