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Growing Up As A Baptist, Fundamentalist, King James Bible Believer


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I found this site a couple of months ago. I have enjoyed reading many of the testimonies of others and have been browsing other sections as well. I glad a place like this exists. I got a little carried away when writing this, so I apologize if it’s too long to read.

 

 

I was brought up in a fundamentalist Baptist home, and was taught the ways of Jesus from infancy. I recently heard an old tape recording of myself when I was two years old where I said that I loved God and mentioned how Jesus saved us from going to hell. I was always in church when the doors were open. I began attending a Christian school in kindergarten and graduated from the same school. I never attended a public school.

 

I trusted Jesus as my savior when I was five years old in a kindergarten class. I spent many nights as a child in bed, afraid, and praying to God to save me [from hell], because even though I had been “saved”, I never felt sure that I was “saved”. I never really felt anything. How did one truly know that they had been “saved”? I was given I John 5:13 which states “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. “ This did not give me much comfort. How did I know that I truly believed? What if I had doubt? I didn’t choose to have doubt. I wanted more than anything to believe, to not have doubt, and to feel assured that I was going to heaven.

 

I always said I was going to be a preacher when I grew up. I never thought that God had called me to preach, but I admired the men that preached. They had the attention and admiration of others, and seemed to possess a lot of power. When I was in the sixth grade, I gave a brief sermon in our Wednesday chapel service. I was very nervous. On the following Sunday, the pastor of the church which operated the school, mentioned that I had spoken in Wednesday chapel, that I looked like a preacher (with my tie and sports coat), and he believed I was a preacher. To make a long story short, I never surrendered myself to the ministry.

 

When I was fourteen, we began attending another church. We attended this same church for a short time in the past, but under a different pastor. This church had many young people, and many who were very devout and zealous. Most of the teenagers sang in the youth choir, many went out door-to-door witnessing (or soul-winning, as we called it), and several of the young men were “preacher boys”. I sang in the youth choir, played the organ during service, and attended other events throughout the year, such as youth camp. Many would find this church a bit fanatical. They engaged in street preaching, shouting and running the aisles (on occasion), and many of the members cars were covered in scripture bumper stickers.

 

It was around the age of sixteen that I began reading and studying the Bible seriously. Our specific brand of Baptist believed the King James Bible was the pure words of God, so I read from many authors who were King James only-ist. One author I was really drawn to was Dr. Peter Ruckman. His followers are often called Ruckmanites and can almost seem cult-like at times. Dr. Ruckman is a highly intelligent man who claims to have read the Bible over 200 times and in addition reads one book a day. I think I found his material appealing because he would point out things about the Bible that seemed to be supernatural (such as coincidences with numbering systems), which helped relieve me of my doubt.

 

I studied manuscript evidence, dispensationalism, creationism, etc. At one point in my life, I was spending several hours a day reading the Bible. I read the New Testament through in a week, and the entire Bible in a month, and I’m not a particularly fast reader. I also spent some time debating others in college and online about creationism and Christianity. Often when having these debates, I would think that I didn’t even believe myself what I was trying to convince others to believe. I always had doubt. Deep down I knew what I was saying was a myth. The more I doubted, the more I tried to get closer to God. I spent more time reading the Bible, but this brought on more doubt since I could not reconcile the actions of God with what I believed to be morally right. Although I studied theologians’ explanations for the unscientific passages and contradictions, and often used them when debating with others, I could not truly accept these explanations myself. The explanations were wishful thinking and obviously not the author‘s intent. I tried spending more time in prayer. This only brought on more doubt, as I always felt alone when praying, and prayers would often go unanswered. I heard others speak about how they felt God’s presence. I never felt anything.

 

I met the lady who is now my wife when I was 19. She did not have much of a religious background. I guess you could say her family was Christmas and Easter Catholics. We began attending church together at a new small church, and I played the piano. My wife showed interest in church and the Bible, but never announced being “saved”. I assumed that she was “saved”, and never questioned her about it. We got married when we were both 20 years old. Although we were young, this is not something that I regret. She has been wonderful, and I doubt I could ever find someone I’m as compatible with as her. I finished school in 2007. Me and my wife moved 150 miles away so I could begin a new employment position I had been offered. We were both 21 years old

 

We visited many churches in our new location, but never found one that we really felt comfortable in. I was still trying to pursue a relationship with God, spending time studying the Bible and praying. Doubts continued to increase. When I would attend a service, I would wonder if the preacher really believed what he was saying, and if he did, how could he? I had tried my hardest to believe, to have faith, but it never seemed like reality. I always felt detached. I also wondered how we knew that our religion was the correct one. Even more specifically, how did we know that our denomination and sub-denomination was right? Sure, we had answers. We could answer every question a Methodist, Church of Christ, etc. could ask, but someone well-studied in their particular brand of Christianity could also respond to our questions in the same fashion. There is no proving whose beliefs are right, and whose are wrong. I wondered if we were just a product of our environment. Were we just lucky because we were born in a country where Christianity is very prevalent, and even luckier to find the one true denomination of Christianity? If I had been born in an Islamic country, would I have been able to find the light of Christianity? Possibly, but the odds would be highly stacked against me. Is that fair? These were all questions circling in my head. I always kept these questions to myself. I never shared my doubts with anyone.

 

In 2008, I began to read more materials from non-Christian authors. I began studying evolution from evolutionary biologist, as opposed to reading only creationist authors. After all, how much can you know about a subject if you only study it from the opposing view? I began reading the writings of Dawkins and Hitchens, as well as websites such as Talk Origins. I seriously began to question my beliefs. In was in late 2008 that I began to reject my former beliefs. I accepted that I no longer believed in Christianity, and hadn’t for some time. My wife and I began attending church very little, mostly when we were in town visiting family, which occurred about once a month. I never told my wife or anyone else about my feelings until December 2008. I was having dinner with my best friend, who is like a brother to me. He was also a devout Christian at one time, but a year or so prior had turned away. I asked him if he still considered himself a Christian, and he said “no”. I continued to tell him how I felt. We discussed the matter for a while. It was nice to be able to talk to someone about it. It was almost three years later before I told anyone else.

 

There were several instances in the following couple of years where I tried to get back to God. I missed church family. I wanted to believe in an afterlife. I wanted to believe there was more to life than what there is. I hated the thought of dying and fading into nothingness, but this did not change what I knew to be true. All of these episodes were short-lived, generally a month or less, before I would come to my senses and embrace reality. I still hadn’t told my wife about these feelings, partly because I thought I might still discover the Christian God to be true, and partly because I didn’t want to shatter any faith that she had. I was also unsure how she would respond.

 

2011 was a much better year. I began to deal with the issues of living a life void of my previous religion. I began to accept that we all have limited time to live. I began to worry less about what others thought. For once, I was taking control of my own life. I realized that any time I wondered back toward Christianity, it was not because of reason, but because of fear and emptiness. I embraced the truth. I looked back on who I was when I was a Christian and knew that I could never be that person again, nor did I want to be. My wife and I were lying on a beach one night in August. While looking up at the stars, I told her about how I could no longer accept Christianity to be true. To my relief, she told me that she never really believed, anyways. She just went along with it to make me happy. I felt much better after sharing this with my wife, and wondered why I waited so long to say it.

 

I haven’t shared any of this with my parents or family, and dread the thought of doing so. I’m not sure there’s anything worse I could tell them than that this. My parents will be in tears. It will break their hearts. They will find a way to blame themselves. My mother’s niece was questioning her Christian beliefs while attending college and my mother told her sister it was because they didn’t attend church regularly when she was growing up. In my mother’s eyes, it was because she had not been raised properly. I suppose I can’t keep it from them forever. It forces my wife to lie, and will create quite a web if we have children. I also don’t like pretending to be someone else when I’m around my family. I love them very much, and have no anger towards them for raising me the way they did. They did what they thought to be right, and I have much respect for them. The thought of revealing myself to them makes me feel sick, and I don’t see myself approaching the subject with them in the near future.

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Great Testimony! I will say even though my wife and I are Ex-Cs we tell our friends but not our parents. We live 10 hours away so it makes it easier, but I think my mother knows. She asked me to attend church with her this last visit over x-mas and I told her I would be too tired from the trip to get up and go. I think it dissappointed her, and maybe affirmed her suspicions of my non-belief. She will still continue to send me bibles in the mail and cards with prayers on them I'm sure. Having a wife who believes the same and supports you is the best feeling there is. I was truly lucky to find a woman who is as compatable to me as she is, much as you have described about your relationship.

 

In the beggining of your testimony you said that you never felt or thought that you were "saved" because of doubts. Thats the beauty of the evil which is religion. They tell you that you are saved but then they instill doubt and fear in you to keep you comming back. Fear is Christianitys greatest tool and thats why its so successful. If you ask me, thats no way to live!

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Thanks for sharing your story with us. How lucky you are to have your wife by your side who can support you. I know the feeling of dread that comes when you think of telling your parents. I'm going through that as well; having to hide your new self because you don't want to see someone you love hurting so much... It's hard valuing truth so much, yet having to hide it from everyone.

 

Welcome to the site!

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Great post, thanks for sharing.

 

I especially liked this part

 

I began to accept that we all have limited time to live. I began to worry less about what others thought. For once, I was taking control of my own life.
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Thanks for your replies.

 

Great Testimony! I will say even though my wife and I are Ex-Cs we tell our friends but not our parents. We live 10 hours away so it makes it easier, but I think my mother knows. She asked me to attend church with her this last visit over x-mas and I told her I would be too tired from the trip to get up and go. I think it dissappointed her, and maybe affirmed her suspicions of my non-belief. She will still continue to send me bibles in the mail and cards with prayers on them I'm sure. Having a wife who believes the same and supports you is the best feeling there is. I was truly lucky to find a woman who is as compatable to me as she is, much as you have described about your relationship.

 

Moving away turned out to be a great thing for us. We're only a three hour drive away, but I imagine things would be much more difficult if we still lived in our hometown.

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2011 was a much better year. I began to deal with the issues of living a life void of my previous religion. I began to accept that we all have limited time to live. I began to worry less about what others thought. For once, I was taking control of my own life. I realized that any time I wondered back toward Christianity, it was not because of reason, but because of fear and emptiness. I embraced the truth. I looked back on who I was when I was a Christian and knew that I could never be that person again, nor did I want to be.

 

Hello Unbound. Thanks for sharing your story. I especially loved this paragraph. I'm happy for you that you have come to this place. I am coming to the same place in my own life right now. It's a good feeling, isn't it?

 

I'm also happy for you that things went so well with telling your wife. My husband and I are on the same page, too and I feel SO fortunate for that.

 

Hope you can stick around and enjoy the forums!

 

2H

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Welcome to the forums. I congratulate you on seeing through it at age 25!

 

Many of us with a similar background took much longer. Watch out for black and white thinking.

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Welcome to ex-C, Unbound! By the way, I love that username. I share the sentiment. It's disturbing to reflect on how a fundamentalist version of Christianity can wrap up a person's life and keep them from the outside world. I also went to a Christian school from the start through high school graduation and then a Christian university. Luckily, there were some more liberal-thinking professors at the uni whose views helped get me started on the path of reason and skepticism. It still took me some time, like in your case, before I would seek out books by non-Christians.

 

Whatever decision you take on telling your parents and other family members, I'm glad to hear that you have a skeptical spouse and best friend who can support you.

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I went to a KJO IFB church, some of my friends even went to Ruckman's Bible Institute so I can imagine how hard the deconversion process must've been. Congrats on finding your way out and welcome to the forums :)

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Welcome Unbound! Great testimony and it's got to be a huge relief that not only does your wife support you, but she never really believed either. It just goes to show the truth really does set you free. I'm sure you'll tell your parents when you think the time is right.

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I always had doubt. Deep down I knew what I was saying was a myth. The more I doubted, the more I tried to get closer to God.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Doubts continued to increase. When I would attend a service, I would wonder if the preacher really believed what he was saying, and if he did, how could he? I had tried my hardest to believe, to have faith, but it never seemed like reality. I always felt detached.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I haven’t shared any of this with my parents or family, and dread the thought of doing so. It will break their hearts.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I also don’t like pretending to be someone else when I’m around my family. I love them very much, and have no anger towards them for raising me the way they did. They did what they thought to be right, and I have much respect for them.

Wow, Unbound. Thank you for sharing your story!! And I love your screen name!

 

I can really relate to your doubt. I remember having these nagging thoughts that I just couldn't shake, some of which you mentioned also. I would "press in" to God and try to get rid of those little doubts but I was like the princess and the pea: it was always there. Argh! So frustrating and mostly, it was terrifying.

 

My family doesn't know either. I, like you, am not angry at my folks--they did what they thought was best, even though I have paid dearly for it in all facets of my life (they don't know any of that either). I don't plan to tell my husband's family EVER because I don't want them to be heart broken and spending the last of their days on their knees (I'm not exaggerating...). It's just not worth it. I think that I am bicultural enough to be able to focus on the concrete things they say and not have to lie at all. (I read an atheist book that explained, among other things, how to converse with fundies, if you can believe it.) If I am asked point blank about my "walk" I plan to say that I'm currently residing in the wilderness (I won't tell them how much I love it smile.png ) and that I'm sorting some stuff out right now. If they take a prayer request, I'll say "Pray for clarity and that I will know Truth" or "Pray that God will show me he's there".

 

Anyhow, I am so glad your partner is so supportive!!!

 

I wish you peace on your journey. Great to have you here with us!

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Thank you all for your responses.

 

 

Hello Unbound. Thanks for sharing your story. I especially loved this paragraph. I'm happy for you that you have come to this place. I am coming to the same place in my own life right now. It's a good feeling, isn't it?

 

 

2H

 

Yes, it is! beer.gif

 

I went to a KJO IFB church, some of my friends even went to Ruckman's Bible Institute so I can imagine how hard the deconversion process must've been. Congrats on finding your way out and welcome to the forums smile.png

This is quite surprising. I did not expect anyone here to be familiar with Dr. Ruckman. Are you still in contact with any of your KJO friends? I'd love to hear more of your story.yellow.gif

 

Wow, Unbound. Thank you for sharing your story!! And I love your screen name!

 

I can really relate to your doubt. I remember having these nagging thoughts that I just couldn't shake, some of which you mentioned also. I would "press in" to God and try to get rid of those little doubts but I was like the princess and the pea: it was always there. Argh! So frustrating and mostly, it was terrifying.

 

My family doesn't know either. I, like you, am not angry at my folks--they did what they thought was best, even though I have paid dearly for it in all facets of my life (they don't know any of that either). I don't plan to tell my husband's family EVER because I don't want them to be heart broken and spending the last of their days on their knees (I'm not exaggerating...). It's just not worth it. I think that I am bicultural enough to be able to focus on the concrete things they say and not have to lie at all. (I read an atheist book that explained, among other things, how to converse with fundies, if you can believe it.) If I am asked point blank about my "walk" I plan to say that I'm currently residing in the wilderness (I won't tell them how much I love it smile.png ) and that I'm sorting some stuff out right now. If they take a prayer request, I'll say "Pray for clarity and that I will know Truth" or "Pray that God will show me he's there".

 

Anyhow, I am so glad your partner is so supportive!!!

 

I wish you peace on your journey. Great to have you here with us!

 

I understand about not wanting them to "spend their last days on their knees". I've thought the same thing, especially since my father has had some health problems in the last couple of years (he has been improving, though). I'm a bit curious about the book that you referred to. Do you mind sharing the title?

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I read your story with interest. Thanks for sharing it and best wishes for you in your personal journey.

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I'm a bit curious about the book that you referred to. Do you mind sharing the title?

It's not a very good book--a little over the top and angry--but these few pages were very helpful, the ones that helped me know how to respond to fundies when they say crazy things like "God is helping me with my ulcers" or "God told us today that he will help us with our finances".

 

The book is "The God Virus: How religion infects our lives and culture" by Darrel Ray. I could probably summarize the helpful tips. I just read it last night, and what do you know, my fundy-in-law sibling came over tonight and I employed the strategies, and no one got frustrated. Fantastic! (That's really the most valuable thing I gained from the book, personally.)

 

Peace.

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This is quite surprising. I did not expect anyone here to be familiar with Dr. Ruckman. Are you still in contact with any of your KJO friends? I'd love to hear more of your story.

 

There's a couple of us IFBs around; I think ExFundyLawyer and BurnedOut are familiar with Ruckman as well.

 

I spent time in mostly a couple of churches, the one I spent my formative years in was KJO but it wasn't too full on. The pastor never really addressed the belief in the pulpit though he did write up a few articles defending the TR. He was a nice enough man and I'm still in contact with him now (though somewhat barely). After he left the church, an American missionary took over the church and made changes that I was uncomfortable with and therefore left. He is a nice enough of a man but he wouldn't shut up about the KJV and basically said that anyone wishing to learn about the Bible should do so through him. Independent study was discouraged as you could be led astray by "Bible correctors".

 

I personally was never a follower of Ruckman, nor was I really KJO. I was more "King James Preferred" but I toned down quite a bit and even started using an ESV after I changed churches; in fact, it was probably my most treasured Bible. Changing to a church which wasn't that hard on the KJV pretty much made me a pariah. I lost contact with most of my friends at that church though a few weren't complete tools about it. Most of my familiarity with Ruckman came through my friends who were on the extreme side of things; one of them got kicked out of two Bible colleges because he was openly critical of their stances (one of them being Crown College,

 

They left that church and now go to a Ruckmanite church which amongst other things is fairly racist; i.e. it's taught that non whites should leave the country. One of them was/is attending Ruckman's Bible Institude and the others regularly go picket outside of more liberal churches telling them to get saved. I've listened to a couple of Ruckman's sermons when I was hanging out with them and even saw Sam Gipp preach when he came out here.

 

So yeah, I wrote a testimony a few months ago that you can find here if you want to know more I guess :)

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Yep, I know all too well who Ruckman is. It is amazing how much your story sounds like mine, except it took me an extra 10 years to break free. My church was definitely IFB, altough not as extreme as Ruckman. In fact I attended a semester at Pensacola Christian College near Ruckman's institute, and "we" viewed "them" crazies WendyDoh.gif lol. My movement away happened when I went to college and fell in love with philosophy and realized how big the world of ideas was outside my narrow bubble. Interesting note, I have a good friend who was heavy into Ruckman. We attended church together and we both deconverted around the same time, without either knowing what the other was going through unitl we both came out on FB.

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They left that church and now go to a Ruckmanite church which amongst other things is fairly racist; i.e. it's taught that non whites should leave the country.

 

Christians are so sweet and caring, aren't they?sleep.png

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(You are barely a stone's throw up the road from me in Durham. About three hours, in fact. What are the chances your parents were sitting in the pew next to me at Christmas Eve service? LOL It is truly scary how small the world has gotten with the dawn of the Information Age.)

 

Your post here was very brave, and I am thankful (?) that you parsed through all that very heavy bullshit to find yourself still whole and intact underneath. I think the most compassionate atheists are former fundamentalists. You seem of gentle, thoughtful spirit and I am sure you are going to be a fine witness for us FreeThinkers. There are days you will have doubts...like when you miss the warm lap of the church community...but those days will number fewer as you speed into the horizon of your ONE FINITE LIFE.

 

And how FABULOUS you came to this before you and your wife have children!!!!! Agreeing on the big three-- Politics, Money and Religion-- are a prerequisite to bearing children and having a stable home in which to nurture them. Children deserve harmony, whatever your beliefs.

 

But that brings me to the next BIG THING. Telling your parents.

 

You are very considerate not to wish that they spend their sunset years on their knees praying for your soul. And I think you are wise not to burden them. YET. In my profession we are admonished to "first, do no harm".

 

I always ask myself, "Of what MATERIAL BENEFIT will it be TO *Jane* if I tell her I am no longer a Christian?" If I can derive NO BENEFIT TO JANE, then I don't tell her. As you noted, burdening your parents who are (blissfully) three hours away will do nothing to improve THEIR lives. And with a comfortable distance like that, why squander years of conflict free phone time punctuated with equally relaxing visits just to prove a point? Those of us who are "hiding in plain sight" find that our lives are better than EVER, and don't wish to muck the waters if we don't have to. I respect the others who break out in hives if they have to go NEAR a church or take communion, but for me, and perhaps you as well, it is not a big deal to just float with it if we absolutely must.

 

From watching way too much reality television, you might perceive that the Big Reveal will accrue benefits to yourself in the form of "respect", "understanding" or some other such romantic laundry list of warm fuzzies. It will not.

 

Best you fight that battle when you have the resolute armor of The Divine RIght of Parents (that they freely exercised over you, you will remind them) to shield you from their judgement and leave them quietly defenseless. I'm not saying you rush out and have a child, but when that time comes, you will be correct in demanding the respect of all concerned with regards to the spiritual nurture of YOUR. CHILD. .....YOURS. NOT THEIRS. YOURS.

 

You can inform them when they inevitably badger you about Baptizing the baby or (**GAG**) "Dedicating" the baby that you have no intention of doing such a thing, come out to them as rationally as you can and admonish them that if they ever want to see said grandchild, they will NEVER> BRING>UP>RELIGION>AGAIN.

 

So use this time before you have children to build up your resolve to POSSIBLY break contact with your parents until they learn to behave according to your wishes on this subject. This will take time. You have at least nine months, if you begin today.

 

This may seem devisive. It is. But depending upon when you choose to start a family, and the relative ages of your parents, this could buy you many, many peaceful years. At that later point, the CHOICE THEY MAKE to spend their Golden Years on their knees will BE THEIRS ALONE. And you should feel no guilt for that. Guilt is for pussies. This way you have forestalled the pain for yourself, and possess the ultimate carrot....the grandchild.....and you will remind them of your position in the chain of custody and admonish them, gently at first, then not so gently if need be, that they are NOT THE PARENTS.

 

Fundamentalists are flat Earth, live and die with blinders on folks. But when you find yourself not in the roll of child, but in the peer role of PARENT, there suddenly seems more credibility in your choices. I only wish I had clued in as soon as you did. I credit your deep steeping in The Word for being so young to pop gasping to the surface.

 

And please don't think of it as using a child as a pawn. Think of it more as using a child as a bridge. And only cross it when you must.

 

Be well.

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Nice to meet you Unbound! I really enjoyed your extimony. It is very similar to mine except you got out much earlier than I did. Good for you! Be thankful that you have not had children yet. I have and now have no idea how to undo all the indoctrination they have gone through :(

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They left that church and now go to a Ruckmanite church which amongst other things is fairly racist; i.e. it's taught that non whites should leave the country. One of them was/is attending Ruckman's Bible Institude and the others regularly go picket outside of more liberal churches telling them to get saved. I've listened to a couple of Ruckman's sermons when I was hanging out with them and even saw Sam Gipp preach when he came out here.

 

So yeah, I wrote a testimony a few months ago that you can find here if you want to know more I guess smile.png

I really enjoyed reading your testimony. You have been through a lot and I'm glad you're doing okay. It's funny how I'm finding out about others' experiences with doubt similar to mine.

Many Ruckman followers are indeed racist. I mentioned in my testimony that I did not want to be the person I was before. After spending a lot of time studying Ruckman material, I began to view people of other races differently (not to say that I disliked anyone because of their race). I was also very judgemental against people. I had a gay friend I really hurt because I thought it was my duty to give him "the scripture" on his sexuality. I never want to be like that again.

 

 

Yep, I know all too well who Ruckman is. It is amazing how much your story sounds like mine, except it took me an extra 10 years to break free. My church was definitely IFB, altough not as extreme as Ruckman. In fact I attended a semester at Pensacola Christian College near Ruckman's institute, and "we" viewed "them" crazies WendyDoh.gif lol. My movement away happened when I went to college and fell in love with philosophy and realized how big the world of ideas was outside my narrow bubble. Interesting note, I have a good friend who was heavy into Ruckman. We attended church together and we both deconverted around the same time, without either knowing what the other was going through unitl we both came out on FB.

It's great to hear from other IFB de-converts. The Christian school I attended used A Beka Books. I remember science books with titles like Biology: God's Living Creation. A young couple from PCC also came to our school every year and gave a presentation on the college. My sister was awarded a scholarship to PCC upon graduation, but she didn't wan't to move away, and the school wasn't accredited.

 

(You are barely a stone's throw up the road from me in Durham. About three hours, in fact. What are the chances your parents were sitting in the pew next to me at Christmas Eve service? LOL It is truly scary how small the world has gotten with the dawn of the Information Age.)

 

 

And how FABULOUS you came to this before you and your wife have children!!!!! Agreeing on the big three-- Politics, Money and Religion-- are a prerequisite to bearing children and having a stable home in which to nurture them. Children deserve harmony, whatever your beliefs.

 

But that brings me to the next BIG THING. Telling your parents.

 

You are very considerate not to wish that they spend their sunset years on their knees praying for your soul. And I think you are wise not to burden them. YET. In my profession we are admonished to "first, do no harm".

 

I always ask myself, "Of what MATERIAL BENEFIT will it be TO *Jane* if I tell her I am no longer a Christian?" If I can derive NO BENEFIT TO JANE, then I don't tell her. As you noted, burdening your parents who are (blissfully) three hours away will do nothing to improve THEIR lives. And with a comfortable distance like that, why squander years of conflict free phone time punctuated with equally relaxing visits just to prove a point? Those of us who are "hiding in plain sight" find that our lives are better than EVER, and don't wish to muck the waters if we don't have to. I respect the others who break out in hives if they have to go NEAR a church or take communion, but for me, and perhaps you as well, it is not a big deal to just float with it if we absolutely must.

 

From watching way too much reality television, you might perceive that the Big Reveal will accrue benefits to yourself in the form of "respect", "understanding" or some other such romantic laundry list of warm fuzzies. It will not.

 

Best you fight that battle when you have the resolute armor of The Divine RIght of Parents (that they freely exercised over you, you will remind them) to shield you from their judgement and leave them quietly defenseless. I'm not saying you rush out and have a child, but when that time comes, you will be correct in demanding the respect of all concerned with regards to the spiritual nurture of YOUR. CHILD. .....YOURS. NOT THEIRS. YOURS.

 

You can inform them when they inevitably badger you about Baptizing the baby or (**GAG**) "Dedicating" the baby that you have no intention of doing such a thing, come out to them as rationally as you can and admonish them that if they ever want to see said grandchild, they will NEVER> BRING>UP>RELIGION>AGAIN.

 

So use this time before you have children to build up your resolve to POSSIBLY break contact with your parents until they learn to behave according to your wishes on this subject. This will take time. You have at least nine months, if you begin today.

 

This may seem devisive. It is. But depending upon when you choose to start a family, and the relative ages of your parents, this could buy you many, many peaceful years. At that later point, the CHOICE THEY MAKE to spend their Golden Years on their knees will BE THEIRS ALONE. And you should feel no guilt for that. Guilt is for pussies. This way you have forestalled the pain for yourself, and possess the ultimate carrot....the grandchild.....and you will remind them of your position in the chain of custody and admonish them, gently at first, then not so gently if need be, that they are NOT THE PARENTS.

 

Fundamentalists are flat Earth, live and die with blinders on folks. But when you find yourself not in the roll of child, but in the peer role of PARENT, there suddenly seems more credibility in your choices. I only wish I had clued in as soon as you did. I credit your deep steeping in The Word for being so young to pop gasping to the surface.

 

And please don't think of it as using a child as a pawn. Think of it more as using a child as a bridge. And only cross it when you must.

 

Be well.

 

Thank you for your post. It was very thought-provoking. I think you're right in your statement about "coming out". It is a bit glamorized, and probably unnecessary at this time. It could be a few more years before we have any children (but you never know). I haven't had much trouble with my parents and religion lately, so it may be best to leave it alone for now. The first couple of years after we moved away, my father was constantly pestering me about finding a church. He would even call on Sunday and ask where I went to church that day. The last year or so, they've backed off. I imagine they think I'm "backslid" and will come back around, but they haven't approached me about it. That will be quite different when children are involved. When my one and two year old nephews are at my parents house, they're watching videos about Noah and reading them christian kids books. It will be hard to keep them from trying to indoctrinate my future kids, but I like your ideas!

 

Nice to meet you Unbound! I really enjoyed your extimony. It is very similar to mine except you got out much earlier than I did. Good for you! Be thankful that you have not had children yet. I have and now have no idea how to undo all the indoctrination they have gone through sad.png

 

Nice to meet you as well! I wish you and your family the best of luck.

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I came into contact with KJO teachings in 1975 when I ran a word processing service and got the job of typing a scholarly master's thesis for a student at a Baptist theological seminary. The paper had an extensive appendix refuting KJO. I never had heard such an outlandish thing in my life, even though I had been a member of an IFCA (Bible) church since childhood. Personally I always favored the NASV over the KJV. At any rate, his contact with KJO seemed to be from the apparent hotbed of such "thinking" in the Grand Rapids MI area, Wealthy Street Baptist Church and its founding minister, David Otis Fuller. It was incredible to me that inerrancy and inspiration would be assigned not just to the original manuscripts but to specific translations; apparently their thinking was that God would inspire some approved once-for-all translation for each language, and for English that was the KJV.

 

The wider topic of the paper was quite incendiary for a Baptist school, it was critical of the doctrine of the verbal and plenary inspiration (inerrancy) of scripture. I was quite certain this impressive young intellectual would be drummed out of that school in short order once he handed that paper in. although he seemed oblivious to the danger or else just didn't care. I never did discover what happened to him and I've forgotten his name, but my guess is that by now he has either deconverted or moved over into a liberal denomination where he would feel more comfortable. At any rate he unwittingly did me a great favor by providing me with much food for thought, not the least of which was that thoughtful people existed who would in good conscience and with intelligence and wit, question things I had always accepted as givens not worth even re-examining; also that my own beliefs existed on a continuum and that there were people such as the KJO folks who would consider me too liberal, even though I had always thought of myself as bedrock fundamentalist. He loosened me up, and arguably I could date my contact with his master's thesis as the Beginning of the End for my beliefs in Christianity. At the least, it was an important factor in the shift of my mental tectonic plates.

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I came into contact with KJO teachings in 1975 when I ran a word processing service and got the job of typing a scholarly master's thesis for a student at a Baptist theological seminary. The paper had an extensive appendix refuting KJO. I never had heard such an outlandish thing in my life, even though I had been a member of an IFCA (Bible) church since childhood. Personally I always favored the NASV over the KJV. At any rate, his contact with KJO seemed to be from the apparent hotbed of such "thinking" in the Grand Rapids MI area, Wealthy Street Baptist Church and its minister at the time. It was incredible to me that inerrancy and inspiration would be assigned not just to the original manuscripts but to specific translations; apparently their thinking was that God would inspire some approved once-for-all translation for each language, and for English that was the KJV.

 

Their thinking can be even more extreme than that. Most KJO-ers are actually TR-ers (receptus), but the last two churches that I attended followed the Ruckman teachings. They taught that the KJV was superior to the greek and hebrew, and could even be used to correct it. It was God's book for this age. Anyone who referred to the greek or hebrew was an apostate! There were good translations in other languages (if they were translated from the TR), but they were not perfect. If one were truly a Bible student, they would learn English so they could study the KJV. It sounds like a bad joke now, but they were serious.

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I really enjoyed reading your testimony. You have been through a lot and I'm glad you're doing okay. It's funny how I'm finding out about others' experiences with doubt similar to mine.

Many Ruckman followers are indeed racist. I mentioned in my testimony that I did not want to be the person I was before. After spending a lot of time studying Ruckman material, I began to view people of other races differently (not to say that I disliked anyone because of their race). I was also very judgemental against people. I had a gay friend I really hurt because I thought it was my duty to give him "the scripture" on his sexuality. I never want to be like that again.

 

I always had the mentality of "ye shall judge them by their fruits" and Ruckmanites had the fruits of pride and arrogance. Of course they justified themselves by saying one had to be hard on heretics and false teachers, but I never bought into that. They are filled with hate. As I mentioned, they picket other churches for being heretics (keep in mind these are IFB churches too) and during open air preaching mock, humiliate and condemn pretty much everyone.

 

I also found their beliefs amusingly crazy. One of my friends believed (not sure if this is characteristic of Ruckmanites though) that the Bible was written originally in English, and that the KJV was a restoration of the original work (hence why the KJV corrects the Hebrew and Greek). I even remember Ruckman was releasing a reference Bible a couple of years ago. It's been in the making for ages and it would be interesting to read it if he ever actually released it. This is the last person who should release a Bible.

 

EDIT: Despite how much I diss the guy, I was inspired by his commitment to Bible reading. I got into a habit similar to yours where I would read the Bible constantly. I would get up an hour early during the week and read the Bible, then read it on the train and during my breaks and then when I arrived home, read it for another 3hrs (though this didn't last forever). I lost count of how many times I finished the NT, especially certain books; I followed John MacArthur's reading plan for a while where you read one book every day for a month (i.e. the entire book everyday). Even now I know the gospel of John like the back of my hand because of that.

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