How can siblings grow up experiencing life so differently? I have four older siblings, but two of them (brothers, both) claim that my memories and attitude towards our childhood are off-balance. They remain loyal to the Followers, though they have been out of the church more than ten years.
So, I’d like to know what it is that I get so wrong. Like some of my anonymous critics, they have no examples. It’s more of a feeling. One of my brothers says, “It was a great way to grow up. We were safe and protected. There are a lot of good things about that church.”
Yep, there are a lot of good things about the Followers. Of course there are. And there are mostly well meaning people in that church body. But my experiences were much different than my brothers’.
What if two young men were born in a palace, one a prince and the other a servant? Would these two men have different experiences, memories, and feelings about their childhoods? I say yes. We were raised in an incredibly sexist environment, where it was much easier and better to be male. Men/boys have more worth, their opinions mean more, and they can get away with much more. They do all the asking (for dates and marriage), they make all the decisions.
That’s not really the point – not the whole point. I also feel loyalty towards the Followers. I feel a sense of responsibility to them, to come out and tell the truth. Just get it out there and let insiders and outsiders make their own conclusions.
It's dangerous to take Bible verses out of context. The Bible consists of 66 books and you can bend it to mean anything you choose by taking a few words out of context of the entire work. I believe the legalism to which Follower men are so concerned about when they question other churches who may/may not have women praying in church comes from a letter to the Corinthians 1:Cor 11:13. This specific group was arguing over the old (Jewish) tradition of women wearing hats in church and the gentiles who did not. Paul concluded that women should have long hair as a covering when they pray - certainly not that women shouldn't pray.
Here's something to consider (there are many more examples I can provide to you about the roles women played in churches. Ever heard of Phoebe? A woman minister, whom Paul commends [Rom 16:1]):
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" - Acts 2:17
To cut women out of participation in spiritual matters is only a good idea if you want your women to conclude that, "if religion doesn't include me, it must not apply to me."