May 17

PAGE ONE Interviews Author Mamie Smith Ed.D.

Mamie L. Smith began searching for a greater understanding of God at the age of twelve. She studied and practiced various religions before becoming a Christian Scientist and finding the path to eternal life. She is a mother, teacher, and business owner.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Journey with Meta and her mother as they travel across America, Germany, and Japan, enjoying the excitement of being in a military family while striving to overcome its obstacles.

Despite an upbringing that takes place across continents, Meta’s life is in many ways typical. She has dreams-some that she accomplishes, and some that are lost. There are men who come and go. And there is the man who stays. And, above all, there is the joy of becoming a mother and businesswoman.

Meanwhile, Meta’s mother, Mamie, experiments with various religions, while trying to adapt to her husband’s Catholic ways. A former Baptist, she finds the Catholic religion strange, but interesting. Then one day, her life is changed when a Christian Scientist knocks on her door.

Eventually, Christian Science enables both Meta and Mamie to meet the ultimate challenge-breast cancer. On April 20, 2005, Meta dies, and her mother is left asking God why. She discovers the answer to the question in a melody of day-to-day demonstrations.

Stretch your faith, discover who you are, and soar to heights unknown in The Unfolding of a Rose.

“The Unfolding of a Rose was a guide for me to see how to handle everyday challenges with just an understanding of God and a realization that changes in life comes with a change in one’s thinking. With me being in my twenties, like most 20-somethings, I have been battling with where life was taking me and what path I was meant to follow. While reading this book, I discovered that even with challenges in life, you must remain optimistic at all times…” Rahjinah C. Fluker “bookworm”

“This is a poignant and heart-warming autobiography, and Mamie L. Smith’s strong faith in Christian Science runs like a golden thread through the narrative. The author portrays her daughter as a strong, determined, and caring person that she was, and the bond between them should touch the reader’s heart. The engrossing story told in “The Unfolding of a Rose” should resonate with the reader long after the last page is turned. ”  Dorrance Publishing Where did you grow up?

Mamie L. Smith: I grew up in a rural area, twelve miles north of Kosciusko, Mississippi. I am the third child in a family of thirteen brothers and sisters. My father owned a large farm, and most of our income resulted from raising cotton. It was a hard life; but was a life that built character, determination, and perseverance. Religion was the central thread that ran through the lives of my parents, as well as the lives of both paternal and maternal grandparents. One of my earliest memories is riding to and from church in a bumpy wagon with my parents. The church was the central force in our community. This force led me, at the age of twelve, to seek an understanding of a God that I could not see with my eyes, or touch with my hands. This search for understanding has continued throughout my life. Was reading a part of your life?

Mamie L. Smith: Yes, reading was a great part of my life. It stemmed from the fact that my parents wanted to give their children the best education that they could. My father would say, “Turn off that radio and get your lesson!” To him, getting my lesson was seeking knowledge, and he knew the best place to gain that knowledge, was by reading books. So, I grew up studying and reading books. There are many quiet places on a farm that one can nestle into, and I found my way into many of them, and read books. Who were your earliest influences, and why?

Mamie L. Smith: The earliest influence in my life was my Aunt Nettie. She was the principal of the school that I attended. Aunt Nettie was tall in stature, eloquent in speech, and exuded courage, confidence and elegance. I wanted to be just like her! At the age of five, my mother entered me in speaking contests which gave me several opportunities to polish my skills. By the age of ten, I was a “carbon copy” of my Aunt Nettie. Why did you write “The Unfolding of a Rose?”

Mamie L. Smith: Since becoming a Christian Scientist over thirty-eight years ago, I have developed what I refer to as “an inner ear.” I listen to my thoughts. Part of that listening, is determining their origin—whether they are good thoughts or bad thoughts. Once I have determined their source, I decide if I will follow them, or go in another direction. After the death of my daughter, I was suffering from deep-seated pain and grief. A recurring thought was, “You must write down her story!” I ignored it, because I knew that writing down her story would entail reliving moments and experiences that I was trying to forget. This was also at a time when I felt that God had not “kept His part of the bargain,” so I did not want to listen to Him. As I continued to read and study the Bible, and other Christian literature, my thought became receptive to the idea that my daughter’s story should be written down. This was later confirmed when a respected customer stated emphatically, that God had revealed to her that Meta’s story needed to be told.

I believe that each person has a specific purpose in living. That purpose is to give to the world thoughts, words, and experiences that no other person can give, but him or her. Every person’s individuality is unique to himself, or herself. These expressions of individuality, should not be a hindrance to the world, but, should help make it a better place to live—thoughts that establish hope, faith, courage, strength, persistence, and a sense of well being, no matter what the circumstances are. These in turn, help everyone gain a higher sense of what life is—the divine activity of thought. “The Unfolding of a Rose” is my daughter’s and my gift to the world. How does the title relate to the subject matter of the story?

Mamie L. Smith: The title of the book, “The Unfolding of a Rose,” is symbolic to the unfolding of ideas in one’s thoughts. I believe that a person’s life is like the petals of a rose—it unfolds day by day, and blossoms into perfect thoughts, words, and deeds. The ideas and concepts that you place in front of your thought, determine the words and actions that follow, and these words and actions constitute one’s life. “The Unfolding of a Rose” gives a day-to-day accounting of the thoughts, words, and experiences that my daughter and I embraced as she faced breast cancer. It was and is, an ongoing process, built on years of study, faith and revelation. As the laws of God were adhered to, this enabled us to overcome challenges that we could not have, under normal circumstances. Who or what is a Christian Scientist?

Mamie L. Smith: There are numerous things that define a person as a Christian Scientist. However, simplistically, a Christian Scientist is one who uses his understanding of God, to overcome any difficulty or challenge in his human experience—be it physical, mental, emotional, financial, or otherwise. The word “Christian,” comes from the word, “Christ,” which historically means “The Anointed One.” In the New Testament, the anointed one is referred to as “The Messiah” or the man Jesus. I believe Jesus was the greatest example of the demonstration of God’s laws, than anyone else who has walked on the face of the earth. He embodied the “Christ,” which I see as that divine connection that comes from God, and enables one to destroy anything that is not Godlike, in human thought. Once destroyed in thought, the person is able to live in harmony with God’s laws. “Science” means demonstration of. Therefore, I conclude that “Christian Science” is the demonstration of God’s laws in human experiences, and a person who demonstrates God’s laws, is a Christian Scientist. In the book “The Unfolding of a Rose,” you discuss your mother’s (Mamie) battle with breast cancer, and how she refused medical treatment—explain.

Mamie L. Smith: In my book, “The Unfolding of a Rose,” I discuss how my daughter Meta, accepted surgery at the initial stages of her diagnosis of breast cancer, but later, refused further treatment. As a student of Christian Science, Meta spent three years trying to decide if she wanted to rely totally on Christian Science treatment, or accept the traditional way of dealing with the disease. She read often the statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, which says “Christian Science is the most skilful surgeon, but surgery is the branch in its healing which will be last acknowledged” (p. 402). After much prayer, she decided that she would allow medical doctors to perform the surgery. When this proved disastrous, she refused additional medical treatment. The choice to rely totally on Christian Science, was not taken lightly, and was gained through daily prayer, and dedication to God. Explain “Each day we worked to see Meta as a spiritual being, not a physical one.”

Mamie L. Smith: This statement relates to my understanding of the true nature of man, and how this understanding brings about healing. Man is a generic term that is applied to all mankind, and has nothing to do with gender. I believe that the first chapter of Genesis defines the true nature of man. It informs us that only God created everything that was created, inclusive of man, and not only did He create everything, everything He created is good. In this context, “good” is synonymous with “godlike.” Specifically, Moses says in Genesis that “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (1:26). Standing in front of a mirror, I see a reflection exactly like myself, and that reflection is my image. It also contains all the physical characteristics that make me who I am. Applying that same logic to the man made in the “image and likeness” of God, means that man reflecting God, has all the characteristics of God, and expresses all that God is. The Scriptures teach that God is Spirit, not flesh, blood, and bones. So, man, reflecting God, is spiritual—also not flesh, blood, and bones. Through the study and practice of Christian Science, I believe that the man God created, is not human, but divine. Where then, does this misconception of man come from?” Programming, misunderstanding, and conditioning. From the time we come into the world, we are taught that the human body defines life, and that this perception of life, is only cognized through the five physical senses. Spiritual understanding gives an opposite view of man. This man is only seen through the spiritual senses. My book, “The Unfolding of a Rose,” explains in detail, the difference between the man God created, and the man born of flesh and blood. When one holds in thought the true picture of man, thought is changed, and healing takes place. This is why each day, Meta and I prayed diligently to replace the “breast cancer” image of her with the spiritual image of her. We knew that once her thought totally accepted this spiritual image, her body would yield to what her thought expressed, and the healing of cancer would be accomplished. Was “The Unfolding of a Rose” a difficult book to write, or was it therapy?

Mamie L. Smith: “The Unfolding of a Rose” was a very difficult book to write. No, it was not therapy. Therapy is a branch of medicine in which one applies human remedies to physical ills. Writing “The Unfolding of a Rose” is an explication of metaphysics—applying the divine laws of God to erroneous thoughts. What do you hope to achieve by writing “The Unfolding of a Rose?”

Mamie L. Smith: My deepest desire is that every person who reads “The Unfolding of a Rose” comes away with a greater sense of peace, love, and joy—to know that the physical life of their loved one was not in vain—no matter how long, short, or troubled it may have been. There is no greater pain than the death of a child, and because of the high death rate of children due to accidents, crime and disease, parents increasingly find themselves lost in a sea of pain and suffering, as their children leave them behind. Guilt, anger and depression, can be exposed, dealt with, and destroyed. I am living proof of this. What is next?

Mamie L. Smith: I have begun to write a second book, which will deal with day-to-day human experiences—how to identify them, and overcome them. What was the last book you read?

Mamie L. Smith: The last book I read was “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. What are your hobbies?

Mamie L. Smith: My hobbies are reading, playing the piano, watching sports, and listening to a great debate. How do they enhance your writing?

Mamie L. Smith: Reading gives increased knowledge, insight, and understanding, which serve as the foundation of a good writer. Playing the piano instills restfulness of thought, thereby allowing the creative and inspirational juices to flow. Watching sports help me to understand that intellectually, writing is a skill, but unless one connects with something beyond human reasoning, the results are unpredictable. Watching a good debate, parallels examining several ways of expressing the same idea—molding and chiseling my thoughts, and allowing them to guide my actions.

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