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The First Time


chosendarkness
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As young as I can remember I;'ve been a part of fundamentalism, The first time was when the monks were sucking each others dicks at the monastery. Then I got into what so many othesr found themselves in, the Charismatics.

 

I'll never forget the simple relaxation feeling their pictures ans prayers gave, that I could never feel comfortable with. I guess I was just destined to never be a cult member.

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My earliest memory of religion was attending a Vacation Bible School in Jonesboro, Arkansas and trying to sing along with some song they were singing. I had no idea what they were doing or what I was doing. It is a totally meaningless memory.

 

A later, but still an early experience, was at the Church of Christ in the town where my grandmother lived. This was pre-K, I think. The sunday school teacher asked me "where do you all go to church?" I said "We don't." All the kids in the class in unison said "Ahmmmmmm!" The classic sound of shaming. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thummb.

 

I had no idea what the hell church was or why it was so important to be there. It is another memory of a meaningless experience that left me feeling ashamed for no reason. I don't think I really knew what church was all about until the age of 14 when somebody finally told me.

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I can't remember with any certainty my first experience with religion...my sister and I were both indoctrinated into fundamentalism from early on. It might have been having to watch Saturday morning cartoons during the 90's...no, not the good ones. We had to watch animated religious crapola. I was so envious of the kids who got to watch Power Rangers.

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My first memory of religion is that my father read a book for me about Jesus. None of us were Christians yet, I was about 5-6. He will convert later when I'm about 10-11 and I will follow at 12.

 

But when I was 5-6 he always read bedtime stories to me and one day we found a book about Jesus and he read it to me. I remember I didn't like it. The story of the crucufixion was too scary to me as well as the animations in the book. To me and to him this was just another story at the time.

 

At the time noone in my family was religious (apart maybe from the mother of my father who was a Catholic, but she never tried to convert anybody), so Christmas to me as a child was about Santa Claus and Easter was about the Easter Bunny, not Jesus.

 

Fast forward to when I was about 11-12. By this time my parents divorced and my father found a new wife - and religion. He found a fundamentalist Christian church and he converted. He's still there until this day. And I was there since the age of 12 until my deconversion. My first memories were that my father's wife went to this church and we were waiting for her in front of it (she converted first and I think at this time my father didn't convert yet, but shortly after this he did). And the first time they took me was in a big building. Mainstream religion here is Catholicism and Calvinism with their dark and cold churches, slow and boring music and sermons, so this charismatic, fundy church felt quite different and "alive" with the music and everything, compared to that and I think that was the hook of it. For me, as well as for my father. I don't think I really thought about it deeply at the time what conversion means. I converted and believed everything they told me and so my 20 years of inner struggle started...

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I was at a fundie's house doing some work, and they had a little boy, maybe 3 years old, and they were playing children's fundie music for him non-stop. Literally they would put the CD on repeat. It was all about old testament stories of God destroying his enemies. They were singing 'we're god's soldiers, we're right, and we'll win against the enemies of God'. That kid is so fucked, I wanted to cry I felt so sorry for him. It was like watching a child being abused.

 

Those monks I was around when I was a little boy ended up in prison for molesting kids. I wasn't molested because I was just visiting with my parents, they would molested the young boys who stayed with them. Then years later they were finally caught and convicted. One was killed in prison, but not before being tortured by the the other inmates.

 

Then in Charismatic church one of the elders was abusing boys, but no one would testify against him and the detective had to drop the case. He tried to molest me but I resisted, then I went to the pastor. The pastor told me they were going to have him step down from his private counseling position. Then a few years later I saw him at a youth group at another church, they knew what he had done in the past, but they believed he was 'healed'. When I looked him in they eyes, there in that room with all those young boys, I knew he wasn't healed. He was on the hunt. The church leaders wouldn't have listened to me. They were convinced of God's power.

 

Predators hide in all kinds of churches, not just catholic. They're safe because the church will not turn them into the police. They follow the bible which says to have the church handle affairs, not the authorities. That's their excuse, the real reason is they don't want their church to be known that way. The leaders are just as guilty as the predators and should be imprisoned as well. But they go free, praising god, knowing how pure and holy Jesus has made them.

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I think when I was about 7, seeing Jesus of Nazareth on t.v., which is around the same time that first I saw Empire Strikes Back in the theatre. Those 2 movies made a big effect on me.

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I was born into it. Looking back I don't even know why my parents believe and go to church. It was never a part of our life at home. We didn't pray at meals, we didn't talk about god. God and church were 1 hour of the week in our lives. In fact my dad doesn't even believe what they preach about, he's very liberal (I'll have to tell him sometime that he was right and I would soften as I grew older). I was more devout when I got into a charismatic Assembly of God church after meeting my wife. I never really bought into the god thing but I tried to so for so long to believe that I gave myself triggers to believe.

 

Here's the real kicker, growing up my dad (who always went to church also) was always critical of religious zealots and talking about the Scopes monkey trials, but I didn't know what he meant and always just brushed it off. I had never seen Inherit the Wind and we never talked about evolution because I learned the gap theory in confirmation classes; evolution was not taught in school. I recently wondered how all that could fly under the radar for so long. After reading the bible I realized how preposterous it is to try and harmonize evolution with the creation story. You can't, one or the other has to give.

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