Voices of Deconversion
Atheist and agnostic Ex-Christians share their stories of deconversion.
info_outline 073 Tiffany Cappello - A Fundamentalist Christian Mother of 7 Begins to Ask Questions about Faith/ The Impact of Faith on Mental Health 06/24/2020
073 Tiffany Cappello - A Fundamentalist Christian Mother of 7 Begins to Ask Questions about Faith/ The Impact of Faith on Mental Health Tiffany has so many great insights regarding the impact of Christianity on mental health. I really enjoyed my chat with her!
info_outline 072 Ronna Russell - The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher's Kid 04/13/2020
072 Ronna Russell - The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher's Kid Today I speak with Ronna Russell, author of "The Uncomfortable Confessions of a Preacher's Kid". Ronna describes her story as "a childhood controlled by the brutal hand of a narcissistic, closeted homosexual. I believed I could leave my upbringing behind and walk away unscathed. I married a closeted homosexual man, in hopes he could keep me safe. As our sex life and bank account dwindled to nothing, fear kept me silent. In the meantime, my father died of AIDs. The pain of his death fractured my biological family, and I clung to my husband and children, creating a cocoon that became a prison. Eventually, I was forced to see my husband’s homosexuality and refusal to work, realizations that brought me to the breaking point. I found the courage to be alone, to take care of my children no matter the cost, and the joy of my own sexual freedom. In the process, I fell in love with my own life".
info_outline Spring Update 2020 03/21/2020
Spring Update 2020 I left my soul-sucking job!!! This is a brief update about what I'm doing now and when you can expect the next episode. I'm really excited to jump back into it! Stay safe and healthy with the COVID-19/Coronavirus going around. For those who are sick, get well soon. For the rest of us, also stuck (mostly) at home, hang in there. Talk to you soon!
info_outline Winter 2020 Update - Losing Purpose after Deconversion: How I Responded and My Plan 15 years later! 01/28/2020
Winter 2020 Update - Losing Purpose after Deconversion: How I Responded and My Plan 15 years later! Episodes will be out intermittently for the coming weeks and months (I'm still aiming for bi-weekly). That was all I was trying to say and ended up talking about the impact deconversion had on my sense of purpose and fulfillment in life, LOL. If all you need to know is to check your podcast app every once in a while, then it's all good and I'll talk to you soon :) However, if you're interested in hearing about one of the most significant impacts deconversion had in my life (something that's impacted many of you too), then I'd feel grateful for your time and appreciate you letting me share my experience with you. I share how realizing I wasn't Christian, put me in a tailspin and led to serious depression and loss of meaning and purpose in my life. I'm still feeling the repercussions of deconversion 15 years later. Let me emphasize that I'm incredibly hopeful, motivated and excited for this next chapter of my life! I didn't thank Krissy enough in this episode, so I'll do it here. She's been with me and seen me through this entire insane journey. She is one of the most empathetic and compassionate people I've ever known. She has been so understanding and sympathetic in every way. Her love and friendship have truly meant the world to me. Let me know if you've experienced something similar in your life and how you responded. I'd love to hear it! Send me a message on Twitter @vodpodcast, Facebook or email@example.com
info_outline 071 Muhammad: The Satanic Verses Cause Curiosity, then Questions. Becomes an Atheist in Iran. Spreads Anti-Islam Material. Arrested & in Solitary Confinement. Forced to make a False Confession on Youtube. Threatened with Prison, He Plans His Escape from I 01/03/2020
071 Muhammad: The Satanic Verses Cause Curiosity, then Questions. Becomes an Atheist in Iran. Spreads Anti-Islam Material. Arrested & in Solitary Confinement. Forced to make a False Confession on Youtube. Threatened with Prison, He Plans His Escape from I Today is a very special episode about an ex-Muslim's deconversion to atheism, while living in Iran. His story is so important to share! He grew up in Iran in a Shia Muslim family. He was a devout Muslim until he got curious about Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses. His curiosity leads him to banned anti-islam websites. He reads articles and books, eventually realizing he's an atheist. Muhammad began to spread anti-islam materials on websites and social media. After 3 years, he is caught and aggressively arrested on the street. He spends time in prison and solitary confinement. His parents put their house up for bail and he is forced to repent and make a false confession, which airs on Youtube and Islamic Republic television. While on bail, he is eventually called back for the trial and an inevitable 15 years in prison. He decides he must escape Iran.
info_outline 070 Jordan: Worldly Friends vs. Church Friends. Learns Calvinist Theology. Rejection from a Mentor. Doubts Lead to Agnosticism. 12/01/2019
070 Jordan: Worldly Friends vs. Church Friends. Learns Calvinist Theology. Rejection from a Mentor. Doubts Lead to Agnosticism. Jordan grew up going to church every Sunday with his family. He went to Bible studies and lived a typical Christian life. When he was junior high age, his family stopped attending church regularly. As Jordan grew older, he struggled balancing his church friendships along with his non-church friendships. He didn't want to live a double life. His faith becomes more serious and he discovers Calvinist theology. At first, he embraces it. Later, he begins to question more than just Calvinism. The difficult process of deconstructing his faith leads to agnosticism.
info_outline 069 Roland Watts: Raised Methodist in a small Australian Township. Blasphemed the Holy Spirit as a Child. Feared He was Damned for Years. Meeting the Christadelphians Brings Huge Relief. He's now an Agnostic Atheist. 11/11/2019
069 Roland Watts: Raised Methodist in a small Australian Township. Blasphemed the Holy Spirit as a Child. Feared He was Damned for Years. Meeting the Christadelphians Brings Huge Relief. He's now an Agnostic Atheist. Gidday Listeners! My first guest from Australian shares his fascinating journey out of Christianity. He was raised in a typical Methodist Christian home in a small Township in Australia. His dad was a brickmaker and his mother a homemaker. He was raised going to Sunday school. His dad attended prayer groups during the week and his mom went to women's church groups. As a young teenager he was listening to a Fundamentalist preacher when a blasphemous thought entered his mind. Instantly he knew he was damned and going to hell. He couldn't dare tell anyone, as this may confirm his terrible reality. He kept all this to himself. He lived his day-to-day life, but every so often was reminded of his terrible fate. This thought tormented him for years. A few years later he's invited to a meeting with the Christadelphians. As a Methodist, he was viewed as a damnable heretic. Conversely, he viewed them that way too. Following an intense discussion he has a realization and finally finds relief. I loved his message to embrace the things we don't know. This is a huge part of what brings me peace as an atheist too. It's ok to not know or understand everything. It's the mystery of life that brings wonder and awe. It also leaves us with so much to discover in our world. In difficult times, we gather comfort from something Roland reminded me near the end of our talk: We're in it together!
info_outline 068 Matt Scott: Age 5 Believer/Raised Charismatic (Assemblies of God) Christian/Goes to Bible College, Gets Minister's License & Goes to the Mission Field/Deconverted Less Than 1 Yr. Ago/ Now He's Got Atheist Tattoos! 10/13/2019
068 Matt Scott: Age 5 Believer/Raised Charismatic (Assemblies of God) Christian/Goes to Bible College, Gets Minister's License & Goes to the Mission Field/Deconverted Less Than 1 Yr. Ago/ Now He's Got Atheist Tattoos! Matt was born in Wichita, Kansas and lived there until about age 7. He was raised non-denominational/charismatic mostly in the Assemblies of God churches and had full on believed by age 5. He had great parents and never had too many issues in the church. However, he always had a great fear of hell even as a Christian. He was in and out of church most of his life until his first divorce. Then went to bible college at a very charismatic school in 2009. He began seeing cracks and flaws in that particular doctrine and started pulling back. He had gotten his minister's license close to graduation and upon graduation went straight to the mission field in Asia in 2011/12. He worked with the underground church in China and the Burmese refugees I’m Thailand. He finally began having more questions over the years until he couldn’t do it anymore because of how it was just messing his head up. 10,000 religions, 40,000 plus denominations within Christianity alone, good people going to hell, simply for not believing. He hated the way Christians viewed & spoke to the LGBTQ community and other faiths like they all couldn’t just be people, but had to be a mission and Christians had to have an agenda. He felt that devalued all groups outside of Christendom as less than human. He hated it. Later he had a stint in rehab for alcohol and began reading books like the wisdom of insecurity from Alan Watts and Thomas Paine’s the Age of Reason. He felt like he'd found freedom in Deism. He was there for a bit, then went back out of fear. That didn’t last long. The full shift happened less than a year ago and now he is an Atheist. He said he truly feels born again and free.
info_outline 067 Debbie McNulty: Survived Sexual Abuse in the United Pentecostal Church. Now Neo-Pagan She Advocates to Help Other Abuse Survivors. 09/20/2019
067 Debbie McNulty: Survived Sexual Abuse in the United Pentecostal Church. Now Neo-Pagan She Advocates to Help Other Abuse Survivors. URGENT: If you live in Wisconsin please contact your state representative to express support for the Clergy Mandatory Reporter Act & the Child Victims Act. These bills are being considered right now. If your representative is Republican, it's even more important. Republican support is low for these bills, but is critical. Anything you can do is very much appreciated. Now, to introduce today's guest... Debbie McNulty is a lifelong resident of Wisconsin. She attended a United Pentecostal church from about age 7 to 17. She was exposed to sexual abuse and ideas which caused serious religious trauma. Now she works to help others cope with their trauma and raise awareness about the organization she grew up in. Her story is such an important story to tell. Debbie is an amazing person and ends the conversation with such a hopeful message! Debbie's Blog: Cap Times article:
info_outline 066 Rebecca Policello: Grew Up in the World Wide Church of God. Tragedy Ends Friendship and She Runs to God. Research at a Catholic College Leads to Agnosticism. 08/27/2019
066 Rebecca Policello: Grew Up in the World Wide Church of God. Tragedy Ends Friendship and She Runs to God. Research at a Catholic College Leads to Agnosticism. What an amazing story! Rebecca grew up in a cult-like Christian church called the World Wide Church of God. Her particular congregation was quite small and at one point only consisted of around 20 people. They celebrated Jewish holy days, but adopted their own meaning. They kept a version of Kosher as well. They had very peculiar beliefs about becoming gods one day and having to slay sinners when the resurrection occurred. In such a small church there weren't many children her age. Rebecca became very close to her friend Linda and Linda's family. She even referred to Linda's mom as Aunt Kathy. In a sudden and tragic way, Rebecca loses her friend Linda and Linda's parents. Tragedy sends Rebecca running toward God. She embraces her faith wholeheartedly. She decides not to curse, minimizes the media she consumes and dives into purity culture. She was as devout as it gets for a teenager. When she goes to college, the demands of piety become too much. Personal research and a class at her Catholic college begin to change what has always been a fundamental part of Rebecca's life.
info_outline 065 Oklahoma Fire Fighter Wiley Gabehart: As a Marine Became an Aggressive Christian. Faith is Tested with Tough Questions. He Looks at Faith & Mental Health Transparently. He's Now an Atheist. 08/07/2019
065 Oklahoma Fire Fighter Wiley Gabehart: As a Marine Became an Aggressive Christian. Faith is Tested with Tough Questions. He Looks at Faith & Mental Health Transparently. He's Now an Atheist. You have to hear this story! He's always wanted to help people. When he became a strong Christian, it was saving people from the lake of fire. If Hell was real, Wiley was compelled to do everything in his power to save people from it. He would stand outside ATMs on busy Friday nights preaching to people. He was attracted to an aggressive form of Christianity. Having exactly the right doctrine was very important to him. So much so, that he and his wife later struggled to find the right church. He wouldn't marry his wife unless she agreed to wear dresses and not celebrate Christmas, as it's a pagan celebration. She eventually agreed. Later Wiley hears a podcast host pose a question for Christians. The host asks if Christians could admit they might possibly be wrong. When the podcast host proclaims that Christians never will admit this, Wiley thinks "challenge accepted". His faith is tested and then his marriage. He faces questions about faith with transparency. He also decides to face OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in an honest, open way. He's a courageous human being and I'm so glad he shared his story with us.
info_outline 064 Amanda Holloway: Impacted by Sexual Abuse and Mental Illness She Turns to God. She Gets a Bachelors Degree in Youth Ministry. God Does Not Help During a Mental Health Crisis. She's Now an Ex-Christian. 07/25/2019
064 Amanda Holloway: Impacted by Sexual Abuse and Mental Illness She Turns to God. She Gets a Bachelors Degree in Youth Ministry. God Does Not Help During a Mental Health Crisis. She's Now an Ex-Christian. Amanda is realistic about life's difficulties, but also very hopeful. She wears her heart on her sleeve and hopes her story will help others going through similar challenges. I loved her wise words about living with mental illness and how, although better off today, she still has ups and downs. She's a kindhearted person with a great sense of humor. I loved getting to chat with her. Her story is such an important one to tell. Amanda is a newly deconverted Christian that wonders where her prayers went for the 16 years she was a Christian, she describes herself as a multiracial undomesticated goddess but understands she’s a work in progress. Amanda was raised in an emotionally neglectful household and experienced sexual abuse from a family member. She committed her life to God as a way to escape abuse and to find love. Suicide was a common theme as she struggled with undiagnosed mental illnesses. She wants others to seek help with depression and anxiety when it comes up because it can be dangerous for those to go undiagnosed. During a mental health crisis last year she realized that God was not the answer and that she needed help for depression. During that time she was also diagnosed with PTSD. Since leaving Christianity she’s been freed from the guilt and shame associated with religion and now sees the world differently. This allows her to enjoy life, laugh more, and watch Game of Thrones. She is a mother to dynamic twin boys and a wife to a strong, adventurous man. She enjoys being outdoors but not exercising, she enjoys reading only for pleasure, she enjoys watching her children laugh and play but not fight, she loves game nights, good food, and rum punch drinks. She also aspires to be a comedian. She wants others to be unencumbered by the fear of what others think and to reach out when they need help. She wants to be a safe place for herself and others.
info_outline 063 Jeremy: As a Child He Preached & Gave Altar Calls. Raised Apostolic Pentecostal Christian. When God Doesn't Heal a Blind Man, His Faith is Challenged. He's Now an Atheist. 07/11/2019
063 Jeremy: As a Child He Preached & Gave Altar Calls. Raised Apostolic Pentecostal Christian. When God Doesn't Heal a Blind Man, His Faith is Challenged. He's Now an Atheist. I've never met anyone so committed to Christianity at such a young age. He understood his faith incredibly well. At 7 yrs. old his friends ask him to debate an adult atheist! By 10 yrs. he's preaching & giving altar calls. This was a child who loved the Bible & lived his faith. Things continue like this into college.
info_outline 062 Dying Out Loud with Dave Warnock: ALS Diagnosis and Carpe the F*****g Diem! 06/27/2019
062 Dying Out Loud with Dave Warnock: ALS Diagnosis and Carpe the F*****g Diem! Dave was recently diagnosed with ALS and has been given 2 to 5 years to live. He's been going around the country speaking about his experience. Today Dave joins me to share what his focus has been since the diagnosis. Dave quit his job and has been living his best life now. He's writing his own story, as he puts it. Life is a collection of moments. It's about allowing ourselves to really capture those moments and enjoy them. He was an inspiration to talk to. Carpe the f*****g diem!
info_outline 061 Dana Smith: Baptist Raised in California. Homeschooled. Born to be a Missionary. Now Leans Agnostic. 06/11/2019
061 Dana Smith: Baptist Raised in California. Homeschooled. Born to be a Missionary. Now Leans Agnostic. Raised evangelical baptist in California. Homeschooled K-6, she survived child abuse. Trained as a missionary. Deconverted in her 20’s & began helping others, hosting a support group in Chicago. In 2013: interviewed by the Chicago Tribune. She has a Biblical Studies degree, B.A. in Applied Linguistics & Masters in Special Ed. from Univ. of Illinois-Chicago. She's a political activist, teacher, tutor, therapist to children & is writing a book on deconversion from the view of intersectional feminism.
info_outline 060 Catholic Raised. Selective Mutism Prepares Her to be a Nun. Mom Gets Cancer. Grieving without God's Help 05/07/2019
060 Catholic Raised. Selective Mutism Prepares Her to be a Nun. Mom Gets Cancer. Grieving without God's Help At 4 years old Misty gets Selective Mutism. She spent many days playing by herself and being, "in her head". As early as 11 years old she notices depression. Her years with Selective Mutism pave the way to be a nun, taking a vow of silence. Misty's mom thinks she should be a writer.
info_outline Spring Update: VOD News, Upcoming Episodes, Emails and Podcasts I've Been On. 04/16/2019
Spring Update: VOD News, Upcoming Episodes, Emails and Podcasts I've Been On.
info_outline 059 Timoree Branson: Church was Life. Faith Starts Fracturing. Difficult Talks with Her Christian Husband & Children 03/19/2019
059 Timoree Branson: Church was Life. Faith Starts Fracturing. Difficult Talks with Her Christian Husband & Children A truly inspiring story! Christianity was everything for Timoree. It helped her w/sobriety, mental illness & was a source of comfort. When her faith fractures, it's very scary. The most important things in her life were at stake. Somehow, she found the courage to face this challenge head on. She tells her husband and children that she is not a Christian. Her son is a youth pastor! The beautiful thing about her story is the emphasis on relationships. The value of having good people in our life is priceless
info_outline 058 Janice Selbie of Divorcing Religion: Raised Evangelical. Showed Submission w/a Head Covering. She's now Agnostic Atheist. 03/06/2019
058 Janice Selbie of Divorcing Religion: Raised Evangelical. Showed Submission w/a Head Covering. She's now Agnostic Atheist. Janice brings amazing insight regarding how we see faith through the lens of our personality. As Christians, there was always the danger of fundamentalism becoming our identity. Now an Agnostic-Atheist, Janice's focus is helping others.
info_outline 057 Firing God author Cheryl Abram. Family of Ministers & Church 6 Days a Week. Tells God to F*** Off 02/20/2019
057 Firing God author Cheryl Abram. Family of Ministers & Church 6 Days a Week. Tells God to F*** Off Today I speak w/Cheryl Abram, author of Firing God. Check it out on cherylabram.com. Her Louisiana family is full of deacons & ministers. She attended church 6-days/week! Things get tough & she gives God one last go. Her pastor gives her a book-she tells God to F*** off. On a lighter note, she cracked me up w/her story of watching Hitchens debates secretly in her room. So awesome & so hilarious! She elaborates on the meaning of Firing God. I loved her explanation so much. It was such an empowering idea.
info_outline 056 Joy Unspeakable: Toxic Faith and Rose-Colored Glasses. Joy Hopper's Memoir 02/06/2019
056 Joy Unspeakable: Toxic Faith and Rose-Colored Glasses. Joy Hopper's Memoir Joy was 3 when separated from her family w/o warning. She was raised by a fundamentalist Christian family in Idaho. As a child her feet get run over by a lawnmower. She later goes in front of the church to be healed. As an adult she becomes a missionary in Taiwan & raises 6 kids in the church.
info_outline 055 Cass Midgley: Everyone's Agnostic Podcast Host/Oklahoma Born/Christianity Gave Purpose & Hope/Earns Masters in Theology at Vanderbilt as an Atheist 01/21/2019
055 Cass Midgley: Everyone's Agnostic Podcast Host/Oklahoma Born/Christianity Gave Purpose & Hope/Earns Masters in Theology at Vanderbilt as an Atheist Today I had the privilege to meet Cass Midgley! His podcast (Everyone's Agnostic) was the first one I found that shared deconversion stories. It's been so encouraging to me through the years! He's an open book & a straight shooter. The longer you listen, the more you'll discover an incredibly insightful, compassionate and generous human being. Cass earned a Masters in Theological Studies from Vanderbilt University in 2013…as an atheist. His pursuit of love took him to Christianity and took him past it.
info_outline Winter Update - Personal News and Some Podcast News 01/15/2019
Winter Update - Personal News and Some Podcast News I want to update all of you on what's been happening since the last episode. This is a brief update on some personal stuff and also some podcast stuff.
info_outline 054 April Choi: Korean Immigrant/Seminary Student/Teacher in Georgia Public Schools/Eyes Opened by Church History. 12/16/2018
054 April Choi: Korean Immigrant/Seminary Student/Teacher in Georgia Public Schools/Eyes Opened by Church History. April talks of her parents immigration from Korea, the origin of their Christianity, Korean superstitions & being raised Presbyterian. She's forced to speak in tongues as a child, later goes to Seminary & becomes a youth pastor. She feels stress, sickness and depression as a Christian. Church history opens her eyes. When she stops going to church, her sickness stops & her liberation begins! She taught in Georgia Public Schools 24 years, loves travel & spends time getting new immigrants registered to vote.
info_outline 053 Stars from Streetlights: Musicians Austrian & Steve Discuss Deconversion & Their New Song "Heathen" 11/29/2018
053 Stars from Streetlights: Musicians Austrian & Steve Discuss Deconversion & Their New Song "Heathen" Austrian Graf & Steve Birss of Lethbridge, Alberta discuss their song "Heathen" and share their diverse journeys out of Christianity. Each raised by a single mom, but their mothers influenced them in unique ways. We talk about the Jesus movement, leg lengthening, calvinism & Christian tattoos. We hear about the impact of drug dealing & jail, overcoming an eating disorder & healing from trauma. One of the best takeaways: we have the power within ourselves to overcome life's difficulties. No god required.
info_outline 052 Emancipation of a Black Atheist. Author D.K. Evans Shares His Journey out of Christianity 11/06/2018
052 Emancipation of a Black Atheist. Author D.K. Evans Shares His Journey out of Christianity Dauv Evans talks with me about his book "Emancipation of a Black Atheist". In 2012, he got married, had a child & moved out-of-state. He also began questioning why he believed in God. When Dauv tells his mom he's not a Christian, she initially responds predictably. Later he discovers her feelings were much more complicated. Dauv's wife becomes an ex-Christian. They also tell her family. The two families have various & intriguing responses. This story will resonate with anyone who has come-out ex-Christia
info_outline 051 Leah Nitcher: Fundamentalist to Atheist-Back & Forth. Mental Health Battle (she's a fighter). Giving God an Ultimatum. 10/26/2018
051 Leah Nitcher: Fundamentalist to Atheist-Back & Forth. Mental Health Battle (she's a fighter). Giving God an Ultimatum. Raised fundamentalist, Leah is intensely aware of the threat of hell & the rapture as a little girl. In high school she asks unwelcome questions & makes controversial statements in church. This leads to atheism. Although her theology becomes progressive, she finds herself sucked back into fundamentalism. Mental health struggles become dangerous. *Trigger warning re: abuse (emotional, physical, sexual) and suicide. Leah eventually turned a corner. Hearing about her experience was powerful and inspiring!
info_outline 050 Andrew Jasko: Minister Prepping for Missions to India/Bible Caused Mental Distress/Quits Ministry/Starts Over as an Atheist. 10/12/2018
050 Andrew Jasko: Minister Prepping for Missions to India/Bible Caused Mental Distress/Quits Ministry/Starts Over as an Atheist. Studying for a doctorate in clinical psychology, Andrew is an atheist. Former Pentecostal minister (MDiv-Princeton) with a certain calling to missions in India. The Bible was causing psychological distress, so he realized he must address mental health.
info_outline 049 Gary Hogue: Endures Homelessness, Jail and Tragedy. An Ex-Mormon's Inspiring Story! 09/28/2018
049 Gary Hogue: Endures Homelessness, Jail and Tragedy. An Ex-Mormon's Inspiring Story! Gary was born in Utah and raised a Mormon. He even dreamt of Joseph Smith at 4 years old! Gary had a strict upbringing. He also moved around the country a lot growing up.