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Religious and cult ideologies often use the practice of shunning to silence their critics and to control their members through fear. This podcast sheds light on this practice through real life stories as told by the people that have lived through it. Learn what their lives were like and where they have ended up in life after shunning. Featuring stories from Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology, Amish, Mennonite, FLDS, the Moonies, and more, you will learn about the real lives of former members t ...
 
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Many Jehovah’s Witnesses are holding secrets. In Chevoy’s life, the secrecy around her father’s actions meant that she would have to learn to find her voice in order to heal. Now she’s sharing her story, shining a light on what once lived in the darkness. The song that Chevoy chose to represent her story is Warrior by Demi Lovato. Support Chevoy by…
 
Struggling in school with dyslexia, struggling at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses because her family was looked down on as being spiritually weak, and severely abused at home, young Michelle had no safe place to go for relief. Pushed into a caregiver’s role later in life, she would once again find that Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t safe as th…
 
When we lose the ones we love, we say some words. We remember them. We reminisce about the good times, and it’s for the memory of the ones we lose as well as for ourselves. Sarah was not given a proper funeral. This was due to her status of being Shunned (Disfellowshipped) from her religion, and as her husband I’ve not had closure. Because of this …
 
College is not the place for a Jehovah’s Witness youth. That message was received by a 7 year old Lin, the very first time something seemed like it wasn’t quite right to him. However, when a scholarship to Emory University would open for him later in life, he would have a choice to make. Jehovah’s Witnesses discourage their youth from obtaining a g…
 
Trigger Warning – This episode deals with abuse and suicide. Born in raised in a family that looked the part of good Jehovah’s Witnesses, Nicole knew the truth. Her father was a violent alcoholic, her mother suffered from dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities), and her escape was to spend time with another JW family on weekends tha…
 
Some people that were Jehovah’s Witnesses simply hated every second of it. Jael is one such person. From an early age she knew that it wasn’t for her, but her mother let her know that she would never help her out if she wasn’t a JW later in life and that pressure was intense. Because of that Jael would find herself going in and out of the cult. In …
 
At the age of 11 or 12 Nia saw something happen that many Jehovah’s Witnesses see, one of the teenagers in her congregation was disfellowshipped. But what she also experienced was her mother’s reaction, a reaction that lacked care or compassion for the person that was now seen as lost, a reaction that lacked any real care for Nia as well. “Don’t yo…
 
With four years of long-form personal stories from ten different cults and over 615,000 individual listens and views across many platforms, Shunned has become something more than I ever dreamed. Between the Cult Recovery Coaching Services that I offer, the Facebook support group, the Shunned Recovery Project online meetups, and all of these intervi…
 
Often when we grow up we are given roles to play in life. Whether we pick these up by observing the adults around us or we pick them up in our response to those same people, it isn’t unusual to find ourselves repeating patterns from our past. Chelsea’s story is one of living in confusion and eventually becoming strong enough to break out of the rol…
 
Trigger Warning: This episode contains frank discussions of sexual abuse and suicide. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of taking items like broken pottery and repairing the cracks with gold. It is an acknowledgement of the scars that a piece has as part of its history. Drew has some scars, but he’s not afraid to be vulnerable and talk about his life. F…
 
“The only reason I got baptized was…….I wanted to save my ass.” The cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses promote fear of death at the hands of their genocidal god. Unfortunately for Raene, from the time she was molested at the age of seven by someone in her congregation, she would spend her days trying to save herself in many ways. Saving herself from that …
 
“So I can never change my mind. I can never leave. And I remember having the thought that I am trapped. That was the first time I realized that you can’t just leave, ever, for any reason.” Jake, known on YouTube and other platforms as AltWorldly, had to face a harsh realization that as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses you can’t just leave. It has been re…
 
From an early age Cindy experienced loss as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. From hidden abuse to trying to live up to the expectations of high achieving family members in the cult, this set her up to search for her own identity. Whether through the cult teachings or through her career or relationships, Cindy was looking for something that she couldn’t …
 
“Honestly I just always felt horrible about going, it never felt like this was my calling or this was where I needed to be. It was quite the opposite actually.” Baptized at 15 as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christina knew that this really wasn’t the place for her but did what she needed to do in order to get by. When her life took twists and turns …
 
“It’s all F.E.A.R. They have that over your head with everything. Fear of Armageddon, fear of being shunned, fear of not doing enough, and at that age of 11, 12, 13, fear of being persecuted was so big……..From 2 or three up to 10 or 11 years old, life was fun, just being a kid….but once we were in it, life became scary.” Justin’s life changed when …
 
Raised by a mother that wasn’t truly one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in practice but that still made her children live a JW lifestyle, Za’kaeda had trouble fitting in. When her mother finally got serious about “The Truth”, she had a rare opportunity to make her mom proud as her mom asked her to study, and she obliged. Za’kaeda’s story is one of trying h…
 
“I remember my husband saying ‘you are a sex addict’ but I’m not. I just waited 21 years of my life for this thing and I thought it was going to happen because I did everything right and it’s not happening and I don’t know why.” Sex is something that is repressed and shamed anyway, but what if you married someone that was trying to be someone that …
 
“I’m a nuts and bolts kind of guy. I see how people are treated. Doctrine can be twisted and turned and however you want to interpret the Bible is however you want to interpret the Bible. For me what’s important is how you treat your people.” Follow Dino’s story and you’ll see that people are what matter to him most. From his time in the cult of Je…
 
Note: This is the second of back to back episodes on the Unification Church, often referred to as the Moonies, named after their leader Sun Myung Moon. Lisa spent her time playing with the children of the Messiah while living with Satan. Her mother went into the Unification Church, leaving Lisa and her brother behind with their father, a man living…
 
Note: This is the first of back to back episodes on the Unification Church, often referred to as the Moonies, named after their leader Sun Myung Moon. Jen Kiaba is an award winning artist and an educator, and in this episode she educates us on this particular group. You will learn how the group worked, the unique terminology of the group, but above…
 
Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to be a religion guided by love. Throughout Joe’s story a common them arises though: “where is the love?”. We know that they practice shunning and call that love, but daily life inside of the cult also shows it to be sorely lacking. Joe’s story involves a lack of love starting in the congregation and only gets more persona…
 
“In a way I felt like I was better than everyone else in the world, because I knew the truth. I was one of the few that was going to be saved at Armageddon, but at the same time I felt like I was worthless because no matter what I did it was never enough, and I could never truly compensate for being gay. That was never going to go away and I couldn…
 
At just 19 years old, when others are experiencing life for the first time after high school whether going to college or starting their lives, Isaiah was leaving a cult. That decision to take a stand didn’t come without the predictably terrible reaction from family and friends that are swept up in a cult that controls their behavior. The song that …
 
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