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Families Who Were Strict in Religious Expectations

Some of the women came from families who were determined that their daughters would be diligent in their church attendance, not only on Sundays but also during the week. The word "strict" was often used to describe the expectations of some families in regard to religion. +I was raised as a Catholic. I was taken to church and Sunday school every Sunday because my father insisted and physically forced me and my brothers and sisters to go and told us if we did not go to church we would go to hell. I believed in God and feared him to some extent and asked him for help. When I was seventeen I stopped going to church and had horrible nightmares about the devil coming to get me for about six months or more. +My father is a United Methodist minister. My grandfather was a Baptist minister. I was raised in a very religious environment. I went to church almost every day of the week.

I grew up a Christian (Seventh-Day Adventist), going to church and to private schools run by the church. I grew up in a strict environment: no non-religious activities from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, many church activities, restricted diet (not only no pork, but also other things specified in the Bible in the Old Testament), no drinking or smoking, no jewelry, etc. In high school I got disillusioned with the church because I saw so much hypocrisy in it. I stopped going to church and dropped out of high school at seventeen.

These families required what they thought best for their daughters growing up. The women often developed a deep belief in God but going to church became something they had to do, and they were relieved when they were old enough to make their own decisions about church attendance. Parents Whose Denominational Convictions Were Changing or Weak Although many parents had deep religious convictions, they had either dropped out of church or were only attending on a part-time basis. Some families were split in regard to denominational allegiance; others changed denominations during the daughter's growing up period. Some of the women expressed dissatisfaction with their religion of origin. +When I was a child my family belonged to the World Wide Church of God, but they broke away while I was still young. My father felt that most organized churches were corrupt, but he was (in my opinion) extremely religious. Being raised in this way, I was always seeking some religious fulfillment.

I was a born-again Christian-but was not practicing. I didn't go to church because I wasn't interested in the whole overly religious, pressured atmosphere. My mom became a born-again Christian when I was in third grade. We were Catholic before that. I remember Mom having us kneel in front of the TV while she was watching Jim Bakker on TV. +My religious commitment was deeply imbedded. My parents did not attend church but sent me with family and friends from the time I was two years old. My parents had and, to some extent, still have moral standards that were taught to me in my youth regardless of their church attendance record. My mother's father is a Pentecostal preacher and my mother had always expressed her ill feelings toward her father for making her go to church three times a week.

When I was a child, I went to the Church of God, my father's denomination. Then, when I was a teenager, I went to the Episcopal church with my mom. The reason for the change was because my mom decided to go back to her Episcopal roots. I was not really satisfied with either one. As reflected by some of the survey respondents, a degree of turmoil or unrest was present in their families in regard to religion. Consequently, the prevailing attitude was one of confusion and doubt.

Adapted from: "Daughters Of Another Path (Experience of American Women Choosing Islam)" by: "Carol L. Anway"