Friday, June 12, 2009

Survey Responses

I gave my survey respondents the opportunity to share their thoughts and memories of their former churches. Here are some of the best/funniest/most intriguing.
"I remember my pastor would tell the congregation to vote for "X" or you'd go to hell, and the rest of his speech would be an elaborate argument on why voting for "X" will keep a person from going to hell."

"They once congregated in church and fasted and prayed for twenty-four hours that God would murder my cousin."

"The "religion" that I grew up with has changed over the years but the remnants are on the web:

Pretty Crazy stuff: queens housewife hears mary, her husband, his dad, and buddies, preaches about coming apocalypse, and the evils of rock music, homosexuality, the invisible threat of communism, Satanism, demon possesion, ufo's, etc. After the death of Veronica Leuken, the crazy housewife, her last prophecy, that the comet hale bopp would slam into the sun creating a "warning", didn't come true, the religion split into two major groups.

There weren't Phelps style pickets but they would hold rosary recitations outside of abortion clinics and anything deemed as promoting homosexuality like certain plays or movies, handing out the "directives" like that on the tldm page."

"These are mostly from going to the churches of two girls I dated. A pentacostal and really weird baptist like group. I was always agnostic, I just tried to be nice about it.
Um...The main memory of the pentacostal one was the first time I was forced to go, I tried to administer first aid to the woman next to me that fell down with the "holy spirit" and began having what I thought was a grand mal siezure. That pretty much brought the festivities to an end.

Main memory of the baptist one was telling someone "Feet are dirty. No one is touching my feet." They also handled snakes. They weren't very amused when it didn't bother the agnostic guy to handle a rattlesnake, since obviously I didn't have any faith about the venom not hurting me."

"Attended a Roman Catholic church from age 7 to about age 16. There were people within the church who picketed the local abortion clinic (I worked as an escort against the picketers for the people coming in), but I don't know that it was officially sanctioned. There was gay bashing and political preaching from the pulpit, but it was very veiled -- mostly about issues and rarely"

"This is based on the Evangelical church that I was attending before I left Christianity. It was actually thanks to them that I began my journey to atheism, after the pastor started bashing various other religions. He got outwardly upset when I asked him why other religions were 'wrong and evil'. - lol - "Thanks Pastor Jim!""

"Church really sucked. A lot of brainless fire & brimstone bullshit on Sunday mornings. We were told we would go to hell for every frickin thing."

"The minister was having affairs and so anyone else in the congregation who 'fell into sin' was treated very harshly. He was an iconic charismatic leader and gathered young men around him, he mentored them into leadership and they planted churches but in every case he wanted to control them and there was eventually a very nasty divisive arguement. One of those guys is an atheist, two are divorced, not sure about the other two."

"Our minister was a woman."

"Apparently Jesus Christ sits on the shoulder of the "prophet" and tells him to marry and subsequently have sex with 12-year-old girls (I was a member of the Warren Jeffs cult, in case it's not apparent)"

"Locks as a sign of no faith?! Spleesh"

"I was pretty horrified by the amount of racism, sexism and homophobia in both churches. (Granted, they were in Alabama, so I shouldn't have been that shocked.) I was doubly horrified at one girl's "You're the man, you should decide where we go/do/etc." attitude. It eventually started a long drawn out argument that ended with "If I wanted obedience, I'd have bought a puppy.""

"Mine was Presbyterian. Mid 70s to mid 80s. These were middle class people, WWII or little children during the war. They drank, they listened to pop music. But when it came to defending their racism,sexism,and homophobia you can bet they whipped out their bibles."

"The church would 'preach' that divorce was a sin, but welcomed divorced people into the 'fold' with open arms, very confusing.
The prosperity doctrine was implied (but we should live in poverty so the church can have our money for 'Gods work')"

"I hate church!"

"The made me memorize the whole bible, we had no contact with the outside world, violenly excorsised of my demons regularilly, and was considered an adult at age 10, with full workload and 'privileges' (you get to dance naked for the leaders) Yay!"

"Again, low-church Episcopal. I checked 'yes' under other denominations/faiths going to hell because while we took great pride in loving gays and ethnic groups, this is one we were strangely silent on. So as a child, I had to defer to the bible alone which says anyone who doesn't believe as I do will go to hell."

"Anglicans are not bible literalists. To them the bible is full of stories and parables to be picked from as moral guides. The bad bible stories are ignored."

"Rock n Roll music is a communist plot to take over America via the youth. We had bonfires of rock records.

Sesame Street is a communist plot to take over America via the youth, and if you let your kids watch it, you are a tool of Satan and your children's blood will be on your hands."


  1. Very interesting to read a variety of experiences. I wonder why America, in the main, has so many fractions of christian doctrine and why lots seem to have 'weird' practices. What is it about the American psyche that promotes this practice?

  2. Read up on the "burned over district" of New England in the 1800s for a better perspective. Also bear in mind, USA was founded on the notion of heresy, aka religious freedom. People came here specifically TO have weird practices and beliefs and customs. Where else would you generate the Mormons, the Shakers, the Oneida Utopia?