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1 Tim 3:15
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Although I was born and raised in the 2x2 way, I never professed. My parents have meeting in their home, and I have an uncle who is an worker. I left home at age eighteen and never went to meeting again.
I have fond memories of growing up that way. The sense of fellowship within this group is very strong and genuine, the support and love is apparent. I remember realizing that we were very different from the rest of the world, which seemed to be a point of pride among the workers. They were always talking about the evils "of the world" and false churches. We went to convention faithfully (2 in October every year), Sunday morning meeting, Wednesday night meeting, Union meeting, and special meetings. However, despite all of the vivid memories I have, I don't recall learning much about what their actual doctrine was, which seemed to me to revolve more around a simple lifestyle and loving and serving God.
My parents never pressured me or my sisters to profess. In retrospect, I've come to the conclusion that my upbringing was much more liberal than other children; for example, I was allowed to participate in sports at school, I was allowed to date girls outside the Truth, I could read whatever I wanted, we had a radio (and a computer), etc. I never felt comfortable with this way of life, though. The worldly distinctions seemed to me to be fairly arbitrary. In other words, aren't cars "of this world"? Is it sinful to buy clothes, or should you make them yourself? I soon realized that while there is much sin in the world, it is impossible and unrealistic to expect to avoid "the world", mainly because we live in it anyway; for example, I decided that television was not inherently sinful, but rather the application of television that could be potentially sinful.
These sort of thoughts were in my mind growing up. When I turned eighteen, I moved out of my parents' home and started college. I began working at a Catholic hospital, and met many people of many different faith backgrounds. During college, I attended Baptist church, and I met some wonderful people there. I admired their enthusiasm and love of God, but I felt there was something missing. Over the next 12 years or so, I began doing research into the origins of Christianity, reading the Bible and the writings of early Christians. To my surprise, I discovered that they appeared very Catholic, as did the early church.
To make a long story short, I became Catholic. Those who know me from the internet know that I love talking about my faith, although I admit that I'm sometimes overzealous. I speak out against what I feel are misunderstandings of Catholic theology often, which includes speaking out against 2x2 doctrines. I don't consider myself "bitter" since I did not necessarily experience any "abuse" in the Truth. Many of my memories are pleasant, and I still enjoy meeting with my parents' friends at times. For this reason, I'd like to think that this eliminates the possibility that I'm a bitter "ex" with an axe to grind. As Merton said:
"I will be a better Catholic, not if I can refute every shade of Protestantism, but if I can affirm the truth in it and still go further. So, too, with the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, etc. This does not mean syncretism, indifferentism, the vapid and careless friendliness that accepts everything by thinking of nothing. There is much that one cannot "affirm" and "accept," but first one must say "yes" where one really can. If I affirm myself as a Catholic merely by denying all that is Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., in the end I will find that there is not much left for me to affirm as a Catholic: and certainly no breath of the Spirit with which to affirm it." (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, 144)