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An Unextreme Conversion From Xianity


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This is my story, everyone here has been so kind, I feel like I can share something I've never shared with anyone, and hopefully someone else will find comfort in it as well. I am so incredibly grateful to a wonderful friend who pointed me to this site.


One of my earliest memories is of church. Being in the church child care center, I think we called it room 1. There was the most amazing carpet, I realize how silly it sounds now buy as a child I was amazed, really. It had this colorful city seen, complete with streets for cars. Now days you can but this type of carpet, and maybe back then too, but I just adored it. I loved playing with hot wheels cars, especially the garage with the lift. I was not given, or maybe allowed, these sorts of toys at home, probably for various reasons, but I'm sure one of them is because I am female. At that early age, probably 4 or 5, I remember playing more than any of their bible lessons. There are, however, some things that stick out in my mind. There were the felt board stories, which I now associate only with religion. And of course we had to memorize verses from the bible; short verses I found easy to commit to memory if I tried, but I never wanted to. In that room I first started to question religion, I wondered something about Joseph and Mary, but I don't remember exactly what it was, and when I asked (yes my memory is patchy) I was quickly hushed by the Sunday school teacher, the question was answered with complete authority, but it didn't stop me from wondering anything, I just resigned to do so in silence.

Another few years go by, and the forced Sunday school was set in my brain as good. A bus, well a van really, would pick up me and my sisters each Sunday, and promptly bring us home. The bus ride to church would become one of my most repressed painful childhood memories. It was so repressed that it wasn't until years later, when I enrolled my own child there and ran into one of the other church bus riders, that it would come back. Even now it is not completely recovered to me. The bus was driven by an older man, and everyone else was a child, ranging from ages from me, and one or two younger kids, to high school aged kids. I couldn't tell you what has done, or said, but I remember complete and utter humiliation. I know we, my sisters and I, were teased. We were not poor, but we often wore hand-me-down clothes, and hand made clothes. Other things made us different as well, not any more different than any other kids, but for some reason we were the targeted group on the bus.

I must explain something about this church; it is the largest church in a smallish town, in a mostly conservative area of southern California. As an adult I can look back and see that when someone wanted to get into politics, they started attending that church. It was a First Baptist church. My grandmother went there, my father went there, but my mother, raised catholic, never did. Or if she did I don't remember it. My sisters were all older, and there were 4 of us total.

At home, we were made to go every Sunday to church or Sunday school, or both. It was moms only time off, I would cry and say I was sick and didn’t want to go by the 5th grade, but it wasn’t an option for most of my early years. There was no emotion in our house, just even keeled bullshit. Love and sorrow was all but abandoned completely, while rage and anger took their place. We did not cry in my house, we did not tell one another we loved them except in perfunctory good night routines. I never saw my parents show any type of affection, with the exception of one kiss as my dad returned from a business trip. It is possible that more of my childhood is applicable to this story of church, but I will leave the rest to only church related events and memories.

So, I was forced every Sunday, to go to church, until about 6th grade when I was courageous enough to stand up to my mom’s authoritative rein. After I stopped I saw church kids at school and they tormented me there, in various ways. At one time, one of the girls my age acted as if I had committed some crime against god for not attending a magic mountain trip which my parents put a deposit on. I was amazed at her stupidity, and by the fact that a jr. high schooler would even care; it was simply the only tangible thing she could use against me. And being the ever hypocritical Xian she was, she used what she had.

But let me go back to the near beginning…

When I was in the second grade class, I had a teacher, an older woman whom I looked up to and respected. She was stern, and other kids didn’t like her, she was stoic, to the point of almost being cold, yet had a small warmth within her. She probably reminded me of my father. We had are routine bible verses, as usual, but for some reason I did very well. She offered us a prize, it was probably some crappy second hand thing, but I adored it. It was a perfume bottle shaped like a parakeet sitting on a branch. I loved birds, so it got my attention. I put my mind to it and won first prize for memorizing all the required verses, and the extra credit ones. I think that was the point when the other kids (the girls especially) started to hate me for being better than them. It wasn’t until 3rd grade when one of the boys started teasing me so mercilessly that I would cry on the way to and from church, provoking the tormentors on the bus as well. My mom saw this, complained about the lack of supervision on the bus, and they added another older person to the bus, unfortunately, it only made the situation worse. If I remember correctly it was the college aged sibling of one of our tormenters.

Fourth grade was equally horrific, and finally when we should have been flocking to baptism classes at the end of our 5th grade year, I had had enough. I was so upset at one point I left the class room and wandered the halls until Sunday school was over and I could go home. I tried several times to complain to other teachers, and they shrugged it off.

I made good friends with the younger sister-in-law of the youth pastors. And in 6th grade, after I had briefly stopped attending, she convinced me to go back, but it was only on the idea she wanted to see what happened when I went. So there we sat, and of course, after a short time I was being teased and made fun of again. I left again during the class, and my friend came with me. It was almost time for Sunday school to end so we hid until the end. Then, she went to another Sunday school teacher, her college aged sister. She all but said she didn’t give a shit, and I turned to my friend and said it was typical. So she went to her brother-in-law, the head youth pastor, and again got the same response. I still believed at that point I just thought that church was getting it wrong. Also that year, some other interesting things happened in my life. The friend called a phone sex company from her brother-in-laws house, and convinced me to listen in (because it was funny). Yes, 6th grade. And so when the bill came, she pointed the finger at me, and I was left to either tell my parents, or have the youth pastor tell them. Looking back now I should have lied, and I later found out that there was not even a $25 charge on their phone, but it was someone else making long distance calls from there. I picked to tell my mom myself. It was horribly embarrassing (remember I was in 6th grade), and nothing ever came of it, except that. And me learning I should lie to get out of things when it comes to Xian’s.

Also at that same age, another one of my friends’ mothers died in her arms of a grand mal epileptic seizure. I had known her my whole life, she was part of the church, of course, but had never treated me like the other girls. I couldn’t imagine why god would do something like that to her, or to anyone. And my dad kept telling me it was Gods plan. I couldn’t help but think it was a shitty plan.

Also that year, another friend (also involved with the church), was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was in 7th grade, just like me. We were not close friends before that but we knew each other, we were both sort of loners. After her diagnosis, I went to see her as often as my parents would drive me down to her hospital, and my grandmother would go and talk to her and read to her. Her hair all fell out from chemo, and often I was the one holding the puke bucket when she couldn’t hold down her lunch. Once, when things looked particularly grim for her, my dad said on the way home, “I don’t think she’s going to live, and you should start realizing that.” It probably wasn’t that harsh, but that was the point he wanted to make. She was 80 pounds, and everybody, except me, thought she would die. When she was first diagnosed my father had just switched jobs, and since he now had weekends off, and he started going to church again, every Sunday, without fail. They prayed openly about it in church, and her mother, a long time choir member and single mother, started to miss church to stay with her daughter in the hospital. She battled for probably 18 months to two years, and eventually went into remission. She never blamed god, we talked about that a lot, she just accepted that as his plan. What I saw after she was no longer sick was a child so spoiled by being waited on hand and foot in the hospital and at home by relatives who thought she’d die. We stayed friends into high school; she was on a few TV talk shows. She would never be the same person again, understandably, but after she told me the following things, “I wish God would give me cancer again so I could lose weight.” And when talking about a boy she liked, who was a very good friend of mine, she said, “Does he know I had cancer?” I was so amazed, stunned, I started to distance myself from her. She became the most self centered person I know to this day. I later attended her wedding, where one of the older ladies at the church asked why I looked so familiar. I was angry, and I said, “probably because I’ve gone here my entire life, but no one ever cared enough to see me!”

That same friend also attended my wedding, where she caught the bouquet. When I had the baby shower for my first child, she called me and said she didn’t know if she could handle it, I said it was ok if she didn’t come. She had been left unable to have children. I recognized how that would be hard for her, but she showed up, and threw a scene in the middle of the party. How could god plan something so awful, presumably he would have known all it would lead to if what we were taught was correct?

He always told us we should go, not that we must. He never did anything but go to church, no Sunday school, no involvement in the social scene, with the exception of some charity work and funerals. I thought I could make that work, and I started doing that. I listened intently to the sermons and for a while I was ok, adults were good to me, unlike their psycho kids that were off in Sunday school. I got tired of that scene eventually as well. My only 3 friends in the church were gone, one having moved, the other unbearably self centered, and the third, the one whose mother died, was off in military school, presumably because her father was having trouble raising her and her brother. Or maybe because he didn’t want the kids there who reminded him of his wife. He would later briefly date the other girl’s mother, which, when it ended, caused all sorts of drama.


In High school, I was reminded of the hypocrisy of religion when a dear boy-friend of mine told me he was gay, and his church all but shunned him. And someone whom I thought was a good friend (a devote catholic) was the biggest back stabber I’d met at that point in my life. I went with other friends to their churches on an off during junior high school and high school, but never really found a place I liked. No one was warm, no place was welcoming. I still remember the last sermon I went to at my ‘home church’, it addressed riding the coattails of your parent’s religion, and it had a strong impact on me, but I’m sure it was not the one that was intended. The whole idea reminded me of some people’s experiences with bad public school but this was a church, it was Sunday school! In school I had friends, and never had the kind of abuse that came from Sunday school.

I moved out of state for school, generally lived life as though I was not a Xian, but if someone asked I would have said I was. I still felt I was, I just doubted the organization of the church, and the words written in the bible. In my mind it made sense to doubt the Bible, because man had written it, and translated it several times, I thought there were bound to be errors somewhere!

Later in my life, my son was born, he was early, and sick, and I had an emergency c-section delivery. When I was in labor, I had the epidural, and for some reason it just knocked me out, I was paralyzed, but I could hear everything. I thought I was going to die. I heard the doctor asking my husband for his signature on the power of attorney papers. I heard everything that was said, I just couldn’t respond.

Right after he was born we knew something was wrong, he had a heart problem, and there was something wrong with his eyes. The heart was diagnosed within the first couple months, but his vision, which had a much more grim outlook, would take 3 agonizing months to get a diagnosis. After the first doctor visit (of more than 21 in his first 3 months) I called a friend that lived in the same state, the one whose brother-in-law was the youth pastor. She was my only friend there. She turned out not to be home, but I talked to her mom and just broke down. He mom helped me a great deal with a story about my friend (who had very poor vision that was corrected with thick glasses), and she told me to pray. So, I thought, what can it hurt… I prayed. My prayers to a non-existent god of course went unanswered and I was told my son was blind and he would most likely never be able to see again. My whole family prayed for my son, the first grandson for my parents. Why would god not answer those prayers? I still wondered. Why would god choose this path for my life? I had friends tell me I am “just angry with God.” Especially right after he was born.

After a few years I would move back to my home town and eventually wanted to enroll my son in preschool. I didn’t pick my old church’s preschool because I wanted him there, it was because they were the only preschool open minded enough to accept him, with the contingency that we provided a full time aide. We did both and he started school. By this time I was completely disillusioned by religion, and was disgusted with Xians. He attended for about 2 or 3 months, and we were having trouble because our aide was more liked by the children than the teacher, and the teacher wouldn’t even approach him. We had a sit down meeting with the director, and some other staff, and we decided we would keep trying. The director agreed. The next week she asked me what I did on Sundays, I told her I usually did my grocery shopping that day, she suggested I go to the young married couples Sunday school class. I knew there was no way, so one week later when I hadn’t shown up for the class after her engraved invitation she kicked my son out of her school. I wanted to litter their play yard with little strips of paper that said “hypocrites,” but I didn’t. I turned the other cheek, scolded my dad for supporting them still after not only being unethical but horribly unprofessional.

I carried on with my life, being unreligious. Until my last time of ever attending any sort of services at that church, my son was little, and we went to a musical event at that church with my dad, my sister and her son. Halfway through her son got antsy so she left, and she asked if I wanted her to take my son too, I told her yes. About 5 minutes later, she came into the service and told me my son was badly hurt. I ran outside, my son, who was probably 4 at the time, had a huge gash on his head from middle of his forehead almost to his ear. It followed the hair line, luckily. The deacon (I guess that is what they are) instead of calling 911, chose to go get a band-aid. I scooped him up and drove him to the hospital, where he was stitched up, my dad chose to stay until the service was over. I was deeply hurt.

At a mommy-n-me class, for disabled kids, I met a woman who would eventually become one of my best friends. Her son was the same age as mine, he was what the teacher of the class called “very involved.” Meaning she didn’t want to waste her time teaching him. This friend told me in her religion, it was god punishing the sins of the parents to have a disabled child. I couldn’t think of a more disgusting way of handling a parent. She and I would grow very close, and her son eventually passed away, creating the last thing I would question about god. She also talked to me a lot about the randomness of life.

I started reading about the way of the Tao, the writing spoke to me in a way typical religion never did. Harmony and balance became normal for me, and I was able to let go of material possessions. Not that things didn’t have a meaning, but their meaning was something that couldn’t be taken away.

As of today I’m still pondering the idea of a soul, reincarnation if there is one, and some other paranormal ideas. I will read anything with atheism in the title, but I am still afraid to “come out” to anyone but my dearest friends who have known in their own way for years. I also struggle with my dad, being older and ill, and I know it would upset him to know I didn’t believe. Xians have always been the group of people that treated me the worst, I’m sure there is a lot of psychoanalysis about this and a desire to be non-religious. There are other stories that are not mine to tell, which involve my sisters, and some that are only loosely related to religion, but still had a negative impact on me. And of course some are too personal to simply share in an open forum.

My son is the light of my life, he has taught me things I never knew I needed to know about the world. He has a wicked sense of humor. To think of him as a punishment is the cruelest way to think of someone who happens to have a disability.

I feel like I am losing my nerve to post this, so I apologize for any of the errors I didn’t catch. I hope someone else finds this comforting, I believe the biggest comfort I got was writing it. I was never abused or done terribly wrong by religion, but that certainly isn’t a prerequisite for disregarding the false and erroneous teaching of Xianity.

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I really like your story, faults and all. I was immersed into it. As I read, I came to think that your deconversion was like mine in a way, more out of emotional dissatisfaction and personal trauma than anything else. You clearly are involved in other spiritual pursuits that have made your life more fulfilling. There was hypocrisy, hurt feelings and the like in my story, but I just stopped caring. I rarely prayed and read the Bible even less. I have more joy in pursuing intellectual fulfillment like philosophy and mathematics. I also enjoy reading deconversion tales because they inspire me to keep moving forward each day in a world rife with shit be it rooted in religion or any other disparaging concept.


Thank you for relaying your story.


Welcome to the Ex-C.

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Your story is meaningful and definetly worth telling. Im glad you put yourself out there, secrets and all, I know it isnt easy to give such a deep testimony to strangers on the internet. I hope saying all those things has helped bring you a measure of relief, it certainly meant something to me. Dont worry about making any errors I thought your post was eloquent and well written.


Like you I never had to suffer any of the great abuses or crimes of xianity like some of the people here. My torment came more from infidelity of the mind in that I was trapped in a system I found unconsciable, yet not knowing enough to realize I could live a life apart from it.


Not to get all sappy or anything, but people like you give me some hope for this world and the rest of the folks in it.


With that I'd like to extend another welcome to Ex-C and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future. :)

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I read your story with great interest. Your openness and vulnerability touched my heart and I hope that getting it out helped you in some way. My words of encouragement are that many here will read your story and whether they identify with it or not, they will let you know that you're welcome and accepted here. Each of our stories are important. Thank you for sharing yours.


Keep lovin' on your little man! You're absolutely correct... he's a gift.

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Guest Challenger

Very touching, very stirring. You have a lot to offer. It's nice that you're here. It's great that you've added your voice.


It's good to know you. Take care.

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The first thing that struck me with your story was how disturbing this whole thing has been to you.

I'm sorry for the issues you have been through with christianity. I appreciate that you trusted a

group on the internet to relate your story to. We're a supportive group and welcome you to our little


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