Hannah, I already feel a connection to you from this piece alone. I, too, was raised (and still live) in North Carolina. I was also raised in the Southern Baptist Church, and until about a decade ago, was still immersed in it. And, I grew up with tics (severe at times, because it was Tourette’s syndrome), and performing in theatre, and developed generalized anxiety disorder — which didn’t fully manifest until I sort of grew out of the Tourette’s and into an adult.

So many things you’ve expressed here resonated deeply with me. The only difference is I still consider myself a Christian (but not one of *those* Christians; I feel I need to clarify that nowadays, for a number of reasons).

What that translates to is I’ve completely separated from organized religion. I only took a small handful of college courses in Biblical history, which forced us out of our comfort zones, and challenged us to consider everything in the Bible (and all the books excluded from the bible, as selected by the early male patriarchy), instead of looking at the Bible as the “infallible word of God.”

Amazing how a liberal arts degree can open one’s eyes. Even as an adult, raising 3 kids in the Southern Baptist Church (because I thought it was the “right” thing to do), and even working in the Southern Baptist Church, I knew something wasn’t quite right.

This hunch was completely realized when my husband and I had our unexpected third child — who was assigned male at birth but quickly began showing us we’d gotten that part wrong. The church wanted no part of that, and for us, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I think most “Christians” today do more damage than good. They’ve gotten it all wrong and have no idea. Thanks so much for writing this piece. I’m glad you survived and ultimately escaped the cult of predeterminers, as you called it. As for me, I’d say I escaped from a slightly different branch of Southern Baptist: the cult of judgment & conviction.

Dismantler of gender norms. Political news junkie. TikTok aficionado. Mom of 3. Work seen/heard @ HuffPost, Scary Mommy, NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast, etc.

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