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How Strong Was The Leadership At Your Church?


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My church was pretty big, so the leadership didn't really have an impact on me at all. I mean, I felt guilty about deceiving my youth group leaders since they were always really nice. But when I was going through my big questioning upheaval, I had one meeting with my pastor where we talked about several points I brought up, he gave me some books to read, and that was pretty much it! Other than that, I don't think anyone even noticed since I stopped going to church when I left for college.

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I don't think anyone even noticed since I stopped going to church when I left for college.

 

Ah yes, an easy out. Nothing like a bit of geographic distance to keep 'em safely away.

 

I take it your parents weren't in that congregation as well?

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I grew up among cultish Evangelicals and when I left home at 19 I went to the Episcopal Church, where I became a lay minister. During that time as a lay minister, I did a lot of study on various religions and also got a BS in psychology. Basically I was a low person on the totem pole concerning leadership, but I was helping in keeping others in their delusion. Then I left because it wasn't helping me mentally or physically. I've pretty much covered the whole spectrum- from one extreme to the other and none of them agree on everything and all play on the psychic.

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"Inept" is the only word that really comes to mind when looking back on it. The remaining elders, as well as the majority of the deacons, are all hick morons. I remember one time where they decided to not hire a new preacher that was trying out because his wife mentioned him having to increase his fiber intake because he was having problems with constipation, which apparently offended one of the elders' wives.

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to be honest my church still has no idea ive changed XD. My church is big and its quite intimidating being in a hard out pentacostal church and telling them I think they are wrong.

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I've got an idea for a poll, maybe you've done it before.

 

I think you should ask how people became a christian in the first place. I have a theory about what kinds of answers we would get. I think that the vast majority of people on this site were raised christian. I have a harder time imagining people coming to this site after they converted to Christianity in mid-life. Those people usually seem to have good reasons, they were not forced into it. Whether their reasons are right or wrong, I think those people would be more likely to stay Christians their whole lives.

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o ya, and to address this particular poll, the leadership in my church makes it very hard to leave. They are involved in many aspects of your life. They have you join youth groups, small groups, accountability groups, I even found out that a person who I thought approached me for friendship was really 'sent' to me by the pastor, after he learned that I was doubting so many things.

 

Ya..I was pretty turned off by that.

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I've got an idea for a poll, maybe you've done it before.

 

I think you should ask how people became a christian in the first place. I have a theory about what kinds of answers we would get. I think that the vast majority of people on this site were raised christian. I have a harder time imagining people coming to this site after they converted to Christianity in mid-life. Those people usually seem to have good reasons, they were not forced into it. Whether their reasons are right or wrong, I think those people would be more likely to stay Christians their whole lives.

 

I was raised pretty much without religion. I got roped in as a 15 year old. Even the churches knew that youth are more likely to fall for it than adults. So I imagine most such converts would be like me.

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Like MaggieMae, I pretty much stopped going to church when I moved out of the house. It was easy because I moved far, far away from everyone. Plus, who has time to give up 25% of their weekend when the house needs cleaning, dammit!

 

When I moved back closer to family many moons later, I went to church again for two reasons: (1) to keep up appearances and (2) because I truly was still a Christian so I didn't find it hypocritical to go to church. That didn't last long and I haven't been back since. Parents still go to the same church as always and they act like they believe I go to church somewhere else. Whatever floats their boat. I know that they know I don't go, and I think it's funny that they pretend to believe my lies about going. Well, maybe it's not funny, but it keeps the family harmony going. I love them dearly and need the harmony. (Yes, I am a flawed human being and proud of it.)

 

When I answered the poll, I thought more about the leadership when I was a teenager since that is when I was the "strongest" Christian. I went to a very fundie church, but the pastor really didn't have control over everyone. Oh, he tried, and he was very charismatic (personally, not rolling in the floor) but people are going to what people are going to do, ya know?

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I've got an idea for a poll, maybe you've done it before.

 

I think you should ask how people became a christian in the first place. I have a theory about what kinds of answers we would get. I think that the vast majority of people on this site were raised christian. I have a harder time imagining people coming to this site after they converted to Christianity in mid-life. Those people usually seem to have good reasons, they were not forced into it. Whether their reasons are right or wrong, I think those people would be more likely to stay Christians their whole lives.

 

I like this idea for a poll. I was "saved" at 4 years of age. Sigh.

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Like MaggieMae, I pretty much stopped going to church when I moved out of the house. It was easy because I moved far, far away from everyone. Plus, who has time to give up 25% of their weekend when the house needs cleaning, dammit!

 

When I moved back closer to family many moons later, I went to church again for two reasons: (1) to keep up appearances and (2) because I truly was still a Christian so I didn't find it hypocritical to go to church. That didn't last long and I haven't been back since. Parents still go to the same church as always and they act like they believe I go to church somewhere else. Whatever floats their boat. I know that they know I don't go, and I think it's funny that they pretend to believe my lies about going. Well, maybe it's not funny, but it keeps the family harmony going. I love them dearly and need the harmony. (Yes, I am a flawed human being and proud of it.)

 

When I answered the poll, I thought more about the leadership when I was a teenager since that is when I was the "strongest" Christian. I went to a very fundie church, but the pastor really didn't have control over everyone. Oh, he tried, and he was very charismatic (personally, not rolling in the floor) but people are going to what people are going to do, ya know?

 

 

Whoah, interesting. I'm facing the same thing right now, as far as 'family harmony' goes. I told my parents outright I didn't want to be a Christian anymore, now they just think I'm a 'weak christian.' I've been having thoughts of putting up a front of Christianity for them too, just because I also desire that family harmony that you're talking about. Then again, I don't really know if I want to lie to them like that. Its a hard decision. Why don't you try telling them the truth (that you don't go to church) and see what they say? (hehe, you can be my experiment, since I don't want to do it yet :P)

You say they pretend to believe your lies, how do you know that? Why tell lies if you think they know you're lying? Or do you just want to believe that they know the truth about you, even though they don't, so you don't feel so bad about lying to them?

 

I'm not attacking you lol, trust me, I'm just trying to figure out what's going on in your head, cause I'm trying to face the same exact problem!!!

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I was in the Mormon Church, but only for the last two years of high school (1976-1978). The leadership was actually quite approachable and pleasant. I might have had a different opinion if I had stayed into adulthood. When I first stopped going to church no one tried to make me come back, this did surprise me. However they did start asking my parents about me about 18 months later. By this time I had accepted I was gay, accepted myself as an atheist, and was living with my first partner 300 miles away. My parents were starting to get annoyed (They were not Mormons) at the calls and told me about them. I contacted the church authorities and told them about “my new life.” They immediately called for a church court proceeding and invited me to defend myself, I declined and I was excommunicated. The people who held the church court proceedings were the same group of men I had known when I was attending. I hold nothing against them. They were actually very nice people who believed in what they were doing. I think their church sucks ass, but as individuals they did care about me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A few weeks after my initial "Oh my____ what if none of this is real?" moment happened, I set up a meeting with my pastor. He was very strict and very much a bully, but while I was under his leadership, I wasn't thinking clearly enough to understand that. I told him I was leaving bible college (he didn't care. He hadn't much liked the place either) and that I didn't know if God was real anymore.

These were his words, as best I remember:

 

"Ok, look. You can come in here and tell me what you want me to know and I can tell you something I think will help, but let's just cut to the chase: what horrible, nasty sin are you involved in?"

 

I was shocked. Where did that come from??? I stammered, through tears "Umm, nothing I can think of. Unless it's a sin that I don't really like God right now."

 

I was a mess, crying and humiliated that the first thing he assumed is that I had become an alcoholic whore or something. It got worse from there. Then he ended by telling me I was going to be okay.

 

That was...3 years ago and we haven't had a conversation since.

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I lived in Pentecostal Hell of the Assemblies of God flavor, and the church leadership was rather strong, especially in the children's and youth groups, but in reality, even they could only do so much. They had more power among their cliques of "True Believers"--those they deemed worthy of being in the Inner Circle. As for the rest of the congregation, the leaders were strict, but they could only do so much. It was a tiny group of leadership versus about two to four hundred people, depending on which month it was--the closer we got to major holidays, the more people came. But even then, the leaders couldn't quite enforce it with the congregation at large the way the did with the Inner Circle.

 

After a while, it seemed that even my parents had given up on me as a "lost cause". Once that was declared, the Inner Circle and at one point, even the youth pastor herself decided that they wanted me to come back. But even after a few months of pursuits and false promises, they backed off.

 

Because there was only so much they could do with the bulk of the congregation. Those who either weren't worthy of, or weren't interested in, being part of the Inner Circle (At the time, I was in both categories), why, no one cared. So it was relatively easy for me to slip through and quietly leave.

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