In The Beginning…

 

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by Laura

 I was raised by two loving feminist women who happened to love eachother. My two moms never pushed any kind of religious view on me. We were culturally Jewish but we celebrated every holiday out there. Christmas, Chanukkah, Easter, Passover. We were all about being happy and celebrating our love for each other.

As a child I always had a deep fear of death. I couldn’t wrap my head around what happened to you once you died. It was a terrifying thing for me. I remember once, when I was about 5 or 6, running around the house, hysterically crying. When my mom caught hold of me, she wrapped her arms around me to comfort me and asked me what was wrong. I tearfully replied, “You are going to die someday!” I was so scared of the unknown. I couldn’t imagine what would happen to her…or me..when we died.

When I was 17, I met a “man” at my high school. He was handsome, tan, blond and had already graduated. He was also a Christian. He was a challenge for me to conquer. I had always had a boyfriend and never really had trouble getting the guys I wanted. Well, here was another challenge for me. Dale tried desperately to get rid of me but once I set my sight on something (or someone) I could be relentless. Finally he thought he could ditch me by sharing his faith with me. Surely a free spirited, rebellious girl like me would run at the mention of Jesus Christ. But I didn’t.

When Dale told me about heaven and that I could go there after I died if I would ask Jesus into my heart….well, I said,”Sign me up!!” No longer would I be afraid of death because now I had “fire insurance”. All I had to do was toe the line, so to speak, and I would get to heaven when I died. I accepted Christ purely out of fear. Not because He loved me, not because He died for my sins, not because I was so grateful to Him for all he’d done for me…..but because the words I said would guarantee me a place in heaven. It wasn’t until later that I learned that if I messed up and died while in a state of sinning…I would lose my salvation! But that’s another story.

I became a part of a very close knit, loving church filled with people who genuinely cared for me and were sad that I had been subjected to a childhood of being raised by lesbians. How Awful. They pointed out to me that I must leave my father and mother and cling to Christ. That I had to reject these sinners and follow after my Lord. That Jesus would provide mothers and fathers in abundance when I turned my back on my real family. I listened to my “new” family. I trusted that what they said was true and that I would be pleasing God by deserting my family. I left home and moved into the home of one of the families in the church. My new boyfriend/mentor (Dale)helped me get a job. He asked me to marry him…..I said yes. I was 18 years old….I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

My moms used to have conversations about me when I was in my mid teens. They would comfort each other by saying that even though I was almost impossible to raise because I was so strong willed and rebellious, at least they didn’t have to worry that I would ever let anyone push me around. No one was ever going to tell Laura what to do. She was way too strong of a person for that. Boy…were they ever wrong…..

Laura’s Story:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

More from Laura:

  • Lynn Latta

    Great Article on Salon. I respect your courage and ability to take care of yourself under tough circumstances. It seems you have created a great support system for yourself and others who need it.

  • Annie

    How weird that you could accept this story of salvation and heaven without really questioning it, especially given your background. It confirms my suspicion that many Xians simply believe because they WANT to. Because the alternative terrifies them.

  • Anonymous

    What a brave woman, and a good mother!!Fundies scare the hell out of me. The cult like atmosphere of their worshiping is always contrasted with their un-christian tolerance. I think funfamentalism was invented for the cruel and inhumane to get away with the most evil in this world. The fact that they are proliferating scares the hell out of me too.

  • BeadKnitter

    I think the majority of the religious believe because of fear. I’m so glad I’ve found your blog. I was raised in an extremist christian religious cult myself. I left it at the ate of 36. It was the most difficult time of my life. I still struggle with it 14 years later. I think by reading your blog it will help me with my struggle, and maybe, on occasion I can leave a comment that might help you in yours too.

  • Susanne

    I can only imagine how happy your Moms are to see you break free of a horrible, abusive life. My daughter joined an extreme Christian church when she was 14 and after she saw what a sham the life was for women she is now an athiest too. One of the girls from my daughter’s church group now has 7 children (she is 27 years old), home schools them all, lives in an old church with only wood heat and one bathroom, and her husband is the youth pastor.

  • Walter

    Vicky & Laurie,congratulations, you escaped a cult and the scary camp fire tales of some bronze age middle eastern tribe of goat herders..Welcome to the real world.The book is a good idea; you're both very good writers.Laurie, your childhood fear of death was likely instilled by the religous concept that there is something after death. Then religions turn around and sell you the antidote.As someone who doesn't believe in gods or an afterlife, I feel no reason to be afraid of death, though maybe the process of dying painfully. Once dead we've forgotten ourselves. It must be like before we were born. No problem.Enjoy your one life,Walter

  • Volly

    I have always felt that Andrea Yates was the canary in the coal mine for victims of patriarchy. Her situation sounds just like that of Susanne’s daughter’s friend. You two are so lucky and smart to have gotten away.

  • Gwytherinn

    “It wasn’t until later that I learned that if I messed up and died while in a state of sinning…I would lose my salvation!”Having been brought up in an evangelical Christian environment, these were things I worried about as a kid. I was convinced I would never be good enough to go to heaven and I once asked one of my teachers about this – would I go to heaven if I died suddenly but hadn’t been able to repent for all my sins?? I got the same answer – as a 7 year old it terrified me! As I got older it just became absurd. If I lived a life where I did my best to be a good person, how could I be sentenced to hell because I didn’t get the OPPORTUNITY to repent for a few sins before death?It took me a long time to work through all the baggage of my religious upbringing (still am in some ways), I can’t even imagine what it must be like for you and Vyckie! Thanks for sharing your story here, you are both incredibly brave!!

  • Linena

    I am so glad to see that you broke free! The Quiverfull movement has claimed my best friend, and I miss her dearly (her husband will not allow her to see me). More people need to know about the dangers of this movement. It’s great to see that there are people out there who can break free. Thank you very much for sharing your story.