Free at Last....Free at Last

sent in by "just me"

I have been lurking on this site for over a year. It has brought out many emotions...anger (over the past), resentment of wasting precious years, laughter at how many of the posts express various ways of dealing with "the Borg" and many fun laughs. So, I thought I should finally chime in. Be Warned! Once I get started I usually can't keep my mouth shut -- One of the reasons why I am an xtian. Well here it goes. My apologies to those whom I bore. Also, please do not misconstrue my message. I am not angry (anymore) with anyone in my family concerning my upbringing. After all, they too are hoodwinked by the Big Ugly.

At the tender age of 5 days old, my parents placed me on the alter at my fathers church (he was the pastor and founder) and "turned me over to god (they didn't specify which one??). It was the "fire and brimstone" type of church that frightened people into pissing their panties. Thus was the main reason why I "got dupped...oh sorry.. saved". I remember it well...standing there in the isle listening to the sermon of how if you don't ask Jesus to save you, you will die and go to hell where the fire is not quenched and the worm dieth not. And the beast and false prophet are from now until eternity. So...at the age of 8 I ran to the alter cried my little eyes out to god that he would save me from this evil nightmare. My father was there beside me telling me what to pray so I could be saved. A few weeks later I was baptized by my father in a muddy creek in early spring. I froze my ass off. Of course one of the first questions I remember asking myself was..Why did god make hell to begin with, especially if he is a loving god? Ahh..the genius of childhood.

I wont bore you with the tremendous amounts of trivia and deeds collected over many of my younger years, but I will list some of them briefly. I was a wonderful singer (still am) and so I was told I had been given a gift and should use it for god. I sang and sang and sang. Finally joining a traveling gospel group at the age of 12. However, there is one funny thing I remember well. I was no more than maybe six when I was asked to sing a song at a guest church my family was visiting. I got up to the pulpit knowing exactly what song was in my heart to sing. I let out with a good round of The Streak! I thought my father was going to crap in his pants. Everybody in that church now knew what music he listened to.

Back to my "list". I was in plays, fund raisers, attended many funerals and weddings. I "led" my best friend to god only to find out she was not in a baptist family and believed she could "lose" her salvation. Thus, more questions began to form in my head such as "how do we know which one is right?". I have eaves dropped on many minister/deacon meetings held at various homes. I know what goes on behind the curtain. I have also witness the devastation of suicide in two different families only to hear the reason being that the deceased didn't rely on god enough for their problems.

Being in public school, I was introduced to different people with different beliefs. I studied my heritage (native American and Scot/Irish) and learned about their ancient beliefs and practices. This honestly is where it all picked up a very fast pace. The native Americans hold a belief in "the great mystery". Basically, we don't know where we come from or how the universe came into being, but life is a good thing. IMO our origins should be a question we ponder occasionally, but nothing to enrapture our entire life. I eventually tried to learn more about earth centered spirituality but of course once my parents found out about my interest, it was very difficult to do. I did have a friend that knew someone in the Wiccan community and we eventually met. Although I did not quite agree with everything, it did fit more closely to what I felt was reasonable and balancing. I was not able to receive formal education in Wicca because I was a minor so I had to do my best on my own. While trying to explore my own growing spirituality, I was definitely trying to keep it secret. How much easier it would have been if there were no prejudices and more unbiased support and guidance. Of course I was in the mist of my teenage years living in a family that was very prejudiced against anything non-white and non-baptist. You can use your imagination on what that was like. My parents could tell something was up because I kept asking a lot of annoying questions of how Christianity was born and how it developed over the centuries. Once my parents did find out about my blooming curiosity with Wicca (what they called satanism), one of the most traumatizing events in my life happened. I was pretty much "forced" under brainwashing terrorization to confess my "worship of Satan" in from of the entire church congregation, apologize for bringing it into their mist and be re-baptized. I shall never forget that day.

I tried very hard over the years to be a good Christian, however as you all know, once you've seen the light you can't keep the blinders on forever. Once I was married and having a family I tried even harder to be the good Christian. I began singing again. Even having the holy roller shouts during services. (by the way they are faked). But, the blinders would slip occasionally and light and reason would shine into my brain. I would occasionally research anything to do with various religions and learn how they all "borrow" from each other. Christianity was once again falling apart at the seems. I began to look at my children and see that I was setting the same trap for them that was set for me. I studied and researched even more. Finally, one day while singing a solo over television broadcast during a gospel concert, something clicked in my brain while looking out over an audience of over 2000 people. While I knew that the great majority of them were hypocrites in one way or another, I was the biggest one. I was doing something that wasn't me. I had not been strong enough to break free of the oppression I had been placed in and eventually accepted of my own free will. Never again. After that solo, I never went back. That has been over 3 years ago. It wasn't easy. But just like giving up smoking or alcohol, the longer it has been the easier it is. Now, I can objectively look at anyone in the Christian community and see how they too are ensnared and don't even realize it. Some are genuinely good people and hold no prejudices against other beliefs or those that have no belief. But those "C"hristians and are very rare. Most are little "c" christians and want others to join in on their addiction, just like a drug dealer.

I am comfortably established in the old community I met as a teenager. I had not seen any of them in over 15 years. I am free to develop my own beliefs and dismiss those beliefs that I feel are not right for me. My children think Noah is a bedtime story and those people that believe it to be real are just being silly. I purposefully introduce them to the beliefs of many religions along with agnosticism and atheism, pointing out the good and the bad. And I am always respectful of their opinion. It is only after the age of 21 or so that people actually begin to develop there spiritual maturity and are able to make reasonable choices. Anything done prior to that point can easily become manipulation.

I still have a good relationship with my family. Although they still do not know fully what my personal beliefs are (he is very old and may have a heart attack), they do know that certain topics are Totally Off Limits with me and my children. They know I mean it too. There has been a drastic change in the holiday greeting cards they send me.

So, life goes on. If there are a few verses in the bible that I do take to heart, it would be those that are shared with many other religions. They are: A tree is known by its fruit, and you reap what you sow.

Well, in a nutshell, that is my story. I hope you haven't pressed the control/alt/delete yet and haven't overdosed on coffee. Blessing to you all.

Free at last. Free at last. Thank Me almighty I am free at last.

Sincerely

Just Me

USA
Joined: Eight
Left: permanently ---33
Was: premillinial, fundamental independent baptist
Now: agnostic wiccan
Converted because: deeply raised in Christianity
De-converted because: refused to ask the hard questions

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, very nice Just Me, sounds just like me! Glad you aren't rotting with bitterness and keeping the same cycle alive that little "c"hristians enjoy to put out to society. The large "C"hristians are indeed very wonderful people, but sadly, few and far between. Glad you are at peace for your own health, and are leading your children with love instead of Leviticus! Illuminedtorch7@aol.com

Ben said...

That was so nice, you made me cry, another real human being has joined us into reality. We are all forced to believe the nonsense almost at gun point, it is definately forced on everyone, and we are expected to conform with the threat of losing our love from our family if we do not conform to their silly beliefs. Conditional Love is false love. Welcome my dear one.

jim earl said...

Free at last, free at last, thank me almighty I am free at last.

I love that line. I am 60 years old and am sooooo thankful to be free too. I went thru some awful times getting here but I hold no grudges either. Just wish I could remove the world's blinders so all could be free as well. Thanks for the testimony and welcome to the world of reality. Cheers, Jim

SpaceMonk said...

I really like the Wiccan's motto, "And it harm none, do what you will"
...or something, like that.
Anyway, congratulations on your enlightenment.
Hallelu-niverse!! ;)

Nanabanana said...

WONDERFUL piece, "just me!" Loved it. Congratulations on your arrival at this far better place. I have a friend who is a PK and would greatly appreciate your story...she's come about in a similar fashion. (Geez, that sounded awefully British! LOL Must be a past life coming through.)

Anyway...loved the "thank me almighty" part.

You're fortunate you've been able to get through to your family that certain topics are off liimits and to respect your beliefs and how you are raising your children. Try as we have, my hubby and I have not been able to achieve that fully with his pathetic family. Well, I take that back, I pissed them off so much in what I said in a "holiday" newsletter they don't send any cards at all now. LOL Being 61 years old and a Reiki Master/Teacher means nothing to them. It's "voodoo" to them, regardless of the fact that I helped their mother.

Thought occured to me when reading your article...it's such a damn shame we have to be sort of "hiding" here giving our testimonals and not out there like the christians. Our voices need to be heard more. I know it's not for want to trying...and I am not inferring we should be like the christians "in your face" tactics. Don't know the answer.

Jim Lee said...

Hi Just me. You said (Now, I can objectively look at anyone in the Christian community and see how they too are ensnared and don't even realize it.) How true. What a screwed up life they live. Enjoyed what you had to say and I'm pleased you are now free at last even if you still withhold your freedom from you parents. When my wife and I became atheists we told anyone who was prepared to listen. Even today we rubbish Christianity at every available opportunity as Christianity is one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated by mankind. Anyway enjoyed the read.

cdmon said...

Merry Meet, Just me...

Your story sounds somewhat similar to mine. Also there are other Pagans and Wiccans here on this site. So I bid you welcome.

Though I am not Wiccan, only because I do not limit myself to the the Celtic Pantheon. I lean more towards Asatru, but I am ecclectic.

What we have in common is that we agree with the Atheists and Agnostics here about xianity. And we are not trying to sell our beliefs to anyone. For us that is unethical. Most likely why it bothers us so much when xians try to shove their stuff down our throats whether we like it or not.

Anyway I enjoyed your story, and welcome you once again to this site. You will see me ranting here from time to time.

Bright Blessings

freedy said...

Glad you finally shared your story,I too am impressed with your attitude towards those who used your talent for their deluded beliefs.I was a worship leader for 20 years and regret the time and effort I wasted.I hope one day my attitude will be more like yours.
Christian singers@musicians are the most used and abused by the church. While they do alot of work they rarely get paid anything.

ex-pentecostal preacher said...

Just Me,

Welcome to sanity and freedom.
Enjoyed your post very much.
As you well know this is a great place to hang out.

Free at last yes indeed.

Merry Meet,
ex-pentecostal preacher
solitary pagan and loving it.

Bob (Been There, Got the T-Shirt) said...

Hi Just Me,

I would welcome you, but it sounds like you've been here longer than I have. Thanks for posting your story. Congratulations on making it out with your brain intact. I really believe that their crap is child abuse and good job on protecting your children!

MadBuni said...

Hi just me,

I enjoyed your testimony. I am a lot like you. I was born and raised in a mind numbing cult, (that's what I call it) and managed to break away in my early 40s. (57 now) I too studied witchcraft, but eventually became an atheist. My friend told me she heard that wicca is a stepping stone to atheism. I don't know if that is true or not, but it was for me. I am so happy now, and I, like you, do not blame anyone. It is over and done, and harboring grudges gets you nowhere. I do get really pissed at people for assuming things about atheists instead of getting to know the person behind the label. I hope someday religion, christianity, the god myth, will be a thing of the past, something children study in history or literature class and say "how could anyone believe such crazy things." Anyway, I am happy you found the voice of reason, and got yourself free.

cdmon said...

Freedy said: "Christian singers@musicians are the most used and abused by the church."

This is so true, I used to play piano or organ for services, and I would be expected to perform for weddings and such as well. Oft times using my resources to get to the church which was about a 30 mile round trip. While the parties had to pay for the use of the sanctuary and for the minister, I didn't receive squat for these, or for playing during services.

I too would be expected to arrange music for pageants, plays and direct the choir or small ensembles.

It was a thankless job, and when I stepped down, the music program came to naught.

After that I recieved calls begging me to come back. By that time I was finished with xianity as a whole.

So, freedy I know exactly where you are coming from. I became a lounge lizard after that for several years, and then opened a recording studio and mastering lab... thus the name cdmon.

btw, all the xian clients I had in my studio were the worst and the most flaky.

Cheers

freedy said...

Cdmon,I was finishing up a "ccr" cd when I deconverted, I didn't
even bother to complete it....
What a waste!!!

nanabanana said...

Reading comments on abuse triggered a memory. Years ago...within the last 20 anyway...I heard this guy on radio who was promoting his book. It was on religious abuse. That was a lightbulb moment for me using that term. He was so right on.

Just me said...

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. I look forward to sharing interesting comments here while giving and receiving the support we all need at times. I have noticed there are a few "brainy" people on this list and enjoy learning a lot from each of you.

Just Me

Dave8 said...

My wife and I sang in a music group, at a local baptist church. The pastor at the time was trying to appease the fundy early service and the liberal afternoon service, by getting people who could sing the old stuff and the newer age stuff. We had a choir that was very good at both.

However, there was a board member who wanted the fundies out of the church, and he was a voting member on the churches' finance committee. So, he jacked the choir, by voting to prohibit them from singing to both services, and then voted to bring in an out of town music crew for little to know money to sing new age music. He succeeded in running off the fundies, and the pastor, by using the music members as pawns in his little game.

My wife loves to sing, and the only part of church she found comfort in was the music portion, after that little political charade it wasn't hard to convince her that the business of church is not to provide a place for people to worship. It was for a few people to vote on how the rest of the church was to worship, what the upcoming message would be for the upcoming week, and how to expand the business.

Music is more powerful than the sermon most "all" times. The pastors know this and use music to their political advantage. Those who have ever been musicians in church, know the politics; from a pastor choosing who gets to sing solo parts in the choir, to the bringing in out of town singing groups to create competition within the church.

The fundies typically don't get into the music wars, they want the same songs, every week without change. They typically don't go out as much looking for diversity and newer blood, its all about their families.

The more liberal go out looking for newer music, they enter competition into the church but along with competition comes control, manipulation and power struggles.

The fundies are unwilling to change and see everything dichotomously, i.e., black and white which creates the saved and the unsaved in society mentality. The liberal christians want to have "everybody" in their church, because they see church as a business.

Today, one gets to sing old gospel hymns in a fundy church with less fear of political maneuvering, or to sing in a liberal church where they get to sing a wider variety of songs, but at the expense of having to deal with more rabid church politics. In either case, the singer/musician doesn't typically get the choice of singing the songs that give them peace. The singers/musicians are controlled in both religious environments.

If anyone has ever gone to a mormon church, it is extremely traditional/fundy, no new age music, nothing but vocals and piano/organ accompaniment. All one needs to do to see if a church is fundy or liberally alinged, is to look at sunday music programs. Then you also know the typical political environment as well.

The pastors, etc., typically justify their strict control from either side of the spectrum by saying, that the music ministry is nothing but the "extension" of the pulpit, and the pastor is the quarterback. I find it humorous, that the one part of religion that could actually mean something to so many people, is strangled by those who want to "hold" the "spotlight", the charismatic religions leaders. Its all a power struggle, the game is just different along the spectrum.

Dave8 said...

Hello, Just Me, good to see you on the site. Thanks for your testimony, the church you grew up in, reminds me of the one my wifes' famnily currently goes to. Hope things are getting easier, time allows us to clear our minds of the pollution we are exposed to in our lives. Hope each day gets clearer for you, take care, and hope to see you around.

freeman said...

Hello JUST ME,

The AWAKENING is a wonderful feeling! Good for you.

I liked when you said, "I began to look at my children and see that I was setting the same trap for them that was set for me".

I could not agree more. My wife, an agnostic, thinks it wrong of me to tell our children that the bible is nothing but tales. She thinks that because we are a dominant christian country and literally all the children in their school are christians that I am setting them up for ridicule for being non-believers. I think it best that our children do not have to go through what we went through. Even if we allowed them the belief of jesus and the hope of salvation with a hint of skepticism, I could never forgive myself if they accidentally went on to become a fundie!

My youngest daughter, (9yrs old) does at times get into arguments about the bible. (Every year my two daughters spend 2 weeks with my parents who are catholic. My mother gave them bibles for children and my youngest took it hook, line and sinker. Not anymore!) She takes it hard when people call her names. She is sensitive. I told her, at this age, you should not discuss religion. Those christian children do not know what they believe much less why they believe it! Chloe, my youngest, does get it. She has the reason and logic at the tender age of 9 that more than half the adults I know wished they could possess! My oldest daughter is 11 yrs old and is very popular but keeps quite on the subject. That is until her best friend, a brainwashed fundie child, brought up the subject of the Pledge. Katy, my oldest, let her have it by explaining the history of the Pledge of Allegiance. Her friend was distraught because she had been taught that this is one nation under god! She went to the teacher and asked about the Pledge. She was rather disappointed that she was wrong. They are still best friends and the subject of religion does not come up because I have empowered my daughters with the TRUTH!

Sorry for the rant!

FREEDY said...

I guess if we're going to make a dent in the fundie control over this world,it will be thru our children.After all, isn't that how the churches and mosques do it,
they have lots of kids and then brainwash them ? Three of my 4 kids are deconverted ,but still have to pledge the allegience to the bible and to obey all that's in it. I tell them ,..if you see someone committing adultery,....
.........YOU BETTER STONE THEM!
(they really get a kick out it!)

p.s.they are with their teacher mother / fundie christian school.

MJ said...

Just Me,

Welcome to freedom. Although it looks like you've been there for quite some time now. Enjoyed your post. Look forward to hearing more from you on additional posts. I am so glad you are letting your children choose what they want to believe. That's the way it should be! Well, nice to meet ya!

Just Me said...

Freeman said: ..."at this age, you should not discuss religion."

I quite agree Freeman. My son (age 12) has actually been asked by a fundy student to settle a dispute between himself and an atheist student about the existence of god. My son told him, "no way! I'm not getting into that." Although I feel bad for the atheist student being left alone in the argument, from what my son told me, he was holding his own very well anyway having apparently been well educated regarding religion. My son and many other students at his school have been attacked by this fundy student in an attempt to convert them. It has gone to the extent of happening in class and disrupting the learning environment directly. My son asked me what he should do to keep this from happening and I advised him to speak to his counselor. I do everything possible to help my children solve their problems on their own. If no one at the school will listen to him, then I step into the picture. He did seem hesitant because he was afraid that other students would converge on him once they found out he stood up to the problem. I told him that he probably wasn't the only person annoyed by the fundy warrior and most would appreciate him taking action. He did decide to talk with the counselor, however didn't have to because another "Christian" student beat him to it. The counselor spoke with the fundy pain and also contacted his parents. I am glad that the parents were contacted because of course they are the source of the problem. As far as I have heard, there hasn't been anymore problems with the poor deluded child brainwashed by his parents.

I have also in the past made my presence known to the faculty. Apparently a student spoke over the intercom requesting other students to pray for the "endangered pledge" having "under god" removed. I contacted the principal annonymously statint that as a concerned parent I wanted to be assured that students with the opposite opinion would be allowed the same opportunity to speak about supporting the removal if they wished to do so. I received an email in response that all students would be given the opportunity to speak. My main purpose was to make sure they faculty new that not all students/parents at their school were supportive of "under god." I think they needed a wake up call, especially here in the good ole south.

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