A Guest Post by V
I was born and raised into an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) family. My Mum went to Bible college in Missouri and Dad was converted by Mum at some point before they married. Shortly after I was born, we moved to Australia from Indonesia in 2000. Once we settled there, we promptly joined a young IFB church. I was their very first creche baby and their first Sunday school kid.
At home, I always remembered being taught with the rod of correction. My parents beat me because they loved me, they said. As a result, I would be beaten with belts and thick wooden rods as punishment for my sins. My peers at school would often question my bruising and I would always lie and say I fell over.
I was coerced into being “saved” at the age of five and baptised at the age of nine. I later doubted my salvation, as I realised how young I was when I was first baptised, so I rededicated my life to Christ as a teen.
I went to a secular primary and high school as my parents couldn’t afford a private Christian school. This was my only window and escape to the real world. As I grew through school, I slowly started to realise just how sheltered I was. No Harry Potter, no boyfriends, no worldly music, no revealing clothes. These were all things my peers were into at my age but I was forbidden to partake. The simple thought of the temptation would send me spiraling in an anxious prayer of forgiveness. I did not know it yet, but I was already mentally broken.
When I reached out for help through my church brothers and sisters, I was often dismissed and was told to just pray more. Read the Bible more. It means you’re not right with God. It is demonic spiritual warfare, etc. They truly forsook me when I had nowhere else to go.
It was not until year eleven (the year before graduation in Australia), when I met a kind Catholic boy and fell in love, that my life really changed. He was the one who showed me the true meaning of love and life. I was honest with my parents, which resulted in me being kicked out of home on the first day of my HSC (SAT equivalent in Australia). My mother told me to never come home again. She had found the birth control I was taking, as I had given my virginity to the Catholic boy. She told me God cannot use a corrupt vessel and that she prays that he will deliver me from my sin.
I never set foot in a church ever again. What did not occur to me was just how much psychological damage was done. I became scared to leave the house; scared to get a job; scared to be in the world because of this intense sense of despair that I had wronged my mother and wronged God.
Long story short, I am still on my road to recovery at age 24. The man I lost my virginity to — I owe him my life. If it were not for him, taking me out of that toxic environment, I probably would not be here today. We have been together for seven years and we are still stronger than ever.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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