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Breaking free from restrictive religious doctrine

By Bunmi Sofola

Rose grew up in a devout family home – an upbringing that had guided every part of her life. When she was in secondary school, her parents joined a religious group that forbade television and radio – the devil’s ‘ work the weired-looking-beared leader of the sect roared. Naturally, all the usual teenage vices – smoking, drinking and illicit gropes with the opposite sex-passed her by. Instead, her teenage years were spent at prayer meetings and monthly vigils. It was expected that she married a member of the sect and a ‘fiance’ was rammed down her throat when she went to the university. Yomi, her ‘brother’ had already graduated and a part-time pastor. “What’s the point in furthering your studies?”, he wanted to know. “When we are married, you will have to give up whatever job you would be doing so that we could have a family. “

But Rose was determined to explore another world away from the one her parents had brought her up in. “Unknown to my parents’, Rose said, “I had started reading a lot of magazines in my friends’ house and was fascinated by all those lovely clothes I saw in them. I would venture inside a few boutiques but wouldn’t buy anything as I had no money and if I did, where would I wear them to? I was 19, waiting for some sort of

adventure, when I got into the university. And I was determined to turn my life around.

“Within months of getting in, I made a couple of wild but decent friends who wore all sorts of outrageous clothes and drank wherever they went on a date. My first grown-up party ever was when one of my mates dragged me to a birthday bash. I had nothing decent to wear but she lent me a slinky black dress. Plunging at the front and clinging to my curves, I didn’t believe the reflection that stared at me in the mirror after my

friends finished dressing me up – especially with my hair fixed and some jewellery adoring my neck and ears. I was trembling with excitement as, heart pounding, I joined a chattering group of very lively party freaks.

“I had never tasted alcohol in my life, so one of my friends arranged a brandy and coke for me. I-t.-tasted lovely and within minutes, I felt relaxed and giddy with booze and happiness. As I watched mates dance, a cute guy pulled out the chair opposite mine and started making small talks. When he asked if I wanted to dance, my first reaction was to say no. Instead, I had to confess to him that I wasn’t much of a dancer. But he said I shouldn’t worry – just relax and move with the flow! So it was another girl, certainly not me, that cuddled up to male flesh for the first

time in my life and let him run his hands all over me. He wasn’t doing. anything the other blokes weren’t, so I relaxed.

“And that was how Gordon came into my life. He was a final year  student and wasn’t religious at all. He told me he believed in God but that religion has been so politicised to such an extent that he found all the different sects quite confusing. When I told him the name of the religious sect I belonged to, he looked shocked. He had heard a lot of weird things going on amongst the sect members and said it was about time I used my own discretion in finding out what was best for me. It didn’t help either that there were so many religious groups on campus. In the end I decided to just relax and enjoy Gordon’s company. He was a decent, well-brought up guy and a delight to fall in love with. What would it be like making love to him? Wicked, bad thoughts, a voice whispered in my head, but I didn’t care. It finally happened and thought it wasn’t

fantastic at first, it got better and better. Gordon was the responsible type

and took precaution – he didn’t want me to go on the pill in case my parents found it.

“I felt no remorse, I chucked my ‘fiance’ from church. I told him I wasn’t ready for marriage and was quite amused when he ‘reported’ me to my parents. We had some fierce ‘arguments before they left me alone. I’d started wearing make-up and jewellery which they vehemently opposed, but I didn’t care. I am their first child and they threatened to disown me because they believed I was setting a bad example for my siblings. It was. then I opted to stay with my aunty – a business woman. My parents were shocked to say the least, but she was family and there was nothing they. could do to stop me. I was already 21. My aunty was the liberal type and left me to my devises.

“Well, that happened some years back. No, I didn’t marry Gordon because he travelled abroad for his masters. I had a couple of relationships before I met and married my current husband. He’s not a religious freak and we go to church because we want to not because we have to. It is a good orthodox church – not one that preaches fire and brimstone!”.

 With Children Like These .•• (Humour)

Two men were talking about their sons over a bottle of beer. “My son must be the laziest bugger in the world,” complained Alan. “He never does a thing.” “No,” argued Bob. “My son is the laziest.” After discussing this problem for a while, they decided to go to each other’s houses to check it out. When they got to Alan’s house, they find him lying on the sofa, watching TV and surrounded by sweat papers. “Hey son, pop down the road and get me an evening paper,” “No chance,” replied the boy. “Go on, I’ll give you a couple of quid for going.” “Leave me alone, go away,” came the reply.

So the two men went over to Bob’s house and discovered his son lying on the sofa, watching the TV, the fire full on, the boy dripping with sweat, but also crying. “What’s up son?” asked his father. It took a while for his son to answer but eventually he replied: “I can’t change channels, dad, the remote’s fallen off the back of the sofa.”

 


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