April Galamin was born in Chicago, Illinois. Raised in a Catholic home, she is the 3rd eldest of 11 children. Being discontented with the religion of her youth, she found herself searching for something better. In college she began listening to audio tapes of a preacher that a friend recommended. Upon graduating college she was still listening to the sermon tapes frequently and was sucked into the group - an IFB (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist) with a Calvinist bent and King James version Bible proponent. Over time she and her family were persuaded to uproot their lives to move closer to the cult. This relocation was the beginning of the end as through time and experience she realized what was being taught was not the reality of life in the group. During her years living in Michigan, she home schooled her children and was an at-home mom. She became burned out and over time put her kids into a Lutheran school, where she was very active, volunteering and teaching art to the children. During this time she and her husband began to seriously question the dogma of the group they had joined. Involved with the group for 19 years, she and her family walked away from it in 2007. These were very dark days for her as people she thought were her true friends shunned her and her family. In addition she was excommunicated/church disciplined as her former pastor devoted a whole sermon to discrediting her and her husband’s character for no longer wanting to remain members in that “church.” It took time, but in 2010 she and her family then uprooted yet again to move back to their home state of Illinois to rebuild their lives. During her years in the group she tried to remain creative. This included volunteering at her children’s school and having a small art exhibit at the Sterling Heights, Michigan City Hall. In addition she was involved with the ACLU’s Lady Liberty Project, Annual Dinner & Silent Auction in Dearborn, Michigan, where she donated a watercolor painting for the Silent Auction. April received her Bachelor of Arts degree before joining the group. She has been painting with watercolors for over 3 decades and has been published internationally. She has created a comic strip, My Life of Hell in the Kingdom, some of which were shown at the 2012 Phoenix Project at the ICSA Conference in Montreal. In addition some were published in the ICSA Today magazine, volume 3, issues 2 and 3 – 2012. April not only paints, she often works with digital art and photography. Within the last year she has worked to become an Adobe Certified Associate for Photoshop and is an Adobe Certified Expert for Illustrator. She is getting her skills back to par to get employment in the arts /graphic arts and design industry. Currently, she is a member of the Illinois Watercolor Society, The Park Ridge Art League, and International Cultic Studies Association. She has volunteered with the Ethical Humanist Society and their soup kitchens among other volunteer projects. Mostly, April is busy trying to make up for lost time, and is enjoying life free from the constraints of abusive religion.
On This Page
Road of Memories
I was inspired to create this painting while walking with my kids down a back road in northern Wisconsin. The last time I had been up there was before we relocated for our cult. Had a decade really gone by?
I had made memories in northern Wisconsin when I was young, before I joined the cult. But once we uprooted our lives for the “true church,” there just didn’t seem to be time to make a trip back to Wisconsin. I needed to be “redeeming the time,” not wasting it on getaways! In my cultic mindset, I anticipated that my good times would be coming in heaven. This life, for a “true believer,” was for suffering, sacrificing, and putting to death our own desires and wants.
I had left the cult 2 years before I took this trip to the Northwoods with my children and relatives. My kids and I were excited, but my daughter could not recall her time there as a toddler, and my son had only heard about, and never seen, “the cabin.” I felt so free after we arrived; so much reminded me of the good and carefree times of my youth.
One evening, taking a leisurely walk with the kids while the sun was setting, I felt like I was in another world: Sunbeams filtered through the trees, shadows cast on the road created an interesting pattern of lines, and colors seemed surreal where the road looked purple; and the atmosphere had a mysterious quality to it.
With no religious pressure on me, I could simply enjoy the scene with wonder and appreciate the moment for what it was. I thought about life and all of its struggles and unanswered questions, and about the good in life, too.
I have tried to capture that moment in this painting. The shadows cast on the road with the sunset represent the fleeting moments in life. Although we have freed ourselves from abusive religion, we still have our struggles. But every day is a chance to make new memories that are, hopefully, good as we try to appreciate and live fully in the here and now.