I was raised by Mennonite missionaries in a typical Mennonite home. When I was very young, I felt called to "Sanctification." This is an Anabaptist term denoting piety and obedience. Of course, it does not exist.
I simply heard sermons on it and wanted to please God. As part of this quest, over about a years' time, I began to stop eating. I thought of it as a fast, a way to control my sinful nature. The professionals I eventually saw called it Anorexia. But it was not about fat, weight, food, but directly linked to my desire to please God. Far sicker than anorexia.
Once it became obvious that I could die, my parents and I decided to pray. No treatment. I only survived because some man we knew physically took me to a stateside hospital. But it was way too late.
I was now treatment-resistant and felt that man's medicine was shortcutting god. I rejected all forms of help and I ended up on disability, still believing 'god had a plan for my life.' It was laughable and those I tried to witness to just laughed. One young man said, "If your life is a testimony to a god, your god sucks!" I should have listened.
That truly is enough horrors for one life. "God will not give you more than you can bear," is disproved by anyone who goes through that alone. But it did not stop there.
When I was 17, an older, converted Jewish man began to show an interest in me. Like others who "Just trust God," I had very little insight into what was going on. He convinced me that it was god's will that we marry, fabricating "signs" to convince us. He was a prominent member of the church, very wealthy, and had his own TV spot. I thought my suffering was over. I was 18 and he was in his mid-thirties when we wed.
If I suffered before, it was nothing compared to the hell I was about to enter. I cannot even begin to utter what I endured from day 1, and how long I had to stay in it. Anyone who has been abused by a priest or a minister will understand the layers, the religious ordering and humiliation, the manipulation, the silencing...........
I was made to keep silent and have never mentioned what I endured. I have tried, but it only made things worse. Even in therapy I cannot and will not talk about what I suffered because I can't.
I am now almost 50 and have never recovered. I have, like other survivors, been in treatment for PTSD and other disorders related to these religious horrors. I have met other survivors who have not made it and some who hang on.
My family has changed, for the better, and some even work for atheist's rights. Even the "believers" are less likely to "just trust god," and no one judges me.
Regardless, I still cannot purge it from my mind, though I try. I still catch myself telling God how much I hate him or wanting to thank him for a good day. I can't even imagine a life free from the pointless ruminations that go on in my head related to religion... it's a lifelong prison, one that society still lauds and fosters.
It's been a tremendous waste of a life, like one who flies an airplane into a building on god's orders.
My only consolation is that these new gods will one day be as remote and antiquated as the old ones. No one worships Zeus anymore, and one day not a soul will worship the gods of these new religions.
I only hope that it does not take another 5,000 years.
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