How I Left Christianity Part Eight: Civil Air Patrol

In the midst of my parents’ divorce, and my ensuing alienation at church, I joined an organization called Civil Air Patrol.

Civil Air Patrol is an amazing organization with a rich history–it was founded just one week before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, by citizens who saw that the United States was vulnerable to an attack, and wanted to do something to protect the country. Its role during WWII consisted of coastal patrols, looking for German submarines, but has evolved to its current three missions: emergency services, aerospace education, and the cadet program.

I wanted to join the Air Force and become an F-15E pilot, and I decided that CAP would help me along the way. It took me some time to convince my parents–my mother, in the way that only mothers can, worried that I’d be sent off to Iraq, and my father wasn’t convinced that I’d be able to take orders and handle a strict chain of command.

Needless to say, I surprised them both.

I rose quickly through the ranks in the cadet program. I joined my squadron’s Color Guard team, increasing my commitment from one day a week and an occasional weekend to three days a week, and many more weekends. I began training to join the squadron’s search and rescue team.

CAP was my rock. It was my one thing, in all my life, that was mine, and only mine. In Civil Air Patrol, I had a purpose. I had potential. I was a good follower, and had the makings of a good leader. I was serving my country. I was surrounded by like-minded people–driven and devoted, and many of my fellow cadets wanted to join the military. Many of the senior members were veterans.

I was closest with the Color Guard team. We practiced several times a week. We were a competitive team–we were aiming for Nationals. The previous year’s team lost at Region, and we were determined to go farther than they had.

These bonds were unlike anything I’d experienced before–they showed in sharp contrast to my relationships with the people at church. Let me explain:

Our Color Guard team won Wing (state) competition. We traveled to Dayton, Ohio, to Wright-Patterson AFB and Wright State University for Region. We won. Nationals were going to be in Dayton. We were so excited.

We made the drive, settled in, and the competition began. One of the first events, the written exam, was my best. We were sitting outside the building…

and I had a seizure. It was my first, since I was a child and it was thought that I had juvenile epilepsy. No one expected it, not the least of all me. One of my teammates remembered my telling her of my childhood disease, and realized what was going on. I busted open my head, bled all over my uniform and the sidewalk. An ambulance was called, and I was taken to the hospital. My team was left behind, to take the exam without me.

I had no idea what was going on–only that I wasn’t with my team anymore, and my head hurt. A lot. I didn’t care–I just wanted to go back to my team and compete. The doctors, Papa Beemer, and one of the senior members in charge of the Color Guard tried to convince to take it easy, to rest, to recover. We had an alternate. He could take over for me, they said.

I was having none of it. We worked too hard to get here. My team needed me. I was going back. I was competing. The doctors were frustrated with me, but Papa Beemer and the Colonel understood. The Colonel called the NCC staff and explained the situation. I had a stitch to close up the wound in my head. I couldn’t wash the blood out for a couple of days. The judges for inspection weren’t to subtract points for the blood. I was going to take the exam as soon as possible.

It was nearing midnight by the time I returned to the dorm on the Wright-State campus where we were staying. My team was watching for me–they met me in the stairwell. They surrounded me, hugging me. Was I okay? They told me what happened. How the drill team from Puerto Rico were the first to respond to their calls for help. How they held me and watched me bleed, and watched me be taken away from them. How they wanted to drop out of the competition to come with me to the hospital.

Wait–drop out of the competition? I was stunned. No way! You didn’t! No, we didn’t, they said. The other senior member that was in charge of our team had convinced them not to–telling them that that’s not what I would have wanted. Damn skippy! They went in for the exam–and did awfully. They couldn’t concentrate, they were too worried about me, and the image of me lying on the ground, unconscious and bleeding, was too fresh in their minds.

Tears were falling all around, by this time. We’re so glad you’re back, they told me. We’re so glad you’re okay. The teammate who would have taken over for me told me it would have felt so wrong, to be standing in my spot. Finally, we were ushered into one of the rooms. We’d been standing in the stairwell the whole time.

It was a long time before I went back to my room, which I shared with a member of the Ohio drill team. We represented the same region, and so shared rooms, meals, and event times. She was waiting up for me. We talked while I got ready for bed. I found out later she checked on me periodically throughout the night while I slept.

The support I received throughout the next couple of days was overwhelming. Cadets that we were competing against, that our Region’s drill team was competing against, it didn’t matter. The Puerto Rico drill team stuck close. We became fast friends. The Ohio drill team shared the Ale 8 we’d brought for them as a present.

We tied for third place overall. We heard over and over that it should have been ours. I knew it would have been, if it hadn’t been for my seizure. There were no regrets, however. We’d placed. We’d stuck it through. We’d made it through some very hard times.

That experience will stay with me for the rest of my life. True friends. True comrades, true teammates.

My NCC challenge coin


How I Left Christianity Part Seven: Divorce

When I was thirteen, my parents separated. It had been coming for years-my parents argued a lot. The day that it all happened will be forever fixed in my mind. My parents were arguing in their room upstairs, and loudly. I was in the living room on the ground floor trying to watch television with my brother. Finally, I’d had enough.

“I can’t take this anymore. I’m out of here,” I announced to my brother as I swept out the front door. I started walking down the street. At the end of the block I turned left and headed down a side street. I had no idea where I was going; I just wanted out. I hadn’t gone far down the side street before my brother blew past me on his bike without a word.

“Well,” I thought, “I guess he couldn’t take it anymore, either.”

I circled around, ending up at the opposite end of our block. My brother was flying toward me on his bike, coming from our house. He swerved and skidded to a stop in front of me.

“Mom locked Dad upstairs,” he announced.


“Mom tried to get me to help her move the couch in front of the door. But I said no. She was trying to do it by herself when I left.”

We stood there on the sidewalk, and hatched a plan to rescue our father. We’d sneak into the backyard and fetch the ladder, and smuggle it to the side of the house. That side of the house had only the downstairs bathroom window and our parents’ bedroom window. We’d climb up to the bedroom window and rescue our father, without our mother noticing.

It was a very grim walk back to our house. It was like we were sneaking behind enemy lines. We came around the bushes and,


Mom was sitting on the front porch. Our puppy was on her leash, and Mom’s twelve-gauge shotgun was sitting in her lap.

“Take Sadie and go for a walk.”

Outgunned, we obeyed.

I led my brother and our puppy away from the house again, and in the opposite direction, following my original path. I looked back a couple times, to see if we could double back. She didn’t move.

“Where are we going? Why don’t we go to Aunt Lizzie’s?”

Our aunt and uncle lived six houses down from us. We’d hatched our plan while standing in front of their house.

“Because that’s where Mom is expecting us to go. I don’t want her to know where we are.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s not safe.”

“Where are we going, then?”

I told him we were going to my best friend’s house. It was a couple of miles away, way too far for our mother to consider it a possibility.

It was slow going. Sadie tugged me this way and that, wanting to smell everything. My brother detoured into several parking lots to circle around and do tricks on his bike. Finally, we stood on my best friend’s front porch. One of her siblings answered the door. They were very surprised to see us.

I was sitting upstairs with my friend and her younger sister in their room when her mother appeared in the door. She told me that my aunt had called looking for us, and she was on her way to come pick us up. I wasn’t happy to have been found so easily, and dreaded going back. I didn’t want to go home.

Soon my aunt arrived, and took us to her house. We were ushered into their basement. I wondered if Sadie would pee on their carpet. I kinda hoped she would. I was willing to bet that she was the first dog to ever enter the house. They were all so stuffed up when it came to pets. Sadie was excited, but I kept her close.

Some time passed, and my aunt came down. “Your Dad’s here.” We flew up the stairs. Dad was standing in the kitchen, talking to my uncle. He hugged us. He looked tired, but relieved to see us. We asked how he got out.

“I jumped out the window.” We gasped. He’d just been sitting in there, watching television, when he’d had enough. He’d lowered himself and then fell the rest of the way. He told us when he came around the corner to the front of the house, our mother saw him and screamed, and ran inside. He came immediately here, sure that we would be here. “I saw you walking down the street,” he said.

What now? I wondered. We can’t go back home. I don’t want to go home. Dad’s here. He’ll figure something out. Somehow, I knew the day wasn’t over.

It didn’t seem like very long before the police arrived. Mom had called them and told them that Dad had hit her. I gasped in outrage.

“But he didn’t! He was locked upstairs the whole time! He would never hit my mom!”

The cops looked pained. “We have no choice,” they explained. “If there’s a report, we have to make an arrest.” I don’t remember what I said. We stood in the driveway, between my aunt’s house and the police car. I fought the tears that stung my eyes. My heart was screaming–Don’t take my Daddy! He didn’t do it! He didn’t do it! Don’t take him away! I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t cry in front of my dad. I had to be strong for my younger brother.

“It’ll be okay,” my father assured us. “I’ll be back soon. I’ll come back for you.” He turned to the cops, and asked them to wait a moment. Then he turned to my aunt and uncle. He was asking them to take us inside; he didn’t want us to see. I glared at the police. They stood awkwardly, avoiding looking at my brother and I. My aunt ushered us back inside, back into the basement. I didn’t see or hear what was on the television. I stared toward the window, through the white gauze curtains, at the undercarriage of the police cruiser that was taking my father away from me. A minute later, it pulled out of the driveway.


I was not going home. I wouldn’t do it. I’d run away if they tried to make me. We stayed at my aunt’s that night. But eventually, we had to go back. I resisted with every fiber of my being. I would not live in the same house with my mother, not after what she did.

I lived there for three years. That’s how long it took–from separation to the divorce was finalized. Our home life got no simpler. It was three years of court appearances, arguments, anger, keeping secrets, staying strong, choosing what parent would come to this event or that, resisting information mining efforts–alone. Every aspect of my life became a weapon. My mother took out an emergency protective order on my father after that fateful day. Outside of the courtroom, I’ve seen my parents together on only two occasions since that day: my nephew’s birth, and my college graduation. The first was almost four years ago, the second two–and both were only after careful negotiations mediated by myself.

My aunt and uncle were on my father’s side. Anytime I talked to them it was a back-and-forth ranting session. Everything I said to them would make it back to the court–the judge, CPS, the counselors, the lawyers…and my parents. No one at church understood. My friends backed off. The elders never approached me to talk, to offer me refuge, they never even offered to pray with me.

I got angrier and angrier. I cried in bed at night. I begged Jesus to save me, to make it better, to end it all. I just wanted peace. If I couldn’t have that, I at least wanted to be angry and not have it used as a weapon in court. I didn’t want to be fought over. I never wanted to hear “best for the children” ever again.

The longer the divorce dragged on, the more alienated I felt at church. I felt hollow. The longer it went on, the more obvious it became to me that everyone at church was ignoring the problems I was having. Everything and everyone felt fake–pretenders, actors, or role-playing. At first, I played along. But the longer it went on, the harder it became to continue the act. Every part of my life was an act. I needed to be real. I needed to be me. Just me.

Soon I found that outlet–that place that I could be real. I will write about that in another part of the series, but suffice to say, the contrast between it and church was stark, and I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

How I Left Christianity Part Six: Retirement

One Sunday, the pastor of my church announced that he was retiring. The news sent shock waves throughout the church. You see, this pastor founded our church. He was the heart, soul, and lifeblood of the church.

Brother T (no one ever called him Pastor T, always Brother) wasn’t merely the man who stood at the pulpit on Sundays and preached. He taught children’s choir–the children who had grown up in the church, teenagers now, had been taught by Brother T how to read music. He taught us how to sing. Musicals were one of the main ministries at this church–we grew up on stage. Brother T directed every single one. He taught us how to act, as well.

Vacation Bible School was one of his favorite times of the year–Brother T led that as well. Most of the married couples in the church had been married by him. All of the children had been baptized by him.

When we reached our teenage years, he took us to Centrifuge, a Christian summer camp. After that, we went every summer.

Everything that happened at the church, he was intimately involved in, if he hadn’t begun and led the activity himself.

My friends and I talked amongst ourselves. What’s going to happen? How can this church function without Brother T? A new pastor would change everything.

And so it did.

A committee was formed to search for a new pastor. But the really big development was talk of merger. We should merge with another church, some said. The merger advocates grew in number and in volume, and soon, there was another committee looking for churches to possibly merge with. Pastoral candidates were found and rejected, at the same time that merger candidates were found, considered, and rejected.

During all of this, the power balance was shifting. Who was going to take over everything that Brother T had been doing? Who was going to make the big decisions in the meantime? The deacons? The board? Or the entire church, by vote?

There were plenty of disagreements. Most of the discussions I was not privy to, as a teenager, and a teenage girl, at that. But I could see divides, rifts, if you will, beginning to form. There were some occasions where church-wide discussions were held after services. No one asked the youth, nor did we really feel like we were allowed to speak up .But most of the division that I could see were mere undercurrents. There was a atmosphere forming at church–one of stress and tension, never acknowledged, that made one uncomfortable.

I don’t actually recall, during this period, any pastoral candidates being introduced, though I’m sure there were.

The merger committee had decided on three possible churches that we might merge with. There were more meetings. But at the same time, we “fellowshipped” with the three congregations individually, to see how well we might get along. One was forty-five minutes away.

Negotiations began. Who would be in charge of this? Who would be in charge of that? Who’s facility would we use? Who’s staff? Which staff? Who would teach? These things are more, I believe, what narrowed down our choices–the compatibility of our congregations, and the relative locations of our churches seemed to have nothing to do with it.

While the adults jockeyed for position, we felt largely adrift. What was going on? Why do we have to merge? What was going to happen? I found myself looking around the building and the grounds, imprinting everything in memory in case we moved to another church. It was a home to me, in so many ways–this elementary school turned church. But it had changed.

The church was changing, and it no longer felt like home.

I was homeless.

Why I Left Christianity: And Why I Stayed Away

In the beginning, it was just too painful. I’d been hurt so badly. I was also dealing with a great deal of stress from the three-year long divorce of my parents, along with stress from big changes in my life: a move across town from where I’d grown up, shifting from homeschooling to public school, and it was time for me to figure out what I was going to do after high school.

I was depressed. I was lonely. I was isolated. And I was worn out from trying to be strong for everybody for so long.

I simply could not deal with church. I couldn’t handle trying to find another church–another huge change. And so, on Sunday mornings, I slept. On Sunday and Wednesday nights, I took refuge in my bedroom, cuddling with books, or reaching out online.

I needed friends, family, and mentors who would be strong for me. I needed a support system that was nonjudgmental. I needed comfort. I needed love. I needed to feel safe. I needed someone to listen to me, someone to confide in, that wouldn’t run to the family court judge, my parents, or rat me out when college and military recruiters called.

In other words, I needed to be as far away from Christianity as I could get.

I found safe spaces. I found comfort and love. I found safety. And I promptly broke. Everything I’d held in came gushing out in a hot, ugly, blubbering, bleeding mess. Once it started, I couldn’t stop it–I had to suffer until the wounds had finished gushing.

I became very self-destructive. I did a lot of stupid shit while I was breaking down. My support system was a boy I met through Civil Air Patrol. First him, then his family. I spent a lot of time at their house. First hours. One day, I stayed so late my friend’s mother called my father and asked if I could stay the night. Soon I was spending my weekends at their home. Eventually, I stopped going home. This family homeschooled as well, and I took lessons with my friend. They took me in as their own.

I spoke of my problems primarily with my friend. The rest of his family just loved me. I felt so safe when I was there–so free. His parents didn’t prod–they waited until I was ready to talk to them.

They took me in without ever asking why.

They simply saw I dreaded going home, and let me stay.

I will forever be grateful to them.

I will forever love them as part of my family.

My friend had become fascinated with different religions. All things spiritual, he researched. I became fascinated, too. We spent hours at his computer reading. We huddled over countless books from the library. So began my spiritual journey.

All too soon, this happy period of my life came to an end. The family was moving across the country. I dreaded it. When my father found out, he called me home, afraid they would take me with them. They weren’t going to, despite it being my heart’s desire at the time. But still. They didn’t want my father to press charges, so they took me home.

Why did I stay away from Christianity once I’d healed, adjusted to my new life, and figured out what I was going to do after high school?

Simple: Christians.

Not so much the overtly hateful ones–they were easy to spot, and I avoided their toxicity like the plague. I avoided a lot of Christians.

No, it was the Christians who claimed to be different. The ones who claimed to love as Jesus did. The ones who were so quick to condemn their overtly hateful, judgmental brethren.

At first, they’d befriend me. They’d love me. They’d support me. They’d listen. They made me feel safe.

But there was always the inevitable betrayal.

Sometimes it would be by trying to draw me back into the church.

Sometimes it would be by pulling the “unequally yoked” card.

It was all conditional. If you can’t love me as I am, how can you love who you want me to be?

I have to say, the “unequally yoked” card broke my heart.

You broke my heart.

You stabbed a knife right into my heart, and ripped out a piece of my very soul.

The Christians who claimed to be different were so much worse. They waited until I loved them to tell me they hated me. Worse, they pretended still that they loved me. For a while, anyway.

Before that night, I’d found a new spiritual path that fulfilled me and made me happy. Afterwards? Nothing, no spiritual path, no religion could ever do that again. That part of me is dead.

My incense rots. My beautiful crystals sit in a bag in a drawer, untouched. My books lay unopened. I haven’t meditated in six years. My pretty tarot decks lay next to the crystals in the drawer. I can’t touch them. It hurts too much to do so.

Every spiritual path that existed for me, and could possibly exist, has grown over, been blocked by trees, and eventually fallen into the ocean, never to be seen again.

That is why I can’t go back.

How I Left Christianity Part Five: From Love to Condemnation

“Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”

As a child, I was taught at church that Jesus loved me. Over and over again, this was the message I got.

Once I hit puberty, that all changed.

“You look like a prositute.”

“You’re leading your brothers astray. You need to dress more modestly.”

“What were you doing in the choir room alone with him? Were you messing around?”

Once I hit puberty, this is the message I got. This is what I was taught, over and over again. It wasn’t so much about love anymore. It was about my own depravity-my inheritance of sinful temptation that I received from Eve. I was to cover my body in layers of cloth. I was to change my behavior and cut off friendships that had existed since early childhood.

I wasn’t a loved child of God anymore. I was a filthy agent of Satan who had to be reined in at all costs.

“Jesus loves me! He doesn’t care what I wear! He loves me for who I am! He saved me despite my sins!”

I couldn’t say how many times I said some variation of that to my church. They never got it.

I felt like the church was dumping buckets of mud on me, and then telling me I was dirty, and it was all my fault. All I wanted was to go about my business: worshipping my Savior, talking to Him, and fellowship with my brothers and sisters.

Once I hit puberty, I was never allowed to do just that.

The adults in my church were so obsessed with the body parts I didn’t have, and didn’t know existed. I hadn’t developed breasts yet. I didn’t know I had a vagina. I seriously thought I peed out of my anus.

I had no interest in real boys. I loved the Backstreet Boys because I loved their music and I thought they were cute. But the boys in my life?

“Me? Kissing them? You are out of your mind. That’s weird. And gross. Ew. Pervert.”

I was so tired of it. How could I convince these adults to leave me alone?

I tried dressing more modestly. But it was never enough.

“Those pants hug your bottom. That’s inappropriate.”

“You shouldn’t wear tshirts with sarcastic remarks on them. That’s inappropriate.”

“Button up that shirt. I can see skin. That’s immodest.”

“Button that shirt up. No, it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing another underneath. Boys will think it’s not there, and that you’re naked. Button it all the way up.”

“Don’t let that sweater hang off your shoulders. Take it off, or wear it properly.”

I, along with the other girls, eventually took to wearing baggy pull-over hoodies and jeans. Of course, then there was bemoaning over the disrespect our generation showed to God because we weren’t dressing up.

I begged my mother to buy me more clothes. Of course, my parents didn’t have the money to purchase a new wardrobe to accommodate the ever-changing standards of proper modesty and dressiness of the church leaders.

You would have thought the song went something like this:

“Onward, Christian soldiers, to demean those teenage girls…”

It hurt me, deeply, to be treated this way by people I loved and admired…and trusted. I could never be good enough. I wasn’t a person. I was simply a tainted body.

When I took the purity pledge, I earned a brief respite from the constant barrage of insults and condemnations. It wasn’t long, though, before that was used as a weapon against me, too.

Why couldn’t I just be? I knew that I deserved better. I fought for it. I struggled to understand why it was so difficult for the people in my church to just let me be.

All of this? Once I ventured out into the world, once I had a taste of respect, of simply Being, I had no desire to go back to this.

How I Left Christianity Part Four: Poverty

My family wasn’t rich.

For the most part, as a child, I didn’t realize it. So sometimes the electricity was shut off. During the summer, that meant open windows letting the fresh breeze in at night. In the winter, it meant evenings spent around the fire, roasting marshmallows and playing boardgames by candlelight. Cool! It meant getting to go to work with Papa Beemer on Saturdays, playing with my brother in the steelyard, or drawing buildings on HUGE pieces on paper, just like Daddy.

No big deal, right? Other kids didn’t get to do that stuff with their parents. But wait–they got to go on vacations. Photos of beaches in Florida. Hiking in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Why didn’t we get to do that? How come my friend’s parents aren’t inviting me? They’ve invited all the other girls. That was only every once in a while though.

My best friend’s family was like mine–they weren’t rich, either. She had lots of siblings. At one point, they were having a hard time. Momma Beemer took my brother and I to the grocery, and we filled up two carts of food. Later that day, my best friend, her siblings, and her mother came over to pick up the food. Us kids enjoyed the visit–dashing back and forth from my kitchen to their van, running around the front yard. But I noticed the expression on my mom’s face–and the expression on my best friend’s mother’s. Understanding on one, and relief on the other. I couldn’t name the expressions at the time–I only noticed that the two women seemed very close at that moment, closer than they’d ever been before. It confused me.

That day repeated itself a couple of times a month for a while, and then without any remarkable event marking it, it stopped.

It wasn’t long before it started again–only in reverse. My best friend and her family were bringing food to us. The children were bounding back and forth with bulging white bags, while the two women spoke together. I saw the expressions on their faces, and was drawn to them. As I got closer, I got that feeling from Momma Beemer that children get from their parents sometimes: this is an adult conversation. Go away. I went.

Sometimes, at church, the pastor would speak after the worship service about a family in need. A relative was sick, and needed to pay for surgery. A man was laid off, and he needed help to feed his family and pay the bills while he looked for another job.

I wondered a bit why the pastor never asked the congregation for help when my family needed it. But my family didn’t go to church–only me. I wondered more why the church never helped my best friend and her family. Every time the doors were open, my best friend’s family was there. Her mother, and all the children attended faithfully–every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night–for choir, for musicals, for Vacation Bible School, for all the other fellowships and Bible studies, they were there. They worked hard for the church–to learn and grow spiritually, to help spread the Word–they did it all. It made me angry.

What was so different about my best friend’s family? Why didn’t our brothers and sisters in Christ help them?

Was it because her dad wasn’t a deacon? Was it because her dad didn’t come to church very much?


At the time, I couldn’t answer that question. Years later, I can.

How I Left Christianity Part 3: Authority Figures Can Be Wrong

Children are taught to trust authority figures: parents, teachers, pastors, policemen–the list goes on and on. When you’re a child, every adult is an authority figure. You watch and learn that adults have authority figures, too–parishioners defer to the pastor, parents to the police, teachers to the principal. The authority figures that even adults defer to are given even higher status in a child’s mind. Once a person is given such status in childhood, most often that status will remain unchallenged by the child as she grows into adulthood.

When an adult has this status, their word is infallible. What they say must be true. What they order must be obeyed. What they believe is right.

This is why Christians work so hard to isolate themselves from nonbelievers, as well as to drive non-Christians (and other undesireables, such as LGBTQI people) out of the public eye. If children (or “young” Christians) see that adults disagree, or that certain truths are anything but (like LGBTQI people being depraved, disease-ridden, and unhappy) then their status as authority figures and Holders of Truth begins to unravel. Awkward questions will be asked. Absolute trust begins to crumble.

Now, eventually all children learn this lesson, as they grow older and begin to interact in less hierarchical ways with adults. But learning this lesson in regards to my spiritual authorities was absolutely vital.

One can be an adult in every other matter–age, autonomy, maturity, financially–but still spiritually be a child. That is, depending on a pastor, a book, a denomination, etc. for answers and guidance spiritually. Until you seek out answers for yourself, until you ask yourself questions, you will never be anything but dependent on another in this regard.

It may be something as simple as quoting a bible verse wrong, or claiming to act in accordance with the bible while actually doing the opposite, that triggers the realization that spiritual authorities can be, and very often are wrong. You have to start asking little questions about small matters before you can make the leap to asking the big questions.

That’s what happened to me. I witnessed several things that made me realize that these people that I believed had the truth about God–were wrong. If they were wrong about these things, what else could they be wrong about? Perhaps I should ask someone else? Perhaps I should find out on my own?

Note: I’m going to write about a couple of these events later in the series, because they had a very big impact on me–that’s why I’m not giving specifics here.