Friday, February 11, 2011

Religion is HELL on Earth, God is Love!

At 63, I think I've learnt something about the meaning of life, religion and God.

"Religion is HELL on Earth - God is Love!"

I was raised Church of England, Anglican. Baptized (sprinkled at the Baptismal Font) with Godparents, attended Confirmation Classes, confirmed by Bishop Burch at Edmonton, Alberta at 14, I took Church vows in my own name for myself. I became an altar server at St. Timothy's Anglican Church, helping the minister with the candles, elements, etc.

At 15 a number of things happened that led me to begin rethinking things for myself. My best friend, in Grade 10 at Ross Sheppard Composite High School was David Day. Wanting to make money, we joined the Loyal Edmonton Regiment militia (army) and we spent the summer of 1965 in Camp Wainwright where they had church parades, that I don't recall ever attending.

In Grade Eleven, David attended Jasper Place Composite High and I continued attending Ross Sheppard. David introduced me to his new friends at a JPCH sockhop, and so I met Linda Singleton. David's girlfriend was Pat and mine was Linda for the few dates we went on using David's father's car, a 1958 Morris Isis. Later, when David was attending U of A in Honours Physics, he was forced out of the program by his lack of money. However David became a Mormon and began inviting me to church functions. He also changed majors and went into law. He told me that his new goal was to make as much money as possible, because the poor can't help themselves, but the rich can help many...

At 16, in Grade Eleven, my best friend was Gary Slobodan.

At 17 I met Ginny Arial through a friend from Camp Wainwright, Rob Sarrasin. Gary and I had the sometimes use of his 1950 Studebaker when it was running and Rob would help out by putting gas in it.   On this particular night we were planning to go to the Prince Charles Community League Hall dance, and we were driving around when Rod said he needed to stop for his date. We went to "Connie's" house, and when Rob came back to the car he had two girls and he asked me which of the two girls with him I would like to take to the dance. I took him aside and asked how old the girls were, and when he told me 14, I knew we wouldn't be able to get in to the dance and besides I had no money, except for my own admission. Rob told me to borrow some money from his brother Ray who lived also across from the hall. His brother had no money, so we decided to drive around and that is when Ginny sat  beside me, our first "date".

Ginny filled me in. Her mother, Louise, was born in Amsterdam and came to Canada, a war bride to her father, Noel Arial, . When her mother was abandoned with their three children and subsequently divorced by Noel, so she was excommunicated by the Church of Rome. After a few more "dates", I met her father Noel, a taxicab owner - operator at United Cabs who used to tease us about Puppy Love and my "dates" with his daughter.

Ginny was attending Faith Temple, a Pentecostal church in an old movie theater on 118 Ave just off of 124 Street when I met her in September, 1965. She  attended with her friend Penny Millette and they were asking if I would like to attend. Later, I met Penny's boyfriend, Noel Brown and he filled me in on his experience. He had attended and said everyone was speaking "in tongues". He decided to join them and was getting carried away when the pastor asked him to leave...Also on the marquee sign the Church had put, "JESUS SAVES" and on their sign across 118 Ave., Safeway had put, "Safeway SAVES you MORE." Eventually I told Ginny to get out of that church or forget me.

I began to drift away from Church attendance, shortly before I met Ginny. But Ginny and I  were told by Mom and Dad Slater that St. Timothy's needed someone to clean up the church on Saturdays, so for spending money, we used to clean the church...

Continued... wherein you will come to understand why I now say:

"Religion is HELL on Earth - God is Love!"

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