Tag Archives: Lutheran Church
Part 2 – The Hate Story (1 of 2)
Another interesting time in my life in regard to religion was when my mother remarried a former Lutheran pastor. (I was about 12) Larry had quite the colorful past. He was a theater design teacher, a fund raiser for not-for-profits and a former pastor – I’m not sure of what order all that occurred. I do know that he married young, had 4 kids and then decided to run off with one of his students and then ultimately divorced her. He met my mother while working at a Lutheran adoption organization. Wow, now that I’m an adult – this is all pretty sketchy!!!
His past history of a pastor ramped up our church attendance level as a family. We moved from Colorado to Wisconsin. A year later we moved to Minnesota. Larry was trying to find himself – again. He went back to school to learn about television production and was working on getting a job in that field, which never panned out… Years later, he went back to preaching, which ended the marriage to my mother as he not only found God again, but also found his secretary to be more to his liking.
During this time, I went through the confirmation process at the Lutheran church we were attending in Minnesota. Our youth minister, Pastor Peter, was in his mid thirties, married with two adorable kids, very personable and yet kind of a nerd. He was a real pied piper with the youth of the Church as we followed him around as he introduced us to an assortment of church activities, including Clowning for Christ – which was a ton of fun, we would act out parables as clowns for Sunday morning services. He also organized a bus trip to the Lutheran Youth Convention in San Antonio, Texas. We had such a great time!
Well, long story short it turns out he molested several girls from my confirmation class. I didn’t know it at the time, but in retrospect he made a few moves on me. I remember he would give me a big hug and his hand would reach just far enough around to feel the sides of my breasts, so disturbing! He once took me into the basement to have a “talk” with me – things got real creepy when he turned off the lights. He told me he wanted his daughter to grow up to be just like me. Then he asked me if I was dating anyone. I couldn’t stand it. I told him I had to leave – thank God he didn’t try to stop me.
Ironically, when our youth group was in San Antonio, Texas at the Lutheran Youth Convention, Peter had gotten an extra hotel room for us to have our group meetings. When my friends and I were out walking around the beautiful Riverwalk we wondering where one of the girls was. I said, “She must be up in the extra room with Peter, having sex.” That got a huge laugh – well guess what – they were having sex. This is an example of “knowing the truth”, of listening to your intuition, but joking about it because it is just too unbelievable. My heart breaks for the young girls at my church who were vulnerable, who were having problems with their parents or boyfriends as they ultimately succumbed to Peter’s hideous behavior. It wasn’t there fault! He was the adult, the minister, and the married husband with two kids! What a bastard!!!
My mother called me my freshman year at college to tell me the news. I remember being in complete denial. How could the man who taught me the Ten Commandments, the morals and ethics of the church also be doing such hideous things to my friends? Initially, I defended him. It just shows you how deeply you can become attached to people in authority and not even believe the truth. He had admitted it and I still had a hard time believing that he did this. Peter was removed as a youth minister, put into counseling and re-located to a different position in a new church. What a great way for the church to handle things. In fact that is how Pastor Peter, ended up at our church. He had molested girls at the prior church and instead of turning him into the authorities, they moved him to our church so he could prey on more young girls. How disgraceful. Gotta love organized religion!
Part 1 – The Love Story (1 of 2)
Religion is one of those topics that you aren’t supposed to bring up at the dinner table. I myself have had a love-hate relationship with religion throughout my life. As a baby I was baptized in the Lutheran Church on Christmas day in 1966. In my early years, we attended church quite regularly. One occasion that stands out in my mind occurred when I was about six years old. I attended a Sunday school event with my friend, Margaret, at her Baptist church. Margaret had long dark brown hair with bangs cut straight across her forehead and was one of my best friends in first grade. I remember being invited to attend with her by her parents and that it was a lot of fun – almost a carnival type atmosphere. The speaker, most likely the minister, told us that if we ever had any problems all we had to do was pray to God and he would be there to help us. Fortunately for me, this advice came in handy just a few weeks later.
My mom dropped me off at a YMCA day camp. While I was there one of the teenage boy camp counselors thought it would be fun to bounce a rubber ball, like a dodge ball, off the top of my head. He did this over, and over and over and I did not like it! I became very afraid of him, and went running into the YMCA building. He chased after me as I made a dash into the ladies locker room. I thought he was going to continue to follow me, so I did what any reasonable person would do and jumped into a locker and closed the door behind me. Originally I thought this was a fabulous hiding place, but soon realized that I couldn’t get out! I started to panic and then began kicking the door as best I could with my right foot. Eventually, I was able to push my foot out between the door and the side of the locker. Unfortunately however, the door at the top of the frame would not release – I was in a near panic. Then I recalled the magical words, which were told to us by the Baptist minister, “Whenever you are in trouble, pray to God and he will help you.” So I stopped screaming and crying, bowed my head, put my hands into a prayer position and asked God to, “please help me.” In that moment of calm I looked down and noticed a metal rod positioned at the bottom of the locker. I gently reached down with my left finger, and push the rod up. The door burst open. I was free. At that moment, I believed in God.
That was quite an event for six-year-old child. It made me a true believer out of me, and I started reading the Bible every night, as I was preparing to go to sleep, I would flip through my Bible and place my finger on a random Bible verse. I was convinced that every verse I read had true meaning for me for that day. Sometimes I wondered what it meant when my finger landed on the verses that referred to a whole litany of people begetting one another. I didn’t quite know how this related to my day, but somehow I always manage to make sense of it – or I would just randomly choose a new verse – I figured my finger just landed in the wrong spot…
A few years later my parents divorced. We stopped going to church altogether. My father turned his back on God – he was raised in a conservative Methodist family and decided he had had enough of religion – and has never looked back. I however, kept asking my mom to take me to church. I was 10 years old, and would be dropped off at the local community Church to sit in the Sunday service and go to Sunday school. I went as often as my mother would take me.