To preface, I have been reading your stories over the past month or so. My story is minor in comparison, but here goes:
I have always been inquisitive and one who would "tell it like it is". I had been searching for a religion/religious philosphy since I was a teen. One that would encompass all my varied beliefs and not invalidate being questioned. That said, most of the major religions failed miserably in my viewpoint as being too rigid, too indoctrinated, and most of all too hypocritical.
My biggest issue with organized religions has always been the hypocritical viewpoints of the ministers and/or congregation. Especially that each religion was the correct one and all others were incorrect. My personal integrity, viewpoints, and morals/ethics held that any religion can be correct for any person and doctrine should not be shoved down one's throat as being the only way to express oneself.
Therefore, adhering to basics such as "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you" should be adhered to on a daily basis, not just on Sundays (or Saturdays). And certainly one should not commit any of the seven deadly sins, etc... and then expect to be "saved" come your particular day of worship.
Further as my quest for knowledge expanded, I felt that components of nearly every religioin, if mish-mashed together, might turn out as my religion of choice.
Thus, Catholicism, Latter Day Saints, and some varied right-winged religions were too rigid to my own personal dogma of equal rights, right to choose, etc... I was even kicked out a Mormon Seminary (lunch time religious learning during high school - off campus of course) for questioning "Brother Hunt" on the subserviant role of women in the church. Go figure, but it was 1983!
I felt more in tune with the various eastern religion as I believe in reincarnation, meditation, cleansing of the soul, etc...
I had actually given up my search for quite some time and practiced what I knew and believed in as a mixed up hodge podge.
Then came college. A group of buddies and I were on our way to my car to pick up some beer. There was a small group of college-age looking people passing out flyers asking us to fill out the questionnaire and bring it in for a free analysis. We took out flyers. My friends threw theirs away. I kept mine.
Later, after reading something like 200 questions on it (yes, I now know it was the OCA test), never filling it out, and burning it in my dorm room, I decided that the scientology mission was full of it. Let that be a lesson, I should have stopped right there.
But, my curiosity had been peaked. Remember, I am the inquisitive one who would try just about anything for the experience. Probably about a week later, another flyer was attached to my car's windshield. This one invited me to attend a "free" lecture and get a "free" book. Note that free is in quotations as once again, I should have stopped right there.
I attended, saw a film, heard some stuff, received my book (Dianetics), and refused to fill out the OCA. I left without purchasing anything (always the frugal one which seems to be my saving grace here).
Much later - months later during a (summer?) break did I attempt to read Dianetics. Well let me tell you! I couldn't get through it. No mu's as I read the dictionary for fun. Okay, okay that alone tells you what a dweeb I was growing up. But I like to keep my mind active (another saving grace). This book, to me, read like a bad set of stereo instructions. WTF I thought! And I burned the book. Now, I may go to hell for that one.
Will continue at another time. This was total restim, perhaps in a good way. Too bad there was no internet at that time or I would NEVER EVER have gotten sucked in!
Au revoir for now! :D