Some of my earliest memories take place in the Christian church. I remember being held by my father as incantations were being said by a stranger in a robe. The ceremonially clad stranger then dripped water on my head and face. Everyone clapped and then there was music. I was four years old at the time.
That was not the only time that I would be baptized however. The next time I went forward in front of a church congregation was to claim “membership in heaven”. The fun part about this? I did it for positive attention from my parents because I was tired of all the negative. My “real baptism” was based on selfishness. Pretty Christian in my experience, so I guess what I did was “normal” for the church.
The pastor whooped and hollered with joy and happiness as I walked down the aisle towards the front of the church. As I approached him, he swooped down and hoisted me upon his shoulders and paraded me around the church like a prize. The congregation shouted out “hallelujah” and “praise gods” as the applause became almost deafening. It was like a scene from a movie – the terrible little child had finally resigned to serve god.
I will never forget what the pastor bellowed after the applause died that day. “This child here, this child of god, .. has been on a path to hell! In school, at home and even here in this church, this child of god has been shaken by Satan himself! But today.. today god has won! Forever will this child be free of Satan’s grasp and on a path of righteousness and love.”
God in the Home
“God” was always around at home. If I ever made a mistake and my parents found out, there would be stern prayer and discipline. Sometimes, the punishment itself would be more prayer and Bible study. I was always confused by this.
Before every meal, my father or mother would say a long prayer, usually centered on events of the day. After the night progressed there would be more prayer still. Just before laying down to bed, one of my parents would come and pray with me, while we knelt beside the bed.
God’s at School
By the time I would make it to school I would be done with God. But that luxury came to an end when my parents decided that I needed to attend a military school. They picked one owned by the church. Now, I would have God at school as well. Jesus fucking christ.
For six years I attended a christian military school. Attendance to church was mandatory and happened at least three times a week. I quickly found the best way to attend the long and monotonous ceremony, was to join the choir, so I did just that.
In the choir loft we were not forced to rise and kneel with the rest of the crowd. We were up floor and behind them. They didn’t see us, they could only hear us. It was the perfect situation for slacking and getting to sing. Two things I loved to do.
God at Therapy?
My parents found me to be too hard to handle and sought out therapeutic help. Being the good Christians that my parents were, they asked the church where to look for good therapists.
Dr. Rosario DelCastillo would become my therapist and it wouldn’t be long before the prayers started. Part of her “therapy” involved digging deep into my past and “psyche” to find the demons that were “possessing” me. When she found the “Demons”, we would pray together to “cast them out”. We would then work together to create prayers for the week, to protect me from more demons coming in and making me bad. I was twelve years old.
I loved singing. I would run through our house singing and annoy my family with loud singing in the shower. When I would attend church, it would be the only time that I took pleasure from services. I would sing loud and true and sometimes even sing up front with the “Christ band”.
In school, I joined choir and by the second year, I became the choirmaster [lead]. All the music that I was learning and singing repeatedly was christian and worship music. It is burned into my memory, probably forever. Sometimes I will still find myself humming an old Christian hymn and it always makes me shake my head in disgust.
I was dragged along on several missions with my parents through the years. I attended a Promise Keepers conference before I was twelve and worked for our church as a groundskeeper. By sixteen, I was attending business conferences with my dad at Glen Eyrie, for Navpress – Billy Graham’s publishing group. I was fully indoctrinated, but I still held on to my disbelief, silently.
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None of these things were optional for me. If I wanted to live peaceably under the roof with my family, I was a Christian. It was never a discussion or choice. From the moment I became part of the family and to this day, I heard one story from my parents and it was “The Bible”.
I was led to believe at a very early age that I was “evil”. I was verbally and physically abused in the name of god. I was even sent to “professionals” that further abused me in the name of god. The true “evil”, is that the bad is intertwined with “good” intentions and actions. The most cunning of evils is the Christian “faith”.
When I was finally presented with a chance to be free of the Christian faith, I left it behind. But, it still haunts me through politics and memories. I am tainted by the Christian faith. I want them to stop indoctrination.
I have left the Christian church behind.