I grew up in a “Christian church,” led by a “Christian pastor.”
He was up at 4 a.m. every day to study, absorb, and then preach a specific version of Christianity rooted in Calvinistic Christianity, Fundamentalism (the same strain of Fundamentalism in Handmaid’s Tale), and Puritanism.
(I just finished spending 2.5 years sharing my story in a new book that recently shot to #1 in new releases on Amazon, Woman Rising: A True Story.)
Back when I was writing the book, I spent a few weeks researching my father’s belief system for my fourth chapter, Roots.
I’d grown up in his house, a victim of his abuse-promoting belief system for 21 years of my life. I’m now 29.
As a teen, I was ordered to write research papers on it, and had even written content for the site he made me build for his church.
So, I knew quite a bit.
But it was all from a kid’s perspective. Sad to say mine was the POV of not just a kid, but a victim, too.
So, as an adult researching the belief system I’d grown up in was eye-opening. I correlated my research with the perspective of other survivors from my grandfather’s cult, who had escaped over a decade ago.
Before I was born, Dad had taken up most of the beliefs of the Puritans from the 1500s-1600s as part of his personal belief system, and the creed of his church.
Dad might as well have called himself a Puritan. He bought a floor-length black preacher gown and white collar and wore it to every sermon, stopped the celebration of all holidays, and believed his church should be run autonomously, without outside check-ins from Granddad’s seminary. He started calling his religion Independency, describing it as a non-denominational church. He believed in the Bible, but used and twisted its doctrines to push legalism and control over his church members and us, his family.
Dad took massive inspiration from the Puritans. And the more he studied them, the more abuse I became the victim of.
A big part of the Puritanical lifestyle and belief system was that husbands were the spiritual heads of households, while women should be domestically employed as well as…