When I Was Saved

By Ezekiel 

From the OYIT Vault:


I spent a week at Bible camp when I was ten-years-old. I’m talking evangelical, speaking-in-tongues, worship songs—Jesus Camp type of shit. I knew a girl who was going, and once my group of friends found out it was co-ed, we committed to it faster than we'd commit to a Recess marathon on a Saturday morning.


We thought it would be snow cones, float trips, and BOYS!!!1!!, but it was seven AM wake up calls, Christ, and sleeping with daddy longlegs. I shared a cabin with four friends, three strangers, and one counselor. We would go to chapel every morning and night, and after each service we’d have long gospel sessions within our cabin. Our counselor told us with certainty that she was going to Heaven—and we could too! All we had to do was accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. I asked her if my Jewish sister was going to Hell. She told me yes.

In chapel, we sang songs with lyrics such as, "Lord reign in me," “Lord I lift your name on high,” and “Lord I worship you blindly because I grew up in a strict nuclear family that uses out-dated stories to guide our lives after we disregard what doesn’t fit our agenda,” and listened to preachers speak the word of God. “As y’all can see, the road to Heaven is very small,” a woman with a mullet and PowerPoint told us. “The vast majority of people are sinners who go to Hell.”

It was in one of our after-chapel sessions that the first of my friends became Saved. She started crying and announced she had accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. I hugged her and faked happiness. I was so jealous—in the way I was jealous when my sister got a Furby before I did. I asked how she knew she was Saved. She looked at me with the most condescension a ten-year-old can muster, and said, “Trust me, Maddie, when you’re Saved, you’ll just know.”

A few days later, there was a camp-wide bonfire where everyone told their born again stories. Ten, eleven, and twelve-year-olds stood up, one after one, s'mores in their hands, the Lord in their hearts, and explained in great detail the moment they were Saved. One boy said that he was born in 1988, but he was really born in 1992. This eleven-year-old is telling me he was Saved at four?! Let me guess, you have four fucking Furbys, too?

I finally gave up and said I was Saved on one of the last days of camp. I didn’t really have a moment where I accepted Jesus, but I had honestly convinced myself I did. When you put a bunch of children in a week-long camp, feed them decent food, let them swim every day, throw in members of the opposite sex to flirt with, and scare them shitless, they’ll believe anything you tell them. If Max—the cute, tan, blonde—loved Jesus, then I wanted to too.

When I was picked up from camp, my favorite song, “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray, was playing on the radio. I felt at ease. I was Saved! (For the record, I find the fact that “Every Morning” was my favorite song far more disturbing than the fact I was born again.)

The ease ended about three days later, but not before I tried to Save my four-year-old cousin. I forgot all about my evangelical ways and continued life as a preteen with a vague sense of respect for my Catholic faith. I still prayed to some sort of higher power until my junior year of high school, but mostly out of habit. Today, my relationship with God can be best summed up by my relationship to Oprah: To some people, she means a lot, but to me, she's nothing more than a very famous person who I occasionally mock.

A year ago, after seeing President Obama speak in small town Missouri, my friends and I passed by the Bible camp and decided we should check out our old stomping grounds. As we entered the camp, I wanted nothing more than to run to the pool where the innocent children were swimming (girls in one-pieces, of course) and scream, “GET OUT NOW!! YOU ARE FAR TOO YOUNG TO HAVE YOUR LIVES RUINED BY BIGOTS WITH MULLETS!!!!!” Instead, I sat giggling in the backseat as we drove around for five minutes and took pictures of various Christian-related signs and Bush '04 bumper stickers.

5 comments:

  1. Agreed. This is one of the best OYIT posts ever -- it's our Citizen Kane.

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  2. It's tied for number one with 75 other posts.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. I SPELLED TONGUES WRONG.

    I meant:

    You can't REALLY be saved unless you speak in tongues, though, right?

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  5. i've been so nervous about commenting on this wonderful website, even though i truly enjoy just about everything i read (sorry i havent read everything, ill punish myself later for it). i usually NEVER post comments/share links because im so insecure (TOO REAL?!?!). BUT i am going to face my fear in honor of oyit promotion week and bc this article is so fantastic. I LOVE THIS. no one could better explain our life changing experience. thank oprah we shared it together!

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