Content Warning: sexual abuse, rape, spiritual abuse
This week’s guest is Jessica Moore, a life coach focusing on purity culture. Jessica grew up in a non-denominational Christian in Salt Lake City Utah surrounded by Mormons. She felt both the pressure to evangelize and be proselytized.
Jessica went to an unaccredited Christian college where she first began to have doubts. She wound up traveling to Israel and seeing life on both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli border. She experienced the reverse culture shock coming back to the United States.
Jessica put a lot of pressure on herself to be a “godly woman.” Purity culture had a damaging impact on her life.
The focus of her work now is helping people recover from purity culture and religious abuse.
Series of Expansion blog
Marketing the Messiah
I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a godly women
Purity culture is a list of don’ts. It does not give you integrity or knowing your worth as a person.
I was not taught my worth. Obviously, I was taught I wasn’t worth anything until Jesus died for me.
[A “word” from God about shame] It felt special to me at the time, because I did carry shame.
My very black and white world turned very mucky gray.
I was on a quest to be a powerfully godly woman. I was just starving for that. What everyone else had, I wanted that too.
I had this strong devotion what was it all for
When I think about it, it wasn’t so much my faith in Jesus, it was trying to hold on to this good girl persona that was being challenged.
Oh my gosh, Jesus isn’t real!
I can’t even say I lost my faith, it really just dissipated.
It was like trying to grab a cloud and you can’t. It was gone.
My appearance on the I Was A Teenage Fundamentalist podcast https://pod.link/1558606464/episode/f8067a71cf74f38205420663954fceaf
Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!
Support the podcast
“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
NOTE: This transcript is AI produced (otter.ai) and likely has many mistakes. It is provided as rough guide to the audio conversation.
David Ames 0:11 This is the graceful atheist podcast. Welcome, welcome. Welcome to the rescue atheist podcast. My name is David. And I am trying to beat the gracefully. We have a whole lot of housekeeping. So I'm going to jump right in. Number one I was recently on the I was a teenage fundamentalist podcast with Brian and Troy. That was an amazing time. Please go check out their podcast, it is fantastic. They will be on this podcast in January of 2023. I'll have links in the show notes. The big news is that we are very likely to join a Podcast Network. The way that affects you is that this podcast will begin to have ads in the near future. In anticipation of that move, I wanted to give people the opportunity to have an ad free experience as well. And Patreon is the easiest way for me to do that. So at the end of 2022, I'm going to turn off the anchor.fm monetary support. If you have been giving to the podcast there that is just going to stop. If you're interested in supporting the podcast and or you just want to hear the podcast without ads in 2023 and onwards, please join at patreon.com/graceful atheist. Mighty had the week off, so any editing complaints, send them my way. onto today's show, I first have to provide a content warning here. There is the discussion of sexual abuse, rape and spiritual abuse. If you're in a vulnerable spot, this episode may not be for you. My guest today is Jessica Moore. Jessica is a life coach helping people bridge the gap between religious programming and the freedom and becoming you. You can find her work at Jessica more coaching.com sells has a blog there, you can find her on Instagram at becoming you dot coaching. And Jessica is really focused on the damage that purity culture does to a person and recovering from that. Here is Jessica Moore to tell her story. Just come on. Welcome back to the graceful atheist podcast. Jessica Moore 2:41 Thanks, David. Great to be here. David Ames 2:43 Yeah, I say back because Jessica and I had recorded this conversation once. And unfortunately, the audio didn't work out there. So this is round two for for Jessica and I but all the better to spend time with you. So Jessica Moore 2:57 yeah, maybe I'll be a little more eloquent. David Ames 3:00 We will we will both try to be yes. We will start with the same question that we started with last time, which is what was your faith tradition? like growing up? Jessica Moore 3:11 Yeah. So I grew up in a non denominational church. And I also grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. And I think I asked you this before, have you been to Utah? David Ames 3:23 I have? Yes. Okay. And yeah, as I mentioned before, the it's a world unto itself, like even that, you know, to go to a bar, you have to be a member. Right. So very interesting things there. Yes. Jessica Moore 3:36 Yes. Such an interesting. Yeah, it's such an interesting bubble. It's its own little states. And I didn't really realize that until I moved away. But yeah, and I bring up Utah because it is such a heavily Mormon state, the state or the churches run by this, no, the state is run by the church. That's how that goes. And that also was even though I didn't grew up in the Mormon church, it was still very heavily influential in my life. So with a non denominational church, I mean, we, I grew up in church was fun. Like I when I think back on my background on my own, it was such a good time as a kid, and we met in a community rec center. And we had to set up every week and tear down every week. It was a lot and both of my parents were involved. But it just kind of was I was there ever since I was two years old, probably Yeah, to from 18 years old. And so it was like it was my home, my second home, my community. And I think, you know, when I think back on what I was taught in terms of my faith, I don't think a whole lot of it actually really influenced much of like, how serious I took my faith later in life. Okay, what I was taught was very kind of basic, very simple in terms of just, you ask Jesus into your heart so that you can go to heaven for eternity. Then here's the rest of how you just, you know, be a good person. And that seems pretty easy to me and my Oh, no problem. Now that doesn't go without hell, anxiety, rapture anxiety, that was still very, very prevalent in my life. But I can definitely connect the dots of this feeling of the pressure to spread the word. You know, it was very important to me that I all my family and friends made it into heaven. But what what was kind of conflicting was like with Mormons, I saw that they were different that were really that I was kind of the odd man out, it was, you know, all of my friends were Mormon. And it wasn't until I think I was in eighth or ninth grade where I finally met a Christian, and she thought that I was Mormon. And it was pretty funny, but Oh, yay. And we're still great friends now. So David Ames 6:02 yeah, okay. Jessica Moore 6:04 But what was interesting is I kind of grew up. I did ask questions of like, well, why is it that we're the right ones, and Mormons are wrong, because to me, all I ever saw was, you were a Christian, or you were Mormon, or you are an angry atheist. That was it. Like, that's all I had no other knowledge of different religions at all. I didn't even know that there were different, you know, denominations. I just thought, you know, we were it. Right. But what was also kind of funny is I also felt like, I had the cool religion. Yes, I, we, we had parties, and we could do things on Sundays, uh, we drank coffee, and it was okay, if you had a beer. And, you know, and my youth group, you played laser tag, and then here's the Mormons over here, where they and I could go to church in my pajamas if I wanted. And here's the Mormons that like, had to dress up and look super nice. And their church was super boring, and two hours long. And I was like, Okay, well, I felt good about being a Christian. But I also was really confused. Like, why is everyone Mormon? And we're not like, why are more people joining our side, you know, so it was kind of this interesting. Like, I was happy to be a Christian. But I was also very confused. And I didn't like standing out. And I think I remember, I don't know, probably five times in my life as a kid, like my friends kind of figuring out that I wasn't Mormon, and they'd be like, you're not Mormon? No. But you're so good. I never knew what to do with that. I'm like, Well, I believe in Jesus. And I, oh, well, you're practically Mormon then and. Okay. So it was just kind of like I got by, you know, and again, that was just simple. It was like, okay, I can blend in enough and also just have my cool little religion. And that was the other thing, too, that I thought was cool is we never called ourselves a religion. It was a relief. So that felt more like, why are y'all doing what we're doing? David Ames 8:05 You talked about like, feeling the weight of the salvation of the people around you. Yeah. Family members, probably your friends as well. But growing up next to a dominant religious sect, the LDS church. Did you also feel like you were the, the target of proselytizing so that they wanted you to become a Mormon? Jessica Moore 8:25 Yes. Yeah. There was that too. I'd say around. When I was in junior high. I, that's when I really started to understand like, okay, yeah, like Mormonism is like, huge, because they're at each public school. They had their separate Mormon seminary building on the campus. And they, they had a class period to go there. And I got asked to go like, ditch my own class, like, probably math. Who needs math? Math or biology? What are those? And you know, they would be like, you should just sneak into our class. And so I would, because I'm like, Well, I'm kind of curious. What is it that you guys do in this little secret building here? And, and it was very obvious to the I don't know if they were like bishops or they weren't. They weren't school teachers. I don't know who they were. But the the Mormon leaders, I guess at the in the seminary building, they knew I wasn't Mormon, they didn't recognize my face, because you just know everyone. And they're like, oh, like, are you? What do you know? What are you doing here? Am I Oh, I was told to come check it out. And they had no problem that I was missing my own class. And it's just so funny to me. I'm like, Huh? Like they never they're like, well, welcome. Welcome to my class and like, you have no problem that I'm literally ditching school right now. Yeah. So there was a little bit of that. And I did go to there. I did go to Mormon church a couple times. And just to kind of see like, why am I missing out on something here? And I did have a couple friends that were interested in coming to my church and they were so uncomfortable. And I think that, you know, it was it was very foreign. And you know, and I think that was kind of cool. Like, we were both trying to just see what you know what each other was what our lives were like. But I did come out on the other end of though I was a target. I was like, no, sorry, I still have the cultured. Eye bulging. But yet, there were things like, you know, my my parents drink coffee, Mormons don't drink coffee. And so I would hide my parents coffee machine when I had friends over. And I just, I didn't Yeah, I just didn't want it to be a topic. I didn't want to be not necessarily the target of someone like, preaching at me. Right? Because again, they kind of were like, Oh, you're you're practically Mormon. Anyways, you love Jesus. So, but it was more of like, I just didn't want to stand out anymore. So I would hide the certain David Ames 10:56 understood. Yeah, yeah. Especially like middle school. I mean, the whole thing is you just want to blend in with it. I wanted to just say a couple of things. One, my background is obviously evangelicalism as well, but Mormonism played a role in my deconversion because I discovered that I have this whole family wing, who are LDS members, and I did I was unaware of Oh, wow. And doing kind of like a just some due diligence exploration of okay, well, what did the what are these family members believe? What was striking about it is the LDS and just as strongly the the depth of their faith, the commitment that they have, I recognize, like, ah, that that seems familiar. And yet the things they believed in were so radically different. It was this moment for me where I recognize ah, I think they're crazy, but they think I'm crazy. And that was just that was a lightbulb moment for me, right? Like, Jessica Moore 11:49 yes, yes, exactly. It's like, okay, well, we still have this devotion. And we still are very passionate about like, I mean, honestly, it was just to be good, be this good person, be kind be loving. And then when you got deep down into the theology of it's okay, like we Yeah, we're both seeing like, we're both you know, crazy or whatever. But that was enough for me to be like, no. David Ames 12:14 Yeah, just one last comment here. I've also had the opportunity to interview some Mormons. Me Logan, in particular has the podcast ex Mormon, ology that was really fascinating to hear her describe, you know, from the inside, because I think as evangelicals we were trained, we knew all the reasons why Mormonism was false. Well, you know, Amy knew all the reasons why evangelicalism was false. Right? And it's just interesting to, to hear someone from a different religious culture, and all the propaganda really, that we tell each other. Jessica Moore 12:46 So true. Yeah, it's definitely a training up like you get I remember, closer into like, youth group when it was like, okay, the kiddie stuff is done, you know, you're not playing games and singing songs anymore. This is more of like the apologetics and all have, you know, my youth group, we were like, how do we, you know, kind of give an answer to when we're being asked of like, why we think we're right, and to also share, like, why Mormonism was wrong. And that was it is pretty fascinating to kind of be trained up in that way, where, you know, faith then becomes not faith, it's more of a system. And yeah, it's, it's so fascinating, that whole part of just like, Oh, here's, here's an answer you can give and then be like, Okay, I'm gonna take that and remember that and dish it out when it's time. David Ames 13:36 And then in the time period of Age of Reason, round that middle school time, was this something that you took on for yourself a sense of faith for yourself? Or did you you feel like you were doing that? Because your parents wanted you to? What was that like for you? Jessica Moore 13:49 I think it was definitely more for myself. Yeah, I think I inherently just always wanted to be good and be this good person. And so when I hear that I needed saving, and here's how you can show that you are saved or that you're born again, or that you love Jesus. That felt good to me. I was like, oh, okay, like I would do anything to show that. And so that's kind of what I guess faith was less about what Jesus did for me, it was what I could do next for Jesus, right? And then, fast forwarding a little bit to my second year of college, I decided to go to this Bible school. And this Bible school wasn't really it's not accredited school, it was more of a gap year. They focus a lot on just a guest speakers came in and talked about certain parts of the Bible, your identity in Christ, and a lot of outreach, service, ministers trips, that kind of thing. And at the time, when I was thinking about going, really my motive wasn't because oh, I want to get closer to God. I kind of felt like I already had that. Like I knew the Bible stories you pray, you're good Like, that's kind of how simplistic my faith was. And I felt good about that. Really, my motive was it was at Winter Park, Colorado, and I could go snowboarding. I was like, Oh, I David Ames 15:13 doesn't ever really want to do that. Jessica Moore 15:17 Oh, and I just did not like school. I didn't like college. So I was like, Oh, this is a win win here. I can win brownie points with God and go snowboarding. This is great. Yeah. So I go there. And this is kind of the start of where faith became more complicated. But it also was the start and foundation of me kind of forming into this more radical sold out devoted Christian, where when I say the simple, basic, you know, say a prayer and your good, that wasn't it anymore. Things became a little I don't know, fundamental is the right word. But that's kind of what it seems like. And so I'm at this school, and when we're digging into the Bible, but a little bit more, and it was like, kind of, again, I thought I knew I thought I knew all the Bible stories, like I grew up in this. So like, what can I know? Or what what can I what new thing that I learned? And so this guy, this teacher at the time, I think we were reading about the resurrection story. And I'm like, again, what's new here? But it was just kind of the way of how he was dissecting every verse. I mean, Bible teachers do this, right? Like, it's like a page within a page, I can find something to like, really dig deep. And I remember just staring down at my Bible and just kind of being like, what is this? Like? It just felt so bizarre and kind of this moment of like, if anyone who did not grow up a Christian were to be told this, this would sound totally bizarre. And I kind of started freaking out a little bit of like, did I just spend 10 grand to get involved in a cult? It was kind of this moment of like, oh, gosh, I don't know if I believe in this. Like, it just felt so intense and heightened. And we were diving deeper into these topics that I never did in church, where it was whether like, Can Can you lose your salvation? And, you know, what does? How do you know if someone has the Holy Spirit? And no, you can't just say a prayer. That's not good enough, you have to do way more. And then it was kind of men and women's roles. And I was like, wow, okay, this got really more intense. This is not, this is new to me. And for a while, I started to kind of not believe it anymore. But I really don't know if I, if I can, like that's something started to become problematic. But leaving wasn't an option for me. I mean, I think it could have been an option, but I made it not an option. I'm like, No, I people financially supported me, I cannot dip out now, like, I'm only a month in. And so I made it work. And I would talk to the Bible teachers and being like, Okay, I've heard this all my life, that it's about a relationship, where the heck did we get that? Like, I don't see the word relationship in the Bible. And so it's things like that of just the certain the Christianese, you know, the language that we've used for so long that became so normal that I'm like, Well, where did we get that? And eventually, like, I just, you know, it's kind of that saying, you are, who you are, who you surround yourself by, and I was surrounded by 40, something Christians and these leaders that I really was looking up to, and in the middle of nowhere in the mountains, and so it was like, I had no other influence no other, like we lived and, and studied in the same spot, you didn't go anywhere else. And so it was kind of like, I made it work. And I folded basically, and David Ames 18:46 the school is very small, so 40 ish people you're talking about. So I mean, that, that does feel a little claustrophobic and maybe a little bit like, you know that. So that is kind of the experience of you knew that. If you really expressed the doubts that you were having that maybe that would be bad, right? Yeah, that there was a lot of reinforcement. Jessica Moore 19:05 Yes, lots of reinforcement. And I did share at one point of like, hey, like, I'm kind of struggling here. Like, I thought this was a lot more easier. And like, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Bible, and I'm figuring out that there's not and so again, I think I was kind of that target of like, oh, well, this is great. She's the perfect project here. And I also was, you know, I have this personality of, you know, I don't want to I don't want to stand out I don't want to be the odd one out and so now that's different now, I don't mind but I'll say what I think. But at the time, I was like, Yeah, okay, yeah, fix me do what I need to do, because I just did not want to be the odd one out again. Yeah. David Ames 19:45 I do want to be clear here that I am not being critical of that. I know exactly what that feels like. Going along to have everything smoothed out. I think that's actually a good description of why religion is propagated so easily and so often is that you want to be a part of the community. And the community says, If you want to be a part of the community, you have to believe these things, and in this way, and you have to behave this way. Yes. And because we're social creatures, we need each other, we just are willing to do that, right? Like that is a normal human thing to do. So I don't want you to beat yourself up about it or anyone listening? Who has been through that same experience? Jessica Moore 20:21 Yeah, no, that's such a good point. It is kind of like, yeah, it's not our fault. It is very much and there's certain language that is used. It's just very compelling. Yeah, that's how that happens. And especially if there's no other voices that are maybe pushing against that, of course, that's going to happen. And when you are just starving for community friends, something to be or hope, you know, whatever it is, if you're, you know, for people that just hit rock bottom, or whatever, and they hear about this great God, of course, like why wouldn't they? Yeah, so yeah, it is pretty fascinating. Yeah, so I was there at that school for two years. One as a student, the other on I was a staff member. And that was a whole different deal. But again, just very much just trying to play the part be the part I wanted to, and I believed in the part. And I can kind of see now just how much I was trying to be like this very devoted, godly woman that seemed to be kind of like this badge of honor. Like, that's the achievement you want is to be the super powerful woman of God. And I was like, Okay, that seems like what people want. And I'm going to do that. And so after that school, I lived in Denver, and I was, you know, involved in all the things church youth group was a worship leader. Little missions trips, all of that. And that's when it like, kind of that that bubble disappeared a little bit where I'm like, oh, there are other influences here. So it was kind of like I was teetering between, again, kind of like trying to find, well, I wasn't even trying to find this, but it was kind of like I stumbled upon like, the cool Christians, I'm using air quotes here. And just like, it was like, Okay, I'm not being like super fundamental, here's these friends where, you know, we can have a couple beers at the bar and then go pray in the parking lot. This sounds great. Like this is, you know, it was like the best of both worlds of where you can not be of the world, you know, but in it and still be your Christian self. And this radical person. That was much of my kind of like my early 20s, mid 20s, of just, again, being so involved in the church and giving it my all and I never really like watch TV, if I wasn't watching TV, I was watching a sermon, or just really being devoted into Bible studies and just being on this huge quest of being this godly woman. And, and then it, it came to a point where I ran into a situation with someone who was my friend, and, and I'm not sure how much I need to do like, like a trigger warning, necessarily, but we'll David Ames 23:15 do that at the top of that show. Okay, in the intro, so yeah, you can just tell your story. Jessica Moore 23:20 Okay. So, yeah, I had a lot of pressure on myself to, again, be this perfect Christian, not mess up. And I don't know if that's necessarily something that I was taught, I still kind of go back and forth on that, like, who told me that it was that just me or, you know, what happened there, but I did put a lot of pressure on myself. And there was a moment where my my friend at the time, I was raped by him. I'm so sorry. Thank you. And it's hard to say that word because my situation feels a little difficult to use that word. But the reason why I bring this up is because within purity culture, I feel like we're given a list of don'ts, and especially what I was taught, especially within that school was like, you know, don't do this, the certain boundaries, like you know, kind of like this ladder of what was allowed and it's like, Okay, after this many months, you can hold hands after this, you know, just like this whole step. And you're given a list of don'ts, but you're not given any sort of integrity or knowing your worth. As a person. It's just kind of don't cross that line. Because God said so, and again, I just kind of was like, okay, like God said, So and is either you don't do it or you'll regret it. And, you know, regret sounded terrible. So I didn't want to do that. So I followed this list of don'ts as best as I could up until I was up at this situation that I didn't know how to get out of and again, I don't think purity culture really is sets you up for the preparing yourself for these kinds of situations. It's like, okay, I didn't, I still didn't do this. But yet I had no words to stand up for myself or get out of a situation. The only thing and I remember this so vividly out at one of the women's classes was because of course, in women's class back at that school, it was all about how to be you know, submissive wife, godly woman. Yeah, purity, culture, sexuality. And so I remember, you know, don't don't put yourself in those situations. If you, you know, you could be tempted, and if you are tempted, flee, literally run. And I think about that advice. And I'm like, that doesn't. That doesn't work. David Ames 25:44 Yeah. I want to be explicit here as well. And just say that, and I remember this from our first conversation, and I think you are being so careful with your words. And I think it's okay to just say it was right. If you did not give consent before or during doesn't matter. You didn't give consent. That's rape. Right. And I appreciate the care with which you are trying to describe this. But I think that's a bit of a vestige of that Evangelical, thinking that in some way, you might have been at fault. And you're not, right. You said, you said no, at some point, or even if you didn't even verbalize it, you just internally you were you were done. That was it like, yeah, it's okay. That is abuse. Right. And I just want to be clear on my end, that that's the way I see it. Jessica Moore 26:32 Thank you. I do appreciate that. It is. Yeah, it's it's fascinating to like, not be able to say the word in terms of because, you know, we do have this certain picture of what rape is whether it was violent or something. And that wasn't, that isn't my story. And so, my story is, is that I was in a situation where I did say, No, my body froze up. But it wasn't respected. And, you know, did I fight back? No. Because again, I froze. And I think that's a very common response, especially when you're not taught anything else was like, Okay, I was taught to, you know, to not do this, and I tried now what, so I was not set up for any kind of success, and my body froze, and, yeah, and so that is, there was no, it was not consensual. And so, you know, but at the same time, it was like, Oh, well, I shouldn't have put myself, I shamed myself. It was like, Oh, I shouldn't have put myself in this situation in the first place. Like, because that's kind of what we're taught is like, women are the temptation and men's minds are the monster. So it was like, well, it was my fault anyways, and so it kind of like I did blame myself. And I still fight that, even though it's been, I don't know, seven or eight years. And I, it's kind of, it's amazing, the the programming, whether it be through religion, purity culture, or just kind of like our society today of how they have defined rape, or whose fault it is, you know, that kind of thing. It's like, it does still go deep of like, where I do find myself like, Oh, that was probably my fault. And it wasn't, right. So I bring that up, not, you know, of course, I again, I'm trying to be careful, but I bring it up, not in terms of like, you know, it's funny, like, I didn't think this would be a huge part of my story. But after I started deconstructing purity culture, I'm like, oh, no, this is huge. Like, I and I, after I've heard many stories from other people, men and women, I'm like, Oh, this is a thing, like we were not taught, like, what we were taught about abstinence is not correct. I have no problem with someone choosing to be abstinent, it's the way of not giving any sort of value to the person. Right? I was not taught my worth. Obviously, I was taught that I wasn't worth anything until Jesus died for me. But anything else of like, no. Knowing your values, having any kind of sexual integrity is not offered to you. It's just don't do this. And then you're also promised if you keep your virginity, then you'll have a great marriage. And it's also not true. So there's, there's so many things that I can now see within the purity culture, teachings of just how false and the myths that they are. And when I think about my story, and how I really did want to wait for marriage and when that was taken away. Yeah, it was. I thought, Okay, well, now this is my burden that I need to make, right? And so me and that guy we did pursue a relationship and and you and I even have a little bit confession over him when I think like I, after some of conversations that I've had with different men, how purity culture affected them, and I'm like, man, yeah, that probably wouldn't have happened if he was also taught that like, he's not a monster and also what consent is. Yeah. And you know, I mean, I don't I, you know, I don't know, a whole lot of like his. He did say sorry, after. And so it was kind of like, that's how we could pursue a relationship together. And to me it it was like, Well, this is how we make this right. Like, because we were both hoping to save for marriage, and we didn't. So now we got to get married. Yeah. So yeah, I tried really hard to that felt like, this is how I make it right with God was to beat with my abuser, I guess. David Ames 30:55 I appreciate Jessica use telling the story so much, because I think you're totally right. I think a lot of people have had at least similar if not almost identical situations and, and have that same sense of obligation to continue a relationship with someone that with hindsight, you can now see was an abuser? Jessica Moore 31:16 Yes. Yeah. Yeah, there's lots of studies that I've read about now of just like the the connection between people who may be mostly women that will continue in abusive relationship, and a lot of their background is in religion, and so or some sort of theology. So I can totally see that. And, thankfully, that relationship did not work out and have moved on, but that shame of like, oh, I messed up, you know, I'm dirty. I am this deflowered rose, chewed gum, all the things that I was taught of, and, you know, was given these visual presentations of, definitely stuck with me of like, well, this is what it is. And I never really told anyone and, and then eventually, I started open up to some friends, because, you know, it was like, I wasn't a virgin anymore. And there were some that really were just, you know, were so kind and letting me know that this wasn't my fault. And even though at the time, I still never called it rape, I didn't call it rape till about two years ago. And so I was like, okay, and that felt really comforting. And then there was a couple of friends that just, you know, thought they could, God could heal me and make me a virgin again. Because that is, you know, that's the goal here is that's how you show that you're this devoted Christian is keeping your virginity. David Ames 32:41 What an absurdity that virginity has any any meaning at all to anyone at any time. Like, yeah, so so absurd. Jessica Moore 32:50 So absurd. And, and heard lots of, you know, stories, rather, like, oh, I, you know, God restored me and, okay, and I guess and so it was just kind of this weird conflict of like, I think I'm okay, because I also was, like, I, I know, it wasn't my fault. Or I guess I had more of a concept of grace. And that, like, I'm not this failure, but I also was, I will now I really need to be careful because, you know, that's a slippery slope I can see now and when they say you can be tempted, it's true is whatever. David Ames 33:23 Again, I want to just acknowledge human beings are sexual beings, and particularly in our late teenage and 20s like, there's just biology is moving you towards having intimate connections with another human being and might, it just seems so absurd on this side of things to to make that bad or evil, right? You know, when it's just like that. It's truly to be human is to connect with another person in that way, right? Jessica Moore 33:51 Yes, but only after marriage David. Yeah, it's like, oh, you can only you know, after the altar, you're all good. Yeah. Yeah. And, and no wonder like, it can cause such turmoil for people. You know, you're you're fighting yourself, you're fighting these natural things for so long. And it's like no wonder that causes problems especially with women. They struggle you know, after like, with vaginal dryness, like just this, you know, it's very painful intercourse and or pelvic floor issues, whether they're being intimate or not, and it's because it's just this locked up situation and then when the time comes, it's like, you know, you can't just flip a switch in your brain like Oh, it's okay now like your body is not you've been fighting against it for so long. Like it's not going to just respond to being everything's okay now. And I don't know too much about like, you know, the the physical effects for males, but I can speak to women. David Ames 34:54 We have had a couple of stories where male partner is almost asexual, and, and a lot of that is the purity culture leading up to that, and they just aren't as interested in in sex. And so, you know, in the header example, the woman is ready, you know, it's her wedding night, she's ready to go. And the man isn't so like, I don't know, you know, I wouldn't know what the statistics are, but it definitely can affect everyone. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Just as you say, if you spend your entire life suppressing that, and then all of a sudden, oh, I'm just gonna turn this switch. And now I can I can turn this on human beings don't work that way. No, Jessica Moore 35:30 no. Yeah, the the physical or any other residual effects of purity culture are pretty damaging. Yes. And so after kind of, like, you know, this situation of being with this, this friend, and you know, we pursued a relationship, then we didn't, after we had broken up, I was like, Okay, I am on this quest is just gonna be me and God. Now, I don't care about this person. And I'm not going to try to make it right. Because I think that took a lot of my mental space of just really trying to make this work. And just feeling like, I got to do this. And once it just finally ended, it was like, okay, you know, what, me and God, my first love, whatever. And I think I kind of started to want to discover more of like, what was truth? Because I think through the mix of all of this, I'm also being introduced to different forms of spirituality in terms of, well, Christian spirituality. And it was kind of like, you know, there's the fundamentals. There's the ones that, you know, we're the progressive Christians, there's the prosperity gospel. And so it was kind of like, I was just on this quest for truth. And what felt good to me, and not really what felt good to me, but I just wanted to see what was right. Not just kind of be like, Oh, this feels good. To me, it should be more like, No, this feels right. It needs to be right for you to that's kind of where my motive was. And so I tried different churches, just kind of like the trendy churches, you know, the ones with the pastors have got the skinny jeans and leather jackets and fog machines. And then I went to Bethel, visited Bethel for a week or two and saw more of kind of like that charismatic. And that's where I also sought healing for restoring my virginity. And it was kind of wild, that was a huge, I don't know, a whole door of understanding of like, oh, is this how God can work of just people shaking on the floor, and someone would always come up and say, I have a word for you. And like, oh, my gosh, God wanted me to tell you this. And it was kinda like, Oh, God can speak this way. So it was a lot of just trying to discover new things and kind of get outside of my box a little bit. But not too much. Because it was like, well, some of what I saw within like the Bethel culture, it was, they didn't use scripture enough, in my opinion, where it was like, Oh, you're a little, you're a little out there. Maybe you should plug some theology. And there are some doctrine, it was just kind of interesting. I forget what their like mission statement is. But it's, you know, the supernatural school of ministry, and a whole lot of people having a prophetic word for you. Just something always like they're channeling something. huge emphasis on physical healing. And yeah, just kind of like, to me, it was like a bunch of fortune tellers, or at least pretend for tellers kind of thing. And so I had, like, quite a few people come up to me and who didn't know me and just like, God just told me something I need to tell you. And it kind of felt magical. And what was so funny is like the words that I was given, there wasn't really anything super profound or specific to me, it was just like, God really wants you to know that he that he loves you and like, your shame is gone. And the shame that you carry, and I'm like, that could really be anyone. Or you know, and so it didn't. Really Yeah, yeah. And and so if it, it felt special to me at the time, because I did carry shame. Yeah. And so it was like, Oh, wow, cool. But yet, it was kind of this mix of like, super charismatic, but to me, it was like, Oh, you still need a little like scripture in there. There wasn't a whole lot in from my perspective. And so I wanted to step out of my box a little bit, see how it is that God, you know, may work in other areas, and maybe I'm closed off too and but yet, I didn't want to step too much into that because scripture was really important to me. So it was kind of like this mix of just trying to figure out what else is out there. Saw this Bethel experience and had lots of people pray over me and they have a lot of emphasis again on like physical healing. So they prayed for my physical healing as to become a virgin again, and that just kind of felt really odd to me because it was like, not that I didn't want that, but it didn't seem important where I was like, now it's done like, you know Yeah, there were some things were like, that doesn't resonate. But so there was the Bethel kind of experience. And then I decided to go to Palestine, and Israel. Okay. So my next quest was to see how it was that God worked in other countries where I wanted to see like how it was that, yeah, just just to be a part of people's world and put myself in their shoes. And so I go to Palestine, and my very black and white world turned very mucky gray. Okay. And, you know, and I thought, oh, what better way to get closer to Jesus and, you know, go to the holy land exactly where he walked. But that part of like that magical, the biblical sites just really faded, because that that part of the world is so heavily in conflict. And I think we all know that, and I did not know that at the time, very little. So I walked into, you know, quite the storm there. And feeling kind of confused where it was like, I just thought this would get it, this was going to be my moment of God, really, I think I was searching for like this light bulb of this vessel or channel just to really open and like God was always going to speak to me. And I would know really well, again, my quest of just being this like really powerful, godly woman. Like I honestly, it sounds very vain. But I just was starving for that what seemed to like what everyone else had, I wanted that too. And so, but while I was in Palestine, I lived with a Muslim Muslim family in a refugee camp. Then I lived on the other side, in Jerusalem, with a Jewish American family. And then I went back to the Palestinian side and lived with a Palestinian Christian family. So I kind of got a mix of everything. And that was really important to me of just like, Yeah, well, like, again, what is truth? What's going on here, and I'm so grateful I had the opportunity being with like, the Muslim family, it was, I felt very comfortable, like they didn't like try to, you know, convert me. And that was never their focus. And they just really wanted me to be involved, you know, involved with their family. And that was great. And then when I got into the other side with, like, the living with the Jewish family who was from America, you know, it was that this particular woman, my host, it, she was this yoga teacher. And she was all that she was like very much about peace and harmony. And she had said, you know, but Palestinians are poison, and we need to have an ethnic cleansing. And I was just like, whoa, and I don't think she knew that I had lived with Palestinians. David Ames 42:44 Right. Assuming that you would be on her side. Jessica Moore 42:48 Yeah. Right. Especially, you know, being American, and, you know, we're all for Israel or whatever. So I think that was, that was really challenging. I'm like, what that sounds conflicting here, where you, you say you're about peace and harmony, but yet you're willing to kill off these people because you think the land belongs to you. And so, yeah, very, very challenging. And then going back to the Palestinian side, and being with these Christian Palestinians, and how much they you know, I mean, there was definitely a language barrier, but they were kind and loving. And you they're just trying to get by while they're, you know, on, they're held under occupation. And so it was just kind of it was so intense. And then coming back into that, I thought, Oh, maybe I need to be this Palestinian activist, I just really didn't know what was next. But I knew that I was not the same. And so I also was under the impression that no Christian knew about this. When I shared like, my story, my perspective, like oh, my gosh, like Palestinians, like their homes are being taken away, Jewish settlements are being built on them. And like, that's not okay. Like, you know, there's a wall there, you know, all these things. And one of my Christian mentors at the time, she was a who I thought she was gonna be, oh, my gosh, that's, that's awful, you know, right, whatever. She said, Oh, well, you know, according to, I don't know, according to Scripture, yes, the land does belong to them and belong to the Jews. And I was like, I mean, that just put a knife right through my heart where I was like, what, like, that was so confusing to me. I'm like, Have I been fooled this whole time where I was kind of, I wasn't trying to have a bias, but it happened. And I was kind of becoming more of this, you know, on the Palestinian side, where I saw things that were really rough, you know, being under occupation, and I saw them get tear gassed. You know, I saw their homes get bulldozed, and I then I come back to my American home and I hear Yeah, that's what's supposed to happen according to Scripture. And I'm like, what like if I could not imagine speaking in front of my Palestinian friends be like, you know, I'm so sorry this is happening to you. But according to Scripture, This was supposed to happen. Like, how can we do that in the comfort of our own home? Of course, like, yeah, it's no problem when we're not a part of it. But it was just, that was kind of my first opening to theology and doctrine over people, right. And I did not want to be a part of that. And so I left the country again, like three months after that and went to Ecuador. And because again, it was still this, like, I want to see God work in other places than my American, because it was starting to become very like, yeah, the Americans got their own form of little Christianity going on here. David Ames 45:42 And this is quite an education, you're getting right, like, yes, really seeing humanity and culture, and even God and a different picture in each of these different cultures. Jessica Moore 45:52 Yeah, right. It was definitely an overload there. I tend to do that. But I saw I go to Ecuador, and I lived actually with a missionary family. But they did things kind of different, where they didn't live on like their, their separate for a lot of missionary communities. They've got their own separate land. And I forget the word for that. But you know, it's kind of like their own gated community. But these missionaries, they were very much about like, no, we want to be in with the people. We want to live in the city when we want to, you know, we're not trying, they weren't really trying to start a church or convert anyone. They were just wanting to, of course, like, you know, spread the gospel in some way. But it was like, setting up the other Ecuadorians to it was kind of like building up Ecuadorian leaders. They didn't want to be the leaders. But I mean, at the time, I was like, oh, that sounds a lot better instead of trying to be this white savior. But I can look back now like now, there's still a little bit of yc. David Ames 46:47 It turns out, it's difficult to escape your own culture and wanting to distribute your culture to other cultures. Yes, Jessica Moore 46:55 yes. And that was the thing. And you know, it was kind of it was great. I mean, Ecuador is I was living in the Amazon. And that was pretty intense. The jungle is very intense. It is the anti sexy, I'll tell you that. very humid, all of that. But again, just kind of observing, I wasn't really trying to change anything. And I couldn't speak very fluent Spanish, or even kind of there. They have like Spanish mixed with their jungle tribes. And so I really couldn't contribute in that way. It was just, I just kind of wanted to live in a different culture, see what was going on observe and but I was like, kind of the helping hands for the mission. They had two daughters. And so it was kind of like, I was not the nanny, but just, you know, helping hands for the family. And that was great. But there was also things that I took away of like, I don't see how scripture things that I was taught how they can be applied to this culture. Like, for example, I'm just gonna give monist modesty, like, Here are these people in the middle of the jungle, and they're literally wearing strings, like, yeah, thin strings. And a body is just a body. It's not sexualized, nothing, and they can walk around, basically naked. And that's not a problem. But yet, if I were to say, oh, modesty, you know, they're not modest. They need to cover up because being naked as a sin, it was like, Well, wait a second, like that doesn't that doesn't match up here. So how is it that it's a sin in my culture? You know, where I grew up? I hear you are in the jungle. And it's not. So there was I mean, that sounds kind of like an elementary comparison there. But it was kind of like me noticing that certain scripture cannot be applied to every culture, right? So it was like, What are we doing here? David Ames 48:42 You're experiencing that firsthand, right? If you're in 90 degree weather with 98% humidity, and oh, that's a rational thing to do is yes, that was little floating around as possible. Jessica Moore 48:54 Where strings that makes so much sense. Yeah. Yeah. So it was kind of like, yeah, there was just some things where I'm like, Well, how is it like, if we think God is also this powerful God, and He wants everyone to know Him and to go to heaven? Why is it always Americans that are going into these places? And isn't God big enough to, you know, meet or show up in the jungle? Like how he apparently did with Paul, you know, it was kind of like, where are we getting this, that we need to do this for other people? And why is it all I mean, I know that there's also other missionaries in other countries, but it's no big deal, you know, American families. I was just kind of confused of just like, I feel like if God really wanted these Ecuadorians to go to know more about him, he would have provided another way maybe or it was like, but we're still trying to change their culture. We're still trying to Americanize them and that just didn't feel right. So I come back and definitely had to do a whole lot of I was there for six Hans and had to do a little bit of you know, that the reverse culture shock is very real. And yeah, it took some time to kind of like debrief and be like, Okay, I've had these two experiences here, one in the Middle East one in South America, what do I and here I am in America, church just doesn't feel right anymore. Like I could not stand there anymore with these fog machines and worship music and, and our problem seems so petty. And I was just like, I can't, I can't do this. And so this is kind of where my my views like I still held on to my faith, and I still believed in Jesus and God, but yet the other things of what felt like I needed to do whether that be go to church, or even like my prayer, life change, where I'm like, these, all these problems seem really petty now, like, I can't, and that's where it was, like, you know, I'm not even going to worry about evangelizing anymore sharing the gospel, it was just I wanted to stay in my lane of like, I don't know the answers anymore. Where at first, I felt like I was pretty certain on, you know, whether I could tell if someone was saved or not. I don't care. You know, I'm not God, I'm backing off. And I'm just, I'm just gonna stay in my lane. Yeah. And so that's kind of where I was for a while of just, you know, I feeling very comfortable. And, well, I shouldn't say very comfortable, but just kind of riding. riding the wave of being a Christian had my thoughts and opinions not feeling great about church necessarily, or even how to read Scripture anymore. But I was like, you know, you and me, God, I got this and, but also feeling like way more open to having relationships with people that weren't Christian and opening up my bubble a little bit, because for so long, it was just this Christian bubble. And I was a barber for a long time. And yeah, for eight years and, and at first, like what I was doing here, it was like, that was gonna be my mission that like, this is how I get to spread the Gospel. Just how embarrassing. Like, just No, just cut hair. Because yes, because that's your job. You don't have to make it into a ministry. Yeah. And so but through that, like, I've met such great people, and that's where I was starting to recognize like, just because you're a Christian doesn't mean squat. Like it just I'm meeting these people who are so kind, loving, who, who don't claim to know Jesus or go to church, and they were loving, open and accepting. And I'm like, Okay, what is this? Like? What have I been taught here of like, I think I've heard this from your guests as well, it was like you are you're taught you have like this secret to life. And like you, you can tell when someone else is a Jesus follower. It's like, oh, and you're kind of formed that club a little bit. It's Clicky. And I just didn't want I didn't like that. I didn't want to be part of that. And I'm finding all these other great people that still, you know, are very loving. But I think there was still kind of a prejudice where I'm like, you would be so much better if you knew Jesus. You're so close. Kind of like how I viewed Mormons, too. When I was younger, I've just been like, Oh, you've got it, but you're not quite there. That's still followed me. Now more at which I think all of this has kind of been the start of deconstruction a little bit, but kind of more of like, okay, this is where it really, my deconstruction journey started was, I was starting to date and I was becoming more open to that. And because my standards were pretty high have they had to be a Christian and I had to be this super. I don't know, I think I was maybe looking for a pastor, but just someone that was so devoted to Christ. Yeah. And I was also told just throughout the years of just like, oh, it would take such a strong leader to lead you, Jessica. I don't even mean I'm like, What am I doing? Like, I thought this was the goal here. Like I thought, like, I'm supposed to be this godly woman isn't that what's appealing, but apparently was pretty intimidating for some dudes, so David Ames 54:07 just want to comment on that, like, you took it very seriously. And you had a sense of responsibility to spread the gospel. You know, whether I don't know if you put that in terms of ministry for yourself, but even talking about cutting hair as as ministry. Yeah. You know, women are taught to do all this to be ministers, right? And then at the very end to say, Well, no, but you can't actually lead. And that is just ridiculous, right? Jessica Moore 54:31 Yes, it was just kind of like, well, what the heck am I doing then? What am I wasting my time on? Yeah, it was like, doo doo doo. And then once the time actually comes, like, just so I meet this guy who is now my boyfriend, and he is not a Christian. And hello, oh, boy, you know, but I was like, I'm just gonna, you know, I just kind of wanted to date without this pressure of like, is he the one because I think that's also a huge part of, you know, what we're taught in purity culture or whatever is like You got to know right away. And so I dated and he is this awesome person and he was, quote unquote, pursuing me the right way. And he was respecting my boundaries and all these things. But yeah, he just had one thing missing. He wasn't a Christian. The longer I was dating him, the longer you know, people really started to chime in and was a hey, you know, you're really playing with fire here. You, you know, are you sure you want you don't forget what you really want. And you know, meaning this, you know, not being unequally yoked basic, right. Yes. And, and I still felt like I was like, Yeah, that's true. Like, I know, well, I thought at the time, like marriage, or any kind of relationships can not work. Unless you have Jesus in them like that I had no other knowledge of how relationships work. It was just if you believe in Jesus, and you are you have relationship with Jesus, both of you, you're gonna be great, you're gonna be golden. And that is so not true. And but that was like the only glue that would work. And so I did break up with him for a few weeks. And he was like, no, no, no, what's going on here? And it was just kind of like, I had to share, like, oh, I can't be with you. Because yada yada, you're not a Christian. And he was like, Well, you've never asked me and so then comes this journey of me trying to convert him. And me converting him kinda was the start of D converting me basically. Right. And he really did try, like we met with pastors, and we, he read the Bible. He said the prayer, I told him what to say. And I'm and on the other end of me just like pleading, asking God, like, why aren't you reaching him? And why aren't you answering him? Like he's trying so hard? Whether it was his motives was to be with me, it was like, come on, like, Don't you want this person to know you? And so it was kind of like, it wasn't so much of like, I came to this point like, well, maybe God isn't real. It was more of maybe what I've been taught of how someone knows Christ is not true, then that kind of started the the domino effect of like, well, if this might have been like a manmade myth, what else is? David Ames 57:19 Yeah? What a dangerous question. Yes, yeah. And I Jessica Moore 57:23 went to therapy. And just because there, there was a lot going on, and I didn't think it would have anything to do with my religious programming. But she read right through that. She kind of was pointing out some things of like, well, where why can't you be with someone who doesn't believe the same things you do as well, because we can't be unequally yoked. And she was kind of challenging that again, of, well, how do we know that's talking about marriage? And I was like, Oh, you're right. And so it was kind of like this domino effect of? Yeah, well, we're all just kind of taking scripture and interpreting it however we want to. And I really appreciate that my therapist was able to do that. Because I mean, on her bio, of how I found her, it says, Christian, and so that's how I picked her. But really, I don't know if if in person, she would describe herself as that maybe, I mean, she was definitely more liberal and opened my eyes. But if I wouldn't have just picked up, just a normal therapist, like Christian had to be in front of it, because I wouldn't have thought I could trust them. And so I'm grateful. I know, I'm so lucky to have found a therapist who was who could challenge my thoughts. And I trusted that, and she was more liberal. And so that's kind of how some of the things of like, yeah, what I was taught, just seeing that, like, yeah, maybe they really aren't true. And then also just kind of like, seeing more of where I've maybe had more spiritual abuse, and gaslighting and just some of the language I was using within my sessions. She kind of was like, hey, you know, some of the things you're saying kind of sound like someone who might have been brainwashed. And honestly, that felt, I don't know what a normal response would have been. But it was kind of like, Oh, thank goodness, like, yeah, because all of this inner turmoil or what I was searching for it, just, you know, the the intensity and devotion that I had, and still never feeling like I was measuring up or something was off. And for her to say, Hey, this is, you know, I think, you know, there may have been some brainwashing or programming or conditioning going on. It was like, Oh, that makes so much more sense now. Right. And of course, that had to do a lot of undoing. And so that kind of came the process of recovery and going through that process of all deconstruction of what we do have just kind of like the grieving process the the trying to figure you feel like you're it's your first day on Earth again, and yeah, it took a couple years after that. I'm just really that grieving part of like, wow, I had such strong devotion. What was it all for? Right? And then you just start to learn how to be trying to figure out what is normal. And what is truth outside of this bubble that you were taught. It's kind of like I heard your guys's episode on The Truman Show. That's exactly what it feels like it just, you're like, Whoa, there's this whole other world and I don't know how to function in it. Yeah, that was kind of the chink in the armor there of just being with my, my boyfriend and trying to convert him. And he asked really legit questions. And when I couldn't answer them, I think there was a lot of things of like, oh, my gosh, I should know this. And, yeah, there was just a whole lot of a mix with of trying to convert him yet. Here I am deconstructing, and so still trying to hold on tight to my faith. But really what I was trying to hold on to, when I think about it, it wasn't so much my faith in Jesus, it was trying to hold on to this good girl persona. And that was being challenged. And then from then on, I can't even say that I lost my faith, it really just kind of dissipated. It was like trying to grab a cloud and you can't it was gone. And then it was digging a little deeper into okay, maybe these manmade rules aren't true. So now what do I do about the Holy Spirit? What is that? And what do I do about this whole Jesus character then like, because I really thought that I had this personal relationship. And I had watched this documentary on, I think it's on Amazon Prime, but it's called Marketing Jesus. Okay. And so good. It was really fascinating, just kind of like watching. I think that's kind of where I got my first history lesson of how the Christian church even started and how even Jesus came about and digging deeper into Bart Ehrman. And just Yeah, knowing more of like, how did we get how did we build this character base? Yes. How did we build this Jesus? And I remember so vividly, I've just kind of like that was kind of like the last thing of like, okay, what do I do about Jesus? I figured out about these No, not totally figured out. But I've kind of made peace a little bit about these certain rules that I was following that aren't true. The Holy Spirit, what do I do about this Jesus? And when I found this perspective of how maybe we are how over history and over time of how this Bible was created, how Jesus was, came about all this, I was just kind of like, oh, my gosh, Jesus isn't real. And I mean, now I like, you know, did you live? Do you know, I don't know. It doesn't really matter to me right now. But it was kind of that part of like, feels like I was I learned about Santa Claus again. That you're that Santa? Yeah, I think in that moment, it was that was kind of like, okay, I really don't believe this anymore. And I can't deny maybe there's a higher power, I don't really, I don't care. I mean, I think there are certain ways to connect in spirituality, such a broad term. And I think that's the beautiful thing about it. And because Christianity gave me spirituality in certain form, and that really just put it in a box. But when you take that box away, spirituality can be anything. And I think that can be really fun. And useful or not, you don't have to use that and or deal with that and or be a part of your practice spirituality. David Ames 1:03:36 Jessica, you've done a lot of work after this deconstruction process for you, you have a life coaching that is specifically around religious recovery and spiritual views, as well as purity culture, we have a blog, just like you to talk about the work that you've done, kind of on this side of deconstruction. Jessica Moore 1:03:54 Sure, yeah. Thanks for asking about that. So, you know, life coaching and deconstruction, I don't know if everyone needs a coach necessarily, because again, I think deconstruction is, you know, it's so personal, you don't even know that you're doing it. And until you kind of through it, you're like, oh, that's what that was. But my coaching is to kind of help with that whole process of what to do after you've questioned some of those things. And now, just that moment of where you feel stuck of, how do I go forward, and also just kind of picking apart of how religious programming can still show up in your life, whether you're still part of church or not, kind of like the codependency or the people pleasing, like that's still very prevalent that can start in religion, and it doesn't just go away. The other part of with coaching, it's not so much like a new mindset, but just digging a little deeper as to how trauma or the certain things can be stored in our body and how to kind of move through that. And so that's a huge part of what I do, and especially with impurity culture, I'm very obviously Within my story that's very important to me of just educating of like, okay, how do we have healthy sexuality? Again? How do we have autonomy over ourselves? And what does that look like and learning how to communicate those things with, you know, partners and or prospective people. And so it's kind of, yeah, that whole new world of what we're learning how to be human again. And so, yeah, that's a lot of what I do, and just hoping to be a person that sometimes I wish I would have had someone along with me in my deconstruction journey, who could have walked me through those things. So that's not always a fit for everyone. I think a lot of people are different, and they can move forward, and they're good. And but for anyone who just feels a little stuck, needs help with understanding how religious programming may affect you negatively, but also, like, there are things that can show up that are maybe good things, you know, to kind of not throwing it all out. But just noticing how some good things could have come from it if that's what the person wants. And making peace with your past, I think is a huge part. And knowing how to move forward in the futures is a huge part of what I do in coaching and going through those stages of recovery with the confusion and the Yeah, making peace and learning how to in the stages of grief and how to release some of these things, I think is a huge part of the healing journey. So yeah, it's been very fun. I'm really enjoying it and hope to help more people David Ames 1:06:34 along the way. Fantastic. Yeah, we say so often that it's such a lonely, isolating process to go through so somebody can reach out to you and have someone to just say, Yeah, I've been there. That makes such a huge difference. Just anymore. I want to give you an opportunity to tell people how they can get in touch with you. What's the website? How can they find you? Jessica Moore 1:06:53 Sure. Yeah. So my website is Jessica Moore coaching.com, my Instagram is becoming you dot coaching. Yeah, you can find me there on some of the religious recovery and coaching stuff on that. And my blog is called series of expansion, but it's also on my coaching website. So that's a great way to connect with me, you can email me or DM me, whatever. David Ames 1:07:15 Awesome. We'll definitely have links in the show notes for that. I want to thank you personally for doing this conversation twice. Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate you giving us your time. Jessica Moore 1:07:25 Yeah, thank you. Thanks for giving me a second chance. David Ames 1:07:33 Final thoughts on the episode. One of the ideals that drives this podcast is brutal self honesty and vulnerability. And Jessica really brings that to the table in this conversation. Jessica's story is fascinating from beginning to end, the growing up in Utah, Salt Lake City around Mormons and feeling like she was on the outside. The experience of feeling both the pressure to evangelize the Mormons around her, as well as being a target of proselytizing is just absolutely fascinating. Then going on to, in effect, be a missionary in various parts of the world, including Israel on the Palestinian side and on the the Israeli side, going to South America, and then the culture shock of coming back to the United States. That really would give you a feel for the diversity of humanity and would make the confines of Christianity very difficult to remain in. Jessica is also very honest about putting pressure on herself to be a godly woman that she felt from an early age, he needed to be this picture of a godly woman she had in her mind, and she was driving towards that at all times. The purity culture that taught her these things is also what was so damaging, the lack of sex education, the lack of understanding and then of course, the natural desire for young people to connect with each other intimately led to a scenario where she did not give her consent, and I have no problem calling that rape. I grieve for Jessica and that experience and I grieve even more because I know that she's not alone that she is not the only one who has gone through this that probably many people listening to her story are thinking me too. And I agree for that. The hope in Jessica story is that coming out of purity culture, she can recognize the absurdity of the purity culture the absurdity of caring about virginity at all the absurdity of trying to live up to an impossible standard and seeing yourself as somehow less than human. Another focus of this podcast Just the embracing of our humanity that includes our sexuality includes our emotions and includes what the church can sometimes call sin. It is all of us, all of us as a human being that makes us whole and embracing that and accepting that is secular Grace loving oneself is secular grace. Near the end there, Jessica mentions an Amazon Prime video called marketing the Messiah. links in the show notes, I did watch that it is really pretty good at especially talking about the anonymous nature of the Gospels. The fact that Paul and his writings are written first. And Paul has a vision of Jesus, and so that we rarely do not have eyewitness accounts of Jesus in the New Testament at all. If that's your kind of thing, check that out. I want to thank Jessica for being on the podcast and especially for the vulnerability and the honesty that she brings to the table. You can find Jessica's work at Jessica more coaching.com. She's on Instagram at becoming you dot coaching. Thank you, Jessica for being on the podcast. The secular gray slot of the week is about grief. Last week was Thanksgiving in the United States. I talked about gratitude, and how important that is an attitude of gratitude. And I like these segments to be kind of honest, like what I'm feeling in the moment and I'm right now I'm feeling grief. I'm feeling grief about the shootings in Colorado Springs, the shootings all over the United States, the fact that people are dying for no good reason, the LGBTQ community and the grief that they are going through. I'm grieving having listened to Jessica's story, and hearing the damage that purity culture has done to people hearing the experience of what is rape and the grief that many people have experienced in a scenario just the same as Jessica. I feel grief for the last time the wasted effort. I feel grief for feeling so gullible. As I said before, when we were believers, we had something we could do in these scenarios, we could pray and we no longer have that crutch to lean on. So we must lean on one another. My encouragement to you is to join the community on Facebook dot com slash groups slash deconversion. Become a part of that community. Consider yourself if you are able to start a meetup.com meetup in your area and just get two or three people together and talk about your experience and maybe even your grief. As I said in the intro, we're about 99% You're going to become a part of the atheist United Podcast Network. That does mean that we will have ads on the podcast beginning in 2023. So that you have the opportunity to have an ad free experience I have started a Patreon account patreon.com/graceful Atheists if that is something you are interested in, please join that if you are currently giving via the anchor.fm and stripe that will stop at the end of 2022 I don't think that you will have to do anything to change that I will be able to stop it on my end. Next week is Arlene interviewing Nikki papas. And then the following weeks will be me interviewing Arlene and then Arlene interviewing me and then we'll take a break and begin 2023 with the discussion about the atheist United Podcast Network and joining there. Until then, my name is David and I am trying to be the graceful atheist. Join me and be graceful human. Time for the footnotes. The beat is called waves for MCI beats, links will be in the show notes. If you'd like to support the podcast, you can promote it on your social media. You can subscribe to it in your favorite podcast application. And you can rate and review it on pod chaser.com. You can also support the podcast by clicking on the affiliate links for books on breast atheists.com. If you have podcast production experience and you would like to participate podcast, please get in touch with me. Have you gone through a faith transition? And do you need to tell your story? Reach out? If you are a creator or work in the deconstruction deconversion or secular humanism spaces and would like to be on the podcast? Just ask if you'd like to financially support the podcast, there's links in the show notes. To find me you can google graceful atheist. You can google deconversion you can google secular race. You can send me an email, graceful email@example.com or you can check out the website graceful atheists.com My name is David and I am trying to be the graceful atheist. Join me and be graceful human beings this has been the graceful atheist podcast Transcribed by https://otter.ai