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by Rosalea Hostetler
I grew up on a Kansas farmstead 82 years ago. Our family was pacifist, anti-Baptist. "Peace Makers." By the time I was ten or so, I was already labeled in the church as "odd" and was the brunt of numerous verbal emotional attacks. We were taught not to fight back or to stand up for ourselves.
By the time I was in my 20s I was a basket case of nerves, never able to please anyone with the rigid rules for women. I had to marry a man of the same religion and obey him. It was a disaster as he chronically berated me. Women were not to be loved and respected, only to obey the man. As a creative visionary I fell apart and wanted to kill myself but I still had enough wherewithal to call a suicide hotline, and my life was spared by a psychologist who understood our religion and what it did to creative people who thought for themselves.
I was the second woman to ever get a divorce from our congregation so of course I was shunned even more. Even today the younger generation members of this congregating still shun and ostracize me, "We can't let you be around our children because of who you are" they squawk with their prescription meds eating away at their brain cells. Of course their judgmental condemnation drove me out of the church years ago.
Today I attend nowhere as today churches, to me, are nothing but cess pools of HATE towards anyone who is not just like them: Very tunnel vision, limited. As a visionary I predict this church will be no more in another 15 or 20 years as the judgmental congregation cannot attract new blood.
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