Hello Beautiful People.
Have you lost your religion or are you in the process of losing your religion?
It happened to me, through no personal choice or grand plan of my own. In fact, if anyone would’ve told me as a child that I would one day lose my religion and become a teacher/writer of that process, I absolutely would’ve thought you had gone mad. My religion was ingrained in my identity as much as my first name is.
Losing religion is happening to more and more humans every single day. Here at kimberlystover.com, I will discuss losing religion recovery. Yet, it is important to note that I don’t advocate being stuck in recovery. Eventually, we must rise out, living a full/whole life with purpose in life we have found.
I come from a long line of fundamental Christians. Ministry is a huge part of my upbringing. Almost everyone in my family past or present were/are heavily involved in the Church.
Many were/are pastors.
Sunday school teachers.
Then there is me, the only one, so far,
that walked away for good.
I grew up in a small and humble country Baptist church where the people were wonderful and my grandfather was the pastor. This church was my second home and my family was there whenever the doors were opened. Aside from the occasional episode of rapture anxiety, life in the church was filled with games, music, lots of food, and community.
However, I learned existential dread, fear of hell and of being left behind in the rapture before I could even tie my shoes. Being an early reader didn’t help either because I’d read Jack Chick tracts while bored during the sermon. Have you ever read a Jack Chick tract? I don’t recommend it, it might even scare the hell out of you, an adult. Imagine reading those at four and five years old AND believing every word. Well, sort of believing every word.
I was always very curious and most likely drove my mother crazy with all my logical questions. I don’t think she was prepared adequately for a free-thinking daughter. Yet, in the words of Lady Gaga, I was born this way.
When I was around ten years old, a lot of secrets came out about very prominent men in the church. I was exposed to hypocrisy at a very young age and I had to make sense of it. Even though these men were living double lives, engaged in a sinful lifestyle behind closed doors, they still put on the Christian mask every Sunday until they no longer could.
One of those men really changed my life and set me on course to fight for those on the margins, even if back then I had no clue of his impact. This man was my favorite Sunday School teacher and he came out as gay. His children were my friends. His wife was my mother’s friend. This man was my entire family’s friend.
All of the sudden I saw a huge tide turned. All of the sudden I witnessed my favorite Sunday school teacher completely disregarded as fully human. He was now lost, perverted, choosing sin, and no longer could hold any ministerial position at the church. Everything he was, forgotten and masked over because he liked men.
This experience changed the course of my religious life. It hurt to watch this family go through this. Looking back, I believe this to be what first instilled anger at the church. Jesus loves you unless you’re gay. I began to distrust the church and more and more experiences such as this set my course out, culminating in my ultimate exit at 29 years old.
In this blog, I will discuss these experiences and also the process of losing your religion. Make no mistake, it is not an overnight journey. It is messy, scary, insecure, liberating, and very difficult to navigate.
Yet, there is a light at the end of the toxic tunnel.
Research shows that losing religion is a growing trend. How can it not be? This time in human history is about awakening, increasing knowledge, and embracing our collective humanity. More and more humans will need support.
In my journey, there were three main stages involved in losing my religion: Reflection Stage, Recovery Stage, and the Rising Stage.
Reflection Stage is composed of Questioning, Denial, and Bargaining.
Recovery Stage is composed of Deconstruction, Anger, and Depression.
Rising Stage is composed of Acceptance, Awakening, and New Creation.
This process that I have outlined is based on the Kubler-Ross Method of the Five Stages of Loss. Like the Kubler-Ross Method, it is not a linear process, in fact, I’ve had days where I’ve experienced all stages in a single day. However, this is how it happened for me. Perhaps laying it out can help others going through it, as being of service in the area of loss, is my only intention. This process applies to losing all religions, or a love, friendship, dream, etc.
First, we must reflect. Second, we must recover. Finally, we can rise up and out, reinventing our lives into wholeness.