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7 Bumps

Religion and Suicide – Is the message abuse survivors receive the one they need? adult content

While the world was talking about AZ, Bill Zellers took his own life. He left a note, which has been published by tech media to keep the message alive. It's too long for one question, I'm putting part here and part in P&CE. It's definitely worth reading the whole thing, I only have the parts relevant to the questions copied in. If you aren't going to read the whole thing - he ended it all after spending his life as a sexual abuse survivor - abuse that began as a toddler and had life-long medical and emotional impact. The end of his letter:

I'd also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they're dead-one with less hatred and intolerance.

If you're unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week.

They live in a black and white reality they've constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don't understand that good and decent people exist all around us, "saved" or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their church. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.

A random example:

"I am personally convinced that if a Muslim truly believes and obeys the Koran, he will be a terrorist." - George Zeller, August 24, 2010.

If you choose to follow a religion where, for example, devout Catholics who are trying to be good people are all going to Hell but child molestors go to Heaven (as long as they were "saved" at some point), that's your choice, but it's fucked up. Maybe a God who operates by those rules does exist. If so, fuck Him.

Their church was always more important than the members of their family and they happily sacrificed whatever necessary in order to satisfy their contrived beliefs about who they should be.

I grew up in a house where love was proxied through a God I could never believe in. A house where the love of music with any sort of a beat was literally beaten out of me. A house full of hatred and intolerance, run by two people who were experts at appearing kind and warm when others were around. Parents who tell an eight year old that his grandmother is going to Hell because she's Catholic. Parents who claim not to be racist but then talk about the horrors of miscegenation. I could list hundreds of other examples, but it's tiring.

Since being kicked out, I've interacted with them in relatively normal ways. I talk to them on the phone like nothing happened. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I like pretending I have a family. Maybe I like having people I can talk to about what's been going on in my life. Whatever the reason, it's not real and it feels like a sham. I should have never allowed this reconnection to happen.

I wrote the above a while ago, and I do feel like that much of the time. At other times, though, I feel less hateful. I know my parents honestly believe the crap they believe in. I know that my mom, at least, loved me very much and tried her best. One reason I put this off for so long is because I know how much pain it will cause her. She has been sad since she found out I wasn't "saved", since she believes I'm going to Hell, which is not a sadness for which I am responsible. That was never going to change, and presumably she believes the state of my physical body is much less important than the state of my soul. Still, I cannot intellectually justify this decision, knowing how much it will hurt her. Maybe my ability to take my own life, knowing how much pain it will cause, shows that I am a monster who doesn't deserve to live. All I know is that I can't deal with this pain any longer and I'm am truly sorry I couldn't wait until my family and everyone I knew died so this could be done without hurting anyone. For years I've wished that I'd be hit by a bus or die while saving a baby from drowning so my death might be more acceptable, but I was never so lucky.


To those of you who have shown me love, thank you for putting up with all my shittiness and moodiness and arbitrariness. I was never the person I wanted to be. Maybe without the darkness I would have been a better person, maybe not. I did try to be a good person, but I realize I never got very far.

I'm sorry for the pain this causes. I really do wish I had another option. I hope this letter explains why I needed to do this. If you can't understand this decision, I hope you can at least forgive me.


Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 11:23 AM on Jan. 20, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (58)
  • It would help if you posted something telling us what the message they receive is.

    Answer by CraftingMama at 11:26 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • That poor man.

    Answer by TARARENEE at 11:27 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • It would help if you posted something telling us what the message they receive is.

    I'm sorry - I figured his relating it in his own words would be enough.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 11:28 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • now that I'm crying...

    how very sad...and the thing is- I can sort of relate. I know how the fundamentalist type can be(granted my family were not THIS bad -but there were/are definitely issues with them and how they think). This is awful and I don't even really know what to say.

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 11:39 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • Wow. It is sad that he felt that he had to take his own life, but even sadder that he grew up in that kind of hate filled world. May his soul find the peace he couldn't find while alive.

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 11:40 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • It would help if you posted something telling us what the message they receive is.

    I'm sorry - I figured his relating it in his own words would be enough.
    Comment by NotPanicking

    It is.

    Answer by TARARENEE at 11:41 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • *goes to read the whole thing...

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 11:42 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • So many parents torture their innocent children with horrific tales of destroyed cities, a drowned world, and a so-called loving god who consigns his own creations to infinite and horrific torture in hell. Then they have the nerve to be surprised when those children turn to drugs instead of to this hateful, bloody god. When they choose to die, rather than live with the fear and the hollow life their parents have given them. I understand what he is saying. I made the choice to live, but I do understand why he chose to die.

    Answer by witchqueen at 11:45 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • It's definitely very very sad, and you can read in his letter that he was extremely depressed. Add on to that abuse and rape as a child and parents he didn't feel were there and you can understand his desicion, but he was also completely hopeless, as in he never saw himself as getting any better. He thought of his counseling sessions as a burden and never fully admitted his probelms. His parents hypocritical religious upbringing was only a small part of a much much bigger problem.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 11:50 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • Wow...and this is why I don't understand when some people claim that God will only give a person as much as they can handle

    and after reading the whole thing- no, I can't really relate, and now I'm a crying mess...

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 11:58 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

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