This is something I have been thinking about lately. Do any of you feel angry? Misled? Or do you feel your upbringing was provided with generally good intentions?

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Well, I don't feel misled at all, since my parents did encourage scientific education and thinking for myself, at least when I was older. And I'm sure my parents only have my best intentions in mind all the time.

My biggest issue is that I don't remember my childhood very well. I have a few snap shots of memories, but nothing that I can really place with any accuracy. So I just don't remember what it was like growing up and going to church.

Any anger that I have felt is more of a disgust with the people who are using religion. Especially those who don't even know what it is they really believe, or who claim to follow a religion, but not know it's fundamental teachings. Willful ignorance.

Back to topic... Most of the way I was raised was pretty secular, especially since my grandmother was able to get a hold of me pretty much every day. Best kindergarten teacher in my opinion. But we did live in a very rural town, and so much of the survival training was actually useful, and I never once thought of it as strange, and when I moved to the city, I was flabbergast that so many people couldn't light a simple campfire. Especially since so many people go hiking and stuff around here.

I DO remember, when I was about 5, a classmate asked me why I was eating a bologna sandwich, since I was suppose to be vegetarian. And I remember that being news to me, since we raised and butchered our own meat.

Maybe my parents were just bad Seventh-day Adventists... :)

Not really. I think that, initially, I felt angry- and there was this one thing that happened a few years back where, I was telling my mother about a program I'd watched on the book of Daniel (it was a history channel type thing). It explained how there were several "daniel" stories, but only one was selected to be included in the Bible- others were slightly different or included very different stories about the character. Anyway, I remember she sort of broke in and said- "Wendy, sometimes you can know too much"- and my blood literally ran cold.

Forget history, forget science- you can know too much. Until then I thought that the "knowledge" thing was limited somewhat to the creation story, and that it had more to do with 'knowing' how not to sin. Now I knew that it had to do with reality in general. Because my mother is not a foolish person on the whole, I felt that she had outed her doubts with this piece of advice and that she herself chose to ignore information that might be really there- and might disintegrate her faith in any way. She was suggesting that knowing 'truth' was 'too much'.

That made me angry.

But being raised the way I was was good in a number of ways. Because she was a single mom- and because my grandmother died suddenly at 55 (my family circle was mom, myself, and my grandparents), it was good to have people around that were like family. For the most part, our church was just a great, big family. There was a lot of kindness there, and I can honestly say, I haven't had the same experience with SDA churches since that time. Many of my growing-up-with friends have said the same.

It was a bubble- but a decidedly comforting one.

My parents believe Adventism is true with all their hearts.   They don't doubt or not follow a stitch of it, at least without feeling some guilt. :)  They're not completely vegan, for example, and they eat 3 meals a day, not two.  My point is, that they were extremely consistent and unified, and still are, so it was a very secure childhood for me.  I felt so special to have been "chosen" (I was adopted) and to have been given a shortcut to the truth. 

 

With my dad as pastor, I was always at the social center of our little subculture, where I thrived.  Even though my parents were traditional, totally buy EGW, etc. my dad was always a "hip" and fun pastor. During my teen years he drove a motorcycle, he encouraged a lot of fun social activities for his churches, such as game nights, and he would take the youth on backpacking and biking trips.  (Likely including some of Andree's relatives when he pastored in Montana back in the 70's. My maiden name is Ostrander:))

 

I loved my childhood. I know my parents love me and believed they were doing the right thing.

 

But still, I've gone through the anger thing and still have flares from time to time.  So much wasted time and money.  I wanted to dance and do theater as a child and wasn't allowed to.  I've missed out on so many classics in every category.  I'm struggling to catch up in the sciences.  I set up a marriage and style of parenting based on a more traditional women's role that's taking work to renegotiate and mend.

 

In many ways I'm mad at myself for not seeing the light earlier, and in other ways I'm amazed that I "escaped".  I was so thoroughly indoctrinated.  When I go back to visit my parents, it strikes me how saturated their lives are with Adventism.  There are clues in every room of the house - their music, their TV shows on 3ABN, their books, their magazines, the food in the kitchen, even the art on their walls.

 

It really makes me mad to think about some of the things I was taught - that people who are atheists and appear to live good lives are the most dangerous of all, for example.  Just the other day on the phone, my mom said "This world is getting so wicked, I don't know that I ever want any great grandchildren."

 

I get angry/frustrated at them for being so gullible/duped, because it altered my entire life.  The further I move away from Adventism, the less I think about it, as I rebuild my life with a new set of friends.  

 

So much wasted time and money. I wanted to dance and do theater as a child and wasn't allowed to. I've missed out on so many classics in every category. I'm struggling to catch up in the sciences.


All of this, so much.

I'm not particularly resentful - like you, I also know that my parents were trying to do the right thing.

But all of that above is also me - I also was desperate to do dance and theater, but always got the 'Adventists don't dance' thing. Being in Adventist schools, there was no good outlet for the performing arts, unless you were a talented musician (which I'm not). I took piano, but playing for church was the only performance outlet, and that didn't appeal to me at all.

I must say, having a good background in Bible stories did help with my literature classes - I was amazed at how many of my classmates (public college) didn't understand the allusions, because they simply didn't know the stories - even *as* stories, which seemed bizarre to me. Western literature is heavily based in religious literature and themes, so if you don't have a good idea of all of that, you're missing out.

But I think about what I'd rather be doing with my life, what I 'want to be when I grow up', and I keep coming back to the arts....which I have no foundation in, because there was no opportunity, and I couldn't see a clear career path for (that didn't involve being a heathen in probably multiple ways). Maybe I wouldn't have been any good at it anyway, but there's no way to know now. :-(

And the money. Whoa, the money spent on my school tuition, when it should have been going to a college fund, or to my parents' retirement. Unbelievable.
You're so right about a good knowledge of the bible being key to fully understanding Western culture. And fortunately because I had my kids learn their memory verses in the KJV, they've taken a natural liking to Shakespeare. :)

I'm pretty lucky in that I sang and played the piano and so I enjoyed the spotlight in church in those areas and that helped. I also met my birth parents when I was in college. My father had been a musician and my mother's dad was a retired art professor and dancer. Knowing them and having the arts validated through them helped, but I still missed my chance to grow up with those opportunities.

Tonight my daughter rocked a dance recital for the Middle Eastern Dance class that she's taking at the local university. If my parents knew she was taking that class, they would be appalled.

I must admit that I still ponder the possibility of going back to school for an art degree when my kids are grown. (I did get a minor in Fine Art at PUC.) For now, my art form is gourmet cooking. I usher for local concerts and performances to stay in touch with what's going on in my community in the arts, as well as attending local gallery openings.

Regarding the money: I too, feel terribly when I think about my parents meager retirement after all those years of funding church school. And it wasn't just them - I worked every summer from the age of 13 on, to help with academy, in addition to working the maximum hours during the school year as well. My husband graduated with an academy bill that took us awhile to pay off after we married and then we put me through Adventist college without help from parents. I see my sister and her husband still doing it for their kids.

As for me now, I'm tithe free and going to Europe, baby! (Our family has been saving the past few years to make our first ever trip abroad and are going this fall.)

It is not too late!  There are community theatres everywhere that would love to have you as a volunteer.  Audtions are open to anyone.  Go try out or start backstage doing props or costumes.  You will love it.   I've been doing theatre for that last 27 years since seeing my first play at age 26. 

Yes on all counts, extremely so. About the last question... just because they had good intentions does not make the harm any better than if they had bad intentions, what hurts, hurts. If anything the good intentions make me feel sorrow and pity/well as the rage/hatred.

Yes, me too... good intentions don't change facts, don't change hurt.  Just add an additional layer of feeling, that's all, for me.

That's pretty much the feeling here too, but for me, there is a LOT of hurt.

Yes and no.

After we moved to Grants Pass, when I was 8, I spent the rest of my education in the Adventist school system, where my social development was completely destroyed by the kind of constant intense bullying that you usually only hear about because it drove the victim to shoot up the school or commit suicide. All of this while the teachers and principal did jack shit, in spite of the fact that my dad was on the fucking school board and at one point chair of the finance committee. Sorry for the language, but this is definitely bringing up some feelings of resentment. For the sixth grade open house we each had to draw a picture of ourselves, I think the assignment might have been what we pictured ourselves like as adults, mine had me in BDUs, holding a few assault rifles, pistols and grenades on my belt, and ammo strapped to my chest. If I had completed the picture with the dead bodies I left implied, it might have been a more effective cry for help. It's mind boggling that despite all the signs of depression, all the times they talked to my teachers and principal, and my begging to not have to go back to that horrible place that they kept paying the tuition and didn't pull me out of the that school. All so I wouldn't be exposed to the worldly influence of a public school...talk about fucked up.

The only benefit that religion had for me at the time was that it provided an imaginary friend that I could talk to during the years of intense social isolation, one that wouldn't make me look like a loon, and the Bible provided lots of gratuitous violence. What got me through it was hope for the future and a thirst for power. That hope was not for heaven, as it wasn't ever a place I really wanted to go (why I would share the gospel to try to get others there is beyond me), it was hope for a future as a successful adult where people would appreciate my abilities and successes. Fortunately this is something I have found.

I grew up watching Bill Nye and Star Trek the Next Generation, both of which SHOULD have pushed me to doubt my faith. I do resent how my love for science was suppressed by the dogma I was indoctrinated with, enough so that I majored in Theology in college. Heck, I turned down an AFROTC scholarship so I could follow "God's calling." A fact that has left me with some massive student loans that I wouldn't have otherwise.

I know my parents had good intentions. They truly believe that salvation is the most important thing and they raised me in such a way that they could maximize the likelihood of that. They did encourage my love of science and critical thinking, just so long as it didn't challenge the faith.

All that being said, my first year out of the church, as I made the transition from deist to atheist I was angry at everyone for lying to me my whole life and I was a bit of a jackass. Fortunately I've gotten past that, well mostly, I do still flip Adventist churches the bird every time I drive by.
When my son graduated from highschool last year, my parents sent him a card in which they had written a small sermonette admonishing him to be discretionary with the things he learned in college. (He's taking computer science at a public university.) They warned him that higher learning could lead one away from God and "challenged" him to remain faithful. That really pissed me off.

When I left Adventism, it angered me that the view of "back sliders" was that they just left the church because they were bitter. Now I realize there's a double meaning in that. It was always portrayed as the apostate's sinful nature that they were giving in to in not forgiving people within the church for being human and taking in to account that no church is perfect. I wanted to make sure that my SDA friends and family knew that had nothing to do with my leaving. I left based on doctrinal differences, not because I was mad at anyone. However, anger was certainly a bi-product.

ACK!

My in-laws do this- every birthday card is filled up with mini-sermon- sometimes not so mini.  But they don't always wait for an occasion. They saw our Halloween pictures on facebook and I immediately received an anti- Harry Potter brochure (by someone who had obviously NOT read the books) and a pamphlet on the 'history' of Halloween that spent most of its printable surface screeching about the evils of celtic peoples, pre-Christianity. Well, that bothered me on two accounts: I'm of British/Welsh descent, and they are filipino (they find a lot of opportunities to diss white people/Americans, Europeans, etc...)- and then, well, hello- our family, our community, we're allowed to choose what we take part in, thank you very much..

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