Jump to content

Leaving Pentecostalism


Guest aexapo

Recommended Posts

Guest aexapo

I was raised in one of the most rabid forms of Christianity, which is probably more Borg than it is Christian -- the Pentecostals. They come in all shapes and sizes, and since classic Pentecostalism has earned a bad reputation over the past century, their ministers are ever so clever in "revamping" their image, changing their names and organizational affiliations to screw the public over.

 

People who would never step foot in a known "holy roller" church are being conned into attending Family Worship Centers and Community Christian Centers around the country. While you'll not always find the preacher to be a card-carrying member of the Assemblies of God, or the United Pentecostal Church -- these places are Pentecostal/Charismatic nonetheless. Only after they've been emotionally overwhelmed and financially swindled do they realize, "Oops, I've been conned again!"

 

My own journey was from one of these "Oneness" Pentecostal churches of the United Pentecostal variety. Being a "rule-follower" by genetic conditioning, I had absolutely no problems with the faith of my birth, and believed every word. I would also get depressed and feel personally traumatized when other people would leave our church, or decide it "wasn't real." For me, it was simple -- follow the rules, and go to heaven.

 

Then, a wonderful thing happened -- I hit puberty. While all the boys in my peer group started chasing their opposite gender counterparts, I was beginning to realize that I wasn't -- and even worse, I was attracted to guys. At the time, this horrified me -- my former religion has no place for gays, and condemns them all to hell -- accept for those who "repent" and change their ways.

 

Well, I had nothing to repent over -- so I tried to change my "attractions" by praying, fasting, and trying to convince God to make it all better -- none of that worked. I was then convinced I was "possessed," but no amount of prayer fixed that either. Occasionally, I would convince myself that I was straight and tried to imagine myself in sexual situations with a female of my age, imagining what life would be like getting married and having children. Invariably, these forced daydreams would have me ending up in bed with another male -- it just wasn't working.

 

Still, I felt that "their way" was the absolute truth of the universe, and I fell into deep depressions constantly. My spiritual walk wasn't solving any of my problems, it only made my attractions more intense. I often considered suicide, but never had the courage to go through with it.

 

Eventually, I went to college to learn a living -- and something magical did happen! Through the exposure to liberal thought and rational thinking I realized that it wasn't me with the problem -- only with the religion I had allowed to do my thinking for me. I dumped religion rather quickly after a year or two of college.

 

When I was finally out on my own, I started wandering back to spirituality -- I studied the different traditions of Christianity and other world religions. I felt that perhaps I had given up on Christianity too soon, and began to study some of the more liberal traditions of that faith. While they all said things that were soothing to me, I had also found many instances in the Bible where it was not only blatantly homophobic, but sexist as well, pro-slavery, and even pro-genicide. I also realized that the Bible had been written to be plainly understood -- not to be deciphered like a metaphorical ouija board.

 

At that moment -- I realized that the whole thing was bunk -- the creation of ignorant minds trying to understand the world around them, and to control the local population. So, I'm glad I'm gay! If I hadn't been, I never would have questioned the "truth," and would still be speaking in tongues!

 

http://thebluereport.blogspot.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

aexapo

 

Thanks for your story. You have found a great place at the internet, where there is a lot to learn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome aexapo, greetings from Germany. ;)

 

If I may ask... does your handle mean anything special? :scratch:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for sharing your story and increasing my own understanding of what appears to be one of the very scariest flavors of xtianity.

 

It must have been very difficult for you to escape. You have found the right place for healing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum aexapo.

 

Your story was like reading a bit of my own history. Check out my anti-testimony about 13 posts below yours. (I Broke Free – Again)

 

Welcome aboard. :woohoo:

 

IBF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum aexapo!! :)

Thanks so much for sharing your Anti-T

I too come from the Mind-control Pentecostals (The Assembly of God Sect. )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome Aexapo,

 

May we have many and pleasant discussions, live long and prosper...

 

(Well you started it with the Borgs!)

 

At that moment -- I realized that the whole thing was bunk -- the creation of ignorant minds trying to understand the world around them, and to control the local population.  So, I'm glad I'm gay!  If I hadn't been, I never would have questioned the "truth," and would still be speaking in tongues!

 

So true, we humans we're just trying to understand ourselfs.

 

Funny thing about the speaking in tongues, I can do it still!

 

The teaching I got was that, if you leave, the spirit will leave, and you can't speak in tongues anymore! So I guess HG didn't leave or he was never there!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Peyton

Hey aexapo. Great testimony. My Mum was involved with the Pentecostals when she was a young woman and she has told me how notoriously difficult it was to extricate herself from it all. I know she still carries the scars and especially the guilt and she's in her seventies now! Like me, she now terms herself an Agnostic. Welcome to Ex-C. I look forward to seeing you around. All the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest aexapo
Welcome aexapo, greetings from Germany. ;)

 

If I may ask... does your handle mean anything special?  :scratch:

 

An ex-apostolic, "Apostolic" being the term that Oneness Pentecostals like to refer themselves as.

 

Thanks for all the kind words! You'll be seeing more of me around here. I'm technically an atheist-leaning agnostic -- if that makes any sense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very happy to see you here, aexapo. I'm particularly glad to feel the healthy tone of your posts, particularly since you were in such a virulent strain of Christianity, and had such a deep "sinful nature" issue with which to come to grips. Clearly, you've done your work and come through to health and a good attitude.

 

Enjoy the forums and have fun.

 

Loren

Link to comment
Share on other sites

welcome aexapo!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome aexaop,

 

Great story...I can relate. I had a similar experience (see my story "sittin on the dock of the bay" in the old forum, 3/05). You sound like you've gotten over alot of the wacko-ness of it all. Congrats!

 

Funny how my church (Conservative Baptist) questioned whether pentacostals were even christian. The CB dogma seemed to become more accepting of it into the late 1970s, but really very little agreement. You'd think the holy ghost would have been guiding all of those christians with a bit more consistency... (ha!)

 

Curtdude

San Francisco

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the boards, and thanks for your anti-testimony. You have to wonder how many people deconvert because Christianity has no place for gays and lesbians. Not that you didn't find the Bible to be bunk, but that your reason for even questioning was that you are gay. I have met many like you here and elsewhere.

 

I am bi but didn't realize it until after I deconverted, although I always looked at women and thought of them as beautiful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest aexapo
Welcome to the boards, and thanks for your anti-testimony. You have to wonder how many people deconvert because Christianity has no place for gays and lesbians. Not that you didn't find the Bible to be bunk, but that your reason for even questioning was that you are gay. I have met many like you here and elsewhere.

 

I am bi but didn't realize it until after I deconverted, although I always looked at women and thought of them as beautiful.

 

I think that if you're gay, and any sort of "fundacostal," you have few choices: 1) buy into it, and hate and supress yourself -- which leads to two sub-choices: a) blame your problems on the devil and descend into a vortex of self-hate, or b ) kill yourself; 2) re-interpret your faith so that it doesn't apply to you (go figure); or 3) question everything around you.

 

And I don't think gay pentecostals really have all those choices, either. Unless they are fundamentally curious about the world around them, generally only #1 appears real to them: killing yourself figuratively or literally.

 

It's sad, brutal -- and I still don't know how I made it out in one piece . . . I know sooo many who've chosen 1-a, and wonder about a few who chose 1-b (but asking them is no longer an option). I also wonder how I made it out without any professional therapy (I did study alot, though -- religion, philosophy, world & church history). After about a decade, the gloom, doom, depression and constant anxiety lifted . . . and I've been sane for about 3-5 years!!! LOL!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey hey hey ...

 

good to see ya!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My other half appears to me to have chosen a combination of 2 and 3.

 

Although he was raised, and still considers himself to be, Pentaholocaustal, his personal beliefs and interpretations to me before I deconverted appear to be more consistant with Universal Unitarianism.

 

I am trying to understand and be supportive, not to turn him into a carbon copy of myself.

 

Our relationship is too unusual for my personal whining to be likely to be of much use to lurkers or other members of ex-C, but I did want to tell you just enough that you might be able to help me help him through some rough times.

 

He is HIV+, but through the years we have come to the conclusion that he has probably always been hetero and that his perception of himself as gay was based on his small stature as a child, pejoratives, and an abusive marriage (Yes, sometimes husbands are abused.) to a female childhood sweetheart he met when he was 14.

 

He is now 37 and has lived with the virus for 13 years. I am 40, relatively asexual, and would be equally content with a gay male best friend as I am with a boyfriend. I just can't stand to see him hurting himself with lies.

 

As if this wasn't an unbelievable enough soap opera facsimile, he is currently helping his insulin-dependant diabetic, new amputee mother to die as peacefully as possible, and between caring for her and working for money to care for her, he is unable to keep up with the unpleasant changes in the United States, where we both live.

 

This is a long distance relationship based primarily on the printed word. I do not want to say anything in my ignorance of Pentacostalism that could hurt him or be misinterpreted.

 

Any assistance you can offer is greatly appreciated.

 

This post is not a prank or a poorly written piece of fiction, it is my life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This post is not a prank or a poorly written piece of fiction, it is my life.

 

There's some serious stuff you write there, and I don't think anyone here takes it for a prank.

 

It can't be easy for him, with his mother sick and all, and it must be hard to find people to get support.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest aexapo
My other half appears to me to have chosen a combination of 2 and 3.

 

Although he was raised, and still considers himself to be, Pentaholocaustal, his personal beliefs and interpretations to me before I deconverted appear to be more consistant with Universal Unitarianism.

 

I am trying to understand and be supportive, not to turn him into a carbon copy of myself.

 

Our relationship is too unusual for my personal whining to be likely to be of much use to lurkers or other members of ex-C, but I did want to tell you just enough that you might be able to help me help him through some rough time s.

 

. . .

 

Any assistance you can offer is greatly appreciated.

 

This post is not a prank or a poorly written piece of fiction, it is my life.

 

 

Some people, because of their past, and their inability to cope efficiently with life stressors (or their particular stressors), need an external "time-out" person, place or thing to "stash" all the garbage they can't deal with. Kinda like that "basement" that Matt Damon kept referring to at the end of "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

 

For some people, especially people that are desperately clinging to some semblance of sanity, to rip this special belief out from under them would be disasterous. I remember trying to deconvert someone along time ago -- and the person's statement seemed to reveal their true distress -- it seemed that "believing" in the great score-keeper kept them from doing a lot of horrible and dangerous things to themselves and others -- that God, or this belief in God -- was the only thing that kept their life in order -- that life would be hopeless otherwise.

 

I believe those statistics -- that the "faithful" commit suicide less -- because of that big dis-incentive. For some, it's just better to leave them in their ignorance.

 

I said all of that, directing none of it toward you or the situation of your sig. other. I really don't know all the details, but it sounds like he's had a real shitty life. If his "faith" isn't causing any additional distress in his life -- just leave the issue alone. It's better when all understand the truth, or at least don't believe "the great lie," but some people "just can't handle the truth."

 

Okay, I'm done with the hollywood references!!! LOL!

 

Did you have any questions particularly about Pentecostalism?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An ex-apostolic, "Apostolic" being the term that Oneness Pentecostals like to refer themselves as.

 

Thanks for clearing that up. :)

 

I'm technically an atheist-leaning agnostic -- if that makes any sense?

 

I think it does make much sense. After all, strictly speaking no one can really know that there absolutely, positively is no Divine force at all at work in this universe. What if there is one that chooses to not interfere? In that sense, I think there's really a bit of agnosticism in every atheist.

 

But of course, specific deity concepts can be proven wrong... as has been done to jehoover countless times. :fdevil:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest vanesa

aexapo,

 

I am glad you found your way out of the Pentecostal church. Xtianity is bullshit and I have been persecuted because of my bi (or is it tri?)sexuality and my gender disphoria. I never was really endoctrined in Xtianity or organized religion like most of the people here were but I have felt its effects too.

 

BTW, I heard that Pentagrams are associated with the devil. The Pentacostal church is usually represented by one. Could it be that Satanism and Xtianity are the same thing?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

aexapo,

 

I am glad you found your way out of the Pentecostal church. Xtianity is bullshit and I have been persecuted because of my bi (or is it tri?)sexuality and my gender disphoria. I never was really endoctrined in Xtianity or organized religion like most of the people here were but I have felt its effects too.

 

BTW, I heard that Pentagrams are associated with the devil. The Pentacostal church is usually represented by one. Could it be that Satanism and Xtianity are the same thing?

 

Trisexual? That's a new one!

 

Men, Women and ....?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you have any questions particularly about Pentecostalism?

 

Yes. Are there any other Pentacostal-specific hot buttons like not wanting my kids to read their horoscopes on the comic page of the newspaper or freaking out over an old set of Tarot cards in my closet? Those were complete surprises to me the last time he was physically in my house. I considered myself a good Baptist who was "growing daily in Christ" at the time and it shocked me that he was shocked by such minor, fun passtimes.

 

He was shy and embarassed when he first told me about speaking in tongues, but it was a beautiful story and I did not think less of him. He also was able to explain to me, with the benefit of distance, why he never wanted to sit next to me at church. It had always hurt me that he didn't, since I saw other couples snuggling and kind of wanted to do the same sort of to tell those self-righteous rich white married people, "See? I'm not gay and I'm not pining over my ex, either! Somebody does think I'm attractive! You people have been wrong about me all these years!"

 

When I attended church it was Southern Baptist. I associated mostly with Pentacostals who didn't call themselves Pentacostals online and always seemed to put my foot in my mouth and offend them without meaning to. The relationships on a human level could never be salvaged after that.

 

Like I said earlier, I don't think Hans really buys into the whole crap, but he's going through way too much to be able to cast it aside today or this week. I'm amazed enough that he accepted my deconversion and didn't try to "win me back to the fold" or "wipe the dirt (me) from his feet". I kind of lost my temper when he was desperately asking his aunt for some help with his mother (he does realize that she is dying) and the aunt just told him he needed to "talk with God".

 

I doubt if my offer to express mail Tylenol 3s from my dental work was actually any better, but at least pain meds have SOME minor practical value and no guilt attached.

 

I do worry about suicide even though he has told me that it's something he would never consider because of how badly it hurt him as a child to know that his Mom was and is sujcidal. I love her dearly, but her death wish is so counterproductive it pisses me off! She would have survived the accident that led to her amputation just fine and lived ten or more productive years if she would just quit doing stupid things and breaking her body! Doesn't she even care how limited his time is and how much of his life she's making him waste? He's sick too! He has very advanced peripheral neuropathy (no myelin on the nerve cells) in his legs, is in constant pain, and shouldn't have to stand for long periods of time, much less deal with the physical rigors of moving a large, bedridden woman around to care for her.

 

Fume fume fume. Rant rant rant. Thank you for letting me bawl; I'm not a mean, insensitive person, that selfish resentment has just been building up for a loooooooooooong time!

 

He was supposed to be out here by now to help me pack boxes and drive the U-Haul across the country and help me pick out a dress for the wedding we were supposed to have on June 27th of this year. Then life happened. I really do need to deal with it, go on, and appreciate the wonderful family I'm lucky enough to have in the here and now which includes a man who knows me for who I am and can still love me in spite of myself.

 

Trisexual? That's a new one!

 

Men, Women and ....?

 

An old one for me, and the meaning might be different now; it used to be a lighthearted self-deprecatory comment meaning "I'll try anything once!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep; real name; if I act creepy towards you because of a name, I apologize.

 

:lmao:

 

His last name starts with an "A" and I used to have a Star Wars joke with him where I'd address postcards to "Han Sa********" to compare him with Han Solo. When I see the new movie on Monday, I'm sure I'll revive it.

 

I also like crossing out his real last name on the Postcard (we're very exhibitionistic) and writing "Scholl" over it to allude to the White Rose Society, but with the Patriot Act II in the works, I've been getting a bit paranoid and writing boring old letters in plain white envelopes instead of conceptual art pieces that make postal workers across North America scratch their heads and wonder, "Who are these weirdos and what could this crazy shit possibly mean?"

 

HE'S the one who got me into making our own postcards out of Tampon boxes and the like and started our li'l competition to find the most disgusting products just so we could use the packaging material to communicate with each other.

 

We're "different". What can I say?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're "different". What can I say?

 

Different is good. Without difference, everyting would just be the same old crap.

:grin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.