People are asking, ‘How could Doreen Virtue go from a compassionate and non-judgmental spiritual path to one where she believes that unless you accept Jesus as your saviour and live your life according to the Bible, you will burn in hell?’ Many are naturally saddened by this recent turn of events because they feel that a spiritual teacher they looked up to has now regressed and embarked on a path of fear.
Personally, I have no problems with understanding the pull of religion so I want to share what happened when I was 17 and how the brainwashing from my years in the church lasted pretty much up until this year. In fact, I would like to thank Doreen Virtue in part for the ability to finally free myself completely because she served as such a mirror for the kind of fear that sucks you back, starting with the video where she talked about her conversion experienced and how people in the New Age were affected by demons (she did not use the word possessed, as I recall).
The word ‘religion’ is interesting in itself – It combines the Latin ‘re’ (again) and ‘ligare’ (to connect). The aim of all religions is to help man reconnect with the Divine – or at least, that’s what it says on the tin. If history has taught us anything, it is that as soon as money and power become part of the equation, it soon starts going south.
But let’s not go off on a tangent with church history here (although I sincerely recommend reading up on it since it still affects us all today)… What I’m trying to say is that the reason can get its claws into us is because most of us long for this Divine reconnection. We are hardwired to believe in something more than what meets the eye… something beyond the grave. When we reach with our hearts to reconnect with loved ones who have passed on, our hearts tell us they are still there… and so is the Great Light in the Sky from whence we came and to whom we all return.
This is how I came to have my very own religious conversion experience at the tender and impressionable age of 17…
I left my native Sweden to have the experience of a lifetime. I had signed up to be a high school exchange students and knew that I could end up in any of the 52 states of the USA. I didn’t care. I was keen to get away from home and out into the big, wide world. As it turns out, I ended up in the Bible Belt but when I was on my transatlantic flight to New York, I wasn’t even aware of the term ‘Bible Belt.’
The first family I stayed with more or less used me as a nanny for their three kids. I had several child minding duties and red flags popped up with the 8-year old told me that they usually had nannies but now they had me instead. If I wanted to meet up with friends outside school hours, my ‘host family’ told me I had to give them two weeks notice. My social life (which was the part I had looked forward to the most) was pretty much null and void. Around Christmas time, I plucked up the courage to tell my area representative that enough was enough and I wanted to go back home.
My area representative offered me temporary shelter and talked me into staying. She said she would arrange for me to stay with another family. About two weeks in, they phone me from the other family and told me how keen they were to have me come and stay with them. I accepted. Deep down, I didn’t really want to go back home. Things were less than ideal there and I also felt I owed it to myself to have the adventure that I had signed up for.
It was around middle of January when I was flown down from North Carolina to South Carolina on one of those ‘flying pigs’ that jump about quite a lot in the air. I can’t say I enjoyed the flight but I did enjoy the warm welcome I got from my new family. They were everything my old host family had not been. They treated me as family rather than a slave… so when they invited me to come to church with them and said I was more than welcome to stay behind if I preferred, I literally jumped at the chance to go with them just so I could keep basking in their warmth.
I was about two weeks into going to church with my new American family when they started trying to convert me. By then, I had sat through about six sermons since they attended church three times a week. They did the Roman’s Road thing with me and it didn’t really take any pushing at all for me to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I had always loved Jesus and these were easily the nicest and most loving people I had ever met… or so I thought…
The Masks Start to Slip
Not many weeks after my conversion and Baptism, I seemed to misplace my rose-tinted glasses. I still loved Jesus and the Bible… but these Bible-believing fundamentalist Christians had so much hatred for people who didn’t walk their exact path… and they demanded that I drop my belief in evolution as well as my support for the LGBTQ community… I had to dress, walk and talk a certain way to be accepted by them. I thought they loved me for me – I couldn’t have been more wrong…
I swear, the red flags started within weeks, yet I was trapped in this mindset for several years, with the grip loosening gradually once I moved back to Europe where people just don’t ever seem to be as radical in their faith. However, much damage was done in that time and it was fear that kept me frozen in place, so eager to please everyone in the church and appear to be a good Christian. I can see clearly now that this had absolutely NOTHING to do with Christ or his teachings and everything to do with what I like to call Patriarchal Churchianity.
On a more personal level, I started seeing the racism and hatred up close. My supposedly loving host parents that were my Christian role models as they were ‘bringing me up in the faith’ were talking about how much they hated the white woman across the road for marrying a black guy. I didn’t understand why. I accepted they felt that way but never adopted racist beliefs myself. I simply shrugged it off as ‘well, that’s just culture – not Christ’s teachings.’
I also had to sit through tirades about how Pentecostals and Catholics would all burn in hell one day. They seemed almost gleeful at the thought of it. The notion of hell was becoming more real to me than the notion of heaven because it was preached that much and there were even posts in the corridors of ‘heathens’ falling into fiery pits because nobody had taken pity on them as missionaries of the Gospel of Christ.
I started attending Bible classes and learned how to evangelise….
Evangelism (an aside)
This is where I need to pause and I need you to pause with me. Doreen Virtue who claims to be an Episcopalian is now involved in this exact form of hyper fundamentalist Christian evangelism, using the Internet equivalent of Chick Tracts. The image below is for a link that she shared in the New Age to Christianity Recovery group on Facebook…
This is not normal behaviour for any Episcopalians I know. I have a friend who is an Episcopalian minister and I have never seen her share anything like this. All her social media shares are about the rights of minorities (including the LGBTQ community) and how we should help refugees. This is more akin to the kind of Christianity preached by fundamentalist Christian Steve Bancarz who recently did this interview with Doreen Virtue.
I’m keen to make the distinction because there is a MAJOR difference: my Episcopalian friend preaches inclusivity and non-judgment, the likes of Steve Bancarz come from a place of deep fear and judgment and will outright say that homosexuals who don’t repent will burn in hell etc.
Now that we have established where some of the pressure comes from since Doreen’s conversion, it is easy to understand how she interprets the Bible the way a fundamentalist Christian would with regards to divination and mediumship which she has denounced, along with belief in Ascended masters, Goddesses and all fairies except the flower fairies. As for the Angels, only the ones mentioned in the Bible (Michael and Gabriel) are still on the menu, as well as apocryphal Raphael (for now).
I understand where Doreen is coming from if she is indeed trying to please these (impossible-to-please) people, I’m just surprised that it is happening at such a ripe old age but apparently she is going through her second Saturn return and that probably has something to do with it.
The pressure to convert others is extreme once you get sucked in by the hyper fundies. There is no such thing as tolerance with them. Of course not. Everyone who does not believe exactly as they do is going straight to hell.
Trust me, this is a VERY bad place to be mentally and emotionally. If you watch the linked video right at the top of the post, perhaps you will start to wonder, like I do, if Doreen’s conversion is perhaps the result of a) being isolated after the move to the ranch and b) being made to watch those NDE hell rescue videos on YouTube. That is certainly one possibility but I’m not sure myself what is going on here. This could all be related to Doreen Virtue’s plans to start a Church. According to this Italian interview she had obtained the license to do so already at the time of the interview in 2015.
Anyhoo… After successfully taking a couple of people down the Roman Road myself (because it was expected of me), I gradually started disentangling myself from the claws of Christian fundamentalism. I soon realised that those of my friends who were not in it were much happier and healthier. I also realised that I actually put more of a premium on the direct experience of God than on living my life according to a Book that contradicts itself rather a lot.
In the end it was studying Church History and the canonization of Scripture that helped me decide to leave the Church in my late 20’s – That and a dream vision in which I met Jesus (yes, the REAL Jesus!), felt completely loved and free to make any choice that would work for me. No judgment.
Sucked back in
I wish I could say… “and then I just trusted myself and I haven’t looked back,” but I wasn’t entirely free from fear and a couple of years ago I started missing the sense of community I had at church. I was floundering for a while, thinking some of my own practises may be questionable from a spiritual point of view because they weren’t aligned with the teachings of Christ… bearing in mind that this makes no sense since I had long since stopped taking the Bible literally… We are literally talking faulty programming (yes, residual brainwashing).
Rescued by Virtue
But thank Heaven and all the Angels, not long after I started filling up with doubt, fear and judgment once more, I was rescued by a couple of people mirroring my fear back at me. One of those people were Doreen Virtue and she did it spectacularly… Subtly at first… and then she started denouncing the things I love the most, such as the Tarot. BAM! I was WIDE awake!
The other person was someone who introduced himself as a Christian Tarot reader. That was totally cool… until he started going fundamentalist on me and quoting Scripture to get people to fall in line with HIS version of the right way to use the Tarot. I’m a grown ass woman and I can do without that Bible-flavoured mansplaining.
Awakening to the Divine Feminine
Then in April of this year, around the time of Doreen’s video where she talks about New Agers having relationship problems (but Christians don’t???) I started feeling my soul’s calling to be part of the global awakening to the Divine Feminine. This helped me see religious fundamentalism very clearly as an expression of patriarchy – a patriarchy that is DYING, I might add… It is literally in its death throes and kicking back.
None of us grow in a straight line. We often double back on ourselves to pick up lessons we missed on the way. I’m not putting myself in a place to judge anyone. I’m sharing this to show that I have compassion with journeys that sometimes do the cha-cha and take a couple of steps backwards before moving forward again. And I will say this with 100% certainty, any step on your spiritual path that is taken in the direction of fear is a backward step.
If I would sum up my journey now it would be with: I return to the zero point with every breath – I trust myself.
All Paths of Love lead us home.
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