How Former Fundamentalists Are Finding Healing On Reddit

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On “fundie snark” boards, mockery might help posters course of their spiritual trauma.

Millie isn’t all the time snug speaking to her buddies about her childhood. She grew up Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB), a strict department of the Baptist religion through which pastors have unquestioned authority over their flock. Each summer time, Millie was homeschooled by a girl from her church to counteract the “liberal brainwashing” her mother and father believed she was receiving at her Pentecostal college. (She remembers one in every of her summer time readings arguing that enslaved individuals loved their servitude.) But Millie’s most traumatic reminiscence occurred at 15. When docs discovered a mass in her kidney, she wasn’t taken for additional medical care. Instead, her mother and father took her to get an exorcism. 

“I have friends that grew up involved in a church, but the experience that I have is so different from theirs,” Millie says. “If I start talking about it, they look at me like I’m from another planet.” 

Millie started having doubts about her religion in her school years, and by 25, she’d absolutely separated from her church. Ten years later, Millie, who identifies as queer, continues to be attempting to unpack the poisonous classes she discovered as a toddler, particularly relating to the church’s inflexible, binary gender roles and its denial that homosexual individuals exist. In on-line boards, some former Christians name this means of unlearning “deconstruction.”

On this journey, Millie discovered camaraderie in a web-based group referred to as “fundie snark” (the place “fundie” is pejorative slang for fundamentalists). On fundie snark boards, which exist throughout many social media platforms, customers who seek advice from themselves as “snarkers” each mock and analyze the lives of Christian influencers. The content material could be humorous and lighthearted, however for ex-fundamentalists like Millie, these boards may play a key function in serving to them reexamine their previous beliefs. 

Fundie snark content material is on the market on TikTok, YouTube, and X (formerly Twitter), however it’s most well-known on Reddit. There, r/FundieSnarkUncensored, began in 2020, boasts 169,000 followers and is within the high 1 % of communities on the positioning. While it doesn’t solely cater to ex-fundamentalists, many spend time on the subreddit. Women and queer individuals make up a majority of the group, in response to a number of members. By selecting aside the lives of utmost Christian influencers, ex-fundamentalists say they’ve the chance to grasp their very own experiences from an out of doors perspective with the help of others who can relate.  

Many group members attribute the origins of fundie snark to a backlash in opposition to the Duggars, whose sect of Christianity emphasizes patriarchal hierarchy within the dwelling. The household gained notoriety within the early 2000s with a number of TV specials and successful TLC present, 19 Kids and Counting. After the household’s first particular, 14 Kids and Pregnant Again, premiered on the Discovery Channel in 2004, followers began a marketing campaign known as “Free Jinger” based mostly round their perception that the Duggars’ sixth baby yearned to break free from her ultra-conservative upbringing. Discussions on the now-defunct fan discussion board Television Without Pity, ultimately led to a spin-off discussion board, Duggars Without Pity. When the Duggars new series was announced in 2008, some Duggars Without Pity users didn’t purchase the household’s healthful picture. “The Duggar parents strike me as extremely image savvy. I suspect a lot of disturbing stuff goes on behind the scenes,” one wrote. 

The Duggars ultimately confronted a public reckoning in 2015 when allegations emerged that the eldest son, Josh, had molested his sisters. In 2021, he was convicted of receipt and possession of kid pornography. The r/FundieSnarkUncensored thread saying his arrest had 8,500 upvotes and three,400 feedback, a few of which referred to Josh by his nickname on the forum, “Pest.” 

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