Saturday, January 29, 2011

Leaving (Part ONE)

When I was about 9 years old, there were some missionaries that came to my dads' church. They were there to raise support to go to the mission field of Africa.
I remember going forward and surrendering my life to go to the mission field of Africa as a missionary doctor.
My parents were SO proud of me!

After a few years, I found out that to become a doctor, you have to go through at LEAST 7 years of college/university. WELL....That was DEFINATELY not going to happen!
So, I chose to change my future profession to becoming a nurse.
(The Grace Hospital was then offering a 2 year nursing course)

As the years went by, my thoughts were straying further and further away from Africa. I wasn't straying away from doing God's Will, I just no longer felt that Africa was where He wanted me to go.
Not to mention the fact, that when I was 17, the Grace Hospital shut their entire nursing program down. (to me, that was God just confirming that He didn't want me there)

Then I reached a MAJOR dilemma....
How would I be able to tell my mom?? I would hear her telling other people(esp. other missionaries) that her daughter was 'called to Africa'.
I just KNEW it would break her heart if her dream for me were never to be realized.

In January of 1998, I broke off my relationship with one of my best friends. He and I had dated for 19 months, but I just knew it wasn't meant to be.
He and I were more like a brother and sister than people who would one day get married and start a family.
My heart was broken knowing I had hurt him so much.
My mother was extremely disappointed over the break-up, but she had even looked at me the one day and stated, "He's not the right one,is he?" she could just tell by the look on my face.

(By the way, I am still good friends with him.)

During the summer of 1998 I developed a crush on a guy that had already been at my dad's school the year prior, but my parents absolutely detested him.
When I asked them why they were SO against my having a relationship with him, my dads' response was, "How come you can't just take our word for it and leave it alone?" 
At 18, I told my parents that I felt that I was more than old enough to be told the reason as to why this guy was 'so wrong' for me.
To this day, I never received an answer.

My parents grounded me a couple times that summer for talking to this 'guy', but as fall drew close, my parents called me to their room and told me that because I was going to be attending the same classes as this 'guy', that I would have to talk to him. Therefore, I would now be allowed to talk to him 'only regarding school/class'.

It had NOT been my choice to attend Canadian Baptist Bible College, I had wanted to attend Pensacola Christian College but because I could not afford to pay for the tuition myself and my parents did not allow me to wait and work for a year, I was forced to attend their college.
On one of the first days of 'school', this 'guy' and I were talking about STUDY AND CLASS stuff and my dads' then assistant pastor of his church was standing within a few feet of us.
I knew that he could hear us talking, and everything that was said but I wasn't too worried as we were only talking about school related things.

I don't remember the exact amount of time, but shortly after that my dad called me into his office at the church. He told me that his assistant pastor had seen me and this 'guy' talking. I told him that yes, we HAD been talking, but only about school stuff.
He told me that I was a liar, and that I had misused my privileges at the school. I was no longer ALLOWED to talk to this 'guy'.

Because my parent's house was approx. 40 minutes from the college, I was able to move into the girls dorm. I thought that I had FINALLY achieved some freedom from the pressures of living in my dads' house. That I was finally able to have some sense of individuality. To not be constantly under his 'thumb' so to speak.

I was sorely mistaken!

After being told by my dad that I was under NO circumstances  allowed to talk to this 'guy', I was actually shocked! Yes, I did think it was crazy.
After a while, we (the 'guy' and I) didn't care if someone saw us talking. We should have! We were both called into seperate meetings with the disciplinary commitee and each given demerits.

The then president of the college called me into his office and said that although he didn't nessecarily agree with it, because my dad was also the pastor AND his boss...he was forced to comply.
And he advised me to do the same.
Eventually, because this 'guy' and I were caught TALKING again...I was campused(not allowed to participate in ANY and ALL extra-curricular activities) and the 'guy' was told he could finish out that semester but could not come back in January.

I was becoming more and more stressed. I felt as though my entire world was closing in around me, that I no longer had any friends that I could truly confide in. The few people that I THOUGHT were there for me, would run straight to my dad and tell him.

During this time, I was working full time as janitor of the PVBC, taking violin and piano lessons, teaching violin and piano, as well as taking on a full course load at the school. I would be up early, and up late with little to no break.

There was an awesome man that worked on staff at the college who saw that I was about to burn out.
He offered to be a listening ear and possibly counsel me. When he asked, I jumped at the chance!!!
FINALLY there might be someone I could confide in that would honor my privacy.

I was wrong

The day that we were to meet, I went into this 'staff member's' office, he told me not to say a word.
He proceeded to inform me, that my dad had taken away his ability to honor my privacy. That EVERY word that I spoke was to be told to my dad.
As I started to cry, the 'staff member' told me that in all his years of working in and with colleges/schools he had NEVER encountered this type of situation.

My heart felt as though it was being ripped out of my chest, I had no where to turn...No one to talk to.
My father had succeeded in taking away every ounce of freedom I had.


  1. thanks for taking the time to write this all down, I know it can't be easy. I hope it will help other people who are trapped as well.

  2. Laura,
    I am truly proud of you for telling your story. I pray that you will be very blessed by our very loving God as you will be helping so many people as you find the courage to tell your powerful story. I would like to encourage you to continue to follow God's direction and continue with your testimony. It is truly amazing how God heals our hearts and soo many others just by our testimony and love for Jesus!

    Love you,

  3. Hi Laura,
    We are not acquainted with each other, but may share a common label - "runaway". After one reaches the age of 18 and leaves home - even without "permission" - one is not a "runaway". One is "moving out". My parents had nothing to do with my deciding to move out. In fact, had my Mother known - she would have helped pack my bags and my Dad would have given me a wad of cash. No, it was the poisonous "teachings" of a "religious" person that played a large role in my deciding to move out unannounced. Now after 30 or more years of silence I am starting to tell my side of the story. God bless you as you do what you need to do to go through your process of healing!

  4. Laura, thanks for sharing your story on your blog. I have read parts I,II and III and want to know, What happened next? How did you manage to live? What are you doing now? Do you know if that church has changed at all in the time you left? Are any of your siblings out of the abusive situation there? Do you have any tips for keeping a strong faith after leaving a spiritually abusive situation? I would like to include your account in the case studies part of Provender, if that is okay with you.

  5. Trapped? Not being allowed to talk to ONE person makes you trapped???? I find it amusing that you did not marry "the guy" who was supposedly God's will for your life. Obviously your dad was right and if you had heeded his advice, none of this would have ever happened.

  6. Anonymous,thank you for posting your ignorant comment. Just another example of the brain washed sheep that are oppressed by a man with a god complex....

  7. A Modern Day ZealotApril 12, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    Oh Please, is there anyone with any intelligence at all from that Church? Oh that's right they have a Pastor who makes all the choices and decisions on how each person can and should live there life!Live your own life you so called Pastor, and let the people live there own and stop telling all the people how bad they are and the bad things that they are doing.This Pastor is using Scripture to bring judgment and conviction onto Gods Chosen(that's not his Job)that's the job of the Holy Spirit. Just because he doesn't seem to have a life doesn't mean that other people don't! Totally wrong way to bring the "good news GOSPEL to Gods people.I For one am sick and tired of this barbaric way of teaching ! Love Conquers all things, maybe he should start preaching more on how much God loves each and everyone of us and all the blessings and goodness of God for his Children instead of telling the people how bad and evil they are.Start preaching about our "IDENTITY IN CHRIST" and what that consists of problem is lots of Pastors have no idea what I'm even talking about.

  8. *** That is why you need to enlighten people Sir. You are the all-knowing person here. Pastor Sullivant teaches about God's love every time he is up there. Maybe some people are so blinded they don't see it. And why do you always put down people with opposing views to yours Great and Mighty Zealot... Can you not write withou showing your hatred?