Disclaimer: This post mentions topics involving consensual sexual violence. Not suitable for individuals under eighteen years of age. Reader discretion is advised.
Does religion have any bearing on your decision to submit? If not, are you familiar with religious based submission and do you view it as similar to other types of submission or dissimilar?
This is an interesting question, because I think, at least in principle, religion has a lot to do with the foundations of my submission.
I grew up in a Church of England household, with Church of England grandparents. At a very young age, the Church was a huge part of my life, and we went to Church every Sunday. I’ve always held the Church close to my heart and I was sort of sad that I didn’t get married there. My Mum did, my Nan did, and I should of.
A number of things happened over the years that affected my relationship with the Church. My brother was severely asthmatic, and hated the sound of the organ so much that he would get himself severely upset, trigger his asthma and manage to vomit all over the Church floor. On another occasion, he got himself so wound up that he flung his head back, hitting my father directly in the nose and giving him a nosebleed. Long story short, it became easier for my parents to stay at home.
Over time, I began to get suspicious about the Church, as many young people do. We had seen pictures of God, but how did anyone know that’s what God actually looked like? Why weren’t there other pictures or paintings of Him from the time, given how popular He was supposed to be? The fewer answers I got and the more I was told not to ask questions, the more suspicious I became.
I was sent to a Church of England school which did nothing to reaffirm my faiths. In assembly, we’d have to sing hymns and I used to be singled out for standing in silence and not singing. Whilst everybody had sat down, I’d have to remain stood and sing the hymns again for the teacher (and my classmates) to hear. I was also struck with a ruler by a teacher for making a spelling mistake, and my brother was spanked by a preschool teacher for wetting himself, but that was the least of my problems.
In this school and for the first time in my life, I was sexually assaulted. I was hung upside down from the play apparatus in the playground whilst a group of girls my age scratched at my genitals, beating me with sticks if I fell and forcing me to get back up. The school denied it, of course they did. Even with witnesses and evidence of physical trauma, the school questioned how on earth some girls my age would ever be so savage. After that, I moved to a different school.
The second school that I attended was also a Church of England school, but less strict than the first. The focus here was on family and happiness, but moreover on making God happy by making our families happy. We were taught the values of kindness, compassion and respect, and I remember countless rounds of All Things Bright and Beautiful and Jerusalem Man, which tells the tale of a Jerusalem Man being beaten and left to die, and the good Samaritan who stopped to help him.
Throughout my childhood, I was always close to my grandparents on my mother’s side. Both of my grandparents were people of the Bible and my grandfather was the only man I have ever known who has read the Bible cover-to-cover. My grandmother herself believed in the Lord, but with one small caveat.
“Why should I go to God’s house when I could be out, doing God’s work, helping God’s people?”, it was hard to argue with her logic.
Nan taught me the importance of charity and at 14 years old, I was working alongside her in a charity shop on Saturday mornings. It felt good, we were helping people and we were making God happy. Best of all, there were usually sweets and cream cakes in it for me. Unfortunately, my relationship with God came to an abrupt halt when my grandfather died from lung cancer in 2005.
“If God loves his people so much, why does he make them suffer?”
I hated the answers that I got, I hated the talk I got about God testing them or punishing them or having better plans for them. I hated all of it, and so to get back at Him, I denounced my faith.
For the longest time, I was determined that I would be an atheist. I was done with God when God had hurt me. That was it, I decided, I was on the rebellion.
I drank, I hated, I self-harmed and I became a vile angry, cold-hearted person. I didn’t care what God would want me to do anymore. If God wouldn’t want me to do it, then for me, that was all the more reason for me to do it in the first place. I was angry and I was hurt, and I flatly refused to believe in Him. I denied Him, period.
It was during a conversation with Matt during our very early days that I began to realise my Christian teachings still hadn’t left me. I wanted a traditional marriage, I wanted a relationship with a man as the head of the household and I wanted a husband that I could look up to, that would lead me. I believed in women looking after the home and I was happy to lead my life that way. The idea bought me comfort and peace, it seemed so normal for me, of the other relationships that I’d seen. I was cheeky and playful, just as my grandmother had been, but at my heart, I knew exactly what I wanted.
Matt grew up with a Salvation Army upbringing. Even if he doesn’t believe anymore, some of the values remained strong: Honour, integrity, protection, kindness and humility, these were all qualities that he had maintained, Where I’d seen so many empty words in other people, I’d seen something else in him.
Over time, I changed as a person. I allowed him in and I allowed myself to be vulnerable with him. I opened up about my hurts and I allowed him to help me through the new ones. When my grandmother succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, I .found that he made sense where there hadn’t been any before. I followed his leadership, I listened to him, I allowed myself to be cared for and protected, even loved.
And it felt good.
For a long time, I was without any kind of faith or religion. Matt didn’t believe, and so I didn’t feel compelled to believe either, but then it happened one day:
If you deny God in front of God’s people, God will deny you in front of Heaven.
That thought scared me, but I had so many questions and doubts and I knew that I didn’t want to return to the Church ever again. There was a way, a new way, a way that was different than what I was used to. I’d attended a few family events and I’d had to recite the Lord’s Prayer several times. Each time I did, I found it too humble for me. It felt foreign and strange, as though I didn’t believe a word that I was saying.
And to me, God knew it, too.
But it all came to a head with a report of child neglect by one of the Church’s most esteemed members who happened to live nearby. Child neglect, by one of God’s own people!
Oh, I was angry.
“Hey, God, you and I need a little chat..” I began,. I was furious, and I wanted answers. This was a life, a young life, surely God looked after his people, or was God doing it again?
Over time, what I found was that my relationship with God changed. It became less one of being humble, it became more frank, more angry, and I had it out with Him. If this, then why the hell that? What was His plan? Why was He doing this to me and the people I loved? Why was He doing this to me?
But God had an answer for everything, and the more I argued with Him, the more He showed me who I truly was – strong, courageous, passionate, kind, generous, and most bizarrely… humble. `
But if God knew all of this about me, how could I believe in Him? Why should I believe in Him? I couldn’t even see Him!
You can, do you not see?
There he was! That was it, that was so it. God is the sun, he is light, and we cannot see Him because it hurts our eyes. God’s love the warmth of the sun that surrounds us, and he gives things life and energy.
And slowly, very slowly, I started to believe in Him again. I had been angry at Him, and just as God, our father would, God had forgiven me. He did not turn me away, instead, He waited for me to come to my senses. He had taken those I loved to watch over me, to guide me, they were to be my guardians, spiritually. It was their time, as it will one day be mine. He had taken them from me because it was their time, and because He felt that I was ready.
The hardest part was knowing what exactly I believed in. I was not a Christian anymore and I knew that, I believed in one God not three, and he was neither the Father, The Son (though the sun? Maybe) or The Holy Spirit. I was monotheistic, and I didn’t believe that God created us in his image. I also believed in other, non-Christian things, like reincarnation, reiki and crystal healing.
Over time, I began to identify myself as a Unitarian Universalist. I was predominantly a Quaker, but again, I made room for crystal healing and all of the other not-so-Christian bits, too. I enjoy my crystals and can’t imagine my life without them: Rose quartz for healing, citrine for energy, I digress.
Mostly, I hold Quaker values, but I also practice meditation regularly. In all that I do, I feel God’s love and I believe that God will guide me. I believe that God has a plan for me, and He provides me with the tools that I need, when I need them with me. If I don’t have something that I believe I need, I believe that God has decided that I simply wasn’t meant to have it. If I have to work to have something that I want, I believe that it is God’s way of showing me that I haven’t worked hard enough. He has taught me to be kind to others, knowing that His people will treat me the same in my hour of need. God teaches me grace, he teaches me patience, and I believe that the people I have in this life are messages from Him as to who and what I am, and my relationship and reaction to them are lessons in who He wants me to be.
When it comes to BDSM, the core of my submission is in making my husband happy, however that may be. He likes me to be cheeky and playful, and so I disregard any comments I get about not being a good submissive because for him, I am the best submissive there can be. I know what is and isn’t allowed, and for so long as I act within his wishes and God’s wishes, I know that I’m doing just fine.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Has religion shaped your thoughts on BDSM in any way? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.
Until next time,
Stay safe & have fun.