sent in by Lila
Ok, this is my story. I'm really scared as I type this because I've never told it all before. I have a tendancy to intellectualise things, roll them over and over in my head, like a rock in a tumbler, until all the feelings have worn off.
I was in foster care when the church got its claws into me. I was six and my mother had put me in care the very day she found out that her boyfriend was having sex with me (on me, more correctly). He had been molesting me from the time I was three and all the things he warned me would happen if I told did happen.
My mother gave me away. She cried alot and I thought she'd stopped loving me. I was five.
After a very lonely year in foster care, shunted from one home to the next, sometimes with my little brother, but mostly without, I landed in a Xtian home.
It was November and I was six. My new foster parents were Baptists and took me to church the very night I arrived.
"What's this?" I wondered. Someone who will really love me forever? Impossible. Even my own mother didn't love me, how the heck could some shining long haired hippie give me what no flesh and blood person could?
The next part is, I guess, everyone's story. I, swelling inside at the thought of someone who would love me, accepted the little baby Jesus as my saviour. "And I will rock thee forever in the cradle of my heart."
Well, while I was in care, my mom got clean. More or less. So, when I was seven, my mom came and took me home with her. My foster parents hooked me up with a church that served my new neighborhood. The pastor was from the states and sounded just like those preachers on T.V.. Oh hallalooooya!
I loved the drama, the singing, the promise of heaven. All that shit. Not to mention, of course, that if I, little me, could convince my mother to accept our lord and slave-ior, she would get to go to heaven. If I couldn't save her, she'd go to hell and burn in everlasting torment, crying for all eternity for her babies who she would never see again. From hell. Where she was going if I didn't get her to accept Jesus.
I set to work. I begged her, I promised to be good forever. I promised not to be a bad girl and make any more boyfriends go away. Nothing. No way was my mom gonna do it. Although she had no trouble using the church as a babysitter from Friday night til Sunday night.
I did it all. Bible camp. Verse memorization. Peer recruiting. I was INVOLVED. And I knew it would pay off. Please don't let my mommy go to hell.
The summer before I turned 13, my pastor raped in while we were at Bible camp. I totally shut off. He told me that if I told, the whole church would fall apart. He couldn't help it, he was sooooo in love with me. "Let's pray for salvation Lila."
I believed him for over a year. There was always a reason to be alone with me. There were always things for an active Xtian to do. Alone with my pastor.
Well, it was November, I was 14 and I was scared that I was pregnant. I couldn't tell my mother, look where she stuck me last time I was bad and lured an innocent man into my bed!!
So I told the pastor's wife. I don't know why I went to her. I guess I thought that she would want to protect the secret and then no-one else would need to know.
She slapped me and spit at me. She blamed me and made it clear that it was my impoverished ghetto girl white ass that tempted him when he was weak.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Crock and double crock, but I believed her. Turned out, I wasn't even pregnant. I stuck around for another year.
Something was missng. When the pastor spoke of Christ's love, I could feel his wife staring at me, and when I'd look she would be. "That's right, kid, Jesus loves everybody but you."
I just disconnected. I went through that part of my life trying not to feel anything because when I felt anything it was guilt and shame. My mom was right to have tossed me away. Mrs. Pastor was right too. It was me and I was bad bad bad.
I turned 15 in October and by the time December rolled around I was doing my damndest to proove those women right. Yep, I'm bad. Just watch me.
I was suddenly very angry and I suddenly knew that I HATED JESUS. Love? Oh come on! I still believed in him though. I just hated him.
So for a couple of years my life totally sucked. As if it didn't before, but at least then I had a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head. But, like most run-aways, I wasn't running from anything that had feet and could chase me, I was running form the only thing I could never escape. Myself. Trite as it sounds, it's true.
Anyway. I got knocked up when I was sixteen and when I was 17 I had my daughter. All through my pregnancy as my body changed so did my heart.
Oh, I knew now, there was eternal love. I knew there was something to have faith in. I knew I could worship this little body in my body and I knew I had found my salvation.
I changed my life for her the way my mother never did for me. I, for the love of Jazzalyn, not god, went back to school and found a life we could live together.
When I finally stopped running from the pain and guilt, when I stopped hating something that was never real to begin with, I fo undalltherealthingsthataremyeternity.
I found my man, Ron. We found our joy and we had a son and the temple in my heart grew and grew.
I was 25 and just finishing college. I was a quarter of a century old and I got it.
No one could love me for eternity until someone could find me TO love me. I had looked everywhere, I had thought, for that love. I looked for six years in the same place over and over and when Xtianity didn't have what I thought I needed, I believed that no one could have it.
Dudes, I got it at 25 even though I'd seen the Wizard of Oz at least a hundred times (I was Glinda in grade 8) I never knew that the truth was that simple.
It was in me all along.
So that's it. Never mind Jesus and anger and all that. This is my testimnony: I left the church, although I didn't have the emotional vocabulary at the time, because the fundies were all hypocrites. My pastor preached about virtue in the church. And then in the church parking lot, in the back of his van, told me to suck his cock.
And, here I am.
Became a Christian: 6
Ceased being a Christian: 15
Labels before: Baptist
Labels now: Mystical Contemplative
Why I joined: I was sad and lonely
Why I left: I learned the word hypocrite
Email Address: lila_bender at hotmail dot com
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)