Page 19 - MidWeek - May 10, 2023
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I am a survivor of spiritual molestation. When I was 11 years old, I was hospitalized for three weeks because of a kidney infection. At one point, the prognosis was not good. Despite this, my parents had to return to their jobs because they couldn’t afford to go so many days without pay. They had no choice but to leave me alone during the day. An acquaintance of theirs would then visit me while they were away and spiritually molest me. This happened as I lay in the hospital bed unwell and afraid. Here is part of our dai-
“Jesus, I’m a bad boy.”
“Tell Jesus that you are a bad boy.”
Nearly as bad are religious groups that have a practice of converting the dead. That’s kinky to me. Why not let the dead rest in peace? But how can they do so if they are be- ing spiritually molested? I wonder, though, if spiritual molestation works the other way, too, the dead molesting the living?
MAY 10, 2023 MIDWEEK 19
       Nonconsensual spir- itual conversion is wrong. A person who takes advantage of another to spiritually violate someone who is too young to under- stand or too incapacitated to resist should be ashamed. Spir- itual abuse should be a crime.
How The Spiritual Needy Justify Their Abuse
ly conversation:
“Jay, do you want to die?” “No, I don’t want to die.” “Then let’s pray to Jesus,
passed away and I never told them what happened to me in the hospital. I felt embar- rassed and confused by the whole experience and didn’t want to relive it. Even now
to their faith. This strikes me as arrogant and self-centered. It’s an anathema to faiths that teach humility and kindness.
also hallucinate in their final days. My mom saw an angel with white hair hiding in a vase of flowers; my dad saw a little Chinese girl peeking out from the bedroom wall. This
point. Why disrespect that person’s values in order to please your own? Moreover, how would you feel if some- one tried to convert you to their faith on your deathbed?
OK?” “OK.”
Do you care that much about giving yourself spir-
  Do you care that much about giving yourself spiritual gratification even if it comes at someone else’s expense? This seems selfish to me.
“Tell Jesus that you are sor- ry for being a bad boy.”
“Jesus, I’m sorry for being a bad boy.”
“Ask Jesus to forgive you for being a bad boy.”
 “Jesus, forgive me for be- ing a bad boy.”
I feel humiliation and anger well up inside me when I re- call those encounters.
itual gratification even if it comes at someone else’s expense? This seems selfish to me. It is common for the dying person in their help- less state to fidget and raise their arms in their last days. They can’t help it. They are transitioning from this world. They are not asking to be saved. The dying may
is a special time to simply be there for our loved ones, not take advantage of their situa- tion to satisfy spiritual needs.
If so, I have something to look forward to when I’ m gone. I guess I am a bad boy.
The acquaintance would then smear a drop of oil on my forehead and leave. I have never felt entirely comfort- able around this person be- cause of this secret between us. I struggled for a long time with a deeply ingrained sense that I was a “bad boy.”
ThisiswhyIdonotre- joice when people share with me how a loved one finally accepted Jesus on their death- bed. I am appalled instead when I hear how they used the last moments of a dying person’s life to convert them
If you feel compelled to impose your faith on a person on their deathbed, stop and reflect for a moment. There is probably a good reason why the person has not accepted your religious faith up to this
Jay Sakashita teaches re- ligion courses at Leeward Community College and University of Hawai‘i at Mā- noa. Reach him at misfitspir-
My parents have since

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