Prayers Of A High School Student
Tonight I replied to a thread about my deconversion. A fortunate thing for me is I wrote down my prayers, this was the late 60s, early 70s. I have found it helpful to look back and see where I was and what I was thinking. Sometimes we can only understand who we were in retrospect. So this might be purely an indulgence, but I thought I would digitize some of what I wrote from a composition book made in Albany, NY by a company called Eastern Tablet. It cost me 79 cents. The book is holding it somewhat together, but the pages are quite yellowed. The cover crackles when I open it. I fear one day it will fall apart in my hands. But it is a snapshot of who I was and am. I was a strong believer and today am proud of myself for having gone through such a thing. As the saying goes what don't kill you will make you stronger.
Even I be earnest, Let it be. Take my life Lord, yea even when I'm ready. If it be Thy will for me to live and grow more so, yea, let it be. If it be your wish that I become a minister unto the people, yea make it known to an erring and unbelieveing one. For Thine wish is yea, even unto mine. Let it be Lord.
Psalms 40:8 wrote:
I delight to do Thy will, O my God
Yea they law is within my heart
It is embarrassing that I took on the King James language, but that was THE translation of THE book. It had all my answers and I was taught to distrust other translations. Didn't know about the unicorn part back then.
The desperation is readily apparent to me. I was a very earnest young man. I really was caring more weight than a young teen should carry. I should have been out enjoying life, finding a girlfriend, going to high school football games*, but instead the burden of eternity was upon me. Religion had bent me to put away such foolish things. I had to war with the flesh. Puberty was a thing of fear. The prophet Ellen White had said self-abuse would destroy the kidneys. Jesus said if you even think a lustful thought you have already committed adultery. This I warred against. I became angry at those who joked about sex or had pornographic pictures. In my righteousness I proclaimed how demeaning it was. I don't even know how I acquired them but I had some ripped out playboy pictures. For my salvation I tore them up and threw them out. I had a good collection of rock albums and 45s. I had gone to revivals that talked about the evils of this rock music. It was of the devil and playing them backwards, which I did on my phonograph, you would hear messages from the devil. I could not bring myself to giving them away, that would cause someone else to sin. I feared even throwing them out because someone might pick them out of the trash. These were vile and needed to be destroyed. I took a hammer and a screw driver and stacked them into piles. I hammered the screwdriver threw the records many times. This was my dedication to my god, for him to accept me and show him how sincere I was. (I had some original Beatle albums that would be cool to have today)
The tragic thing in my prayer was that I was so afraid I would slip away and lose my salvation that I prayed god would take my life when I was in his good graces. What a burden for a teenager! I was no calvinist. Salvation was something you could gain or lose. You couldn't be saved by your works. You were saved by the blood and sacrifice of Jesus. My works were worthless. However, you know you were saved because you did righteous things. Me, fighting lust, honoring god's day of rest (the sabbath), destroying the evil things I owned, showed I was accepted by him. The old testament is filled with cyclical ups and downs of god's chosen people. I was going through that.
And finally in my prayer I was trying to decide if I should become a minister and laughably "unto the people".
* football games. I am a good size guy and probably would have done OK joining the team, but I had become a Seventh-Day Adventist. That means you don't do anything secular from Friday night sundown to Saturday night sundown. The junior varsity team practiced/played on Saturday am. The varsity games were Friday night so this was all out.
Religion Kills !!!
Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.