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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why do you Believe What you Believe?

My religious training started when I was two weeks old and my parents dedicated me to God in a conservative Southern Baptist church. I became the church pianist when I was fifteen, and by then my identity was wrapped up in my religious community.

Throughout my teen years, I frequently balked at the strict rules and moral beliefs of our church and my family. However, I felt a place of belonging among church goers, so I continued to attend services even after I left home at seventeen to marry and create a life of my own.

I took a position as pianist at an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church closer to home. Before long, my husband and I realized that this church held even more restrictive beliefs than my home church. Women were not allowed to wear pants, men couldn’t sing in the choir if they had facial hair, and going to movies was grounds for dismissal from any position of leadership within the church. It was taught from the pulpit that rock music was Satanic because if it were played backward it contained subliminal messages! The youth group had a ceremonial bon-fire to burn all their vinyl records and cassettes. I once questioned our pastor as to why he thought it sinful for the soloist to use pre-recorded accompaniment music. He told me it was because not all those who played as a studio musician on the recording were Christians and this might have an evil influence upon our congregation.

We soon left that church but did not stray far from the closed mindset because we had been taught that going to a different denomination (even a different type of Baptist church) would cause us to lose our salvation or cause God to punish us. Our new church held similar standards, but seemed to be a little more relaxed. Still, I felt like a misfit because inwardly I didn’t really agree with most of the rules. However, I learned not to question the authority of the leadership or break the church’s rules because I wanted to be accepted by them and the God they espoused.

Continued in tomorrow’s post.....

1 comment:

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Hi Yvonne. I certainly could identify with your early years and religious training. The difference is, at 17, when I married, I married 'the preacher' of that denomination!

It has taken me many years, and lots of healing, but I am in recovery from that denomination and those teachings!

You might want to check out my protagonist in DANCE ON HIS GRAVE, who is also a divorced preacher's wife struggling to find her way when she inherits, of all things, a private detective business.

Good luck on your VBT, and the promotion of Right to Recover!

Sylvia Dickey Smith