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  1. TheBluegrassSkeptic

    Josh Duggar Sex Abuse Scandal

    Once again the poster children of the Quiverfull movement are in the spotlight, this time because of admitted molestation of minors. It should be noted, Josh Duggar molested fellow underage family members and possibly church members, while technically a minor himself. Granted, the victims were well under the age of consent. They were also sleeping. But, to make reparations for his crimes that repeatedly occurred over the course of at least 3 years, he helped build a house, received further guidance of sorts from a “role mode”, and promised he would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, do it again. In a statement, Josh Duggar said,”We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling,” the statement said. “I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.” He understands he was on the path to ruin his life. He’s sorry. The victims? “We’ll be praying for everyone involved,” according to patriarch Jim Bob and wife Michelle. After all, according to most Christian faiths, your body belongs to God. What you do with it is your choice, but if you are harmed, God absorbs the hit points and you can continue on being strengthened spiritually from your ordeal. Somebody needs to hold my bra. Seriously. Read more at my blog here... http://thebluegrassskeptic.com/2015/05/23/josh-duggar-sex-abuse-scandal/
  2. TheBluegrassSkeptic

    I'm Tired Of Turning The Other Cheek

    I was taught that you earned respect first by belief, and then by your works. That you must live the example you preach to others, and to fail to do so required public shaming amongst your family and fellow church goers. The stigma of being "that church member" was enormous, so the day I was caught wiping a huge booger on the bottom of our metal flip out chairs, I panicked, running for cover in the bathroom. Now, I was only 8 years old at the time, but my supposed friend Obi, saw me do the disgusting deed and took his soulless ginger ass to Brother Bob, and I could see the serious looks between the two as Obi tattled on me. Seeing the darkly bearded eyes and heavily browed face of my Sunday school teacher searching for me in the crowd, I ducked down, mixing in with the large 50+ crowd of kids that were exiting the room at the end of the Gospel Bill Show. Of course the teacher figured out where I had run and hid, sending in Sister Wanda, our pastor's wife no less, to come pull me out of the bathroom. Serious looks, thin pressed grimacing lips, and a large brown paper towel met me in there when Wanda caught up with me. Of course, Brother Bob spoke with my asshole father, and I got my ass lit up later for embarrassing our family like that. For pity's sake, I was an eight year old! With hay fever! Put the two together and what do you get? An itchy nosed booger picking eight year old girl, not a dastardly sinner that is shaming the entire church and its mission. You wouldn't have been able to tell the difference, though. Still, that event still sticks with me to this day. I learned how quickly perspective is lost when inside the realm of God and His godly halls of worship. I understood the hypocritical application of judging of fellow humans. I also learned a hurtful lesson in religious showmanship. Showmanship was used to gain favor, throwing one's supposed brothers and sisters in Christ under the bus for the smallest smile and acknowledgement from favorite pastors and teachers. I never spoke to Obi again after that day, and I never enjoyed Sunday school again, always in fear the slightest thing I might do would again be reported, earning more social and familial punishments. Trust in my fellow man dwindled sharply that day. Showmanship is a humongous pet peeve of mine, and if I catch even the smallest whiff of it when interacting with someone (even lifelong friends), I feel such an intense disgust I usually excuse myself from the experience. To make oneself appear more appealing by injuring another makes me seethe; I will rant for hours to empty space when I have such encounters. I don't like walking away, it wounds me so deeply I want to verbally abuse, I want to physically repel, I want to rebuke and retaliate with a fiery anger hotter than any damned Hell could possibly cook up. But after awhile of doing that, and for most of my childhood I did lash out in physical anger, I realized there wasn't any satisfaction. I would leave the confrontations exhausted and feeling even more helpless. I would feel so damn defeated because I let myself be so exposed and opened even further to the very judgements I was terrified of. So, I began to learn how to turn the other cheek. How to stare ahead, through the disgusting sacks of shit that wallowed in the brown muddy pig pens of such capitalizing tactics for attention. Yeah, I still harbor a lot of wounding anger. Everyday I find this type of abuse in my daily encounters at work, home, and online. Online I seem to tolerate better because I can kind of see it coming and just exit the conversation before getting a full dose. At work it is a very tough issue. Often, I sit there throwing the mail up into the mail case, listening to some of the more religious members of my coworkers having fun degrading another, speaking extra loudly about something they might have overheard to draw in the supervisor's attention. It's so high school, and I have to be immersed in it. Folks fail to understand that I don't HAVE to ignore their behavior. I don't HAVE to tolerate their cruelties to one another. I don't HAVE to sit by quietly, trying to focus on stupid dental fliers that are too large for the case slot. There is a weird culture evolving in our society, especially out of the religious communities, where there is a misplaced security in the way society is supposed to behave. There is an assumption that anyone who wants to be accepted will tolerate abusive behavior and turn the other cheek. There is an assumption that one's silent dissenting actually means inattention. It's like it is some kind of unspoken rule of etiquette. We can act like dickheads, and because we are all part of the same club (work, church, family, what have you), you aren't going to say anything and be cool with it because we are on the same team, and sometimes team members are going to hurt each other. The whole notion of not having anything nice to say means you should not say anything at all has been projected onto the bystanders and victims who do not agree with a group's behavior. Even members of these abusive groups are unable to step forward and help put a stop to it all, but instead agree they shouldn't say anything in order to be behaving appropriately. You see this in everyday interactions between atheists and the religious, the religious and other religious, and even in government. Well, fuck that. Years of being told I would have bed wetting episodes outed to the church if I didn't stop ruining my sheets every night, being called a christian hypocrite for hours at a time before church because I had not wanted to sit still to have my hair brushed because it hurt, being told by my pastor that my flesh was out of control and was dominating my spirit because I couldn't control my reactions to abusive behavior; these things are why I don't want to sink to the level of those who hurt me. Who turned me into their godly superiors in exchange for praise and acceptance while once again leaving me in the ditches of childhood despair. But I'll be damned if anyone else will use that understanding against me, taking advantage of me, belittle my humanity. No more gaining at my pain. I'm not a personal rag mag for you to look at and find flaws in so that you can feel better about yourself personally. I get tired of turning the other cheek, but lucky for you, I love humanity, and as you once again try to set up my small mistakes as a step ladder to a higher level of arrogant recognition, I will quietly cut the legs out from under you. My psyche, my aura, my "soul", my essence, whatever you want to call it. When you step into it for personal gain, you best understand that unlike the angry and abused child I once was, the landscape of my mind is entirely different. I will help you eat your dust all by your little self. No amount of godly threats, snide remarks of my inability to morally reason, and certainly no amount of accusations of my being arrogant will hinder me from completely fucking with your mind.
  3. TheBluegrassSkeptic

    Desperately Yours, Lucifer

    Today's little blog entry is a deep one. It speaks to the effects of a religious upbringing on children's sexuality, focusing in particular on the children who don't receive the necessary confirmation within their flock and start looking for it anywhere they can. Specifically, I wanted to share a story I'd heard from a close friend who suffered a lot of rejection from her parents and the majority of fellow peers within her church class. It is astounding how she, and several others, shared a very similar fantasy. Along with other incidents of deviant desire in order to somehow provoke a direct response from God or Jesus, they simply sought the confirmation they needed that there was indeed a supreme power in the Universe. And that they would be okay despite the turmoil in their life. I haven't heard from this girl in many, many years. At least twenty-five years I would say, and not a day goes by that I don't think on her experience. She was part of a Pentecostal church, much like myself. Her home life was difficult. On the outside, they looked like an all American family, with a hardworking blue collar father, and her mother was teaching at a school nearby. They had a great house, the daughter had her own room, a nice play set out in the yard, and a dog to play with. Hardships were rare. Now and then the family would pass on going out to eat for their weekly dinner, usually because of an upcoming house project in the budget, but overall, things were beautiful. All the way down to the lovely iris beds that lined the fence next to the sidewalk that followed alongside their two story house in a small county capital in Ohio. Loyal church members for at least a decade at the point of this story's telling. Yes, for intent and purposes, their family was ideal. Like a lot of families, family business stayed in the home and wasn't supposed to be discussed with anyone outside the home. The daughter learned early on that she was a burden. Her father was fickle in his attentions, and her mother was constantly depressed and uninterested in having much to do with her after getting home from teaching a large classroom of children everyday. There were many instances of verbal abuse, and at times, this child would act out, trying to get whatever attention she could at this point. Innately she knew it wasn't natural for her father to reject her like he did, nor for her mother to just lie around the house, showing little interest in what her daughter was doing. Eventually, the verbal abuse became physical. Sexual abuse occurred by the hands of her father as she got older, and the daughter struggled to find anyone she could connect with at her church. She would try to hang out at friends' houses, willing to even massage a parent's feet one time in order to secure permission to stay the night and not have to go back to her own home. She loved staying away from home, being an adopted child for a night elsewhere. This child would do anything the host home asked of her. Washed dishes. Ran errands. Anything, and these homes shared a love for God and firm belief that all things come to those who waited. This daughter of God waited. Having the Bible thrown in her face when she made mistakes. Being told that she didn't love God when she would show signs of stoic resignation as her parents screamed at her when she didn't behave honorably. She began to have doubts. After the abuse started in her home, she wanted to have proof. She started daring God to hurt her. Having already experienced what she thought was God's closeness when she prayed, her reasoning led her to believe that God would physically manifest and speak with her one on one if she committed heinous sins. Surely He would help her be better. She couldn't help herself when it came to lying. She couldn't help herself when she stole her mother's jewelry and destroyed it. Surely He would deprogram all these desperate rituals for attention out of her and help her parents understand she needed help. She knew what the ultimate sins were. She heard it every week in Sunday school. One of the worst things she could do would be to deny his existence, but she didn't feel He wasn't real. This daughter thought He didn't care, and she couldn't believe this was true. Surely not. So she at first began talking out loud to God. Saying how she hated her mother and wanted to kill her. How she wanted to peel the skin off of her while still alive. God didn't calm the rage, and when she said these things, she could visually see these things happening in her mind. She would stare in her dresser mirror for hours, studying her face, and one day she saw something. Her face, while her own, wasn't her. There was a hardness in those eyes. The girl touched the glass, hoping in her deepest thoughts that the creature in the mirror would reach through and grab her. Nothing grabbed her. The glass still felt cool to the touch, smooth and lifeless. There was not another side to the looking glass for her to escape, but she swore to herself that wasn't her looking back in the mirror. She realized a few weeks later that what she was seeing was a demon. This was classic Sunday school demon encounters. They didn't just haunt the invisible dimensions around us, but held onto us. Possessing our flesh. Was this the confirmation she had been waiting on? If she had proof of demons, then that meant proof of God, right? This eleven year old daughter of disdainful Pentecostal parents completely believed she had received a small window into the supernatural world of biblical reality. It wasn't enough though. Everyday she would have a few moments in front of that mirror, and everyday this stranger would stare back at her. Unemotional, cold, calculating. Mimicking her every movement and mouthed words, but watching her, intentions masked in cold observation. What would it take for this girl to bring this thing out into her world and prove once and for all that everything she had been taught in church was real? It wasn't enough to talk to it. The "who are you" and "I see what you really are" statements didn't seem to do anything. The girl thought she felt the environment around her change a bit, similar to what she felt when deep in prayer at church. So, there was some effect, but nothing that triggered an outright reaction from it in the mirror. During this time, sexual abuse took place and she became keenly aware of what her body felt with certain touches, and while secretly exploring her body in the dark at bed time, she would look over at the mirror, wondering. She started to challenge in hushed whispers for the evil thing that would watch her from the mirror to come and attack her. Reflecting on her own experience at the hands of her father, she would try with all her might to summon this thing forward. Demanding it prove itself or she would no longer think it were real. Willing to allow herself to be sexually assaulted in order to receive confirmation that God was real, even if by the hands of his fallen minions. This demand went on for years. YEARS. When she hit fourteen years old, she didn't notice it in the mirror any longer. It had progressed into something that was following her around. Manifesting in the paneling of her room. I remember her room pretty clearly since we spent a lot of time up there together. Her walls were covered with that 70's style dark oak wall paneling, with the rough surface that had the wood grain look to them, and her door to her room was also a wood grain door, but a lighter pine finish. I remember how odd it was going up there to her room. The outside of her door had a little loop and hasp lock on the outside of it. Apparently her dad put it on there to make sure she didn't sneak out when grounded, preventing her from accessing the restroom. Luckily she had figured out how to slip a piece of construction paper through there and pop it out when she needed to really go to the toilet, but then would get in a lot of trouble when it was found undone later on when her dad would let her out. Truly a messed up situation. Regarding the paneling and her door though. She began to see faces watching her in the swirls of the wood grains, one in particular on her door. I remember her talking about this, and looked at the swirl she was talking about. It was spooky and I can see how she thought it looked like a tormented face, but the rest of her experience was disturbing as well. Not only did she see these faces watching her, she would masturbate in front of them demanding they come out and punish her. Prove they were real and that God did mean business when it came to belief and sin. She would cuss at them. Claim they had no power or weren't real. Purposely seeking to provoke a reaction of any type in order to give her conscience ease. Again, for a few years, nothing would come of it, but she wouldn't give up. Convinced they were toying with her, waiting until just the right moment to pop out in front of her and prove their reality by heartlessly torturing her for her grievous behaviors. The time came when everything between her father and mother blew to bits. She was sweet sixteen. She demanded freedom. She demanded respect. She declared she didn't have to put up with their mistreatment anymore and that if they didn't let her move out, she would end her life. They took her to a mere two visits of crisis counseling, and faced with long term therapy costs opted to let her leave the home and venture out on her own. Essentially washing their hands of her and opting to save their marriage instead. It was an amazing triumph for this young woman. And do you know what happened the same night she left that house filled with trauma and haunting demonic influences? All of these behaviors ceased immediately. Her doubts about God's true power had lessened. What changed her? I honestly believe it was the relief of the stress she was enduring. This little girl, since the age of eight, was desperately seeking anything in her life that would give her attention and assurance about how the world truly was that of the Bible. She needed proof that she deserved her suffering. Even if it meant courting Lucifer himself. Once she got out of her parents' home, she had less pressure to seek relief from the conditions she was living under. She had a boyfriend to love, a new place to live without fear of a father hurting her or a mother just standing by while it happened. She had a future in front of her with friends around her that didn't judge her and offered advice outside the normal realm of Pentecostal guidance. I went to the same church as her until she was eleven. I left the church about the same time, and knew several people who suffered the similar struggles with getting confirmation in their beliefs any way possible. Some would try to kill themselves, others did deviant sex acts involving relatives, objects or animals, and one in particular delved into drugs and higher consciousness to seek out God. I never saw her again after she turned sixteen. I talk about this girl so much because she was me. I really don't know who she was when I look back on it now. Seriously, I have zero connection with who that was. Sometimes, I wonder if that hard faced nightmare in my skin that was staring at me from the mirror is the person I am now, only muted due to the then current terror of a life I was living. Maybe it was just my disassociated self making an appearance. I know one thing, I was desperate for proof, willing to be hurt by the baddest of the bad in order to receive it. I was desperately Lucifer's little offering for the taking, and even he wouldn't have me, and for the longest time the reality of the rejection crushed me because it led to a deeper understanding that I wasn't going to accept until I entered my twenties. There is no God, and that is a good thing because now I don't have to tolerate being hurt anymore. There's no Kewpie prize for being a martyr in this world unless you are rich or religious. Count on that.
  4. TheBluegrassSkeptic

    It Pains Me To Tears

    Right now, I am pounding these keys. Pounding them hard. Pounding them like my heart would pound in the wee hours of morning as a child. Pounding these lettered plastic keys like they are bones being turned to dust. And this pounding will not yield much relief or vengeful satisfaction because, as Chaucer put it so simply,"Forbid us something, and that thing we desire." Still, I am slamming away at my Logitech K260 Model keyboard with heated thought. Each slam of the space bar is my mind willing its force towards that which I despise so much for the turmoil and pain I will never get complete closure to. Every time I harshly tap the period key, it is one more moment of emotional wounding tearing through my physical form when all I want to do is banish these things from my daily contemplations of "where to go from here". One would think if relief were surely desired, I would "man up" and move on. Sweep the nasty little shards of broken years under the rug of my stubborn headed skull. Sadly, I am human, and we are known for our lack of follow through in almost anything, depending on our mood that day. Sometimes, I look at this mess I have been cleaning up for the last 35 years, and I wonder if it isn't almost like an addiction. You lock up all the hurt, unresolved conflict, and hopeless hopes, and every now and then, you just have to wallow in them. Boy, am I wallowing tonight. So where did all of this start? Well, I think what started my official filling of the sorrowful bathtub to lounge around in began with a posting by my father this afternoon, but we all know that is probably just what snapped my limits and caused me to unbolt the doors of my pain filled closets. And I say closets, because one couldn't hold all my skeletons. Really though, I think this has been working on me for a couple of weeks now. Earlier in this month, I had posted about my mother giving my eldest son a call after a nearly 3 month hiatus of communication with him altogether, on her part. Then, about a week and a half ago, my father called, inviting my eldest to an event for cleaning up a local waterway. Not too eventful a phonecall. Said he would call him back with the actual day and time, which I told my son shouldn't be a problem either way since his grandfather promised to not make a big deal about his bug phobia this time. Then, just last week, I fielded a call from my youngest boy's father, asking if I had plans for the weekend since my father had called asking to take our child out to a movie or something. I already had plans of course, so I advised to say not this weekend. Now, this was slightly irritating. They have my number, my email address, and my father tries to go around me, and get my ex to cut off my weekend time without me being asked first. Stil, I let it roll off. Today, I get a phonecall from my ex again. My parents called him asking to let me know they had been in a terrible accident, the truck was totalled, and they were on their way by ambulance to the hospital, though they are sure they will be fine. While it is true I could give a shit less their condition, it bothered me my ex was being used as a go between of sorts. I made it clear to my ex that they have not been forbidden to leave me a voicemail or email and that by no means should he feel obligated to be a third party to all of this. He didn't seem to mind since he is currently keeping a foot in their ass to see our son, but he promised he wouldn't try to negotiate any "peace talks". Relieved he understood the boundaries, I hung up. Fast forward to a few hours ago, and my oldest son logs on to FB. Mind you, he is friends with them on there, which I do not mind or care. None of my business is my attitude so long as they communicate to him, about him, and not weed out information about me. I've always told my son to advise nosey folks to go to the source, and if they don't get an answer, tough nuts, it isn't your problem. My kids and I like this arrangement and takes the pressure off of them for the most part. I digress, sorry. So, Sean mentions that Grampy is posting on Granny's FB page, and he shows me a new picture of the cat, something mom baked recently, etc. No big deal until the almost journal like entries pop up. And it pains me to tears that I actually read this one: "As I awoke this morning I found a mess our aging dog had left in the family room. Needless to say it was not solid. I cleaned it up and then used the rug cleaner to take care of the rest of the matter quickly. It was very early at the time and Marquita was in bed and I knew she would awaken from the noise but it had to be done. Three hours later another 'accident' happened and Marquita found it and was not happy about it. While helping her we also talked about what we go through physically at our ages as each of us found bruises on our feet but were clearing up. I said we were very fortunate, that, at our age, we were more well off than others who could not walk or live a more active life in various ways. And I said we still had the joy of God in our hearts. As I went outside to attend to something the Lord spoke to my heart and reminded of how many people are living today without joy, instead prefering to live a life of complaining and hurt. They don't realize they actually 'nurse and nuture' those feelings simply by keeping them in their hearts and thinking about (meditating) and speaking about them daily. It was at that moment that the Lord brought to my attention that we can also give our joy nuturing as well by thinking on what blessings we have and not allowing hurt feelings to overtake our thinking, no matter how those feelings came about. It was something I had not realized before. I had already determined long ago that things like worry, guilt or condemnation from the past or present were not going to rob me of my joy. I was the one, and only I, who could decide what to think and not to think. If you're having trouble living a joyful life and your thoughts seem to center around things that make you feel badly about life then check out what your thoughts are. What you think has a big impact on the way you live. In Proverbs 23: 7 we find 'For as he (man) thinketh in his heart so is he." This passage really hurt me to the core, and elicited such a blinding anger - outrage even - it took everything for me to not call this bastard up. Just typing this has my throat feeling constricted, eyes tight, and shoulders frozen with such pain. I look at this particular part of the message and I just cry with hopeless angst because he will never see what he has done. He applies blind Christian faith tactics to his wrongdoings. I had already determined long ago that things like worry, guilt or condemnation from the past or present were not going to rob me of my joy. I was the one, and only I, who could decide what to think and not to think. How does one get joy by avoiding responsibility for transgression? I have had to look at every single one of my family members over the years, knowing they were well aware of my having stolen money, my impulsive lying, sneaking out of the house, and having the police at their home throughout my childhood and early adulthood. I know these family members have listened to my mother crying about how I nearly drove their marriage into the ground just to get out of that horrible home. And while I stand in front of these relatives who have my complete history of malfeasance, I don't say a word in my defense. I don't cry about what my father did to me, how my mother neglected my mental illness as a child, or how I have struggled and won the fight to control my anger. I realize I go on and on about how I want to clear my name. I want to show that while I am ultimately responsible for who I am, my parents neglected issues that could have resolved long before I reached adulthood and hurt my own family. I don't understand how he cannot understand emotional scars and trauma. He is the product of an abusive childhood, so I know he deals with irrational thoughts, memories that haunt his daily life, and probably nightmares/sleep disturbances. To this day, once or twice a week, I will wake up horrified that I might have wet the bed again. Absolutely horrified, and embarrassed upon waking only to find that it didn't happen. This is an occurrence I cannot seem to get rid of, but after spending the first 12 years of my life wetting the bed, I guess I might not ever get rid of the feelings associated with it. It would be nice if it would stop haunting my sleep though. There's my instant fear and dread when I hear men raise their voices in argument. I still get that queezy feeling in my stomach when in those situations and am shaken for at least half an hour after the incident is over. My job, with angry truck drivers and dispatchers was really starting to take a toll on my every day nerves. So much baggage to sort out in this life, and he gets to go nimbly pimbly along like nothing will bother him because he has decided he won't let his joy be robbed of him. I just cannot believe that because I have these issues, I am "nurturing" these feelings by acknowledging them and confronting them. If I didn't do so, I might still be physically violent. To think, even though he physically, verbally, emotionally, and sexually abused me, he shouldn't let those things bother him. He DESERVES joy, he says. The Lord told him so he said. Well, the "Lord" told me to NOT forgive his self-righteous, self-worshipping, self-serving ass. I don't want him asking me for forgiveness. I wanted him to see what harm he has wrought in my life, see the legacy of abuse he helped to spread through me, and maybe, just maybe, offer some support in getting control. All I have ever been told is that I am a free loader, a joke, a fake, a liar, a failure, a sinner. I realize now he is jealous. Everything he has ever thrown at me has been without any grounds. He says I am a failure. He never finished college, and retired from a shitty machinist job after 30 years with a whole whopping $216/month as a pension, having never earned more than $13/hr. I on the other hand have TWO degrees under my belt, along with multiple certifications and have put my education to use in jobs that I have mostly enjoyed and earned a hell of a lot more at. He says I am a joke. He abused his child on every level possible, and says God spoke to him and encouraged him to be have joy in life. THAT is a joke. I could go on and on. He has no merit, and I know this. It has to be jealousy. I have been in relationships with people I actually LIKE. I do things that make me happy, and despite what he thinks of it, I have a lot of support and appreciation for what I do. My kids can actually approach me now, and I am honest with them when given the chance. He could never say he has any of these things. He is downright psychopathic to think if God is real that he is forgiven and has entrance to Heaven. You cannot repent to this so called God without being genuine of heart and intention. I know this because he would preach this at me every time I screwed up. Same rules apply asshole.
  5. TheBluegrassSkeptic

    Breaking The Cycle Freed My Mind (Reblog)

    **This is a reblog since I have some nosey relatives following me around on the net. Might as well just give it all out there, right?** I have been on a journey of disbelief in religion for my entire life. Over the last six or seven years, I finally reached that final destination of atheism and am confident in who I am and what this means in my life. Getting to that point, has been one hell of a fight of control over my life. Only child, born in the late 70s to a Pentecostal family, I was indoctrinated early on in life. My earliest memories are not without this church. This place of worship was a kind one, filled with a lot of love and enthusiasm. I do not remember a single sermon threatening fire and brimstone, but we only attended until I reached 9 years of age, so I never got anything more than learning right versus wrong and the evils of temptation from Gospel Bill shows. But I had been involved in the church long enough that the motivation to succeed at being a good follower of Christ was already burning within. I remember the day I asked Jesus into my heart. Pastor Jerry was knelt next to me at the pew and leaned over and asked me,”Amanda, do you want the Lord Jesus in your heart?” My mom was standing near by, tears streaming down her face with pride, and naturally, at age five I did not comprehend what it meant to let this guy name Jesus in my heart, but I liked the attention so naturally I said yes. I was baptized a week later. Several months after that a select number of us from Sunday School were gathered in one of the quieter classrooms, and we were taught about speaking in tongues. Then we were encouraged to pray, and feel what god was trying to tell us. Then we were encouraged to vocalize what we were being told. Thus began the recruitment competition for a gifted child in the class. I tried so hard to hear what the Lord was saying. He spoke through my mother all the time. My mother sung in the choir, fervently spoke in tongues when services reached a fevered pitch during the singing and prayer, and was generally an obedient wife. I wanted to be the same naturally. I prayed and prayed. I wanted my chance to be in the light and acknowledged by something positive in my life. I started praying, feeling that desire to know God, or know acceptance in general. I even kick started the process by mumbling under my breath Boom-shaka-laka. It sounded similar to what the adults would say when they prayed so maybe this would put my own tongue on the right track? Needless to say, after about 20 minutes the spotlight landed. But it was on the girl next to me. She actually was crying and speaking in tongues. She had me beat. And so did my father. Ironically, my father was active with the other "brothers", intensely studied the Bible, and believed that Christ would surely come back in 1988. With my mother, they seemingly modeled the picture perfect family. Naturally, the model didn't match the reality. My earliest memories of my father are angry ones. Shouting behind closed doors, hearing various items crash off the sides of the walls, and his general contempt for me and who I was. I ended up being angry and depressed early on. My mother often defended his abusive rages. Needless to say, I continued to wet the bed until a very late age (nearly 12), habitually lied, stole and destroyed items that were special to them out of anger (this started by the age of 5). I was one hot mess, and either received whippings, slaps, punches, threats, and even forced to pack my bags several times over by the age of 8. My parents did not seek true professional help for me though. They would speak with the pastor of the church, or their religious based marriage counselor who tried to explain to me (on only two occasions) that the lying, bed wetting and theft were symptoms of my flesh overruling my spirit. Not very helpful, but pretty much teaching me it was my fault these two adults couldn't maintain their marriage. All this under the pretense of religious duty. We dropped out of church for a year. I am unsure what the falling out with the church was all about, but when they banned my grandfather from seeing me anymore around that same period in time, I overheard the accusation that dad broke away from the church because they wouldn't help with childcare. Either way, we ended up at a new church called Trinity Fellowship. It was in its beginnings and we held services in an elementary school gymnasium on Sundays. Eventually, a new church was built. Good memories during those days. Life wasn't as angry at church. It was a fresh start. That year I was abused sexually by my father as well. Mom was ill and hospital ridden, and dad panicked. Not excusing it, just what it is. I remember him sitting on my bed one of the mornings afterward and apologizing for what he did, and not to tell mom since she was too ill to handle the news. He assured me he would talk to her about it. Naturally that never happened, but at the same time, in a way I wasn't angry at first because it was the first time I received attention from him that didn't involve being threatened, screamed at or hit. This was 1988. Mom eventually got well and came home after a month away. God didn't return, and I remember hearing the screaming and yelling behind closed doors again. Mom trying to pacify this monster of a man and items crashing against the walls again. I remember laying on the couch downstairs, pulling my grandmother's handmade afghan over my head and crying out of fear. Church members eventually showed up and counseled my father, but after that night we randomly attended church. The physical and verbal abuse escalated once again and I behaved even worse. Still no help. By the time I was thirteen and fourteen, I had begun sharing what had been happening to me with friends, but with all the habitual lying I had already been caught at, no one would believe me. You would think they would connect the dots with my behavior right? I had NEVER spoken of being mistreated. I had lied about simple things like attending a concert I hadn't really been too and such. That is when I realized that despite my dad's behavior behind closed doors, the man actually had a sparkling reputation in our town. I couldn't bring him down, or my mother, a first grade teacher of some nearly 20 years at that point. Needless to say, at 16, I ran away with my very first boyfriend and got married. We ended up having two children together in the 3 years we were together off and on. Sadly, the abuse cycle continued with me. During this time I found myself completely rejecting God in my heart, but would still call on Him to help me during times of stress. When I look further back on my life and the things that had an influence on my belief and lack there of, I think the two biggest factors that contributed to my waking up would be the family history of abuse I had to confront, and the fact that since I was 5, I was reading newspapers, keeping involved in world debates and in general educating myself in my free time. I just wish I could have applied it sooner and avoided all the heartache in my life. Needless to say, it all hit a crescendo about 8 years ago. My youngest daughter, at this point 8 years old, and much like myself, experienced abuse by her own father and uncle, add to that my frustration with her misbehavior (bed wetting, lying, theft, violent rages towards her siblings). I couldn't get help from her doctor, the schools wouldn't step up, and I was so poor I couldn't get her help. Add to that my own personal life drama. I was so blind and lost in my own problems that I ended up whipping her with a belt one night and turned her bottom black and blue. It is eery when you suddenly have an epiphany and look back at that moment. It only took 15 minutes after whipping her for my blind eyes to open to the reality of what I had done. I'd become my father. Needless to say, I immediately called my ex-sister inlaw (remarried and divorced again by this time) to come over, along with my newly ex-husband. We went to the hospital to document everything, had the kids go home with her for the night and contact the appropriate authorities. I called my mother, ashamed for what I had done and neglected to do for my daughter. I needed someone to talk to, and since my parents had alienated extended family, they were the only people I had to call. And I was dumbfounded at her reply when I told her what happened. She literally asked me why I would have bothered to get children services involved? That was it. I was finished with God. I realized what a delusion I had really been living under. I was dismayed at how I had neglected to step up and pay attention to what was happening in my home because I was so wrapped up in my own blind search for answers. The last 8 years has been a process of rebuilding my life. Confronting my demons and getting help, not trying to pray them away. I will not show the arrogance of my parents and take the attitude that if God forgives me, then that is enough. I want to make sure that this stops, and stops NOW. I was ordered to only 6 weeks anger management by the court, but I opted to extend that and attended intensive therapy for 3 years. I served time in jail, worked on a reunification program, but realized my life was so unstable I needed to protect my daughters, so they were lovingly adopted by a wonderful family near by. I still have contact with them whenever possible, and overall, their life is stable, safe, and they are getting the right structure they need to be sure that they know what normal is. I never would have accomplished any of this recovery if I had remained with a church. My own father is attending yet another church, but I highly doubt he has confronted what he has done with other church members. I know he has still never admitted the full truth to my mother about what he has done to me sexually, and she was there when he verbally and physically hurt me and did nothing. I hold no hope for her whatsoever. I still get reprimands about how I live in sin and need to find god in my life. And I look at the examples I have personally seen, I look at the transgressions against my own children that I had previously justified under biblical thought, and I refuse to submit to such blind behavior any longer. Sadly, I have been to several different therapy groups and have met many more in my shoes, and I realize I might receive some heavy handed criticism here for my transgressions against my family, but I want others out there who have been victims, and have created victims, to know that you have to take responsibility and step forward out of the haze you are living in.
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