Five Years Ago


When SFL started half a decade ago…

…Nobody yelled “first.” In fact nobody yelled much of anything.

…20/20 hadn’t put IFB abuses on the national radar.

…The “Polished Shaft” video hadn’t yet been recorded.

…Jack Schaap was still a free man. So was Ernie Willis.

…BJU wasn’t nationally accredited. Neither was PCC.

…In fact the most recent graduates of Fundy U were still in high school.

…7.7 million pages had yet to be loaded.

…Most fundies still thought Facebook was evil. Twitter wasn’t even on their radar.

…Barack Obama had just been elected President.

…None of us had yet met “George.”

…The IBBERR had zero entries. Old Paths University had issued zero doctorates.

…I had half as many children and still knew what “free time” was.

…Many readers here still self-identified fundamentalists (or at least still going to a fundy church).

What do you hope to see change over the next 5 years?

154 thoughts on “Five Years Ago”

      1. I had them… But, it seems I misplaced them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Five years ago, I was still justifying Fundyland. Now, I know what they are, and know I never ever want to be part of that sad, needless world again.

    1. How about Standardised Bonehead Reply Forms (or better yet, permanent bans) for the idiots who are stupid enough to yell “first” like a two-year-old?

      1. It’s a joke. I initially thought it was dumb, but as I lurked and got to know the blog and its posters better, I lightened up. If you don’t like our sense of humor, you can either not read the “first” or you can move along to more intellectually pleasing pursuits. Staying here and complaining about it is like going to McDonald’s and getting upset about the wine list.

        1. “Staying here and complaining about it is like going to McDonaldโ€™s and getting upset about the wine list.”

          That is clever and funny, semp.

          How about this: It’s like going Bloomingdale’s and complaining because they don’t stock your Wal-Mart Women’s ZITI brand shoes.

  1. I’d love to see more IBBEER entries..those are great. I hope that many IFBers realize the damages done by the IFB system and find the courage to’s scary to leave for some people! I hope that my own family leaves fundamentalism. I am the only one so far.

  2. Oh my, so much has changed in my life in the past 5 years, I lost my fundamentalist beliefs (Southern Baptist, but still fundamentalist none the less), bought a house of my own, and moved out of the home of my abusive family.

    Life is so much better now, especially that I have found such a community of loving fellow ex-fundamentalists online, and been able to unload a lot of things that were wearing on my mind through my blog.

    Happy birthday SFL! Keep up the good work, Darrell!

  3. This site has been a real help to me. I don’t agree with everthing that is said; but who does? Thanks for challenging my ideas and causing me to actually study why I believe what I believe.

  4. Happy birthday, SFL! (Mine was 4 days ago, in case anyone was wondering. I know you were! ๐Ÿ˜› )

    In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m deeply grateful to have found SFL. The posts remind me why I left fundamentalism, give me a feeling of solidarity with other former Fundies, and show me areas where I need to seek justice for victims of the movement.

    As for the question of where I’d like to be in 5 years, well, specifically, I’d like to be enrolled in seminary. The more general answer is that I’d like to have grown in showing God’s astounding grace, mercy, and love to everyone around me.

  5. Happy Birthday. I stumbled across this blog by accident and have never left. Its been great fun and even better is seeing people break free from the shackles and chains that were wrapped around them. I want this site to st
    ay around because of the friends I have made but on the other hand I wish for a day when it will no longer be needed.

  6. I know most of us are truly thankful for the therapy SFL has afforded us over the past five years. As a suggestion (and I promise you Darrell did not tell me to say this!) you might want to “buy Darrell a cup of coffee” by clicking on the icon below. Although he doesn’t complain very often, I know his family has a lot of ongoing medical expenses. Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Five years ago, I was still self-identifying as a fundamentalist, although we always tried to be balanced. I didn’t listen to Christian radio stations (too rocky), and I happily suggested BJU as a choice for young people for college. We were comfortable.

    Today? I feel like Neo in the Matrix. My eyes are opened in many ways, but life is colder and harder and lonelier. I’m still hoping for better days to come.

    1. (Hugs) Thanks for being such a great example of iron truly sharpening iron (instead if inflicting blunt force trauma.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I think as pilgrims in this world, we live in the tension of the brokenness that is and the comfort & unity that can be. This contributes to the feelings of loneliness.

      1. Yes, a big shout out to PW who gave me encouragement when I needed it…
        I always love to read her comments
        (and Scorpio,and RobM and Bassenco and many more)

  8. Happy birthday!

    I found you while trying to find out if anyone else had been to fundy u and suffered what they considered to be abuses. Little did I realize …

    My dearest hope is that my father decides that a relationship with his grandchildren is important and that he tries to get to know them before they no longer want to know him.

  9. I’m a long time lurker, but wanted to say happy birthday SFL! I’ve been reading for about a year (yeah, looong time lurker) and finding you started my journey out of fundyland. Thank you all for sharing your stories; they have helped more than you know. 5 years ago I was the fundiest of fundies, and now I’m… Free. Enjoying life and experiencing God’s grace in a wonderful way. Turns out Christ’s burden really IS light, once you strip away all the “higher standard” extras.

    1. Dear Showy Knees:

      Thank you so much for speaking! It is an amazing thing when people in fundamentalism experience the liberating grace of God in Jesus Christ!

      Christian Socialist

  10. I have found this site to be great therapy. I grew up in Northern Ireland, and all branches of the Protestant Evangelical Subculture have aspects to them that parrallel IFB Fundamentalism. The site has helped me get my head around a lot of stuff which I absorbed by osmosis growing up, and which actually damaged me as a Christian, and helped me start to seperate it from the really good stuff that was part of my upbringing. I’m still a Work in Progress

    Thank you Darrell, and God Bless you!

    1. george is much like “Harvey” only he’s not a 6’3 1/2″ White Rabbit.
      He is a keyboard pooka that delights in inciting spelling and grammar mistakes along with misplaced or half typewritten replies. He is my constant companion but he has fallen in love with the folks here on SFL and likes to share his talents with everyone.

      george also has a day job as a Rectalcranialectomy specialist. He has perfected the PBVLRCR procedure. (That’s Preacher Boy Vapor Lock Rectal Cranial Release) He has a patent pending on his own line if Preparation KYH Hair Gel products for IFB folks who are really into their pastors.

  11. I lurked for a good long while before commenting, so I feel I know y’all much better than y’all feel you know me. I appreciate everyone putting up with my weird sense of humor and general uncouthness.

    Darrell, thanks for this site. It is a good work you’re doing here, and I hope the next 5 yrs. will bring everyone here a little more peace of mind; and for you, Darrell, a windfall of paying sponsors. May it ever be!

  12. I found SFL while trying to better understand my husbands upbringing. I wanted so much to make sense of the stories he told me. Little did I know that they would NEVER make sense and sadly others had lived similar lives.

    I’m grateful for the friends I’ve made both online and in real life. I wasn’t sure what I would find when I first started reading here nearly 4 years ago, but I’m glad I did.

  13. Congratulations on five years of boffo blogs (as “Variety” might put it).

    Five years from now …
    SFL stock will outpace Google in the NASDAQ index.
    At least one of Darrell’s daughters will run a blog for Recovering Children of Former Fundamentalists (RCFFs).
    There will be a lavish Stuff Fundies Like museum/think tank/hotel on Florida’s Gold Coast.
    Don will direct a deprogramming center in Arizona for survivors of fundamentalism.
    Natalie will be Phil Kidd’s hairstylist.
    I Am His Beloved will be President of Iceland.
    The movie version of Deacon’s Son’s memoir will break all boxoffice records.
    The Oxford English Dictionary will name “Honolulu! I wanna go there!” as the phrase of the year.
    Seen Enough will be in People Magazine’s list of the “World’s Sexiest Women.”
    Darrell will have his own cable TV show, which will air in between “Ice Road Truckers” and “Storage Wars.” It goes without saying that the first guest will be this guy, showing how to polish a shaft:

    1. To the Esteemed Big Gary:

      Sir, please forgive my stealing your idea and adding my own prognostications.

      Disclaimer– I actually feel a little guilty about making some of these forecasts (kind of like laughing at “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”), and none of these predictions come with a guarantee, either of actually happening or of actually being funny.

      Five years from now…

      Regarding Darrell & SFL

      *Between his stock in SFL and his cable television program, Darrell will have become immensely wealthy. He will use revenue generated from his most recent venture (an on-line dating service for former fundies) to buy coffee.
      *SFL will launch a Spanish Language edition. It will be successful but will never quite achieve the popularity of the English language version, mainly due to a lack of controversy concerning el Rey Santiago viejo.

      Inside of Fundamentalism

      *While blogging, “Pastor Ryan” will suddenly look up and literally slap himself when he realizes that mocking pompous buffoons is not the same thing as mocking those sins committed by said pompous buffoons.
      *The president and vice-president of HAC will come to the conclusion that the current statue of Mr. Jack Hyles is insufficiently magnificent, and will request funds for a statue of more appropriate size: recommended height– 60 cubits.
      *A new on-line game (Age of Ecclesiastical Empire) will be the rage among male fundamentalists. Players will compete to win “Faith Promise Giving” and “Widows’ Love Offerings” with which they will earn points and advance levels by purchasing large tracts of land on which to build extravagant church facilities. Bonus points will be given for building a Bible College. Points will be taken away if the Bible College actually becomes accredited or if the funds are spent on anything that smacks of “the social gospel.”

      Among SFL Folks

      *Seymour Fundiz will wake up early one morning, feel an inexplicable urge to log onto the computer, and will find himself alone on SFL. He will then furtively type “F I R S T” after which he will be more tolerant of the harmless fun enjoyed by other people.
      *Pastor’s Wife will write an inspirational/motivational book which will climb to the top of the New York Times best seller list. She will then be offered and accept her own daytime television show.
      *BigRedOne will be serving as Secretary of Defense in the “Stony” administration.
      *A guest appearance on Law & Order SVU will propel Bald Jones Grad to fame. Tee shirts bearing his menacing visage along with the phrase, “Feel like setting me straight, Punk?” will become wildy popular among college students.
      *Nico will be performing professional comedy with Jeff Foxworthy. His fans’ favorite routine will simply be referred to as, “Warty Toes.”

  14. 5 years ago I had already successfully escaped. I just didn’t know how to articulate what I had left and why it was so wrong. By having discovered SFL (and Jeri’s site), I have the intellectual foundation to explain what my heart already knew. And…I’ve enjoyed some great laughs along the way. Thank you Darrell.

  15. Five years ago I had all the answers and was thankful that God had allowed me to grow up in a church that knew the truth. Now I’m mentally checked out, physically still in, and blacks and whites grow grayer by the day. I’m grateful to Darrell and (almost! ๐Ÿ˜€ ) everyone who commented who made me realize that it was okay to question.

    Five years from now, I hope to be completely out and have a relationship with one of my siblings who I know my family has lost because of Fundamentalism. I also wouldn’t mind having just a dash of the grace and love that Pastor’s Wife possesses.

    Happy birthday to SFL! And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

  16. A funny side-effect of this site is that I feel so much less anger and bitterness towards my fundy ex-husband. That may seem counter-intuitive, but I’m much more likely to see him as an inevitable product of his environment and not just a controlling asshole.

    1. Dear Stony:

      I’ve believed all along that there is a therapeutic aspect to this forum. Glad Darrell’s website helps!

      Christian Socialist

      PS: On the control thing: some of them are totally uncontrolled. I wonder which is worse …

  17. Happy Birthday, SFL! Nice work, Darrell! It’s been fun to see people talk and laugh and heal over the past few years. I’d be very happy to see more of the same for the future.

        1. I’m guessing PresbyGirl can make it from whatever she actually has on the cart! She’s very good at that kind of thing.

        1. I don’t know. Do you have a YouTube filter? Or maybe your computer has a good taste filter.

  18. “A quarter score (that’s five years) ago Darrel brought forth a new blog conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that the IFB has harmed multitudes with their doctrines of legalism, separatism, extra biblical standards, abuse and coverup of the same.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil debate. . .testing whether that denomination, or any denomination so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great blog of that debate.

    We have come to dedicate a portion of the internet as a resting place for those who have given much of their lives that that denomination might have a place to recover and learn to live with others who have similar experiences. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this site. The brave men and women, living and dead, who struggled to overcome the excesses and abuse of the IFB movement have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what Lord has allowed to take place here. It is for us, the SFLers, to be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who fought against the excesses have thus far so nobly advanced.

    It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored stories of courage and victory we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave up the last full measure of kool-aid. . . that we here highly resolve that these refugees shall not have escaped in vain. . . that this denomination, under M-O-gs, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that tyranny of the sheeplepeople. . .by the M-O-g. . .for their power and position. . . shall soon perish from the earth. “

  19. 5 years ago, my son was still in the fundy pre-school at the uber-fundy FBC/HAC wanna church we were struggling to fit into, and I was getting brow beat over the fact that I gave birth to my daughter on a Thursday and was not in my place in Sunday School 3 days later…(for real, one of the deacon’s wives called us between SS and morning service to find out why we weren’t all there). Today, I’m cooking yummy yummy food for tomorrow, trying to actually be really happy and not fake happy with my still-fundy parents here visiting for the holiday. I honestly feel that this is the first Thanksgiving in my 37 years of life that I am truly THANKFUL for everything and everyone in my life. I can’t wait to show real love and compassion to those around me…minus all the judgy passive agressive nonsense. Thank you Darrell for all you do…this blog IS therapuetic. I found SFL the day the shaft polishing preacher was kicked out for what he did. It shocked and rocked my world. In a good way. I’ve never looked back since. All of y’all have made me laugh, cry, cuss and question everything I’ve ever known. I’m a MUCH better person for it. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Love y’all!

  20. Here is my wish list for the next 5 years:
    1. ABWE will allow GRACE to release the report regarding their investigation into the abuse that occurred against MKs. They will choose to care about the victims.
    2. BJU will allow GRACE to complete a REAL review of the abuse that has been covered for decades. Those abuse cases will be addressed with the abusers prosecuted. BJU and their churches, schools and missions will no longer condemn abuse victims.
    3. IFB churches will have some kind of accountability for protecting sexual perpetrators.
    4. The IFB as well as other denominations will come to understand that licensed counseling is not EVIL, but nouthetic counseling can be and often is, harmful.
    5. Churches will no longer be the safe havens they are today for perpetrators who come seeking victims.
    6. The IFB group homes that are so infamous for their abuse of children will be closed and the children who have been harmed will get the help they need to recover.

  21. Happy Birthday SFL!

    My hope is that so much exposure to the ills of fundaMENTALism will shake the IFB to it’s core and hopefully crumble within the next 5 years.

    I do believe the movement is dying. Thankfully in large part to social media which makes shushing people much more difficult.

    Thank you Darrell for all you’ve contributed.

  22. Darrell,

    Within 5 years I hope you write a traditional, buy-it-at-the-bookstore book with your various observations. With your concise but witty writing style and the mounds of material that fundystan unwittingly provides, it is a guaranteed Best Seller. Move over Joel Osteen, Max Lucado, Deepak Chopra, etc, SFL – The Book is coming.

  23. Five years ago I was firmly entrenched in fundamentalism enjoying the kool-aid. My journey out started a little over three years ago. SFL and the many commenters have been influential in my journey out. The first post I ever read was the post about A Beka Church. I thought it was hilarious and sent it to my husband to read. I have been reading since then. I have laughed, cried, winced in pain (thanks to those GOH) and been filled with fury. I have discovered that the body of Christ is larger than a little IFB church. I have found that what I thought the Bible said is not what it really says. Happy Birthday SFL and hopes for many more years to come.

  24. A friend sent me to this website. I had visited once or twice before, but I hadn’t been burned enough yet because I hadn’t truly left the walls of the cult yet and was still trying to keep up appearances and subjugate my life to keep relationships in tact so it didn’t really hit home until I actually started doing the hard work of leaving. This place has kept me sane, been my therapy, and shown me friends who have displayed a deep rage at the violation of the innocents in the IFB. I really needed to see people actually call the abuse what it was. This place helped me realize that I’m not alone. Not even a little bit.

  25. This is my first post ever but I found you in August 2012 after the Jack Schapp fiasco. I am SO VERY glad I did. I have learned a TON in this time. We will be leaving IFB in a few days and I hope to never return to the insanity that has tried to take over our lives. The subliminal abuse is bad enough, but what you can actually see is mind blowing. Thank you for all you do and do NOT stop!!

  26. 5 years ago I was a fundy in, to use the jargon, full-time Christian service. I was having serious questions about a lot of the issues of fundyism. A friend who had exited Fundystan recommended that I read SFL. That was in 2009. I read SFL every day, even if I don’t comment. It is part of my mornings.

    I am amazed at how much I have learned about the Lord from this site.

    Keep up the good work Dar-El. ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. I have to say I stumbled upon this site mid 2011. I was still attending a very conservative, fundy type church. I realized what I was feeling wasn’t weird or that there something wasn’t wrong with me. I have really enjoyed the interaction with others here.

    I think quite highly of everyone here ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Darrell thank you for a great site. I hope you consider it a ministry-many of us are ministered to here. Thank you to all who contribute in an understanding spirit toward the spiritually burned who come to this site for comfort, solace, and laughs.

    To the self-righteous folks who come to this site to set the rest of us straight, Screw you and the horse you rode in on.


  29. Five years ago I was still a staunch fundamentalist, and read here to look down on all the bitter people. :p Now I’m still a Christian but definitely not fundamentalist and SFL had a big part in that.

  30. 1) The complete demise of Obamacare, it’s going quickly
    2) For every single one of the criminal, illegal aliens to be gone from this country.
    3) For there to be nothing left of Iran but a curious brown haze.
    4) For America to become known as a safe place for babies in utero.
    5)For “gay” marriage to come to mean that everyone had a wonderful time at Bill & Sue’s nuptials.
    6) For Obama’s administration to be held accountable for all the atrocities it has committed to include. Fast and furious, NSA spying, Benghazi, IRS targeting conservative groups, spying on the AP, Rosengate, Solyndra.

    This would be a very good start!

    1. Greg,

      Iran is a nation of over 70 million people of whom only a tiny fraction are Christian.

      Regarding your third point, do you think God would really be pleased with the deaths of many millions of Iranians?*

      *You may want to read the book of Jonah before taking a stab at that one.

    2. You don’t even realize you’re hate-mongering, do you?

      Greg, I pray one day you extend God’s grace to others instead of hoarding it for yourself.

        1. Just because someone is in the country of Iran does not make them Iranian anymore than just being in the United States makes you… ok so that analogy breaks down but it’s still true that standing in a garage doesn’t make one a car. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Rescue the perishing! Care for the dying! Jesus is merciful! Jesus will save!

        But you’re saying, however, that Jesus approves of the utter, mindless destruction of the earth. (God damn that fig tree! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ) In accordance with the best Manichean theology, the soul is the only thing that matters.

        Anyway, greg, not that I terribly mind inconsistency (being a very inconsistent fellow myself!), but your two statements on this issue make me dizzy. May I post a quote I’ve used before that helps me clarify my mind on this issue?

        “Once we sign on for war’s crusade, once we see ourselves on the side of the angels, once we embrace a theological or ideological belief system that defines itself as the embodiment of goodness and light, it is only a matter of how we will carry out murder.”–Chris Hedges, from _War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning_

    3. Remember that Jesus was a refugee in Egypt! I am sure the Egyptians didn’t like all the Jewish refugees from Herod arriving. Jesus is in the face of immigrant children today in our country.

    4. Greg, your words about immigrants come from a worldly viewpoint, not a Christian viewpoint.

      Leviticus 19:34
      The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

      Deuteronomy 10:18
      He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.

      1. I saw a cartoon once which I think is relevant. It featured an well-dressed, well-fed white politician going red in the face as he screamed “get rid of all these illegal immigrants! Send them home!” Beside him is standing a (admittedly caricatured) Native American, saying “I’ll help you pack!”

  31. Five years ago I was starting to teach at a public school after 4 years at BJU, 1 year on the mission field teaching MKs and 8 years at a Christian school that was not as IFB as what I grew up in. SFL helped me question what I believed and why I believed it. I don’t come here as often as I used to, but I still come and read occasionally.

    Fast forward to today – I no longer attend church of any kind. Mostly because I don’t feel like I really belong anywhere currently and because I’m really tired of getting sermons from my IFB father. I’ve grown as a person and am beginning to really know who I am – not who I’m told I’m supposed to be. I’m learning to enjoy life and not feel guilty at some of the dumbest things.

    Life is good. Enjoy it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.