My steps into the light were quick. Oddly quick in fact. I had always been one of those kids, who needed to know, not anything specific, just to know. In my personal life, I am a wealth of information and reigning Jeopardy champ among my friends. This thirst for knowledge has implanted within me a near obsessive need to know COMPLETLEY.

 

Church camp was so much fun. It was a camp in the mountains! I love camping! I love the mountains! Lets go!

 

Camp was insidious from the start. Restrictions and rules preventing anyone from just hanging out. You had to be at X place at Y time. And for a while, it was good. Until I started asking questions. Questions that I needed answered, not for any sake but my own. I wanted to know everything I could, to have the full puzzle before me. And everytime I got a new piece, they disliked me more and more for it. Eventually I stopped asking and started observing. The songs, carefully planned to make everyone cry and "feel the holy spirit move about us". Testimonials that were focused on the same. Sob story after sob story with no ending moral aside from "Jesus is NUMBAH ONE!" I grew bored with it. A few of my friends grew bored. So we ditched the main service. Wandered out to a gazeebo in the evening and talked about things that teens talk about. Which meant talking about sex. My only addition to this discussion was the various pornography films I had seen (all 3 of them! Found in my parents room! SHH!) This talk went well into the night.

 

After we got bored/hungry, all of us rolled back to the main camp, where we discovered that we were in BIG TROUBLE. This particular year at camp was special. Every night, they called up all the campers who would belong to a specific class (freshman, sophomore, etc). One of the people I was with was called as a junior and she, of course, was with us. She was missed, and a "search party" was sent out. If they had actually looked, they would have found us, easily. And double kicker, WE WERE ALL GOING TO BE JUNIORS.

 

Only one of us was missed. Nice.

 

So, after berating us for not showing up to boring worship service #2 (there were three worship services a day, plus two bible study group times), another of our number flipped. Angry that only one of the five of us mattered. He punched a metal door in his fury. Instantly, we got yelled at agin, this time for hitting doors. Their words, and I'm quoting here, "Got outside, hit something that doesn't matter. Like a tree."

 

Strike three, and that was the game. Witnessing such arrogance, such silliness, such disrespect toward their Creators creations. I personally had enough. I could feel it too, deep in my gut. That happy spark of community had gone. I was useless, too curious for the church. And everything they said was mirrored in the bible I was forced to study. I attended camp again the next year, but it was too late. I didn't cry when they wanted us all to cry. I sang Nine Inch Nails songs at the top of my lungs. My friends and I quoted "The Life of Brian". I raised hell, and saw it spread. I don't want to really give myself props, but my last year, less than a quarter of the campers fell for the emotional manipulations of their songs. Mainly because we were preventing it. We forced people to laugh, just as they were forced to cry for so many years earlier. I came home after camp, and expanded on my new world. A decade later, I still look back at camp as fun...but only as a playground. Any credit I would have seriously given to the camp died out there, behind a gazeebo in the mountains.

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Wonderful story. I love teenage rebellion. It's evolutionary.
Ah, fantastic. : ) I was never given the chance to attend a religious camp, but if I had, I hope I would have had the ability to do the same as you. Great story, thanks for sharing. :3
Well, I'm a lot older than you guys are (I think). I remember going to a church service at Boy Scout camp. They passed out copies of the hymns for the day, but they were running really short of toner for the copier. (OK, it was really fluid for the ditto machine, which is what Fred Flintstone would have used to make copies.) The hymn was supposed to read "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty . . ." but my copy looked like "Hooey, hooey, hooey." I figured it was a sign.

Craig
I lol'd very much at this.
Made my day, home fry. : )
(Also, I've never heard of a ditto machine. Let me prepare now for the onslaught of "You youngsters!!!")
Ditto machines had a lovely purple color.
and a great "thwapping" noise as the pages flipped through!
I went to a Christian camp after being atheist. They got mad that I went to NONE of the services. I was really just there to visit the pizza place across the street. God damn, that was some good god damn pizza. Like in your case, there was a few of us, except we weren't quite so pissed at the place. I just didn't believe and didn't care, and they believed, but didn't care. My brother and I were the only ones to actually skip everything. The rest only skipped about half.

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