I am a 35 yr. old mother of one and have been married 17 yrs. I was Born an raised in East Tennessee and my father was a Holliness minister. We had to wear long dresses, no jewelry, no makeup. Television and music was not allowed in our home and we could read no books but The Bible and The New Testament. My father died when I was 9 and I started to live a more normal life. When I was about 11 I joined the Mormom church. I had had it (literally) beat into me as a child that I had to believe, I had to follow something. My teenage years were spent in a deep depression because I honestly thought there was something wrong with me because I didnt believe in what I was being told. Yet until I was 18 I went to church faithfully, and joined in all the youth activities etc.


When I met my now husband it was like a weight had been lifted off me, because I finally found someone like me, someone I could talk openly to. I was excomunicated from the Mormon church about 6 month after meeting my husband (they found out we were living together) and I never looked back.


We live in a small town and have had to keep pretty quiet about being atheists out of fear of losing our jobs. Our daughter is 16 and is having a tough time at school, a lot of kids call her a satanist and tell her she is going to hell. Sometimes it feels like we are completely alone and are desperate to find other families to communicate with and share our problems and beliefs. It is hard for atheists who live in rural areas to communicate and meet with other atheists and there needs to be even more web communities etc. for them to meet.

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I am sorry to hear of your troubles. I have one question, does your teen daughter feel as you do, or have you simply not raised her in a religious way? The reason I asked is that I started thinking about my own atheism and how I would deal with a child who felt they did believe in a religion and wanted to go to church. I guess I would have to let them go! Ya know?
I was born and raised in East Tennessee, too. I married young and traveled some before moving back to TN. I just recently moved from Nashville to Cookeville. I keep inching my way back across the state, lol. Even though I miss the beauty of the mountains in East TN and being close to my family, I'm leery about moving back to the area where I grew up because of the religious expectations of a large extended family. It's just easier being in a town where I know no one, if that makes any sense. I understand what you mean about feeling alone in this state. With a church on every corner and the constant, sometimes hurtful bantering of the religious, it's easy to feel alienated.
Atheistic greetings! Just joined...Cheers & loneliness from a small (1 stoplight) rural town in western NC. Where presumptuous strangers feel free to ask you what church you go to and the Baptist church in the center of town blasts their chiming churchbells every hour on the hour of every day & night! I've learned to tune both of them out finally. I'm native to NC, originally from the Raleigh/Cary area which is much more progressive...a whole different world actually. I miss the city desperately at times.

Back to rural hell...earlier this month, to all shock & amazement, our school board allowed a gay couple to attend prom at my daughter's small highschool!! (a miracle if I believed such nonsense!) My daughters & I were happy for these kids, who took a brave step to even ask! But at school, they had to hear the anti-gay kids spewing their bigoted bullsh*t, some of whom were their friends. My oldest daughter told one kid (a guy-friend since elem) to "shut his ignorant mouth". (hehehe, a proud parent moment for me!)Knowing this kid's caveman of a father, it was not surprising. What was really disturbing was reading the comments here:

and here:

The usual anti-gay crap is there, but it was the hate-filled commenters from within our small community that left me physically ill. Living here, I know that I'm surrounded by these people. They are my neighbors, people I see at the grocery story, bank, school, etc. but actually getting a glimpse into their ugly, uneducated, religion-decayed minds has been extremely discouraging for me.
I didn't show that filth to my daughters as it's not worth their time.

P.S. Prom went off without a blip. Thankfully, no protests or violence. No gaytheist agenda was forced on the 'innocent christian children' and not one teenage boy turned gay upon seeing the couple do the 'stanky leg'.

Sadly, I don't see how any significant change is possible here in the south. It's been too deeply mired in ignorance, hate, racism, & religiosity for too long. One of my favorites quotes sums it up: >"Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among rocks." ~Charlotte Bronte

So, NPW, I understand your loneliness. Lonely in a crowd of bat-sh*t crazies.
Stay tuned for next month when my daughter's highschool graduation ceremony is jacked by religion & turned into a baptist sermon. Plenty of scripture & baptist hymns to be sung!

Addition: Someone should start a group for those of us in the Buybull belt!
Never met anyone before who had been Holiness and left it. I just started in that faith around the time I was 9, so I suspect we two had different experiences in how we dealt with the group.

Worst thing is, being in it throughout my teen years, it left me with problems which would have been better for a teen to have developed more than the limited perceptions offered by the Holiness groups. Only if one stays in the group, would be the sole way to function with the set of values it offers to its teenage members since it teaches nothing about the outside world and is a very exclusive group, discouraging its members from "fraternizing with the world."




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