131 episodes

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 that have been shunned.

shunned shunned

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 330 Ratings

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 that have been shunned.

    Episode 125 - Make It Be True - Elizabeth is shunned by Jehovah's Witnesses

    Episode 125 - Make It Be True - Elizabeth is shunned by Jehovah's Witnesses

    After a night spent with her boyfriend talking, a relationship that as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses she wasn’t supposed to have because he wasn’t in the cult, a phone call comes in from Elizabeth’s father wanting to know where she is. After replying that she was at Waffle House planning a wedding with her friend and that she just lost track of time, she told her boyfriend that now they had to go to Waffle House. Why? Because she had to “make it be true”.

    If those four words aren’t the epitome of what it is to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I don’t know what is. The desire to “make it be true”, to ignore all evidence to the contrary, to continue to uphold a dedication coerced through cult influence often as children, and to justify the sunk cost at all costs, is what leads so many to stay in something that isn’t good for them. It leads to people living an inauthentic life because they’re in so far that they have to “make it be true” because the cost of leaving is so high although they’ve already lost so much while being in. Elizabeth has such a story of her own to share, including a harrowing experience with a predatory cult member that she was saved from just before it got much worse.
    Support today’s guest by leaving her a comment HERE
    Support the show by donating to the cause on our Patreon page, Patreon.com/shunned
    Are you struggling in some area of life? Feeling stuck? Need an accountability partner or some encouragement? Need to talk to someone that understands cult life? Reach out and let’s talk. I have affordable programs to help as a certified life coach. Click HERE for more information.
    Want more resources? Go to my other website exjwHelp.com
    Join our Shunned Podcast Facebook Support Group HERE
    Leave us a review on iTunes
    Find shunned podcast on Youtube, including new VIDcasts here.
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
    You can listen to the Shunned Podcast Spotify playlist here for all of the songs chosen by guests of the show.
    This podcast was made possible by my original podcast This JW Life. You can find it on any podcast app or on YouTube. It is a 9 part series about life as Jehovah’s Witnesses designed to help you understand how it worked in one comprehensive story and to help you process your own if you came from that environment.
    Music provided by Jane and the Boy, entitled Save Myself.

    • 2 hr 31 min
    Episode 124 - Confusion - Escaping A Life Of Contradiction

    Episode 124 - Confusion - Escaping A Life Of Contradiction

    Amanda travels the United States but is not allowed to have friends as a kid, both outside OR inside of the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Amanda isn’t home schooled to further her isolation but is sent to school because her dad teaches. Amanda can’t play sports at school but her dad coaches some of them. Amanda’s dad screams and even gets physical but everyone outside of the home sees a different side of him and loves him. Amanda is forced to hide her body with oversized clothes yet is called a slut at home. And when Amanda is starting to get in trouble with the cult as an adult, her dad does something that is perhaps the most confusing in a life of contradictions.
    The song that she chose to represent her journey is Conqueror by the Empire Cast.
    Support today’s guest by leaving her a comment HERE
    Support the show by donating to the cause on our Patreon page, Patreon.com/shunned
    Are you struggling in some area of life? Feeling stuck? Need an accountability partner or some encouragement? Need to talk to someone that understands cult life? Reach out and let’s talk. I have affordable programs to help as a certified life coach. Click HERE for more information.
    Want more resources? Go to my other website exjwHelp.com
    Join our Shunned Podcast Facebook Support Group HERE
    Leave us a review on iTunes
    Find shunned podcast on Youtube, including new VIDcasts here.
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
    You can listen to the Shunned Podcast Spotify playlist here for all of the songs chosen by guests of the show.
    This podcast was made possible by my original podcast This JW Life. You can find it on any podcast app or on YouTube. It is a 9 part series about life as Jehovah’s Witnesses designed to help you understand how it worked in one comprehensive story and to help you process your own if you came from that environment.
    Music provided by Jane and the Boy, entitled Save Myself.

    • 1 hr 51 min
    9/2/22 - Your Chance To Help - ExJwHelp Day 2022

    9/2/22 - Your Chance To Help - ExJwHelp Day 2022

    To participate by donating to the cause, you can donate here (I will personally match the first $200 dollar for dollar): https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/shunnedrecovery

    You can also Venmo to @michael-shemwell-1 (last four digits of phone are 3279 if needed)

    To learn more about this day and how you can go out and participate on your own visit: https://exjwhelp.com/exjwhelpday/

    To watch this on YouTube, go to: https://youtu.be/HgX1ApWPl5s
     

    • 7 min
    Episode 123 - Waiting On Death Row - A PIMO Speaks Out

    Episode 123 - Waiting On Death Row - A PIMO Speaks Out

    The cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses has some interesting takes on life and death. On one hand, as today’s guest puts it, Jehovah’s Witnesses give up on life before it even starts because to them this world is going to end and this life is but a means to that end. On the other hand, they believe that they have the “real life” talked about in scripture, even sporting the hashtag bestlifeever on some of their social media posts. And when someone no longer believes in the doctrine of their group, that person is viewed as dead to them. They are shunned and treated as though they are no longer living.

    In a 1952 Watchtower magazine, a question from the readers was answered as follows:
    “● In the case of where a father or mother or son or daughter is disfellowshiped, how should such person be treated by members of the family in their family relationship?—P. C., Ontario, Canada.
    We are not living today among theocratic nations where such members of our fleshly family relationship could be exterminated for apostasy from God and his theocratic organization, as was possible and was ordered in the nation of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai and in the land of Palestine. “Thou shalt surely kill him; thy hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him to death with stones, because he hath sought to draw thee away from Jehovah thy God, . . . And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is in the midst of thee.”—Deut. 13:6-11, AS.
    Being limited by the laws of the worldly nation in which we live and also by the laws of God through Jesus Christ, we can take action against apostates only to a certain extent, that is, consistent with both sets of laws. The law of the land and God’s law through Christ forbid us to kill apostates, even though they be members of our own flesh-and-blood family relationship. However, God’s law requires us to recognize their being disfellowshiped from his congregation, and this despite the fact that the law of the land in which we live requires us under some natural obligation to live with and have dealings with such apostates under the same roof.”
    As you can see, Jehovah’s Witnesses almost lament the fact that they can’t kill apostates, people that leave their cult. Today’s guest, at just 19 years of age, is very much on death row, so to speak. He is PIMO, or physically in the cult but mentally out. Because he no longer believes what he was brought up to believe, he knows that eventually he will be disfellowshipped, executed as it were. In fact, doing this interview could be that very death knell for him. His bravery in speaking out shows the depth of his desire to live free from the bonds put upon him as a child by his family. He hopes to inspire and encourage others to live free too. Everyone deserves that chance.
    The songs that he chose to represent his journey are In The End by Linkin Park and The Nights by Avicii.
    Support today’s guest by leaving him a comment HERE
    Support the show by donating to the cause on our Patreon page, Patreon.com/shunned
    Are you struggling in some area of life? Feeling stuck? Need an accountability partner or some encouragement? Need to talk to someone that understands cult life? Reach out and let’s talk. I have affordable programs to help as a certified life coach. Click HERE for more information.
    Want more resources? Go to my other website exjwHelp.com
    Join our Shunned Podcast Facebook Support Group HERE
    Leave us a review on iTunes
    Find shunned podcast on Youtube, including new VIDcasts here.
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
    You can listen to the Shunned Podcast Spotify playlist here for all of the songs chosen by guests of the show.
    This podcast was made possible by my original podcast This JW Life. You can find it on any podcast app or on YouTube. It is a 9 part series about life as Jehovah’s

    • 1 hr 38 min
    Episode 122 - Family Matters

    Episode 122 - Family Matters

    Chris comes from a large family of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Montgomery Alabama area. Being from a big family can result in big family drama though, especially when everyone is in a cult that dictates behavior and divides families. In this episode you’ll learn about Chris, his family, his story, and how his story overlaps other things going on in the family as well.
    The song that Chris chose to represent his journey is I Wanna Live by Fifth featuring P. Black
    Support Chris by leaving him a comment HERE
    Support the show by donating to the cause on our Patreon page, Patreon.com/shunned
    Are you struggling in some area of life? Feeling stuck? Need an accountability partner or some encouragement? Need to talk to someone that understands cult life? Reach out and let’s talk. I have affordable programs to help as a certified life coach. Click HERE for more information.
    Want more resources? Go to my other website exjwHelp.com
    Join our Shunned Podcast Facebook Support Group HERE
    Leave us a review on iTunes
    Find shunned podcast on Youtube, including new VIDcasts here.
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
    You can listen to the Shunned Podcast Spotify playlist here for all of the songs chosen by guests of the show.
    This podcast was made possible by my original podcast This JW Life. You can find it on any podcast app or on YouTube. It is a 9 part series about life as Jehovah’s Witnesses designed to help you understand how it worked in one comprehensive story and to help you process your own if you came from that environment.
    Music provided by Jane and the Boy, entitled Save Myself.

    • 2 hr 34 min
    Episode 121 - Reading Apostate Material At The Meeting During The CO Visit

    Episode 121 - Reading Apostate Material At The Meeting During The CO Visit

    Sitting at a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses, during the circuit overseer’s visit, a young Dylan was facing a crisis of disconnection. As he realized that he did not belong there once again, and as he felt this darkness in the Kingdom Hall, Dylan would do something that would change the course of his life. On the congregation’s wifi while the meeting was going on, Dylan took a chance on Dylan for the first time. He took a chance to open a door that would lead him to eventual freedom even while sitting in a mental prison with everyone else. Listen to his story to learn about his family that was a constant in the congregation, his mother that married an ex-Scientologist and ended up in Africa, and what pushed him to have the courage on that fateful day to do something unthinkable for most in the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    The song that Dylan chose to represent his journey is I’m Not Okay But I Know I’m Going To Be by Raleigh Ritchie.
    Dylan has his own music single on Spotify as Gem Fresh, entitled Bluefin, found HERE
    Support Dylan by leaving him a comment HERE
    Support the show by donating to the cause on our Patreon page, Patreon.com/shunned
    Are you struggling in some area of life? Feeling stuck? Need an accountability partner or some encouragement? Need to talk to someone that understands cult life? Reach out and let’s talk. I have affordable programs to help as a certified life coach. Click HERE for more information.
    Want more resources? Go to my other website exjwHelp.com
    Join our Shunned Podcast Facebook Support Group HERE
    Leave us a review on iTunes
    Find shunned podcast on Youtube, including new VIDcasts here.
    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
    You can listen to the Shunned Podcast Spotify playlist here for all of the songs chosen by guests of the show.
    This podcast was made possible by my original podcast This JW Life. You can find it on any podcast app or on YouTube. It is a 9 part series about life as Jehovah’s Witnesses designed to help you understand how it worked in one comprehensive story and to help you process your own if you came from that environment.
    Music provided by Jane and the Boy, entitled Save Myself.

    • 2 hr 17 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
330 Ratings

330 Ratings

Po3ticInjustic3 ,

Thank you so much for this.

I am 19 living in Missouri. (currently pimo but moving in with my “worldly” girlfriend September 1st) I just wanted to say thank you so much for everything. It helps so much hearing stories of other people going through such relatable things! I really appreciated the comment you made in one of your episodes, wherein you said something along the lines of. We have our own culture of ex witnesses specifically and ex cultists in general who are able to build each other up. That is so true. I know this won’t be easy and I have a lot of loss in store, but knowing I’m not alone in this makes it so much more bearable. Anyways thank you again for all of your hard work, and the hard work of everyone you interview.

LocoYoung17 ,

Thank you so much.

I’ve recently “woken up” here in the past couple months. Needless to say I’ve had a lot of feelings to process, and your podcast has been one of the things that has helped me keep sane.

The King's Own ,

Heartfelt & Intimate Story

Mike tells his story of escape from the Jehovah’s Witness cult with humility and grace. This series of podcasts gives an outsider a true insight into the closed world of, and twisted beliefs held by JWs. For a practicing JW, Mike’s personal story and un-controversial retelling of his escape, will provide a good foundation for reevaluation of the society and its mendacious history.

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