No one in my Sunday School nor my parents knew about the abuse. I guarded closely the secret. Groomed by the abuser into a resistless, willing victim, I was seduced to hide the relationship. I accepted that it was normal and liked the attention that came along with it, not perceiving it as wrong.
All evidence of the problem hid amongst typical adolescent angst. For example, any teenager might have exhibited a resistance to going to Sunday School. I sure did. But my parents left me no wiggle room. They insisted on my regular attendance.
I have no doubt that teaching me was a trial that stretched my teachers' patience. I remember alternating from a vague interest in the subjects to wanting to sleep through the classes. The teachers, however, would have none of it, lovingly, firmly, persistently insisting that I read scriptural texts out loud, if that would help keep me alert and engaged. I gained a familiarity with the vocabulary and flow of scripture that has had enormous value ever since.
Sunday School also engaged me to consider the Science of Christianity that led me out of the abuse. Christian Science, its explanation and practice, teaches that God as divine Mind has endowed everyone with inalienable rights. Under the marginal heading of "Proper self-government" Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures states, "Like our nation, Christian Science has its Declaration of Independence. God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love." (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 106)
A moment arrived when I couldn't abide any influence less than good. Spirituality and goodness lifted me up and out of the mess. I was fifteen years old when I suddenly awakened from the mental fog that surrounded the abuse, and stopped it cold. I no longer remember the specifics of that awakening, but I can say that one day I felt empowered to end it.
Parents, please note: While we can't always know, at every moment, what our children and teens are going through, we can provide the tools for proper-self government that will guide them to safety. Your local Christian Science Sunday School is equipped and ready to help you help your children know God and hence to know themselves spiritually as strong, alert, safe and pure.
Sunday School teachers: You have a sacred role in protecting the children in your care. It isn't only by personal knowledge of what they are going through, but as Paul explains in a letter to the Corinthians, "by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left," that your pupils discover their true spirituality, strength and goodness. (See 2 Corinthians, Chapter 6)
Sunday School saves lives. It is a community resource to be cherished and supported. Sunday School ensures the safety and progress of children.
Information and help finding a Christian Science Sunday School near you.