Leaving my childhood religion

By (name withheld by editor)

I am a teenage "Christadelphian", at least to those around me. I have been struggling with faith ever since I was a child, and yet it is only recently that I have found the courage to try and break free from the constrictive hold of my childhood religion.

I have been ignoring the signs for years, desperately trying to find some peace as a Christadelphian, but I've finally accepted that I can't. Now the only thing I'm struggling with is fear, fear of the unknown, fear that I'm wrong and succumbing to my "fleshly way of thinking". I'm also afraid of losing my family, and friends, of being shunned by the society I have grown to depend on. I'm emailing you because I don't have many people to go to, and I know you've been through what I am currently going through. Any advice from you would be wonderful. Thanks.


  1. You may lose your family, almost certainly your friends inside the religion. Personally I left in my early 20s. I had not actually got baptised so did not get too much pressure, however family were terribly upset when I got baptised in mainstream Christainity (it being astray and all that). Thirty years later and I still have my family. Unshackeling myself from the upbringing was hard, for a long time I felt a twinge of guilt when voting for example, democracy being evil and all that. In his booklet on why the religion is not a cult Ashton says any member is free to leave at any time! The biggest herecy they teach is is that you have to be right, get over that and be free.

  2. Agreed with Anonymous: The correct answer is you *may* lose your family, not you *will* lose your family. It is also possible to hold onto some friends, though it is naturally much harder when not having regularly organised meetings where you see them and hear what's going on. Even if you keep relationships, they will almost certainly change in various ways.

    Much of that depends on your particular circumstances, and some of it unfortunately you will only really know after taking the plunge. Some of it will be in your hands, how you choose to relate to others. And some of it won't. As a generalisation, almost everyone was really nice to me, but I'm certainly aware that isn't true in all cases.

    What I would say is that I let fear control me for far too long, and it wasn't healthy: living in limbo-land is difficult and exhausting in its own right. And like you, I found that no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find a way back. You sound like you are at the point where it has become too painful to stay. That doesn't make it easy to go, and I might not be the best source of wisdom around, but my experience was that the process was not as hard as I expected and I am very glad that I (finally) took the plunge.

    If John sees fit he is welcome to pass on contact details for this pseudonym to you.

    1. Yep. Artfully disguised as a younger person.

    2. What a Load of Garbage, I don't think you or anyone else for that matter could say that his family and friends will turn their back on him. I have seen people leave and this has noto happened to them.In fact the opposite is true....people like to check in and make sure others are ok. I really don't know which Ecclesia you belonged to John Bedson but they sound very Archaic and way way over the top. I for one have never had any of things you speak of when you were in the Truth. Either I am lucky or you speak from a place of Bitterness.

    3. Anonymous January 29th,
      It is not a "load of garbage", it was a timely warning that shunning can happen. I can tell you as fact that Cd`s have been known to completely ignore ex-Cd`s on meeting in the street, even though they were close friends when both in fellowship, sharing happy times both in and out of the ecclesia. That says a lot about the depth of indoctrination that is buried in some Cd`s brains. You, I think, should sit down and very carefully excavate the mire of what you are into.

  3. I was in exactly the same position as you when I was a teenager. I had been through the usual Sunday school and youth circle/youth day process, but had decided from a fairly early age that it was all nonsense. I found the meetings unspeakably boring and irrelevant and avoided them wherever possible. I wasn't pressured into getting baptized, apart from the odd pointed comment, but that was probably because I showed no interest in it at all. Fortunately I had a good set of friends outside the meeting, so as I drifted away from my peers as they got baptized it wasn't much of a loss at all. In fact it was a relief to escape their baffling naivety!
    My immediate family were thankfully accepting of the fact that I had no interest, and I still have a good relationship with them all regardless. I occasionally bump into my Sunday school peers and have a bit of fun firmly deflecting any suggestion that I should " read my Bible" or other such ingrained banalities that they are programmed to parrot. They just love being confronted with reason and logic! (Not)
    I now live a good and satisfying life, have a good relationship with family and friends and don't have to waste every Sunday being bored to death listening to half baked lectures and pseudo science talks. There is life outside the walls of the meeting room, you just have to take control and go and grab it.

  4. Name witheld by editorFebruary 1, 2017 at 1:29 AM

    Thank you for taking the time to read my email. The responses helped to encourage me a lot.

  5. I've read a lot of stories by many different exiters from all over the world. The intellectual, spiritual, emotional damage many experience is to be expected unfortunately. In my experience there are some fairly intelligent and liberal individuals inside the Christadelphian faith, as with many other organizations there are some very conservative literal individuals as well. The claims of child abuse or severe punishment are not just in the Christadelphian circle they are in all facets of society everywhere, Christadelphians are a cross section of individuals in society. I am not defending them, I left in my late teens floated around the outskirts till my late 20's. I have no contact with any of them including those with my name. It has been life adventure, always remember God doesn't want another human to control you, the only God you need is one of your understanding a relationship with God doesn't require organized religion either does the study of Theology. Don't be a week sheep.

  6. Citrus Farmer, there may well be intelligent and and liberal individuals inside the Christadelphian faith, but for some reason, they do not rise to the surface and deal with their own members of low intelligence, illiberality, and those of an abusive nature. They tend to sit back and pretend such things only exist in other faiths or in "the world".
    In no way are Christadelphians a cross section of individuals withing society.For the most part, they seek to remove themselves from that society.
    Here in the UK, the National Secular Society has been forced to complain about The Christadelphians to the Charities commission:


    Shortcut to their report:


    My own take on this is that Christadelphians generally believe that they can do whatever they like, preach whatever they like, but ignore what society wants. The only reason they are charities is to financially benefit from the tax breaks afforded to (genuine) charities.

    Editors: Perhaps this report could be posted as a separate article. Some members here (Peter Forster in particular) have raised some of these issues with the authorities before.

  7. One of the interesting things in the report is the example used by the Christadelphians that a child showing interest in electrical wall outlets, should first be shouted at, and then physically punished. The UK has the safest wall socket outlets in the world, and it is physically impossible for a toddler to override the built in protection. It is an example of the popular "teaching" method of primitive religion: Apply a religious idea, rather than look at the issue using your own intelligence, education and trust in other peoples abilities. The method described is how one might cruelly train an animal.
    At this site the design of the UK socket is described:


    Here is a quote from the site:

    "The British 13 Amp plug and socket is considered the safest in the world. It is one of the results of UK government planning in the 1940s to improve building standards. The committee entrusted with improving electrical installations included just one woman, but that woman had an enormous impact! Her name was Caroline Haslett, she was an electrical engineer, a pioneer in the use of electricity to benefit women by liberating them from household drudgery, and an expert on safety in the home. She believed that a new, more convenient and safer plug and socket was needed. As a result, the first requirement in the committee's recommendations was that it should protect young children from being able to touch live parts by means of shutters, or the inherent design of the socket. The resulting design, still in use today, actually does both. A baby's finger is not small enough to go into the socket holes far enough to reach the live parts, but to make sure there are insulated shutters on the inside of the holes which prevent anything but a plug being inserted. These shutters close automatically as soon as the plug is pulled out"

    Given some of the other criticisms in the report, the irony here could not be more obvious.
    Sorry if this seems "off topic"!

  8. Joseph, I agree that it sounds worthy of a separate article published linking to it. I thought you had permissions to upload here?

    If not, I'm happy to do it, but would prefer to have read it first, and don't think I'll get to that immediately. My first impression is that it is a UK-specific issue - I always used to find it weird here in Australia hearing about donations to ecclesias in the UK getting tax deductions. That said, it seems "advancement of religion" is a valid charitable purpose here in Australia too, which doesn't impress me.

    1. It's a good read. It is a UK specific thing, but not sure why that would be relevant on this site?
      The important thing is that Christadelphians have got some of the attention that they crave, but for the wrong reasons. The report is not about the in's and out's of tax relief for religious groups but rather that the groups singled out are effectively promoting hate. They could fix this by deleting the links.
      Dozens of UK Ecclesias are registered as charities, and if you read thriugh the lists of them, increasingly they describe themselves as "Christadelphian Churches"-presumably to stay under the radar.
      Christadelphians, like other religions, hate society in general and want nothing to do with it, but will always put that on hold if free money is up for grabs.


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