This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.
This week’s Deconversion Anonymous guest is Bethany. Bethany grew up in the Pacific Northwest, attending an Assemblies of God church. It was an insular experience of their brand of Christianity against the world.
The older Bethany got, the scarier the church doctrines—eternal torment, losing one’s salvation, the Apocalypse, faith healing that doesn’t always work and even demons under her bed.
“[My dad and his friends] were warriors for Christ, going out into the world fighting evil forces, but as a child, it was so scary to me…”
Bethany was a conscientious and sensitive teen. She ardently believed what she was taught and would believe even if it led to martyrdom.
“…[My parents and church] weren’t that extreme; I felt like I became really extreme.”
In college, Bethany got exposed to reformed theology and progressive Christianity. She began to think, “There is no, ‘God says,’ or ‘Scripture says.’ These are all interpretations.”
After college, Bethany moved to California. She immediately joined a church, but it wasn’t the same. She was no longer tied to it the way she had been; she finally had space to think for herself.
“It felt more like I had been indoctrinated my whole life, a constant stream of indoctrination…and then I finally got a break.”
In California, Bethany’s been able to think, hike, read and realize who she is without outside influence, but it hasn’t been easy. She’s been afraid and uncertain, still haunted by some of her old beliefs. But she is free and life is full even while she is still “in process.”
“Maybe I’m worthwhile in myself, and I can have strength and autonomy in myself.”
Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!
My interviews with Alice Greczyn
“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats
Picture of Mt. Rainier by Bethany