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Escaping Religion: Stories of Former Believers, Part II
September 15, 2016
Stories of people raised inside insular religious groups. In this hour: escapes from an apocalyptic 'cult,' a New Age sect and the most hated church in America.
Glynn Washington_SnapJudgment
Glynn Washington: Learning the Craft of Storytelling from an Apocalyptic 'Cult' September 15, 2016
When a preacher says the world is going to end next week ... and it doesn’t ... there’s only one way to keep people believing: tell them a good story. And that’s what Glynn Washington, public radio’s master storyteller, learned from the Worldwide Church of God, an insular religious group where he spent his formative years. He now calls it a “cult.” He talked to Maureen in 2015.

Today, Washington's show airs on more than 300 stations around the country. The World Wide Church of God changed its name in 2009 and says it now embraces a more traditional form of Christianity.

Glynn Washington, Creator and Host of Snap Judgment
ClintJCL_Flickr
Erin Prophet: The Apocalypse That Didn't Come September 15, 2016
On March 15th, 1990, nearly 800 members of the Church Universal and Triumphant braced themselves for the end of the world by nuclear holocaust. They had spent three years and $20 million creating a huge, underground fallout shelter in Montana. And then midnight struck ... and nothing happened. In 2008, Maureen sat down with Erin Prophet, the daughter of the group's clairvoyant leader, Elizabeth Clare Prophet.

Erin Prophet, author of Prophet's Daughter: My Life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet Inside the Church Universal and Triumphant


Courtesy Erin Prophet
Update: Prophet Today September 15, 2016
Elizabeth Clare Prophet, known as "Guru Ma" to her many followers and simply "mom" to Erin, died in 2009 after a long battled with Alzheimer's. Today, Erin remembers her mother as a "religious genius." She is now in the final stages of a doctorate in gnosticism, esotericism and mysticism at Rice University.
Hachette Book Group
Lauren Drain: Why I Left the Westboro Baptist Church September 15, 2016
The Westboro Baptist Church calls itself a “unique picketing ministry,” and that’s certainly one way to think about it. The 40 or so members take hate speech to a shocking new level, protesting the funerals of soldiers and children, holding signs that say things like “Pray for More Dead Soldiers” and “God Hates America.” So, who are these people? In 2013, Maureen spoke to one of them, Lauren Drain, who had been a member of the church for seven years. Today, Drain is a cardiac nurse and a popular fitness model, with nearly 3 million followers on Instagram.

Lauren Drain, author of Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church