Dear Mr. Owen,
I'm a seventeen year old home-schooler, I live in Wichita, Kansas, with my father, mother, brother, and two sisters. My family became Catholic in 1994, and I happily attended our church's school from kindergarten upward, digesting books on biology and paleontology.
On Sundays over lunch I would eagerly listen to my Dad reason aloud on the silliness of animals evolving into other kinds, and the way that all of the differently colored nations could stem from Adam and Eve. These topics were fascinating, so I naturally wanted to discuss them with my teachers, in whose classes I earned good grades, and who were my leaders and friends.
The first time I raised my hand and questioned my science teacher, that perhaps archaeopteryx was not a missing link between reptiles and birds (as he was saying), but was a fully formed animal, he looked at me like I was insane and said that the evidence for evolution was obvious, but was too complicated to be discussed in a sixth grade classroom.
It was disappointing to have him sidestep my questions, but it was heart-wrenching when I asked my religion teacher how six days of creation could possibly fit with evolution, and she incorrectly used 2 Peter 3:8 to say the days were symbolic, and proceeded to tell the class that we could not limit God to a short time scale or to a particular creative method. When other kids asked about the flood or the extremely long lived patriarchs, we were told that the Hebrews borrowed these ideas from Babylonian myths.
Classmates began getting disgusted with religion class (I believe this was because our true history was taken away from us). Many of them joked about the acts of Jesus, and the lives of saints, unable to give true reverence because our teachers had demolished our faith in our beginnings, making us incapable of understanding the full significance of the New Testament.
By seventh grade I had slipped into a depression where I was unable to focus on work, and half the time refused to go to school. I couldn't talk to my concerned teachers about my problems because they had already failed me when I had confided in them. It was sickening to be in this stifling atmosphere, and I kept failing to explain to my parents why I was so deeply disturbed.
Around this time my parents met Ellen Myers, who runs a creation resource library in her Wichita home. We watched many lectures from Kent Hovind, and Answers In Genesis. These brightened my world and raised my spirit by revealing the armies of Christian adults who are battling for our true origins. Home-schooling then allowed me to learn with confidence in my teachers (my Mom and Dad).
I was a member of the church youth group and became a teacher for children's RCIA. These involved attending dinners and social gatherings with our associate priests, and people were always encouraged to bring them questions about church teaching. Hoping to have open-minded discussions about Genesis history, I'd tread gently, but my queries always degenerated into polarized debates because the priest would admit to the group, "The Church doesn't force Catholics to believe in evolution, but it is compatible with Scripture." This always forced me to defend the literal historical truth of Genesis. Besides alienating me from my passive friends, this became a nightmare because the priests saw my insistence as a threat to their authority, and they would silence me by saying I was too young to have read enough Papal encyclicals on the subject.
We were extremely joyful to hear about the Kolbe Center. Finally, here is a Catholic organization that speaks for the unity of all Christians, and it is one that our fellow Catholics will listen to. The Kolbe Center's message needs to be heard by every Catholic so that all traditional Church teaching can be understood and validated, and so that we can all be strong members of the Universal Church.
It's painful to see how belief in evolution prevents the maturation of strong adult role models by leaving generations of adults uncertain as to moral absolutes, making them poor leaders in lukewarm churches, and even in their own families. I've seen and experienced how this destroys children's faith in authority and in themselves.
Since embracing the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation, the most fantastic changes have taken place in my personality. When I was coerced into filling my head with depressing materialistic explanations for the universe that were clearly in conflict with the Bible, and pressured into thinking I was a fool for feeling there was something "fishy," I became bitter towards otherwise great teachers, and very self-conscious. After several years of hearing a hopeful message I've become confident in using the gifts God gave me. I know He crafted my body and spirit; that I was built to serve Him and love His creation. Instead of worrying about handling my own destiny, I know He loves me and gives me all I need to do His work. Knowing all of this, I'm humbled every day because He's shown me so much grace; I'm nothing without the life He gives me.
I thank my Mom for lovingly sacrificing her time and energy to give me a great education, and I thank my Dad for living his life in the spirit of St. Maximilian Kolbe who said, " ...what we can do, and should do, is to search for truth, and to serve it when we have found it."