In an interview with the Globe and Mail, a Montreal singer and musician discussed growing up in the cosseted world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and how she was talked out of an opportunity to go to the NASA Space Camp for teens because of what she might learn there.
Laurel Sprengelmeyer — known as “Little Scream” — described her “hilarious misfortune of being born into an evangelical Christian family on my mom’s side, and also being converted into it, because my mom got excommunicated when I was 8 or 9.”
Sprengelmeyer’s former church is the same one the late musician Prince belonged to, with some believing his untimely death may have been related to the church’s views on blood transfusion — even in cases of needed surgery.
According to Sprengelmeyer, she was constantly warned to stay away from “worldly” people, and stick exclusively to Scripture in all of her doings.
While studying the Bible with a mentor she received the good news that she had been accepted for one of the highly-coveted spots at the space camp.
“I always did well in standardized testing,” she explained, “and I got chosen to go to NASA space camp. I was so excited, but the woman I was studying the Bible with said, ‘Laurel, you’re going to be hanging out with worldly people, who are going to tell you things that aren’t in the Bible. What would Jehovah want you to do?’”
“So of course I didn’t go to NASA space camp, and in subsequent years I dropped out of all my honors courses, because the church discouraged education and I wasn’t supposed to go to university,” she continued.
According to Sprengelmeyer, her escape from the church came much later with the process beginning when her “bohemian child’s dream dad,” introduced her to the works of Allen Ginsberg, Jean Genet and Hunter S. Thompson and took her to see experimental performance pioneer Laurie Anderson.
Of her split from the church she said it was sudden and harsh.
“I didn’t even know how to make friends outside that world,” she explained.
(H/T The Friendly Atheist)