This post was originally written as an ‘About Me’ post in 2009.
I am an analyst residing in Sarasota, FL. I am single, never married, with no children.
My current aspirations are to land a decent job in Sarasota, and immediately start an ecommerce website following the business model of Gold Star Games, but selling entirely different products. Within 5 years of starting the site, I expect it will be large enough to work for myself exclusively. Luckily for me, one of my close friends is one of the owners of Gold Star Games, and he has taught me virtually everything he knows about running a successful estore, from Search Engine Optimization (ranking high on Google for products to get free, unadvertised sales), to telephone sales techniques and training sessions.
Purpose of the Blog
Once I am financially stable with the web site store, I plan on doing a lot of writing, including short stories, articles, a nonfiction book about growing up in a faith healing cult, and culminating in at least one fiction book to test my skills and the market for them. I expect that this blog will be a great place to practice said writing.
Background, Influences, and Views
Faith Healing Cult
I was born and raised in a faith healing cult from birth to age 15. Members of the cult, Faith Assembly (not affiliated with Faith Assembly of God), led by Hobart E. Freeman believed and practiced the following:
- No doctors, dentists or medical care (pray to God for healing)
- Belief that if no healing occurred, your faith was too weak (a sin)
- No television
- No holiday celebrations (not even Christmas or Easter)
- No involvement in school sports or clubs (“Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers”)
- Frequent exorcisms as a common cure all remedy (especially for the mentally ill)
- No voting in political elections
- Home schooling of children highly recommended, but not mandatory
- No dating from within the church, and especially not outside of it
- Minimization of contact with the outside world, including cutting off contact with ‘non-believing’ family and friends
I was “saved” or “born again” at age 3 and baptized. I was raised and brain washed by my parents and the church. I first felt the twinge of skepticism in third grade, when more than anything I wanted to play on the basketball team. But I was forbidden to play by my parents and the church. Even though II Corinthians 6:14 said, “Be ye not unequally yoked to unbelievers,” I felt discomfort because I wanted to play on the basketball team, further discomfort for my “sin” of desiring to disobey my parents in that regard, but most importantly, a very vague logical discomfort that something did not add up rationally.
The skepticism grew as I grew physically and mentally, and probably peaked some time around age 14, when I became an all-out rebel. During this time period, although my parents did not vote in political elections, I was raised with very typical conservative Republican political values, which I wholeheartedly embraced.
Educationally, I excelled with little effort at public schools. I am very grateful that I was one of the lucky children in the cult that was allowed to attend public schools, and I received a top notch public school education. Socially, I was somewhat of an outcast, as contact any contact with kids at school that did not take place at school was strictly forbidden.
Three Year Hate
At age 17 my parents left the church and started to normalize their life a bit. In the five years that followed, I entered what I will refer to as the Three Year Hate, where I rejected my parents views, and all I had been taught. In this stage, I believed that what I had been programmed to believe was probably correct, and I felt the corresponding guilt for my sins, but the built up hatred I had for the whole world won the day.
Curiously, I retained my wholehearted conservative Republican political views, and proudly voted for Bob Dole in my first presidential election in 1996, at the age of 21.
Although I had a lot of general upbringing reasons to naturally hate, one of the key specific drivers of the Three Year Hate was my belief that had I been allowed to play basketball from third grade upwards, I would have developed the skills to play for a small college, given my athletic ability, vertical jump, intelligence, and my competitive nature. Whether this belief held any merit is debatable, but that was my strong view at at the time, and it intensified my anger.
The Three Year Hate included a few of my college years, during which I was quite immature for my age. After being accepted to the Indiana University Honors Program without even applying, I earned a 0.98 GPA my first semester, but I did get to play pickup basketball in the HPER gym about 4 hours a day. Initally after that semester, I wanted to quit school, but my parents convinced me to continue at IUPUI (IU’s Indianapolis capus), and get the grades up.
I did get my grades up at IUPUI, then returned to Indiana’s Bloomington campus where I aggressively cut class, avoided studying, and finally finished again at IUPUI with a double major in Finance and Accounting and a minor in Economics. My overall effort in college was about a 3 out of 10, and I was very lucky to end up with a 2.9 GPA.
During college, the hate started to wear off a bit, and I entered the Intellectually Curious stage. I started to mingle with intellectual friends, and we had great conversations exploring religion, beliefs, how the world worked, what was wrong with it, and what was right.
During the Three Year Hate, I rejected virtually all that I was taught growing up, so in many ways, I was starting the Intellectually Curious stage with a clean slate. The slate was not clean with authority figures, and I had a tendency to forgo respect for authority figures until they proved that they deserved it.
(more perhaps coming if I muster up the energy and focus)
Guiltless Aetheist – Freedom from Condemnation
Max Blumenthal’s Republican Gomorrah
1/1/2010 update here: http://innertubes.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/update-to-goals-etc/