This is actually a post on my own blog, but I figured this group was a good place to talk about it also. When did you first get "saved" and what was it like? How do you feel now looking back on it?

I was three years old when I asked Jesus to come into my heart. Kneeling beside my grandmother's bed, my cousin Jarrod's hand in mine, we bowed our heads and asked for salvation. Of course, I worried that it didn't stick. I "rededicated" myself to God at age 5, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 19. I was 6 the first time I led someone to Christ, a little 4 year old girl who was attending the same "Fall Festival" party at a church that I was. I tried to convert gay friends in high school, by telling them that God loved them, even if his people were bigoted jerks. When I attended Vineyard Christian Fellowship, the pastor, his daughter, my mother and I used to go to a nude dance club to tell the women who worked there that they were beautiful daughters of God, and that they were always welcome to come by on Sundays. I really wanted God's love to be true. But the Christian definition of love includes condemnation and damnation. In defense of this harsh father figure, Christians will justify torture (hell), calling it correction; subjugation of women, calling it a parable for our relationship to God; and child abuse, calling it discipline.

That's not love. And that's why all those times I gave my heart to God, the loving feeling faded, and guilt and fear crept steadily in. Christian theology states that God is knocking on the door of our hearts, that Jesus is merely waiting for us to accept his gift of salvation and his love. But looking back on a lifetime of belief, I was the one who made all the overtures. I was the one who knocked, who asked, who gave. Like a bad date, time after time, God stood me up.

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TOCOphobia is the fear of childbirth
I was raised in a Lutheran church that didn't preach the "age of accountability" nonsense or any of that. In our church, if you believed in your heart that Jesus was your savior, that was enough. However, in my early teens I attended a big Christian music festival and it was there that I "got saved" or "rededicated" or whatever you want to call it. After that, I started going to a youth group at my friend's Pentecostal church and learned all their weird dogma, like speaking in tongues and the Rapture.

When I was 21, at a missionary training school in Florida, my roommates and I had a "spiritual experience." We played worship music and read the Bible and prayed over each other for hours. They kept praying that the Holy Spirit would come upon me and expected me to start speaking in tongues. I didn't; I just didn't feel anything but a lot of pressure to do what they wanted me to do. The charismatic Christians might say that was a sign that I was never really saved. There was no doubting my fervor and dedication to the faith, though. I fully expected, after the missionary school, that I would go to Iran and die a martyr for the faith.
Florida is a great setting for kooky spiritual experiences and ghost sightings.
Hehe I was going to die as a martyr in Mozambique! Also thought to be infertile and tried Casey Treats book which said with the right faith and preparation childbirth would be next to painless! Needless to say I was too much of a sinner for god to grant me such an awesome gift. Sic. So 3 C-sections later after praying frantically for a natural birth and believing in spite of much fertility treatment that it was god who made me pregnant. (The poor Doctors. I apologise for not giving you the credit for all your brilliant treatment) I realise that I am probably one of the women that nature never intended to be pregnant. I didn't want to have kids from when I was 16 (mind you I was thinking about being a nun) but my mother was so devastated by the idea that I wouldn't have kids that I considered it a really really bad thing for me not too. I am NOT cut out to be a mother. Grrr. I gave my life to the lord at 10 when preached to in the school playground by other kids. i had been in church every Sunday since I was born so it was no biggie. Then I had to get the evidence of praying in tongues which took some sweat but I eventually made it happen. Got rebaptised as an adult at the urging of some american fundie or other and rededicated my life to do it "better" over and over.

When I left the church I expected lighting to strike me dead. 3 Months later I realised that it really wasn't going to. My biggest giggle is that I can still speak in 'tongues' the evidence of commitment my foot! All other spiritual 'experiences' I ever had are still available to me. If I put myself in the 'mood' all the things that my brain is programmed to manifest during worship or prayer still happen. Sigh All that time I thought it was miraculous, god, supernatural etc. I can still look at someone and 'know' stuff about them that previously I would have put into prayer and they would have marveled at my connection with god that he told me all that stuff about them. Uh not supernatural just normal connections between the human family. Sooo glad that I have been saved from the saviour!
I was gonna go deliver HIV-infected babies in Saharan Africa for my faith, lol. I think I'm not of child-bearing stuff either, frankly. But I was raised with "spiritual midwifery" and felt like a failure as a woman when I was told I was infertile (and I felt shame, because the infertility was caused by sexual abuse). I definitely think that, whether physically like me (98 hour labor isn't NORMAL) or emotionally/personality/whatever, some women aren't built for motherhood, and that's an okay choice. I think in another generation or two, it won't even be a big deal if a woman chooses never to have kids.
i can still pray in tongues too! shame i can't find much use for it :)
I think maybe we should have a video project, like where all the ex-christians film themselves speaking in tongues and make a montage like the Big Gay Collab?
Why I pray to Jesus every day dear: "Oh Jesus, please save me from your followers"
laughter
I hope you have a hell of a grand time sinning now to make up for high school :p In a way, I was one of the worst behaved kids to some (sex, drugs, rock n roll baby) but I can blame religion for that too. I seriously thought the rapture was gonna come before I was 30 (4 years left to go to disprove that prediction) so I had a "midlife crisis" at about 14 and went off the deep end with hedonism and debauchery. Unfortunately, I didn't ditch the god belief for another decade, so I'd go out partying Saturday night, and then cry with guilt about it during Sunday morning worship service. Definitely not the happiest or sanest period of my life.
I was "saved" and rededicated countless times from about 10 years old on up. I took a hiatus from church (though not from the nagging guilt that god was waiting to beat me over the head for some infraction or the other) from around 13 years old to 18 - during which time it was the 60's, in which I participated in the multi-varied experiment in substances. By 18 I was burned out, and went back to the church as a means of getting cleaned up. I went as far as to attend Bible college, after which I worked as a minister for nearly 18 years. During that time I rattled the cages of my various superiors with irritating questions about biblical inconsistencies and ridiculous doctrines. I finally wore out my welcome.
Glad to hear you made it Fred. There is no Big Booger Booger in the sky that watches you masturbate on lonely nights...he would be a pervert if there was one...laughter. Looking for the devil and demons in every situation can be tiring for a minister. They are usually paranoid, self-righteous, malicious and sneaky to mention a few "attitudes" of Fundamental Christian ministry. Their constant vigilance causes a lot of them to get hit by buses and cabs. The yellow ones don't stop remember?...This is good for mankind. So if you really feel there might still be a God up there I want you to
Watch Out!
Duck!
He's agonna getcha...laughter

Oh by the way; His son? Jesus? The invisible, magical, all powerful zombie in the sky? He isn't real either.
I was "saved" July 17, 1994. And I've always felt unsaved since July 18th... I was 9. I was told by my family and everyone else in the church that "when I'd get saved I would know. I would unlock the door of my heart and let him in. I would feel a change literally, physically. I would know other Christians by the look in their eyes and know the spirit." When I -didn't- feel those things coming out of the water in the river after being baptised, I knew it was just like finding out my parents were Santa Claus. I was one of the lucky children that didn't see a difference. However, I still had the guilt of sin and stayed Christian, and went to church and Christian school for years after that. The only thing that helped me deconvert was this, there aren't many places you'll find atheists more than in the restrictive fundamentalist world of church camps and christian schools... they were everywhere. It's really a shame those kids don't get to be free and live normal secular lives.

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