I found EX-Christian.net back in May of 2010 after typing something like "lost my faith" into the search engine. There was not one particular event that led up to my leaving the xtian cult, it was a bunch of things actually. Let me start at the beginning... the beginning of my "walk" and how I broke free of the brainwashing some 11 years later. I hope you all won't mind how long it is.
I am a web developer and graphics artist by trade and have been for the past 16-years. I am also a published author by accident. Up until recently, I wrote faith-based, self-help books, focusing mainly on marriage, family, and relationship issues. Although I was raised in a very large, very traditional, Italian Catholic family, complete with Catholic schooling, nuns, Catechism, and the man made rituals and doctrines that most Italian Catholics have pounded into their head from birth, I was pretty much a cafeteria Catholic. My parents weren't overtly religious, although they believe in God, my late grandmother was really the one who educated us about religion outside of church. She was the one who taught us the rosary, the novenas, and how to show our dedication to the holy blessed mother. It was more out of my love for her that I practiced these things than a desire to draw closer to God. Up until my "great fall" I never really felt close to God, but the "rituals" did bring me comfort at times.
All of that would change in 1999. I started designing websites when the Internet was in its infancy. There were no college courses for web design back then, those of us who developed websites self-taught ourselves everything and at the time, I was one of the few females in the industry and did really well.
In 1996 I moved to Newark, Delaware after meeting who I thought was "the one". I had recently divorced my first husband, had 3 kids, and was doing pretty good for a single mom of 3 in a new city. In late 1997, a colleague told me how someone with my design and Internet marketing expertise could make literally MILLIONS designing adult websites. He explained that I wouldn't have to do anything too nitty-gritty just design the sites, purchase the content, i.e. pictures, video feeds, etc and then open the sites and charge a membership fee. Keep in mind, this was the very ground floor of online porn sites.
Shortly after I published my first site I was making more money than I had ever imaged possible! I developed another membership site and within a few months I was raking in on average, $3500 per night while I slept! At the same time, my friends were referring people to me to build them adult websites, which I did for an average fee of $25,000. I made close to $3 million dollars in less than 2-years. I was engaged to "the one" and we were planning to move to Florida after we got married to be closer to my parents. Life seemed pretty awesome back then. I want to mention that my very strict, Italian, Catholic parents had no clue what I was doing to make so much money. I had just told them that web design was lucrative and I was in demand.
On June 17, 1999 I left Delaware with my children to fly to Florida to stay with my parents. My fiancé was due to meet me down there at the end of the week and we were going to look at houses and basically enjoy a little mini-vacation. On June 19, 1999 at 11:19 PM my fiancé called me from Delaware and told me that he was not coming the next day. He told me he no longer loved me, didn't want to marry me and told me I would need to remove all of my things from our townhome back in Delaware. The rug had been pulled out from under me. There was nothing to indicate any problems. We hadn't been arguing and he had just bought me a two and a half caret diamond the month before. He hung up the phone after delivering the message and to this day, I never saw him again...ever.
The next several days were spent flying back to Delaware with my father to pack up all of my belongings so I could return to Florida to live with him and my mom. I remember very little of what took place those days. All I do remember was a few of the guys I worked with coming over and helping my dad load the U-Haul truck. The pain I felt was so intense that I literally thought I was dying. For all of you who have experienced heartbreak, you know what I mean. I remember none of the ride back to Florida and very little of the weeks that followed.
I tried calling my fiancé for days afterward, but he cut me off completely. Much later, I found out his mother forced him to break up with me the way he did. Him, being the mama's boy that he was, never took into consideration what it would do to me or my children. We were all devastated. I had been very cautious about allowing men into my life and exposing my children to a bunch of men. Until I met my fiancé' I rarely if ever dated and never let the casual dates I went on meet my kids. My heart was so broken I couldn't function.
About two-weeks into this horrible situation, I decided I was going to end my life. I just couldn't take the pain anymore. I had always prided myself on being strong and able to beat anything. It's the way my parents raised me, but this situation was beating me. I left a note for my parents and walked down to the beach which was adjacent to the Port of Palm Beach. My intentions were to just keep walking until I stepped off the pier. I didn't care how horrible it would be, NOTHING could feel worse than what I was already feeling.
I began my walk down the pier and part of the way down the beach came alongside the sidewalk. Something inside of me made me veer off onto the sand and with it being near dusk, the beach was deserted so there was no one there to interrupt me or try to stop me from what I had planned to do, I was just taking a small detour. I walked down a few yards and sat down on the sand and looked out over the ocean and for the first time ever in my life I cried out to God and begged him to please help me. I begged him to please fix the relationship and send my ex back. At that moment I had what I then believed to be the "seeds of faith" planted in my heart. I believed I heard God say to me in my mind "You do what I need you to do and I will fix it".
I jumped up and for the first time in weeks I felt hope. God was going to give me a miracle!
I went back to my parents house and for the first time in 6 days I actually ate something that stayed down. I had lost a whopping 22 pounds in just 2 weeks. I was starving! After dinner, I went to my room and got online and began researching "miracles" I wanted to absorb everything I could about how to get a miracle and the "The One" who gave them. I realized that I couldn't ask god to give me a miracle while I was peddling porn so the next day I refunded THOUSANDS of dollars in membership fees and shut the porn sites down. I would have done anything to get my miracle and have my fiancé' come back, anything at all.
For eleven months I prayed and believed and did exactly what the Bible said I needed to do to receive an answer. I had enough money saved that I was able to isolate myself for this whole time and devote myself to god...what a waste. One day a mutual friend of ours contacted me to tell me that my ex was getting married. He wasn't coming back. Ever. All of that praying, believing, changing, devotions, etc was for nothing. I had to let go and as hard as it was to do so, I released my ex "to god", believing that someone better would come along.
A short time later, I was contracted by a group of citizens of a small Florida town that had a 50-years history of serious corruption. It was common knowledge that the entire police department were as bad as most of the criminals they apprehended. The group hired me to build a website exposing the corruption. They had boxes of documents, pictures, witness statements, and even a few cops that worked with the department that were working with this group to funnel information to them and then ultimately to me for posting to the website.
The website accomplished what the group wanted it to accomplish, they got an investigation by the state and feds. The problem was, I was now getting death threats!!! One of my hacker friends traced the IP address of the emails being send to me, threatening to slit my throat and that of my kids if I didn't take the site down, directly to the desk of the assistant chief of police! The whole situation felt like a scene out of a movie.
I began calling agents from the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) who were leading the investigation. I sent them the emails and the Special Agent Supervisor assured me they would deal with it. Don't ask me how it happened, but after several phone calls the agent and I began to form a friendship that eventually led to us getting married. I had gotten my miracle!! God didn't send me what I wanted He sent me what I NEEDED! At least that's what all the xtians told me.
So there I was, married to the man of my dreams, serving God full time...Oh, I forgot to mention, when I closed my adult websites, one of them was the very first ladies only erotica websites in the world. When I became "saved" I converted the website to a heartbreak community for women (just4ladies.com). It was this action that would be what the magazines, etc. would write about. My testimony "From Porn to Faith" made its rounds in all the charismatic publications, radio shows, television shows, etc. I wrote my second book which addressed the issue of pornography's harmful and destructive effect on marriage and family and instantly found myself on the xtian writers/speakers circuit. This would be the beginning of the end of my faith.
Being a web developer by trade, I still earned my living designing websites and marketing. The xtian authors I was befriending loved this as they all seemed to have a hard time selling their books. I had a little cottage industry designing xtian author websites and marketing their books and speaking. Working with these women was the absolute WORST time in my web design career. I was put back by the "Diva" attitude so many of them had. They all felt like they were entitled to my services at a discount and at times, even asked me to donate my services even though they were making plenty of money. They worked me to death, paid me slow, and treated me like shit. Not just one of them, MOST of them. For those of you x-xtian ladies, you'd most definitely recognize many of the names if I shared them. These weren't women who were desperate to get to the top, they were at the top in their "specialty". Nonetheless, the diva's wanted what they wanted and they wanted it for nothing because THEY were "daughters of the king" OH PUHLEEZE! I started to realize that the stress I was feeling was 100% due to these women. They had replaced the cross with themselves and the gospel with their message. You need help? They'll minister to you if...if you buy the book or book them to speak! All of these things started to dawn on me. These people were phony!
In fall of 2009, I began sharing my passion for The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I was convinced that there were other ways to have abundance then to sit and wait for God to be in a good enough mood, or find it in his will to answer prayers. I began to apply the laws of attraction and started seeing IMMEDIATE results in my life! All areas of my life!
This did not go over well with my xtian colleagues. They condemned me (without even reading the book) for dabbling in "New Age" things. At first I felt guilty, but the pull of the law of attraction and its teachings were powerful and I felt a kind of peace as I expanded my knowledge and began "attracting" things into my life.
The final straw for me came in May of 2010. I caught my two christian partners in a large web development project lying in a business plan about some $80,000 in funding they were asking for that they didn't need. When I confronted them, all hell broke loose. Between the 3 of us, myself and one of the partners had invested some $130,000 in the development of this web project. The third partner had yet to put her funds in. Two weeks after our "discussion" about the business plan, the partner who had invested back charged over $54,000 on her credit card leaving me in a catastrophic financial situation that literally almost left our family with no food or anything. She lied to her credit card company and told them she didn't receive the product she ordered from me which was supposedly two full manuscripts I published for her, cover to cover. Because she couldn't recoup her investment dollars, and I should mention she never even asked me or spoke to me about backing out, she just back charged all that money, she back-charged fees she had paid me for publishing services. I had given her the jobs at cost, had shipped her books to her and had mountains of proof, but American Express gave her her money back, and I hired an attorney to sue. The second partner who hadn't put her money into the project went behind my back and trademarked my websites in her name only. Fortunately, the law sees this as theft of intellectual property, and we are going after her too. In the process of this mess, the second partner, a VERY popular xtian author, sent a mass email to all of our colleagues telling them I had done something very bad. Not one of the over 200 people contacted me to hear my side of the story. They just assumed because she is who she is, she must be telling the truth. My husband, a 32-year veteran of law enforcement told me that the best defense is an offense: She figured she would smear me before the truth came out about what she had done. That was it for me. I was DONE with this bunch of hypocrites.
I went through my entire client roster and deleted anyone who had anything to do with xiantiy. My faith in god at that point was pretty much gone. Even though I prayed and asked him numerous times to protect me from people like this, he remained silent. Prior to the loss I encountered with these two women, another set of xtian women ripped me off for over $90,000 two years prior. I should have learned my lesson. I didn't.
In June of 2010 I converted my xtian websites to secular self-help websites. I had built a following of over 250,000 members. Some left when I explained the reason for the transition, but many stayed.
Soon after this falling out, the evangelizers came at me like a virus. They tried their damndest to "bring me back into the fold" and every time one of them tried, I deleted them from my social networks, email, mailing list, etc. I slowly released myself from the bondage of the hell that is xtianity.
Today, I feel more free than I have EVER felt in my life! I am moving forward and recovering from the devastating effects of their actions and my ignorance at a record pace! I strongly believe in the law of attraction and it hasn't failed me yet. The best part is, I don't owe it anything but my belief that I am creating my own destiny. I won't go to hell if I stop believing it. I am VERY happy!
There are so many more details to this story but I've already rambled long enough. The bottom line is, God never answered and his representatives sealed the deal for me, I want no part of the bullshit that xianty is and I'll spend the next 11 years of my life writing books about why people should run away from it as fast as they can and also about the law of attraction! If having to be like these freaks is what it's all about, KEEP it! And to those who want to preach to me... be prepared to have your head handed to you... I don't want to hear what you have to say, so don't even try.
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest... the family I have found here on Ex-Christian.net have become so very special to me. No airs or graces, no diva's just real people being themselves without fear of being condemned or rejected. I love you guys!
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