Sent in by Michelle R
I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. My parents were pretty devout Catholics and I totally absorbed their faith. During my teen years, I was exposed to charismatic Catholics and burned all my evil rock music records and began listening to Christian rock. I also began realizing that I might be a lesbian and began praying daily that I stop having these evil thoughts and began hating myself that I could not control them.
I attended Franciscan University, a far right charismatic Catholic school in Ohio. I majored in theology, attended daily mass, and explored becoming a nun. Amazingly, all my prayers that I become straight did not work. I even went to a counselor who suggested I wear dresses and put on make up in order to feel more feminine. I only did that for a week or two. Luckily, my younger sister was attending the same school and talked me out of dressing in drag.
Along with the teachings on homosexuality being caused by demons, this school also taught that women should be submissive to men. My parents may have been devout Catholics, but my mother was most definitely not submissive to my father. I had always been raised that women could do whatever they wanted. Luckily, I was never able to internalize the school's teaching (and felt guilty for it).
I went on for my Master of Arts Degree in Theology (such a waste of $$$!). Towards the end of my degree I started seeing through many of the judgmental attitudes of the leaders at the school and began questioning the teachings of the church about homosexuality and feminism.
After I graduated, I moved back to my liberal, northwest town. I sought out the gay and lesbian community and gradually accepted more and more my homosexuality. I stopped going to church and eventually read about and became a Buddhist.
I consider myself an atheistic Buddhist. I am not certain about reincarnation and some of their more esoterical teachings, but I find meditation to be very useful for becoming more self aware and for cultivating compassion.
I have never been happier since I have stopped believing in the Christian worldview. I no longer worry about some invisible person disapproving of every thought and action. I am now responsible for my life and choices. This is the only life I have and I will make the most out of it.
As a p.s: Are there any ex-catholics from Franciscan University out there?