I lived two lives growing up—one was a good girl who was active in a Southern Baptist Church with her parents; the other was a girl who tried to cover up for sexual abuse.
When I was very young, until I was seven years old, my parents took me to church. After that, I would occasionally go with some neighbors. When I was about 18 or 19 years of age, I was starting to wonder what religion was all about. At the same time, my girlfriend was urging me to get to know God. This drove me back to the church that I had grown up in. I attended several Sundays to hear what the pastor had to say.
My name is Michael Brooks, and this is my story. I was baptized as an infant in the Episcopal Church. My mother and my aunt served on the Altar Guild. They were both key in the coffee hour following services each Sunday. My uncle Roy sang in the choir and was the church sextant. So, as a boy, I thought I was well connected, and due to my family’s contributions to the church, we were good people, and of course, heaven-bound due to our good works.
No nací en un hogar cristiano. Mis padres me llevaban a la iglesia solamente cuando se celebraba la Navidad y la Pascua. Me acuerdo que mi abuela me enseñaba a orar como niño pero durante los años de mi adolescencia sentía que Dios no me escuchaba y estaba muy lejos de mí. Creo que por esta razón, perdí la costumbre de orar a Dios.
Creciendo en el estado de Iowa, tenía todo lo que un niño podia desear – un hogar en donde mis padres me amaban; una finca de 120 cuerdas en donde podia pescar, casar, y correr mi motocicleta, una pequeña escuela, la cual solo ofrecía 4 diferentes deportes; muchísimas oportunidades para trabajar; buenos y sanos amigos; y eventualmente, mi propio carro, un Volkswagen azul.