Prayers Of A High School Student

ex-minister's picture

 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.

 

In my first entry I wrote:

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.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/

Atheistextremist's picture

I wouldn't be embarrassed by this

 

Ex-min. I can't remember the sappy stuff I must have prayed to god, yea in the midst of self loathing and personal hatred. I'm pleased I can't recall it as it would have been pretty bloody awful. 

You can imagine going through your horny teens believing it was satan who was giving you a hard-on in bible study every time you sat next to Melody Carruthers. 

Yeah - like you I'm a little awed I managed to step out of it. Of course, this is because I was never a real christian.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck

Skepticus's picture

Hi, ex-minister

Nice post, ex!

Reading your story took me back to a similar time in my life.

I also got rid of some nice music (tape cassettes and walkmans...way cool!).

I think you get so caught-up in trying to do the right thing that your logical thought processes gets "buried" by the intense emotions.

I find caposkia's forum interesting because I see similarities in the way he tries to convince himself that god exists, and the way I tried to explain away the doubts that started forming in my mind.

 

 

 

harleysportster's picture

Thanks for sharing that ex-minister

Thanks for sharing that.

One of my older blogs involved some older notebooks that I found :

http://www.rationalresponders.com/why_belief_ultimate_purposes_was_poison_me

I think your spot on about only understanding who we are in retrospect.

I can also remember, as a much younger man, the ferverent prayers, the fear of wondering what the right thing was to do, and remembering feeling terror when I would have an "impure" thought and continually have to pray that god would understand and forgive me.

When I hear stories such as yours, it is a good reminder of how poisonous that religion really is and that I am not the only one that had a hard time shaking off the indoctrination of it.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

Brian37's picture

I'm being a bit nit picky

I'm being a bit nit picky here Ex. Actually, strictly medically speaking, long term what doesn't kill you wont make you stronger, it simply wont kill you. Long therm everything takes a small toll, even if you survive. You can slap me for needlessly bringing up this "DUH'.

Kinda like the "bull in the china shop" See Mythbusters episode about "bulls in china shops".

I have a couple religious poems when I used to be more of a Christian/deist, but not fundy. I look back at those poems and think about how much I wanted that god to be real, but not like the vindictive views fundies had. I look back at that belief and realize how absurd even my watered down more gentile invisible friend was. It was still a pet god, no matter how different I thought it was.

I had a poem that ended with the line "A god there must be, because why is an infinite question". I was ignorant back then, had no clue about infinite regress or Pascal or Bentrand' "Teapot", much less entropy. My friends in my poetry group loved it. But how ignorant, no matter how pretty.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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