Why I left my family's church to find God through meditation.

(for those who may claim that meditation or reading other spiritual books, etc., "led me astray", I quit before I even knew a thing about meditation, let alone practiced it).

I really didn't quit, I was driven away. And I now understand, I was "guided away". I was consistently physical abused by my parochial school clergy and teachers. (hit with sticks, having objects thrown at me, etc.) 

I was also given unreasonable, impossible  punishments (like writing "I will blah blah whatever" a thousand times, that COULD NOT be completed between the time I got home from school, and bedtime.  And their way of dealing with the incomplete "assignments" was exponential - i.e., the next day, I had to turn in TWO thousand, the next day FOUR thousand. I would be verbally chastised and physically punished.  

Finally, I faked illness to avoid the now millions of sentences I had to write, in order to stay home from school. My mother finally figured it out something else was going on, and I finally told her why I was faking.

Other incidences that drove me away, included knowing childhood pre-pubescent friends who were raped by the clergy there. By their "holy representatives of God".  As adults, they are seriously psychologically and sexually messed up.

Another time, the kids were playing baseball with a priest/clergyman. He hit a home run - right through one of the new, vastly expensive real stained glass windows. When his superior came out in a fury, he blamed it on us. A "holy man" lying to his "holy man" superior?

I was also told, and believed, that if you asked Jesus for something, you'd receive it. I could see where that didn't apply to toys, bikes, Mercedes Benz cars, etc.,  but I did believe it meant in times of crisis of certain kinds. All through my childhood, I had severe colon disorders that caused my unbelievable pain and diarrhea. One day it was so bad I was screaming in agony, and prayed to Jesus to make the pain go away. It didn't. So I began to question everything I was told, and found many "holes" in their dogma. 

It also bothered me that they had off duty police guard their collection plates in a back room off the entry hall. It just seemed that such a thing wouldn't be necessary, because either God would be taking care of that for them, or if someone stole some of the money, it was part of God's plan. Apparently not in the eyes of church leaders.

The final straw was this:

During mass, many members stood along the walls of the wide side isles, rather than sitting in the pews (benches), so as an adolescent, I did the same. An usher came and told me, and me alone, to sit in a pew. I told him, thanks, but I'd rather stand. Then, he went and got one of the police officers, and he came over, and said much more brusquely and intensely, "Either sit down, or leave the church".  Then it hit me, God does work in mysterious ways, and with all the other things that were starting to dawn on me about the falseness of this religion, I thought to myself "A policeman entering the church, breaking the flow and sanctity of mass??? This is God telling me to leave".  I  never went back (except for one time to please a new girlfriend who went to the same church) and became a temporary atheist. And during that time, I did a lot of thinking.


Jon Peniel

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