My Dad became a Christadelphian when I was 4. We’re from Washington DC, and his whole family was Catholic. My parents were a big drug infested mess when I was born, so I guess when my dad finally found the Christadelphians it was like his born-again moment, and he’s never looked back. As a kid, I loved the weekends and Bible schools and the friends and thought it was like candyland every day I spent at one. Because I was taught that they were my only real family, I didn’t even hang out with biological cousins or anything, because they were ‘of the world.’
My parents enforced ‘Bible time’ on me every morning in elementary school, and I think this is where I first remember having issues. My parents would keep me from going to school on time and even had physical consequences should ‘Bible time’ have been neglected, and often I would show up to school in a mess of tears trying to explain why I had no note to my teachers. My parents told me that this took priority because in the Kingdom, my education wasn’t going to matter anyway, with all the glorifying God that I would be expected to be doing.
My teenage years were a mix of rebellion and trying to find my place in Christadelphia. I wasn’t one of the cool kids, and was definitely made fun of and outcast in a lot of the Christadelphian youth cliques. My dad told me to ‘try harder to fit in, they are good kids, and your family.’ I always wanted to be accepted, but I’ve just never been interested in apparently what was cool. It was a mix of being superficial and hypocritically spiritual in my book, and I couldn’t get behind either mentality. I maintained a very few Christo friends and spent most of the time at Bible schools and weekends crying alone somewhere because I just didn’t know how to make this make sense to me. At home, I was completely messed up too – I’ve battled a long standing history of substance abuse, and my teen years and early 20’s were the worst. These things my parents also ignored blatantly, even when I asked for help, because their good Christo daughter simply doesn’t succumb to such evils of ‘the world.’ I ran away from home, I went to live my non-Christo mother, I even went to rehab, just trying to get a grip on it all. I was in a bad situation back in 2003 where I ended up being raped by a roommate, and when I confessed to my parents they told me that I should have expected that, because God did not intend women to have male roommates as a casual thing. I still had this super engrained mentality that Christo life was the only life, and I was really scared to let that go.
I got baptized in 1997, thinking my parents would be proud, and I would have something in common with all the people I grew up around again. No one noticed. I went to Bible class every week, got super involved in things and even tried to bring my non-Christo boyfriend in on the action when we were 20. A year or so later, I was living with a new boyfriend, and my meeting caught wind of that and had a old fashioned biblical intervention with me, and tried to convince me to leave my life of sin and move in with a family where I would be expected to keep up the good church life. Well, since my basic instinct is to pretty much rebel against any type of authoritative control, I declined, and went back to my apartment with my boyfriend. I went to one more weekend after that, where I got caught up in the same nastiness in my social circle, and I decided I was done.
I wrote my letter a couple months later. The AB actually rejected it. Like, if they don’t let me go, I’ll never technically be out, and they can get me back. I’m not even kidding about this. They still act as if I am a member. Even though they never cared when I really was and they never make any attempts to know me now. I too had a very good friend take me out to lunch and tell me we couldn’t be friends anymore because I was choosing a path of the world, and she wasn’t.
I took out a lot of my anger in writing as well. I wrote a blog for a long time and got a lot of Christo heat because of it. I saved it all….. angry comments and all, to remind myself exactly of all the emotional upheaval this as put me through. I even tried to find a happy medium with my anger, but no one in Christoland wants to hear anything but their way of praising the Lord. Everything else is not the way of The Truth.
I barely believe in God anymore. I think there may be a higher power that put things into motion, but that’s about it. I believe in science, and people making of their lives what they will. I don’t like the idea of being rewarded with an eternity of servitude for being the person you should already want to be on this earth, good and decent. Good people act on their own accord, not driven by the promise of a gift in the afterlife. The whole belief system came completely unraveled for me once I really started letting go. My parents still believe I will return to the fold, and still try to pressure me into coming back, but I have no intention of it.
I met a man a year and a half ago. He’s unconventional, and liberal, and my best friend. He’s also in the Army, and 4 months ago I became an Army wife. You can imagine how that’s going down in my family…..The thing is my husband has taught me more about selflessness than any Christadelphian I have ever met, and any verse in the Bible has ever taught me. I found what Christadelphians preach about being in a man that is everything the church despises. It’s only further confirmation for me that I’ve made a better choice than all the confusion I’ve been living with my whole life up to now.
Thats the short of it…..if you can believe that.