I was born in September of 1974 and raised in Moncton, NB with 3 siblings. I have been happily married to my best friend and love of my life (Roger) since July 1999 and together we have 3 beautiful children (all boys;)!
In a nut shell, I was a born-again Christian for over 33 years. I was 4 years of age when I became a Christian and I was passionate about my faith from the very start. As I matured in age & in my faith, I eventually became a soloist (age 12 & on), worship leader (early twenties) and church leader (twenties-thirties). At the age of 33yrs in 2008, I slowly began to ask some tough questions about what the Bible taught and in January of 2011, I eventually de-converted from my faith.
Although I have always had a great desire to
inspire people towards
finding truth, meaning, and purpose in this life - the only difference
now is that I feel a deeper sense of peace with what I have accepted as truth because it is based on evidence vs faith. And where answers & evidence are lacking, I am totally comfortable with not knowing vs claiming to have absolute answers that cannot be proven. There is awe & beauty in beholding the mystery of our incredible universe! And I think claiming 'not to know' is now one of the most humble approaches we can all have in such cases. And so, it is
my desire to never stop learning, questioning and being open. :)
I started off as a Baptist [as a child], then to Word of Faith/Pentecostal [as a teenager] to Non-Denominational [by mid twenties]. In 2008, my views of an eternal burning hell shifted to the view of 'Annihilation.' In 2010 to Christian Universalism (also known as 'Universal Reconciliation' or 'Ultimate Reconciliation') and then in 2011, I eventually de-converted from my faith.
My Christian Up-Bringing:
I grew up in a Christian home. My mom was a practicing Christian; my dad not so much (but he honestly tried from time to time). Most of my nurturing as a Christian, other than my mom, came from those who mentored me in the church.
I was one of those who had a passion for Jesus at a very young age and it continued right up throughout my adult years. I received Jesus as my Saviour at about 4-5 years of age and "received the gift speaking in tongues" at about age 14. I loved Jesus more than anything. I was considered by everyone to be sold out, on-fire, and passionate about what I believed and I was not ashamed to say so. I never drank, smoked, went to dances, or listened to secular music. I graduated from a Christian school (I only went to public school for grades: 1-2, 8 and 1/2 of gr.9) and was a virgin until I got married. I was adored by pastors and those in leadership all my life. I was a church soloist by age 12 or 13. In addition to being a soloist, I also became a worship leader as I got closer to my twenties. I taught small groups, gave counsel to people, was involved in street outreach, and was part of the church leadership team for many years. I was VERY passionate about my faith. So for anyone to say I was never a true Christian...well, that argument just does not hold any water on me. lol. I was as genuine as a Christian could get - from the inside out!...and to be honest, even now, its hard to believe that I actually de-converted from Christianity, being as passionate and sold-out as I was!
My de-conversion did not happen overnight. It was a gradual process of having seeds planted in my mind over a period of a 3-4 years. However, the first time I ever started to really challenge any part of the Christian doctrine was in August 2008. At that point, all it regarded was my belief in hell as a place of "eternal torment." And to be honest, the whole reason I began to research the topic was only because my husband had challenged me to do so. (Who initially accepted the C.S. Lewis approach to Hell, but after researching more on the history of ancient religions, he began to understand more & more how the entire concept of hell was a result of Greek mythology.) Anyways! I honestly thought my research would PROVE my case for eternal torment...not disprove it! (Was I ever mistaken!) The view that I ended up looking into first was the view called Annihilationism. During that time, I realized that the Bible (in its "original" text) actually did not even teach "eternal torment." The Hebrew word Sheol and the Greek words Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna were clearly mistranslated to mean hell. It was quite the shocker for me. I was so excited about my new discovery that I created a web page for the view of Annihilation shortly thereafter. (See it here.) The sad thing is, when I tried to share this research with Christians, it was met with strong opposition. And on the rare occasion when it was met with openness, after they went back to their church and mentioned it to their leaders or colleagues, they decided against doing the research. Even though I got all my evidence from the Bible itself! And although I knew thru experience that church leaders and pastors usually advised against research that contradicted the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith (emphasizing scriptures like: 1 Cor. 1:19-21,26-31; 2:5,11,13-16)...it still baffled me that barely a soul would even look into it...even when they wanted to! It was at that point, I could see just how much fear & control had its way over people in the church. They would always say that God's ways were higher than our ways and emphasize to just trust God, have faith, and that it would all makes sense once we got to heaven. But fear always remained the enemy for researching anything that contradicted the long-held beliefs & doctrines of the church. And a of course, there was also a lot of fear of how they would be looked at or judged by others in the church for doing so. But I think if they were ever wrong, the biggest fear of all for them, was the fear of Hell itself. All in all, FEAR simply kept them (& myself for many years) from honest research on hell and so many other controversial topics.
Moving on in my story...a
year and a half later (March 2010), upon further Biblical research, I
began to study the view of Ultimate Reconciliation (also known as Christian Universalism). This teaching eliminated the doctrine of hell / annihilation from the Bible
altogether. Using scriptures like these, it clearly stated that "in the end" ALL people would eventually be saved. Of course
I decided to keep "that view" all the more to myself, because I knew
it would be considered even more heretical /controversial. lol. (I ended
up creating another web site for that one too.
As a result, 10 months later, I finally found the courage to research the very things I was strongly advised not to all my life - without the fear of a "lost eternity" if I had ever was 'led astray' in my journey.
In January of 2011, I ended up reading the very book that my husband wanted for Christmas (that I hesitantly bought for him not knowing what else to get him). It was called: "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Ehrman (one of the leading New Testament scholars in the world). After reading this book about how Biblical manuscripts were intentionally & accidentally changed during the scriptorium era, I was pretty much convinced that the Bible was not the inherent Word of God any more - which was the sole basis for the foundation of my faith! During this same time, I began to research a bit more on-line and came across some amazing documentaries by a "progressive" Christian named Dr. Robert Beckford as well. His documentaries (namely the documentary called "The Hidden Story of Jesus") combined with Bart Ehrman's book "Misquoting Jesus" (both men of whom were very respectful in their approach to Christianity...which was vital for me being open to what they had to say!), combined with other seeds planted in me throughout the year, were the deal breaker for me. I knew that I had a choice...either to plug my ears and close my eyes...or... face the hard core truth. Although it was excruciating at first, I decided to face the truth and it soon became one of the most surprising & liberating experiences ever.
However, the year to follow was not a very easy one though. In April 2011, I obviously had to step down from my leadership position (of 10 yrs) within the Christian street outreach I was involved in for over 15 years. I am grateful that I had a kind, caring & compassionate pastor because I really wasn't ready to feel the weight of everyone realizing I was walking away from my faith after 33 years of being a deeply committed and passionate Christian. He understood & respected this, and together we agreed that we would just tell people I was headed in a new direction in life, while I discreetly stepped down from my position. I must admit, after investing so much time & energy into that ministry, it was not an easy thing for me to do. It felt humiliating to say the least. However, based on my situation, I understood it was inevitable.
He and so many others were, and still are very close to my heart...and although I know their love & acceptance of me will remain in tact, I know things will never be the same in our relationship and this is never easy. :(
That year was also a very lonely one. All of my friends were Christians and I did not have anyone to really talk to about my journey, except my husband (and the odd open-minded Christian - but even then, there were limitations to those conversations). During my conversations with Christians, I always felt like I was on egg shells. I was so nervous of "coming out" that I often avoided discussing where I was at. I knew if news got into the wrong hands, it would be on Facebook like wild fire with prayer requests, etc, and it would only be a matter of time before it led to everyone being utterly shocked, wanting an explanation, wanting to debate, etc.
My husband & I really did not want the news to get to our parents either, as we knew this would only devastate them in their old age. So we knew we had to be very selective in who we told. However, besides the concern for our parents, I was simply afraid of being judged & looked at differently. Like I was someone who Christians felt they needed to reach or someone they had to warn other Christians about. As a result, I had long since stayed in the shadows...and although I love my Christian family & friends, that is one of the hardest things about remaining close with those involved with Christianity to this day. Yet despite all this, I refuse to cut off relations with them completely...in hopes that when they do find out, that many of them will remain warm towards me and respect my position...as I desire to do for them as well.
Looking back, with being so immersed in Christianity, I am still shocked that I made this journey...but the fact is...I did. And it all started with taking up the challenge of not being afraid to research WHY I believed what I believed. It was a long journey, but I am pleased with where it has led me. And I can honestly say, that there is no turning back for me at this point. I have found a new way of approaching spirituality, and it is the most liberating spiritual walk I have ever been on...one that is open to the awe and wonder of our astounding universe and one that is always open to learning more.
In closing, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read about my journey.
Feel free to check out my Q&A page (above) as well.
Love & Peace,
(Including Research on Christianity & Testimonials of those who De-converted)