This is the first installment of the Religious Fundamentalism and Sexuality Project. You can read the full list of questions here and the posting plan here. The first six participants whose stories I’ll be posting are Melissa and Haley, Lina and V, Latebloomer and Katy-Anne.
- Please introduce yourself, sharing as much or little as you like. What is your preferred name (to be published)? Are you married/in a relationship? Do you have children? If you are comfortable sharing, what is your sexual identity and/or orientation?
- Please describe the basic beliefs of your family and/or church: Did you belong to a particular denomination? Did you home church? If you followed any major religious figures (Gothard, Campbell, Branham, Wilson, Driscoll, etc.), which ones? Were you raised in fundamentalism or did you come to it later?
Melissa and Haley:
I am Melissa, in my mid-Twenties, married to a Transwoman. We have 4 children aged 5 and under. I consider myself Bi-sexual leaning towards Lesbian.
I grew up in a conservative christian family that was Quiverfull and Patriarchal. We did not belong to any particular denomination, my dad didn’t like any of them. I remember going to church off and on until age 8, after that we moved and could not find a church that reflected what he believed, so we home churched, meaning my dad read the bible and interpretted it for us, and we memorized scripture. We were never official fans of any major religious figure (my dad had problems with all of them) but we were heavily influenced by Doug Phillips, Doug Wilson, Mary Pride, Nancy Campbell, Reb Bradley, Michael Pearl and others.
I blog at Permission to Live.
My name is Haley and I am married to an amazing woman. I am the proud mother of four children. I am transgender. I married my spouse before I transitioned and she has been my constant support through transition. I consider myself bisexual.
I was raised in an interesting hybrid of two Protestant religious streams, I was raised in the Christian Reformed Church and my father is a minister in that denomination. The CRC is a moderately conservative Calvinist denomination. But after my parents started homeschooling my adolescence was caught up in the homeschool patriarchy/quiverfull crowd. My family was familiar with the writings of Wilson, Philips, Cambell, and to a lesser extent Gothard.
Lina and V:
At the risk of sounding like I’m introducing myself in a classroom… I’m Lina, in my early 20s, and I’ve been married just over a year to my phenomenal wife (I never expected to be with a girl; more on that later). We don’t have kids yet, but I nag her periodically to just knock me up already.
I was raised Pentecostal – Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee, to be precise – and my dad was a pastor starting when I was seven. The church started in our home, but grew to occupy a storefront at the local mall. While I know many of the major names of fundamentalism, we didn’t explicitly follow anyone.
I blog at Finding Snooze. I tend to alternate focus between my life, the kids I nanny, and thoughts on religion and being married to a girl.
I’m V, and I’m married to Lina. We’ve been married for just over a year now (legally, in DC), and we have no children—yet, and Lina likes to remind me of this frequently. If anyone could turn water into sperm, it would be that girl. Technically, my orientation is lesbian, but I always refer to myself as gay because it’s an easier word to say. I’m still working on coming to terms with the fact that I’m a “lesbian.”
From the time my mother was born, she faithfully attended a Church of God of Prophecy church in relatively rural Southwest Virginia. No make-up, no jeans, no jewelry, no movies. I like to think they stopped snake handling sometime before she was born. I don’t know what the history of our family prior to her was, but I also know her parents attended this church.
From the time I was born, I faithfully attended the same church. By that time, make-up (I can’t imagine being Southern without it), jeans, movies, and minimal jewelry were allowed. My mom and I got my ears our pierced at the same time, for my sixth birthday (I was a budding piercing addict). Due to financial disagreements in the church, my family left the church when I was about 9 years old, and we eventually found our new home in an International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC).
You can find me in the posts of my wife, Lina, on Finding Snooze.
My family attended Baptist churches for most of my life and raised me to believe in things like the inerrancy of the Bible, the imminence of the rapture and great tribulation, and the importance of young earth creationism. We also strongly believed that Christians were being more and more persecuted in the US, and that only Republicans were fighting for the rights and values of Christians.
During my teen years, we got involved with Christian Patriarchy through attending Reb Bradley’s homeschooling church, Hope Chapel. Reb Bradley’s teachings added an extra layer of oppression to our fundamentalist beliefs; he promoted extreme isolation of children and teens, extremely authoritarian parenting, total female submission, and courtship.
My name is Katy-Anne Wilson, I was born into a Christian fundamentalist family and was raised with several varieties of fundamentalism. I am an Australian who married an American and therefore I now live in the USA with my husband and children. I got married when I was 21, I am 27 now, I will have my 6th anniversary in November. I have four children, three boys aged 4, 3, and 2 (they all have birthdays soon) and a little girl who is almost 11 months old. My sexual orientation is straight but I was lesbian as an older teenager for a while. Maybe I was just experimenting with my sexuality, I don’t know.
I am in college studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Sociology and Writing. I plan to do a Master of Letters when I am finished my Bachelors degree and I do hope to go for a Doctorate also. I love learning. I also love reading and writing, I blog, but I also hope to eventually make money off my writing. I am a Christian, although I don’t claim any denominational affiliation. I attend a Southern Baptist church because it’s the right one for me. My husband isn’t sure right now if he’s a Christian or even if he wants to be, so right now I am in a mixed faith marriage and that’s totally fine by me because my husband has to sort out what he believes and what he wants to believe all by himself.
I blog at American N Aussie.
I am going to talk about the beliefs of the churches here, mostly because the beliefs of my family changed over the years (in fact in my opinion they are more fundamentalist now than they were when I was growing up). I am going to share some links because I just wrote about this subject last week when I wrote about why I am a Christian feminist. So, the long version are on my blog, but I will give you a short version here also.
Why I Am a Christian Feminist Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
Growing up, we were members of mostly Independent Fundamental Baptist churches. My parents were fed up with some aspects of the IFB and for a while they and my grandparents planted a small fundamentalist but non-denominational church, and we also went to some Brethren churches which were all fundamentalist.
Of course, each church varies, so I am speaking in generalities when I write about what the church believed and taught. But I was taught to eschew birth control. I had to have as many children as God would give me (the ironic thing is that I am lying in a hospital bed writing this…after having a hysterectomy). I was taught that abortion was wrong in any and all circumstances (which is why I am grateful I miscarried my ectopic pregnancy because I know we would have aborted although I would never choose abortion normally nor encourage someone else to). I am still against abortion for the most part even though I identify as a feminist. I was taught that I had to obey my husband in everything, I was taught that women shouldn’t go to college, women could not ask theological questions, and in fact, women ought not be that interested in theological matters because it just wasn’t something women were good at. When there were struggles in my marriage, I was told it was all my fault because I was a rebellious woman. The people some of these churches followed were Gothard, Dr Peter S. Ruckman, S.M. Davis, and Jack Hyles.