Recovering from Religion

E13: Religious Abuse

An episode of Recovering from Religion

By Recovering from Religion
"Recovering from Religion" is an international community for those who have questions or doubts about their faith. We aren’t here to talk you out of or into faith, just provide a safe place to examine what you believe. And perhaps, why you believe it.

Your hosts, authors Tim Rymel, M.Ed., and Bill Prickett, will bring guests who've experienced harm from extreme religious beliefs and practices, as well as experts who can offer help, hope and healing.
E15: The Power of Cults
Cults come in a variety of expressions, though they have commonalities. Our guest for this episode is an expert on this subject, as well as a former cult member herself. Dr. Janja Lalich is a researcher, author, and educator specializing in cults and extremist groups with a particular focus on charismatic relationships, political and other social movements, ideology, and social control. She was a Fulbright scholar and is Professor Emerita of Sociology at California State University, Chico, and the founder and former director of the Center for Research on Influence and Control. Her books are considered essential to understand the attraction of these groups. She presents four ways to not only explain the power of cults, but also the control they have over their followers. Her latest book is one of the most extensive examinations of those who’ve left cults. Janja consults with education, mental health, business and legal professionals, and is a regular spokesperson for the media.  Tim and Bill also discuss the ongoing NXIVM trial, and how Janja's research helps to understand this kind of group. Janja’s Website: Janja’s Books: More about Recovering from Religion: Did you know Recovering from Religion has local support groups? Looking for a therapist who will respect your views? Interested in meeting other people who have made the journey to recovery? RfR is hosting a fall outing in Mars Hill, NC. September 20-22,  2019     We want to hear your story. Use the RfR Podcast hotline: 209-294-0681 Or fill out the form at the bottom of the RfR podcast page:
May 16, 2019
E14: Beneath the Hare Krishna Message of Peace and Higher Consciousness
Nitai Joseph was born into a Hare Krishna family. After becoming very devout as a teenager, he joined an offshoot sect, and moved to a small, off-grid monastery in Northern California.  For almost seven years, Nitai was assistant to the leader, experiencing intense psychological and financial abuse, manipulation, and deprivation.  These days, Nitai is working for education and recovery resources for survivors of cults, cultic environments and interpersonal abuse more broadly. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of the International Cultic Studies Association, and is working toward a Master’s degree in the Psychology of Coercive Control.  Nitai’s Website: We want to hear your story. Use the RfR Podcast hotline: 209-294-0681 Or fill out the form at the bottom of the RfR podcast page: More about Recovering from Religion Did you know Recovering from Religion has local support groups? Looking for a therapist who will respect your views? Interested in meeting other people who have made the journey to recovery? RfR is hosting a fall outing in Mars Hill, NC. 
April 26, 2019
E13: Religious Abuse
Debbie Glander is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, cofounder of Authenticity Workshops, and a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, utilizing methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. Debbie works with clients individually in her private practice and facilitates a “Healing from Religious and Spiritual Trauma” process group. She has her own story of being raised Jehovah Witness.  Kari Groff is a former Adventist missionary to Micronesia, but is now passionate about building communities with those who’ve also experienced the trauma of a strict, dogmatic religious culture.  Join us as we talk with these women about the power and control of shame, as well as recognizing religious abuse. Debbie’s Website: UPDATE: We recently put out an appeal for a Producer for the Recovering from Religion podcast. We're pleased to announce that we’ve found one, and we’ll be introducing our new Producer in an upcoming episode.  Thank you!
March 29, 2019
E12: From Make-Up Tips to Faith Deconstruction
Sarah Rocksdale created her YouTube channel in 2011 to share her passion for topics such as beauty, fashion, fitness, and lifestyle. She won the Rimmel London Look contest and was a NYX Cosmetics Face Awards finalist two years in a row, and garnered a huge following. She realized her unique position to speak to an audience that might not otherwise be exposed to difficult subjects, so she chose to expand her content, talking about her own break with her Pentecostal faith, her sexual abuse, and she “came out” as an atheist.  Sarah’s YouTube channel ( has more than 88,000 subscribers. 
March 12, 2019
E11: Scientology and Critical Thinking
Chris Shelton grew up in Scientology, and was a Sea Org member for more than 17 years. Since his exit, he’s been a passionate, outspoken critic, to the point of being labeled a “suppressive person” by the Church. He was featured on Leah Remini’s "Scientology and the Aftermath" on A&E. Chris is now a writer, consultant and advocate for critical thinking. His YouTube channel has more than 17,000 subscribers, and he’s the host of "Sensibly Speaking," a podcast that educates about critical thinking as well as the dangers of cults. He's the author of "Scientology: A to Xenu – An Insider’s Guide to What Scientology is Really All About," a critical analysis of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard.  Website: YouTube: Podcast: Book:
February 26, 2019
E10: Sarah and Becca – Facing Changes as a Couple
We were excited for our first interview with a married couple!  Sarah Austin, a transgender woman, grew up in a small town as a “vanilla Christian” working in conservative talk radio. Her wife Becca grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. Sarah and Becca married before Sarah’s transition. Together, they host the SarahTalk Podcast where they discuss “all the things you shouldn’t talk about at work.” Sarah and Becca share their story of facing faith and gender identity issues as a couple in love. Before the interview, Bill and Tim discuss the recent news stories about televangelist Ernest Angley, and Bill relates a personal anecdote about Angley's church.  SarahTalk Podcast:
February 13, 2019
E9: Atheist Pastor Luke King
Tim and Bill discuss the many ways people re-examine, and often abandoned, their faith, as well as the many emotions that go with it. Then they’re joined by Luke King, a former Four-Square, Pentecostal Pastor and now host of the “Your Atheist Pastor" podcast that provides a place for those who’ve left their faith. Luke is also a speaker, a blogger and a yoga instructor.   In this engaging episode Luke tells his story, why he still sees himself as a pastor, and how yoga helped transform his self-image. (And wait until you hear about his Instagram account!) Luke’s podcast:
January 23, 2019
E8: Lloyd Evans talks Jehovah's Witnesses
Lloyd Evans is a much sought-after expert on Jehovah's Witnesses, the religion of his upbringing. He’s the founder of, and author of “The Reluctant Apostate” which is both a memoir and a reference guide. He points to JW’s as just one example of the harm that can be inflicted when religious authority goes unchecked. Since 2011, Lloyd has been a passionate advocate against cults and religious fundamentalism. Lloyd's YouTube channel (under the name John Cedars) has 12,000+ subscribers and has attracted more than 2.5 million views. Website: YouTube channel:
January 11, 2019
E7: A New Year with Recovering from Religion
To start off 2019, our guests are Dr. Darrel Ray, the psychologist and author who founded Recovering from Religion and currently serves as president, and Gayle Jordan, an attorney who works as our executive director.  These two tireless leaders tell their own story, and we also get insights into what led to the formation of RfR, the services offered, and how people can get involved. Before the end of the interview, we ask each of them about their hopes for the new year.  Website: RfR Resources:
January 3, 2019
E6: Everyone's Agnostic with Cass Midgley
Who earns a Masters degree in Theological Studies…as an atheist? Cass Midgley did! But his infatuation with God began much earlier. As a boy, he knew there was a God, and they were good friends. As a teen, he discovered there were many Christianities, and he determined to find the right one…or start his own. As an adult, he began asking questions. Eventually, he left the church altogether. Cass is now one of the hosts of the “Everyone’s Agnostic” podcast, and also serves as a Humanist Chaplain. Links are for information purposes only to supplement the podcast content. RfR does not endorse this or any religious organization. Cass’ Website:
December 19, 2018
E5: Gothardism with Micah J. Murray
In the 70s and 80s, a prominent and influential name among Fundamental / Evangelical Christians was Bill Gothard, and his Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts seminars. Thousands of people would fill auditoriums to hear his "Biblical Principles of Life." Blogger and speaker, Micah J. Murray, recounts what it was like growing up under the teachings of Gothard, being homeschooled using Gothard’s controversial curriculum, and working in Gothard’s authoritarian organization. We also talk to him about the scandal that essential destroyed the organization. Micah is blunt about the dangers of Gothard's teachings, why he walked away, and his work in educating others. The following links are for information purposes only to supplement the podcast content. RfR does not endorse this or any religious organization. Micah's website: Recovering Grace:
December 11, 2018
E4: Anger and Grace with John Smid
At one time, John Smid was one the most well-known names in “ex-gay” leadership, as the Executive Director of the country’s largest Conversion Therapy programs. These days, he lives a quiet live with his husband in a small town in Texas, and spends his time as a craftsman and custom furniture maker. John is currently back in the spotlight, as one of the main characters in the movie “Boy Erased” is loosely based on him. The REAL John Smid talks about his anger at the Fundamental theology that trapped him for so long, how he deals with his role as a former Conversion Therapy leader, and what he’s done to personally recover and move his life forward. The following links are for information purposes only to supplement the podcast content. RfR does not endorse this or any religious organization. John's book: "Grace Rivers" "Grace Rivers" Facebook: J & L Creative Design:
December 4, 2018
E3: Fundamental Politics with Yvette Cantu Schneider
Author Yvette Cantu Schneider recalls her work as policy analyst for the right-wing, politico-religious organization, the Family Research Council, and shares the family crisis that forced her to re-examine her faith. You can find Yvette's book, "Never Not Broken" here:
November 20, 2018
E2: QuickiePod "Boy Erased"
Hosts Tim Rymel and Bill Prickett were both once involved in Conversion Therapy, and they discuss the new movie, “Boy Erased,” based on the true story of a young man who’s sent to a program that promises to change his sexual orientation. (cf:
November 12, 2018
E1: Intro of Podcast and Co-Hosts
Former conversion therapy survivors, authors and speakers, now co-hosts, Tim Rymel and Bill Prickett kick off Recovering from Religion’s new podcast, with introductions and personal stories.
October 25, 2018
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