Anyone Else Raised in a Kooky Religion?

I was also raised in a CS family, though I think perhaps my lax upbringing does not compare to the others who have posted here. Like most raised in a Christian Science family, I was not immunized and prayer was the go-to remedy for most ailments. However, my family supplemented prayer with things like band-aids, neosporin, Advil, cold medicine, and, albeit rare, doctor visits.

Granted, I didn’t go to the doctor every time I had a nosebleed or stomach ache like it seems a lot of folks do, but I did have my tonsils removed at the age of 12 when I got strep throat for something like the 3rd or 4th time. The first shot I ever received was at this time, and it was also the first time I had prescribed meds (after the procedure). I also wear glasses and have since I was in 4th grade. I had braces for a brief time, and also have had regular dental visits since I was a small child.

My parents did send me to Principia high school. [To answer someone else’s comment, I do believe there’s another CS high school somewhere in CA, but maybe I am remembering wrong?] I attended the boarding school my Freshmen year and part of Sophomore year before transferring to a public high school.

At the age of 16 I finally argued my way out of attending my mother’s church and started attending a very laid back christian church. When I was 17 I stopped attending church altogether with the exception of holidays where I am usually guilted into going by my mother.

I have mixed feelings about CS and find myself defending or at least clarifying a lot of beliefs and misconceptions that others have about the religion. When asked about my upbringing, I usually let people know that my situation was not really a “norm” when it comes to CS, and I consider my upbringing to be very lax.

My aunt is a member of a pentecostal church in Oklahoma. She isn’t allowed to cut her hair, wear pants, make up, jewelery, listen to the radio, watch television, speak to a man unless its family or she is spoken to first, vote, sign documents without her husband.

Oh and her husband can do all of those things.

It’s a shame someon can de facto waive their constitutional rights, even if they can’t do it de jure

I completely agree. I almost kicked my uncle’s ass one day for getting on to her for being in my living room while NPR was on. :dubious:

Then I realized he didn’t have any teeth to knock out. Not a lie.

Me too - I was wondering if it was an offshoot of the Church of Ireland and is so, that is what religion my grandpa a part of. :wink:

I find your lack of faith – disturbing.

Of course all religions can be considered kooky by those outside of them, so I’m glad we’ve taken this to mean ‘non-mainstream’ religions. My grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher (they always referred to it as Apostolic-Pentecostal, but I don’t know what that means.) My dad has told me stories of having Brother Williger come to dinner when he was suddenly possessed by something. He began rocking back and forth in his chair saying, “Praise Jesus… Praise Jesus… SHANDAI!” and then fell to the ground in convulsions. My grandfather got up and opened the man’s mouth and started shouting “COME OUT!” down his throat. This happened fairly often. My dad loved basketball but wasn’t allowed to play in the high school league because shorts were forbidden. It seems now that the family has relaxed a lot- the women wear pants and cut their hair, etc. But my dad definitely felt stifled by the religion, and like he was an outsider.

My best female friend since we were 12 was also raised Pentecostal. I went to church with her a few times and it was a huge departure from my very staid Catholic upbringing. I had never actually seen people talk in tongues, and I was amazed. I was especially shocked that my normally very cynical and skeptical best friend was doing it, too! I remember her grabbing my hand and saying, “Green Rosetta, it’s HERE!” before launching into ulalations. I tried really hard to do it too, since everyone was praying for me to do it, but I just couldn’t. I actually liked it though- I thought it was really cool to see people who felt so much joy and connection to their religion. I’m a Catholic still, but other religions absolutely fascinate me.

I was raised in early years as a Christian Scientist, but will qualify that as it being a Newport Beach, California, CS church in the 60’s. That was a pretty morphing sense of Christianity at the time. I went there because my grandmother did, and I now see that what she became attracted to in that religion was that it was a method of spirituality that was rather intellectual, and, founded by a woman. (Is there a study of CS that tracks the followers by that feminist bent? Twicks?)

So, I was raised in that, never went to a doctor, but didn’t pray, or have a practictioner come to pray over any illness. I guess I had a California Lite type of CS, a bit laissez faire. No hard praying , but a reliance on just getting yourself better, and, a rather different take on Christianity. I remember our Sunday school, as opposed to Sunday school I encountered later in the South, was way more serious. You had a kid school for a bit, then went to the bigger church service, and expected to listen and learn.

My Mom married a good solid biologist, who grew up Mormon, and did the whole bicycle preaching thing there as a young man, but, hit Cornell to get his PhD, and turned agnostic. So, then, a weird confluence of Christian Science, residue Mormon, but both leaning heartily toward agnosticism, as scientists, with lingering eddies of raising.

I know that’s not exactly what the OP asked, but, thought it worth mentioning, as that is a likely progression nowadays. I’ve read Mary Baker Eddy, and, I really think she would be onboard with a lot of progressive thought. She was an amazing woman in her day.

I love threads and discussions like these. I’ve always found religion fascinating. They are so full of odd customs and stories:

Eat meat
Don’t eat pig
Don’t eat cows
Eat fish on Friday
Don’t kill
Kill infidels
Eye for an eye
Cut off that guys head and I’ll dance for you

I had a pretty funky religious upbringing. My grandma was a licensed Christian Science Healer. That was on my dad’s side. On my mom’s side Episcopalean (I’m sure I’m mangling that spelling). So the result was we went to hear the works of Mary Baker Eddy on Sunday but also got our shots and routinely went to the doctor.

My grandma (on mom’s side) thought we were heathens because we never got baptized and was always dragging us to church for mass. When you’re a kid you never really understand that stuff until much later. At the time it was just “cool, I get to hang out with grandpa and grandma.” My grandfather was kind of the caretaker of the church so I got to go into all kinds of places that I wouldn’t dream of poking my head into on a Sunday, like the steeple and all the rooms behind the altar.

Neither mom or dad were that fanatical about it. I read somewhere that James Hetfield of Metallica was raised as CS. Have to go do some searching on that.

IMO the Christian Science Monitor is one of the better papers in the US. In fact, I think I’ll go get a subscription this weekend.

Here in Seattle there is a bar called 5 Point whose motto is “Alcoholics serving alcoholics since 1929.” Right across the street is a Christian Science Reading Room. I just find that amusing for some reason.

Answering the OP:

Yes. 1950’s Roman Catholicism. Suffered extreme psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of School Sisters Of Notre Dame, the classic Penguin nuns.
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Interesting question. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if there were – but I left the biz 20 years ago, I don’t keep up with this stuff.

I was raised with the kind of 1970s California New Age philosophy that by keeping me ignorant of all religion, I would grow up and choose my own, preferably some sort of innocuous mainstream sect.* Consequently, my only exposure to religion was visiting Jehovah’s Witness relatives who talked mostly about the End Times. I got a very skewed picture of Christianity. I remember being told that very soon God would end the world and tie the devil to Jupiter for a thousand years. I pictured this as a literal physical restraint using the planet, though I suspect I misunderstood. I only learned the basic mainstream Christian story from Jesus Christ Superstar when I was in high school. (I’ve since filled in the gaps, don’t worry.)

My mother was raised JW, but my grandparents later left for the Two-by-Twos. Mostly kooky because they’re sort of post-Christian (they deny the trinity and salvation through Jesus, which as I understand it are pretty basic to Christianity). They are also fairly extreme: no television, no holidays, no haircutting (for women). A lot of what they do is consistent with JW practices.

*ETA: It didn’t work: I’m a pagan, of the build-your-own-religion variety. I started quite young by taking “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” literally, assuming that as long as the Christian god was #1 that it was okay to have other gods at #2 through infinity. By the time I was 12 I was worshipping Apollo and the Great Koala in private ceremonies of my own design. I was a weird kid.

Does that mean you know what you’re going to say before you say it? It’s hard to imagine how that would jibe with feeling possessed by the Holy Spirit. I always felt like I had no control. They did a recent brain imaging study on speakers and found that is generally the case – the speakers, at least, perceived the experience as involuntary.

Nava, I’m talking about the nonsense speaking in tongues, that nobody else would understand, the sort which I mentioned has been shown to be a reorganization of phonemes from the speaker’s native language. Although, interestingly, language centers of the brain are not involved.

Here’s a link to a site which describes research on this phenomenon, including the UPenn study mentioned above.

You see, except for my initial receiving of “the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the Initial Physical Evidence of Speaking in Tongues” ™, I never felt in any way “possessed” by the Holy Spirit. Even then, I was fully conscious and believe that I could have shut it off at any time, but I regarded the experience as my will yielding my vocalizing to The Spirit, not the Spirit surpassing my will to control my vocalizing.

What kind of Pentecostal church were you in? This was in a 1977 Assembly of God revival meeting which I had entered as a 15-year old Christian & Missionary Alliance kid. Even then, I had read a lot of Charismatic Movement material, watched a lot of 700 Club, and was wanting to experience the Holy Spirit Baptism.
My parents were semi-supportive but not at all involved in any of this. After my experience, I stayed in my CMA church, and regularly attended a weekly Episcopal-hosted Charismatic group, with rare visits to the AoG, until about 1982, when I joined the AoG.

I think the difference between us may be that this was not something I was raised in or put into but that I went into it on my own- hence, that shaped my beliefs & experiences as it was something I was choosing to do, not being done to me.

Btw, my beliefs are now very different. I believe in using “nonsense” tongues as a “prayer language”, which is still an experience of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 14), but that it is not a miraculous gifting of a real language. I do believe such miraculously-enabled real languages can & rarely do occur. Nor am I all that sure the Bible teaches “the Baptism in the Spirit” as an ongoing event distinct from salvation.

Okay, I can sort of see what you mean, and I don’t think we necessarily had different experiences, just different ways of describing them. There was always a point in which I voluntarily gave over control, that part is a choice. I just meant that once that control has been granted what happens feels quite involuntary. It’s an almost impossible to explain feeling, I guess I failed to communicate that nuance of it.

For example, years later, as an atheist, when I hear someone speaking in tongues, I feel the impulse to do it, but I know from past experience that in order for it to happen I would have to yield to some uninhibited part of my brain.

So when I say that it would happen involuntarily, I mean I would be minding my own business and suddenly be overcome with the impulse to speak in tongues. It was an extremely powerful feeling urging me to do so, and I felt, um, physically primed, so-to-speak, to take on this activity. In order for the impulse to become an action I would have to let the spirit in, which of course I was happy to do because I believed it was a gift from God.

Only after that yielding occurred would the shaking happen, and the feeling out of control. I could not stop shaking and as I said I ended up smacking my head on the kitchen table that one night of the demon exorcism. I don’t know how it’s done by most Pentecostals, I only know how it was done at this church, and I think to push this kind of spiritual responsibility on children was an egregious act of neglect. As I said, most of the people involved in this incident had severe psychiatric disorders and trauma histories, including myself. ‘‘The demons’’ were a much more convenient explanation than the reality of abuse and mental illness that had shaped my friend’s nervous breakdown and my own reaction to it. I wish so often I could go back to that moment in my life and really clinically analyze what was going on–so much of my experience was tainted by my belief that it was mystical that I still have a very hard time making sense of it.

No idea. A little place called ‘‘Bethel Family Worship Center.’’

Just to be clear, I was not raised into this faith, I converted at a giant youth rally when I was 10, I was the only religious person in my family until my conversion. (My Mom became more involved once I did, and, ironically, she is still kind of a believer though I am not.) I was extremely dependent on religion to provide stability I didn’t have at home, I was obsessive to the point that it annoyed my parents and I in no way felt I was being pressured into it.

You said your grandma thought you were heathens, I wonder if anyone in the CS church you attended gave you any grief about your doctor visits?

I’ve discussed this with a few other people who were raised in a CS hosuehold. It seems that in some circumstances, people feel judged or treated as if they are less of Christian Scientist if they seek medical treatment. Growing up, I knew it wasn’t something you were supposed to talk about, so I suppose in that way, we were almost made to feel like we’d somehow messed up or did something wrong if we were sick or required medical treatment.

For me, I never felt this judgment or restriction more than when I attended the CS boarding school in St. Louis my freshmen year of high school. In all honesty, I blame the school itself and their administration for this more than the religion or CS community on a whole, but I remember getting trouble and having to meet with the Girls’ Dean simply for having Aleve in my dorm room.

As was Colin Powell.

I’m curious as to why the moderator insisted we refrain from ridiculing mainstream religions and instead only poke fun at fringe beliefs. An untruth believed by many is just as untrue as an untruth believed by a few. I probably don’t get a say in this, but I would recommend this thread either be closed or moved to the flame pit rather than show favoritism to any specific set of irrational superstitions.

I didn’t. I asked that people refrain from all mockery.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

I don’t see it as “mockery” either - rather (like most of my visits to the SDMB) an eye-opening fascinating read into something that I, as a “mainstream Christian” know nothing about. No one has really “made fun of” their particular non-mainstream religion, but rather, as per the OP’s request, said what their experiences were, and gave us a lesson in something we didn’t know, which is why I eat up the Dope! :slight_smile:

One non-mainstream (somewhat) religion that’s been conspicuously absent from this thread is Mormonism. I’ve lots of questions about it, and they tend to be very secretive. Short of “Ask the ex-Mormon” thread popping up (since it’s assumed a current LDS member can’t talk), this is the best place for it. To this point the best information I recieved about the “secretive” practices of the Latter Day Saints are three SDSAB reports that still leave a few questions.

Hopefully one of these days we’ll get a Doper whos a Mason and we can learn something about them too! :slight_smile: