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The Religious Affiliation of Actress
Ginger Rogers


Throughout her life Ginger Rogers was a devout Christian Scientist (member of the Church of Christ, Scientist).

From: Matt Zoller Seitz, "Final step: Ginger Rogers, 1911-1995" in The Dallas Observer, 11 May 1995 (http://www.reelclassics.com/Actresses/Ginger/ginger-article4.htm; viewed 5 July 2005):

Others, however, have argued that Rogers' getting the short end of the celebrity stick was due to her own measured, professional, resolutely Midwestern personality rather than to institutionalized sexism. Rogers was a devout Christian Scientist who didn't drink or smoke, and who generally preferred the company of friends to partying with potential employers.

Rogers used a cherished verse from the Bible as the frontispiece quote for her autobiography. From: Ginger Rogers, Ginger: My Story, HarperCollins Publishers: New York, NY (1991), page vii:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
      Eph. 2:8
From: Tom Heinen, "New governor practices quiet faith: Christian Science's democratic tenets guide McCallum" in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 February 2001 (http://www.jsonline.com/lifestyle/religion/feb01/scott09020801a.asp; viewed 26 August 2005):
But many might be surprised to know that Christian Science has had its share of famous adherents. A few examples:
...
- Dancer Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page xii:
Yes, I have had some failed marriages. I yearned for a long, happy marriage with one person. I always loved being married. Caring, cooking, and being a companion with a husband were as natural to me as breathing. Perhaps, in show business, such a marriage is doubly hard to maintain...

Of all the many gifts bestowed on me, there is one I treasure above all others--my dear mother, Lela...

Beyond that, however, is something far greater than success or even family ties--my religion. I owe my health and happiness to it. Without it, I would not have had such wonderful and devoted friends and I couldn't have become the dancer, actress, and person that I am.

So you see, this won't be your ordinary book. It will tell things from a different angle. My hope is that the reader will find some inspiration in these pages.

When Ginger was born, her mother was not active in any religious denomination and was not officially a Christian Scientist. Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 3:
On Sundays, Mother would take my by streetcar to Kansas City and leave me with my grandparents for a few hours while she went to the movies. Mother loved motion pictures, and sitting there in the dark, she vowed that one day she would do something--perhaps write for them. On one of those Sundays, my father made a surprise visit to the Owens house and saw me, his daughter, for the first time. His reunion with Mother was not a happy one. Eddins pleaded with her to take him back, promising that his wandering days were over. Lela [Ginger's mother] knew his promises were empty, and so refused. She told him that as soon as she had the money for a lawyer, she would seek a divorce. Chastened, my father left and, for a while, dropped out of site.
While Ginger's mother was working one day as a secretary, she noticed that Ginger, who was then nearly one year old, was no longer playing in the yard. She contacted a policeman, looked many placed, but could not find the girl. Ginger Rogers, Ginger, pages 4-6:
Mother left the station and, in a daze, boarded a streetcar for Kansas City. She sat down and began to pray. Crying and praying for the entire journey, she reached Kansas City and got off the streetcar in the center of the city... Aimlessly she wandered down the main street... She drifted into an office building and into its iron-cage elevator. The buzzer sounded, the attendant closed the door, and the elevator began to ascend. It arrived at the third floor and Lela saw a sign on a translucent glass door that read "Dr. Tutt." In a half-moon under his name were printed the words "Christian Science Practitioner, C.S.B." Sobbing, she walked to the door, opened it, and stood there, still unable to control her emotion. A kind-looking gentleman opened an inner door and, seeing the agony of this young stranger, said, "May I help you?"

Something about his warm and loving tone touched my mother and she poured out her story. "Can you help me?" she cried. Dr. John Tutt said that he could and would. He sat with her and talked quietly about what God does for man. Words of encouragement issued from his lips. He explained that there is nothing lost in God's Kingdom and to believe Him capable of evil was to dishonor God! He asked if Lela had any acquaintance with Christian Science. And, in fact, she did. Eddins's mother, Louisa, was a Christian Scientist and, long before I was born, she had given Lela a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. [Eddins was Ginger Rogers' father.] Lela used to take the book back and forth to work. In order to read it on the streetcar, she covered the binding with a newspaper, for at the time there was much bigotry against the new religion, for at the time there was much bigotry against the new religion--even within families, which Lela discovered firsthand. One evening, when Eddins was away, Lela spent the night at her parents' home and inadvertently left Mrs. Eddy's book on the bedside tabl. My grandmother found it and threw it into the furnace. Lela was very upset. "Mother, that was a gift. How could you do that?"

"I don't care," replied Saphrona. "I won't have one of those books in my house!" Despite her parents' disapproval, Mother had found much in the teachings and continued to explore the Christian Science faith. Now, in her darkest hour, she had found her way to a practitioner.

"I don't have the book any longer," Mother told Dr. Tutt, "but when I saw 'Christian Science Practitioner' on your door, I felt like it was a port in a storm." She told him that she loved what the book had taught her about God--things that she had never really understood before. Dr. Tutt asked Mother to pray with all earnestness to her loving Father-Mother God and to know that He was ever-present with her, her child, and everyone. While she quietly prayed, he did some metaphysical work for her. (Metaphysical work is a method of praying scientifically to resolve any inharmonious conditions such as sickness, troubled relationships, or financial need.) Then he suggested that she go to her parents' home and telephone him the next morning; meanwhile, he would continue to pray or her. Dr. Tutt offered to loan her a copy of Science and Health, which Mother gratefully accepted. Vowing to trust in God, she left Dr. Tutt's office. For the first time since my disappearance, she began to feel in control. My mother's search for a faith to give her a greater understanding of God led her to Christian Science. I benefitted from her search, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Mother reached her parents' home and calmly told them what had happened; remembering Dr. Tutt's counsel, she was able to hold back her tears. My grandparents were beside themselves with worry... Lela wen to her old bedroom and threw herself onto the bed. This time her tears were slowly checked by turning her thoughts to one of her favorite passages from the Holy Bible: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12). Dozens and dozens of times she repeated this quotation to herself...

Early the next morning... Grandaddy called his friend at the police station, but there was no news. Mother called Dr. Tutt and told him that there was no trace of her child. Dr. Tutt reassured her that God had not forsaken her. He quoted from the Bible: "'Before you call I will answer, and while you are yet speaking I will hear.' Remember those words, Mrs. McMath. Listen, and try to hear what God is telling us! You'll hear, my dear, you'll hear!"

"Dear God," she prayed, "I am listening!"

Soon after Ginger Rogers' mother called Dr. Tutt, a man came to the house who had seen the infant Ginger Rogers on a train, crying while being held by her biological father Eddins, who had kidnapped her and taken her to Texas. Ginger's mother recalled that her estranged husband had mentioned relatives in Ennis, Texas (just outside Dallas). Ginger's mother Lela took a train there, and used a taxi to go to the house of her husband's cousin, where indeed she found the infant Ginger. She sped away in the taxi, but the last train of the day had already left the local station. The taxi driver (a Native American) brought Lela and the baby to his mother's teepee, where they stayed the night. In the morning, the taxi driver and a relative that worked at the station helped Lela elude Eddins and get on a train to safety. Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 12:
Back in Kansas City, Lela went right to the telephone and called Dr. Tutt [the Christian Science practitioner].

"Didn't I tell you God was looking out for your little Virginia [Ginger's birth name]," he said joyfully. "Let us thank God for His ever-present goodness."

"And thank you, Dr. Tutt, for your prayers," Lela said, as she hugged me closely to her.

Mother later learned that Eddins was trying to find a religious school in which he could enroll me under a phony name, to prevent Lela from finding me.

Ginger Rogers recounts the courtship of her mother and father, Lela and Eddins. Ginger, pages 8-9:
Like most girls of seventeen, she [Ginger's mother Lela] had been in love with the idea of love. When Mother first saw William Eddins McMath in Kansas City, Missouri, he fit the picture of the ideal suitor... My father was equally smitten with this petite brunette. But the lovers were parted almost at the outset. Lela's father, Walter Owens, was a building contractor who moved where the jobs were. His next assignment was in Salt Lake City, Utah, miles away from Lela and Kansas City.

During their separation, Eddins bombarded Lela Owens with cards and letters. Because of his magical gift for words, Mother waited longingly for his letters and read each one over and over... Knowing that her mother and father were enthusiastic about the tall Scotsman, Lela broached the subject of marriage with them. Walter's comment to Saphrona [Lela's parents - Ginger's maternal grandparents] was, "He has the sound and serious look of a man who knows his way around the track."

Immediately, Mother wrote to Eddins, telling him about her talk with her parents. He quickly replied, "I'm encouraged to know your mother and father approve of me. I miss you desperately and am sending you a railway ticket. Please pack your clothes and hurry here to me. We can be married right here in Kansas City the day you arrive. Don't wait! Each day you wait is a year to my arms. I love you, Lela. Your impatient Eddins."

When Mother showed the letter to Granddaddy, she was amazed at his reaction. He was aghast. "Any man who wants to marry my daughter will have to come where she is--here in Salt Lake City--and have a formal church wedding."

Once Lela relayed that message to Eddins, he willingly agreed and plans were made for the wedding. After attending many weddings and receptions, she was happy to be the bride at her very own nuptials.

Thus, in the fall of 1909, Lela was married in a white satin gown with matching pearls sewn into the gown, headdress, veil, and her tiny satin shoes...

One year into the marriage, Lela was due to give birth to their first child. When the due date came, my father forced Mother to go to the hospital. She wanted to have her baby at home, but Eddins insisted, and she felt too weak to argue. Her parents also insisted. The labor was long and difficult. Finally, the doctor asked Eddins to give him permission to use forceps. Without consulting her, he gave the doctor free license.

In using the forceps, the doctor broke the baby's neck. To offer Lela consolation for this tragedy, the doctor said, "You can have another child. Remember, you are very young." My mother secretly blamed both men for the death of her child and vowed that the next time it would be different; no one would give orders about her baby's death--no one.

Mother did become pregnant again [with Ginger], but by then, the marriage was beyond saving, and Eddins left.

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, pages 17-20:
One of my playmates had noticed the ugly arts on the back of my hands and told me that his grandmother said that if you cut a potato int four sections and bury it at night while there is a new moon, the next day the warts on the back of your hands will be gone... [Young Ginger tried the folk cure.]

Three days and nights had passed. Each morning I examined my hands. They were just like they were at the beginning, when my little friend told me about the new new-moon cure. I confronted my childhod witch doctor. "I did what you told me... My warts are just the same as they were before."

"Did you do what I told you?"

I repeated each step and at the end of the explanation he said, "But you didn't look over your left shoulder at the moon when you finished burying the potato."

"You didn't tell me that!" I said.

"Virginia, would you come in the house, please, right now."

Oh, dear. I hadn't counted on being overheard by my mother... How, I wondered, was I going to explain this episode to her!

"Virginia, in Sunday School, haven't you been taught that God is the creator of all good? And the First Commandment is one none of us should break. 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me' means that you are to look to God only, for the good each one of us receives. Now you go upstairs to your room and pray a prayer of forgiveness. Why did'nt you tell me that you needed help with this problem concerning your hands? When you get through with your prayer, you come downstairs, and we will call Mrs. Frazier, our practitioner, and tell her what you've done and ask her to help you in prayer about this situation."

I was obedient. I did as Mother said. Mrs. Frazier told me she would pray for me, and I was to call her again tomorrow. She had explained to me, as Mother had, that we did not honor God if we trusted in a source that claimed to have power other than God. I began to see what that commandment meant.

The next afternoon I talked to her again. This time she told me how Jesus loved little children, and how God had sent Jesus to explain His teachings by demonstrating all that He did through His Father, and how God's ever-presence did not admit anything contrary to good. She explained more about prayer and reminded me that God loved me. As she was going to the next Wednesday evening church meeting, she asked me to call her the next morning.

Mother wanted me to have this experience personally talking to a practitioner so that I would know how to ask for prayerful help in the future. I was sorry that I had ever turned away from thinking God-like thoughts. The next morning, as I was tying my shoelaces, I saw the backs of my hands. Not one spot! Not one tiny vestige of warts! Running to my mother, I said, "Look, Mom, look, look!"

She hugged me and said, "Dear, see what prayer does. Now let's go get Mathilda on the phone."

Mrs. Frazier was joyous with us and reminded me that we must constantly thank God and not turn to little gods by looking over our shoulder at the moon while burying a quartered potato. I couldn't wait to see my little doctor friend to tell him that I had a better God that healed me! I didn't need any old potato. In my rejoicing, I told every one of the kids on our block and at Sunday School, and I showed them how clean my hands were of warts. This was an important milestone in my religious education.

Even my grandmother was impressed. The old saying, "Seeing is believing" now proved true, and she recognized and admitted that God was the power to heal. Saphrona [Ginger's grandmother] had had many bouts with my mother over Lela's turning away from the family religion [the "family religion" was something other than Christian Science, obviously]. While my mother and father were dating, there had been a few months of separation when Mother moved out rather than give up her faith. This proved to be difficult for both sides. But, happily, the relationship was restored through the same deep conscientious turning to God in prayer. As for me, I was raised in Christian Science and have practiced it faithfully. My faith has enriched my life and enabled me to maintain the strength necessary to make each and every moment mean something.

Ginger's mother Lela re-married, to a man named John Rogers. Ginger Rogers, Ginger, pages 35-37:
One day Daddy John came home shivering and wnet to bed. After a grueling night with this flu, he asked my mother to call a doctor. Though she would have done differently for herself, she called the doctor for him. The doctor came and pronounced the seriousness of the case. The doctor told my mother that Daddy John's one lung was infected and that he would not last the night. Mother did not tell my this, bu I could tell by her actions and silence that she was deeply concerned. When the doctor left, Mother went to the dining room with her Bible and Science and Health, asking me to leave her alone, please.

Shortly after that, I saw her go into Daddy's room. I felt the intensity of the situation... She did not know that I followed her and stood by the open door while she moved to Daddy John's side. She bent over and said, "Daddy, the doctor has given you up. There's nothing more he can do for you. Would you please give me your consent to call a Christian Science practitioner in Dallas and ask her to pray for you? I'm praying too, Daddy. Please may I do that?"

[More details of their Christian Science ministrations described.]

...Mother telephoned Mrs. Indermille and told her the good news. This earnest Christian lady had the purness of the Christ understanding. Where I had felt the doom of darkness and sadness a few hours before, now an indescribable light had burst into the room, and its brightness made us feel warm and joyous. Three days later, Daddy John backed out the little Essex... and went back to work.

During he day, he called my mother and told her how wonderful it was to have been saved. He admitted that after he arrived at his office, he went to a corner to wipe away the tears of gratitude and to thank God for letting him live. An exalted feeling of gratitude swept over him. After this experience, Daddy John came into the church with Mother and me and joined the local branch church and the Mother Church in Boston. Very shortly, Daddy John was selected by the congregation to be its First Reader.

Our home was a very happy one. Antoine de Saint Exupery in Wind, Sand, and Stars said, "When two people love each other, they do not look at each other, but both look in the same direction." And here we were, all three of us, looking in the same direction and learning more each day, more about the Truth, and more about God and man. For the next three years our house reflected the growing spirit of the Christ in our lives.

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 108:
One little detail bothered me, and I expressed my concern to my cousin. "We're going to have to do something about your name. I don't think 'Helen Nichols' has enough fire to it. If we're going to get a contrct for you, we've got to think up a good theatrical name."

For the next day or so, I began concocting combinations in my head. The name that kept coming to my thoughts was "Frazier." I loved the name of the Christian Science Practitioner I had known as a child in Kansas City, only now I would spell it "Fraser. Now to find a matching first name... Phyllis seemed to fit with Fraser... And so my cousin Helen Brown Nichols became Phyllis Fraser and returned with us to Hollywood.

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, pages 152-153:
"What is it you always mumble to yourself every time I mark your feet?" asked the camera assistant. "Would you please tell me..."

Rather shyly, I said, "It's from the Bible," and I quoted it for him: "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace." (Ps. 37:37).

A wonderful expression appeared on his face and thereafter, every time he marked my feet, he would look up with a knowing smile.

During one of these camera set-ups, I was seated in my little portable dressing room, reading... After reading for about a hal-hour, I looked up and saw Irving Birlin seated in a chair next to the back wall. When he saw me looking up, he got up from his chair and walked toward my dressing-room door... He said, "I've been watching you for the past twenty minutes, and that must be very interesting what you are reading, as you haven't taken your eyes off the pages. What are you reading?"

This sort of caught me off-guard... finally I decided to tell him. "I've been reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy."

Berlin said, "Oh, really? You're the second person I've ever met who reads that book. The first person was Ivan Lebowitz. [Rogers recounts Irving Berlin's story of how his Jewish friend Ivan Lebowitz first introduced him to Science and Health.]

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 256:
With Jack on duty in San Diego, like most war brides, I saw my husband when he was home on leave. I remember what a shock it was on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor... I knew someone who was really headed for the Pacific, and my heart nearly stopped. My marriage to a serviceman brought me closer to prayer and to understanding, as best I could, the Bible quotation "Love your enemies and bless those that curse you, do good to them that hate you" (Matt. 5:44). As a very dear friend of mine said to me, "You can measure how much you love God by thinking of the person you like the least. That tells you what percentage of love you are missing for God."

I reminded Jack, after we were married, of the great need for constant prayer. I took him to church with me on Wednesdays and Sundays to give him some idea of what was needed, beyond being a good Marine. It was important fo rhim, as well as for me, to stay close to God in thought and deed, which would indeed remove some of the paralyzing fear that would beset a soldier. Gradually he began to understand this, and I gave him a Bible and a copy of Science and Health to take with him and read and told him to pray daily.

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 401:
My Lelee [Ginger Rogers' mother] lived a full life; she was well into her eighties when she passed on. She loved God and she taught me to love Him, too. She gave me the gift of Christian Science--it sustained her and continues to sustain me.
Ginger Roger uses the very last words of her autobiography to share her testimony of Christian Science. Rogers, Ginger, pages 423-424:
As the curtain comes down on my final thoughts, I would like to use a line from my one-woman show that has meant a great deal to me through the years. It is part of the scientific interpretation of the Lord's Prayer by Mary Baker Eddy: "And Love is reflected in love." This says everything I want to say and more.
Ginger Rogers' autobiography includes many other examples of her and her family's devotion to Christian Science, most of which have not been excerpted here. Other examples include pages 44-45, 48, 258-261, 276, 310-312, 344-345, 348-349, 350, 358, 360, 367-368, 380-381, 401-403, 409, 420. Throughout her life Ginger Rogers was a devout Christian Scientist (member of the Church of Christ, Scientist).

Rogers used a cherished verse from the Bible as the frontispiece quote for her autobiography. From: Ginger Rogers, Ginger: My Story, HarperCollins Publishers: New York, NY (1991), page vii:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
      Eph. 2:8
Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page xii:
Yes, I have had some failed marriages. I yearned for a long, happy marriage with one person. I always loved being married. Caring, cooking, and being a companion with a husband were as natural to me as breathing. Perhaps, in show business, such a marriage is doubly hard to maintain...

Of all the many gifts bestowed on me, there is one I treasure above all others--my dear mother, Lela...

Beyond that, however, is something far greater than success or even family ties--my religion. I owe my health and happiness to it. Without it, I would not have had such wonderful and devoted friends and I couldn't have become the dancer, actress, and person that I am.

So you see, this won't be your ordinary book. It will tell things from a different angle. My hope is that the reader will find some inspiration in these pages.

When Ginger was born, her mother was not active in any religious denomination and was not officially a Christian Scientist. Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 3:
On Sundays, Mother would take my by streetcar to Kansas City and leave me with my grandparents for a few hours while she went to the movies. Mother loved motion pictures, and sitting there in the dark, she vowed that one day she would do something--perhaps write for them. On one of those Sundays, my father made a surprise visit to the Owens house and saw me, his daughter, for the first time. His reunion with Mother was not a happy one. Eddins pleaded with her to take him back, promising that his wandering days were over. Lela [Ginger's mother] knew his promises were empty, and so refused. She told him that as soon as she had the money for a lawyer, she would seek a divorce. Chastened, my father left and, for a while, dropped out of site.
While Ginger's mother was working one day as a secretary, she noticed that Ginger, who was then nearly one year old, was no longer playing in the yard. She contacted a policeman, looked many placed, but could not find the girl. Ginger Rogers, Ginger, pages 4-6:
Mother left the station and, in a daze, boarded a streetcar for Kansas City. She sat down and began to pray. Crying and praying for the entire journey, she reached Kansas City and got off the streetcar in the center of the city... Aimlessly she wandered down the main street... She drifted into an office building and into its iron-cage elevator. The buzzer sounded, the attendant closed the door, and the elevator began to ascend. It arrived at the third floor and Lela saw a sign on a translucent glass door that read "Dr. Tutt." In a half-moon under his name were printed the words "Christian Science Practitioner, C.S.B." Sobbing, she walked to the door, opened it, and stood there, still unable to control her emotion. A kind-looking gentleman opened an inner door and, seeing the agony of this young stranger, said, "May I help you?"

Something about his warm and loving tone touched my mother and she poured out her story. "Can you help me?" she cried. Dr. John Tutt said that he could and would. He sat with her and talked quietly about what God does for man. Words of encouragement issued from his lips. He explained that there is nothing lost in God's Kingdom and to believe Him capable of evil was to dishonor God! He asked if Lela had any acquaintance with Christian Science. And, in fact, she did. Eddins's mother, Louisa, was a Christian Scientist and, long before I was born, she had given Lela a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. [Eddins was Ginger Rogers' father.] Lela used to take the book back and forth to work. In order to read it on the streetcar, she covered the binding with a newspaper, for at the time there was much bigotry against the new religion, for at the time there was much bigotry against the new religion--even within families, which Lela discovered firsthand. One evening, when Eddins was away, Lela spent the night at her parents' home and inadvertently left Mrs. Eddy's book on the bedside tabl. My grandmother found it and threw it into the furnace. Lela was very upset. "Mother, that was a gift. How could you do that?"

"I don't care," replied Saphrona. "I won't have one of those books in my house!" Despite her parents' disapproval, Mother had found much in the teachings and continued to explore the Christian Science faith. Now, in her darkest hour, she had found her way to a practitioner.

"I don't have the book any longer," Mother told Dr. Tutt, "but when I saw 'Christian Science Practitioner' on your door, I felt like it was a port in a storm." She told him that she loved what the book had taught her about God--things that she had never really understood before. Dr. Tutt asked Mother to pray with all earnestness to her loving Father-Mother God and to know that He was ever-present with her, her child, and everyone. While she quietly prayed, he did some metaphysical work for her. (Metaphysical work is a method of praying scientifically to resolve any inharmonious conditions such as sickness, troubled relationships, or financial need.) Then he suggested that she go to her parents' home and telephone him the next morning; meanwhile, he would continue to pray or her. Dr. Tutt offered to loan her a copy of Science and Health, which Mother gratefully accepted. Vowing to trust in God, she left Dr. Tutt's office. For the first time since my disappearance, she began to feel in control. My mother's search for a faith to give her a greater understanding of God led her to Christian Science. I benefitted from her search, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Mother reached her parents' home and calmly told them what had happened; remembering Dr. Tutt's counsel, she was able to hold back her tears. My grandparents were beside themselves with worry... Lela wen to her old bedroom and threw herself onto the bed. This time her tears were slowly checked by turning her thoughts to one of her favorite passages from the Holy Bible: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12). Dozens and dozens of times she repeated this quotation to herself...

Early the next morning... Grandaddy called his friend at the police station, but there was no news. Mother called Dr. Tutt and told him that there was no trace of her child. Dr. Tutt reassured her that God had not forsaken her. He quoted from the Bible: "'Before you call I will answer, and while you are yet speaking I will hear.' Remember those words, Mrs. McMath. Listen, and try to hear what God is telling us! You'll hear, my dear, you'll hear!"

"Dear God," she prayed, "I am listening!"

Soon after Ginger Rogers' mother called Dr. Tutt, a man came to the house who had seen the infant Ginger Rogers on a train, crying while being held by her biological father Eddins, who had kidnapped her and taken her to Texas. Ginger's mother recalled that her estranged husband had mentioned relatives in Ennis, Texas (just outside Dallas). Ginger's mother Lela took a train there, and used a taxi to go to the house of her husband's cousin, where indeed she found the infant Ginger. She sped away in the taxi, but the last train of the day had already left the local station. The taxi driver (a Native American) brought Lela and the baby to his mother's teepee, where they stayed the night. In the morning, the taxi driver and a relative that worked at the station helped Lela elude Eddins and get on a train to safety. Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 12:
Back in Kansas City, Lela went right to the telephone and called Dr. Tutt [the Christian Science practitioner].

"Didn't I tell you God was looking out for your little Virginia [Ginger's birth name]," he said joyfully. "Let us thank God for His ever-present goodness."

"And thank you, Dr. Tutt, for your prayers," Lela said, as she hugged me closely to her.

Mother later learned that Eddins was trying to find a religious school in which he could enroll me under a phony name, to prevent Lela from finding me.

Ginger Rogers recounts the courtship of her mother and father, Lela and Eddins. Ginger, pages 8-9:
Like most girls of seventeen, she [Ginger's mother Lela] had been in love with the idea of love. When Mother first saw William Eddins McMath in Kansas City, Missouri, he fit the picture of the ideal suitor... My father was equally smitten with this petite brunette. But the lovers were parted almost at the outset. Lela's father, Walter Owens, was a building contractor who moved where the jobs were. His next assignment was in Salt Lake City, Utah, miles away from Lela and Kansas City.

During their separation, Eddins bombarded Lela Owens with cards and letters. Because of his magical gift for words, Mother waited longingly for his letters and read each one over and over... Knowing that her mother and father were enthusiastic about the tall Scotsman, Lela broached the subject of marriage with them. Walter's comment to Saphrona [Lela's parents - Ginger's maternal grandparents] was, "He has the sound and serious look of a man who knows his way around the track."

Immediately, Mother wrote to Eddins, telling him about her talk with her parents. He quickly replied, "I'm encouraged to know your mother and father approve of me. I miss you desperately and am sending you a railway ticket. Please pack your clothes and hurry here to me. We can be married right here in Kansas City the day you arrive. Don't wait! Each day you wait is a year to my arms. I love you, Lela. Your impatient Eddins."

When Mother showed the letter to Granddaddy, she was amazed at his reaction. He was aghast. "Any man who wants to marry my daughter will have to come where she is--here in Salt Lake City--and have a formal church wedding."

Once Lela relayed that message to Eddins, he willingly agreed and plans were made for the wedding. After attending many weddings and receptions, she was happy to be the bride at her very own nuptials.

Thus, in the fall of 1909, Lela was married in a white satin gown with matching pearls sewn into the gown, headdress, veil, and her tiny satin shoes...

One year into the marriage, Lela was due to give birth to their first child. When the due date came, my father forced Mother to go to the hospital. She wanted to have her baby at home, but Eddins insisted, and she felt too weak to argue. Her parents also insisted. The labor was long and difficult. Finally, the doctor asked Eddins to give him permission to use forceps. Without consulting her, he gave the doctor free license.

In using the forceps, the doctor broke the baby's neck. To offer Lela consolation for this tragedy, the doctor said, "You can have another child. Remember, you are very young." My mother secretly blamed both men for the death of her child and vowed that the next time it would be different; no one would give orders about her baby's death--no one.

Mother did become pregnant again [with Ginger], but by then, the marriage was beyond saving, and Eddins left.

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, pages 17-20:
One of my playmates had noticed the ugly arts on the back of my hands and told me that his grandmother said that if you cut a potato int four sections and bury it at night while there is a new moon, the next day the warts on the back of your hands will be gone... [Young Ginger tried the folk cure.]

Three days and nights had passed. Each morning I examined my hands. They were just like they were at the beginning, when my little friend told me about the new new-moon cure. I confronted my childhod witch doctor. "I did what you told me... My warts are just the same as they were before."

"Did you do what I told you?"

I repeated each step and at the end of the explanation he said, "But you didn't look over your left shoulder at the moon when you finished burying the potato."

"You didn't tell me that!" I said.

"Virginia, would you come in the house, please, right now."

Oh, dear. I hadn't counted on being overheard by my mother... How, I wondered, was I going to explain this episode to her!

"Virginia, in Sunday School, haven't you been taught that God is the creator of all good? And the First Commandment is one none of us should break. 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me' means that you are to look to God only, for the good each one of us receives. Now you go upstairs to your room and pray a prayer of forgiveness. Why did'nt you tell me that you needed help with this problem concerning your hands? When you get through with your prayer, you come downstairs, and we will call Mrs. Frazier, our practitioner, and tell her what you've done and ask her to help you in prayer about this situation."

I was obedient. I did as Mother said. Mrs. Frazier told me she would pray for me, and I was to call her again tomorrow. She had explained to me, as Mother had, that we did not honor God if we trusted in a source that claimed to have power other than God. I began to see what that commandment meant.

The next afternoon I talked to her again. This time she told me how Jesus loved little children, and how God had sent Jesus to explain His teachings by demonstrating all that He did through His Father, and how God's ever-presence did not admit anything contrary to good. She explained more about prayer and reminded me that God loved me. As she was going to the next Wednesday evening church meeting, she asked me to call her the next morning.

Mother wanted me to have this experience personally talking to a practitioner so that I would know how to ask for prayerful help in the future. I was sorry that I had ever turned away from thinking God-like thoughts. The next morning, as I was tying my shoelaces, I saw the backs of my hands. Not one spot! Not one tiny vestige of warts! Running to my mother, I said, "Look, Mom, look, look!"

She hugged me and said, "Dear, see what prayer does. Now let's go get Mathilda on the phone."

Mrs. Frazier was joyous with us and reminded me that we must constantly thank God and not turn to little gods by looking over our shoulder at the moon while burying a quartered potato. I couldn't wait to see my little doctor friend to tell him that I had a better God that healed me! I didn't need any old potato. In my rejoicing, I told every one of the kids on our block and at Sunday School, and I showed them how clean my hands were of warts. This was an important milestone in my religious education.

Even my grandmother was impressed. The old saying, "Seeing is believing" now proved true, and she recognized and admitted that God was the power to heal. Saphrona [Ginger's grandmother] had had many bouts with my mother over Lela's turning away from the family religion [the "family religion" was something other than Christian Science, obviously]. While my mother and father were dating, there had been a few months of separation when Mother moved out rather than give up her faith. This proved to be difficult for both sides. But, happily, the relationship was restored through the same deep conscientious turning to God in prayer. As for me, I was raised in Christian Science and have practiced it faithfully. My faith has enriched my life and enabled me to maintain the strength necessary to make each and every moment mean something.

Ginger's mother Lela re-married, to a man named John Rogers. Ginger Rogers, Ginger, pages 35-37:
One day Daddy John came home shivering and wnet to bed. After a grueling night with this flu, he asked my mother to call a doctor. Though she would have done differently for herself, she called the doctor for him. The doctor came and pronounced the seriousness of the case. The doctor told my mother that Daddy John's one lung was infected and that he would not last the night. Mother did not tell my this, bu I could tell by her actions and silence that she was deeply concerned. When the doctor left, Mother went to the dining room with her Bible and Science and Health, asking me to leave her alone, please.

Shortly after that, I saw her go into Daddy's room. I felt the intensity of the situation... She did not know that I followed her and stood by the open door while she moved to Daddy John's side. She bent over and said, "Daddy, the doctor has given you up. There's nothing more he can do for you. Would you please give me your consent to call a Christian Science practitioner in Dallas and ask her to pray for you? I'm praying too, Daddy. Please may I do that?"

[More details of their Christian Science ministrations described.]

...Mother telephoned Mrs. Indermille and told her the good news. This earnest Christian lady had the purness of the Christ understanding. Where I had felt the doom of darkness and sadness a few hours before, now an indescribable light had burst into the room, and its brightness made us feel warm and joyous. Three days later, Daddy John backed out the little Essex... and went back to work.

During he day, he called my mother and told her how wonderful it was to have been saved. He admitted that after he arrived at his office, he went to a corner to wipe away the tears of gratitude and to thank God for letting him live. An exalted feeling of gratitude swept over him. After this experience, Daddy John came into the church with Mother and me and joined the local branch church and the Mother Church in Boston. Very shortly, Daddy John was selected by the congregation to be its First Reader.

Our home was a very happy one. Antoine de Saint Exupery in Wind, Sand, and Stars said, "When two people love each other, they do not look at each other, but both look in the same direction." And here we were, all three of us, looking in the same direction and learning more each day, more about the Truth, and more about God and man. For the next three years our house reflected the growing spirit of the Christ in our lives.

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 108:
One little detail bothered me, and I expressed my concern to my cousin. "We're going to have to do something about your name. I don't think 'Helen Nichols' has enough fire to it. If we're going to get a contrct for you, we've got to think up a good theatrical name."

For the next day or so, I began concocting combinations in my head. The name that kept coming to my thoughts was "Frazier." I loved the name of the Christian Science Practitioner I had known as a child in Kansas City, only now I would spell it "Fraser. Now to find a matching first name... Phyllis seemed to fit with Fraser... And so my cousin Helen Brown Nichols became Phyllis Fraser and returned with us to Hollywood.

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, pages 152-153:
"What is it you always mumble to yourself every time I mark your feet?" asked the camera assistant. "Would you please tell me..."

Rather shyly, I said, "It's from the Bible," and I quoted it for him: "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace." (Ps. 37:37).

A wonderful expression appeared on his face and thereafter, every time he marked my feet, he would look up with a knowing smile.

During one of these camera set-ups, I was seated in my little portable dressing room, reading... After reading for about a hal-hour, I looked up and saw Irving Birlin seated in a chair next to the back wall. When he saw me looking up, he got up from his chair and walked toward my dressing-room door... He said, "I've been watching you for the past twenty minutes, and that must be very interesting what you are reading, as you haven't taken your eyes off the pages. What are you reading?"

This sort of caught me off-guard... finally I decided to tell him. "I've been reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy."

Berlin said, "Oh, really? You're the second person I've ever met who reads that book. The first person was Ivan Lebowitz. [Rogers recounts Irving Berlin's story of how his Jewish friend Ivan Lebowitz first introduced him to Science and Health.]

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 256:
With Jack on duty in San Diego, like most war brides, I saw my husband when he was home on leave. I remember what a shock it was on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor... I knew someone who was really headed for the Pacific, and my heart nearly stopped. My marriage to a serviceman brought me closer to prayer and to understanding, as best I could, the Bible quotation "Love your enemies and bless those that curse you, do good to them that hate you" (Matt. 5:44). As a very dear friend of mine said to me, "You can measure how much you love God by thinking of the person you like the least. That tells you what percentage of love you are missing for God."

I reminded Jack, after we were married, of the great need for constant prayer. I took him to church with me on Wednesdays and Sundays to give him some idea of what was needed, beyond being a good Marine. It was important fo rhim, as well as for me, to stay close to God in thought and deed, which would indeed remove some of the paralyzing fear that would beset a soldier. Gradually he began to understand this, and I gave him a Bible and a copy of Science and Health to take with him and read and told him to pray daily.

Ginger Rogers, Ginger, page 401:
My Lelee [Ginger Rogers' mother] lived a full life; she was well into her eighties when she passed on. She loved God and she taught me to love Him, too. She gave me the gift of Christian Science--it sustained her and continues to sustain me.
Ginger Roger uses the very last words of her autobiography to share her testimony of Christian Science. Rogers, Ginger, pages 423-424:
As the curtain comes down on my final thoughts, I would like to use a line from my one-woman show that has meant a great deal to me through the years. It is part of the scientific interpretation of the Lord's Prayer by Mary Baker Eddy: "And Love is reflected in love." This says everything I want to say and more.
Ginger Rogers' autobiography includes many other examples of her and her family's devotion to Christian Science, most of which have not been excerpted here. Other examples include pages 44-45, 48, 258-261, 276, 310-312, 344-345, 348-349, 350, 358, 360, 367-368, 380-381, 401-403, 409, 420.

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