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Introductory Testimony


Guest IvyLane
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Guest IvyLane

I've been reading for a couple days and I'd really like to join in (if I can continue to figure out the format, it's considerably different than any I've used before!)

 

I figure this is where I start and introduce myself! Be careful, I write long rambling stories!

 

I guess I should start with the backdrop to my fundy upbringing.

 

Dad: His father died young, his mother was a horribly abusive fundy. Dad was supposed to be a preacher. Due to Viet-Nam, he joined the Marines instead.

 

Mom: Gets a little harder to explain. Her father disappeared. Her mother slid further and further into mental illness. Even had Bi-Polar Disorder been truly understood in the 50's, there was little that could be done about it. When my Mom was about 7, her grandfather drove the 4 girls from the tiny town in Illinois to St. Louis, sat in front of the ---- Christian Children's Home, put his head on the steering wheel and cried like a baby. Then he gathered up the 4 sisters and took them inside. My Mom spent the rest of her childhood and adolescence there. Institutions being what they are, her needs were met, but she does not remember a single hug. What she did get was church. All the time. Everyday. My Mom was one of those sweet children that totally believed that if she was just good enough, god would take care of her. She was thoroughly indoctrinated. When she graduated High School, she had two choices. She could join the Army, or she could accept a "compassionate" scholarship to a Bible College. She went to Bible College. Where someone introduced her to his cousin, home on leave from Viet-Nam. My parents, two good Christian kids, got engaged. (The fact that the wedding was moved up by 3 months and my birth came 7 months later was a fact that was ignored. LOL)

 

So...here I am. Child of two young kids, both of whom have been abused and terrified into submission by the Christian Church. My Dad had experienced so much in the war (He'd spent 3 tours as a "forward observer" under constant fire. No one else he knew survived). He credited god with his survival, while at the same time, had obvious difficulties. He suppressed these with tremendous force. My story about my fundy parent is no different than any other. I call it "parenting by terrorism". Oddly, he had difficulties with Sundays. Every Sunday before church, he raged about anything, everything. By the time we arrived (always late) in our pew, at least 2 of us had been crying that morning. Including my Mom. If that's not telling about his inner conflict, I don't know what is. What was much more insidious than his rages, was his mastery of manipulation and knowledge of the Bible to incite fear.

 

What does make my experience slightly different, is that my Mom, while still terrified by the church and god and all that goes with it, was still the most loving and affectionate and nearly perfect Mom I can ever imagine. Still under the complete sway of my dad and the god thing, but we always knew we were safe with her. Love just exuded from my Mom.

 

I had moved slowly away throughout college. I had become Episcopalian, so close to Catholic, that it pretty much freaked my Dad out. Like most parents though, I think he pretty much considered it a phase. When I had my children baptized Episcopalian, infant baptism being blasphemous to him, he disapproved, but I know he figured that damage could be undone by immersion later. I spent those years resisting the urge to throw my religion in his face. I could feel how badly I wanted to hurt him with it, but to be perfectly honest, he could still manipulate me to the point of total terror of god and "end times" at the drop of a hat. So I kept my peace. Besides, he wasn't the WORST father in history, he had a few good points. He was a hard man to love, but there was some love there. He was my father, you know?

 

We never went to church. We liked to sleep in on Sundays. We still considered ourselves Christian and Episcopalian, and felt some guilt about the fact that our kids didn't even really understand the most basic tenants of Christianity, but we never really did anything about it. Life sort of went on. When my father abandoned and divorced my Mom after 30 years of verbal and emotional abuse, the fallout was significant, but life still churned on as usual for my faith. Or so I thought. We moved again - to Seattle this time.

 

Then my father was diagnosed with tongue cancer. After the doctors met with him and gave him his treatment plan, his response was "That's not acceptable." Instead, he went to Tijuana and gave the last of his money to some quack who told him these herbs would cure his cancer, and then he went to church. The same church to which we'd always "belonged" to. No one in the church ever called my Mom. But my Dad showed up with his "bimbo" and the preacher married them, right there in the church. He told his children after the fact. Oddly, our church had never been a faith healing church, so I'm not really sure what his point in that was, other than to walk into another one would have incited god's wrath in his mind I guess.

 

Obviously, the herbal tea didn't work. My Dad was dying. Only he didn't believe it. Everyone else knew it. Every time he'd get worse, he'd call his "herbal doctor" who would say "Oh...don't worry...it'll get worse before it gets better!" But, he was dying. We had plane tickets for the family on stand-by. We knew it was a matter of time.

 

On 9/11/2001, my phone rang early in the morning. I knew it was my uncle calling to report that either he was dead or even closer and that I should come home. It wasn't. It was my Mom, who works for a major airline. She was very upset and said immediately, "I'm in Baltimore. I'm on the ground. I'm OK. It wasn't our airline. But you need to turn on the TV."

 

On 9/13/2001 my father died. I was in Seattle. He was in Oklahoma. Our plane tickets were worthless, there were no planes flying, and wouldn't be for another week.

 

My first clue was the thought in my head, that I only voiced to my husband twice. Both times, my loving husband, believing I was only being practical and self-sacrificing, dismissed it. What if I just didn't go? What if I just didn't go?

 

We got in the car. For those of you that have never made that kind of drive, it's three, long, full 16 hour days. We got there. Being a stay-at-home Mom for 10 years at that point, who had gained a few over the years, my closet consisted of jeans and the like, a few evening gowns from some corporate events of my husband's, and my wedding dress. Nothing appropriate for a funeral. The first time I actually voiced it out loud, we were in JCPenney's, looking for something for me to wear. My Mom, my sister and I. And I said in response to something my Mom said, "I'm not sure I even believe in God anymore." My Mom looked, frankly terrified. She begged me not to say things like that.

 

The funeral was a disaster. The people who sat with "the family" right next to us, in the church of our childhood, didn't even know who we were. It was the family of his new wife of 9 months. They cried and carried on like it was the tragedy of their life. The preacher that had baptized me did not know who I was. My mother, his wife of 30 years, was not welcome. It was a military burial and they gave the f***ing flag to HER! His "widow". Not my mother who had waited for him to come home, either in a box or not. The cemetery staff were so appalled that they quietly approached my brother, who had served in the Marines as well, and asked if he'd like them to retrieve my Dad's medals for him, which they did. I have had no contact with my paternal family at all, not one of them, since the funeral. They were complicit in the whole thing. My uncle admitted that he knew all along about my Dad's issues, and never said a word in 32 years, not even to the church they'd both attended since birth.

 

My husband took our family home.

 

At first I buried myself in my books for awhile. Then I developed a serious, serious obsession/panic over ELE - extinction level events. It seemed like the Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel and A & E were full of documentaries about what would happen if a comet hit the Earth, if Yellowstone blew, if all the methane in the bottom of the ocean released, global warming.

 

Then one day, I was sitting there, watching another one (It was like a train wreck, I couldn't look away) and they began to discuss some evolutionary point. And suddenly, BAM! I knew. I did not believe anymore. I was like I'd just been smacked in the head. All of my belief, and more importantly, fear of god, had been buried in the coffin with my father! He was the entire and only reason I ever believed in the first place!

 

About a year later, my brother told me the same thing happened to him. My sister still has some kind of odd faith, and I do mean odd. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't really fit the definition of "Christian" either, but I haven't really quizzed her on it.

 

Six years later. My Mom just had to move in with me. She now admits to being agnostic and virulently anti-church of any kind. Which, for her, is a huge, huge leap of faith of it's own kind. It's a beautiful thing to see, her slowly shrugging off the religion that actually raised her, fed her, clothed her and gave her a roof over her head. The obvious difficulties in that are just mind-boggling when you consider it.

 

Of all the people I never thought would have a problem with it, was my very progressive mother-in-law. Boy, was I wrong! LOL. I offended her by visibly flinching when she insisted on a prayer before Thanksgiving dinner - at my own house! She even ended up typing a very long "Case for Christianity" letter to me! It blew my mind, I just did not expect that of her. Hell...with her very extensive library of "new age" Christianity, "A Course in Miracles" and "The Road Less Traveled" and stuff, after 13 years being married to her son, I didn't even realize she actually identified herself as a Christian!

 

I am now down to really only one person in my life who thinks I still need to be "led back to the flock", but she's is secure enough in her own faith to never say much to me, ever. Once, when I was having a manic attack, she tried, probably because she thought god could calm me down (she may perhaps believe that demons cause my bi-polar disorder, but I don't think she's that far gone. I hope. LOL) But, it was an e-mail, and I just simply never replied.

 

My husband still claims his faith. A wobbly sort of unsure variety, but he still says it's there. But he supports me 100%, and I can't ask for more than that!

 

Wow! that was long! If you've stuck with me this far, you're a hero!

 

Thanks for letting me hang around. Finding this place is like finding an oasis in a desert!

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It's good to have you here, Ivy--yes, I read the whole thing.

 

The details are different, of course, but the whole fundy "parenting by terrorism" thing is oh, so familiar. I'm glad to hear that not only you, but other members of your family are breaking free of that legacy.

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Guest IvyLane

The details are different, of course, but the whole fundy "parenting by terrorism" thing is oh, so familiar. I'm glad to hear that not only you, but other members of your family are breaking free of that legacy.

 

 

It makes me giggle with glee, truthfully!

 

My MIL was visiting recently. She told that old, old knock-knock joke to my kids:

 

Knock-knock

who's there?

John

John who?

(dips and in water and flicks toward subject)

John the Baptist!

 

I nearly peed myself laughing at the faces of my children. It never occured to her that they had never heard of John the Baptist, and she fully expected a laugh. She was of course, met with resounding silence and blank looks. Good stuff!

 

BTW - where should I post a request for help with documentation for a protest against a song my children's public elementary school performed? I need some actual sources to quote about the lack of historical evidence for the Exodus.

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BTW - where should I post a request for help with documentation for a protest against a song my children's public elementary school performed? I need some actual sources to quote about the lack of historical evidence for the Exodus.

Hey there IvyLane and welcome to the forums. This subject sounds like it might go well in "Rants and Replies."

 

I read your story and somehow it made me smile. You sound free.

 

Again welcome. I hope you enjoy your stay here.

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Welcome, IvyLane. I too read your whole testimony, and I can certaily relate, especially to the BANG! of realizing that there was no longer a basis to believe. Congratulations to you on your acceptance of that, and I wish you peace and happiness in your participation in the site.

 

And just an added note about your post re: evidence for the exodus. There isn't any. Even many conservative jewish historians now are suggesting that the exodus is a folk tale, without any credible historical or archaelogical evidence to support it.

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Welcome to the site! :wave:

 

It's sad to see yet another story of that good old fashioned Xian tradition of terrorizing little children into accepting Xianity. Add unto that the propaganda that, if they're good enough, God will look out for them. Talk about a set up for greater and unecessary pain later in life, when Jebus fails to deliver no matter how many prayers are said.

 

It is little wonder I, and many people here, find Xianity to be a thoroughly disgusting and iredeemable religion - truly devil-worship of the highest caliber :angry:

 

But, I am glad that you are free, and happy to be rid of Jebus. Things will only get better from here, now that that millstone around your neck is gone :)

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Guest IvyLane

And just an added note about your post re: evidence for the exodus. There isn't any. Even many conservative jewish historians now are suggesting that the exodus is a folk tale, without any credible historical or archaelogical evidence to support it.

 

 

No, no! LOL - you misunderstand me. I know all that - I need to be able to cite reliable sources for that. I need to write a letter of protest to the school board that my children's elementary school is teaching the Exodus story as a FACT of Egyptian history for their school program. Can you imagine!? These people are supposed to be educated!

 

I won't even discuss the part where the little girls who studied Japan showed up in Geisha make-up. Including my daughter.

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I've been reading for a couple days and I'd really like to join in (if I can continue to figure out the format, it's considerably different than any I've used before!)

 

...

 

Thanks for letting me hang around. Finding this place is like finding an oasis in a desert!

 

It's really frightening how church congregations, no matter how they profess to love their fellow man and have high morals, go into severe damage control mode when they are challenged.

 

My father was a Lutheran minister for many years, and both he and my mother were deeply involved in the church. When I was 19, it came out that my dad had been having an affair. With one of the women who sometimes volunteered at the church (who was also married). During a time when my mom had been sick.

 

It will come as no surprise to you that it is my mother who was shunned by the congregation - close friends that she had had for years would no longer speak with her, and the church ralied around my father. So, not only did my mother lose her marriage, she also lost the bulk of her support system (a few people left that congregation because of the incident and supported my mother, but they were very few in number).

 

My father was removed from his post by the synod (not the church elders), and they also arranged a reasonable outcome around splitting my father's pension.

 

I've come to believe that "man of the cloth" == "holy" is so deep into people's mindset that they simply refuse to believe anything that contradicts it.

 

I was already an atheist at that point - I went to a christian college but hadn't been to a service the entire year (perhaps I went to christmas services when I went home, but I do love to sing...) - so it didn't spur my beliefs, except to suggest to me just how poorly behaved religious people can be.

 

There is a bit of cosmic justice in all this. My dad has had alzheimer's for the past 10 years or so, and my mother - who certainly would have faithfully stood by his side through whatever - has been able to lead her own life.

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