sent in by anonymous female
First, my spiritual history (condensed):
I've got to skip over a lot, but this story would be a book if I told it all. This is the way my spirituality evolved(in a nutshell).
I was born into family that had been Seventh-day Adventist since the sect originated in the 1800's. I can remember going through my grandmother's bookcase and finding a journal that belonged to an ancestor in which he had recorded in longhand his witnessing of the trance-state of Ellen White, that sect's prophetess and founder. Growing up, I sincerely believed that the only acceptable belief system was conservative christianity.
Any other beliefs were literally "of the devil". I believed what my authority figures told me. I was not allowed to go to public school until the seventh grade, and could nor consort with non-Adventist kids. I was allowed to play softball in a public league at age 10, but missed the majority of games because I couldn't work, buy, sell, compete, etc.., from friday sundown til saturday sundown.
Secretly I felt like the weird kid in my neighborhood, and the kids on my street thought so publicly. At home, one of my parents used meth and punished me corporally to the extreme while at the same time acting as an extracuricular youth leader. My parents divorced when I was 13, and my mother switched to evangelical-type churches. I was a troubled and confused kid who acted out, having a history of being taken advantage of sexually by adults and other reasons, of course. My mom took me to be anointed with oil and such, and I wanted to believe so badly, yet couldn't and was afraid to verbalize it. I thought I was worthy of hell. I was in and out of foster homes and was experimenting with drugs.
I always thought that if I could just BELIEVE, I would be an acceptable person. I would go through periods of religious fanatacism, hoping I would truly "get" god if I forced it to happen. It didn't work. My mother told me I was oppressed by demons. She had a pastor bless my living areas and "cast the demons out" of my bedroom. She was convinced that there were demons in our house making noise and scaring her, and that I had invited them into the house. That is a horrible burden to put on a 17 yr old.
Now I realize that she has scared herself into believing, and she was unconsciously teaching me the same. All the talk of spiritual warfare scared the crap out of me, I honestly was afraid of the dark for years from reading books about how to spot satanism and cast out demons(lol). As an adult, more periods of debauchery spotted with more desperate fanaticism. I thought of suicide very often. I can remember, after leaving my first husband, laying on my bed and screaming at god, daring him to kill me.
I was told many times that "all things not of god are of the devil". I was getting older and meeting people who were Bhuddist, Pagan, Wiccan, even Atheist; and, dammit, they weren't evil people! At age 30 or 31 I started allowing myself to "not HAVE to" believe in jesus and the whole dogma. I did a tremendous amount of reading and research and studied anthropology for a while in college. Now, at 34, I don't label myself at all spiritually, although I am definitely NOT A CHRISTIAN. It has been a long process of deprogramming myself. My relatives are a little fearful of me and my "evilness", and I have little contact with the Adventist side of the family.
I recognize now that meek, sheeplike demeanor accompanied by the blank smile and try not get angry when they use the same canned phrases to try to save my soul, which is apparently damned now. For the first time in my life, I am content, and my anxiety is almost nonexistant. Wouldn't you know it, I CAN think for myself, I CAN have my very own moral code that is seperate from a religion, and I AM NOT GOING TO HELL!!!!!
ps.....I don't even believe in hell.
Became a Christian: birth
Ceased being a Christian: early 30's
Labels before: Seventh-day Adventist; Evangelical
Labels now: no labels
email: partysnap69 at yahoo 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)