Sunday, October 17, 2010

October Questions

Mandy Sue asked...Do you still go to church? Do you wear pants now? I guess I want to know is how far from your upbringing are you now? Did you realize that your parents were wrong so you just stepped away or did you go crazy and do things you never thought you would do like drink alcohol?
I'm not sure how long Mandy Sue has been reading, so I'm going to answer this again. In the future, though, I need to figure out some way to catalogue posts into groups so people can go back and see what has already been answered in these Q&A type posts. :) Anyone who can suggest how to do that would be a welcome commenter (although, anyone is always welcome).

Do I still go to church? We never really *went* to church in the first place - church was almost always in our home or in the home of someone we considered to be part of our "home church". In the Bible, it says that wherever a likeminded group gathers to worship, then God is present and that is "church". Alot of the ATI crowd keeps to that belief. I guess you could say - then- that I worship in the same way I always have - in my home, privately. I tried going to different churches after leaving my old life behind and, whether it was because I wanted to see it or because it really was there, I saw old vestiges of patriarchy and arbitrary rules in every church I went to. Nothing fit and to this day nothing really fits with the thoughts about God that I have. As a result, I choose to stay on my own until I figure out what it is that I'm looking for. I have too many questions about organized religion, and even - at some moments- God himself, to assign myself a check-box of faith.

Do I wear pants? Yes. I love pants. :) I am learning to love shorts. I had a progression of comfort, which I'm sure would be true for anyone trying a new style. I still wear dresses when they're appropriate or comfortable, but I loves me some hiking capris and sweats. Where I still struggle is with my modesty issues. I have an unnatural, I'm told, fear of looking sexual. Showing skin is something I'm growing into. I still have to work on being comfortable in my own skin, but I'm getting better. Bathing suits are much easier to wear now.

I didn't really "go crazy" because I was still a minor when I left. Then, when I turned 18, I had too much on my plate to "go crazy". I also had no money, which leaves little for "going crazy" and binge partying. :) I have drank. I don't much like it.

ms0tee said...
How are you and Harris doing? What is he majoring in?

We are great. I prefer not to talk about his specifics here. I will only say that his major is something that will mean more school, if he chooses not to follow into the family business. He's getting very close to being finished with school if he decides not to go into a graduate program.

Sardonica said...
With the elections coming up, I'm curious how your family dealt with them growing up. Was it something like your family was told to vote for a specific person, or did they leave that to personal choice?

My parents treated elections very much like you see Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar treat elections. We campaigned hard for people who "shared ""our"" values". We were exposed to the process from birth and were expected to participate. The discconnect occured when, as young women, I realized that I was really supposed to let my husband be my "head" and that meant listening to his counsel on who to vote for and what to vote for. My mom would sit at the table with my dad and they'd go through each issue and they'd pretend to "debate". Really, it was a show for us children because, as I got older, I noticed that my mom's sample ballot would have already been checked and noted in my dad's handwriting, with his pen. Basically, there were always core issues that would determine who my family was to support - abortion, religion, and "family values".

@Sheena - I think I may have answered your question, above. :)

Lauren H asked...I'm curious about what was taught to you about history - particularly cultures and time periods dominated by non-Christian traditions and beliefs. Could you give us some insight?
We were taught a very Christian-centered, white-washed version of all history. We didn't have much instruction at all, beyond basic definitions of groups, into other cultures. I knew there were Muslims, but I don't think I was told much about them until 9/11/2001 and then it was a highly negative portrayal. I had been schooled in the major differences and similarities of Judaism - but it was a surface level discussion. I knew Hindu's existed but had never met one. That sort of thing.

@Z is for Ramble - I haven't "thrown out" my parents beliefs, I've just filed them appropriately. LOL

Maria - My question is - Do you have any contact with your extended family i.e. aunts, uncles, grandparents etc.? Are any of them ATI also? And if not, are any of them supportive of you at the moment?

My extended family, outside of brothers and sisters, is extremely small. I choose not to go into the specifics of my dad's family because it would be easy to identify us. I have very extended family but they're distant and the basics are that if they talk to me, my father won't talk to them.

Thank you to those who threw a little someting at the tip jar. I *did* use it for something frivolous, as instructed. I went to see a movie and bought a jumbo popcorn and coke. :) The leftovers I spent on some farmer's market fruit and a jar of Nutella. It always seemed a little pricey, but I loved it. *big hugs and thank yous!*


  1. Awesome answers, Ruth. You are very patient and gracious.

  2. I love me some Nutella and pants, too. Oh the debauchery. ;)


  3. Ha ha, I have never commented before, but Nutella and Pants drove me to do so. Thumbs up on the nutella and the sweats!

  4. Isn't it great to do something you enjoy---like wearing pants or eating nutella---just because you enjoy it without having to weigh whether it would go over well with your "authority"? I say that as someone who comes from a very fundamental, authoritarian upbringing. My grandfather used to say, "If you come up to a decision, just think 'What would Grandpa do?' and then do that." No, thank you, I will do what I will do!

    Ruth, you are an inspiration, both in your approach to life and in your graciousness to those who comment. Keep up the good work and stay true to yourself. :)

  5. I'm glad that you're still considering faith, Ruth. While my background isn't quite the same as yours, I have also spent the past few years figuring out what is right and good and what is manipulation and lies. It's a long and complicated process.

    Also, little luxuries (like nutella and fresh fruit) can be the most satisfying. Enjoy them without guilt. :) If I can make a recommendation, I am a HUGE fan of gaucho pants (I refer to mine as "comfy pants") -- they're a touch more "done" than sweatpants, but just as comfy. If only they had pockets! :)

  6. I also love Nutella and this blog. In response to your question I think a FAQ's tab for these kinds of questions would be helpful. Look for "edit pages" under "edit post." I'm doing this from memory so that might not be quite right. Good Luck. I hope school is going well.

  7. Ruth,

    You could always just use tags for your posts. That could help and they are normally pretty easy to navigate.

    I'm gonna have to try Nutella. I see it all over but have not tried it yet. Maybe when I'm done my apple butter and pumpkin butter.


  8. You rock, Ruth! Faith should not truly be defined. Check marked boxes just create guilt and unhappiness for not living up to the standards.

    Pants rule! As one that lives in jeans, I applaud that. The fear of looking sexual is something I'm sure was drilled into your head in the Cult. I hate this BS. All human beings are sexual. Not a damn thing wrong with it. Patriarchal men think about sex more than the average bear IMO, so there is the focus on it. And hypocritical. Darth Daddy freaked out you "defiled" yourself when you experienced your first period, yet said Adam's "compliment" was something you should feel flattered at. Huh?!

    Nutella rocks, but Sharon mentioned apple butter and now I want some of that. Dang it... Keep the faith Ruth!

  9. Thanks for the answers, Ruth!

    -Lauren H.

  10. I'm another one who hasn't commented, but I've been following your story since it started on NLQ.

    Nutella makes the best breakfasts--I had it on croissants for most of college. :)

  11. Y'know, I don't have anything very substantive to say, but the part where you talk about learning to show skin? I have basically the opposite background (small family, never been religious, had a really solid traditional education-- you name it, it's different) but I am doing the same learning about style and feeling the same way. I'm mortally terrified of anything shorter than jeans, but I am learning and it's actually fun for all it's scary. And I thought it was pretty funny and cool that we're sharing that, and that I am not alone in knowing I'm sometimes a little silly about clothes. It's nice to have a connection like that, even if it's just over the internet, since no one I know really gets it. :)

  12. Ruth - you're right about the "going to church" thing. When you've been through spiritual abuse, it's easy to see the foundations for it in almost every place of worship - even if it isn't carried out to the fullest extent as we lived. The Bible makes no mention of a sermon as part of a worship service, much less even give a command for what is to be included in weekly gatherings.

  13. Um, Ruth? Nutella is NOT a frivolity. It is a necessity. And yours will have no calories or fat because you counterbalanced it with the fruit purchase. (I can rationalize anything ;-)

    Definitely a FAQ page, and maybe an "About Me" section?

  14. Now that winter is coming, I love me some baggy sweatpants. ;) Comfy and I don't have to think about looking sexual.

    As a new reader, I would love to see a FAQ and/or "About Me" page. I admit that I'm lazy, and it would save me from having to go all the way back to the beginning of your blog to get my questions answered (though I'll probably end up doing that anyways).

    Thank you for answering the questions! Always happy to see a new post from you. :)

  15. Ruth, you're on blogger which has a really easy to use interface for redoing your template and including a navigation bar with pages (such as Home, FAQ's, Popular posts, etc.) You can really make it look fancy schmancy with a few clicks and some dragging and dropping--I highly recommend it! I used it for mine, and it was so much easier than the old CSS sheets. I now wish I could do photoshop for a new banner, but I'm pretty happy with the template itself, and it was easy peasy. Good luck!

  16. Pants and Nutella rock! :p

    I love yoga pants at the moment. So comfy. As for the Nutella, I have to get my husband to hide it from me, or I will eat the entire jar with a spoon. 0.0

  17. Lainey, that's what spoons were invented for! :D


  18. Blue jeans and Nutella = the best part about being a college student :)

    Try mixing a little Nutella with some peanut butter on whole-wheat toast. YUM..

  19. Can you please title the FAQ page "Nutella and Pants"? (When and if you get around to creating one, I mean.) For some reason, that phrase just cracks me up.

  20. Hey Ruth, I was wondering how your brother was doing? The one who has kinda posted here before, answered some questions?

    He has been on my mind lately. I hope all is well with him. :-)

  21. Ruth, for the last several weeks I've been reading your blog and all comments from the very beginning. What a trip! I was raised in a very ATI/IBLP influenced household (thank god not quite as bad as yours) and it has been a very reflective and sad period as I have relived some memories by reading your story and hearing Darth Daddy & Co.'s comments. It's been almost eight years since I broke loose and the scars are still there ... but so much joy too.

    My reason for commenting was in response to your reply about not feeling comfortable in any traditional church setting because you hear the echoes of patriarchy and legalism in these supposedly mainstream churches. Listen to your gut! You are absolutely right. After a period of agnosticism when I first broke free from my family I finally found my way back to being on speaking terms with Creator Source, but my relationship with Source doesn't look anything like the god I was raised to believe and fear. I went to several churches but literally could hardly sit through services because I could hear these good, kind people flirting with the poison of destructive, controlling beliefs that would obliterate their hearts, minds, and families if allowed to follow their natural course. So many kind people invited me to their churches saying, "You've never seen what Real Christianity looks like. We're Real Christians here because we're so loving. Come see what a Real Church is like." I would, and again and again I would walk away sad and uncomfortable because I didn't know how to explain to them how blind they were to the insidious beliefs that permeated their communities.

    Take as much time as you need to figure out what your relationship with your Creator looks like; take the rest of your life if need be. Anyone who tries to get you to fit a label is trying to pressure you because they are insecure about not being able to pigeonhole people into categories they feel they can understand.

  22. P.s. Just wanted to add this: One religious community where I have found more harmony than anywhere else are the Progressive Mennonites. They are some pretty hip, groovy people who welcome ALL people with respect, tolerance, a strong emphasis toward non-violence and justice for the voiceless and oppressed. I have attended some of their assemblies and was brought to tears by how every gender, age, sexual orientation, and persuasion was included in worship. Even I, a complete stranger, was listened to carefully and seriously by even their oldest men and my dissenting, doubtful comments were embraced and honored. It was ... an unique experience, to say the least, for an ex-fundie girl. That being said, I still do not attend any services with any religious group with any regularity. There is part of me that is very gun shy about being "in" a group or belief system. My greatest safety has always been in remaining on the outside where I can think in as unclouded a way as possible. I just wanted to share one place and group of people where I had sensed a bit of harmony and resonance with my beliefs and experiences.


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