Ann Wilcox is choosing to use a pseudonym since she isn’t fully “out” as an Agnostic to her family and friends. She is one of the 22 women whose stories are featured in Karen Garst’s book, Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life Without Religion.
Ann grew up in fundamental Evangelical Christianity including attended Christian School for 12 years. Her mother was always submissive and the father was head of the home as is typical in many authoritarian religions. She was married for 10 years to a man who became a Christian in the “Jesus Movement”. But after her marriage ended, Ann dealt with depression. She finally found a secular counsellor that was able to help her unravel the damage that religion had caused.
Curiosity and Compassion
After her father’s funeral, she realized she had lost her faith but needed to unpack what that meant. She spent 9 months labouring over the Bible and the doctrines of the faith she had once believed. By the end, with over 100 pages of writing, as she deconstructed her beliefs, she realized she had no faith left. During this episode, Ann discusses how important it was for her to learn to trust herself, to be curious and to have compassion for herself. These things were strongly discouraged in her religious past.
Here is a quote by Ann from page 34 of the book.
I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone, but I have come out of it with a strong sense of my right to question anything anyone tells me, and to discover for myself what I value. That’s very freeing as I re-create the rest of my life.
Due to Ann using a pseudonym, if you would like to connect more with her, you can send me an email and I will pass it along to her. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Garst’s book: Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life Without Religion
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Music – Original Composition by Esther Nicholson
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