Re: Ex-members of Christadelphian
Date: November 29, 2012 12:11PM
Like most fundamentalist Christians, many Christadelphians believe in scriptural instructions to use "a firm hand" with children. Spare the rod, and spoil the child. If you have a rebellious teenager who will not submit to your parental authority, stone him/her. Etc., etc., etc. They interpret such scripture as permission to manhandle their children. One of my parents could quote entire chapters of scripture flawlessly, and could almost quote it backwards (I'm talking figuratively here). That same parent, prominent in the ecclesia, used a bread board to beat me, a lamp cord, a wicker rug beater, and a stick from a broom (without the straw on the end of it). The latter was almost as round as a half dollar. This same devout and scholarly parent would express contempt for me by spitting in my face, referring to me as "a parasite," kicking me in the groin, brandishing knives at me, killing my pets, and beating me on a weekly basis. This behavior started when I and my siblings would reach the age of four or five, and would continue until we left home. If you were 35 and still living at home, you got "the treatment." The sad thing about it was that it was extremely difficult to leave home with a mangled body and psyche, and the abuse caused us to stay in this intolerable situation longer than would be normal. We came to believe we could not function outside of the oppressive environment in which we were raised.
We became aware we would have been much more fortunate to have been orphans. If having a family registers somewhere between 1 and 100 on a scale of positive numbers, and orphans come into the world registering with a zero, we unfortunates had to work our way back from negative balances to live normal, functional lives. I'd say we began with negative balances of -70 or -90 or something. For half a dozen years after leaving my "religious" family I would wake up screaming at night. On one summer night when the windows were open I was screaming so loudly that lights went on halfway down the block where my house was situated.
Getting back to the "violence," is this behavior typical of Christadelphian families? I doubt it. But I did hear of such things occurring in some other Christadelphian families. I'd venture because of the tendency of Christadelphians to interpret scripture literally, where there are tendencies to direct violence toward children, they get acted upon more readily than if the family was part of a different, less rigid Christian denomination. I'd venture it's more common in all fundamentalist denominations.
I too have experienced the trauma of "shunning." When 90% or 95% of your life revolves around membership in some religious denomination, it brings new meaning to the term "social death." No matter how politely or quietly the church may do it, you get the clear message that you're a pariah. Such dear, sweet, compassionate Christians....... When I tried to reason with them, the response was always, "This is how it is going to be. Submit to our authority and punishment, or get lost."
There are two sites on Facebook for former Christadelphians. I found them helpful for the few months I belonged to them. Note, many of the people posting on the two sites are angry, bitter, and damaged. You can help them by offering supportive and compassionate messages and advice. Some of them have been on the sites for many, many years, suggesting they are having slow "recoveries," for lack of a better word.
May God bless their recoveries. And yours also.
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