My experience of religion is an interesting one. I went from growing up as a Roman Catholic to a Pentecostal from the ages of 18 - 26. I need to preface that this is my experience of the actions of a select few and not representative of all people within a religious framework. Having said that, you can find many people that have been disenfranchised by religious leaders all around the world. My story is not special and it is not uncommon. This is just me making peace with what I went through.
Once high school had finished, I was invited innocently by a friend to a church which I joined and stayed in for 8 years. It woke my passion for music but it also squashed my ability to question the world around me. I followed a set of strict rules for my own life which hindered my development. It made me see the world in a very limited way. I can say now that I believe I was caught up in a cult. I left at the age of 26 because when I started questioning certain aspects of religious practice the higher ups in power became uneasy with it. When I announced to the pastor that I was considering leaving he said, "Well if you've made up your mind, we probably don't need to be having this conversation". Here I was, a 26 year old who had devoted much of his adult life to this religion being cast aside like a rag doll that has lost its usefulness. All the effort that I had put into helping the church all cast aside in a two minute conversation. What ensued was essentially almost two years of healing from this experience and re-learning a state of beliefs that included the ability to think critically and honestly. From here on out my life began to change and that old life of mine bears no resemblance to the life I live today. I am happier for that. It was a shell of a life and one that controlled almost every aspect of my life. I do think about it sometimes. Like an old girlfriend that had left an indelible mark on your life it stirs up memories of something that once had its moments of beauty now forever tainted. It is something I will never forget. 26 was when my whole world was turned upside down.
I’ve thought about writing about this for years. I had my reasons as to why I didn’t write about my traumatic experience with religion but we won’t go into that right now. Let’s just keep it short and sweet for now.