Continuation from the last post which can be accessed here.
My dad had taken an early out from the military. Having been taught “you can never go back”, we didn’t head back to the church that we had attended before our last move and where my best friend still attended. We began to search for a new church home and found one that seemed to fit all the requirements that we had been taught were necessary for us to be “good” Christians. We packed up and moved several states away to be part of this IFBx church. It was even stricter than any church that we had been a part of so far, but we did not resent that in any way. We were happy to become “more Godly” than ever before. However, we did end up going back to visit the old church and I was delighted to spend some time with my best friend. She immediately wanted the low down on every single teen boy in this large church and was shocked that I wasn’t attracted to any of them. What I never even thought to explain was that this even more strict church taught that it was a sin for teens to act on any attraction to the opposite sex. No one was allowed to date until they had graduated from high school, so to openly “like” each other was taboo. Oh, there were a few “likings” going on secretly, fully approved by the parents, but officially there was no pairing up in the youth department. So while I was obediently stifling any possible feelings of attraction, this appeared quite odd to my friend who had parentally approved likings going on since her early teens. She, of course, reported this to her mother. I can’t blame her for this. It was right that she should have a good and open relationship with her mother. As I was foolishly loose-lipped as a pre and young teen, they knew that (at that time) I had no desire to marry, which is taboo in all IFBx churches. After all, that’s why God created women, right?
Completely unaware of the events going on in our old church, my parents were convinced that the move had been a bad idea (and in truth, that church had some scary stuff going on) and that despite our earlier reservations, we should indeed move back to the old church. But two moves, a low paying job, combined with the needs of a large family and a church that always had some sort of program that we had to fund in order to be right with God had depleted every bit of my dad’s early out pay off. He left us to live with family while he moved to the old church to look for a job. It was during this time that he actually heard my best friend’s mom telling people that I was a homosexual. Yes, a very naïve, impressionable, and sheltered sixteen-year-old who hadn’t been allowed to have a crush and had seen nothing that would inspire her to desire marriage must be a homosexual. (I’m going to insert a note here: I mean absolutely no offense to anyone that is not heterosexual, but please understand, even child molestation is more acceptable in fundamentalism than an alternate sexual orientation. There is absolutely nothing worse that she could label me with that her audience would even have a clue what it was! Murder, rape, etc. are things that you do that are sin. Alternate sexuality is a sin that you are.) My dad confronted her. I wouldn’t have wanted to be her! But even my dad’s anger wasn’t enough to shut down the gossip. She was warning everyone that the biggest sin the world has ever known was about to re-enter their lives, so keep their sons and daughters away from me. I will try to believe that she truly just wanted to protect them from my grossly evil influence.