I took up Economics in college to please my dad, though I really wanted to be in the theater. At that time I was reading The Vampire Lestat, and I secretly wished Lestat would come and teach me how to act. I would audition for plays in the university guilds but wouldn't get in. My dad was a bully and a drunkard, and during the nights when he was particularly nasty I imagined Lestat arriving on a horse-drawn carriage with flair, and with his walking stick bidding me to join him. Lestat rescued me many times in my dreams.
I soon dropped out of college, not having any interest in Economics, and feeling like an utter failure. I was afraid to tell my dad. I went away and joined a community theater group that put up religious morality plays throughout the year. They provided a place for us to stay in and I began to live with the troupe. At last, I was becoming an actor!
The artistic director, John (not his real name), was studying to become a missionary pastor in a theological seminary. He wanted to use the theater as a powerful medium to share the Gospel. I thought I found my salvation in that troupe. He had taken a special liking to me. He was ten years older than I was and began mentoring me closely. I was happy. I found a brother and a friend.
One day he saw I was reading Memnoch the Devil before rehearsals. He was shocked. He said the book was evil. I protested, even volunteering to lend him some to read, but he said no. In his pompous religiosity he pronounced reading your books was wrong and a sin. I should read my Bible instead. Too fearful to lose my friendship to him and my new home, not knowing any better, I obeyed. I gathered all my paperbacks to throw away. My best friend Joan offered to receive them for safekeeping instead, but John said I would be infecting another person with the lies of the devil. Burn the books! he said. I couldn't bring myself to do so, but placed them in a trash bag and left them at a dumpster.
I wept that night saying good-bye to Azriel and Jonathan, to Guido and Tonio, to Rowan and Michael and Mona, to Maharet and Mekare, and to Louis and David and Lestat. Especially to Lestat, who would never again come on his carriage to whisk me away.
Something terrible happened. After some time, John began molesting me sexually. Every Saturday night after rehearsals we would study the Bible as a group, and when everyone else was asleep he would rape me. I was so afraid to tell anyone, fearing that they might lose their faith to find out Brother John was a pervert. I was thinking of everyone else's welfare and kept the whole thing secret. This went on for years until John married one of the actresses and migrated to Singapore where he now works as a youth pastor for a Baptist church. To this day I never had the courage to tell anyone, except my wife, Marivic, whom I also met in that theater group, and my closest friends.
At the time that it happened, I felt so low and worthless. I left that theater group. And I lost my faith in God. Jesus did not stop the repeated rapes. Neither did Lestat. I walked away.