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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ME - PART TWO - RELIGION/CULT

So we put our house on the market. We had bought a spec home and it was brand new and it sold immediately and the contract was finalised in 21 days. Cash sale to someone that knew we had been taken for a ride by the real estate who valued the house. We nearly doubled our money in a one year period and because we thought that was good we just never thought about the fact we could have got more.

Now you have understand that there was no computer/internet/realestate.com in our home. We both worked fulltime. I was the decision maker in our home and always was for the whole 17 years we were together. So I open up the Sunday paper and see an advert for some cheap places up at Nanango way. A 4 hour drive from Brisbane and in very dry country. I didn't even check out the area. I didn't check out the schools. I just didn't do anything but buy a house on 5 acres (of which I never walked the entire block once) that had a open plan 2 bedroom house on it and that was it. It all happened in a blink of an eye. No lessons learnt from this as I missed any lessons that we could have learnt because I loved it. I loved the house and I loved working from home and I simply was too young. I just lived. I really have no idea how I ended up this way. I just did things and jumped in feet first. At 47 I am finally - DER - getting the lessons of my life. I have to say though that I am so thankful for all  lessons even if I learnt slowly. The universe had to just keep cramming things down my throat and into my mind for a bit longer.

Well the next year was busy with children at school, working from home and selling our products at the markets on the weekend. This is the time in my life that I realised that I was pretty good at running a business. I had no knowledge and I just flew through by the seat of my pants. It was the 80's and I can say nothing was really a struggle. We could have saved a packet of money and we could have easily paid of our house. We didn't.

What I did do was get cosy with the neighbours up the road. Another lesson in life that I can now look back on and realise was a huge learning curve and lessons learnt about this have been carried throughout my life. First lesson - NEVER think you are not able to be brainwashed into beliefs that are stupid and unsound and radical (this coming from someone who often says 'never say never'). Second Lesson - I gained some serious understanding about a particular way of life chosen by some people. Third Lesson - My parents are angels in disguise and all the years of a close relationship and a trust in them paid of when my father broke through this grip held by others and was able to get through to me. There are other lessons but those are the main three.

The neighbours were Fundamentalist End Of The World God Is Coming NOW Christians. I had never been exposed to anything except our Anglican religion where my Mum sent us to sunday school, had us baptised and then confirmed and then promptly dropped the whole thing to let us find our own way. She went to church sometimes at christmas and that was it. The second taste was a catholic nun at highschool where to get out of sports I choose religious studies. I liked her. She was a kind lady who seemed very happy to me and I started then and there to question my existence and the meaning of life etc. I even contemplated becoming a nun. That lasted a very short time because remember I was 15 and thought the world revolved around boys, boys and more boys as well as my favorite music. Later through the years after this period in my life with the neighbours I explored and studied all sorts of facets of new age theory and other religions and have picked through all of that and chosen what suits me up to this point in my life. This will be explained in a later post.

Now the neighbours were friendly. They were helpful. We were lonely and needed some company. They introduced us to others and we becane part of a very small group. I will add here that my husband was bought up in a family who followed the path of belief of the worldwide church of god. He had grown up being on the outside as they do not eat (or did not then) certain meat, they did not have christmas, birthdays, easter and they had something once a year called the feast when they all got together and gave gifts and did what everyone else did at another time of year. He was not practising when we got together and he was the black sheep of the family and in his usual style that never changed over the years he simply did not talk about it.

I am not sure how much I want to go into this with you all but it is very relevant for me today as the lessons have left me even more torable of others because I know how easy it is to get caught up in something. Something so alien and out of character that you think that it can't happen. Part of me is embarrassed and a part of me feels stupid. I will try to sum it up as concisely as possible. Over a period of a fairly short time they encouraged us to speak less and less with family. They encouraged us to do bible study with them and that was our social pastitme. (of which I can now remember an awful lot and can hold an intelliegent conversation about)  They encouraged us with friendship and to listen to their ideals and their beliefs and to gradually take them onboard as our own. It was smooth sailing. It was a good ride. Nothing jumped out at me and my husband never voiced his concerned if he had any and just went along for the ride as well. Speaking in tongues was something I had just never seen. They shared with us their fundamental view of everything evil and had a fixation with the devil and his demon hohorts. I think they read more books about bad than good. I didn't even know this stuff existed before this. I lost quite a lot of precious memorabillia in this period because it was all eveil. Talk about having the wool pulled over your eyes. I had never had anyone in my life tell me about conspiracy theories and the end of the world and I certainly had never met or even listened to one of those radical American preachers. We got to do that. We got to prepare for the end of the world as we know it. The Gulf war had started. This was it. They truly believed that it was all about to happen. Everything in revelations was going to now take place and the good christian folk would be taken to heaven in the rapture and everyone else who didn't believe and be baptised would rot in hell on Earth. Well along those lines anyhow. Here is not the place today to explain in depth what they taught and believed. But this is a pretty good summary of it.
Now there are a few things that stand out of how this finally came to an end. It wasn't even a quick end as I will explain. First thing that stands out is a funny story about one of these men of god preachers who know more than everyone else and are here to save us from all our sins and guide us in the path to the rapture while handing over all your money. I never handed over money. First sign. Secondly when visiting these people  someone fed a horse (yes horse) from a plate. A china plate. The preacher man was beside himself along with his wife because of the germs and what disease they might get from later eating of the plate even after it was washed in hot soapy water. I found this contradictory and extremely funny. I didn't say anything but I watched these people and the ones who watched them and if I had learnt one thing from the bible it was that they should not think they are any better than anyone else. But they did. They thought they were special. I see things now and even then I saw them the same way - if you have any sort of special gift you should freely share it. Share and charge large sums of money?  If it is gift from god then my questions arose as to why they could charge for it. What would Jesus do? It was a catchphrase of the time and they shouldn't have taught me that one. Actually it does not seem to be encouraged at all because the first ones to do this should be the church leaders and they do not want to. Because asking that question works to their disadvantage when trying to decide something. If in a delima it always works everytime. Even if you are not a christian. Just based on the belief that Jesus existed and what his morals would be helps to answer this question. I think you could ask as well. What would Gandi do?

Anyway after this I was starting to see things a bit clearer. The third thing was that I also saw I was hurting my family and I spent the one and only christmnas holidays apart from them. We never were much of a family with the gift giving thing and the fancy decos and such, but we were a family who spent time with family and it hurt them so much. Then as my husband was silently pulling way they were making out that he was not a good person and that he and I should not be together. Everything was subtle but thank goodness I was seeing things clearer. Then my father broke down in tears and got on his hands and knees in front of me and begged me to stop. Just stop and think and to remember my family.

So we did. We told the neighbours that we wanted no more to do with them. We said we didn't want to follow that belief sysytem. They were pissed of but never showed it. They simply left us alone. I am thankful for that. I will say that I do not blame them. I was a willing passenger on this journey. Regrets are a waste of time because amongst that I feel I have such a clearer picture of things today. A clearer picture of all the differing views out there in the world. This will come into later posts as well.

But like I said I didn't drop it all. I just dropped them. I had so many hangups by this time and so many issues that just didn't exist before this. I had to spend years untangling the crap from reality. I still am to some degree. I do have a set of certain beliefs that I will talk about when I get to the end of this story of my life so far. I can't talk about that yet because there was so much more to go through to get where I am today.

Anyway this is a long post. The outdoor dunny story comes in the next post.

Thanks for your time,

Cheers and Peace,

Wendy

4 comments:

  1. Oh how I must have lived a sheltered life Sis ..

    Love Ya

    Bro

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  2. Oh Wendy, I'm so glad you shared your story. I know there's probably much more to it, right?

    I do know this much;'man' will pay a high price for twisting God into strange shapes. Many people have been pulled into uncomfortable places in the name of religion. I believe following God isn't deceptive, damaging, or difficult.

    Best of luck to you on your journey of faith. I don't claim to have all the answers but I'm always happy to tell you what I believe if you are ever curious. To share with you...not brainwash you ;-)

    Hugs.

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  3. I can understand how you were drawn to these people. Everyone has a desire to be a part of something and they happened along at a time in life when you were looking for something.

    I watched a show awhile back about a group who started sustainable community in the 70's. What started out as a good thing turned into a cult and a lot of the people involved questioned how they could have become a part of such a thing, including the co-founder. They all started looking for the same thing but there were others there that changed things. We are all seduced by something in our lifetime and not neccessarily religions or cults.

    The fact that they didn't make you hand over money and left you alone when asked suggests that they were more self involved than anything else.

    What gobsmaked me is that you hopped in a car drove off and bought a property just like that. I would have had a heart attack and that's before I would have told my husband.

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  4. Hi Andrew - yep being 5 years younger than me made a bit of a difference. That is why being as close as we are is cool as when you started highschool I was leaving. Makes a big difference.

    Parsley - very true words - how can those three negative traits of deception, damaging and difficulty be used when speaking of God - they are used when speaking of religion. And yes - there is quite a bit left out of the story. Mainly because it would take too many posts. Thanks for your feedback.

    Nevyn - It is so true what you wrote that we can be drawn into so many things. I see consumerism and living beyond our needs as a similar thing. I agree with the fact that the centre of everything was their belief and like I said I appreciated that even though they lived down the road from me they never pursued it any further. They seriously thought that what they believed and how they lived and thought others should live was right. No different than many others out there in the world with differing religious and economic views. It is a lesson I learnt and I really try hard to live by it. LOL - later in my story you will see me do this again - just sell up and move aain to another area I knew nothing about. That is where we are at the moment.

    Cheers to you all,
    Wendy

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