No, it wasn’t that easy. As much as IFBx people claim that they are all independent, there is still a connection among the churches. Although the church we joined wasn’t as extremist as either of the prior two churches, they were still plugged in to the same sordid outlet. Which meant that the new pastor was buddies with the old pastor. Which meant that the sermon illustration of my family as “what happens when you don’t obey the pastor”, could easily be passed on to the new pastor. I did start working in the nursery, but refused to work by myself. I let them think that it was that I couldn’t handle a small number of children on my own, but the truth was, I knew I had to have someone there so I could never be accused of sexually abusing those children. I refused to teach Sunday School, though I did agree to be a helper only in the case that no one else was available.
I began to realize that whether I wanted to marry or not, I would never even get to make that choice because I would never be considered marriage material for any man in an IFBx church. Even if I married a layman, what if he were called to preach or the mission field? Who would support a man who was married to someone who had been labeled a homosexual- or at least allowed the gossip to flourish- by one of the biggest names in IFBx-dom? And slowly things got worse. Speakers, missionaries, college recruiters from this church started to show up at my new church. Although I hid in the cry room (a room for sick/crying babies so the parents could still hear the service), I couldn’t be sure that I would not be spotted entering or leaving the building. The teens were starting to head off to this church for summer camp and college. Anyone of them could bring back my story and the gossip would begin again. I liked to sing, so I participated in choir and special music but with YouTube postings being made of special music, I worried that I would be spotted there.
I left. Although it was only one of several big reasons, I knew I had to leave IFBx if I ever wanted any kind of a life. But, I had waited so long. I lost all my fertile years as well as any looks and personality I ever had in trying to hide myself.
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