It began when I was a kid, the feeling of impending doom. Something terrible was going to happen at any moment. A nebulous yet all-consuming fear of the unknown gripped me—by day. By night, it was an all-consuming encounter with evil. A malevolent phantom became Legion and the lines blurred. I became it, them—pure evil. […]
Tough scenario. 61 years old, in year three of missionary work with my wife after giving up everything to come here, and I have finally decided to walk away from the supernatural after a life of belief in it. How do I tell my wife? How do I tell all those who trust me and […]
I am in my mid 30′s and a dad. I grew up in a very fundamentalist church, of which my dad is a minister. He was never as strict as some of the other preachers, so I thought I escaped relatively unscathed, but now I know I have a few scars. Now, instead of the […]
My name is Phil, and I’m recovering from Protestantism. My story started with the Seventh-Day Adventist cult. I was very young as a kid who learned about the seventh day (Saturday) still being holy, that the Pope was the anti-Christ, etc. I didn’t know if they were right or not, but they were very judgmental […]
Hi, my name is Kim and I’m a recovering fundamentalist. I was raised in an evangelical, fundamentalist household. I was sent to a private fundamentalist school from K-8 that was part of the racist British Israelism movement. My parents used to go to the church affiliated with that school, but stopped going there when the […]
It started, for me, as a little girl, walking up to the altar after an inspiring puppet-show about Jesus Christ and his love for little, sinning, me. I was four years old. No one pushed me out of my seat, or told me I had to accept Jesus “as my Savior”, but I knew that […]
My parents drank the koolaid of the “Charismatic” movement/”Moral Majority.” It got to a point where it was “we’re moving to Guyana, kids” bad. If Pat Robertson had been Jim Jones, we would be buried in a mass grave now. The parents I knew became babbling idiots who prayed for us rather than take us […]
Opening excerpt from my new book, GOD IN CHAINS: 1 So this is what it’s like to not know what you believe anymore. You have just awoken. You stare up from the bed at a ceiling that is no longer there. It has collapsed, too heavy to be held up any longer by the walls […]
Hi, I’m Matt and I’m a recovering evangelical. I was brought up in a loving, but very conservative evangelical home. Went to Uni and then got a job in a church. But after three years working for a church I slowly started to see a greater difference to what I believed and life. Now in […]
I attended an extremely hardcore, abusive, and fundamentalist Southern Baptist run private school from second grade through twelfth grade. I am now 25 and I’m three years into dealing with the residual issues. I have generalized anxiety disorder as a consequence of the trauma I experienced on a daily basis at that school.
I married into the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in 1983. By 1994, I was attending Concordia College, St. Paul, to become a Director of Christian Outreach for the LCMS. Ironically, it was the education I received at a conservative Christian college that caused me to start to question the literal interpretation of the Bible that […]
I am from a family of Seventh-day Adventists (great grandparents on mom’s side and grandparents on dad’s side).
I was raised in a very strict Christian Fundamentalist home.The beliefs I was raised to believe as gospel truth is in constant conflict with what I want to believe.This is causing a lot of mental stress.
I was born to parents who were very conservative. I was a smart kid growing up. I went to a private christian school very early on. Every day I was told the stories of the bible. Just as I was entering the 2nd grade my parents decided that they wanted to make sure I got […]
jw from birth.. i left home at 17, to get away from the smothering – i’d wanted to leave for some time, after being frequently told – ‘my house, my rules’ at age 11, my best friend since forever told his ‘rents he no longer wished to attend the meetings. they listened, he stopped going […]
I was raised Methodist but “accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior” after a bad car crash at the age of16 left me questioning more. Went on to get a BA in Theology/Biblical Studies and living in Jerusalem for a year to learn more and be where Jesus lived. I was “on fire”, “radical”. […]
This US prepresidential Election Megabillion Theater Show thingy, should transform everybody who calls him/herself a independant living organism who claims to have an own opinion, into a raging berzerk who feels, hmmmmm …… FOOLED !!! A democracy based on two choices ??? A country based on the principles of freedom of speech, the country of […]
I am a preacher’s kid from a small town in the South. My father was a minister at the local Baptist Church. My memory of conversion was when I was 9, I was sent to a church camp where bully ministers scared little boys by painting a picture of their souls as flawed and lonely, […]
All was well until my father “got religion” when I was an early teen (of the “independent Baptist” / Jerry Falwell fundamentalist political-Christianity streak). Up until then, my mother was our sole religious guide – albeit in a mainstream Presbyterian faith more rooted in deeds and love instead of words and an either-or/us-against-them mindset. Let’s […]
Thanks for creating this site. I just started describing myself as a recovering fundamentalist a few days ago. Oh, I knew it was coming, but I went kicking and screaming. Renouncing my faith is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. While I think I’m an agnostic, I see no possibility of ever embracing the […]
I think your members might be interested in my upcoming book, Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind.
I was not baptized as a Baptist, but my parents enrolled me in a Baptist academy that believes in the “literal truth” of the Bible. There were some times that we had to stop our work (classes are modular, where we were given these things called PACEs) to let the supervisor (the main teacher) deliver […]
When I was younger, my father had me accept Jesus into my heart. Currently, I consider myself a Humanist.
Thank you all for your stories. Some I’ve read several times and every time they leave me a little stronger!
My older brother, who was also the only person in the world I trusted, died when I was a teenager. I was devastated and began a search for the meaning of life. My older sister joined the Charismatic movement around that time and pulled me in. This was in 1975. I spent the next 25 […]
There is only one narrow path that is viewed as right, successful, or worthwhile. Unfortunately, it is one that I will never undertake.
Read Recovering Fundamentalists founder Drew Stedman’s story of recovery from evangelical fundamentalism.
Used to believe, but after reading my Bible and really facing the contradictions, hatred and propaganda in it, I can no longer believe what I was taught.
Im am 49 year old who spent 30 Years as a Charasmatic Born Again Missionary/Youth Pastor/Worship Leader….done, tired, starting over happily but with emotional fallout
Basically, you believe that after you die you’ll get to say “I told you so” to everyone you’d ever met, so there’s a sense of arrogance when it comes to people outside “the church”. They’re really anti-gay church, too. On top of everything else, you’re taught to value the church far higher than your own family. It’s a really destructive organization at its heart. I’m so glad that I got out, and I’m proud of those I do know who have left. But I feel bad for the children who are being born in “the church” today.
Hello all, I love people even though I usually fall short in that area. I love looking for truth and I love to engage a certain type of people and know where they come from.
I never cease to be amazed how easily family tradition brainwashes people into religion and how my family kept me in the Church for such a long time.
I just never bought some of it. I hope my story can help someone.
Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Just change the dirty water.
My journey from adventism to freedom
I was immersed in church life from 6 weeks of age until shortly after my 40th birthday. I was born-again at age 7. I spent my last five years in church leading praise and worship. My father just retired after 50 years in the pulpit.
Since I was a child I always had a love for God. When I was 9 years old I started a ‘ church ‘ and invited all my friends to teach the bible. In my teenage years, I left God, angry over the circumstances in my life. A step father addicted to drugs , who abused my mother physically and while on drugs attempted to murder her.
My heart is pounding and my pulse is beating hard as I write this story. You see, one year ago today I was spending my birthday with the love of my life and planning to get married. Today on my 33rd birthday I am reading other peoples testimonies about leaving Fundamentalist Christianity. I am questioning everything that my heart, mind, and soul believed passionately for twelve years. I was going to be a Pastor.
I hold no hatred in my heart for her or her family, my hatred has turned into empathetic sorrow for them. I am sick inside from all the hatred and confusion that has come from my heart, and I blame Christianity.
To see if any aspects of my own experiences and struggles strike a chord with anyone….I think because of the space available, and rather than merely give a superficial “just stick to the bare facts”-version,….i’ll write as much as I can that’s relevant to both the intellectual and psycho-emotional turmoil that our journeys out of fundamentalism can involve.
From Pastor to Bastard….
My coming out of religion story, and my coming out of the closet story, are inextricably linked. But it is the process of coming to understand the role of fear in my life and its relationship to love, that made me understand that I was already on the right path, but the path is much clearer now.
And the ‘tower came tumbling down.
My husband, Kurt, and I recently wrote “The Collapse of Belief” about our religious and life journeys. We posted the entire book online. You can read it by clicking the link inside.
The testimony of my deconversion is tied to my conversion story. Both events were planted in the same revelation – a conversation my mother had with me as a young boy. That conversation is etched deep, painfully deep, in my consciousness.
For the record, I was not raised in a fundamentalist household, nor in a fundamentalist church. I brought the fundamentalist beliefs on myself, which ended up straining the relationships among my family and friends….until I attended a Christian college…go figure.
This is the context of my state of sincerity during my struggle with faith and eventual “falling away”.
I was spiritually abused by Jerry Falwell. I attended Liberty University, his Nazi-like concentration camp college in which rock music, attending movie theatres, single dating and long hair was banished. I’m proud of the fact I survived.
I author two blogs, Hot-For-Jesus Former Fundie and teandoranges. I hope that by telling my story others will be encouraged to tell theirs.
Hi my name is Rachel. I live in the Midlands in England. I was brought up in the Bretheren church originally. My dad was (and still is to this day) a pastor of an evangelical church.
As a younger man, I wanted to be a pastor. Not to have a position of power, but just to help other people and make a difference. As an older man, I’ve called bullshit on religion and felt enormous freedom in letting go of old ways and religious beliefs, while still keeping my morals and values. It feels great.
Fear was a central emotion growing up in a large devout Catholic family in the upper Midwest. I learned to be afraid of the devil, hell, sins, priests, and even my thoughts. All of these fears originated in church, in catechism and at home.
I got down on my knees confessed my sins, repented as much as I knew how, and accepted Christ into my heart. It was a mind-altering experience for me. In my mind’s eye I visualized the Creator of all physically with me in the room. I felt overwhelmed with what I believed was a personal and direct manifestation of the LORD. I cried and cried. The emotional cleansing and reality of that moment has never left me, and as I write about it now, it comes alive once again.
How can we argue convincingly about who or what god is (or even if there is a separate being who answers to that name), when we can’t even agree on what an elephant is?
This is my ’spiritual’ or more accurately, ‘psycho-spiritual-reflective’, autobiography I wrote for my senior seminar in theology class in college. I’ve since revised it and will continue to as my life unfolds. Hopefully some people can find it helpful and/or relate partially to it. I encourage everyone do this reflection ‘exercise’, as I found it incredibly helpful and life-giving. The art of knowing thyself (for theological/psychological purposes or just in general) is so important and yet very undervalued in our busy-busy culture.
Visit my blog at jasherwilliamson.wordpress.com for more reflections on issues of recovering from fundamentalism, religious addiction, healing, grace, etc.
Despite the fact that neither of my parents really were too religious, my life began with the chanting of the adhaan (Muslim call to prayer) into my ear. Every Muslim child has this done, and it is supposed to start off his or her life with Islam.
I am at peace with myself and my ‘version’ of God! bless you all in your journey!
I was a devout Christian until I was 19. A Christian University gone wrong woke me up to the hypocrisy and manipulation that goes on behind the scenes of church leadership. I started questioning my beliefs and eventually lost my faith in God. It was really hard to adjust to being an atheist because it was such a huge change for me.
I have come to accept the changes in my life and have made peace with the possibility that I may never be sure if there’s a god or not. I have a good life now and I am a happy non-Christian.
Walking away is a scary process, but honesty with yourself is necessary for life, growth and (if you choose to persue it) genuine spirituality.
I was involved with The Way International, a biblical fundamentalist group (considered by most as a cult), from 1977 through 2005, ages 18 to 46. I was involved with the leadership training program, The Way Corps, and lived for two years on three of the (then) four ‘root’ locations. I served as a Word Over the World Ambassador, which was The Way’s outreach program. During my fourth year of involvement with The Way, I developed asthma and an over-responsive immune system. I believe much of the health issues I experienced for decades were a result of shame and suppressed emotion. Most of my 28 years of involvement I served in some sort of lay leadership capacity.
Prior to The Way I was involved with the Charismatic movement (5 months), a fundamentalist Baptist Church (1 year), Transcendental Meditation (1-1/2 years), psychedelic and other drugs (15 months), and attended a Methodist church some in my childhood.
I’ve left Christianity altogether now. To be honest, it hurt like hell. I didn’t lose just a belief system, but a whole culture that I was raised in and that had become a huge part of my life.
I visited Japan and ran across a statue of a dog I’d never heard of before. The dog came every day with his master to the train station and waited at the platform all day until his master returned from work. One day his master died while at work, and the dog waited for the rest of his life for his master to return, never leaving the station. Each day at the correct time he would sit and look at everyone getting off the train to see if his master was among them. The dog, named Hachiko, was remembered by the memorial where I stood.
The story gripped my heart. I realized I was like Hachiko. I was patterning my entire life around an event—the return of Jesus—that was never going to happen. Once I allowed myself to be open to the painful truth, it crashed down upon me like a sledgehammer. There was no happy eternal ending for me. This life is all there is, and I was wasting it by waiting for a master who would never return.
I was in the religious group for 19 years. Was told I was “saved by grace”, but there were always religious hoops I needed to jump through…I got tired, tired of trying to measure up.
I could never do enough, but held on for years because verbally we were told we were “saved by grace”…but that wasn’t the reality of the burdens heaped on us.
Been out for almost 3 years….YAAAY! Thank God!
There’s hope after an abusive religious experience!!!
I was born a fourth generation Seventh-day Adventist, and was for my formative years a devoted Adventist. But as a young adult I discovered that the beliefs I grew up with was no longer an adequate explanation for my experience of myself and the world. Questions for which there seemed to be no adequate answers led to doubts which led to more unanswered questions. What began as a few small cracks in the structure of my beliefs grew and spread until the whole structure came crashing down, leaving me with little to guide me as I entered into the world. In my journey since that time, I have come to a much fuller and richer understanding of the nature of myself and the cosmos than the beliefs that I had been taught to regard as “TRUTH” beyond all question. I’ve also learned that the question is often more important than the answer.
In my mind, it’s really not strictly about “fundamentalism.” Fundamentalism is simply an easy target. All religious lies are abuse. Why would anyone want to tell a chlld lies? My children were harmed by the whole nexus of events. Eight years after my deconversion, I still don’t get it. Whether it’s priests hitting on kids or pastors convincing men that they have to believe mind-numbing doctrine, it’s all physical and mental abuse that has harmful consequences. It’s pathological and anyone who loves children should think about it. Anyone who wants to be moral shouldn’t use their authority to influence especially a child toward belief in any religious lunacy. My only regret is not figuring that out sooner. All children should be taught fidelity, kindness, compassion, giving, industriousness, responsibility, etc. But chief among all these values is honesty. Christianity is among the cruelest belief systems and the failure to be honest makes Christianity immoral by definition.
This is my journey out of Fundamentalism and then Christianity altogether. I hope in sharing my story, it gives hope and encouragement to others leaving Evangelical Fundamentalism and/or religion entirely.
The title of this first article I borrowed from Valerie Tarico’s book “The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Truth and Love”.
Pastor forced to resign from denomination because he loved too much!
I was one serious kid. Despite my healthy sense of humor, I worried a lot about the Big Questions. When in bed with a severe cold, I pondered my death. Especially as I hit puberty, I had to understand everything thoroughly. I wanted to get it right and make it mine. No hand-me-down religion. I was going to feel it for myself and work it out intellectually too. At sixteen, I decided to chronicle my spiritual life.
I must admit that in the six years since my ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) diagnosis, I have been a bitter man trying to understand why this happened to me. After years of struggling, in and out of faith, the daily challenges of a marriage, raising children, and constantly grabbing at my economic wants, I have ALS. Just when life was getting wonderful, I have ALS.
I consider myself to have been “religiously abused.” This means that I was forced to absorb — and consider true — a bunch of myths of the Jewish variety. I watched with great dismay as my parents became more and more religious.
In a world with as much chaos, hatred, bigotry, and over-consumption as what we live in – there is a need for the hope that faith brings. I think that when I fully embrace these beliefs and live in the knowledge of them, my faith seems clearer, my world looks brighter, and loving others is easier.
The following is an essay I’ve written on my journey out of Mormonism. My journey to atheism is another story. Perhaps I will post it in the future.