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BlindFaith

Testimony And Introduction...

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I'm hoping I picked the right place to introduce myself and share a little about my current situation. 

 

I have always identified myself as Christian, it's been my primary identity for five decades. So much so that I seemed to have jumped denominational lines every decade or so of my adult life looking for 'more of God'. Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) the last jump landed me squarely in a Oneness Pentecostal cult. 

 

This was an incredibly exclusive and restrictive religion and one that literally controlled almost every aspect of my (and my spouses) life. Our children went to the christian school, we wore clothes and hairstyles that identified us with the group, gave up wearing all jewelry, even our wedding rings, and gave up all friends that would not be converted. Sadly I have to say I went into it with my eyes mostly open, although like most cults some of the weirder weirdnesses are only revealed once the hook is in deep. 

 

While it was a horrible experience that involved much spiritual abuse, it is also what has finally freed me in many ways. This particular church was so very demanding that it painted me into a corner where I never felt 'saved' or content no matter how hard I tried to live for god by living by the rules. My pain and confusion was the beginning of my questioning as I studied how this theology was so different from other Christian theology and how one "Christian" group could put other groups on par with those who do not know God at all or even believes them worse off. The driving force behind much of this was the death of my mother who had the misfortune to die a Baptist, so according to the churches teachings was forever consigned to the fiery flames of hell, having never spoken in tongues or been properly baptized. 

 

Once I realized how I'd been deceived about many of those finer points I began to see how much of my religion was simply habituated behavior and then I began questioning how much, if any, was genuine. At this point I am almost sure that I am no longer a Christian... although I find the thought scary as hell and have no one in the world I can articulate it to... Well, until I found you all here today. 

 

My spouse and I have not been to church in two years or more although each of us for very different reasons... Mine as above,  I'll talk more about the rest later. Of course there are details galore... but that's it in a nutshell. 

 

Mel

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Welcome. You are in good company. Stay here and read some testimonies. It will do your mind good.

 

"The truth shall set you free", that is the best phrase in the whole bible, because it is true. Only the truth is this: the bible is an amazing work of fiction! Well written, but fiction nonetheless. It has duped billions over millennia. But it is no different that any other mythological book. Just myths.

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Hey, welcome.  I was Oneness for a while though it wasn't part of a controlling organization.  Welcome Mel, it's good to have you.  Glad to hear you haven't been to church in a while.  Notice how things cool off when you are not being fed a constant diet of indoctrination?  The trick is to realize you don't have anything to feel guilty over for not attending.  Enjoy the rest of your life and let us know whatever else you would like to share.

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welcome mel,

 

no one is going to oneness hell or in fact any hell,,,, tho it still scares the hell out of many,,,,

 

stay away from any church, be nice n the world is a better place because of that

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Thanks for the welcome. :) 

 

I'm looking forward to getting to know you all and reading your posts. 

 

Mel

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Welcome, Mel; glad you're with us.  I've got some relatives who are deep into the pentecostal holiness thing; for them even my Assemblies of God parents aren't really saved, even though they speak in tongues and have been baptized.  They still aren't saved because they watch tv, listen to radio, wear jeans and make-up etc.  Funny thing is: with over 6 billion people on this planet, what are the odds that any one particular church with 150 members being the only people who actually interpreted the babble correctly?  How arrogant to think that god has singled out this congregation above all others to reveal his "real" truth to.  You're better off without all that legalism in your life.  Someone above has already mentioned that "the truth will set you free;" never a truer word was spoken.  Stick around; read more testimonies and explore the rants and ex-christian lifestyle forums.  You'll find you are among friends.

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This particular church was so very demanding that it painted me into a corner where I never felt 'saved' or content no matter how hard I tried to live for god by living by the rules.

 

 

I was at a plain old, mainstream denomination of a church, but had a similar feeling. Was I ever volunteering enough, giving enough, groveling enough, repenting enough? I tried to live by the rules at my church, but they seemed to change a lot. Was I truly saved, or was I a poor miserable sinner undeserving of it? When something bad happened to me or did not go as I had hoped, was it because I had some secret sin that I was not willing to confess, or some sin I didn't even know was a sin? (That's when I got to wrack my brain day and night thinking through all my evil sins. Talk about self-worth issues!) I just never knew if I was truly saved either. But hey, god loves us and wants us to be saved, right? Once saved always saved, right? Right? Someone please tell me I'm saved for sure already!

 

Well, once I got out of there, I finally found that "peace that passes all understanding." No more guilt, no more shame, no more politics, no more not being good enough for God or more importantly -- for his people, no more working my butt off for people who favor those who are better connected in the organization, no more!!

 

Welcome. You have come to the right place.

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I touched a little on the fact that we've not been in church for a couple of years but for very different reasons... My reason is that I simply do not believe it any more and had not for at least the last year I was still attending. During that year I felt assaulted after each service. The screaming, vein-popping, ranty-preaching had become completely repulsive to me. The topics were, by turns, vulgar, cruel, stupid, and some times all of the above. I spent so much time in the bathroom to get away from the preaching that I am sure most folks thought I'd developed a dreaded colon disease. 

 

On the other hand my other half was becoming even more of a zealot. I mentioned that we moved about once a decade on the never ending search for 'the whole truth' and it was just about at the mark when we read Pagan Christianity and suddenly the big push was on to home church. Since I was just about to get in my car one Friday night and not stop driving until I got to the other coast I think it was this decision that saved my marriage. 

 

Personally at the time I did not care why or how we were getting out, only that we were. Now I'm not sure that I did not do us both a disservice by not jumping ship while D still had a support system. I have tried to open up the topic of my cold waxing faith several times but each time leads to drama and trauma. I am starting to feel that if I ever really take the stand I need to take things will be beyond repair. This is not something I can take lightly. We've been married 30 years and have five children and seven grandchildren that we love dearly. We love each other but D sees marriage as an eternal threesome with god.... and well... I don't... anymore... And that is what keeps me here, knowing how unfair it is that I am the one who has changed and knowing how I would feel if it were the other way. I see the confusion on D's face when I give even the tiniest hint that I no longer believe even the strangest things about the Christian faith... 

 

I think the kids will be relieved when I tell them... I think they are secretly unbelievers who have been politely hiding it from the parents! 

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welcome Blind Faith! I am so glad you are free from controlling, soul destroying christianity. It takes time to heal and the time it takes depends on the person and circumstances involved. It has been nearly 18 months since I deconverted (and several years since I attended church) and I am still in the recovery process due to the damage it did to me. But I am much better for it. Thinking for myself and discovering the world without religious glasses is amazing. There is so much wisdom and information on this site, I am sure it will be of benefit to your healing and recovery. I wish you all the best. :)

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Hi!! Welcome to Ex-C. Wow, what a journey you have had. I too have had my brush with Christian cults, all in the desire for "more of God". WendyDoh.gif  No matter the lunacy, I could argue it away in my brain that "this is God" because, well "God is weird". Who am I, a mere mortal, to understand God?

 

I am so glad you found your way out. I look forward to hearing more of your journey!

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Welcome aboard, Mel!

 

I was 51 when I realized it wasn't real. What did it for me was sitting in church reading Genesis 3, when I suddenly realized that there was no Satan in the story, just a snake... it hit me that it was nothing more than a myth! It seems crazy now that I didn't notice it sooner, but Christianity is successful for a reason. There's plenty in the Bible, and in the various denominations, to discourage thinking for oneself.

 

I was in the Church of Christ, which is another "one true church" kind of denomination. We also were taught that Baptists were baptized for the wrong reason and destined for Hell.

 

So how are your children?

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My children are grown and are, thank goodness, not particularly religious... Something that has turned out to be a very good although until now I didn't see it that way. I think they'll be relieved to hear I'm no longer a zealot... Except for the worry that this may cause a divorce. 

 

My husband is pretty much freaking out... I have kept it mostly to myself but because I was so over the top I think it shows anyway. I mean even my speech was always so 'Christian'... nothing was ever lucky, it was a blessing... I prayed before every meal and read my bible every day (well, almost every day) talked about 

God as if he was present in the room with us... And now that is just... gone. I still have some of the old speech patterns but I'm ditching them as quickly as possible. It's amazing what changes when your baloney meter sproings it springs like mine did. 

 

I guess I never said exactly what started it for me... We were in a 'holiness' denomination.... women do not cut their hair and recently there has been a big theological shift about hair that is even controversial within the movement and is known (by it's detractors) as the 'Holy Magic Hair' movement. Well... we were in church when our aged pastor told a story about a man who died of a heart attack... well that is he WAS dead until his wife threw her holy magic hair over his chest and... wait for it... HE CAME BACK TO LIFE! 

 

And suddenly I thought ... what complete and total BULLSHIT.... and then I had a flood of thoughts that included every time I had stuffed down that very thought... and I remembered all the people raised from the dead in the bible and how that should help me believe the pastors story... but it was just the reverse.... Realizing that HE had lied like a dog made me realize that the bible writers were simply full of the same shit... And then it all began to crumble. I sure wish D could have an Ahh-haa moment like that because then I wouldn't be so concerned that my marriage is about to be over.

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Whoa, "Holy Magic Hair."  Stories told like that by a pastor initially make me laugh -- so obviously absurd.  But when you think of the potential misery and harm to come of that, oh, then it is no longer funny -- a woman from the congregation actually believing the story and her husband keels over from a heart attack, and rather than immediately calling 911 she's throwing her hair over him, and her subsequent heartbreak when of course he dies and she's left with normal bereavement PLUS guilt of "was my hair not holy enough."  No, it's not just absurd (which it is), it is harmful and evil.  PURPOSEFULLY harmful and evil.  CALCULATEDLY harmful and evil.

 

I'm glad you got out.  Good luck with your husband, seriously.  A 30-year marriage is worth far more than xianity or lack thereof.

 

And welcome!

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Yes amateur, absurd.... but really no more than your garden variety bible poo... snake in the garden, man in the belly of a whale, every species on earth in a boat... Same stupidity required really. And yes it is harmful... maybe in ways that people who have not been there can not imagine. Women who don't cut their hair have to do something EVERY-FREAKIN'-DAY with all that hair... Mine was down to my knees but I know women with hair that pools around their feet. Huge bee-hive sized buns and prom-going updos make one look super weird in the working world and that coupled with the lack of make-up or any jewelry can make one look truly bizarre. Finding a job can be really difficult, especially if you add in the 'dresses only' business because there are many things that are hard to do in a dress (I'm a nurse, believe me I know). Still I lived like this for over a decade believing I'd found what made god smile about women.... and the bible does support all of that without the 'twisting of scripture' that most mainline christians claim it takes. 

 

I think in general christianity is trying to distance itself from it's misogynistic roots but they are deep and sprout up in many of the fringe denominations like Oneness Pentecostalism. 

 

I am just so happy to be out and I know that nothing could drag me back... but I am not sure at this point that even 30 good years will be enough to hold us together as last night D quoted Matthew 10:34-37 to me " Do not think I came to put peace upon the earth; I came to put, not peace, but a sword. For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a young wife against her mother-in-law. Indeed, a man’s enemies will be persons of his own household." and pretty much let me know that he will persevere to the end no matter what I do. I am trying to be gentle and kind but am being constantly pressured to say aloud that I believe in the bible and I just don't and just won't... what a painful mess.

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Hi BlindFaith, welcome to the forum.  You have a tricky situation there.  I would just try to contiue to be as gentle as you can.

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I think at this point I am mostly just writing to clear my head so if this is not the right place to do that please just say. Since I have no one to talk to reading this board is all I've got. I am trying to get up the nerve to 'come out' to my kids and am really, really hoping that they will feel OK to share where they are at (which I think is pretty over religion)... We've never allowed them to share and I think they have just pulled back from trying. I did notice they quit bringing the grandkids to spend Saturday nights when we insisted that they go to church with us on Sunday but since we stopped going the grands are back for weekends... and now I get it. 

 

After the Ah-ha moment we were in church another year. Our youngest son was a senior at the church school and headed to TAMU partially on scholarship from the church so we didn't want to blow that for him. That year, listening to preaching while not being hypnotized  or whatever it is that happens to one with all that praise music... was eye opening. What insanity, what better reason to run screaming from religion than hearing the bible expounded. OPs pride themselves in preaching the OT... why had I never noticed how horrific and disgusting it was before... Many times I couldn't even sit through it, I had to go hide in the bathroom, queasy.I thought once we got out D would mellow and drift back into some more normal religious experience... but it was not to be. Instead he began studying conspiracy sites on the internet and became fascinated with the signs that these are the last days. He has gone round the bend far as I can tell...

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That's a really tough and complex situation Blind Faith. I really feel for you. Keep posting, and we will try to be here for you. :) 

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Feel free to keep posting on here, Blind Faith.  Good luck with your kids, and I'm so sorry about the situation with your husband.

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I think at this point I am mostly just writing to clear my head so if this is not the right place to do that please just say. Since I have no one to talk to reading this board is all I've got. I am trying to get up the nerve to 'come out' to my kids and am really, really hoping that they will feel OK to share where they are at (which I think is pretty over religion)... We've never allowed them to share and I think they have just pulled back from trying. I did notice they quit bringing the grandkids to spend Saturday nights when we insisted that they go to church with us on Sunday but since we stopped going the grands are back for weekends... and now I get it. 

 

After the Ah-ha moment we were in church another year. Our youngest son was a senior at the church school and headed to TAMU partially on scholarship from the church so we didn't want to blow that for him. That year, listening to preaching while not being hypnotized  or whatever it is that happens to one with all that praise music... was eye opening. What insanity, what better reason to run screaming from religion than hearing the bible expounded. OPs pride themselves in preaching the OT... why had I never noticed how horrific and disgusting it was before... Many times I couldn't even sit through it, I had to go hide in the bathroom, queasy.I thought once we got out D would mellow and drift back into some more normal religious experience... but it was not to be. Instead he began studying conspiracy sites on the internet and became fascinated with the signs that these are the last days. He has gone round the bend far as I can tell...

Consider taking some time to inventory your responsibility for allowing your children to be indoctrinated with a virulent religion.  By focusing on helping them recover, you will help yourself at the same time.  Two for one.

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Fortunately my oldest (now 36, 35, 34 and 33 years old) four children were only raised in your garden variety Baptist church and broke away as they went to college and graduate school. My oldest son has a doctorate level education, the next two have masters degrees and none of them really have much to do with church. The last of the older kids married a Catholic and they go to mass on occasion and to the church bizarre, etc. but they are not rabid about it. 

 

My baby is 10 years younger (now 23) than the youngest of the four stair-steps. It was he who was raised in the cult. We chose to send him to University although the church pressured us to send him to our denominations bible college. After three years away from church (he went to University as a second semester sophomore thanks to dual credits from high school honors and AP tests) he seems to have gotten away from the worst of it. He does not visit church when he is home and even though the town where he now lives and works has a church from our denomination he does not attend it. I think he's been trying to figure out how to tell us that he is done with all that but hasn't found a way since during his upbringing it was the most important thing to us, that is that he be a fully immersed Oneness Pentecostal.. 

 

One of the reasons that I am not sure if I should share with the kids about my loss of faith is that I am afraid it will shatter my husband to realize that his entire family is 'lost'... His faith demands that he be the leader and a 'failure' of this magnitude (in his eyes) may be more than he can bear right now. I am sure that is much of what has also held our sons back. D is experiencing some health problems and may not ever be able to return to his job from medical leave... Devastating news for a very strong and healthy (till now) 57 year old man. I am picturing that among the kids there will be much back slapping and rejoicing ae they all celebrate my deconversion and share that they always knew mom was too smart to be overtaken by the bullshit forever..

 

Tonight D and I had quite a row about it all. He thinks I've lost my faith and he is by turns angry, sullen, over nice and back again. 

 

Breathing in and out and moving forward one tiny baby step at a time... it's all I can do.

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Thank you, BlindFaith (and everyone else) for sharing your stories on here. 

 

I am so glad all of you have gotten out, and I hurt with you about those you love who are still in. 

 

This site has been an amazing support to me, and I hope it will be for you too, BlindFaith. 

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This might be an inappropriate question this early on, but... have you cut your hair yet? That amount would be a true blessing for Locks of Love. That would make more than one amazing wig for someone else who is suffering.

 

I am a professional woman, and I would never meet a client without makeup and jewelry. It's part of the unwritten dress code for women, I think. It's just a polished look. Maybe as a nurse (you're kind of in the trenches) it's not so odd, but I understand how you feel about that.

 

My sister's husband is part of a mainstream denomination (he grew up ELCA, the more liberal of the Lutherans), but he won't allow her to wear makeup. It's not biblical for him -- it's just that all the girls he knew in high school who wore makeup were sluts. They married when she was 18, but she's 43 now, for goodness sake! And all of her friends wear makeup, and all of her church people do, and I do, and it's all just silly. She gets her hair cut all the time (weird cuts, trying to stand out, if you ask me), and all kinds of fancy dresses and pants suits and such, plus jewelry, so without makeup (in my opinion) she just looks tired and unfinished. (A little shimmery lip color would go a long way, lol.) Restrictions on hair, makeup, wardrobe -- it's all just silly rules men make up.

 

I'm glad you found this place. We are willing to listen to any issue you want to address, and will do our best to support you. I know it's painful, confusing, and lonely sometimes. You are welcome here!

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I had two feet cut off my hair two months ago. It is still waist length, so very long by most standards. Someone at work just reminded me that if I'm going to cut my hair it is OK to get a hair-STYLE so I've been looking at pictures and trying to decide.This is not an area where I want to have huge regrets even though others say it is only hair and will grow back. Still the length now only really allows for a smaller bun and not wearing it down. Maybe I didn't mention that all married women were required to wear their hair 'up' (not flowing like a harlot). Very matronly looking unless one spends a lot of time arranging an updo. Not practical for those who work.

 

I also bought scrub pants for work and threw out my scrub skirts. I bought myself a simple wedding band and a pair of small diamond stud earrings.I think I look more normal already :) No make up yet.... I've got to get out and have someone apply it and advise. I have not worn it since I was a kid and I am not sure that what I did then would work on my now middle-aged face. I am thinking frosty blue eye-shadow and cat-tail eyeliner is probably not going to be in style anymore, lol! I just keep reminding myself that I was normal once and I will be again.

 

BTW that hair did go to Locks of Love, the hairdresser asked if that would be OK and I thought it was nice.

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Good for you with the haircut, scrub pants, and nice jewelry!  

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