Why I Walked Away From My Catholic Beliefs

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Caisy was confused about her Catholic faith. So she accepted her friend’s invitation to learn about the biblical truths taught in the Church Of Christ.

Caisyline Lomongo: Growing up, the sign of the cross was very important. If you felt scared or if you’re entering a church, you would do the sign of the cross. I never really understood what it meant, but because I grew up learning it, it was just something that I was used to…a

nd after hearing that lesson it made me really realize why I was doing that. Like, “Why did I follow doing the sign of the cross?” And that really opened my eyes. And after that Bible study, I had to walk out because I felt really emotional. 

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Stories of Faith

Caisy: My name is Caisyline Lomongo. I’m 25 years old, and I was born on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. 

I grew up, it was just me and my mom. I did have a stepfather at the time. We didn’t really have a stable home. I feel like I moved homes, maybe ten times or more. And that made me realize that we’re not living comfortably. My mom never drove so we’d always catch the bus. And sometimes it would rain. And I remember one time on my birthday, we were just waiting for the bus and it really made me sad because I would see other kids with their parents, driving. And I didn’t really want that life for my future, and I wanted to do better. 

I went to Sacred Heart Catholic Church. I went with my mom when she was off Sundays, and it was something we would just do every Sunday. 

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My Questions About God

Caisy: Growing up my understanding of God was that He had a Son, who was Jesus, and He was sent down. And He would be crucified for our sins. And that was what I learned in Sunday School. And I had to memorize all my prayers.

In Sunday School I asked about the Iglesia Ni Cristo because we were talking about different religions. And I would always pass it every time I go to Waipahu. And my teacher at Sunday School, he was like, “Oh we don’t talk about that religion.” Internally I wondered, “Why doesn’t he talk about that Church?”

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Meeting the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ)

Caisy: I actually got invited from my best friend, Gregory Yee. And he was actually going through Bible study. And at the time, I was actually going through a lot of depression. And he had mentioned that maybe that going to a Bible study would help me clear my mind. What really made me want to go was because my best friend Greg is not really religious at all. He explained to me his experience and how he felt, and I thought that maybe I should just give it a try. 

At first I was very hesitant. Because, like anyone, I googled the Church, and I wanted to know more about it just by googling. All that I read was that the brothers and sisters sit on separate sides, and that they were not allowed to eat pig’s blood, which is like a delicacy in the Philippines. 

When I first entered there was a minister on a podium. And during that Bible study, it really opened my eyes. The sign of the cross was very important. It was something that you do everywhere. If you felt scared, or if you’re entering a church, or if you’re entering any place that’s Catholic, you would do the sign of the cross. To me, I never really understood what it meant. But because I grew up learning it, it was just something that I was used to.

And to me, after hearing that lesson, it made me really realize like, why I was doing that. Like “Why did I follow, doing the sign of the cross?” And that really opened my eyes. And after that Bible study, I had to walk out because I felt really emotional. 

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Talking To God

Casey: My first experience in the worship service was very different. I sat on the women’s side. And I noticed that people were praying. And at first I didn’t know, that’s what we’re supposed to do. So I just sat there, and I looked around. And I noticed people had their eyes closed, they were bowing their heads. And hearing the choir was so beautiful. 

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“In my duty then I shall continue, though I suffer through so many hardships…”

Casey: And just hearing the hymns that they were singing about. It was very touching. 

During that time when I was praying, I felt like I was just talking to God. And I was praying and telling Him why I’m thankful to be here, what I’m doing here, and what I’d like to learn. 

I think at the time while I was attending worship service, I was attending the Iglesia Ni Cristo on the weekdays, and on Sundays I still would attend my Catholic church at Sacred Heart. It was very confusing for me at the time, because I felt like I was cheating on my other church. And at the same time, I wasn’t telling anybody what I was doing. I was just figuring it out on my own. 

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I Wanted To Stop Being Confused

Casey: A big moment for me, was actually around Christmas time where we attend a Midnight Mass. I was still attending the Iglesia Ni Cristo worship services, and I remember hearing during the weekday worship service about Christmas, and why they don’t celebrate Christmas. And I think that was really impactful for me, because I understood the Bible, like, even in Sunday School, we would read from the Bible, but we would never really understand what is in the Bible, what it’s telling us. And I decided not to attend the Midnight Mass. And I told my mom that I was attending Bible studies, and attending a different Church. And she never really understood what that meant for me. She just saw me changing my life and I told my mom and I felt like I was trying to please her—but I wasn’t doing things for myself, and that really put a strain on our relationship. 

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Understanding My Faith

Casey: When you become a Bible student it’s usually a six month process. But for me, it took three years. The reason why it took me three years was I was struggling internally with who I was, with who my friends were, with my mom. And I really had to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do. 

I would still be confused, but I would still do things like party, go out with friends, we would drink but at the same time on Sundays I would still attend service. And I would always pray and ask God, “Why am I still doing this?”

Becoming a member in the Church saved my life because I made that firm decision to stop partying, stop drinking, stop being around bad influences in my life. Stop being like everyone else. And I felt like Church was the only thing that was being a main stability in my life. 

Even though I went through so many things in the three years that I was struggling, I always go back to that first Bible lesson that I was taken to. The way it made me feel as if there was something guiding me, and that I had to keep going. I always returned back to that first lesson about the sign of the cross. Because how strong that feeling was, it’s something I could never forget. Nothing has ever made me feel that strong, or that feeling of the Holy Spirit

That was that moment when it clicked. And the moment when the minister says, “There’s not three gods, there’s only one God, and that Jesus isn’t a god. That’s a son. He’s a human being. And that God is…He’s a spirit. And we can feel Him. 

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Getting Kicked out of the House

Casey: The day I told my mom that I was baptized was very difficult because it caused a lot of anger. A lot, she felt betrayed. And that was the time I was actually kicked out of my house. 

When my mom told me that I had to move out and I had to leave, and that I’m not the daughter that she raised, that really hurt. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know where to go. I was so shocked. That morning I left, I had to move out. And I attended worship service, and I prayed to God, “What should I do? Should I leave? Should I just take this as a sign of You telling me to do?”

Coincidentally, my friend had told me that she had a room available, and she was renting it out. I think because of the way things just lined up perfectly, I took that as a sign and I moved out of my house. 

My answered prayer was that moment where I was asking God to guide me when I was kicked out from my house. When my friend texted me about having a room available I immediately believed that was God showing me that sign.

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Now I Understand Who I Am

I feel like being a member of the Church Of Christ has really changed my life because I understand who I am. Back then, I was very active, doing the right things in the Catholic church. But now I feel like I’m doing the right things in the true Church. And I found my true purpose. And that’s really what was important to me deep down inside, was just finding my purpose, and what I am doing with my life. And I found clarity in the Church Of Christ. 

My relationship with my mom is really great right now. She understands that I go to a different Church [from her], I follow a different religion [from her]. She is accepting of who I am, and what I believe in. 

I feel that people should give the Church Of Christ a chance because people don’t understand what they’re looking for until they’ve found it. And I feel that if people give the Church a chance, that they are able to find their true purpose. And to me, God is the everlasting love that I’ve always wanted. 

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