Though the subject isn’t great, I’m so happy to see that people have been able to share and express their experiences and have their voices heard. I relive my experience as I read each post and wish that I could take all the pain out of your lives. A lot of what happened to me at Young Church/Grace Church is instrumental to the core of who I am. I have no idea what kind of person I would be if I hadn’t been raised there. While I am proud of who I am, I have suffered from years of depression and self-doubt and it took a lot of fighting to accept myself for who I am. There is no question in my mind how this was caused and I’m very grateful for the support my family and friends continue to provide me as I attempt to overcome the thought processes ingrained during my formative years. Even as I type this I fear the rejection of my peers; that my story isn’t as valid as the rest or that everyone else’s sounds so horrific that mine couldn’t possibly compare. But it happened to me and unequivocally transformed my life. I feel that not saying anything, rather than showing my solidarity and support to those who have similar stories, would only hurt the cause.

I feel that sharing my specific story would only lead to repetition. But to clarify:yes, the church is an unhealthy environment and yes, the pastor and elders have too much power. While I am no longer a Christian, I have studied Christianity in depth and can say that whatever god they serve is not the God they are blaspheming.

In light of all that is coming out, I can’t help but feel incredibly worried for those that will be negatively impacted by this post and I really wish I could protect them. As a child, I always felt like nobody liked me in the church and I was completely alienated. I was always jealous that BF’s children were favored and that I was never good enough. But honestly, I don’t think BF’s kids felt they were good enough either. The things that BF’s children have been through are most likely near-insurmountable struggles… Even if they aren’t able to see it or don’t want to. I wish for them the absolute best and hope that they can live more kindhearted and less misogynistic worlds than that of their father. Barry always seems to end up on top… I fear he would only use his children as stepping stools. I only hope that through this experience of healing and retribution, we do our best to be compassionate to those who may get caught in the cross-fire or suffer the most unfairly from the aftermath.