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The Long Road to Recovery

By N. Clark ~

My story begins 25 years ago when my mother married her second husband.Well let me back up a bit before that so you understand the context of my tale.

The earliest origins for my tale begin in late October 1958 when my grandfather was having a crisis of faith. My grandfather,who was a minister, much like his father before him, and his father before him, and his...*snore* sorry fell asleep there for a second, suffice it to say it there were many generations of ministers/presbyters/pastors/priests/reverends/etc. in my family's background. His crisis of faith came from his determination to no longer follow Calvinism but to find respite in the Lutheran tradition (trust me it's a can of worms theologically speaking). So when my mother was born in 1959 she was the first child born into his family that was baptized Lutheran. Now because of this my mom had some interesting ideas about "theological institutions" in daily life, her being raised Lutheran but her older siblings being Calvinists.

So fast forward to 1987 when my mother gets married a second time (I was 2 at the time). The man she married was a Pentecostal who was exceptionally abusive, not just to her but us kids as well. My mom decided to finally flee the situation in 1992. We moved to a far away state where he would never find us. But something stuck with my mom, namely her, new found, Pentecostal beliefs. She would cram the bible down our throat day in and day out(she home-schooled us for the first few years of schooling using fundie approved materials). As children my brothers and sister and I were only vaguely aware of other children with minimal interaction once a week with other children at sunday school. Then the abuse started by a minister. It was emotional and physical in nature. My mom found out and changed churches. She placed us in a fundie run "school"( I use the term very very loosely I was already far better educated than the crap they were teaching and prior to that it was only my mom teaching us what little she knew before we discovered the local library in which case I educated myself from roughly the age 8 until I finally went to public school when I was 13). This school was OLD school in it's discipline, think whips, cast-iron frying pans fresh from a hot stove, and even the occasional faux crucifixion in front of the entire school for those who were really bad. On top of that bible lessons every day, sermons on hell and why we were going to go there, why secular music is satanic, the list keeps going but suffice it to say the school was tantamount to abuse.

When I finally got to public schools a whole new world was open to me and I was afraid to embrace it. I was shy and made only a few friends because of the way i was brought up I saw every single one of these kids as a demon in hiding,or as my former pastor would say "Beware of demons in sheep's clothing every man woman and child who is not part of this church is a part of the devils sanctum and are going straight to hell when the world burns.". My life had been so cloistered at that point that all I knew beyond my family and my studies in things like science,or evolution(having read the origin of species when I was 9 and several other books on the subject as I progressed in my private studies), was my small tightly knit church.

If you are still reading at this point I thank you most people would probably go TL;DR but I promise I won't take up much more of your time.

I finally started asking the tough questions, from a philosophical viewpoint at least, I approached the pastor and asked to speak with him in private. My first question, which in retrospect is framed fairly naively, makes perfect sense attempting to reconcile historical mythologies with christian beliefs. " Are the gods and demi-gods of historic myth misinterpreted angels?" He promptly told me to never ask that question again. I followed up with this question" Within the context that, as you claim, the bible is the most historically accurate book ever written why has there been little to no evidence of the public dissent among the Jews that Jesus was creating at the time he was supposed to live?" He promptly kicked me out of his office with the warning "Never come back!".

My mother found out through the church gossip that I was no longer welcome there and she asked me why. I flat out told her that I couldn't reconcile my personal views of whats right and wrong with the views of the church. She attempted to make church mandatory for me I went to a UU congregation and joined them(she wasn't happy she meant HER church). They applauded me for joining them and even asking the tough questions. I finally found Humanism and Paganism(turns out my Dads side of the family has a huge Druid background) through the UUs.

It's been 12 years since I threw off my shackles, but just throwing off the shackles of the oppression that one wears isn't enough. You have to learn to think in different terms, you have to realize that you are no longer a slave to a system of oppression. You have to embrace freedom.