This post is designed for young teenagers, who are 15 years old or younger. In this post, I will lay out to you my thoughts as to whether or not you should “come out of the closet”.
Let me just say, that I sympathize with your current position. When I privately decided I no longer believed in the Seventh Day Adventist church, I was an older teenager. This made my life significantly easier. Why? Well, I had more freedom. This meant it was easier for me to lead a double life (my Adventist life, and my non-Adventist life). As a young defector you have less resources available to you, will be under stricter conditions and will (as I will get to) probably need to wait awhile yet before you can safely go “public”. On the plus side, deconverting at your age has some advantages, so it isn’t all bad! While I said that you will probably need to wait a few years to go public, this isn’t necessarily true – you might be lucky and be in a position to go “public” already! Read on to figure out what you should do:
Should I “come out” to my SDA friends/family?
You were probably looking for a simple answer, a “yes” or a “no”. Unfortunately, I cannot give you that. Why? It all depends on your situation. Let me stress how important it is that you judge this correct; you live at home with your family. If you “come out” to them and then they react badly, then you can’t run away to your own house; you have to live with them for several years yet! So you do not want to come out if it is going to go bad for you. We often hear that we should be “be our true selves” no matter what. But if being your “true self” publicly is going to make your life miserable, then honestly? I suggest you don’t! It isn’t worth it.
How do I know how they will react?
While this is not fool-proof, I do think that you are the best judge for this, if you are honest with yourself. I like to think of it like being in-love. When you have never been in-love, you do not know what it feels like. You might wonder if you have been, but you don’t know if those feelings were being in-love or not. But you know what? If you have been in-love, you know. It is very hard to explain it to someone, but if you have been in-love, you know. If you have to ask, you haven’t been.
Well, try and really, really picture telling your parents (and the rest of your Seventh Day Adventist family) that you no longer believe in the church. Picture telling them that you do not want to go to church, that you want to go to the movies on Sabbath and that you want to start eating pork sandwiches! Try picture telling them that you believe that Ellen White was wrong, and that you do not think the prophecies are true. Now… how does this make you feel? Do you feel scared, like really scared at this? If so, you are probably scared because you know they will react badly.
On the flip-side, does this make you not scared? When you picture your parents reactions, are they fine with this? Will they start to break down crying? If they do, do you think they would cry on the days following your deconversion? If you think this sounds way over-the-top, and that they will support you in your spiritual choice, then it is probably safe to come out. Either way, read this to find out how to do it right.
Why it matters that you get it right
It matters because you have to live with your parents. For those of you that know your parents will react badly, then you will understand what I mean when I talk about “The World”. Think about all of the bad things your parents have said about “The World“. Think about how your parents try to avoid “The World” as much as possible. When you publicly deconvert, you now become part of “The World”!
Do you want your parents thinking those things of you? I am sure you don’t. Not only will they think these things of you, but it will effect the way they act around you, and it will change how they talk to you. You will literally become an outsider in your own family.
Now, you will never want this to happen. It is going to have to happen; eventually, you are going to need to come out. But here is the thing; you are a human being, and to be mentally happy and stable, you need to live in a supportive, positive environment. At the very least, you need to live in an environment that isn’t constantly negative to you. If you deconvert while at home, you are going to have a lot of negative pressure on you and it is going to be soul-crushing.
That is why I suggest you wait until you are older, and you live by yourself, away from your family. This will mean that you can deconvert and then, when they start to treat you badly, you can run away to your own house and surround yourself with people that love you for you. So, as hard as it is? You need to wait. And, in some ways, you are lucky. It means you can start saving money, and making non-Adventist friends early to prepare for when it is time to leave the church.
The reality is that this is a lot of psychological pressure to be put under. I am a strong character, and even I couldn’t take this pressure.
Few. Proud. Remnant. You have had a lot of pressure placed on you from a young age.