sent in by non conformist
I grew up in a very Catholic home in the Dominican Republic.
I lived with my grandparents and my aunts, while my mother was here in the States working (she came here before I turned one). I took religion very seriously. I remember at one point I wanted to be a nun!!(the horror!!) I was very involved in anything that had to do with the church; I sang in the choir, went faithfully to catechism, volunteered in everything. It wasn't till I got older that I realized I was using the church to escape my home life. I was being sexually abused, and my grandmother REALLY believed in Not sparing the rod. Let's just say that I was not spoiled AT ALL. I found peace in the church. I bought all that Jesus is love bullshit, and I fervently believed that the Virgin Mary was praying for my sins, and that she always would. I memorized the names of all the saints, and I remember my aunt being really proud of that. She had pictures of saints all over the house, and had a very elaborate altar (in the caribbean, that's major).
I came to the States when I was eleven to live with my mother. I remember thanking God so much, cause I finally got to be with her. I can't think of anything worse than being hurt and not having your mother there to comfort you and make it all better. I noticed right away, that my mom was not a practicing catholic. She believed, but she wasn't going to church and so, because I wanted more than anything to please her, I stopped going, too. I always wore a gold Virgin Mary medallion around my neck, as is common in my culture. I felt protected by it. It's incredible the bullshit you cling to when you're scared, or lonely. Anyway, even at my mother's house I couldn't escape the sexual abuse that always made me feel like the dirtiest of creatures. The same cousin that had molested me since I was five, came to stay with us. And needless to say, he picked up right where he left off. I never told anyone. I had tried to tell my grandmother when I was younger, and the consequences were not good; so telling was out of the question. I clung to that medallion like never before, but he didn't stop. Then one day he moved out, and of course, I thought it was my faith that had driven him out.
I carried on this way until my sophomore year in high school. Then I noticed that a group of my friends started going to this church with one of our teachers. It was a Pentecostal church. I had never heard of such a thing. So I asked that particular teacher about it. She proceded to show me, with biblical text, how I was wrong for worshiping saints and the Virgin Mary because Exodus says that The Lord is a jealous god, and he would be angry if I worshiped any but Him. She also showed me how our bodies are a temple and how women should not wear pants, or earings. She taught me about the Rapture, and the mark of the beast and all that fun stuff associated with the second coming. I was scared shitless. So I went that very weekend and converted and became a born again xtian. I felt good, cause I thought I was doing the right thing.
That church was an experience. I mean they casted out demons, spoke in tongues, etc. I don't recall every being happy after my conversion. There was always something to feel guilty about. The congregation made sure I knew all the things about me that would displease God, and how they could change them for me. I was waiting for all the magical things they talked about to happen to me. I never spoke in tongues, never heard His voice or any of that nonsense. I heard them whisper about me; how I was resisting, and my heart wasn't in it, and how I would be sorry when the hour was upon me.
And my mentor? That teacher? I received a phone call from her one night and she started telling me how she was in prayer and the spirit told her that I was having sex, and the consequences would be dire. I was not having sex, yet. I had come close, but was too scared of Hell to go through with it (when I think of all that wasted time...=). Anyway, I told her this and she didn't believe me. That was the moment that I started questioning, when I started to see the other side of this cult. She didn't give a shit about me and my soul. She was working on commision for the Lord. All she cared about was the precious star she would get on her crown in the glory of Heaven. I harbored a deep resentment for the church and everything it stood for. I left the church, but was still living with horrible guilt and fear for me and my family. But I figured, that before I went to Hell, I would make sure I told this God exactly how I felt about him and accept my punishment. From that point on I lived my life to the fullest. I went to therapy and came to terms with my past and all the things I had gone through and truly embraced myself.
The guilt and the fear were the longest to last. It wasn't until I came accross a website (www.davidicke.com) that I was finally deprogrammed. I learned about the bloody history of religion, especially xtianity. How the powers that be manipulate the masses with religion in order to enslave them. I began to embrace nature, see the world for what it is, and enjoy being alive, guilt free and happy. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful son. When life gets tough, I don't cling to an invisible being for a solution. I use my brain, my intellect and make things happen. Life is great when you're free. And I am, finally.
City: New Brunswick
State: New Jersey
Became a Christian: Since Birth
Ceased being a Christian: Around 22
Labels before: Catholic, Pentecostal
Labels now: Free
Why I joined: Was born into it
Why I left: Woke up, opened my mind, and purged it.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)