Thursday, May 5, 2016

My questions to Jennifer Fulwiler

Seeing as Jennifer Fulwiler has 6 children, is a devout Catholic and ex-atheist who makes her living off of spreading the news of her conversion, I feel a special connection to her.

You see. I was a Catholic convert, very devout, and made a ministry out of spreading my testimony of conversion.  I also have 6 children and am now an atheist. 

Our stories are so similar and so very different.  Our lives are mirror images as she blogs frequently of the perils of Catholic life.  I too have lived all these things.  The song made out of bad church situations is all TOO familiar to me. The feelings of dissatisfaction of not being able to have our real life experiences of Catholicism live up to all our grandiose ideas.  She is excelling somehow at self promotion and pursuing her career in spite of a chaotic home life with multiple small children. 

So, if Jen would indulge me.... I have a few questions. 

1. Have you pursued any higher education in Theology now that you have become a Catholic and a national (international?) promoter of Catholicism? 

2. Would you be willing to deconvert now that you have basically built your life around Catholicism, if it meant losing your notoriety, if your conscience should turn against Catholicism?

3. Do you enjoy the debates in the church about holding hands during the Our Father, wearing veils or not and different rites and liturgies? 

4. Does it make you feel secure in your faith knowing that it is 2000 years old, held by millions of people, and extremely organized even though none of these facts actually prove anything?

5. You say in your testimony that you had a feeling in your heart when you looked at your baby.  Do you know that Mormons think their religion is true based on a feeling in their heart? 

6. I know you have experienced physical suffering and scares.  Have any of your children had to go through anything like that? 

7. Would you be willing to talk with me more in depth about these types of things? 

If you've read this, thanks so much!  I really hope to hear from you.  As I have given 20 years of my life, a career and six kids in support of the Catholic Church, I think I deserve a little credit. I hope you think so too! 


Anonymous said...

Got here from Twitter. Spiritually, I'm more with her than with you, but I still am glad you have asked these questions, for they are my questions. I find her self-promotion transparent and exhausting.

She registered her domain name literally months after converting - branding herself and prepping herself to use her story as a career, She has *a lot* of help at home. I think her kids go to one of those hybrid homeschool setups, so the extent that she actually "homeschools" in the sense that she plans and executes the plan is doubtful. I think that's the part of her public persona that grates the most. My kids are way beyond schooling, but I have homeschooling friends and I know how much work it is. No way she is actually "homeschooling" them in a daily, hands-on way that occupies my friends from dawn til night. She's not there to do it. Just a few weeks ago she reposted her old post about how she and hubs sacrificed the "good life" with their conversions - yes, posted this just a week or so before they jetted off to London and Rome. She travels all the time, has a daily radio show, is clearly benefitting financially - yah, she wanted the good life, and she got it! A little blip with the conversion, but heading straight on since. I wish you the best on your journey, and good wishes for you and your family.

ajl said...

Hi, I have nothing directly against Jennifer. But, I have been around the Church for long enough to see people come up and burn out (including myself). I am also annoyed by the marketing of some Catholics, especially the EWTN types, that give the perception that everything is hunky dory and wonderful. For example, Fr. Corapi, Fr. Marcial Maceil, an unnamed person in the Radio industry (who is very popular), and personal friendships with people who I know are just odd. Let me tell you, I have personally known some pretty big names in the Catholic propaganda machine, that are down right liars, opportunists. Other ones who are not deliberately manipulative, are adding to the culture of cultish oppressive mind control. I see in Jennifer, what I saw in me, someone who is riding the wave of "the spirit." Are there good things done by people in the Church, yes. Are there people who are completely genuine and loving trying to do there best? I think most. Up until this past year I homeschooled completely. It is a lot of work. I have NO IDEA how she does everything she does and actually has some sort of decent home life. But, these are some of my questions.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I am a cradle Catholic and I have gone back and forth with my faith. Just like everything in life, there's ebbs and flows. Sometimes a bit too far away from the faith for my liking, but never so far that I stopped calling myself Catholic. I am very new to Jennifer Fulwiler, so I can't comment on her one way or the other. I haven't read her books, just listened to her show a few times, and I have enjoyed it.

Regarding the homeschooling, there's just no way I could do it! My one child is special needs and requires a whole team of experts for his education! I can't claim to be a teacher, speech-language pathologist, social worker, occupational therapist, and psychologist all in one!

I hold no degrees in theology or philosophy. Just 34 years of life as a struggling Catholic. I am really sorry you have struggled with your faith so much, though I will be very honest, I have struggled with my faith, too. I, too, have a child with autism, and I myself was in the military, until I got medboarded out and I am currently disabled. At the time of diagnosis for my son and for me, I didn't see those things as curses or blessings or as opportunities to suffer and be holier. I have learned to cope with my disability, but I am still learning to cope with my son's autism. He has a speech delay. He also has ADHD. Even though in retrospective I see my illness as a blessing in disguise because it has allowed me to be more grateful for what I do have, I still don't see his autism as a way to holiness or my suffering (through my illness and/or his autism) as something the Church values.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. I hope and pray you have found your way to take care of yourself and your family. As a Catholic, I do have to say that I am really very sorry to hear that you have left the Church. However, I also have to say that I truly sincerely wish for you the best. And even though you don't believe in God or Catholicism anymore, I will pray for you and your family, especially Zelie. Just please, understand that my prayers for you and your family are the best way I know how to let you know that your story has touched me.

Anonymous said...

I read your questions to Jen and it hit me why you are now an atheist.

If you look at your questions it all seems to stem from I/Me/Myself.

I wonder: did you ever really find Christ? Because if you did, then He comes first. If you really did find Christ and realized just how amazing that is, then everything else pales into comparison with the fact that you have God and are held by God.

I hope you allow yourself to be found by Him. All the ills of the Church are just that: ills. They do not change her nature, nor does it alter the fact, despite her sins, she is still the conduit by which God imparts to us the grace to be His children.

May the Lord grant you His peace.


Anonymous said...

AJL: Hi, I have nothing directly against Jennifer.

Cory: I think you do. I think it is envy. Envy perhaps because it is working for her. Envy for losing something that you both found which you lost but which continues to sustain her through to this day.