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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I definitely had a "saved" experience when 12. I went forward at an altar call, and it was very emotional. My siblings began treating me as a "real" Christian. My parents weren't "saved" yet, and this clear distinction helped cement in my mind that this salvation was some kind of miraculous event.

It wasn't until later, when I started talking more to other people about their "salvation" that I started to realize that nobody really had the same story. There just wasn't some consistent way that people "got saved". For many years, I kind of brushed this aside by telling myself that God just works differently in different people, but I think this is really one of the first things that really put a chink in the armor of my belief.
My conversion took place after joining AA when I was 18. In AA I was told that I needed a concept of god to "get" the program. As a result of that I began to research or try to find out what "god" was. Of course the first place I started to search,being an American, with a very moderate non practicing Christian mother was - Christianity. In the process of my search I was recruited to a fundamentalist Christian cult on my college campus. The day I decided to be "saved" by this group after several weeks of 2 on 1 bible studies I was baptized via full immersion
in front of a congregation of about 300 people.

I remained with the cult for about 11 months. I left after I realized how hypocritical the church I was in was towards dealing with the poor.

I tried convincing the church leadership that we should do out reach to the poor but they were not having it because their stated goal was to convert middle class and upper class students and professionals for monetary reasons. The cognitive dissonance between the teachings of the new testament and the behavior of the church was so great that I could not bare it and I left. It took a great deal of effort for me to leave because all of my friends and my roommates were in the church and to leave meant that I had to be homeless for a short period while I secured new housing arrangements for myself.

Even though I was only in this group for a short time it has taken me years to deprogram myself and I am still dealing with some of the mind viruses they planted in my head.

Recently after leaving AA a couple of years ago have I finally come back to the default position of my brain which is Atheism. I am now looking back at all the years I have believed in a deity in and out of a group/church and I am aghast at the wasted potential that was my life that was caused by my belief in the nonsense of the Christian churches and AA.
Wow, thanks for sharing (not to sound all "meeting") Just so you know, I started a social network for cult survivors of every kind, because I didn't have anyone to talk to when I got out either. It would be really great if you could stop by sometime and talk about some of what you've learned in your time of deprogramming.
Thanks Angie! I just joined your group.
I was in a really desperate place in my life with anxiety and depression. I hit rock bottom in my mind. I figured the only hope I had left was God. So went back to the Church of my childhood (Fundy Baptist). I was overwhelmed by the "Love" of Jesus. Or so I thought. I was in such a state of euphoria. I felt like nothing could touch me. I jumped right in and got involved in Street Evangelism, Prison Ministry, AWANA's, etc... Things I would never attempt before I got "Saved" because of my Social Anxiety. It's amazing what you can do if you believe you can.

I am not one of the types that ease into things. I am all or nothing. I was reading the Bible morning noon and night. Then I started to notice things in the Bible that were unsettling. I think the final straw that really started my downfall was the discussion we had in Theology Class at Bible College about Romans Chapter 9 (Election and Predestination). All I could think about was that God created beings for explicit purpose of destruction, torture.... for eternity! For his glory! It still makes me shake my head. I know not everyone believed or was taught that, but I can't interpret those passages any other way.There were plenty more that eroded my belief since then (OT Atrocities, Book of Job, Numbers 31, etc...).

It's been about 18 years since that time and I only admitted to myself I was Atheist this year. All that time torturing myself. It was pure fear in hell that kept me locked up in these chains. The deep feelings of shame, guilt, etc... I can deal with and work through, but the terror in my heart I had concerning hell was debilitating.



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