By Gregory Reid
(author of The Color of Pain)
[T]he first eleven years of my childhood were a black hole of emptiness. Things had happened, but they had been so horrific I had entered into a world of Forget. I went from a once polite, gentle, God-loving child, changed overnight into a slovenly, sexualized, angry, hard-drinking, rebellious, destructive, secretive, occult-addicted pre-adolescent. My father asked me once, “Whatever happened to that neat little boy I used to know?”
“He died a long time ago, Pop,” I replied, though I knew he couldn’t understand.
Starting at eleven-years-old, I entered the world of the occult. I was drawn into the darkness of it and never could grasp why. I was exploited by predators, raped, and abused and experienced all types of evil. This went on until I felt that I was at the brink of death. A staggering sense of loss and grief had become my constant companions. By the time I was fifteen, I had lived what felt like an entire pathetic life.
I guess my parents should have asked more questions about the changes in me, but at the time they were struggling with serious health issues, and their lives couldn’t take on anymore than what was already consuming them.
In the spring of my 15th year, I met a man hitchhiking who turned out to be a Christian. He gave me a copy of a book called The Cross and The Switchblade. It was the story of Dave Wilkerson, a skinny Pennsylvania preacher, who went to New York and faced down the worst, most deadly gang leader in New York, Nicky Cruz, and told him Jesus loved him. Nicky beat him up. Dave kept on him, and Nicky finally became a Christian.
Eventually, after some very dramatic events, I too surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and became a Christian. Had that not happened, I believe I would have died before ever reaching the age of twenty. I had been on a road to destruction.
Over the next few years, I continued to heal under the protection of some dear Christian friends and a seventy-six-year-old Baptist saint who took me in and loved me and taught me about God’s unconditional love. I devoured the Scriptures, and they broke the lies. I fought a vicious battle with sexual issues, depression, unhealthy relationships, deep loneliness, and a smoldering rage.
I went immediately into “ministry” at sixteen, and before I was twenty-six, had been around the world. The occult, and demonic influence, had wrapped itself in every fiber of my being, and God gently and firmly took me out of it all.
How was I to know that everything inside me would fall apart in my twenties, when as a respected teacher and youth leader, I would have to face a nightmare worse than anything I could imagine? God was now ready for the ordeal to come to me that I know broke His heart, but would be the final deliverance and revelation of who I was and where I had been. I was about to go to the gates of hell—not as a warrior—but as a wanted man, a traitor to the devil, and a terrified child. Those first forgotten eleven years of my life were about to intrude into my adult existence. I had to go back into the dark and empty corridors of my forgotten past to retrieve the truth and, in so doing, become fully prepared to go to war against the satanic powers, organizations, and occult rulers who continue to destroy the lives of thousands of innocent children today.
It was the summer of my twentieth year, and I was home from Bible school for three months. It was the beginning of the crack in the wall that would lead to my descent into the mouth of my satanic past. Nearly a decade would pass before all of the horrible ugly truth came out. But the Lord was with me all along the way; and today I can say that He has healed me. Yes, there are and always will be scars, but His love and His Word have been my Deliverer.
There are those who say that people who forget some part of their pasts are delusional and psychotic when they suddenly or even gradually remember. One such organization, the False Memory Syndrome Association, has devoted itself to “proving” that such remembrances are never true or at least very rarely. I would be one of those whom they would call delusional.
I’ve watched for years as this organization has grown, wreaking havoc every place they go. They have crushed victims and sent little children back into abusive homes.
They claim recovered memory victims are mostly hysterical females with a history of mental illness whose memories were implanted by clever therapists. I know there are times that does indeed happen. The abuse bandwagon has had some bad baggage, bitter people seeking vengeance, custody disputes, and New Age mystical craziness.
But they are wrong as wrong can be to lump together all those saying they remember a forgotten past of being abused. I’m a male, non hysterical, with no history of mental illness or hospitalization, and my memories were worked through solo—no therapist. In other words, I don’t fit their degrading, neat little profile. I can’t be accused of “survivor network sharing” suggestibility or “Munchausen Syndrome”1 because my memories were found before I even met another survivor.
When a child or pre-adolescent has been sexually abused, it creates an intolerable situation for the child. Their young cognitive minds simply cannot handle it. When they are going through the abuse, in order to survive it, they must mentally separate from it—it would be like putting it into a suitcase, stuffing it out of the way. As they enter their teen years, they are carrying on their back, so to speak, this suitcase that now weighs a ton. That is why so many teens who were abused as children turn into extremely troubled teens, especially for those who have never been able to tell their secret or who have managed to forget it all together. Later, somewhere in their adult lives, that weight cannot be carried any longer, and it begins to come out—they start to remember what had been forgotten. At that point of their lives, how those around them respond is of utmost importance. Will they be believed? Will they be ridiculed or now looked upon as weird, perverts, or gay? In The Color of Pain, I hope to help not only those boys and men who were abused but also help their families and trusted friends so that healing and restoration can finally take place. (Chapter 1 of The Color of Pain by Gregory Reid)