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Taking Action

By Jaded Rogue ~

Like many here I was also raised in a fundamentalist evangelical household with strict adherence to a literal interpretation of the Bible. After finishing seminary and pastoring a local congregation for a couple of years, my father decided to become a missionary. When I was about 8 years old we, my mother and my younger sister and two brothers, moved to Japan to fulfill this “calling”. Here we lived for a decade while my father went to language school and established a church. I attended public school until the tenth grade after which I attended an international Christian high school.

Around the age of 15 I began to deeply question the reason and validity of the very tenets that I had been heavily indoctrinated with throughout my life. Occasionally I would question my father about particular philosophical notions and the unwieldy contradictions that the Bible posed. Furthermore, about life in general. The responses were always Bible verses with a circular rhetoric that never answered my questions and left me feeling emotionally detached from my father. Consequently, also due to being an adolescent who neither felt like an American and certainly wasn’t Japanese, a rebellious stage ensued.

After a few contentious confrontational years, at the age of 18 I walked out of my home and onto the streets as I could take it no longer. With no family or other options for support (all the people I knew were from the church), I lived on the streets until I was arrested for squatting in an empty hut at a remote temple. Suffice to say there is much I am leaving unsaid as the whole story would fill a volume, however, for all intents and purposes I will continue in short. At this point my father concurred with the elders of the home church citing Titus 1:6. “An elder must be blameless, the husband but of one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.” As a result, having no visa or other options to stay on in Japan on my own accord, our family moved back to the U.S. After that I was left to fend for myself, making my own way with the skills (or lack thereof) I had gleaned over this time. Now I am 36. After being thoroughly disheartened with the lack of education, petty politics, and the pitiful prospects offered by American universities, I have fallen back on a life of unemployment, depression and addiction.

I am writing this because I want to find a course of action. Although I have spent some time surfing the internet looking I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for. What I tend to find are articles like Dr. Marlene Winell’s “Its Hard to Get Help.” While very informative, there does not seem to be a course of action described. What is being done to amend the educational system to include psychiatric training to assist those affected by Religious Trauma Syndrome? What is being done to assist those missionary kids, pastors kids, or any other people who have been raised under the cloak of misguided religious fervor? Are there “halfway houses” to give hope and a base from which to form a reasonable life for those who are outcast by family and church? Are there funds, non-profits that assist in the education of those same people who want to fight back through the system?

I want to know. I want to find a way to contribute.