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Saw Someone I Used To Know


milesaway
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I hinted at this in my status update here, and I've mentioned it around here before, but I saw someone I used to know from the last church I visited on the bus last weekend. I was at the bus station downtown, and I saw him across the street smoking. I wasn't sure if it was who I thought it was, since I don't remember anything like that about him. I also only knew him within the confines of church, so I probably wouldn't know that about him anyway.

 

The way he walked was familiar, and the way he stood was too. The glasses were different than they were the last time I saw him a year and a half ago. He had the same flip phone I remember him having when I dealt with him, and there he was, playing around with it like he had no tomorrow to do it. 

 

I'm sure it was none other than Tom, unless he's got a doppelganger running around out there. I've told someone here the whole story, and I've mentioned it before here and there, but after the songs I was listening to on my headphones were over, I realized that he was the same heavy breathing sicko I remembered him to be. I'm sure he tried to talk to me, but I didn't hear him. Oh well. I had nothing to say to him, and I was under no obligation to respond anyways.

 

I don't think he recognized me. I've changed quite a bit since then. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't remember me, but I think he does. When I saw him, I couldn't believe I ever gave him the time of day. What a sad, pathetic old creep! Not long after I left, I got to thinking about him and I wondered if he had a criminal history. So I went to look him up on the state's online court records out of curiosity, figuring maybe there'd be something benign. Lo and behold, he has a history of assault! And this was just from what was available to me for viewing as a non-subscriber!

 

So the church knew. They knew he had a history of this shit. They know and they don't care. It makes me wonder how many others this moron's gotten to before then and since I left, and how many others his stupid little social club's thrown under the bus because of him (and other congregation members like him creeping around under the radar). On the other hand, I think Tom and his lame cheerleaders helped further accelerate my deconversion, since that was pretty much the beginning of the end. I just didn't know it until 8 months later when I left that hellhole once and for all. 

 

That was when I learned that they look after their own, and to hell with everyone else. It was a painful lesson to learn, but it was what I needed to know about the kind of horrible people I was dealing with, and the caliber of cruelty they're capable of dishing out. I thought they were better people than that, but they weren't. And it got me thinking, was this really the kind of environment I want to raise kids in down the road? Hell no! If they had no reservations about throwing me under the bus and kicking me around right and left even though I was a visitor and not a member there, what's to stop them from doing the same to my kids? Nothing. The more I think about it, the more I realize what an investment I made in my future by leaving. 

 

The repercussions of their shitty behavior will come back to haunt them sooner or later. They all get to spend the rest of their sad, pitiful little lives running from karma, and they're the ones who have to live with themselves and their awfulness at the end of the day. I'm free from their drama, their insane rules, their vile attitudes, and free from them. 

 

Fuck abusers, the idiots who enable them, and the horses they all rode in on. 

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Wow, girlfriend! I don't know what to say, except wow! You are so right in your assessment. I've had similar experiences with the users and abusers at more than one church, and you are so right. I'm going to have to think on this a while so I can give you a better response, but for now please know that I feel your pain, your frustration, your grief, and your relief. I agree with your conclusions on all points you have made. You are safe now. You are smarter now. You are free now. Thank you for sharing this difficult topic. I hope you are on the road to peace.

 

You're an inspiration, my dear!

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I am on the road to peace, as I get more time and distance away from all that crap, I think this will lessen. It was a bus I haven't ridden in years anyway, and it slipped my mind that he lives on that route, so it gave me one more reason to avoid it. Luckily that isn't the only bus that goes where I wanted to go that day, so I guess from now on if I go there, I'll take the other bus instead. 

 

When I saw him, I couldn't believe how pathetic he looked. He can't hurt me anymore. He'd done his damage, along with the idiots who decided to rally around him and act like he was the greatest thing since sliced bread, the jackass who defended him and blamed me outright, and the batshit fundy who pretended to care, said all the 'right' things but instead acted like I deserved it. The subtext was pretty clear. As a result, they're all long gone from my life, and they'll have no part of my future whatsoever. Now they're people I used to know. 

 

Yep, I'm 3 years older and 3 years wiser. If I had it to do all over again, I'd probably have left after that first year, when things were at least ok, when I was still under the radar. On the other hand, I'd have never learned how horrible church people can be. It was a painful lesson to learn. At the end of the day, I get to keep my integrity, while they remain horrible people who will probably find someone else down on their luck to use as their emotional punching bag, if they haven't already.  

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I've often wondered just how people get second, third, and fifty-ninth chances in the church, despite their criminal histories.

 

The thing that ticked me off about my former place of worship was that everyone who was a member had to have a background check. I'm clean and when I offered them the paperwork from my former employer showing that I had passed the federal background check they administered, it wasn't good enough. Nope. They had to run their own. It was humiliating. So much for trust. Just because I was in a therapy and had confessed a history of drug use, I was thought of as a criminal. I guess Jesus' blood wasn't enough to remove their suspicions.

 

Creeps love to hide in the church. I think that is why so much sick crap goes down in the church. Pedos, pervs, con men, thieves, you name it, God forgives them. Next thing you know, they're on the news for touching kids, having sex with prostitutes, swindling the faithful, or other such things.

 

I don't know the deets of your story, MilesAway. All I can say is that it is pathetic when grown-ass people defend and glorify criminal behavior. When safe havens turn to sanctuaries for the criminal element, something had gone awry in society. Of course, what can you expect of organizations that follow biblical principles? If it was ok for the chosen people to rape, torture, kill and steal, why not the modern believer?

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The church my wife and I grew up in had many similar circumstances.  IT seemed the creepier, sleezier the better.  Makes for a more interesting testimony!  The old bittys in the seats needed some excitement.  

 

This guy started coming to our church. He was a convict,  did jail time for the attempted murder of his wife.  Within weeks he was sitting beside the peachers up on stage.   Then  a few more weeks and he's leading the congregation in worship and testimonies.  Within months they had him married off to one of the deacons daughters.  Within a year he went from convicted attempted murderer to deacons son in law and church leader leading his own flock.

 

Shortly afterward he was again charged with attempted murder of his new wife.

 

The church and all it's leaders made this guy out to be a hero for jesus.  fuckin losers...she could have been killed.  They condemn the smoker, the drinker, the gays and make room for the child molesters, murders other generally despicable people.  

 

I get it though...the church needs misery to keep up the attendance and fill the offering plate.

 

Piss on them

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What is it about Christians wanting to overlook the dangerous criminal records of its flock?  There is a great love and charity in being welcoming to a person and not judging them for what they have done - but to put them in a position of authority or importance is just not sensible.

 

I wonder if the fact that "everyone is forgiven" and washed clean of sin, makes them think that a person should not be regarded as a risk.

 

We see this pattern in many churches where real abusers are around.  Very sad.

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it is sad.  The saddest part is that they give EVERYTHING over to god.  They take now control or care for even their families.  I swear at the time in the satanic panic it was all about hearing an exciting testimony.  

 

It really is a sickness. Another plague on humanity

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it is sad.  The saddest part is that they give EVERYTHING over to god.  They take now control or care for even their families.  I swear at the time in the satanic panic it was all about hearing an exciting testimony.  

 

It really is a sickness. Another plague on humanity

 

That the thing, give "EVERYTHING" to god makes them trust each other like crazy.  The notion that you're forgiven of any sin if you just "come to jesus" (get your minds out of the gutter, you know what I mean) is very destructive. 

 

The "us vs. them" mentality of christianity and "the world" also drives christians to be tight knit cliques. 

 

Milesaway, I'm glad you're miles away from that shit, ain't it grand?

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I've often wondered just how people get second, third, and fifty-ninth chances in the church, despite their criminal histories.The thing that ticked me off about my former place of worship was that everyone who was a member had to have a background check. I'm clean and when I offered them the paperwork from my former employer showing that I had passed the federal background check they administered, it wasn't good enough. Nope. They had to run their own. It was humiliating. So much for trust. Just because I was in a therapy and had confessed a history of drug use, I was thought of as a criminal. I guess Jesus' blood wasn't enough to remove their suspicions.Creeps love to hide in the church. I think that is why so much sick crap goes down in the church. Pedos, pervs, con men, thieves, you name it, God forgives them. Next thing you know, they're on the news for touching kids, having sex with prostitutes, swindling the faithful, or other such things.I don't know the deets of your story, MilesAway. All I can say is that it is pathetic when grown-ass people defend and glorify criminal behavior. When safe havens turn to sanctuaries for the criminal element, something had gone awry in society. Of course, what can you expect of organizations that follow biblical principles? If it was ok for the chosen people to rape, torture, kill and steal, why not the modern believer?

seven77The background check requirement seems rather bizarre. What you suggest in your last couple sentences got me to wonder about religious indoctrination and the human subconscious. We know what the nature of Yahweh is in the OT and what he made the Israelites do to themselves and to other peoples. Could it be that the same nature of Yahweh invades the human psyche while a person is in a religious environment and of a religious mindset. And that Yahweh nature looks for aspects of the subconscious to hide in, manipulate, and manifest in outward behavior? (I hope this isn't too off topic.)Human

My former church was big on community service. Hence the requirement for members to have background checks. Also, working with youth was a big thing. There were a lot of teens who were allowed to serve alongside adults and teen events sponsored by the church.

 

I don't know about the rest of what you mentioned in your post, Human. I think the believers who take the OT seriously (literal events, god-ordained) are more likely to place less value on their fellow man. Especially those who don't believe or are seen as less than. The believers who are more NT based in their beliefs tend to be more humanistic,if you will. They want to do the most good and the least harm, I think. They are the ones who give second chances to criminals, on the grounds that god made them a new creation.

 

Anything is possible with God, but not all things are probable. That is how I view things. In regards to creeps and criminals in the fold, it is possible that they can choose not to commit crimes or indulge their sickness. But it isn't probable that they will do so as long as they can skate by with God's forgiveness every time it happens. Another elephant in the room is that it isn't likely that abusers (violent or sexual or even drug) will stay away from their abuse for very long just because someone puts a Jesus-shaped band aid over it. Jesus doesn't heal the deep scars left by sexual, physical or drug abusers. He doesn't repair the past and he can't restore your faith in humankind after the fact.

 

If the roots are never addressed, the fruits are still there. You can chop off the branches, but they will come back eventually. That is my opinion, based on my personal experiences.

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they do stick together in cliques...that is until someone needs to be told something "in Love" (read some nosy old never fun church marm tell you not to do this or that & stirring up juicy gos) or until you need them to help you. You're on the prayer chain and on your own then!

 

Givin' it over to god...means I don't have to do shit!

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I've often wondered just how people get second, third, and fifty-ninth chances in the church, despite their criminal histories.

 

The thing that ticked me off about my former place of worship was that everyone who was a member had to have a background check. I'm clean and when I offered them the paperwork from my former employer showing that I had passed the federal background check they administered, it wasn't good enough. Nope. They had to run their own. It was humiliating. So much for trust. Just because I was in a therapy and had confessed a history of drug use, I was thought of as a criminal. I guess Jesus' blood wasn't enough to remove their suspicions.

 

Creeps love to hide in the church. I think that is why so much sick crap goes down in the church. Pedos, pervs, con men, thieves, you name it, God forgives them. Next thing you know, they're on the news for touching kids, having sex with prostitutes, swindling the faithful, or other such things.

 

I don't know the deets of your story, MilesAway. All I can say is that it is pathetic when grown-ass people defend and glorify criminal behavior. When safe havens turn to sanctuaries for the criminal element, something had gone awry in society. Of course, what can you expect of organizations that follow biblical principles? If it was ok for the chosen people to rape, torture, kill and steal, why not the modern believer?

 

You're right. What more is it going to take before these churchies start walking their highfalutin talk about making it safe? How many more chances are they willing to give criminal congregation members and church leaders alike? That's outrageous that they didn't think acing a federal background check was good enough! I can't imagine their own background check would amount to much anyways. Yet they turn around and let known crooks do whatever the hell they want. What a bunch of petty hypocrites. I'm so glad you're out of that hellhole now! 

 

Church is a safe haven for creeps. I saw that firsthand. You got people who aren't real street smart or book smart by and large, people who've had it drilled into their heads from day one to accept others and forgive absolutely everything, and it's easy to see how someone up to no good could take advantage of it. Throw in their own ideology that basically teaches you that nothing's ever your fault, and it's a recipe for disaster. Once the crooks of their dumb social club end up on the news or America's Most Wanted, they then have the nerve to wonder why.

 

The church my wife and I grew up in had many similar circumstances.  IT seemed the creepier, sleezier the better.  Makes for a more interesting testimony!  The old bittys in the seats needed some excitement.  

 

This guy started coming to our church. He was a convict,  did jail time for the attempted murder of his wife.  Within weeks he was sitting beside the peachers up on stage.   Then  a few more weeks and he's leading the congregation in worship and testimonies.  Within months they had him married off to one of the deacons daughters.  Within a year he went from convicted attempted murderer to deacons son in law and church leader leading his own flock.

 

Shortly afterward he was again charged with attempted murder of his new wife.

 

The church and all it's leaders made this guy out to be a hero for jesus.  fuckin losers...she could have been killed.  They condemn the smoker, the drinker, the gays and make room for the child molesters, murders other generally despicable people.  

 

I get it though...the church needs misery to keep up the attendance and fill the offering plate.

 

Piss on them

 

Totally! Piss on them now and forever! I noticed the same thing at virtually every church I visited. It's absolutely shameful that those churchies were so desperate for testimonies and excitement that they were willing to put someone in harm's way just to get it. That speaks volumes about them and the kind of people they are. It's like they don't care about anyone but themselves, and to hell with everyone else's safety. I take it none of these sorry fucks took it upon themselves to do something stupid like pick up the phone and call the police on this bastard, did they? Or were they just too lazy to do so?

 

What is it about Christians wanting to overlook the dangerous criminal records of its flock?  There is a great love and charity in being welcoming to a person and not judging them for what they have done - but to put them in a position of authority or importance is just not sensible.

 

I wonder if the fact that "everyone is forgiven" and washed clean of sin, makes them think that a person should not be regarded as a risk.

 

We see this pattern in many churches where real abusers are around.  Very sad.

 

Love, charity and being nonjudgmental are all laudable qualities, but none of these things require lawbreaking. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, and 3 times is enemy action. It's a really disturbing pattern among churches. Look at the scumbags who've been caught in positions of authority. Dennis Rader was one of them. He was a deacon at the church he went to, and all the while he was killing people. For every one instance that makes the news, there's more that we'll never hear about.

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...

 

Yep, I'm 3 years older and 3 years wiser. If I had it to do all over again, I'd probably have left after that first year, when things were at least ok, when I was still under the radar. On the other hand, I'd have never learned how horrible church people can be. It was a painful lesson to learn. At the end of the day, I get to keep my integrity, while they remain horrible people who will probably find someone else down on their luck to use as their emotional punching bag, if they haven't already.  

 

I mentioned this a few months ago, and I'll say it again. It also took me about three years to see the abuse I was suffering at my church, and finally get the hell out of there. I believe I had to suffer that much in order to get the slap in face to snap out of it and see it for what it was. If I had not experienced such pain, I might still be a christian at that church or another. So in that sense, the three years of abuse (oh, the emotional and spiritual anguish I endured!) was actually a blessing in a way -- because it taught me a hard lesson that I will not ever forget. It got me to researching, and realizing that this is not isolated to my little f'ed up congregation, but a systemic problem in religious institutions everywhere. These realizations led to my freedom from religion.

 

So, milesaway, you and I can (maybe?) laugh about and be grateful for the good that came from our suffering. Sick and twisted, isn't it? But at least we are wiser now. We are free. What a long, painful, horrible journey. I am still recovering, and I'm sure you are too. You are not alone, my friend. I get you. I feel your pain. I applaud your journey. I rejoice in who you are and where you are going.

 

Thank you again for sharing your story. You have brought me comfort and encouragement. You are a light in the darkness for others who are just starting their painful journeys.

 

Peace and virtual hugs to you!

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It's kind of embarrassing to know that it took me so long to realize what a terrible situation I was in. Ironically it was a guy on the xtian forum I used to post at and a guy on the xtian dating site I tried out who planted the seeds for moments of clarity. I can't believe I had to suffer so much before I drew that line and said enough is enough. I guess part of the problem was that I was so desperate to find a place to belong, find acceptance, friends, and healing that I overlooked a ton of red flags even leading up to that fateful day. Now I look back and I'm horrified that I felt so bad about myself that I put up with their crap for as long as I did, and continued to stay for another 8 months after the fact. 

 

I'd say this was a huge blessing in a way as well. Had I tried to duke it out at the warm and fuzzy church, it probably would have been the same story there, it just would have taken longer and essentially delayed the inevitable. The people at that one were plenty nasty and cliqueish even at that one, so I can almost guarantee that the shit would have hit the fan sooner or later. It was only a matter of time. 

 

It's so pathetic how this kind of thing is so commonplace across the board, regardless of denomination. It's outrageous. I guess it's even more proof that church itself is a toxic environment overall, and those that insist that their church isn't are either dumb stupid lucky or haven't seen their congregation's true colors yet. 

 

You're right. Out of the wreckage comes something good, along with some lessons I'll never forget. They were painful lessons to learn, but they were lessons I needed to know. It is kind of twisted, but we both managed to create something of value out of something so horrible. We're a whole lot wiser now than we were back then. We're no longer the same gullible and vulnerable people we used to be. We're no longer at the beck and call of such rotten people who only pretend to care. We no longer have some lame social club monopolizing our lives and demanding even more on top of it. 

 

Thanks for those kind words! We're all in this together. We are free now. I figure if even one person out there can relate to this, then it'll have somehow made a difference in their lives. It's definitely a long, lonely journey, and painful too, but we'll all get through this and get to a point where we're ok. 

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