YoungLife pushed my son to suicide

This is the story my son told me before his death at just 17yrs old. I have left it raw and emotional. The Young Life Organization is a Christian youth ministry with a special focus on public schools. In fact they are practically non existent outside of the public school system and their elaborate summer camps, usually located in very scenic and expensive areas of the US.

My son attended a public high school in Reno NV. My first knowledge of YoungLife was when he asked if he could go out with a friend that had a car. He said that he was older and a very nice person from his high school. At just 15 yrs. old I was skeptical and wanted to meet this person. A very young looking person shows up at the door and assures me he is a safe driver and that they were just going to his house to meet some friends. I assumed he was a student and lived at home. What I didnt know was that he was a YoungLife recruiter and was in college. He looked like a teenager. He concealed who he was and never identified himself or his true intentions. An adult picking up a teenager at his home in order to recruit him into a religious cult! What kind of political power does it take to have access to school children like this. High school can be hard enough without the drama of religious fundamentalism.

My son later asked me if he could go to a YoungLife meeting but did not tell me that he had already been going to them. He was missing his bus home and being driven home by YL recruiters and was told to keep it a secret. He was told that we wouldnt understand because we were not christian! He told me not to worry-that they were “nice people”. Later that year he asked if I would take him to a fund raiser for YoungLife summer camp that all his friends were going too. We went and that is where I got my first warning that something was wrong. While at the fund raiser a very sly man started talking to me. When he said to me “You know, most non-christian people wouldnt let there children come here”. I should have taken his warning!

My son begged to go to YoungLife camp at beautiful Lake Tahoe. He said all his friends were going. Please, please he begged. It was advertised as the greatest week of his life and he was excited. At first he was having a great time and loved it. On the second to last day, while his group was getting ready to start the day, the group counselor came in his cabin and told him to follow him- but did not say why.

He said that he was taken to a building he had not been to before and was told to go inside, and the counselor left him there. He went into the building and there were 5 men sitting at a table. He described them as 50+years old some with gray hair. He said he had not seen them before and that they were not part of the regular camp that he was introduced too. He was asked to sit down. One of the men said that he had heard that he was not a christian and wanted to know “why”. My son explained to them the best he could. He told them that he was there with his friends, and that he was having a great time, and that he respected and even supported YL. The men kept taking turns questioning him, and their comments kept getting darker and darker and that they even insulted his mother and family. He said that they became angry at him. That they demanded he convert to Christianity on the spot or he would not be allowed to continue camp! He tried to explain to them that he was with his friends and that he liked their camp and that he respected their religion and liked learning about Jesus, but he could not convert “just like that”. He said one of the men shouted at him, “You might as well kill yourself if you cant convert”. He was very shaken up and frightened. What YL didnt know was that he had started school a year early and was a year younger than most of his class. He was a month away from his 16th birthday. They also didnt know he had struggled with a speech impediment most of his life, and that it acted up when stressed. This group of wicked lunatics were attacking a 15yr old! Telling him he “Might as well kill himself!”, that his family was evil, and that he would never know joy and happiness.

He was told that the rest of camp was only for Christians and that he would not be allowed to continue. He was told he would have to stay in his cabin for the last 2 days of camp and that he was not to leave or talk to anyone. My son said that they gave him a bible, and he was told too “contemplate the loss of his soul and eternal hell!” He told me that they were so angry at him that they practically threw him out the door. To his surprise he found out later at the end of the day, when his friends arrived, that his friends didnt even notice that he was missing. They had already had dinner, and he was never brought food or water and ate only some granola bars and juice that his mom had put in his pack. No one came to talk to him and he was left to cry and suffer alone. Without his cell phone, that they confiscated, and without proper counseling, he was left to just suffer alone and contemplate “the loss of his soul and eternal hell” and told to “consider suicide as an option”. Just 15yrs old. Could your sensitive, loving and trusting child take this kind of abuse? From the people he trusted. From the people he had made his parents trust, and even got them to spend the money on camp. The betrayal he must have felt, the anger. Where is the teaching of Jesus?

The next day he said that when his group went for breakfast the counselor just gave him a cold stare and shut the door with him still sitting on his bed. Later that day, when he was told that his mom was there to pick him up, he was surprised again that no one seemed to even noticed that he was missing. Nobody asked him where he had been. He said that he had a strong feeling that nobody even knew that he was missing. He was demoralized, betrayed, angry, embarrassed and alone. He would not talk about it and kept it to himself.

Back at his high school the battle continued. Many of the school employees and the senior class where supporters of YL. YoungLife closed ranks against him … He became so angry and upset that he became ill and the doctor said he was suffering from stress. A perfectly healthy child with a good home, a bright future, and he was suffering from stress! YL had damaged my son. I watched it happen and could not help him. I asked him to give up YL but he continued his relationship with his YoungLife recruiter and most of his friends, but he felt lost. They had become his best friends… He wanted his friends back and didnt recognize the power YL had over them. He tried everything to be a member of YL. He told me that he had even had alcohol at his recruiters house and while playing violent video games. “Dont worry Dad” he said, “its no big deal to have a drink”. Just 16yrs old…and a family history of alcoholism. But of course YL would not know his family medical history…

I later found out that he started to fail one of his science classes that he used to love, and was excelling in, and after his death a scholarship was even given in his name for science. The school never notified us that our A student was failing a class! I also found out that his recruiter was telling him that he could not hang out at meetings or go on YoungLife field trips because he was not a christian. He wanted his friends back, he even wanted to be a member of YL again but he found no conversion and could not pretend like so many others… He also remembered what happened at camp and knew that YL was run by lunatics, but he felt enslaved by them. Emotional blackmail!

He no longer wanted to go back to school and begged to be allowed to finish high school at the junior college. I never thought that I needed to protect him from a dangerous cult authorized to be on a public school campus. I was wrong.

After Thanksgiving weekend when school had started. He showered and put on his best suit. He stole a gun from my room and loaded it with three rounds. He drove himself to the school in the truck I had bought him for being such a good boy and staying out of trouble. “He was a good son and I loved him”. He parked in the high school parking lot- texted some friends to say goodbye and then wrote on a piece of paper- “someone please call my mom”- and her phone number. He executed himself on campus during classes. Just a hundred feet from the administration building and before lunch break, and nobody heard the gunshot. His body was not found for an estimated 3-4 hours after, and by a 15 year old fellow student and friend, who told me that he was pulled away from my sons body by gun point. Surprisingly, after his school- that has its own police force- had released the students from the lock-down, and the search for him had been canceled. We had reported him missing and the stolen gun, and a description of his truck with license number; but he was already dead and waiting to be found.. He had just turned 17 yrs old. It was a bloodless murder- with the only witness dead and just a grieving father to tell his story.

There was no police or school investigation that we were ever part of! I was told that it was “just another suicide”. We never would have believed that a student could actually die on campus and that no one would even question us! The only law enforcement we ever met was a cop that came to the house to make sure that we did not leave the house!! Someone calling themselves a police detective called a couple of times during the first 48hrs, but when I went to the station I was told, and with an unsympathetic expression, that there was no detective by that name, and that my sons case had been closed. They hadnt even questioned us…

My only son. He was just an innocent teenager that enjoyed the company of nice people. My whole family is ruined. My sons life had ended and all his potential forever gone. He was a beautiful child.

How am I supposed to trust any religious organization? The public school system is just a human grocery store to YL, where they can pick and choose which children are ripest for their purpose, without pesky parents to interfere. We have been terrorized and the society and culture that we live in doesnt give a damn about it. The Young Life organizations rights seemed above the rights of our loved and wanted child. My only son was just collateral damage of their masters plan… This wasnt supposed to happen in our country. I dont see any difference here compared to whats happening around the world dominated by religious fundamentalist. Every time I hear about religious killings I think about YL and their self proclaimed right to have access to school children. Why school children? If they thought so little of the welfare of my son, I can only wonder what they must think of the family that raised him to respect all religions but to remain true to ones own soul.

It was said of my son after his death that, “He was the kind of person nobody hated”. Most disturbing to me, it was said that “He died for his school”! I am crushed.

After my sons death, the school told his fellow students, that were desperately asking “why”, that my son chose to end his life on his high school campus because it was where he felt safe! The lies we tell ourselves and each other…

I had many conversations with my son about YL. You the reader must understand that I have stayed true to his story and have much more to say-but there are few people brave enough to listen.

There is no God and I am his prophet. -MD


152 thoughts on “YoungLife pushed my son to suicide

  1. S2F- How old were you when you joined YL in middle school? Did you really think that you could comment here and set the record straight? It is my opinion that you suffer from Cult Syndrome and have made yourself believe that ALL of Young Life is as if you wished it to be. The truth is that you do not know any more about Young life INC. even in your area, other than your well controlled and well groomed personal experience and neither do your “leaders”. You have all been deceived.

    Young Lifes whole purpose is to make contact with minor children at their public schools without a parent or guardian present, and you do it with the covert intention of religiously converting the kids without parental approval or involvement! It is child stealing! YL is not about having a party or being the hostess with the mostest. YL is about deception, bribery and kidnapping on an international and corporate level! Young Life INC. is ransacking our public schools for child slaves and ransom! The Bible clearly states that you will be judged on your own merit and not by the actions of others (YL), so there is always hope. Take care. -MD

    Definition of recruiter is: To seek out and engage (persons), as for work or military service… Sounds like YL to me.

  2. Hey I joined YL in middle school and high school because I wanted to and this isn’t anything like what I have seen from my area/state. I would recommend contacting other areas to report your area because that is not what this organization is about at all. I am a leader now or as you said “recruiter” which isn’t correct because we invite kids to come have fun not to join a cult. If they don’t believe where I’m from it’s totally okay and we want them to voice their opinions. I’m extremely sorry about your son and I wish things wouldn’t have happened this way for you and your family.

  3. Preston- I imagine that “Would you like to NOT burn in hell for eternity, than join our cult and save yourself!” doesnt work as well with children either. Instead its like, “Lets play a game kids…who does NOT want to burn in hell for eternity? Than submit to our lord and our self proclaimed prophets so you do not suffer the same fate as the rest of your hell-bound family!”

    These people are extremely dangerous and put the success, safety and pride of their organization above the needs of the children and their families. Young Life INC is on a mission from God and will not be stopped by us lesser minions. How much money and political power must it take to get exclusive rights to other peoples children at their public schools? We dont see any other competing religious recruiters in our public schools. Why is that so? Does anyone out there believe that we could just ask them to leave are children alone or that we could have a PTA meeting and ask to have them removed from campus? Try it and you will see what the children see at school…the true face of Young Life INC.

    The government could shut down Young Life INC for their many flagrant violations of the rules of engagement or for the very fact that enforcing those rules is not realistically possible! -MD

  4. Yes, they have learned that approaching people with “Would you like to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior?” doesn’t work.

  5. Preston-

    Your story should concern every parent. The fact that your daughter was convinced that it had nothing to do with Jesus is the type of “omissions” that are deception in my opinion.

  6. abby- You say that you were drifting away from the Lord when you started high school! You were or are just a child! Crucifixions, death, the wrath of God, eternal hell, Satan and the end of the world are the last things that you should of had to deal with at school! I am going to tell you abby that you are not safe! You are being kept and manipulated by evil old men and their eunuchs while your youth and chances for an independent life and a well balanced education are diminishing! I am sorry for you. RUN! -MD

  7. I’m sorry about your experience with YoungLife and I’m sorry about what happened to your family, but not all of the organization’s are like this. I have been a Christian all of my life and I was drifting farther away from the Lord when I started high school. My older sister was a member of YoungLife so I thought I would check it out. I went and Immediately my young life leader made me feel accepted. The leaders I have in my organization would do anything for me, and they already have. I have been to camps, which my leaders helped me pay for, and all I have experienced is a fun trip where I can grow closed to Jesus. My leaders give me rides, buy me food, and love me. The young life I participate in is a safe haven for all. I get that that was not your experience, but don’t swear off the whole organization because that is not true for all.

  8. This is a portion of poem written by the family of a fallen student at Kent State University on May 4th 1970. The first school shooting I can remember happening in my lifetime and it was done by our own military. Maybe Kent State is where all the shootings started? It was written 41 years after the event when the government finally released the audio recordings from the shootings, and the government coverup, finally proving the families right, that their children were murdered on campus in broad daylight and in front of hundreds of witnesses, and this truth is the only justice even to this day that has ever happened. Truth Matters. I feel their pain.

    The government denied
    orders to fire were isolated, heard and verified
    orders of Guard, Prepare to Fire
    orders of Alright, Guard, Fiii-
    with the last word of the deadly order stepped on
    by a barrage of 67 shots over 13 seconds

    At unarmed students changing classes at noon
    At unarmed students more than a football field away
    At unarmed students rallying against the Vietnam War
    At unarmed students rallying against the military occupation of their campus
    in a battle where American dissent was also slaughtered

    WOW- that got my PTSD going again. I just cant stop crying. I miss my son so much, he was a good boy that never wanted to hurt anyone… “He died for our school” was written on the wall of his school after his death by students…and nobody even cared to find out why…I am crushed.

    I guess “they” have figured it out that it is just as “effective” and much less trouble to kill students (dissidents) one at a time…yea I said it. So what, maybe it needed to be said for the sake of the victims. We fret and worry endlessly about what is happening in our public schools and come up with countless exaggerated and complicated theories. Maybe the answer is very simple and closer to home than we as a country will admit to ourselves. We are killing our own children and we must stop now!!! -MD

    Oh, throw down your plow and hoe
    Rest not to lock your homes
    Side by side we wait the might
    Of the darkest of them all, oh…
    The pain of war cannot exceed
    The woe of aftermath
    The drums will shake the castle walls
    The ring wraiths ride in black, ride on
    Sing as you raise your bow, ride on
    Shoot straighter than before…

    (Led Zeppelin- The Battle of Evermore)

  9. A local high school had another shooting this month. A 14 yr old brought what looks like his mothers kitchen knives to school to confront his bullies. He was shot down on campus by the school police and is in critical condition. No pepper spray, no stun gun, no police dog…just a skinny looking 14yr old kid shot down on campus brandishing his mothers kitchen knife at his bullies and tormentors. I read recently in the news that police subdued a dangers felon with bean bag guns. I wonder why the school police force that has been in uncontested power at this high school for more then 10 years never thought of that???

    Dont look like much has changed around here over the years. News says the school did not even call the city police until after the shooting and that children were taken to interrogation off campus without parental knowledge or legal support! Witnesses are saying the victim had been bullied at school and that he is a great kid and that “the high school knew about the impending violence” but stood by and let it take place…does not sound like the police were hired at the school to protect the children to me! I remember when the high school police were first hired at my sons school and parents were told it was necessary to protect the YLROTC Armory and Rifle Range that is on campus…so basically to protect “themselves”. Counselors and police with assault rifles are on scene.

    I know it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy knowing someone with a gun is ready too kill any perceived threat or insult too authority on our public school campuses but this is just wrong. I remember knives happening behind the buildings at school. Not much usually happened and all involved were usually satisfied with their personal show of bravery. NOW when our young sons that we raise to be brave and stand up to bullies defend themselves at school…death! The “bullies” of course know this and push our children closer to the edge of destruction every day.

    We are told that an armed policeman on campus is for our kids protection. We are told that the police acted “flawlessly”. Really? Maybe it was “flawless”. This policeman used the resources and training he was given to control the situation. The question is: Why was the use of lethal force the ONLY resource and training he was given and why are school police operating under the same rules as city police? I wonder if he was even drug tested after the shooting? This policeman knew all along that he was as likely to kill a student as kill any outside threat on any day he came to work! How could such a “menacing deadly force” ever be considered a “friendly protector” on campus??? We are killing our own children!!!

    I got an idea that is brilliant!!! Why dont we turn the campus police office into a place like a “School Ombudsman Office” where kids, parents, teachers and even bullies could go to get real, authoritative timely help and protection against violence and unfairness at all levels and against all offenders no matter who or what position or authority? Instead of like our school administrators and “student counselors”, that hide themselves from the obvious so that business and careers can continue on as usual…Nevada public schools rank last in the nation for education and child welfare for 2016… Nobody wants to listens to my eccentric rants. -MD

  10. Thanks Preston and good luck. -MD

    PARENTS BEWARE: Young Life has years of experience stealing children, invalidating parents, and intimidating and manipulating schools! YL is on a mission from God to convert the children of non-believers behind their parents backs and regardless of the parents wishes and pleas and will not be stopped by us lesser minions! Parents often dont even know if Young Life is already in their public school, or if their children are already involved with them or if Young Life has already been in their home and knows who they are…or parents buy the “we just want to show kids that Jesus loves them” story and think “my kid could use some love…” so allow YL without much thought. It is a tragedy. Do you really want your grownup kids hanging out at their old high school preaching the end of the world??? Young Life is a religious cult operating in near secrecy in our public high schools and lower grade schools with a “Hey, God tells me to do it” and “who do you think you are to disagree with God…” attitude that is toxic and dangerous to the public education system, children and families! RRRUUUNNN!!! -MD

  11. Thanks for the link to your blog, MD. There are no words except that I am profoundly sorry. I have two children, and I cannot imagine losing either. I’ll briefly share my story: One of the most terrifying experiences I had raising my first daughter was when she came home from HS (11th grade) and said she had a new “friend”, they had met for coffee, and my daughter wanted to go to these “after school get-togethers” her new friend had invited her to. After pressing her I discovered that her new “friend” was a college Junior who hung around the HS recruiting kids for this thing called Young Life. I sensed immediately what was going on, and it scared me to death. I googled “young life cult” (got lots of hits, too) and read up on it. Thanks to the amazing efforts of christianagnostic I found the “Is Young Life A Cult” blog. That was enough for me. But it took a few hours of anxious talking to convince my daughter. At first she was mystified. “No, dad, it has nothing to do with Jesus. My friend told me how they just get together and do plays and eat and have fun.” So right off the bat she was being lied to, by omission. The most chilling comment from her friend was “You HAVE to come up to our mountain camp this summer for a week! It’s so much fun!” She’s inviting a high schooler she’s just met to the mountains for a week? Anyway, I managed to open my daughter’s eyes to this girl, who continued emailing and texting for at least another year. (BTW, one of the first things I did when I got this girl’s name was find her on FB and friend her. Needless to say she never accepted.) I have proudly raised both of my daughters to be freethinkers, and I have been to their schools on occasion to confront flagrant breaches of the separation of church and state. It enrages me that someone like my daughter, or your son, could be drawn into this cult by the lure of friendship and camaraderie, only to be ostracized later for not giving in to their religious demands. It could have happened to my daughter. Again, I am deeply sorry for your loss. You seem like a good guy, which accords with a sticker I have from the American Humanist Association: Good Without God. I’ll end with one of my favorite sayings: God loves kind atheists more than he does hateful Christians. All the best to you.

  12. Walking side by side with death
    The Devil mocks their every step
    The snow drives back the foot that’s slow
    The dogs of doom are howling more
    They carry news that must get through
    To build a dream for me and you
    They choose the path where no-one goes
    They hold no quarter they ask no quarter
    The pain, the pain without quarter
    They hold no quarter they ask no quarter
    (Led Zeppelin -No Quarter)

    Signing out for awhile. This is the hardest time of year for me and I am injured and not feeling well. Take Care, I will be back. -Mechanicdude

  13. John- I am sad to say very serious. YOUNG LIFE INC is huge and are involved at all levels of our public education system as well as youth military training like the ROTC that I call YLROTC. Their last president and CEO just retired this year, maybe he saw the writing on the wall, and was mostly the cause of their rapid expansion and gains in wealth and political power. 9-11 helped them as well…

    It is my observation that YOUNG LIFE INC is run like a pyramid scheme where the bottom is constantly supported by fresh and energetic new recruits (our kids), while those at the top get richer and richer and can eventually become “millionaire prophets” with ready made worshipers, child slaves and elaborate retreats to enjoy everywhere.

    PARENTS BEWARE: I read that recently YL is requiring their members to sign a “PRIVACY AGREEMENTS” that makes YL virtually a “SECRET ORGANIZATION” operating within our public school system as “INDIVIDUAL VOLUNTEERS”! It is becoming harder for a parent to find out if YOUNG LIFE INC is evangelizing on their kids public school campus, and if they are, there is practically nothing a parent can do to protect their child from them! YOUNG LIFES WHOLE PURPOSE IS TO MAKE CONTACT WITH YOUR CHILD ON “THEIR TERMS” AND WITHOUT A PARENT OR GUARDIAN PRESENT!!! Do you want your adult children hanging out at their old high school preaching the end of the world??? Please read my comments and check out Thank you for your time. -MD

  14. John- Glad to see you have a pulse. The story told here is why this blog is rated X. I dont want kids reading it if it can be avoided, kind of like the bible should be. Most of the time I just get hate mail and comments I wont post for a variety of reasons. The comments have become a little fragmented for this reason. I really dont have a clue how to do this blog stuff and am still learning proper blog etiquette. -MD

  15. WC- Are you kidding me? No, I will not have private conversations with you offline. It sounds like something a child predator would ask a 15yr old when they did not want the conversation monitored by the parents!!! You know if you spent more of your time with families instead of with just “their children” you might have been able to anticipate my response to your words better.

    As a parent and tax payer the last thing I want to see is a grown man volunteering to help out on campus, that talks to an imaginary god and whose true purpose is to convert other peoples children behind their parents backs to his own superstitions and fears. It is just wrong on too many levels and the end result is that it distracts kids from there studies, keeps them from really solving their problems and usurps the parental authority that is the natural given right for a parent to determine how a child is to be raised!


    You on the other hand seem to think you are privileged to do this and justify it without ever realizing that you are no more than a pawn of Young Lifes “millionaire prophets” ransacking our public schools for child slaves and ransom!!! I am out numbered tens of thousands to one in my battle against YOUNG LIFE INC. and I am not afraid. Your mind games have no affect on me and I bravely await Young Lifes assassins!

    I am part of a long ago race of men that the conquerors found could not be converted and enslaved. Entrenched on the battlefield of evermore. -MD

    -Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
    It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.-
    Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

  16. WC- Sorry about your Dads murder and hope they catch who did it someday. You are right when you said that you could not imagine my pain or you never would have said that you hoped I had healed with time. An amputation does not “heal” one just learns to compensate for the loss. I will not post your comment because it is too defensive of Young Life and they already have a team of high powered lawyers working overtime on that. Your comments are just mostly Young Life propaganda and if you did have anything worth saying then maybe it would get posted here.

    Why do you need Young Life to mentor kids? Why does Jesus need Young Life? You have missed the point I have been making from the beginning and that is that Young Life is corrupted from the top down. I am already painfully aware that many good and innocent people work for “YOUNG LIFE INC”.

    You are talking with a parent that was never informed of YLs intentions toward my son by his Young Life recruiter or his school. My son was being mentored by me, I am his Father, but YL swooped down on him like birds of prey because he fit your companys demographics of an atheist child in a public school without any regard for how it might affect him or his family!!!

    Why is your Jesus so insecure and desperate? Is your god really going to burn the souls of the little children, that are not chanting his name and following his self appointed leaders, in hell for eternity??? Screw your god! Surely even you can see that your mission is technically hopeless, as well as, you can not possibly save the children using Young Lifes “system”, when your own leaders have gone mad. THE SOUL IS NOT A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY OR AN EMPTY VESSEL WAITING TO BE FILLED WITH YLs BS! You have all made god into your own image and your organization should be ashamed at themselves for even trying to justify and isolate what happened to my son! Take care -MD

  17. From Em Sept. 7/16.

    “[…] From the beginning, at my first club after school one day, i was told that my leaders were not here to force religion on me, but rather share what they believed to be true.”

    Zoe asks: Do you believe what they believe is true Em?

    Em: “There is no shame for having different beliefs for God loves us all the same, regardless. I was unsure of the whole story, i had always only gone to God in times of desperation, like when i had a big test.”

    Zoe responds: Em, what does Young Life teach about the afterlife? As well what do you mean by “the whole story”?

    Em: “Young Life made me feel valued and accepted in a society where it is hard to fit in.”

    Zoe: I was wondering where the notion that you live “in a society where it is hard to fit in” came from?

    Em: “The camp and people you are described completely abhor me and i would like to apologize on their behalf.”

    Zoe: I think you speak with a young heart who cares Em. I would caution you however, not to take on bearing the sins/behaviours/actions/and spiritual abuse of those among you. You should not “apologize on their behalf.” It’s not for you to do so Em. It’s like part of you is owning their behaviour and abuse. Those people should abhor you but you cannot apologize for them.

    Em: “Religion is not something we can ever, or should ever force on someone.”

    Zoe: I’d agree. But as an evangelical (guessing you are one – correct me if I’m wrong) you are out there sharing what others have told you is the gospel and you in turn are sharing that gospel with others (young people). Your intentions might not be forceful but to a young mind who is vulnerable maybe because they think the world is bad and the after-life is full of fire, being presented with two options, heaven or hell . . . well which would most of us pick? You see, your God-belief provides one or the other . . . and that message is forceful.

    Em: “I will pray for your son, . . .”

    Zoe asks: Why Em? MD’s son has died. Why are you praying for him?

    Em: ” . . . and for this group of people who exiled him that they may one day truly know the Lord in all his glory because this group clearly does not.”

    Zoe: So often I come across this kind of thought and statement within the Christian context. It amazes me that some Christians can so easily say that other Christians “clearly” do not “know the Lord.” I often think, who died and made you God that you can speak with such authority and or supposed knowledge about you is and is not a Christian? I suspect that these people consider themselves every bit a Christian as you do. Yet, interestingly enough, they in turn might think you don’t know the Lord at all either. There are so many sects within Christianity all claiming exclusivity. All claiming to know Christ. All preaching the gospel. All Bible believing. And yet, they are so different in so many ways and each claiming to be the one true church. And each claiming the other is not.

    Em: “I am so so incredibly sorry for your loss and i hope your family can find peace in what has happened.”

    Zoe: I believe you are sorry Em. Finding “peace” . . . I can’t imagine what that would look like to you Em. I’d find peace if young people like you regardless of what you believe have the courage to walk away when they find they are part of a system of belief that uses their belief to abuse anyone and scare them to death.

  18. YOUNG LIFE VOLUNTEERS BEWARE!!! According to an article in- Athletic Business online -Young Life was able to deny a volunteer, who was severely injured from a rope course fall, ANY of his legal claim for compensation using an obscure “CHARITABLE IMMUNITY CLAUSE”. Allowing “YOUNG LIFE INC” immunity from prosecution even though they were obviously negligent! The volunteer is crippled for life!!! No wonder YL has such a calloused disregard for the safety of “their kids”. What other summer camp organization has an annual statistical death rate??? Convert them all and let God sort them out… Maybe YL had a fund raiser and prayed for him, maybe he was told Jesus would take care of him and that he would find peace some day?

    Imagine being a young teen volunteer, injured and suffering by no fault of your own and having to take “YOUNG LIFE INC” to court for compensation for your injuries! Imagine getting NOTHING for your injuries and being put out on the street like yesterdays garbage! Maybe he was just one of YLs many orphans that they keep as slave labor or he was estranged from his family at the time because of his involvement in YL and is now destitute or maybe his family was just too poor and could not afford the kind of lawyer it would take to bring “YOUNG LIFE INC” to justice? I wonder if he was also threatened with a law suit against himself if he talked about the court proceedings? I wonder if the victim thinks it was even an accident at all…read the article yourself and decide.

    I personally am appalled at the fact that an organization like “YOUNG LIFE INC” could even be allowed to claim a “Charitable Immunity Clause” when the only charity they are involved in is stuffing their own pockets with tax free cash, luring children into their expensive summer camps and their own fund raising used for building elaborate retreats for themselves with dune buggy races, swimming pools and death defying rides!!! Its not like this volunteer fell out of a relief truck while trying to feed the starving. How can anyone believe that this is what Jesus was teaching? Young Life is an abominable example of christian charity but is a perfect example of the kind of organization Jesus preached against like merchants in the temples. HOW MUCH “MONEY AND POLITICAL POWER” MUST THEY HAVE TO PERVERT THE LAWS OF THE LAND LIKE THIS???

    How arrogant Young Life is to try to pretend that they are a blessing to humanity or even a necessary part of society when they are no more than domestic terrorist kidnapping childrens souls on public school campuses for slavery and ransom!!! “YOUNG LIFE INC” IS THE INVENTION OF BUSINESSMEN, CHILD SLAVERS AND CHRISTIAN WAR LORDS!!! I have a hard time understanding how this could ever have been allowed to happen…most new parents dont have a clue and have never been warned…the sudden shock and surprise always works in YLs favor just like any predator.

    I am warning all you innocent volunteers…and parents. THIS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!!! Young Life believes that they are on a mission from God to convert the children of non-believers regardless of the parents approval, and uses our public schools for this very purpose! YL does not give a damn about us lesser minions that get in their way or anyone or anything but themselves! YOUNG LIFE TOLD MY YOUNG SON THAT HE SHOULD KILL HIMSELF IF HE COULD NOT CONVERT TO THEIR SICK AND SELFISH PHILOSOPHY AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THIS WORLD STOPPING THEM FROM DOING THE SAME TO YOU OR YOUR CHILD!!! RRRUUUNNN!!! RRRUUUNNN!!! RRRUUUNNN!!! -MD

  19. Em- Glad you had a nice experience with YL. You are young and still believe in happy endings, that is OK. Imagine what you might know in another 18yrs or 36yrs. It was nice of you to tell me that “there is no shame” for being an atheist that believes Jesus died…end of story. There is no shame in being christian either. You do understand that your comment that God loves us all regardless of our beliefs is directly against Young Lifes philosophy! Unless you meant it as God loves us until we decide not to convert, then we are dead meat! This blog is rated XXX, “Word Presses most severe rating”, so I assume you are a young adult so I am going to tell you what I think.

    Your “leaders” have deceived you. If your religious beliefs were true your God would be the most Evil thing ever, the most Cruel and Feared force in the known universe. A God that actually condemns the greater mass of His own Human Creation to burn in Hell for Eternity just for His own satisfaction!!! Have you even read the bible yourself?

    YOU ARE A YOUNG KID BEING EXPLOITED AND MANIPULATED BY YOUNG LIFE, AND ARE BEING USED TO LURE OTHER PEOPLES CHILDREN AWAY FROM HOME SO THEY CAN BE DECEIVED, EXPLOITED AND MANIPULATED LIKE YOURSELF! I feel so sorry for you, and am sorry that your government controlled public school allowed this to happen to you. It is a tragedy and should be a crime.

    Like it or not you are full of make-believe, and superstition mixed with a little naive cruelty. It must be nice to believe that you are saved from the fate of non-believers. Maybe it helps you to feel special, I dont know. Time will tell just how saved you are. Young Lifes purpose in our public schools is to control kids and teachers with fear and ignorance…and unfortunately you are part of it. Just say no and walk away. You had better pray that one of your own children does not piss off a God like this someday! Take care. -MD

  20. i am so sorry for what you and your family have gone through. I am a senior in high school and have been avidly involved in Young Life since my freshman year. I have gone to camp twice and am a leader for the middle school version we have. I am not sure where you are from but i am from northern Virginia where my experience with Young Life has been the complete opposite of this. From the beginning, at my first club after school one day, i was told that my leaders were not here to force religion on me, but rather share what they believed to be true. There is no shame for having different beliefs for God loves us all the same, regardless. I was unsure of the whole story, i had always only gone to God in times of desperation, like when i had a big test. Young Life made me feel valued and accepted in a society where it is hard to fit in. The camp and people you are described completely abhor me and i would like to apologize on their behalf. Religion is not something we can ever, or should ever force on someone. I will pray for your son, and for this group of people who exiled him that they may one day truly know the Lord in all his glory because this group clearly does not. I am so so incredibly sorry for your loss and i hope your family can find peace in what has happened.

  21. Zoe- The brutal honesty is that the world for the most part is brutal, with our fellow man benefiting from our own demise. I never felt I had any answers. I have a dead son and a story he told me himself. Not much to work with…

    Few people have thought as long and hard on how to get Young Life out of our public school system as I have, where I believe YL never belonged and should never have been given access to so many “other peoples children”. My hope is in people like yourself. People that have inside knowledge and sane reasoning. I believe it is possible to free our kids from having to submit to the will of religious fanatics at their public schools, but we need people who understand how to unwind the system and guard us from it ever happening again. We need people like you. – MD

  22. I agree MD. Live. Stay.

    I did see that recent story. I wondered if you had seen it too. I think there are many stories not told. Those who do, like you, I know even if it helps one person to ask questions and stay alert, the telling of your story helps. It takes courage to tell but I know it doesn’t feel necessarily like courage. So often in the telling, resistance comes and people defend their interests. You know this only all too well.

    One of the recurring talks I have in therapy is my wishing I did not feel universal pain. But you know, it’s been there since day 1. I’m worn down by it. It exists even when I’m not aware of it and I have to use energy I don’t have to carve out pockets of joy and let myself smile and laugh.

    “Brutally honest” are words that have been used to describe my character. But there came a time when I realized people were meaning it in a bad way. I never thought of honesty as being brutal. I never intended to brutalize anyone with my honesty. I thought we were suppose to tell the truth.

    Thank you MD for this dialogue.

  23. Zoe- Live, stay, to be ourselves is all that we can do. We set the example for all those people soon to be where we are. The latest school suicide in the news is heartbreaking. It is scary to think that we wouldnt even know about it if it wasnt for the family and victim sharing their story, as I hope I have done here on my blog.

    People need to feel the universal pain, anger and sadness, and not just the desire for personal happiness and wealth above all else…usually at the expense of others. The pain belongs to all of us, not just the unlucky, and we need to know it and feel it. I dont have to read much of the news to see that joy and compassion are in short supply. I sometimes wonder if it has always been this way and that we are just seeing it more often because of modern technology. Religion today is hopelessly shipwrecked. What a comedy of errors! I think people can do better but we have to try harder.

    I am sorry to hear that your loved ones are in danger of suicide, I dont have the answers other than to say that brutal honesty brings me the most comfort and satisfaction, but that may not be for everyone. I love to remind myself that no matter what a person makes themselves believe and no matter how many others agree with them that it does not amount to anything if it is not true. -MD

  24. I think those who tell us to “get over it” are insensitive. They also have probably not lived with your experience. Until they do, how can they possibly understand? (Asking the question of them, not you.) Life does goes on but for many it doesn’t feel like life. I think it is possible to continue living and still not “get over it.” But I base that fact on the fact that I’m still here living though the majority of time it doesn’t feel like it. I think my tears, your tears, are an example of “feeling” and it is a good thing. It’s when we go numb that I get concerned. The burden . . . the weight. I’m 60 now MD and finally I have a desire to stay. Before in my life I had to fight to stay. Now I want to stay. The topic of suicide and death has been with me well sometimes I think from utero, but certainly from an early age. I have not lost a child to suicide. I have lost a family member and I grew up in a home where I expected that at any time 3 of my immediate family might take their own life. Every day there is a chance that one of them still will.

    In therapy I often chastise my own self. Look those 3 people are still here. Get over it. But that attitude negates what all those years of fear did to me. When someone tells us, including our own voices, to get over it, it’s because they don’t realize that we don’t have to get over it in order to continue living. And the one thing that was always pushed down inside for me was my own anger at the situation and the people in my life. I wasn’t suppose to acknowledge my anger. Christianity helped me do that too. Pushed it deep. Recently someone asked me if it helped me to be angry. I said “Yes!” I told her that being angry, saying so, helped me give voice, process it, and that then I could move on. This idea that our anger is to be hidden at all costs is in itself deadly. I think it slowly erodes all that can be good in us. The difficulty is in finding a way to deal with it that doesn’t cause self-harm. Or for me, that has been my difficulty in the past.

    One of the things that helped me was when one day I realized I don’t have to “get over it.” And that I will die with unresolved grief, mourning and sadness AND that that is okay. It’s not failure, it’s my human experience. For me, it was coming to a place of acceptance that I can live with.

    I hope for the best for you too MD. Thank you for allowing me to share my own pain. I hope it does not come across as selfish on my part and only to come alongside of you and say, I get it and hopefully in one small measure lift a fraction of that pain you carry, if only for a millisecond.

  25. Zoe- No worries. I am going to recommend another Audioslave song: BE YOURSELF. Its on youtube.

    I am nervous to tell you but I believe that I personally am beyond “help”, but in a good way. “They” tell me I am supposed to get over it, to get on with my life. It is never going to be. I consider myself a man on fire…please dont take the things I say too personally…now I am crying. Whenever a person comes here and allows themselves to feel my pain…I can feel them also…

    I hope the best for you.Thank You, for all that you have done for me. -MD

  26. Zoe- Hi, you can quote me anytime. It is a tragedy that this evangelism has penetrated the public school system. It should bring us all to tears.

    It is very hard for me to admit this and even harder for me to say it, but I believe my son was pushed to suicide by his public school environment because he was a non-believer (atheist). I am crushed…nobody warned me. If I had known that raising my son as a non-believer was going to cause him to be persecuted at his public school I would have raised him different to save his life…he never had a chance. I was made to believe that this couldnt happen at a public high school. NOBODY WARNED ME! So now I warn others.


  27. Sometimes I want to ask you to forgive me MD. Probably because I can’t forgive myself. Or I have forgiven but live with a crushed spirit myself for my own part in youth ministry and raising our children in the church. I feel guilty by association. Not only that but in the public school where our children once attended I certainly was a supportive person on the Home & School executive who encouraged a Christian club be allowed to come into the school. And I wonder, eternally it seems, who was harmed by the message?

    I worry about you MD. I hope you have help? Counselling? I hope in your blogging and even in mine that we’ve helped someone along the way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s