Thursday, November 18, 2004

A Happy Childhood

Dharma writes (under the topic Abuse) ". . . it is very likely some of us played together as young kids at church. I have been hoping someone else would stand up and be heard. I was also molested by a cousin in the church. When I finally told, NOTHING was done . . . . it was swept under the rug . . . I am so relieved to find others who have left and started over. Hope to hear from you soon."

Welcome, Dharma. It is never too late to have a happy childhood, as Tom Robbins said.

I'm happy you found us. What would you like to talk about?

8 comments:

  1. Question for Dharma and other victims:
    What has kept you or what keeps you from coming forth with your experiences of molestation? I believe this is the ONLY way change will take place in the OALC. I encourage you to go to the police and file a report, and/or contact a newspaper willing to hear your story.

    Are you aware that women did not vote in the OALC until someone threatened to report this or did report this to the IRS? A non-profit organization cannot discriminate in this manner and maintain its tax-exempt status!

    The few who are brave and bold enough to speak up are the only hope for positive change that will ultimately benefit others.

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  2. Do you mean vote on church matters or vote as a citizen?

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  3. To answer the above posting, to vote on church matters.

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  4. Interesting. I don't recall any meetings where members voted. Are they held in homes? Once when I asked a preacher how many people belonged to the church, I was told that the OALC does not keep track. Without membership rolls, how can there be representation by the membership?

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  5. Church business meetings are most often held right in the church buildings, usually after a meeting, sometimes mid-week. They are posted and announced for all to attend. The OALC is an established church in America, with By-laws, and membership dues.

    The church localities are well aware of their approximate membership numbers.

    It wasn't so very long ago that women were not "allowed" to vote. Thanks to the person(s) who took the initiative to force that change.

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  6. Anonymous asked me why I hadn't gone to the police. The sexual abuse occurred more than 20 years ago and the clock starting ticking when I told my parents. Well,the statute of limitations has run out for me. I am without legal recourse, but I want to stress that I do not sit alone in the dark and feel sorry for myself. I am LIVING my life as I see fit and I am proud of all my 'worldly' accomplishments such as being an honor student and accomplished artist. I am also wife to my best friend and mother of several great kids. I love dying my hair and wearing a diamond in the piercing in my nose. Once in a while I go a bit wild and wear earrings too. But most important of all, I know I am loved outside the church and I am confident that my spirituality is my own. I have established a deep relationship with God on my own terms and I have even taken to reading the Bible.
    I do not hate the rest of my family and I actually respect their choice to worship as they choose. It is just not for me to attend the oalc any longer.

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  7. I too, was sexually abused as a child and was told by both my mother and the preachers to "fogive and forget and never speak of this matter to anyone." I lived and followed this advice my entire life, by burying it deep within myself, where I would 'forget' it forever. I have not been a part of the OALC(as in- not attended church, but still in close contact with church family members) for 5 years or so now, but have only recently stopped to really focus in on my upbringing, the abuse, the hurt, the effects that it has had on me. It is one thing to say, 'yeah, a lot of the teachings within the church are different then what I now believe in', but a whole different story when suddenly, after looking into my past, I realize how absurd and extreme it was, and everything just collapses before my eyes. My entire belief in religion as a whole is shattered. I cried, and I cried a bit more, but then I did what I have always done with grief and anguish in my life; put it behind me and I now try and move on. 'What doesn't kill me, can only make me stronger.' Can it though? Shouldn't I deal with this at some point? The more I think about it, the more my every thought and action that I do and have done, seem to represent this person inside of me that refuses to deal with anything that comes at her. Instead I smile to the world, agree with whatever anyone else is saying and pretend(and actually believe(or do I?) that everything is okay. Any experiences out there that relate to this? I am curious if it is better to try and deal with these issues(bring up a LOT of old baggage) or go on living as I have been living, which I feel has been a good life, since leaving the church. Does anyone else feel the complete inability to believe in Jesus, the bible, even God, after dealing with all of this? For me at this point, I want proof of EVERYTHING that I am to believe in, and quite frankly, I have no proof of any of the above. Not that I can not look around me and see beauty in life, in nature, and in a million other things, but I see that science can explain(and factualy explain) everything. There is a part of me that wants to believe in some form of religion, but I don't know if it is just because I am so used to having a higher power in my life, that I just naturally want it. Please, do not come back at me with angry, impatient comments, I truely am seeking truth, just truth that MAKES SENSE. No more b.s.

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  8. anonymous,

    I can totally relate to your feeling of not believing in any of it. It makes complete sense to me, because that is exactly where I found myself after leaving the church. I wanted nothing to do with church or with anything that had to do with God.

    Fortunately I had gotten into a good 12-step group that had to do with the sexual abuse issues I was dealing with. I did more healing within that group than I did with years of counseling. I believe that you need a safe place where you can talk about what happened.

    As a child, you had no way to process what happened to you, or to even understand the implications of what you were asked to do. And to just tell you to "forgive and forget" and to never talk about it again is so unfair to you. You were the victim! The person who did it to you gave up their right to privacy the minute they involved you. You have every right to talk about something that happened to you. If you're like me, the effects of that will still be with you until you are able to deal with them.

    I had to go through a grieving process mourning the loss of my innocence, the loss of my relationships, and the acknowledgement of the pain I had gone through. I had so much anger to deal with that came up after I started talking about it.

    That was over a decade ago. I do believe in God today, and I have seen His hand in my life. I know He loves me. But it took time. I asked Him to help me understand. I chose to keep an open mind and wait to see because I needed to know for myself. God showed up in a big way for me.

    Science can explain how and why things happen, but I believe that God was the designer who created these marvelous things we see and experience. I see no conflict between God and science.

    I would just encourage you to find a place to talk about it, or someone with whom you can explore those issues. You can email me if you like...just create an anonymous yahoo email and email me at happy2b.gloria (at) yahoo (dot)com --it's so hard to be where you are right now. It's confusing, lonely, painful, and I have been there. It will get better.

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