Reyna-Madhisai Audigier’s De-Conversion Story

Title: Becoming Transcendental

“My parents are both Church of Christ die hard religious fanatics. Me, not so much. My grandparents were religious: one Muslim, one Hindu, two Catholic-this was until they reached the Age of Reason, and became Deists. My parents met in college in the States about 22 years ago. They attended a private college which was predominantly Christian and converted mutually. This was when Dad decided to become a minister, much against his parents’ wishes. I came along in 92′. My parents were dead set on raising me to be Christian. They even named me after some queen in the bible who was mentioned in the New Testament. Queen Candace of some place. I don’t know. I just know that I hated and still hate that name. My grandparents felt the same way. They wanted to give me a name that incorporated all of my heritage. “Reyna” from my Puerto Rican roots, “Madhisai” from my East Indian roots, “Ainetrite” (awn-ya-tri-tee), which combines, like my grandfather, his Irish/Greek roots, and “Laylaina” from my Egyptian roots. My parents felt this was pagan or heathen-ish and so named me Candace anyway. I changed that as soon as I turned 18. I spent most of my time learning from my grandparents, and spent more time with them since they made more sense to me, cared more for me, and loved me for me. Since the beginning, I could tell that all my parents cared for was having a child born to delight, bred to behave, and raised to live as a slave for a master I, in my heart, never felt existed. They took me to church every Sunday morning and evening, every Tuesday, and every Wednesday. I started questioning my father at a young age, mostly after my Egyptian grandfather died when I was 5. He used to read to be from this little children’s bible thing that made all the stories seem innocent and wonderful. WRONG. Even in that version, many of the stories never made sense to me. Noah’s Ark, Abraham and Isaac, Joshua and Jericho, etc. I will admit, a few stories I did like. Joseph, Moses, Esther, Ruth, Songs of Songs, that’s about it. The first two because of the bits they were in Egypt. In an essence, felt pretty proud of my heritage there to an extent. That’s the only reason I watch the Dreamworks movies on the two men, that and the music. Music is my first love. The middle two, for the whole “girl power” thing. The latter, for the romantic poetry. That led into a love of writing poetry of my own but that’s another story. I’ll send a poem that corresponds to this at the end of the message. Anyway, the more I grew, the more I questioned. I never got real answers, all of them came from Bible verses or some theologian he felt was credible. When I was 9, I felt the heavy hit of the Glass-House effect for the first time. I had always been mature for my age, always 8-10 years ahead of whatever the present age was. That still applies today, and so many could see it. Including my grandparents, but excluding my parents. I bring this up because at 9, my parents decided I had reached the Age of Accountability and needed to be baptized for the remission of my “sins”. I am happy to say that I knew of no such thing then and have no faith in it now. I’m not sure how many “sins” I had committed at 9, but if doubting lies was one of them, then I was a repeat offender. For months before the day I was baptized, they kept dropping hint after hint that they wanted me to go through with it. I never felt that I needed to make such a step. Their mentality of being ready to be baptized was being able to sing hymns emotionally, quote the most mportant scriptures, have some form of an ethical standing and you were young enough to still “do all of your work for the glory of God”. Call me vain, but I had no intention of crediting every good thing I did to someone I didn’t know. In all of the questions and “answers” I found, I saw God as an invisible Slave Master in the sky who, apparently, doesn’t give a shit about his people. That assuming God is real. The more they prodded me to be baptized, the more it became, in my father’s mind “I need this for my image as a minister”, and less about me actually believeing what I was taught. This roughly destroyed his credibility and morality in my mind. I tried so hard to believe in what he was saying and preaching to me all the years, and I found nothing. September 17th, the day before my father’s birthday when I was 9, came and I was baptized. I remember going to my grandparents’ house crying and crying because I had finally told a legitimate lie. By being baptized, I put on a facade that I believed something that I truly didn’t. This was the start of self-loathing for me. The heat came later. My remaining grandfather died in a few months after my 10th birthday, My grandmothers died within a few months of each other when I was 12. I felt alone, so alone. There was no-one for me then. So when I was 13, I fell into a puppy love with my first girlfriend, Tiffany. I kept the relationship secret from my parents because I knew I would be condemned for it. I’m bisexual, as 3 of my grandparents knew, because they saw my little crushes on girls when was younger. They never felt disappointed of it, or said it was wrong. In fact, both of my grandmothers encouraged me. But now with them gone, I was made to keep it secret. After Tiff and I broke up after a year, I was in another relationship with my teen dream, Kimberly. This girl meant everything to me. We clicked from day one. She was the tomboy type, I was the girly one. I kept this relationship secret two. She and I would hang out at the mall or at the movies or just walk through the park holding hands. I still have the stuffed animals she gave me. The bracelets, too. The only way I could leave the house to see her was by her friends picking me up and taking me to her, then would pick me up and take me home. I didn’t want my parents to see her because I didn’t want them to ruin what they had. Spoken too soon. After about two years, on a fateful day in April, my mother felt the need to go through my email and she found messages between Kimmy and I. She demanded me downstairs and asked me question after question, trying to figure out who she was. Since she only read emails, she thought it was an online relationship, and so I let her run with that because I knew she and father would both cause some form of harm to Kimmy if they found her. When father came home, after mother’s “repent of your sins” lecture, he decided to give his own. He called me a sinful brat, said I let the devil himself into his home, said I was unworthy and that I was a fallen angel. Though I didn’t think much of what they said, him calling me those names were a huge slap in the face. That he would call his own child something that implied the strongest dishonor in something he strongly believed in. They split us up permanently, and ever since then threw boy after boy in my face, most of them wanting to be ministers, in order to get me to chase after one. Though I am bi, dating, least of all marrying, a Buybull Basher in training was NOT nor will ever be my future. The day she and I broke up, I swore a personal break from all religion. I bought my own laptop, and from there, Internet, and started researching the terms they felt were sinful to claim. Atheist, Agnostic, Deist, and what I claim, Transcendentalist. I first heard this term by reading an Atheist webpage and it had a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson on it. It struck me as a fascinating quote and so I researched more of him. I have a book of all of his essays and poems and I absolutely adore his mind and work. I also found other Transcendentalist writers such as Thoreau, Longfellow, Fuller and Whitman. All of which have become my symbols for free-thought in many essences. Upon finally leaving my father’s house, or the Plantation as I called it, I have made a more open break from religion. My parents and other Christian members of my family know this, some are now fence-sitters in private while my parents are still calling my phone again and again praying for my salvation and that I “see the light”. I saw the lightwhen I left religion and I won’t be going back. My girlfriend and I are proud Transcendentalists.”

–Reyna-Madhisai Audigier 2011©

De-Conversion Stories

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