Elle Albus (Pseudonym) – Raised Southern Baptist, Infertility Issues – Now Mother of Triplets, Bi-Sexual, and Atheist
Elle Albus (Pseudonym) grew up in a rural Oklahoma, Southern Baptist family. Bookish and introverted, she never really fit in, but, as a people pleaser on the receiving end of corporal punishment and terrified of hell, she tried her best. She was close with her mom and a few trusted friends and thrived in the classroom, becoming valedictorian at her public (but still very white, conservative, and Christian) high school.
When she moved to college, she found a new community within the faith and, young and in her first ever romantic relationship, married a man she met there. Elle and her husband were committed to following the faith as best they could: they tithed dutifully, attended every week, always voted Republican, and promised to raise their children to follow god. She tried, awkwardly, to submit and felt subtly guilty when she took the lead, even though it worked better that way.
After a few years of wedded bliss, they started trying to get pregnant, something Elle had always looked forward to, given her relationship with her own mother and how motherhood was emphasized in the church. Instead of the idyllic family they had planned, however, they were blindsided by infertility.
The pain of that experience and the abuse she endured at the hands of well-meaning Christians gave her the courage to finally question the beliefs she’d been raised with. As she fought to become a mom, she realized she would never treat her children the way the church and, by extension, the Christian god, had treated her and others. Nothing could ever make her send someone to hell.
When she came upon a blog article describing abusive relationships, it clicked into place that fundamentalism is abuse, and the last grips of her Christian indoctrination faded. Elle left fundamentalism behind, but more progressive Christianity held little appeal for her either. After researching and weighing the evidence, she found the evidence unconvincing and now identifies as a secular humanist.
While Elle is no longer a believer, her husband and most family members still are, and she is in the process of going public with her non-belief. She lives in the American South with her husband and toddlers, where she teaches high school science and math.
Elle is passionate about exposing the harm and abuse inherent in doctrines such as total depravity, female submission, purity culture, and hell and hopes to help others struggling with fundamentalism and with what life looks like on the other side.
Elle’s recommended resources:
Blog: Love, Joy, Feminism
Elle also sees value in the work of Rachel Held Evans, although she is still a Christian. Her insights into evangelicalism and providing a less-harmful version of belief were a vital stepping stone for her, as they are for many, and Elle appreciated that work.
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