Three year anniversary: #WhyILeft Fundamentalism

Three years ago yesterday, I left my parents’ house.

They’d delivered an ultimatum: transfer from UCCS to Bob Jones University or move out.

I chose freedom.

Last year, a boyfriend told me, “That’s one thing I love about you. You’re incredibly American, in the most fundamental way. You’d rather be free than comfortable.”

Which is ironic, because when I first told my friend Kat how my parents were restricting me with a 7:30 p.m. curfew at 22 years old, she said I should write a formal declaration of independence from my parents and leave it the day I moved out.

When I left on the afternoon of August 1, 2012, I left behind my family, my dogs, and my antique violin.

And I already knew I wanted to find a new church.

My pastor had said I was disobeying God’s will for my life by moving out as an unmarried young woman. He said it was wrong for me to leave because I was still under my parents’ authority if I wasn’t currently experiencing physical or sexual abuse.

And he said that God had clearly provided another option for me, a way to both obey my parents and gain independence. Even though Bob Jones University wasn’t accredited. And an insane number of rules.

(Side note: He was a Bob Jones University alum and all of his kids now attend there.)

He said, “If you are going to be obstinate and let Satan confuse you from following God’s will for your life, then I have nothing more to say to you.”

And he walked out.

I’d been going there since my family moved to Colorado Springs in 2006. No pastor had ever condemned me in the four other churches we’d been part of before.

And I’ve written about how I’m still figuring that out, feeling like a spiritual hobo.

I didn’t know there were websites about spiritual abuse like Recovering Grace or the Spiritual Abuse Survivors Blog Network or

I never thought one day I’d organize a protest at my old church or help others like me escape. Or that the Texas Observer would interview me about my story.

So I made a vlog to mark how much has changed, how much I’ve changed.  Some of you guys may not know I also have a YouTube channel (, with videos of social experiments and other random projects.

Here’s all the links to my series on #WhyILeft fundamentalism, the story of why I moved out.

#WhyILeft Fundamentalism, Part 1

#WhyILeft Fundamentalism, Part 2

#WhyILeft Fundamentalism, Part 3

#WhyILeft Fundamentalism, Part 4

Why do you say you left fundamentalism?

Why my parents aren’t villains

5 thoughts on “Three year anniversary: #WhyILeft Fundamentalism

  1. Eleanor….It still makes my blood boil to hear how you were counseled. I am so very glad you decided to follow God direction for your life..yes…yes…adult single women can leave their parents home and establish their own…no longer a child who needs to be OBEDIENT to parents. You have survived and thrived. You found out you were strong enough and smart enough and so very capable. I know this has been hard and there is healing and new things to learn. You did it. I do pray for you as the Lord places you on my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You did the right thing. In my honest opinion, Jesus himself would have trouble living and attending school at Bob Jones University, which I see more as being a religious concentration camp than a college. Never go there. There are far better and more loving religious colleges than that and there is nothing wrong with a good state university either.

    The pastor at you most recent church sounds like a fundie nutjob to be. If you are 22 years old, it was time to leave the nest. It sounds like your pastor thinks he is a first century Jew rather than a 21st century American. I would ignore both him and your parents—and follow your heart. However,I hope you will give Jesus a chance still. It has been my experience that those who leave Christian fundamentalism have a hard time shaking it and that memories of it color everything they do—even after they have left.

    The thing I hope you will understand is that the Jesus you met in those churches while you were growing up WAS NOT the real Jesus. It was a false, plastic, K-Mart Jesus created by the twisted fundie religious mindset. The real Jesus is different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the real Jesus really is different. 🙂

      I want to keep being a Christian, I’m mostly just trying to figure out how. Without it being unhealthy / harmful for me.

      Thank you for reading. ❤


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