A young man had been born into a religion, but when his mother remarried to a man of a different religion, he converted. As he grew older, he became increasingly uncomfortable with how religion was forced upon him, and this manifested into a decision that his friend would have an extreme reaction to.
Ruled by Religion
The young man’s discomfort with religion arose he converted at the age of 11. “I obviously didn’t have any say in it”, he explained. “My name, school, city, and clothes changed. I felt trapped.”
A Teenage Ultimatum
At the age of 15, the young man asserted his autonomy. “I told my mother that she could do whatever she wants, but if she forces anything on me, I will go live with my dad”, he recounted. “This worked and everything stopped. I also asked her to change my name, but she said I had to wait until I turned 18.”
New Friends, Old Desires
The young man’s school change brought him into contact with a friend named M. While he refrained from discussing his religious ordeal with her, she became aware of his desire to change his name. Despite this, their friendship flourished alongside a group of supportive friends.
The Countdown to Change
With only two months of school left before turning 18, the young man’s plan to revert to his previous self was on track. However, M stumbled upon his religious trauma secret, inadvertently revealed by another friend.
M’s Unsolicited Intervention
M responded negatively to the young man’s decision. “She started telling me that I’m making mistakes by changing”, he remembered. “She tried to convince me by reading verses from her holy book and translating it. I just told her that she needs to keep her stuff to herself.”
Despite the young man’s request, M continued to throw religious accusations at him, and she soon crossed a line. “She told me all the horrifying ways I’m going to die, and even had the audacity to call my mom and ask her to not let me do it”, he continued. “She told her that I was converting back for the wrong reasons and my mom was going to go to hell if she let me sin.”
Defense From Mom
To the young man’s relief, his mother defended him. She dismissed M’s interference, asserting that he would be responsible for the consequences of his own choices. Despite this, M escalated the situation, even contacting his stepfather and giving him the same warning.
A Desperate Plea
Driven to a breaking point, the young man confronted M, calling her up crying and demanding that she cease her unwelcome interference. He threatened to report her to the school principal if she continued to harass him and his parents.
A Drifting Friendship
Despite his friends’ efforts to dissuade him, the young man followed through on his threat and reported M’s behavior to the school. Consequently, M’s parents were called in to meet with the principal.
Consequences and Conflicted Feelings
Consequently, the young man’s friends began to distance themselves, believing that M’s actions did not directly affect the young man’s plans. They were apprehensive about M’s impending punishment from her very strict parents.
Sharing His Dilemma
The young man recognized that his actions had gotten his friend into deep trouble, but he felt that it was justified, as she had been harassing him. He headed online to share his conundrum, asking the internet what their opinion was. “M was harassing you and your parents”, one reader reminded him. “It’s good that the principal talked to her parents – you did the right thing.”
“M overstepped big-time and if she’s in a religion that advocates proselytizing, that doesn’t mean harassment, so she needs to learn the difference”, stated another reader. “Stay the course. This is likely a friendship you’ll sacrifice. I hope your other friends come around, but if not, you’ll be closing one chapter and opening another.”
A Supportive Community
Everyone had the young man’s back, much to his relief. “Your religion is nobody’s business but yours”, one commenter stated. “Not to mention that your “friend” was bullying you because she is a religious zealot. Good riddance.”
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