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The Church of Christ and Education

Not long ago I read Tara Westover's memoir "Educated," in which she recounts her childhood in a Mormon separatist group that did not believe in formal education. She didn't go to a school until she was 17, when she went to college. Her family disowned her for doing so because they believed that getting a secular education was a sin (her story is more complex that that, but this is the nutshell version). Even though my upbringing was not nearly as extreme as hers and I was sent to secular schools from preschool onward, I also encountered similar antieducation sentiments growing up in the church of Christ.

The mainline churches of Christ are actually affiliated with some prestigious schools, including Abilene Christian University and Pepperdine University, and kids who grow up in that branch of the church are encouraged to attend those schools. Unfortunately, I grew up the noninstitutional branch of the church, which is much more conservative and, to my knowledge, is n…

Child Sex Abuse in the Church of Christ

Let me state immediately that I have no statistics on rates of child sex abuse in the COC. I haven't been able to find any stats online and I suspect it's because each COC congregation is independent, and there's no single governing body to keep such records. If anyone can find such information from a reliable source, please pass it along because I would be very interested in reading it.

All I can tell you is that, of the four COC congregations I attended in my lifetime, half of them were plagued by adults who behaved inappropriately toward children. One of them hired a preacher who liked to date underage girls (see my previous post on how I was nearly a child bride), and another one had a full-blown pedophile ring operating in it, and my sister and I narrowly escaped being among their victims.

The church in question was the very first one I ever attended. My parents were married out of that church, and they brought me to church services starting a week after I was born. W…

The Church of Christ and Mental Health

Last night a friend and I were talking on the phone, comparing notes about the various physical problems we're facing as we skid into middle age. As much as my body is creaking under the weight of the years, in some ways, I've never felt better. In particular, I almost never get the horrible stress headaches that plagued me when I was younger. I used to have one almost every week. Funnily enough, they stopped around the time that I made my decision to leave the COC, and I don't think it was a coincidence. Being in that church and having to put up a front all the time really took a toll on me, and I often wonder how much longer I could have held out without cracking under the strain.

As with much of what I write on this blog, I have no scientific data to offer--only my observations and personal experiences--but I can confidently say that a good quarter to a third of the women in the COC are taking antidepressants, assuming that the churches I attended were representative sa…