CC image courtesy of Flickr, James Lee.
HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Leigh” is a pseudonym.
My home schooling education started in high school, but even before that I was raised in a church that believed it was the best form of education. All of my close friends were home schooled; my pastor regularly preached on the subject.
About how good it was to home school, how the government was using the school to warp our minds. My home was like any conservative Christian home: God came first. Democrats were bad, gays were bad, and anything that was not agreeing with the Bible was wrong.
Anything to do with traditional white America was good.
When it came to homeschooling itself it first started online, which made me happy. I could do the work how I wanted to- history first, and the rest later. Then my mother was handed used books from my closest friend’s mother. Instead of learning about the Civil War, or World War 2, everything related to the Bible.
I truthfully wasn’t upset; I planned on going to my church’s Bible school, which considering I was the daughter of a single mother I would have gone to for free.
I lost myself in it. I stopped speaking to the few non church-going friends I had.
I regularly stated I would court instead of date. For the only boyfriend I had ever had, it upset him. He himself was a conservative Christian, but he began to state that I was no longer myself. I only wanted to be a good Christian wife and mother. It upset him to the point until I left the church, we stopped speaking. His last conversation before me leaving the church was, “he wanted his future wife to be more than a wife, more than a mother, he wanted a equal, and I wanted to be less.” The friend’s mother who was teaching me stated this was for the best. That boy is not good. And she muttered something in relation to his Spanish heritage.
As I look back, I don’t know how I could have been that person.
I was raised in Florida, not some odd Midwestern state. I wore jeans, boots, and these things did not change.
My mother was a high school dropout, while my teacher was a military wife. A college-educated woman. When I would question why she made that statement, she said “because I don’t want you to make the mistakes I did.” And when this former nurse saw and was told the mental health problems I was having, I was given vitamins, and told that I needed to ask God to take it away.
I went to what can simply be called fundamentalist Pentecostal church. We believed in healing, and crying and laughter in the spirit.
I don’t know how much was real, and how much was fake.
I am isolated from my family because of what I now believe. I am still a Christian, but I still question things. I want to still learn about science. I don’t believe our president is a Muslim, nor do I feel the world is ending. Something that my former church holds onto firmly.
Homeschooling, and what it could have been, was tarnished for me because of my former church. The isolation, not getting my formative years, other opinions. I was raised to believe “hate the sin not the sinner,” but when it is someone who is gay, or another religion, or anything the church rejects, it’s “hate the sinner not the sin.”
We went out soul winning, as it was called, many times instead of school work.
My church was called a cult by many from the town I am from.
Before I woke up, I wondered how someone could be a member of Jim Jones’s church. The fact is, what many don’t understand, when you are a part of a controlling church you don’t see what it could be.
You see the healings, the hope, and even the love of God. I was the frog put in the pot and then someone started to boil the water. If I would have been put in at the end I would have ran, but like many I was given time to get used to it. Healing a woman, a man claiming that he, after being prayed for, finally feels the love of God?
What would be so wrong about that? Nothing, but when the same pastor states he has a witch in his church? Would that cause many on their first day to run? I would have.
He has talked about farms, K through 12 schools, and even building apartments.
The only reason I think I am out is because a former friend told me about a school involving horses. Because while I didn’t end up staying, it gave me some time to see there was a world out there. Where I could be anything I wanted to be.