Religion Ruined Me

Organized Religion Ruined Me: Part 2

I will never do this to my children

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"He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24).

This should be the catchphrase of the 'church' I attended. Forewarning, I'm not going to include real names of the church or people involved. Those who know the real names just know but I'm not going to give this place the publicity that it wants but rather an insight to the twisted stuff I went through as a child that they knew of but said nothing.

The people of this church really pushed this verse onto my mom. She already had a temper and was just a very angry person. Granted, she didn't have the best childhood herself, so her temper and anger have been with her since she was little. That also doesn't give her an excuse for the things that went down.

Karen and Brenda *real names changed for safety purposes* would push and push until she broke. Her abuse was existent even before we moved to Georgia. It wasn't as bad, but it was there. These two women made it worse. She took what they said to heart and really did her part. It started out with just yelling at us for no reason. If we did anything wrong or anything that upset her, it didn't matter what time it was, we were dragged to Brenda's office and scolded and punished.

One time my brother spilled his drink onto his plate of food, and he laughed. Laughing was obviously not the best choice because that made her especially angry. She dragged him down to the church and we sat there until past midnight while they punished him. Another example is my brother and I got into an argument about whether peanut butter should be kept in the fridge or not. That upset my mom and we were dragged into the office before school and I was paddled and so was my brother. I mean, I was 10 and it was peanut butter.

Eventually, they got tired of my mom dragging us down to Brenda's office or Karen's house (which was built on the property as well as Brenda's office was in the school) whenever we did something bad, so they practically gave her classes on being a 'parent.' They told her that children were to be seen and not heard, which is a common phrase, but also that we needed to be beaten into submission. They explained stories of how they were punished until they were "black and blue" which is an exaggeration of course, but sometimes deaf people don't understand idioms. So, she took that to heart too. If one of us even looked at her wrong, we would be taken into her room and beaten until we couldn't even stand and had no tears left to cry. Screaming didn't help because she was deaf. It got to the point where I would find myself hiding in a pile of clothes in my closet for fear that she would find me.

The thing is, I was a preteen. I did things that any preteen would, like take some of my mom's makeup or cut my hair (my bangs). She hated that. I was labeled a thief and a liar throughout this church community. She hated everything I did. She would scream at me the same sentence over and over: "What do you think Karen is going to think? That I'm a terrible mom. She's going to blame me because you're a terrible daughter, I hate you." She always said that. My mom idolized Karen and Brenda and did everything they said.

Brenda, Karen and Karen's husband, the founder of the church, Ronald, knew that she was doing it too because I told them. Did they do anything? Nope. They did their best to help, I'll admit, but they never reported it to anyone nor did they interfere. I was given a cell phone and told that if my mom got in her moods or was angry I was to call Karen. So, I did. It didn't do much because she would only console me over the phone and just ask if she needed to come down here and calm my mom, and I always said no. If my mom knew that they knew she was hurting us, obviously it wouldn't end well.

How did religion ruin me? Well, the verse I began this article with. All in the name of God and Jesus Christ.

"Why am I beating you? Because God wants me to." That's a brief explanation of all drama. That was the explanation throughout the whole church. If I wore makeup, I would get punished because God doesn't want me to wear makeup. I would read Twilight and many other Young Adult books and get punished because God doesn't like books that aren't Christian. I would listen to a Christian song that had a beat to it (music that came with the sound of drums), I would get punished because God only likes music that makes you feel dead inside (that's a joke).

This is a bit of information to take in, I know. I want people to understand the level of pain that my siblings and I endured and, honestly, the pain my mom was going through as well. Not only did these people bully me, a 10-year-old, they also bullied my mom. They criticized her and made her feel small. They continued this for 5 years. The rules got worse as the years went on, and the abuse got worse. I lost my mom along the way and at the end of 5 years, I lost her altogether.

This place specifically ruined religion for me. My next article will be about how they advocated for my dad's arrest and the court cases that go on.

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20 Things That Happen When A Jersey Person Leaves Jersey

Hoagies, pizza, and bagels will never be the same.
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Ah, the "armpit of America." Whether you traveled far for college, moved away, or even just went on vacation--you know these things to be true about leaving New Jersey. It turns out to be quite a unique state, and leaving will definitely take some lifestyle adjustment.

1. You discover an accent you swore you never had.

Suddenly, people start calling you out on your pronunciation of "cawfee," "wooter," "begel," and a lot more words you totally thought you were saying normal.

2. Pork Roll will never exist again.

Say goodbye to the beautiful luxury that is pork roll, egg, and cheese on a bagel. In fact, say goodbye to high-quality breakfast sandwiches completely.

3. Dealing with people who use Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, or Dominos as their go-to pizza.

It's weird learning that a lot of the country considers chain pizza to be good pizza. You're forever wishing you could expose them to a real, local, family-style, Italian-owned pizza shop. It's also a super hard adjustment to not have a pizza place on every single block anymore.

4. You probably encounter people that are genuinely friendly.

Sure Jersey contains its fair share of friendly people, but as a whole, it's a huge difference from somewhere like the South. People will honestly, genuinely smile and converse with strangers, and it takes some time to not find it sketchy.

5. People drive way slower and calmer.

You start to become embarrassed by the road rage that has been implanted in your soul. You'll get cut off, flipped off, and honked at way less. In fact, no one even honks, almost ever.

6. You realize that not everyone lives an hour from the shore.

Being able to wake up and text your friends for a quick beach trip on your day off is a thing of the past. No one should have to live this way.

7. You almost speak a different language.

The lingo and slang used in the Jersey area is... unique. It's totally normal until you leave, but then you find yourself receiving funny looks for your jargon and way fewer people relating to your humor. People don't say "jawn" in place of every noun.

8. Hoagies are never the same.

Or as others would say, "subs." There is nothing even close in comparison.

9. Needing Wawa more than life, and there's no one to relate.

When you complain to your friends about missing Wawa, they have no reaction. Their only response is to ask what it is, but there's no rightful explanation that can capture why it is so much better than just some convenient store.

10. You have to learn to pump gas. Eventually.

After a long period of avoidance and reluctance, I can now pump gas. The days of pulling up, rolling down your window, handing over your card and yelling "Fill it up regular please!" are over. When it's raining or cold, you miss this the most.

11. Your average pace of walking is suddenly very above-average.

Your friends will complain that you're walking too fast - when in reality - that was probably your slow-paced walk. Getting stuck behind painfully slow people is your utmost inconvenience.

12. You're asked about "Jersey Shore" way too often.

No, I don't know Snooki. No, our whole state and shore is not actually like that. We have 130 miles of some of the best beach towns in the country.

13. You can't casually mention NYC without people idealizing some magical, beautiful city.

Someone who has never been there has way too perfect an image of it. The place is quite average and dirty. Don't get me wrong, I love a good NYC day trip as much as the next person, but that's all it is to you... a day trip.

14. The lack of swearing is almost uncomfortable.

Jerseyans are known for their foul mouths, and going somewhere that isn't as aggressive as us is quite a culture adjustment.

15. No more jughandles.

No longer do you have to get in the far right lane to make a left turn.

16. You realize that other states are not nearly as extreme about their North/South division.

We literally consider them two different states. There are constant arguments and debates about it. The only thing that North and South Jersey can agree on is that a "Central Jersey" does not exist.

17. Most places also are not in a war over meat.

"Pork roll" or "taylor ham"... The most famous debate amongst North and South Jersey. It's quite a stupid argument, however, considering it is definitely pork roll.

18. You realize you were spoiled with fresh produce.

After all, it's called the "Garden State" for a reason. Your mouth may water just by thinking about some fresh Jersey corn.

19. You'll regret taking advantage of your proximity to everything.

Super short ride to the beach and a super short ride to Philly or NYC. Why was I ever bored?

20. Lastly, you realize how much pride you actually have in the "armpit of America," even if you claimed to dislike it before.

After all, there aren't many places with quite as much pride. You find yourself defending your state at all necessary moments, even if you never thought that would be the case.

Cover Image Credit: Travel Channel

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Let's Talk About Israel

As a reform Jew, I have had a lot of problems with the country of Israel and where I stand on supporting its existence versus supporting its government.

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As a reform Jew, I have had a lot of problems with the country of Israel and where I stand on supporting its existence versus supporting its government. I know there is a need for a country for Jewish people to reside without fear of anti-semitism. Especially following the rise of it after the election of the Trump administration and following the shooting in Pittsburg. There have been many actions taken around the world that continue to prove my point that anti-semitism is on the rise and that there is a need for Israel as a home for the Jewish people. However, the actions taken by the Israeli government have made it truly difficult for me to support Israel with all of my being.

Some of my issues with the state of Israel lie within its treatment of Jews who are not Orthodox as well as people who are not Jewish at all. Since it follows international law that all people are allowed to follow there own religious beliefs and practices, it should follow that religious states allow for leniency underneath laws made surrounding religious beliefs. When it comes to Orthodox versus Reform and Conservative Jews, Israel has some laws that directly limit the rights and abilities of this population. For example, Orthodox Rabbis have exclusive rights to perform marriages in Israel.

Also, dual citizenship for Jews is limited to Orthodox Jews. This would mean that every single Jew who is not Orthodox or who did not convert under Orthodox law do not have rights to dual citizenship. Gay marriage is not legal in Israel yet also despite Tel Aviv has one of the biggest Pride Parades that occur each year. With all of these pieces coming together, I have had to come to terms with what it means to support a country whose leader does support me as a reform Jew and as a bisexual woman. My right to practice my chosen profession in Israel would not even be recognized due to the fact that not only am I reform but I am female. I would not be allowed to practice Rabbinic's in Israel.

Also, Israel has been committing atrocities during their recent conflict with Hamas and in their push to claim territory on the West Bank. The Settlements have been created through incentive programs that make it more fiscally reasonable to live there. Israeli citizens often move out there more for financial reasons. The conflicts with Hamas have caused countless civilian casualties on both sides. Both Hamas and the Israeli government have been committing acts of war and putting innocent lives in the way of their continued issue with each other.

Most of what I explained is barely scraping the tip of the iceberg that is Israel and its many conflicts, issues, and history. My issue with Israel rests within its government and the people in charge. The way Netanyahu has taken to leading the country is an embarrassment and a travesty. Watching these actions unfold over the last few years under Netanyahu have made me question my support of such a beautiful country.

Each government has its own issues. However, I have found a fine line between supporting Israel and her right to exist and not supporting her leaders. The people who run the country do not reflect the beliefs of the people and of the religion that the country represents. This must be emphasized as the line between disagreeing with Israel and disagreeing with Judaism altogether has been blurred.

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