Sent in by SLM
I'm writing this to help me, if it helps someone else that would be great.
I'm not a writer and I have very little formal education, so please look over the mistakes. I joined ex-Christian in August 06. I'll be 50 years old in March. I'm ashamed that it took me so long to open my eyes. Here's my story as briefly as possible.
I was raised in a Pentecostal home. We went to Church of God, Assembly of God, Free holiness, where ever there was shouting and speaking in tongues. My mother was raised Baptist. Her father was a Baptist preacher. She changed to Pentecostal for my Dad. We were very poor when I was a child, (poor white trash) and we lived in rural Alabama. The churches I attended were like those you see in the documentaries about "snake handlers", only we didn't handle snakes. I hated church. As a little child I had people fall on top of me going slain in the Spirit. I used to make fun of people speaking in tongues, shun ditty eye cun ditty eye? They said the same words every time. My Dad played the guitar and preachers loved him because he could really get people stirred up, but when he stopped getting attention at one church we would move to another or he would just backslide for awhile. He had an affair with my Sunday school teacher and we stopped church all together for a while. I got saved and filled with the spirit during a revival at 11 years old. I thought this evangelist was the holiest man I'd ever met until I found out he was screwing both my older sisters and several other women in the church. My oldest sister told on him and he got kicked out of the COG, which some of the women still to this day 40 years later hold against my sister. I still believed. We were not allowed to cut our hair, wear makeup, wear shorts or pants, go to movies, ballgames, etc. My first boyfriend was one of 14 children in a home that the father didn't allow even a TV. 14 kids, I guess they believed in screwing. Anyway, everything good was God, anything bad was Satan. Hell was as real to me as anything I knew. It was pounded into my brain much more than any love of God. I heard preachers many times use scare tactics like God could take someone you love to get you saved.
My Mom and Dad divorced, He left us for another woman. I got married at 14 to an abusive man of 22. After 2 years of beatings I married an agnostic asshole. I started church again and this time I felt I had been called to preach! Of course I thought my husband was Satan, but he was just an asshole. But to get understanding that I couldn't get at home I got very close to the Pastor of my church, we had an affair. After that I quit again, divorced, married him back, divorced married 3 more times. I had 4 kids with 4 different fathers. All turned out to be great in spite of how screwed up I was and still am to some degree. During those years I kept searching. I read Edgar Cayce, hung around with some "new age" folks, believed in reincarnation for a while, meditated, and drank a lot of alcohol. I went to rehab 3 times. My "higher power" failed me. I actually said I didn't believe in God at an aa meeting and almost got my ass whipped by all the sanctimonious drunks there. So I went back to prayer and beating myself up for not being good enough for Gods help. I did quit drinking only after marrying an alcoholic that I'm married to now. He has just started church and God is helping him quit, except for that slip on New Years eve, but God is still working on him. God don't work on holidays I suppose. Sort of like civil service maybe.
My oldest son (27) has been an atheist since high school. He has been gently leading me to the truth and this year it finally hit me. I started reading about the history of Christianity, about the lack of historical evidence of Jesus. What really done it for me was the Apocrypha and finding out that the books of the" inspired" gospels were picked by some priest to go into the book that I had always considered so Holy, and that there were more gospels that were left out, didn't make the cut.
Now its all so clear and I feel foolish, cheated and angry. My father is 77 years old and I can't stand to talk to him because all he talks about is God and how Satan is trying to tear him down. This is not as easy as it would have been if I had de-converted at 20. I'm surrounded by it, married to it, drowning in it. It would be easier if I was still brainwashed. Religion is evil. It has screwed me up and left its scars. But at least now I know the truth and I can never go back to the fantasy. There is and never was a god. No life after death. No hell, no crutch to lean on, no Satan to blame. Just me. I have to hurry up and live before it's all gone.