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Lost My Family


R. S. Martin
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No there was no car accident or tornado or anything dramatic like that. So far as I know they're all alive and as well as usual. The problem is that "the usual" means they don't like me. I just didn't know how seriously they disliked me. It's all because I've finally come to some conclusion around my religious beliefs and they hate what they see. There have been very serious problems all my life. I feel this is just the most recent development. I left their church seven years ago. But they somehow or other convinced themselves that I still shared their beliefs. I talked about some of these things in earlier posts but will repeat main ideas here to make a complete story for those who don't remember or never saw them.

 

This latest development started about two months ago with an eye doctor. I went to get my regular eye examination. The doctor rushed through the examination and then started talking religion with me. He ended up trying to convert me to his church. After I got home and realized what he had done I felt violated. He had insisted I give him highly personal information and that is what made me feel violated. I called it spiritual rape. Some people have a serious problem with that term and I think that is why he discharged me. Not just him but the entire clinic has taken me off the books and won't do anything for me anymore.

 

That was quite a disruption in my life in and of itself. I shared it with my one sister expecting to get support like she always does. But not this time. She got all upset because I don't believe what she thought I should. I didn't know that was terribly important to her but apparently it was. I don't remember very well in what order things happened next. I had no idea things weren't as normal. I figured out how to explain things to make her feel better. She always sees my point if I try hard enough to explain and she tries hard enough to understand. Not this time.

 

When I called her back several days later she attacked me for forsaking the faith. We did patch things up before we hung up and I assumed she's going on in life like normal. But that was a month ago. I haven't heard from her since. She called twice on a Sunday morning when she knows I sleep late, to leave a message about a funeral in the church. The last was two weeks ago. Haven't heard a word since then.

 

Tonight it came home to me that the family has decided not to talk to me anymore if I forsake the faith they hold dear. Apparently I as a person am not good enough for them without the right beliefs as defined by them. Makes me wish I'd never been born. This is not the first time I've felt like this. Far from it. Well, in the past it usually took the form of "I wish I were dead/could get killed in a bad car accident." Never been lucky enough for that to happen. The one time I was in an accident I didn't get hurt. Just minor injuries. I must say that was quite a let-down.

 

Just to test how severely this affects me I asked myself if I'd like to kill myself. Not really. The thought of all my internet friends kept me from wanting to end it all. But you guys on whatever forums I've met you, are terribly important to me. I've been saying for a long time that my online friends are my family. My family was still on speaking terms with me all that time but sometimes I wished they would just cut contact because what relationship existed was extremely painful for me. I'd sort of come to terms with things and felt at peace more or less.

 

After that conversation with my sister I just didn't want to talk with any of them anymore but I assumed it's one-way like it always is. They never feel the same about things as I do so I did not expect this feeling of not wanting to talk to be mutual, either.

 

It's so terribly confusing. I don't want the painful relationships but actually having them cut contact without even discussing it--this is really quite a serious blow. I find it hard to concentrate on anything. Yet I have my courses I need to keep up with. I suspect if I called them they would talk to me but who wants to talk with family memebers whose love depends on what I believe in my heart of hearts? It's not like I can just decide to believe the right things to please them. I have to be honest with who I am. And that is what hurts. They reject who I am. They're probably ashamed of even being related to me. Looking good is more important to them than knowing who I am. That just isn't okay in my book.

 

Partly it's a relief knowing I no longer have family obligations. I have been struggling for nearly two years regarding what I would do if my mother died. She has not been well at all but I don't see myself attending her funeral. So far as I am concerned this whole thing is her fault. She has never liked me but pretends to love me sooooo muuucch. It's the most distorted kind of "love" I have ever encountered.

 

Okay so much for this rant. I just want to feel better and get on with life. Past experience tells me that this too shall pass. I won't get my family back but there are alternatives to biological family. I'm single and pretty much alone in the world except for my internet friends and the work-a-day acquaintances. I've lived long enough in this neighbourhood to have developed a few "hi how are you" connections with people at the grocery store and pharmacy. All of these things are important to me.

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Wow, RubySera. That sucks. I totally understand where you're coming from regarding family acceptance. I'm at an advanced level from your current position, though. I realized decades ago that I never HAD a family to lose. Just because two nitwits share sperm and an egg to make you, that doesn't make them necessarily "parents". And just because some other genetic malcontents issued from the same womb as you, that doesn't make them your "siblings."

 

Accident of birth does not make a family. LOVE and caring does. You're not receiving any of that, and neither did I. Which is why I cut my so-called "family" out of my life long ago. Fuck 'em all, I say.

 

I don't attend funerals, weddings, birthdays nor holidays. They're all dead to me already. Do any of them complain about my attitude? Of course not! I told you. They don't love me anyway. So why should they care? They don't even notice my absence. So it all works out for the best. I ignore them, they ignore me. Everybody wins.

 

I say choose your friends wisely and let THEM become your new "family". Sounds as if you don't owe those other losers a damn thing, except maybe a sharp stick in the eye.

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I feel for you. It sucks that people are so fundamentalist that they reject members of their own family for giving up the faith.

 

Friendships are valuable, and I hope you get the opportunity to make new friends from college, work or wherever. Do you still have any christian friends left? Hang in there in the meantime. I know what it's like to go through tough times. You will make it through.

 

best wishes

Andy

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Dear Ruby, I can't think of a pain much worse than rejection by those who should be the closest. But to get back in to the good graces of your family, you would have to lie about what you truly believe. There's nothing to do but go forth a day at a time and be honest with yourself, and eventually you'll adapt and you'll remain strong in yourself. And, who knows, perhaps a reconciliation of sorts can take place. If it does...fine. If not, you haven't lost anything. When I read your post, I thought of a quote from Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.“

 

May peace and contentment be yours...

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Ouch! I don't know what to say, other than that I am truly sorry this happened to you. :(

 

As you're seeing more and more, Christianity is generally a self-centered religion. Anyone outside it is demonized. Unfortunately, many ex-Christians have been in your shoes when it comes to rejection by family members. It is truly regrettable when one's belief system causes them to choose figments over the imagination over their loved ones. :vent:

 

I agree with the poster who advised you to be honest with yourself. You seem to have done a good job in that department so far, from what I've seen of you. Despite this setback, I believe you will come out on top in the end. Just keep at it.

 

Rosa

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I agree with the other posters. Biology does not necessarily a family make. It is relationships that do.

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Many thanks to all who responded. I don't understand my feelings at all. It's almost as if a cancerous part has been cut off from me and now there's just the clean wound that needs to heal. By this I mean that I feel freer and lighter than I have in many months. I actually felt like doing dishes this morning--something I hadn't done for months.

 

I read all your posts at least twice. Been thinking about it. I truly have no role model whatsoever to follow in real life. I know a lot of people who don't go to church and I know some of them feel that relationships should NOT depend on religious belief. But as for anyone who actually stopped believing in God? meaning they had to have believed at one time. Not a one in my family or extended family or anyone I grew up knowing about.

 

I know many people who left a strict conservative church with special religious dress. They helped me through the transition from the horse and buggy church to a modern church. I knew what to expect for that transition. But for this one--I don't know what the feelings and behaviour around this "should" be.

 

My only model for any of this is this forum. I don't think I'd be where I am had it not been for this forum. It helped me solidify my beliefs--gave me courage to play with the idea of not believing. I'm not a philosophy person and I never read any of the great 20th century philosophers like Bertrand Russel. But reading the ideas, feelings, and thoughts regular people expressed on here has been a real help. I just can't believe how much better I feel. I keep wondering if this is the numb stage and if the real heavy pain will come later or if it really is a clean wound that just takes a bit of time to heal.

 

I guess I'll just follow what has brought me here--be true to myself. I don't know what else to do and it's like Piprus said to take it one day at at time and be true to self and others. PLUS I'll be on this forum. :close:

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I'm going through the samething, Ruby Sera. I hate all of my family members with a passion. The only person I hold dear to my heart is my mother, and frankly, I am coming to the conclusion that maybe I need to cut her out of my life too sometimes...

 

I hate all of my brothers, aunts, uncles(except two of them who. coincidentally, one happens to be an Atheist the other a pimp...go figure), nieces, nephews(except one), and etc...

I haven't come out to my family about my none belief in Jesus; but I have opened up about my sexuality and I've ceased being a human being and just an abominable "sinner."

 

In the beginning I could not have imagined a life without my family. Even though they have treated me like shit since I was born(except my mom and dad, thankfully) I always thought I was SUPPOSED to stick around because of that stupid phrase, "blood is thicker than water." Now, as I become stronger and more self aware I realize that I don't need, nor want, the toxicity of these cretins in my orbit.

 

If my brothers died tommorrow I would piss on their graves and then take a dump...There will never be a reconcilliation and I've come to accept that. It is pretty sad that I love my cat more than my family members but I do...

My mother is the perpetual martyr. She is my ally when it is just the two of us. But all it takes is a phone call from them then she starts crying and begging me to repent and etc...

 

Fuck all of them and FUCK Christianity...

 

Well, I guess this was more of a vent than any actual advice, but all of the posts in this thread struck a chord with me.

 

Hopefully, I can make friends with good people who accept me for me. And I HOPE that I make friends who become my surrogate family. Although I hate my biological family I don't want to be alone.

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Family is bound by honor and respect, not by blood. My family did the same thing to me. Not because of faith reasons, but just because they don't really care if I'm there or not.

 

I know how much it hurts. It's some of the worst emotional pain I've ever been through, but I do know it's survivable. I'm doing the same things you are, searching for other connections to other people.

 

You have my sympathies. We're in the same boat.

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Aw man, count me in. :(

 

I've come to the conscious realization just recently that I am not, never was, and never will be anybody that my family really wants (mom in particular, though other family are neglectful in their own ways). It isn't just about religion, it's about everything - religion, spirituality, personality, feelings, habits, the whole sum and more of who I am as a person. It's both tremendously freeing, and tremendously painful - because it's a total rejection by the people who you'd really hope would love you unconditionally.

 

Blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood. If they don't love you, they aren't family. They donated their genetic material and that's it. If their fucking religion is more important to you than they are, that speaks volumes about their own capacity to love (or the lack of capacity).

 

The freeing bit is realizing that if they won't ever approve of you regardless, then you might as well do and be whoever the fuck you want. The sky's the limit.

 

If ya gotta cut ties, do it. If ya gotta create a family of your own, go for it. If the internet is where you start, no worries - it's a starting point. Just hang in there and don't let the bastards get you down.

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Guest Freethinka

As I'm reading all these posts, I feel so sad that so many of you are having/ have had similar experiences with your families rejecting you. I live in the Northeast, and though most ppl are christian, few are fundamentalist christians. My family goes to church, but I am not involved with them on a daily bases, and they don't really push religion. I simply haven’t told them and see no reason to. My husband ( non-practicing catholic ) doesn't know- I used to fear rejection, but don't anymore. We are both skeptics, and the topic of believing in god comes up all the time. People have said to him in regards to skepticism, the fact that there is no scientific no proof of god. He, as a christian, is still rationalizing this. He knows that I have turned away from religion, it's only a matter of time til he asks me point blank if I believe. I think it will be rough, but we will get through it. I am hoping that maybe he too, will ask himself the same questions we did at one point, and will realize the truth. His family are practicing catholics, and it's hard. I REALLY dislike the catholic church and all their bizarre rituals, but his family will never know about me being Atheist. They would never understand and it would cause huge problems. I am impressed that you who have families turn away from you can be so strong. It gives me the hope that my own situations can be resolved too. It also reinforces that we all have GOT to be true to ourselves.

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Thanks, everybody! Is it ever good to know that it's okay not to have contact with family. "Everybody," meaning the people I met in churches after I left my parents' church, would encourage me to stay in contact because family is family and we all need family.

 

You know what? This is about as circular as Christian thinking itself. And it was from Christians I got these messages. I am now living with people (renting rooms in their basement) who understand not to ask about my family relationships. They go to church regularly so I assume they are Christians but we never talk about it. They know I don't go to church but they never talk about it. I feel comfortable with them and am slowly developing a relationship with them. I've been here just over a year. I hope I can stay here forever but life situations may not allow for that. Don't know at this point.

 

For me, the change from the horse and buggy group to mainstream society was so huge that I didn't really see a difference between regular church-goers and nonChristians. But two things make me painfully aware that there is a very distinct and pronounced difference, if not in appearance (that was the difference between the horse and buggy people and mainstream) then in thought and attitude. It's these two things:

 

1. that run-in with that doctor

2. the withdrawal of my family's love

 

LMR, it sounds like you're like me in more than just the family thing. Like me, you've got a double transition to go through just to be who you are. Coming out about sexual orientation is for you like coming out about my education (which the church forbade). And then about beliefs. It truly was an accident for me and I did not plan to "come out" about my beliefs. All I wanted to do was share an experience with my sister. It's okay that you vented, LMR. I've done that, too. There are times (at least for me) when I really want to share and help another person but I end up venting instead. Welcome to the crowd, buddy :close:

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Hey Ruby, here's an internet hug for you. :Love:

 

Sounds like you're getting off on the right foot. Just remember, it's your life, not theirs. Do things you never would've dreamt of if you were still living the lie. Write a book, go to Europe, take some classes - whatever makes you happy.

 

Who knows - maybe someday they'll come around (but I wouldn't hold my breath). :shrug:

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Hey Ruby, here's an internet hug for you. :Love:

 

Sounds like you're getting off on the right foot. Just remember, it's your life, not theirs. Do things you never would've dreamt of if you were still living the lie. Write a book, go to Europe, take some classes - whatever makes you happy.

 

Who knows - maybe someday they'll come around (but I wouldn't hold my breath). :shrug:

 

Thanks!

 

I did get a call from my sister tonight. She was just checking to see if her phone was working so she gave me a call. I asked if she had been trying to get through for a long time and couldn't. I use the telephone line for internet access and I'm on the internet a lot so she could have tried when the line was busy.

 

She said she hadn't. I indicated that I felt she doesn't want to talk with me anymore. She asked if that is why I hadn't called. I said it was.

 

Apparently it had all been a misunderstanding. She is still willing to talk with me but not about religion. She told me that she had been talking with another family member and they discussed that I had not called recently. They thought *I* didn't want to talk with *them* anymore. I think we got that straightened out, now. I'm so glad and I figured I should set the record straight. Thanks for all of your support through this "time of trial."

 

All the same, feelings obviously shifted another notch now that they know that I have "forsaken the faith once delivered to the saints." They would never have thought that I was unwilling to talk with them had it not been for this. When I left their horse and buggy church the more open-minded among them had consoled themselves that I still had the faith. Over time the others had more or less accepted that I as a person had not changed all that much.

 

It seems that the thing they will never get into their heads is that I had been a very tentative Christian all along. I had lived on the hope/promise that when I got older I would understand the stuff that made no sense. When I was a child my mother had promised I would understand when I got older. When I got baptized on confession of faith as a teenager, the preachers promised that when we (candidates for baptism) got older we would understand things we as young adults did not understand. Some of the people who made those promises were no more than forty or fifty years old. They apparently had the insight that was required to understand.

 

I am a few weeks shy of my fiftieth birthday Ten years ago I turned 40. This "wisdom" that they professed never came to me. I refuse to spend the rest of my time on this planet in a meaningless existence on empty hopes and promises all because there might be a wrathful God out there. If God exists, God understands. If God does not exist, then all the more reason to make life worth living while I'm here. Whether or not God exists does not seem terribly important or relevant.

 

My life experience has shown me that being true to my Self turns me into the kind of person Paul and Jesus preached about. It brings forth the "fruits of the spirit," it requires self-denial in that I am obligated to give up my intense desire for approval of those closest to me. It gives rest to my spirit; the yoke is easy and the burden is light--exactly like Jesus said. All difficulties are not removed from life; the difficulties are just easier to bear. Ever hear these concepts before? Sound familiar?

 

Jesus preached these concepts because it is the way life works. It is the way the human psyche operates. Abraham H. Maslow showed with his self-actualization theory what actually happens on the psychological level. His terminology was different but terminology is just that--terminology. The meaning of these terms is what matters. If you call it a rose and I call it a flower, it still smells and looks the same.

 

Maslow called it self-actualization. Jesus called it the kingdom of heaven. Christians call it salvation. So what? Kingdom of heaven, self-actualization, salvation. It all amounts to deep inner peace that results in living a blameless life bearing fruits of the Spirit. As for faith. Talk about finding the courage to step into the abyss hoping one's wings actually work or that there is a safe place to land. I think it requires major amounts more faith to reject the faith that was instilled in our innocent minds than to believe all is well if we accept a religion that has all the answers.

 

I'm trying to "count my blessings." And I am thinking it's a good thing I found out via family how seriously Christians take "right beliefs" rather than with my land lady and her daughter. I have to live with them; moving is not exactly an option at this point. I'll just have to be careful what I share with the Christians whom I want to be friendly with me.

 

I am not living with family and probably never will so long as I can afford to live on my own. They live out in the country and all my work and everything is here in town. I don't drive and probably never will due to low vision. Thus living in town close to a bus route is pretty much a necessity of life for me. Good feelings with the people in whose home I live is also a necessity of life. At least for my emotional welfare. Since they are regular church-goers it might be in my best interests not to discuss faith and religion with them.

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Ruby,

 

I do not have an exceptional set of cute stories to tell, nor anything family-wise that will tug on heartstrings that will "make it all better".

 

Will say that ExC does exist to "Encourage Ex-Christians".

 

We all are here for reasons of our own, not a single thing binds us *all* to the continual return to these pages save that we want to.

 

It is tough in Real Life, especially for those of we who are in the middle and "short end" of our lives, to find that all the things we held dear are now a big ball of nothing.

Family, religious ties, social mores, and anything we took for "granted" (and from often on High) seems to fade in importance when we find it and the live we had with the mentioned is all Grade-A Bullshit..

 

I am a deep water sailor, have spent weeks and often months away from the shores shoved off from. Tend to use a lot of sailing analogies in my thoughts on the new.found.Freedoms we have once we have slipped away from the anchors of religious.dogma.

 

Feel free to chart a course you want to sail to, learn what you need to know, gain the confidence and abilities to be able to tackle the things you'll need.

Find that your life in itself is meaningful and important "just 'cause" you elect to make a difference in what you do.

 

Quite simply? Fuckk'um. All, if they need it.

 

Your life, your direction, your choices.

 

I'll encourage you to do as you feel and desire to find the bearing and direction you need and want to travel.

 

Feel welcome to mingle with this Community of Fellow Travellers. We may not be going the exact direction you are, however we'll sure enjoy the part of the ride we share at this time.

 

kevinFL

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Wow, Ruby and All. I almost wept reading this thread.

 

Why is it that we always think we are the ONLY ones? Pain does that to you, doesn't it?

My relatives haven't liked me for a long time, not even when I was a christian. They are a cult of their own and I always spoke my mind about it, so they hate me.

 

I haven't had a family for years. When I got married, my mother, I was told, threw out the unopened invitation.

 

I guess those of us who are inquisitive enough to see through the lies of religion are also smart enough to see through the hypocrisy of our families, and they hate us for that. That's too bad. We are such great people. :HappyCry:

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I've occasionally lurked on this site for awhile, but this struck a cord of familiarity, so I decided to register and place my first post.

 

Similarly to others on this forum, it's been nearly four years since last contact with my mother (who was my only immediate family member) after she excommunicated, disowned, banished me...pick your term. A zealous born again fundamentalist, my coming out about my not sharing her beliefs threw things over the edge (after a years of saying nothing and allowing a thinly veiled facade where we could pretend that I agreed with her beliefs if we wanted to). Another part of your story that hit home was the part about your mother's distorted "love." Ditto. And in her banishment communique she found her words for it. She said, "I love you, I would die for you, but I don't like you."

 

Happily, I now have my own family, a wife and two children, who I love dearly and who love me, and THAT would never have been possible if I hadn't abandoned the brainwashing of my youth and been willing to cut those apron strings. We couldn't choose our damagingly religious birth families, but thankfully we can go on to cultivate healthier relationships, some of which may become close. My commiseration, encouragement, and well wishes go out to you.

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Now that I'm feeling considerably better, I've more or less come to terms with the situation, I'd like to post some of the gems from this thread that I have not responded to yet, things that I find esp. helpful:

 

From Checkmate:

 

Just because two nitwits share sperm and an egg to make you, that doesn't make them necessarily "parents". And just because some other genetic malcontents issued from the same womb as you, that doesn't make them your "siblings."

 

From Amythest:

 

I agree with the other posters. Biology does not necessarily a family make. It is relationships that do.

 

Somehow, I had to see it spelled out in graphic detail to really believe it. Thank you!

 

From Aqueduct:

I feel for you. It sucks that people are so fundamentalist that they reject members of their own family for giving up the faith.

 

*******

Do you still have any christian friends left? Hang in there in the meantime. I know what it's like to go through tough times. You will make it through.

 

best wishes

Andy

From Piprus:

 

 

Dear Ruby, I can't think of a pain much worse than rejection by those who should be the closest. But to get back in to the good graces of your family, you would have to lie about what you truly believe.

 

From Rosa Mystica :

It is truly regrettable when one's belief system causes them to choose figments over the imagination over their loved ones. :vent:

 

From Kurari:

 

Family is bound by honor and respect, not by blood.

 

From Gwenmead:

 

A

w man, count me in. :(

 

I've come to the conscious realization just recently that I am not, never was, and never will be anybody that my family really wants (mom in particular, though other family are neglectful in their own ways). It isn't just about religion, it's about everything - religion, spirituality, personality, feelings, habits, the whole sum and more of who I am as a person. It's both tremendously freeing, and tremendously painful - because it's a total rejection by the people who you'd really hope would love you unconditionally.

 

Blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood. If they don't love you, they aren't family. They donated their genetic material and that's it. If their fucking religion is more important to you than they are, that speaks volumes about their own capacity to love (or the lack of capacity).

 

The freeing bit is realizing that if they won't ever approve of you regardless, then you might as well do and be whoever the fuck you want. The sky's the limit.

 

If ya gotta cut ties, do it. If ya gotta create a family of your own, go for it. If the internet is where you start, no worries - it's a starting point. Just hang in there and don't let the bastards get you down.

 

From Freethinka:

 

I am impressed that you who have families turn away from you can be so strong. It gives me the hope that my own situations can be resolved too. It also reinforces that we all have GOT to be true to ourselves.

 

From All Gods Fail:

 

Hey Ruby, here's an internet hug for you. :Love:

******************

Who knows - maybe someday they'll come around (but I wouldn't hold my breath). :shrug:

 

In spite of getting a call from my sister and hearing her say she still wants to talk with me, there's something not right about it. Something died. For one thing, when I was talking with her, it never occurred to me to tell her that the real reason I didn't ever call her for all that time was that I felt so badly hurt. Sometimes my brain does that; it shuts out dangerous information so that I can't think to tell the person when we finally do meet. I think that's best. Some of you talk about shutting out family. It's so good to know that decent people can do that and still live with themselves. The way things are shaping up it might happen that we will just drift apart without anyone ever making a hard and fast decision about it. I think that would be ideal, perhaps the least painful.

 

Nivek, I can't find a short little "saying" to cut. Just want to say Thank you for the friendly welcome of the whole post. It warms my heart.

 

From Lorena:

 

I guess those of us who are inquisitive enough to see through the lies of religion are also smart enough to see through the hypocrisy of our families, and they hate us for that. That's too bad. We are such great people. :HappyCry:

 

From ShackledNoMore:

 

We couldn't choose our damagingly religious birth families, but thankfully we can go on to cultivate healthier relationships, some of which may become close.

 

I don't really know what more to say than I've already said. It's so GOOD to know a whole batch of people who make a life outside of family.

 

Looks like the quote boxes aren't working. Don't know what's the matter.

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Glad you're feeling better Ruby...that's what the ol' EX-C.NET is all about.

Every morning begins new opportunities...

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Glad you're feeling better Ruby...that's what the ol' EX-C.NET is all about.

Every morning begins new opportunities...

 

Piprus, thanks for caring.

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I find it so entirely sad that your family rejects you because you dont agree with them spiritually. That irritates me to no end! :(

 

I am hopeful that things will get better for you. and I wish that Christians would not be so cold-hearted. This irritates me to no end!

 

It reminds me of when I was finally going to church... All the other people there acted somewhat afraid of me because I was HONEST about things and I couldnt understand or comprehend how these Jesus loving folks could be so cold!

 

Rest assured that you're not alone, and that if you just stick to your guns and dont give up on life you'll meet some more people and establish better relationships than you could ever have. My dad disowned his family when he was in his early 20's - and has a new family that loves him so. Keep up the fight, dont give up.

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I find it so entirely sad that your family rejects you because you dont agree with them spiritually. That irritates me to no end! :(

 

I am hopeful that things will get better for you. and I wish that Christians would not be so cold-hearted. This irritates me to no end!

 

It reminds me of when I was finally going to church... All the other people there acted somewhat afraid of me because I was HONEST about things and I couldnt understand or comprehend how these Jesus loving folks could be so cold!

 

Rest assured that you're not alone, and that if you just stick to your guns and dont give up on life you'll meet some more people and establish better relationships than you could ever have. My dad disowned his family when he was in his early 20's - and has a new family that loves him so. Keep up the fight, dont give up.

 

Thank you. I think I am best off to accept that they are afraid to talk with me. If I insist on being good friends I will almost have to force them to forsake their beliefs. I think that would be wrong.

 

We are all in our thirties and forties. I'm bumping fifty. I'm the only really adventuresome one when it comes to playing with ideas. In addition, I have many years more education than they do. All of this would make them fearful of being relaxed in any conversation with me when it comes to religion.

 

Since the study of religion is my passion and the focus of my life...well, I'm going to have to accept that this is the price of being true to myself. I do appreciate the caring community I find here, so thanks so much for responding, Velocitychild....

 

I'm looking at your post again. Are saying your dad had to leave his parents and siblings like I had to and has now found a surogate family? That is what I keep hoping but quite a number of years have passed without a good fit. Independently of each other and at different times, there have been a few families who would invite me to family dinners for no explicable reason and just as mysterious drop me. Since I like my computer better than the company of too many people, this is working out fairly well. I have a lot of "online family."

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Family values, huh?

 

What is the decent position to take with people who are so isolated from contemporary society that they have probably never heard the term "family values" and if they did they would probably scorn it because they always take care of their own, whether it's their own children or their parents? It's not that they live on a commune or anything. They buy individual homes like the rest of society. But they socialize strictly with their own religious group. You know what Jesus said about people who don't value the kingdom of heaven above family.

 

I used to think this meant as in my case where I have to forsake family in order to be true to myself. Yet when I look at how "my" people (are they truly mine if they treat me like this) are treating me--and have treated apostates for ages, it takes on a different meaning. That they forced a person out of the faith community is irrelevant and they would probaly deny it if confronted. So far as they are concerned, it's the apostate who is leaving them and this apostate deserves whatever scorn and ridicule can be heaped on him/her. They always tell each other about the egotism, discontentment, insubordination, etc. of the apostate. Whether or not these claims/charges hold water is totally beside the point. I met quite a few of these apostates in the modern Mennonite church and the reasons they gave for leaving were alway good reasons, such as "I wanted my kids to have Sunday school." I am not hereby endorsing anyone's religion; I am saying that wanting Sunday School for one's kids does not equate selfishness and egotism. In other words, the real reasons people leave differ drastically from what they tell each other.

 

A deacon my age told me in a letter, "I would enjoy a university education just as much as you do." I didn't question that because he's very much into intellectual challenges. But he had work that he loved. I didn't. For some reason, not having work that I find satisfying does not count with these people. They prefer to assign it to spiritual deficiency.

 

The way I see it, everybody knew that I was desperately unhappy because I was not allowed a meaningful work inside the community. Everybody knew what I wanted to do with my life. But nobody allowed me to do it. I wanted to be a teacher in the church operated elementary school because that was the only intellectually stimulating work available to women inside the community. For some reason they refused to give me a chance. I think they just wanted me to go away as in a problem we want to go away; they did NOT want me to go away as in leaving their church and community. Well, I am a problem solver. Since no one else helped me find a solution I found my own. And quite naturally they punished me because of the solution I found.

 

However, they do not allow university education. They don't have a specific rule about it so I did not break any rules. But when disapproval is this strong, no rules are required.

 

No obligations for anyone to answer my "big question." Just spilling it out.

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