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Weak in Faith

By Sara ~

A Take On Judgement
A Take On Judgement (Photo credit: Taylor Dawn Fortune)
I am 23 years old, and I would definitely say I am an 'ex-christian.' My father was a heroin (and whatever else) addict, so my sister and I were raised by my mother. We struggled all our lives, and a lot of terrible things happened. When I was 12 years old, my father was killed. I began a downward spiral. By 14 I was using drugs and just acting crazy. My mom worked 2 jobs, so supervision wasn't an issue. My freshman year in high school, a church by the name of Church on the Rock did a small revival-like 2-day conference in my town. Suddenly there was a blast of teenagers in my school being dragged by their parents, or the group of zealous converts, to church, every week. Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights. I don't know how to explain the difference between this church, and the other churches in the area, any other way except: The people were militant. Every person I ever talked to from there had a misguided sense of authority. There was a mission in mind every time they opened their mouths. They dominated every conversation, and twisted your words.

I had recently begun to spend time with another girl in my class who's whole family went. It took them another year and a half to drag me to a service, but from the moment I walked in the door they took advantage of the weakest and most vulnerable parts of my life. I was forced to admit every sexual encounter I had had to that point. Every lie I had told and secret I had kept was dragged out of me by guilt and fear. I was told that God had to make me clean again, and he would, but it was going to be a process, changing my habits. I was going to want to let other people give me advice, but I had to remember the only advice that would keep me out of HELL was out of the Bible or the preachers mouth. They began to mold me into something they could use to convert others. I would run bible studies for my class mates and say things that make me feel sick to think of now.

Absolute hubris... and all for the sake of making them members of the church.
I would lie on my bed at night and cry, over the shame and fear of the questions in my head. See I had given everything I was to this belief... this shadowy, questionable doctrine. To make you understand how seriously: I was running multiple Bible Studies, 'discipling' multiple fragile girls like myself. I was in engaged to a boy at 18 that I had only known for 5 months, because the church thought we would 'work well together.' Our preaching style was dynamic and sure to save some souls.

I was scared, and felt out of control. I started digging into the leadership of our group. Things I found out were so disturbing and to the CORE hypocritical, I was having a hard time ignoring it. But I was scared to leave. Everything I had been taught, said that if I left, or searched for answers to my questions, and comfort for my doubt, that I would not only fail in life, but end up spending eternity in hell. I knew that if I told anyone what I was thinking, or the info that I had found out, I was going to be accused of 'creating discord in the brethren.' I had seen it happen before... to a few others. They just moved away and no one ever talked about them. Occasionally, when their names would come up, there would be a few wild rumors about how they were doing terrible since they left... but communication with them was looked at as a sign of being 'weak in your faith.'

Over time I found myself on a journey of enlightenment. There was always a fear to ask questions and seek answers, since denying the holy spirit is an unforgivable sin. It seemed that doubting was the last thing I wanted to do. However, when your curious about the truth, but too scared to to hunt for it, sometimes it will seek you out. It was a fight to get out. They told lies about me, caused me to lose my job, and a lot of the people in my town though I was 'demon possessed.'
Now here I am on the other side, at 23 with more peace than I ever found in the church. I would say I'm an atheist... It's a freeing thing to admit. I don't say that in rebellion or anger towards the church. I say that because after recalling my experience I can see that there were very specific tactics used to break me to the point that I was at. I can see, on a large scale, the DAMAGE religion, as a whole, has done to mankind. Real happiness is found in taking control of your life, and responsibility in your world.

I still have serious trauma issues from the emotional and mental abuse. The anxiety that I feel when I think of it, will keep me up at night.

However, now, when I lie my head down at night, its next to the man who loves me for exactly what I am, and I have peace with myself. My peace comes from fighting for people, and not against them.