FFRF TV show guest tells all about growing up in a cult

Watch the preview here.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Sunday TV show features as its guest someone who was brought up in a cult — and managed to break free.

Michelle Dowd, a journalism professor at Chaffey College in Southern California, reveals on “Freethought Matters” about what it’s like to grow up in an extremist family cult. Dowd was raised on an isolated mountain in the Angeles National Forest as part of a family cult, where she learned wilderness survival for the coming apocalypse that her grandfather prophesied. She also learned to think for herself and got out of the cult. She’s been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and profiled on the second season of “Sincerely X,” a TED production. Her popular “Modern Love” column in the New York Times is what led to the publication of her newly published memoir, Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult.

“I was not raised to think of God’s love as tender or nurturing, but instead as fire — the kind of fire that burns you,” Dowd tells “Freethought Matters” co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor. “I think that it was a combination of a very rough Old Testament God and a very predictive New Testament God that was just displeased with the creation of humanity and really wanted to destroy it because we did not live up to God’s expectations for what humanity would be.”

If you don’t live in the quarter-plus viewership of the nation where the show broadcasts on Sunday, you can already catch the interview on FFRF’s YouTube channel. New shows go up every Thursday.

“Freethought Matters” airs in:

  • Chicago, WPWR-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Denver, KWGN-CW (Ch. 2), Sundays at 7 a.m.
  • Houston, KIAH-CW (Ch. 39), Sundays at 11 a.m.
  • Los Angeles, KCOP-MY (Ch. 13), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Madison, Wis., WISC-TV (Ch. 3), Sundays at 11 p.m.
  • Minneapolis, WFTC-29, Sundays at 7:30 a.m.
  • New York City, WPIX-IND (Ch. 11), Sundays at 10 a.m.
  • Phoenix, KASW-CW (Ch. 61, or 6 or 1006 for HD), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Portland, Ore., KRCW-CW (Ch. 32), Sundays at 9 a.m. Comcast channel 703 for High Def, or Channel 3.
  • Sacramento, KQCA-MY (Ch. 58), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • San Francisco, KICU-IND (Ch. 36), Sunday at 10 a.m.
  • Seattle, KONG-IND (Ch. 16 or Ch. 106 on Comcast). Sundays at 8 a.m.
  • Washington, D.C., WDCW-CW (Ch. 50 or Ch. 23 or Ch. 3), Sundays at 8 a.m.

Upcoming guests include comedian Lizz Winstead, co-creator of “The Daily Show.” You can catch interviews from past seasons here, including the fall 2022 season with author John Irving, actor John “Q” de Lancie and Washington Post columnist Kate Cohen. Previous interviews include performer Julia Sweeney and Reps. Jared Huffman, Jamie Raskin, Hank Johnson and Eleanor Holmes Norton, among many other notable authors, activists and freethinkers.

Please tune in to “Freethought Matters” . . . because freethought matters.

P.S. Please tune in or record according to the times given above regardless of what is listed in your TV guide (it may be listed simply as “paid programming” or even be misidentified). To set up an automatic weekly recording, try taping manually by time or channel. And spread the word to freethinking friends, family or colleagues about a TV show, finally, that is dedicated to providing programming for freethinkers — your antidote to religion on Sunday morning!

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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