My name is Rose Elliott, and I am a writer. I have a BA in biblical counseling and an MA in theology. I was raised in an evangelical church (of the independent fundamental baptist flavor). Over the years, I have quietly watched as friends that I grew up with or knew in college have turned completely from belief, some even claiming to never have believed in the first place. Additionally, I have in the past year met numerous people who were raised evangelical (or some sort of Christian) and want nothing at all to do with the church.
I know there are hundreds of articles about why millennials are leaving the church, but they leave something to be desired. They don’t seem to ever actually talk to the people who are leaving. And, they don’t always seem to fully admit the church’s fault in the loss of hundreds of people in our generation and the next. I’ve seen and heard it all: pastors who were faking it, abusive leaders (sexually and spiritually), misuse of Scripture, the hiding of truth, using Scripture as an excuse to abuse or let abuse continue, etc.
Obviously, I am still a believer and have remained in the church, but not without struggle. All of this to say, the past several years especially have taught me the importance of giving a voice to those who have not only been hurt by the church, but also who have either left as a result, or never “bought it” in the first place.
I want to write a book about it. But I need people who are willing and ready to tell their stories. This book, the working title being Exit Interviews, will be both a compilation of and reflection on the stories of those raised in the church who are no longer (or were never) religious.
This is a rough idea of what I want the process to look like:
- I have written a survey that I will send out to anyone willing to participate.
- Each person who returns the survey will also have the option of doing a recorded video interview with me. This wouldn’t be required for your story to make it into the book. With all of this, I want you to feel like your feelings and the sensitivity of your story are being taken into account – because they are. So if you don’t want to do a Skype interview, that is okay.
- I will use your responses to the survey and the video interview (if you choose to do one) to write up your story. Nothing I write will be used without your approval and you will have the final say in what it says and any revisions needed.
- Your story is added to my manuscript (or to a future manuscript).
- Some stories will be chosen for special features on this website leading up to the release date of the published book.
If you choose to participate in Exit Interviews, your story and identity will be handled with the utmost care and protection. Along with the survey, you will be sent a second survey in which you will share your privacy preferences. This will include whether you wish to appear in the book or on the website as anonymous (you choose a different name to be used), semi-anonymous (only your first name is used), or with your full identity (your first and last name or your last initial).
If you would like to participate in Exit Interviews or have any questions about this project, please comment below or use the contact page. I will do my best to respond to everyone within 24 hours.