Why She's a God Hater 101
I was born to a newly Christian mother and a (heathen she called him) father. Mum had turned to god because she had had a miscarriage and was unhappy in her marriage and sought out whatever she got from the church, I'm not sure what exactly, she never told me. She prayed for me, she tells me, but I was supposed to be a boy, like the one she'd lost. She had another miscarriage while pregnant with me and was stunned to find out she was still with child, still grieving over the loss she prayed to lose this one too because she knew she would resent the one left behind for killing the one lost (nice, huh)
My dad was convinced to accept jesus as his personal saviour when I was two years old. Mum has a picture of him blowing out the candles of his first birthday in christ. They attended a very fundamentalist Pentecostal church. They were actively door knocking, walking crosses through the streets of town and preaching on street corners. Anecdotally from people I know who have gotten out of that church they were very aggressive and very firm almost to blindness in following what their leader asked them to do. Very happy clappy laying on of hands etc etc. This was also when my father met Tom, who will crop up later in this story.
My father embraced this culture full on and quickly became well known for his prophetic skills and his ability to see demons in people and objects. He was asked to go into people's houses and pray out all the demons in them. Recently I met an old friend of his from those days who told me that my father would go around there and inform him that an old painting given to him by his mother needed to be burnt as there were evil forces in it. This struck his friend as strange.
The impact that my fathers Amazing Demon Finding Abilities had on me was not amusing. He would come home from work most evenings to look at me playing in the corner and inform my mother that he could see the spirit of evil surrounding me and that it must be struck out AT ONCE. Mum and Dad would come over and put their hands on my head and pray over me and force me to recite: I am an evil child I have accepted the spirit of (rebellion hatred evil gluttony you pick and choose) I reject you in the name of Christ get out of me right now.
Apparently I wasn't very good at it and was accused of actually WANTING these demons, as I'd always have them invited back in by the next day. This happening on a frequent basis kind of had an impact on my self esteem. Also as I was born with a mild form of cerebral palsy in my legs which meant I had to wear braces and special shoes I was also a target at church services and was dragged to every healer that came into town, where strange old men would drip oil on my head and talk in strange tongues and push me over so I fell to the ground. As a child less than 6 years old I found this very frightening.
Mum in the meantime was pretty ok. She continued to have miscarriages and was consumed with this, going to prayer meetings a lot and dragging me along where I'd just sit in the corner and read my bible. We had changed churches to another somewhat less crazy Pentecostal church (Tom followed) and I started attending Sunday school. It was fun, the only time I ever got to interact with other kids and draw pictures and run around.
As the time grew near for me to start school my parents decided that as I was a particularly disobedient and evil child and also had this disability that it wasn't suitable for me to go to a normal school. They took me to the Seventh Day Adventist School to check it out but the beliefs just didn't line up. Catholic school was out of the question. Another family had become the first home schoolers in our province and mum and dad hooked up with them. They looked over their curriculum but felt it was not aligned with their beliefs. Dad found out about the Mennonite curriculum and I began on that, shipped over from Pennsylvania. Dad had been unhappy at the church we were attending, so we dropped out and began "home church".
When I was turning 6 we went on a holiday, one of two we ever went on. Staying out in tents on a beautiful beach. We met up with the pastors of the local church up there. I hated his sons, something not right about them. As I lay face down on the ground a few days later eating sand as one of the sons forced a beer bottle up my anus I distinctly remember my brain screaming out GOD MAKE THEM STOP god please save me mum told me to pray and everything will be ok please god please god oh please make it stop. When it did not stop and the pain got too much and the hands went around my neck and things got fuzzy god please kill me please please I wanna die. And waking up alone sitting in that concrete washing sink in the toilet complex crying my eyes out sobbing god god you didn't let me die. That was the beginning of the end between god and me.
The home schooling and home church was the beginning of 10 years of almost total isolation and religious control. My parents both immersed themselves in the Mennonite and Amish cultures. All my trousers were torn up and thrown out. We were from that point on only allowed to wear long skirts or dresses, blouses and head coverings. We could only associate with others who either were part of the Mennonite community (noone) or those who would tolerate and "respect" it. This became a small group of some of the homeschoolers. Everything became cooked from scratch. Mum made cottage cheese out of rennet (gross); bread from whole-wheat grains she'd grind down and Dad would bike or walk to work so he didn't use the car. There was no TV, no radio, no friends, no phone, no books except for the censored ones mum would go through with a black marker and delete parts of (Little House on the Prairie was too heathen in places and covered with black vivid). School was supervised by mum and school reports were written by mum. Most years I got F's because of my behavior, which was NEVER EVER good enough.
When I was 6 my father took me to the local Christian Book Store and made me buy a thick leather strap with my pocket money. On it was engraved: "Spare the Rod". And we are talking a strap twice the thickness of your average male's belt and about 50 cm long. If I disobeyed AT ALL, and this was judged on the whim of my ever more mentally ill mother, it would be at least 6 on bare legs with the belt. More often it was a mad screaming agony of what felt like 30 leaving big red welts over my legs, back and bottom. All in the name of god.
My mother had begun her descent into madness, accusing me of things that I couldn't give her the right answer for. God had told her I was doing something, therefore I must have been doing it. God had decided I was not allowed the secrets I hid in my heart so he had given her access to my thoughts. Everything she said I thought I must have thought. This drove me mad. I had no sense of self anymore. God was controlling my life. I would lie in bed at night trying to get god to answer me on why he was telling my mum lies because I never never thought that god honestly why wont you tell her the truth.
Mum had also begun coming into my bedroom accusing me of masturbating (the horrid sin) and sexually abusing me herself. God told her to do it. This was an angry nasty sadistic god I didn't know but was growing to understand very well. This god raped little girls with dolls legs. This god was confirming what those boys did. THIS god was a hidden horror that was just beyond my comprehension. My mind was consumed day and night with keeping this god happy. HOW could I stop sinning stop this god from hurting me day after day after day. Mum left me in no doubt. This was god's will. I was being punished for my sins. And on one crazy crazy day I was tied spread-eagled to the bed and told that the reason for the insertions was to reach the source of the evil, to destroy my sex, that god had told her that my evil was placed in my ovaries and that she had been instructed to destroy it. Isn't it just sadly fucking ironic that today I sit here with polycystic ovaries that are stopping me from having more children. I guess she and god were on the same page on that one.
You have to remember there was NOONE else around to tell me that this wasn't the way life was. I didn't see anybody at all outside that house except for the occasional homeschoolers events where I was closely supervised by mum and didn't dare say a damn thing. Not only that but I was already labeled that really weird pant-wetting kid that would steal food. I seriously doubt had I said anything that I would have been believed anyway.
Mum got pregnant with my sister when I was 7, and was put on bed rest so for 9 months I was spared her madness. Dad however was still instructed every night on what I'd done wrong and how many beatings I needed. Dad grew weary of the belt, and graduated to a bamboo cane instead. God told him I needed more severe punishment. Around this time he started bringing his friends around and getting me out of bed in the middle of the night so they could pray over me in my nightie. This felt so incredibly invasive and I developed a severe phobia of being touched on my hair or of things dripping on my face as that fucking oil would just be dripped all over me. STILL I wasn't cleansed.
As mum got bigger the bed became uncomfortable to share. Dad moved into the spare bed in my room (for a week) and then after mum went to sleep MY bed was invaded and forced to lie against my fathers erect penis while he prayed the demons out. God was becoming a very sex crazed entity. I hated him by now. He made my life hell. Everything I did was about god, either I was pissing him off or I was trying please him and I never fucking won. NEVER. I would pour over my bible trying to find the clue that would get me the hell out of this. I tried 100 different things praying all the damn time after a while I stumbled across the verse which says if you curse god you will be struck dead. I asked my mum, she said it was true. So I tried doing THAT every night waiting for the bolt of lightening and it never ever struck.
My father reported to mum that he would see my hands moving under the blankets while I was asleep - this enraged her. She got out of bed to scream at me at the same time warning me that if MY BAD BEHAVIOR caused her to lose this baby that I would be dead. That this evil adulterous behavior of touching myself HAD to stop and that from now on I would be tied down in bed at night. For the next year I would have to lie down while my father tightened the ratchet straps from his trailer round my arms around the sides of my wire mesh and wood bed. Incredibly uncomfortable and didn't allow me to get much sleep. After my sister was born and the cot was next to my parents bed my father would come in while I was tied down and open up his bible and read verses out over me as he pulled the covers back, pulled up my nightie and stare and stroke my bare chest and thighs. He would stand there forEVER, most likely not but when you're lying there desperately trying to pretend you're asleep as these calloused fingers stroke at your body it lasts forever. Unable to move hands strapped down eyes tight shut. I remember what he used to say "that I needed delivered, released from these spiritual bonds (more like the real existing bonds!!). He had been doing study with an American Bible College and sat me down one evening to inform me that the reason why these spirits were so persistent was because my paternal grandfather's families had all been Masons and that the curse had been passed down to me. He had sought absolution for his own sin and was cleared however for some reason mine would not budge so I was a cursed child. My head spun. There was NO answer. I was evil and nothing would fix it. I was 8 and I wanted to kill myself. God was going to keep on trying to fix me and I was sick of it.
I had run out of options.
What else can a girl do? I suddenly announced at the lunch table that I had given my heart to Jesus the night before. My mother leapt out of her chair and literally danced for joy. Her daughter had finally caved in. She questioned me all afternoon about the sincerity of my actions and was already suspicious that my motives were to fool her that I had changed when I hadn't. I managed to convince her and she spent all afternoon baking me a special cake. I was SPECIAL!!!!!!!!!!! I hadn't even got a cake for the last 2 birthdays but here was this beautiful chocolate cake with real rainbow sprinkles. When dad came home he was informed and so excited. I was SPECIAL!!!! I should have done this ages ago!! We had the most glorious dinner, I was taken to the Christian Bookshop to get a brand new special bible for new believers and peace reigned in our house for the first time in 2 years. For a whole fortnight.
By then I'd started being a child again and mucking up, the perfection I just couldn't sustain it for that long and YES I was sprung. Mum was right the whole time. I was bloody well lying and I had faked the whole thing. I needed PUNISHED. She went out to the shed and got a length of 2 by 4. I'm sure you can imagine the results weren't pretty. No home schooling meetings for me that month.
Dad had gotten sick of the home church thing. He wanted some mates. We sat down after dinner one night - the rules had changed. We were now going to go to St David's Presbyterian. We would still follow the Mennonite rules but tone it down a little in public and at the church so we would be accepted. He wanted to be able to prophecy again, to be in a position of leadership. I was to be on my best behavior at all times, to risk his reputation by doing ANYTHING out of line meant I would be punished "when we got home". Mum was pleased but did not attend church much. She was very mentally ill by this stage (still attacking me in afternoon "sleeps") and didn't want to be seen in public. So Dad and I would trot off to church every Sunday morning. This rocked!!! I wasn't allowed to go to Sunday school for the first few months because the SS teacher had been told (by dad) that I was an uncontrollable child and he needed to keep an eye on me in church. But eventually the elders convinced him to let me go and he didn't want to look bad so off I went. Oh the freedom!!! I could play with other kids, talk, draw pictures, and sing Jesus had a little lamb.
One day the SS teacher sat us down and talked about stranger danger. He described a scenario. Naive little me recognized some similarities in the scenario and put her hand up. Two boys hurt me when I was little, is that called molesting? The teacher went red and I was shushed up till after the lesson when my father was called in and told what I had said. I was told to sit outside and I sat on the wooden bench kicking my heels till my father came outside and told me that it was inappropriate of me to mention that sort of thing in public and that I was not to do it again or I would be punished. Interestingly enough, that teacher has since been convicted of indecently assaulting his children. I wonder what type of conversation DID go on in that office. I was taken home and given a hiding.
When I was 9 we went to a cross-country race day for the home schooling community. My dad ran into Tom - remember him? He was at Bible College too!!! Yay!!! My dad and him had just sooo much to talk about. I hated the little sleazy bastard. I was 9 and I already had learnt the hard way who was ok and who wasn't and he bloody well wasn't. But I had to be GOOD always good so I sat there taking turns on dads and Toms knee. Dad had to go home early and I convinced him to let me stay. Very unusual, but it happened. Tom took the opportunity to take me out to the toilets and molest me. I tried to tell some good Christian people, but it was impossible. He was a good upstanding Christian man, learning to be a pastor; I was just a lying crazy little kid. I got beaten up and starved for two days. End of that story.
Mum and Dad both gave up their sexual abuse when I was 11. Yeah, that's right, 5 years of it. But the manipulation and the mind games involving god continued. I was always possessed, always slutty, never ever the child described in the Bible. If Jesus had seen me in that crowd he wouldn't have asked me to sit on his knee. Mum used to walk round the house chanting Jesus loves the little children (then point and say except you) all the children of the world (except you) red and yellow but not Rachael, Jesus loves the little children of the world. That song haunts me to today, I cant stand hearing anyone sing it.
I had pretty much given up on God by now. But on the surface I was the perfect little pastor's kid. That's right, my father had made it to Presbyterian eldership and was now lay-preaching around the city and small country churches. As mum by this stage was too ill with Multiple Sclerosis I was now the stand in wife that went with him to all these churches and stood there smiling and leading hymns and pretended to eat up every word of his sermon, wishing that I could stand up and scream pervert. Honestly, I tried so hard to be good and get into heaven even though I didn't believe it. One day I had failed a test in my social studies book. I ducked the mother but it didn't work. I was a stupid little whore who deserved nothing better than to go to fucking hell because that was where I was going, you might as well give up now Rachael, Gods given up on you you little cunt, you're going to hell no matter how much you try to suck up to me.
I went out to the old chicken shed at the back of our house and hung myself. My 3-year-old sister came out and screamed blue murder. It wasn't working - why wasn't I dying? I was getting a really sore head but I wasn't passing out. God knows how she managed it but she grabbed my legs and pulled me back up onto the dresser I'd jumped off. I look at my two-year-old son and wonder how the hell she managed it.
One good thing that happened at 11 was that those who organized the church music group had noticed my talents as a musician. My father was convinced to let me play guitar and sing up the front every Sunday morning. This involved practices on Thursday nights. WOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! I got to do something I actually wanted to do!!
It was the coolest thing on earth for a while, then I developed a friendship with an older teenage boy who was so cool, I had been playing piano for a while by then and he was and is an extremely skilled pianist. I wanted to be around him, for him to show me everything he knew, for him to LIKE me. This did not go unnoticed by others for long, and they jokingly said to my father that I'd the "cutest" crush on Scott. I guess they never saw my real father. I was taken home, thrown across the room and held down by the neck for an hour with his spit landing in my face - "you evil adulterous WHORE you fucking WHORE you are not my daughter you SLUT." The bruises took a week to fade. He knew he couldn't pull me out without people asking why so he began coming along to practices and sitting there with his eagle eye on me every Thursday. The adults in the group began to find this quite annoying and asked him to leave one day. A glimmer of the real dad shone through and he told them that if he wasn't allowed to come that I would not be coming back. He made a mistake - the man he grouched at was a child psychologist and he figured something was going on. He asked dad politely again to leave and promised to drop me off at home later. He questioned me the whole way home, and I experienced my first of many cases of "I should have told but I couldnt-itis". Clive dropped it and my father waited a few weeks before he turned up again. A few weeks later I was pulled out of the music group. I was making too many mistakes, my father explained. I could come back after "more lessons"
When I was 12 my parents started breeding miniature daschunds. I was given the job of walking them around the block. Scott lived around the block. I would drop in sometimes on my walk to see what new music sheets he'd bought and play round on his new AMAZING Yamaha real weighted keys electric piano. My first real male friend. Mum rang his mother to find out if I'd been over. Yes, I had. Mum tried a new approach that was so crazy I believed her because sheÃ¢Â€Â™d never pulled a stunt that mad before. GOD had told her that I had been having sex with Scott when I was walking the dog. GOD had told her I was masturbating in bed over him. So she ordered me on the bed and penetrated me with her fingers one last time. GOD had told her to. After that God told her how long it would take me exactly to get around the block. 5 minutes and 24 seconds. That God saw where I was the whole time and that if I deviated off the pavement she would know. That if I did not make it back in the 5 minutes 24 seconds she would punish me. I believed her. I mean the bible says that god sees everything, he already told mum what I was thinking even though for some reason he kept getting it wrong. Suffice to say that after being late once I stole a stopwatch from Whitcoulls and made sure I was back in time.
I pulled the same stunt as the "accepting Jesus" stunt and announced I wanted to get baptized just so that I could have a few weeks off. It worked and I kept apologizing to Jesus over and over as I was dunked under the water. The photos of my father holding me as I came up make me feel ill.
Things in the church slowly got less and less ok for dad. A new pastor had come to town, a young guy whose last job was working with abused young people. He figured something was up and integrated himself into our family by coming round every Monday night and cooking meals for us under the guise of "Mum's ill and I'm doing a good deed and I like Rachael's company." Thus followed a whole year of I cant tell anyone but I should-itis. He reported back to the elders that things weren't right. He would watch dad like a hawk but never got any concrete evidence. My mother had to get in home help and our wonderful home help was also from the church, also a child protection worker and my future foster mother. She was also very disturbed by what she saw in our house. My parents covered up even better. But some of their behavior they had to stop altogether, for which I was forever grateful to those two. However they, especially my father aroused enough concern within the church that he was asked to leave his leadership position and informed that his prophecies would no longer be accepted as truth until he "did some soul searching".
His reaction was certainly not soul searching. I was thrown around the room and slammed into doorways and cupboards until my head went crack and everything went black. It was all my damn fault stupid dumb cunt - I had taken away his power.
It was peace and quite on the home front for a couple of years. Mum's illness took up the whole families attention. We were busy keeping her alive. Dad and I quit church for a long time. Eventually Scott and his group of friends got back in touch and invited me to come with them to the church I went to when I was little (the second one). It was fresh, exciting, an intoxicating scene of a packed stadium church with lights, rock bands, people singing in tongues, hands in the air, huge prayer pushes after the sermon. It was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I went to that church and got involved with bands there. My parents actually encouraged it - It was something that could take my worry away from my mother's health. I got the chance to go on tours round Southland playing to groups of youth. We had LIGHTS!!!!!! We had a fancy sound system. I got to play a Korg with a drum machine.
I had the time of my life. I met my brother there - he was a young gay man deeply into god and deeply needing to come out of the closet. So was I, secretly I gave more of a shit about the girls in the band, not the boys. He came out soon after and was kicked out of the band and the church. I took offense and left too.
Not long after my family started at a new church - a Baptist one. A new youth pastor had just begun there and I liked him. He recruited me into playing in the music group at that church. Mum and Dad started going a bit batty after I started a friendship with a young Christian German exchange student. I invited him over for the afternoon one day and told my parents he was coming. 5 hours later I was black and blue and still tied to my bed with my father screaming god hates you you little whore swimming in my head. I was given a bucket to piss in and a jug of water and did not see food or anyone else for 43 hours and 33 minutes. I counted.
I wasn't allowed out of the house for 6 months. At the end of those six months I was good enough to go to a tea that my church's youth group were putting on. It was August and I had a skivvy and a jersey on and was warm enough but my mother wouldn't let me go out without my coat. Dumb teenage stuff but I snapped and decided I had had enough of her craziness and walked there myself. I told someone. FINALLY. I told my youth pastor that if I went home my parents would hurt me and could he please not let me go back please please. He listened. He did not know what to do. To this day he apologizes for that over and over and I wish he wouldn't. So he agreed to come inside with me and talk with my father to make sure I was ok. I wanted to tell him that it wouldn't work but it was SOMETHING so I went with it. My dad acted nice then when David left my mother walked out of her room with a kitchen knife and tried to stab me. Dad intervened and I was shut in my room for 3 days this time, my sister sneaked in biscuits. My mother had finally cracked. I was placed in foster care, my mother in the inpatient ward at mental health.
My foster mother was not dumb as she'd been in my house already for 3 years and knew the guts of what was going on. Once I started telling I couldn't stop. When I told others from my past, church elders, church leaders, pastors, all came and told me they'd all KNOWN but felt helpless so just sat there and prayed. Well thanks for nothing GOD. And all your dumb flunkies. It didn't do me much good for 16 fucking years did it? 16 years of my life I'd been begging god to tell someone cos I couldn't open my mouth and what did his precious "disciples?" do? Hope like hell I was ok? Not fucking good enough.
After I was put into foster care a man from my old church rang my foster mother up as a concerned "old friend" and asked if he could take me out for lunch. My foster mum didn't see a problem as I was 16 and said yes. I wondered what the fuck but went anyway - what could it hurt? 20 minutes into lunch and stuck in his van in an isolated spot with him pulling me in for a kiss because he wanted to make me feel all better - told me what the fuck. Another one of god's angels?
When I was dumped in Latimer Square after the gang rape I went to the steps of a church and sat. I went inside and sat. Where the fuck is god? I came back home to seek solace one last time one last chance in my church but it felt so hollow. Playing piano to crowds of believers and feeling like I wanted to get an Uzi and kill that fucker god. And asked to leave the church in the end because I came out as bisexual. A decision that David disagreed with; he still supports me to this day. The one sole light of hope that there is a decent Christian person in the world, he is counted amongst my dearest friends.
Am I bitter about god? Hell yeah. I reckon I have good reason to be. Do I hear the word Christian and think abuser? Shit yes but I'm getting better at looking past that at the actual person. I don't write someone off because they're Christian anymore but they have to work a helluva lot harder to get me to like them.