E-mails from Fundies: Depression Diagnosed

I have been humbled and touched by the outpouring of positive responses I have received from my recent post about my struggle with depression.

On the other hand, I also received this from “Brian.”


You’re depressed? I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. You mock God and you wonder why? Actually, I am sure there are some IFB churches as you describe and other denominations messed up in other ways, as NO ONE person is perfect and ALL churches are made up of those imperfect people. So? I hear people like you talking about the “angry fundies” and all I can do is scratch my head. I’ve been saved since December 1985, and I have served in 6 different churches, and, although I am sure there are SOME “angry people” in those churches, as there are in all groups of people in society, I have found ALL of those churches to be the exact opposite of what you describe. In fact, these churches have contained some of the happiest, joyful and most well-rounded people I have ever met. Check out my current church’s website. http://www.heritagebaptistnashua.com/ Look around it and see if you detect any unhappiness, anger or unacceptance of people from any walk of life. You won’t find it. Like all the churches I’ve been in, it is a place of grace and love. I am sorry you’ve had bad experiences, perhaps in “churches” like the Westboro Baptists, but My almost 30 years experience has demonstrated, across the board, the exact opposite of what this site represents. It’s seems perhaps YOU are the one with the narrow-minded view and cannot see past your bias? Just remember, God is not mocked,and you are mocking His people. BTW, I’m not angry. LOL

Thanks, Brian! You’ve helped me remember why I continue to do what I do.

Forward we go.

219 thoughts on “E-mails from Fundies: Depression Diagnosed”

  1. Just crack open the OT, flip it to Job and read the story we all know too well…

    Job wouldn’t stop making fun of the Pharisees for their extra-Biblical rules and their holier-than-thou attitudes. So God killed Job’s whole family, so that Job would be depressed. This depression was God’s sign to Job that He was judging him for making fun of the Pharisees.

    We used to reenact this classic story every year in the school play.

  2. Fundies need to know that depression and anxiety don’t discriminate. Anxiety attacks are NOT FUN. I don’t think I would wish them on my worst enemy. Not counting my fundie enemies tho. I would wish severe heart pounding suffocating anxieties on them just so they can see how it feels to be made fun of for not being right with God. Or told that their praying isn’t good enough so pray more. Or bring out the laundry list of lame Fundies xtian excuses to blame the patient for a chemical imbalance.

    I do hate having get all these hard feelings. I should just forgive. But I cant. Not for a long time.

    On a brighter note Merry Early Christmas!

  3. When Brian isn’t busy leading the choir at Heritage Baptist, he enjoys spreading The Word in the community.

    This primarily involves him going to the cancer ward of the local hospital, to let all of the patients know that cancer is God’s judgement – and they need to repent. Sometimes, the kids in the kid’s cancer ward don’t understand what he’s trying to say, so he uses crayons or colored markers to draw them a picture of God judging them on the hospital’s white board.

    After Brian gets done in the cancer ward, he likes to swing by Trauma. Just to see if any new patients have come in from Iraq or Afghanistan. Brian considers it his patriotic duty, and the least he can do, to let soldiers injured in an IED attack why them not having legs anymore is God’s judgement.

    The last stop in Brian’s typical day is the nursing home. There, his captive audience gets regular information about what’s going on with their bodies, their health, and the reason for it. They don’t look up much, but every once in a while one does and he can see that something is getting through. That’s what it’s all about for Brian.

    Then home to the wife and do it all over again tomorrow.

  4. Years ago the police raided a church in southern New Hampshire. I forget what the reasons were or if it was ever found that a crime had been committed and a conviction made. I long ago forgot the name of the church and I wonder if this one is it or the successor to it.

    1. Mmm, well, New Hampshire is a small state, but there’s more than one church in southern New Hampshire, so it would be a pretty big leap to conclude that this is the same church.

  5. I knew the pastor who founded that church: the epitome of an angry fundy. He had worked for the church and school I attended, was trained and ordained there, and once came back to preach a horrifying chapel sermon. He asked if anyone did not want to be there; since he encouraged honesty, one of the guys in my class raised his hand. I’ll call this student Fred. The preacher told Fred to lie face down in the center aisle and proceeded to pretend to shoot Fred. Recalling this experience has me trembling. No one opposed the preacher.

    Years later my parents were at Nashua’s annual holiday stroll. The pastor of Heritage was handing out tracts, and when he extended one to my mom, she reminded him of their acquaintance. She mentioned the church she currently attended, and he told her she’d better take the tract.

    A couple years after that this MOG had an affair and is now out of the ministry. I hope Brian is correct that the church is a good one, but it does not have a good history.

    1. Often, churches with this kind of history cycle through their entire congregation every two to five years. Same MOG, same issues, but entirely new people every time you go back to visit.

    2. Oh, dear, I confused Heritage with another IFB church in Nashua. I am so sorry! Maybe Darrell could remove my comment, please.

  6. This letter sort of set my teeth on edge. How he is so brutally “honest” (from his perspective) and then at the end tried to lighten it somehow by saying he isn’t mad. Well of course not. Typical bully. But trying to hide behind the “I’m-only-telling-you-this-because-I-care” facade.
    Keep up tbe good work, Darrell. It is a ministry you know. This is like a hospital to some. Or maybe a rehab clinic.

    1. SFL is an open door, a listening ear, and an understanding shoulder to cry on for those thinking of making or on the exodus from fundyland.

      It’s proof that there are others out there in fundyland who are feeling and thinking things just like you. That sometimes behind the painted-on 24/7 smile is a breaking heart. That sometimes we experience altogether too much how the Man of gid is really just a man building his own kingdom.

      At the end of the day, that’s why fundyland Mogs like Brian keep attacking it and Darrell — in the hopes that they can shut it down.

      After all, they know that if they’ve stumbled upon it, they know that some of their congregation have found it too. And if they’ve seen some things that require them to think here, they know that some people in their congregation may begin to think and wake up.

  7. @Brian: Stop kicking people who are down. It doesn’t help.

    Also, since a debate with the ignorant is a battle with an unarmed opponent, here are some things you should study:

    1. How it is to wake up one morning with depression, the way one can wake up one morning with any other dread disease:
    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html
    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html
    (Warning: Contains cussing, women raising their voices, and people saying things that are true without trying to pretend that they are quoting Bible verses.)

    2. What it’s like to live with depression, a debilitating and potentially lethal disease, every day of your life:
    http://www.depressioncomix.com/page/36/
    Comic number 1 is at the bottom of the page. The archive currently holds 215 comics. (Warning: Contains cussing, descriptions of bad things that rain down on people whether they deserve them or not, frank discussion of how people enjoy love and sex without worrying about purity or standards, and people describing hard times without pretending that there are pat answers. Also, don’t try to preach in the comments because you will be schooled.)

    3. Your writing absolutely stinks. You can’t stick to a coherent argument or write a complete sentence. Most students understand when to capitalize before they leave the primary grades. Buy this and study it, please.
    http://www.amazon.com/Little-Brown-Handbook-12th-Edition/dp/0205213073

      1. PPS: On rereading, I withdraw my comment about your inability to write complete sentences. Your punctuation, on the other hand, needs a serious overhaul. Get the Little, Brown Handbook.

    1. Um, actually, I HAVE BEEN depressed, many times I have also had a special needs step-son and a house full of chaos that you probably could not even imagine. Stop judging and assuming that YOU know ANYTHING about me, because you know NOTHING.

      1. I’m sorry that you have had these struggles. It is not easy. It is especially not easy to have these problems in Fundystan, for people like to judge and assume without knowing the facts.

        For your own peace of mind, as it were, you might not want to disclose your bouts of depression due to a chaotic home and a stepson with special needs. Somewhere along the line some fundy somewhere will tell you it’s because you weren’t a good enough xian. That you were doing wrong things or not doing enough right things.

        Fundies tend to look at things as black/white. No nuances, no shades of gray, no humanity. They misinterpret things other people do because they are so busy following somebody’s rules about righteousness that aren’t following the holy book commands to love and to love sacrificially. Fundies don’t understand real issues like depression because it’s always a matter of sin, not a matter of life happening to humans.

        Maybe Darrell’s depressed because of things going in his life that you have no idea about. You flat out stated that you won’t read every blog post here because you’ve already got it figured out. Stop judging and assuming that you know anything about Darrell’s life because you know NOTHING about his life.

        I do wish you peace and enlightenment, Brian. From what you’ve said here I’m not your biggest fan but I wish no ill will toward you. Happy holidays.

  8. NASHUA BAPTIST TEMPLE…I hope he reads this. I am not positive but is Heritage Baptist Church formerly known as Nashua Baptist Temple?
    Pastor Frank Viens? I ministered there before he ran had the affair with his piano player. Sad, horrible, but I would say that was one of the angriest men and churches I have ever been around. Screaming, yelling the whole show. Even confronting homeless folks and dressing them down for not being in church. Pretty sure this is the same church with a new name. Either way I had roommates from the Nashua branch of the IFB and had ministered in most of the Nashua churches. The stories of abuse I heard and the anger I saw first hand was everywhere. May I suggest you sent this email not out of compassion but because this sight makes you angry!

    1. NO IT IS NOT, and I am familiar with the church you mention and a good friend of mine left it very troubled and is doing much better now.

  9. Because mocking jerk IFB pastors, schools, and parishioners is mocking God, Brian? Say again?

    Saying that every church you’ve been in has always been warm and friendly is like saying that your farts don’t stink like everyone else’s. You may be acclimated to the smell, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    1. What a sick comment. You’re right. I am lying. I made that up about the churches I’ve been. Are you serious? I’ve made no claims any church was perfect, and I even said there were extreme examples of some of what you mock on this site, but few and far between. I meant, as a whole, they were as I described.

      1. Who decides what is extreme? Unfortunately the line between “extreme” and “mainline” seems to be in constant motion, and sometimes becomes so fuzzy as to disappear altogether…

        1. The line drawn here seems to be between churches that allow certain persons to batten on everyone else…and churches that don’t.

      2. I don’t know how many people are regulars here who have experienced the pain that Fundystan inflicts, but there are many people here. Let’s say there are 300 people here, each with five churches and 20 years in the bubble. That would be 1,500 churches. Divide 1,500 by 50 (excluding in this proposition those from other countries and solely using the US). That amounts to on average 30 IFB churches per state. That’s not a huge number by any amount, but neither is it a case of bad religion found scattered about.

        Now, if you add in maybe 300 other people who used to be here but have died or no longer have interest in SFL musings, all with five churches each and 20 years in, you now have 60 churches per state.

        Let’s assume there are 3,000 other people who would be interested in this site because they’ve had the exact same experience, and they average out to the same number of churches and time in. We now have 3,600 people with this experience, and 18,000 churches.

        I realize some people have churches in common. Let’s say there’s a 30% overlap in churches, so we have only 12,600 unique churches. Divide 12,600 by 50 and now you have 252 per state. Not a huge number, but definitely not one to be ignored. These hell havens are not few and far between.

        Brian, it’s good that you personally haven’t found the intense pain of fundamentalism, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not out there or that we are making it up. It’s real. It’s there. It’s hell.

        1. Your numbers are, of course very low. There are lots of other websites. There are a right good many venues for people to voice their frustration.

          But if you go online, you can find church after church voicing hateful words on some topics. And if they voice them on some, they voice them on others. And someone gets hurt.

          It isn’t always the same thing. Different fundamentalists have different things they like to focus on. I have been in several churches. There is often an overlap, but each MoG has his “thing.”

          And even inside fundamentalist churches where people think they are in agreement, there is damage being done to the people in the church. Their attitudes toward others are warped. They resist learning new things. They don’t care to understand different positions. They are quick to judge and condemn. Fundamentalism keeps people by refusing to allow them to interact with other points of view. They promote a fortress mentality. Here is where you are safe. Don’t listen to them. “They” hate God, that’s all. Just believe.

          And so the church members go out and blithely impose their prejudices on others, not realizing the hurt they leave in their wake.

  10. I live near Nashua (I was in Nashua today actually) and have never heard of this place (thankfully). What’s up with all the pictures of the fire? Someone stood around and took pics while it burned?

    I wish dealing with depression was as easy as “trusting God more.” or whatever. praying more. having devotions. You’re doing a good thing here, Darrell. SFL has helped me deal with a lot of painful memories and know I’m not alone. Prayers for you to feel fine. Or at least closer to fine. 🙂

    1. It was a news event, and people took pictures. Since they were not members of the fire department, they couldn’t really do anything else except take pictures.

    2. Seriously? The firefighters were doing their job, while everyone else was out. It is common to document something like this when it happens. Does that seem strange to you?

    3. I’m well acquainted with depression and know it is not JUST about trusting God more. You should come visit our church, Sarah. I think your eyes would be opened, and, no doubt, you would be quite pleasantly surprised. Even though I have heard of churches like you speak of in this site, I have never experienced any.

      1. Brian, please quit the mantra that you haven’t experienced the kind of churches that the scores of SFL regulars have experienced. It’s dismissive and belittling, and takes away from whatever compassion you might genuinely be trying to show. We have experienced it. That you haven’t is wonderful. We have. We know. We bear the wounds and feel the scars. I hope you never do. Your disbelief doesn’t make it untrue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *