This is What Happened When He Hid the Truth from His Church

There’s a really disturbing story at Christian Nightmares Too — a true story from his own life, says the creator of the site — that shows the damage that can happen when you’re brainwashed by religious fundamentalists:

Kevin had wavy black hair, slightly crooked teeth, and a smile that took up half his face. He was shy but friendly and fairly skilled at post-church parking lot banter. He’d always agree when someone praised pastor Tom’s “powerful” sermon. He’d go out of his way to compliment the new hairstyles of women in the church (“You’re ready for the red carpet!” he’d often say). And he’d always promise to keep people in his prayers whenever there was a request.

Eventually I went off to college myself, and only saw Kevin occasionally, when I was home visiting for a weekend, or on holidays. One Christmas I came home and noticed that Kevin had lost some weight; the result of working out, he told me. But when I visited again that summer, he’d lost even more weight and didn’t look healthy at all. His skin seemed tight around his cheekbones, he had dark circles under his eyes, and even his hair was thinner. I heard through the grapevine that he’d been seeing one of the doctors from the church, but nobody seemed to know what was causing his symptoms.

If you think you can handle it, go read the rest of the story. Depressing as hell, though…

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • YankeeCynic

    The pastors comments make my blood boil. They’re the perfect storm of oblivious, bigoted, and condescending.

  • Mick

    Christian love and tolerance. it’s a wonder to behold.

  • Fred Wilder

    I’ve known too may pastors like Kevin’s in my life, I think it is a vocation that attracts a lot of sociopaths

  • Rain

    Oh yes “pastors” can be self righteous jerks. Jesus (or other god of your choice) “called” them to be pastors, you know.

  • kelemi

    The congregation blindly followed the minister. The Germans blindly followed Hitler and look what price they paid.

    The pastor thought that being gay was the worst thing a person could be. Sick.

  • baal

    The sad story iterates why the concept of “sin” is wrongful.

  • Holytape

    The end of the story should read..

    “Isn’t it terrible about Kevin?” she asked.

    “What do you want me to say?” the pastor replied. “I’m an self-absorbed asshole with delusions of grandeur. You can’t expect empathy or even a scrap of human dignity from me.”

  • Michael Harrison

    I believe in standing behind my down-votes, so please understand I’m not trying to be rude. Did you really have to invoke Godwin’s law? It’s overkill for the point you’re making. I mean, yes, the pastor seems to be an unfeeling bastard, but that’s still a far cry from, say, vivisection.

  • cipher

    Give them time.

  • cipher


  • kelemi

    Okay, Hitler is just one example. Another is Jim Jones and another Charles Manson.

    My point is what can happen if you blindly follow someone.

  • Michael Harrison

    I agree completely.

  • Brandie Lynn Winchester

    I was at a funeral for my best friend who had a seizure and passed away shortly after she moved away for college. My friend had epilepsy, but spent her life fighting to get her meds because her parents were meth heads who stole her meds and sold them. The pastor said at the funeral, “I spoke with her before she moved and she reassured me that she would still attend church when she got to Arizona, I hope that she kept her word, I would like to think that she has went to heaven, people with god in their hearts go to heaven. Now I know she had a hard time finding god, and she spoke to me once and told me her doubts. I am sure by the time she passed she had made her peace with him and she is now in heaven
    looking upon us.” And not one person I spoke to thought his remarks were
    disturbing but me. What was really horrible was that that couple of sentences
    was the only comments he made about her, or her life, the rest of the funeral
    he read from the bible and it was like we were listening to Sunday mass. He
    preached to us the importance of getting saved and devoting yourself to god
    before it was too late. I felt he had used his private conversation with her to
    get his point across that she might not be in heaven that she may be in hell
    because her horrible hard life made her doubtful. Someone she poured herself out to looking for understanding and acceptance and to help her find her way through this mess that is life and he turned on her after her death to make a point to those who question faith.

  • TBJ

    Really? Godwin’s law? Comparing something to Hitler at the beset of a comment is totally appropriate. Referring to Hitler or Nazism near the end of a long heated discussion to make some abstract justification invokes Godwin’s Law.

  • Michael Harrison

    As I see it, Hitler was such a monster, having done so much (e.g., SS experiments, genocide, his assembly line approach to said genocide, encouraging the German version of Ed Gein in *his* particular monstrosity), that invoking the emotions associated with Hitler is like hunting with an RPG.

  • TBJ

    Then we will call your definition Harrison”s Law: Referring to Hitler in any context and at any point in a discussion is like hunting with an RPG.
    The poster used the modifier “Hitler” to emphasise the gravity of his former sentence and it is acceptable method to solicit an emotional response to his language.
    An Ad Hitlerism, as some call it, is used as inflammatory language in a pitiful attempt to bolster an otherwise weak premise.

  • Lillynyx

    I think I started reading the full story some time back, (or a very similar sounding story over at Homeschoolers Anonymous), and then ran away from it. I’ll have to make another attempt a bit later. I’m reminded of spending time in Cambodia and making a visit to the ‘Killing Fields’. The road leading in had huge bumps, potholes and just about every other type of impediment designed to make our tuk-tuk ride very rough…considering the reasons the killing fields exist, a bumpy ride was pretty small compared to what the permanent residents had endured. Reading the heartbreaking stories and being upset by them is also very small compared to what some of the ‘permanent residents’ have gone through/are currently going through/will go through.
    I can’t comment any further here, until I’ve finished reading the story. I hope I have the guts to do it soon.

  • Michael Harrison

    I’m not saying it’s never appropriate; e.g., perhaps to counter a sequence of posts which are building up to a statement that some group should be destroyed at all costs, with a disturbing undertone that the individual understands exactly what that means. On the page you linked, Godwin mentioned Abu Ghraib, which involved the systematic torture and humiliation of prisoners simply because they were The Enemy. This story described a different breed of horror.

  • busterggi

    You got that last part wrong, he would have said, “I’m a Christian, what do you want me to say except I’m a self-absorbed ashole with delusions of grandeur…..”

    They always let you know first that they are Christians.

  • busterggi

    Yes, well, back when I got married I was a pantheist and the Catholic priest who performed the service (at special request of my former in-laws) did a sermon about how evil I was for my beliefs.

  • busterggi

    As a former member of the RPGA I would like to point out that RPGers hunt using dice.

  • Randay

    I can really feel sorry for you with your story; I had a cousin who had epilesy and was treated for a brain tumor 50 years ago. She had all the treatment available at the time. She came from the Mid-West and stayed with me in Calif. for a time and stopped all treatment to live her last few months fully.

    She had a spontaneous remission, neither her nor her parents were believers. She got married and had a child. Finally she died at 60 and had donated her body to science, which was so like her. Now the scientist have the possibility to try to understand what happened to her.

  • wmdkitty

    That’s just… wow… heart-breaking.

  • Brandie Lynn Winchester

    During your wedding? how awful and embarrassing

  • Cattleya1

    What is really sad is that I saw this happen every week or 2 when I was practicing medicine in S. Alabama back at the peak of the AIDS crisis. I saw so many bright young people die this tragic death because their upbringing and gayness made them objects of derision by their families and churches. It is so awful that this is still happening. Kids are still dying these lonely, desolate deaths because of religion. I don’t have the words to describe how this makes me feel.

  • Fred

    I would have walked the fuck out and found a justice of the peace.

  • Michael Reed

    Terrible story. I live in Canada and I’m gay, go to church, and am accepted by everyone there. The church and the people have been a positive influence on my life actually. I wish it were the same for Kevin. God bless him and may he RIP.

  • Michael Reed

    It happens on both sides, though. I’m gay, a Christian, and I’ve been attacked by atheists — not for my beliefs — but for the way I was born. I’ve been told I’m nothing but a “mutation” in evolution, my only purpose is to help thin out the numbers and control overpopulation. Christians can be bad but at least they offer me a chance to be “saved”, not that I need it. Some of the atheists I’ve met see me as nothing more than a ‘glitch in the system’, their words.

  • Daniel

    Is that such a terrible thing? To be born thanks to entropy? Does that make life any less worthwhile? You’re alive aren’t you? Even if you are made of star dust. (I am too)

  • Robster

    Once again, religious belief is shown be devoid of anything positive.

  • Holytape

    Well, then those atheists are ignorant assholes.

  • BeasKnees

    Unfortunately, I have had this same experience, several times. In fact, it seems to be a running theme in my town to use funerals as an excuse to try and convert people to Christianity. After the last one, I was so upset by it that it made me want to forgo funerals altogether, no matter who it was for. I’d rather celebrate my loved one’s life in a way that I know he or she would appreciate, rather than spending the whole time at the funeral being upset by how a preacher was forcing people to focus on something they didn’t even care about. Sorry you had to go through that with your best friend. That is terrible.

  • dagor_annon

    Yeah, some asshole that doesn’t understand biology called you a glitch. The best science on our (I’m gay too) genes is that they are expressed in women with lots of kids, so we can be helpful in raising the kids of the tribe.
    The percent of atheists that think that part of your genes are a ‘glitch’ is much lower than the number of Christians that think your being is an abomination. I know which I’d rather deal with.

  • freemage

    Michael: I am… appalled by those individuals; quite clearly, they are not among the ‘rationalist atheists’ or are not applying reason to anything but their atheism. Sorry you got assailed by the asshats among us. Some of us really are trying to get them to knock that shit off.

  • QuestioningKat

    Note your words “Some of the atheists I’ve met…” The fact is – there are lots of gay atheists living openly. Most atheist do not tell you what your purpose is anyway. Your purpose in life is up to you to create as you please.