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Consciousness32: Daniel Asks Me Some Questions


In this episode I answer some questions about Bryn Athyn (the small religious town where I lived from 5th grade until marriage), and Daniel Mackler gives his assessment of whether or not Bryn Athyn qualifies as a cult.

I’m not going to give away the ending here, but I will just say that I’m feeling some serious discomfort about posting this show.  I will also say that I think it’s a very important show to post, so I’m postin’ it.

And now I’m going to go lie down and feel scared for a little while.  Luckily I know that uncomfortable feelings aren’t the end of the world.

Over and out.


8 comments to Consciousness32: Daniel Asks Me Some Questions

  • baby:g

    podcraft at its finest

    made me feel really lucky to have u as my big sister


  • baby:g

    and thank you daniel :)

    it was a nice bryn athyn therapy session for me

  • amy,
    brave of you to post this. i admire that — big risk! i believe it’s a worthwhile one. i hope this podcast will be useful to people.
    all the best

  • Julia G

    I just finished the interview with Daniel podcast. Loved it…especially the BS song! Now I have a song to sing when, well, others words smell funny. What you describe in Bryn Athryn is not unique to Bryn Athryn. Any of us who were raised in a stricter religious home know what you mean. I had 7 siblings, an evangelist grandfather, 2 evangelist uncles, and lots of those crazy messages in my childhood. EVERYBODY took this stuff seriously. We were told family was everything, girls are here to serve their husbands and make babies, believe this way because others are wrong (confused, uninformed) and keep your family secrets. It totally messes with a kids’ head. Walking away from this is like stepping off a (seemingly) solid cliff into empty space. The empty space is a really good place but its dang scary…and your all-important family isn’t there to back you up. (also a good thing-realizing there’s nothing solid and permanent is an awesome lesson). Thank you so much. I love your podcasts! I think I’m going to form a cult that just listens to you…have to work on a good name, though. That swedenborgen thing is Way too hard to say!

  • kara tennis

    Man! Why can’t *I* hold onto that kind of clarity?? I find Daniel’s “crusader”energy really helpful to the confused hold-out spots inside of me, and in general it’s just kinda refreshing (as well as a touch annoying at times).
    Some of my favorite things he said are that [people clinging to the “certainty” of dogma] “haven’t learned the basic lessons of reality,” and that the BA party-line way of loving children is “fettered” and “conditional.” Amen.
    I thought the part where Daniel commented on your apparent lack of bitterness was touching; maybe you could say more in a future PC. Having clawed my way over decades to the *internal* safety and freedom of self-possession, I’m not bitter; I have a super-deep experience of human beings doing their best given who they are. But I think I could use a dose of crusaderness.
    Thanks–I’m grateful for your and Daniel’s collaboration.

  • Bethany


  • Derek Vernon Smith

    Superb interview. Kudos for posting this. I became curious about Bryn Athyn but I could find almost no criticism on the web – this was sinister and suggests to me that these are powerful, influential and (of course) highly controlling people, because everything gets criticised on the intertubes, even chocolate ice cream.

  • Derek Vernon Smith

    Relistening… Christianity (like any religion) totally is a cult. The fact that the word has negative connotations (which I think are entirely appropriate) doesn’t change the substance of the argument. People’s Temple founder Jim Jones, who everyone calls a cult leader, was responsible for the coercive suicide of around 900 people, a number that pales into insignificance compared to the mass slaughters promoted by Christian (etc.) cult leaders.

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