Part 2 – The Hate Story (1 of 2)

Another interesting time in my life in regard to religion was when my mother remarried a former Lutheran pastor.  (I was about 12)  Larry had quite the colorful past.  He was a theater design teacher, a fund raiser for not-for-profits and a former pastor – I’m not sure of what order all that occurred.  I do know that he married young, had 4 kids and then decided to run off with one of his students and then ultimately divorced her.  He met my mother while working at a Lutheran adoption organization.  Wow, now that I’m an adult – this is all pretty sketchy!!!

My Angels

His past history of a pastor ramped up our church attendance level as a family.  We moved from Colorado to Wisconsin.  A year later we moved to Minnesota.  Larry was trying to find himself – again.  He went back to school to learn about television production and was working on getting a job in that field, which never panned out…  Years later, he went back to preaching, which ended the marriage to my mother as he not only found God again, but also found his secretary to be more to his liking.

During this time, I went through the confirmation process at the Lutheran church we were attending in Minnesota.  Our youth minister, Pastor Peter, was in his mid thirties, married with two adorable kids, very personable and yet kind of a nerd.  He was a real pied piper with the youth of the Church as we followed him around as he introduced us to an assortment of church activities, including Clowning for Christ – which was a ton of fun, we would act out parables as clowns for Sunday morning services.  He also organized a bus trip to the Lutheran Youth Convention in San Antonio, Texas.  We had such a great time!

Well, long story short it turns out he molested several girls from my confirmation class.  I didn’t know it at the time, but in retrospect he made a few moves on me.  I remember he would give me a big hug and his hand would reach just far enough around to feel the sides of my breasts, so disturbing!  He once took me into the basement to have a “talk” with me – things got real creepy when he turned off the lights.  He told me he wanted his daughter to grow up to be just like me.  Then he asked me if I was dating anyone.  I couldn’t stand it.  I told him I had to leave – thank God he didn’t try to stop me.

Ironically, when our youth group was in San Antonio, Texas at the Lutheran Youth Convention, Peter had gotten an extra hotel room for us to have our group meetings.  When my friends and I were out walking around the beautiful Riverwalk we wondering where one of the girls was.  I said, “She must be up in the extra room with Peter, having sex.”  That got a huge laugh – well guess what – they were having sex.  This is an example of “knowing the truth”, of listening to your intuition,  but joking about it because it is just too unbelievable.  My heart breaks for the young girls at my church who were vulnerable, who were having problems with their parents or boyfriends as they ultimately succumbed to Peter’s hideous behavior.  It wasn’t there fault!  He was the adult, the minister, and the married husband with two kids!  What a bastard!!!

My mother called me my freshman year at college to tell me the news.  I remember being in complete denial.  How could the man who taught me the Ten Commandments, the morals and ethics of the church also be doing such hideous things to my friends?  Initially, I defended him.  It just shows you how deeply you can become attached to people in authority and not even believe the truth. He had admitted it and I still had a hard time believing that he did this.  Peter was removed as a youth minister, put into counseling and re-located to a different position in a new church. What a great way for the church to handle things.  In fact that is how Pastor Peter, ended up at our church.  He had molested girls at the prior church and instead of turning him into the authorities, they moved him to our church so he could prey on more young girls.  How disgraceful.  Gotta love organized religion!

4 Responses to “Religion: Love, Hate – Part 2 of 4”

  1. Eric Klepinger

    My name is Eric Klepinger, and I am Lisa’s older brother. I really appreciated Lisa’s blog regarding this episode in her life as I wasn’t aware of some of the details. However, I knew about the heart of her “religious” past as I shared much of those experiences, too. It was these events in both of our lives, mostly Lisa’s, that made me question organized religion. I have always called myself a spiritual person, but I am not a religious one. After reading Lisa’s definitions, maybe I should rephrase that as I am not an organized religious person. I don’t necessarily find fault in any one religious belief or spiritual following, I find fault in the imperfect humans that bastardize, change or mold faith to their liking. Like the environment we live in, humans are masters at changing their realities, often with negative results. Anyway, I appreciate Lisa’s perspective as I have been, and will continue to be, on my own spiritual (and religious) journey.

  2. Lisa

    Thank Eric! I was shocked myself about the true definition of religion. I actually looked up the meaning as I was typing the blog – so I wasn’t even sure what to say at that point. I still have a hard time saying I’m religious, as all that “organized religious” stuff is still tied to the word for me… Thanks for your perspective. I love you!!!

  3. Jennifer

    There’s a great book about organized religion titled “God Is Not Great,” by Christopher Hitchens. I was surprised to read Eric’s statement about not being a religious person, since he criticized me for not belonging to a “church.” I guess that his opinions have since changed.

    • Lisa

      Thanks for the comment, Jennifer! The book you suggest sounds like a good one. I’m definitely going to check it out. As far as my brother’s opinions changing, yes, I guess they have.
      Blessings to you,


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