What’s the stupidest thing you used to believe whole-heartedly?
I am truly ashamed of this. My only excuse is that I had a very conservative religious upbringing. I am very sorry that I ever believed this.
The stupidest thing I ever believed whole-heartedly was that homosexuality, and homosexuals by extension, was an abomination. I remember one day when a Forest Service coworker and I were driving home from the woods and he was trying to rationalize with me about my religion. He asked me what the JWs believed about homosexuality, and I told him that they were sinners, and that if I saw two men walking down the street holding hands, I would cross to the other side in disgust. So what changed?
Well, after I left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I realized that I had to basically develop my personal beliefs from square one. No one was hanging over my shoulder, and so I could rely on personal observation and start to believe what actually felt true. Within a few months of leaving the religion, I rented an apartment with my then best friend and a friend of hers who had actually been a guy she’d dated briefly. My BF, Jenny*, worked for a large grocery store chain and started spending a lot of time with Tonya, the manager of the produce department.
Jenny made no secret of the fact that Tonya was a lesbian. Like I said, I was without a doctrine and just went with the flow. Over the next month or so, Jenny stopped sleeping at our apartment. Eventually, our other room-mate and I asked her if she was coming back, and she said she and Tonya were together and were moving in with each other. Because she was my best friend, I wanted her to be happy and I saw that Tonya was a good person. So I let go of the prejudice I’d had.
I think it really was that simple (and that hard). I had to have the slate cleared of what I’d been told by those “Christians” who’d taught me, and I saw that gay people were…people. Just folks. Who they loved wasn’t an issue. It really didn’t matter. Eventually, I evolved my current belief that the world needs more love, and it’s beyond ludicrous to say that a form of love is not acceptable.