Joseph's journey to Christendom
MORANT BAY, St Thomas:
Processes and transitions are basic aspects of life. People are born clean slates, and each encounter they have leaves an imprint which, together, form their story and mould their personality.
Well discussed, yet a bit underrated is the impact of bullying and peer pressure. Many children - some of whom are affected beyond repair - fall victims to these 'crimes', .
Joseph Emanuel Millwood had fallen prey to the lethality of the tongue, and what he thought was the only means of survival was ultimately taking him to his demise.
He became a hater and a criticiser of all things godly.
"I grew up in the Church. I usually go with my mother. I got saved at around age 13, but my life was a mess in terms of the struggles I went through as a youth. I suffered low self-esteem, faced with hardships at the hands of life. I had to wake up early in the mornings to tend to goats. I got rough treatment from parents, in addition to being jeered in school for being black and ugly (I was called double ugly)," he told Family and Religion.
This ordeal sent Millwood in the pursuit of happiness - something that could possibly ease the hurt.
According to him: "My quest for comfort led to a fixation on girls, sex, and pornography. So my Christianity didn't last. I started to question, 'Why me, Lord?', but the suffering continued without me getting the answer I was looking for from God. Additionally, my days were filled with hatred, expletives, suicidal and violent thoughts."
But what Millwood thought was "the answers to his questions" was on its way.
"I scraped through high school then started pre-university and began learning about the sociological theories about religion such as functionalism, which views religion as a function of society and further views society as God, and Marxism, which views religion as a way to oppress people and give them hope. I then started to question the existence of God, 'How could God be real and I have been suffering all my life?' 'How could God be real and he is not answering my prayers'?"
Millwood's inability to answer these questions sent him on a path he was soon to regret.
He told Family and Religion: "I became a professing atheist; started to 'bun' God and say God spelt backwards is dog. I started to jeer church folks, started to say Jesus was gay because 'Him par wid bare man!' I started to say that men write the Bible, started to have varying beliefs. What made it worse was that I idolised the man who taught sociology and wanted to be like him, so every word that came out of his mouth, I latched on to."
SENSE OF LOSS
"I felt lost during that period; it was dark and helpless. The only time I felt anything was when I was cursing the existence of God or chastising Christians for following the writings of some men who we obviously have more sense than."
Doubtful Millwood, in his quest for belonging and comfort, was grasping at straws.
"In my lost state, however, I considered that there must have been something greater than us that created us. After hearing my story, someone convinced me to pay tithes and to give Jesus a chance. I tried it for a while, but it was short-lived as by now I was sexually active and Jesus was the furthest thing from my mind, plus me neva badda trust him yah, man," he added.
And when he thought things couldn't get any worse, "My life took another damning turn in 2005 when I started to smoke marijuana."
To be continued.