Lettersode 5: Everything’s Downright Inappropriate

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This month’s Lettersode went sidewayyyyys. It wasn’t the letter writers’ fault. We recorded in the morning and were much more chipper, and sometimes things in our path get destroyed.

Our letters from Bethany, Fred, and Brad were awesome. We have curse words, Gary Smalley, and more Multi-level marketing fun.

If you’ve braved coming to see show notes, your reward is the picture of the nipple foot Bonnie sent me.

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Happy JesusWeen

No, we did not make that word up. But sadly, someone else did.

This week Karen and Bonnie share their memories of Halloweens past, when the church hadn’t upped the ante on hijacking it for Fall Festivals and Hallelujah Nights. Or JesusWeens, a concept that didn’t make it far out of the gate, but far enough for it to still be out there.

Here’s Karen and Bonnie as Miss America (your own face isn’t good enough, Karen), and a Gypsy.

Karen as “Miss Ameriker”
Bonnie as “Gypsy”
Female bust on table as “Stumbling Block”
Karen as Pinky Tuscadero headed to Mass Bonnie as tipsy mother of the bride

Here’s another of us as Pinky Tuscadero, the slutty girlfriend of Fonzie, and a tipsy Hawaiian-themed wedding mother-of-the-Bride.

There are two great letters from listeners who had to celebrate Halloween at church, hints on how to survive waterboarding, and these tacky Christian-themed Halloween items.

And here’s that scary-ass haunted tour we mention where you have to sign off on the possibility of pulling out your own teeth.

We’d love to hear any stories of this Halloween, past ones, or see some costumes. The laughing is a two-way street.

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Leaving Westboro Baptist

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Bonnie and Karen were ready to skewer everything and everyone connected to hateful Westboro Baptist, with their God Hates Fags picket lines. But then they read Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper who left the church (her entire family) and has now come out with the book.

Despicable? Yes. Hurtful? Of course. But with hearing and reading from the granddaughter of the founder of the church, we understand the psychology more.

We also highlight the Equality House, a home purchased across the street form Westboro Baptist that has become an LBGT museum and is painted like a huge rainbow flag.

Once again, we learned a lot from this episode. It hurts our egos to keep learning like this.

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MLMs: Moms Losing Money

It’s just a little fun on the side. Sell some oils or woven baskets, make some pocket money. Of course, that’s not how it ends up at all. Multi-Level marketing companies are mainly Christian/Mormon run–Mary Kay, DoTerra Oils, Pampered Chef, Advocare, and many more. The secret hidden in plain sight is that 75% of people (ok, women) who join MLMs don’t make money. And about 50% LOSE money. 

Bonnie and Karen discuss which MLMs are religious-based, why, and what the hell is going on. 

They try to keep their usual light manner, but it gets hard when so many mothers are getting shafted by something that is supposed to empower them.

Here’s some of the podcasts we’ve found that are Christian/Mormon run:

31 Gifts

LaBella Baskets and Gifts

Mary Kay 0.2% (two tenths of one percent) are in Cadillacs.

Just Jewelry 

F.A.I.T.H. Gifts

Initial Outfitters

Damsel in Defense

First Fitness Nutrition

Mary and Martha

Daisy Blue Naturals

Close to my Heart

Art and Soul

Amway

CB Jewelry

Compelling Creations

Premier Designs

Red Rock Traditions

Crowned Free

Grace and Heart

Advocare

DoTerra–From Young Living 

Pampered Chef

Plexus

Juice Plus

Eclipse Candle Company

Scentsy

Taste of Gourmet

A big thanks to the podcast The Dream by Jane Marie for covering this topic in depth.

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Resources:

The Dream Podcast

Patheos Article

Lettersode 4: Witchcraft, Lemonade, Cannabis, and Cosplay

Listener letter time. Weird, quirky, and hilarious. Bonnie and Karen read from their virtual stack. If you’ve been holding onto a humorous story to do with religion or church, send it in HERE. 

You know how preachers think everything is witchcraft these days, including eye-rolling. Protect yourself by dousing yourself in Axe body spray.

Then we hear a story about preacher’s kids and PGs, preacher’s grandkids. Does the line of celebrity ever end?

There’s a story on how to pick out a homeschooler from a mile away, plus potential jobs for when they graduate.

We finish up with a letter about a bass-playing Jesus.

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Kanye West and His Sunday Service Spiral

Karen and Bonnie discuss Kanye West’s Sunday Services going on around the country.

Kanye West at Sunday Service

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Karen and Bonnie begin by trying to figure out what a Wonderwall is, reminisce about Saturday Night Live’s Shweddy Balls skit, and discuss writings on bathroom walls before getting down to professionally analyzing Kanye West.

Kanye’s new church services are in Calabasas, CA to Detroit to wherever he flies his choir to next. It’s a music-only service, which kills Bonnie. And he doesn’t even do Golddigger! It’s all leading up to his new album release: Jesus is King. 

They discuss Kanye’s bi-polar, liposuction, and criticism. Plus, something we didn’t know is the Kardashian’s previous involvement in another California church.

All we can say is #FreeKanye, because we feel like we’re watching a car wreck in slo mo.

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Baby, Baby: Quiver-full (of Crap)

The Duggar Family, who are quiverfull

The Quiverfull Movement is all about letting God give you as many babies as possible to build up the Army of God. Think, the Duggars. 

We want to make 2 things clear at the get-go:

  1. Having a lot of kids is not bad, no matter how much we laugh at it. All big families aren’t quiverfull either. 
  2. Many women have been hurt by this movement, so rest assured we understand the gravity of the hurt that women and kids, especially have experienced with this. Just like our episodes on cults or conmen preachers, we find humor on the edges, and hope a wider audience who enjoys idiotic hosts learn about things they didn’t know was going on around them.

Karen and Bonnie let you in on what they’d name their kids if they had a bundle of them. Then they discuss the origin and widespread reach of the movement. It’s as messed up as you think it is.  From women not using a tampon for decades because they’re knocked up, to the harsh discipline, and vasectomy and tubal tie reversal ministries, it’s f-ed up.

We also read stories from former quiverfull women who are, thankfully, out now.

Our sources: La Wikipedia and article Bonnie read from.

Terrible abusive video from Debi and Micheal Pearl (starts at the 1:25 mark).

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The Righteous Gemstones is Funny as Hell

Danny McBride, Adam Devine, Edi Patterson, John Goodman, and a guy playing a keytar. The Righteous Gemstones is heaven. 

It’s over-the-top and ridiculous and exaggerated, and a hundred percent accurate.

The Righteous Gemstone: Edi Patterson, John Goodman, Adam Devine, Danny McBride

This week we discuss the HBO show and how familiar Bonnie and Karen are with the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker-type family that drives two-hundred thousand dollar SUVs, has a shooting range on their compound, and a Christian project named Keefe living with them.

Tony Cavalero as Keefe in The Righteous Gemstones

There are celibacy promises! Bible heroes wax museum. Chicken references. Mullets. Pants with pleats. Tee shirts with youth group graphics. Youth group!! Youth group meeting as a cover. I wonder if any of our friends ever did that? (Yes, they did.)  “These feats of strength are all to glorify God.”

Adam Devine’s youth minister character is typical of what we see in the south. Is he gay or just trying to be hip? Does he look like Hermy the elf or Jimmy Neutron?

Bonnie talks about how Adam Devine received the late-season add-in blessing from Modern Family like other stars have experienced.

And damn if Edi Patterson’s role as the daughter Judy isn’t painfully accurate. She never gets to do anything in the patriarchal church family.

Watch it with us and tag us with your insights. We love this show.

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This Week on “As the Church Crumbles”

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Joshua Harris, Marty Sampson, and Mckrae Game. They’ve done some thinking and the church is not happy about it. We say welcome. Y’all ballers.

Joshua Harris renounced Christianity close to the time the author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye announced his separation from his wife. Since then, he looks like he’s living life and staying away from doing much other than concentrating on his kids, work, and loving those he no longer judges.

Joshua Harris

Marty Sampson was a singer and writer with Hillsong, a blockbuster Christian singing group. His deconversion has been more public due to his Instagram account. 

Marty Sampson, Hillsong

Lastly, there’s the most recent story from McKrae Game, the head of a conversion therapy program who has come out as gay.

Mckrae Game

No judgement here. We’ve been through what they have. And we look forward to more people simply asking the questions that are down deep.

Lettersode 3: History According to Sh*tpiles

A full episode of kooky letters. We’ve got ones from Fredzo, Racheal, David, and Bethany. Plus, a surprise one up top.

When you’re deep into the church, or being homeschooled, you learn a lot of things too important for your basic historians. They’re saved for God’s chosen people to know. Like…who really shot JFK or why slavery was fantastic.

For the musicians out there, we hear from a bloody singer as well as Queen.

These episodes are our favorites. Please send us your letters!

Mo’ Members, Mo’ Scandals: Willow Creek

Once you build a 73 million dollar sanctuary, what could go wrong? Willow Creek church in Chicago was the first mainstream mega-church.From keytars and dry ice machines in the 80s to megatrons and coffee shops now, Willow Creek has been rocked by a…wait for it…sex scandal. 

Bill Hybels founded the church in 1975. The church has 7 locations and averages 24,000 attendees. Yes, we get most of this from Wikipedia. So do people like to go to large churches to hide and blend in?

In 2018 the whole leadership resigned because they mishandles allegations against Hybels for sexual misconduct. Hybels was big in with James Dobson and they were anti-porn. So Hybels said it was his job to “research” porn by watching it WITH his hand-picked secretary while he wore only a robe. More things happened through the years, but…gross.

Karen and Bonnie then reminisce about their big church and it’s biggest time of the year–The Singing Christmas tree. Weeks upon weeks of strict rehearsals, a huge scaffolded tree you stood in, and most recently livestock that comes in for authenticity and then falls on the ticket-holders.

Camel falls at Singing Christmas Tree

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Sign up for your free Audible Trial HERE for a free 30 days and free book. Our recommendations for the week are Educated by Tara Westover and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.

Who’s Gonna be in Heaven? David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam

Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, is now the self-proclaimed Son of Hope.

Karen tries to get David to come to the studio, but he’s too shy. And imprisoned. We should have gotten the actor who portrays him on Mindhunter on Netflix. He’s amazing!

Bonnie joins the rank of 22 year-old guys who live on Reddit by putting a Bible in the Historical Fiction category at a Barnes and Noble. And Karen admits to saving up her money one year to buy her husband a Zune for allll his music. Holds 50 songs!

We were thrilled to receive a letter from a listener saying they had been to the Young Life camp that used to be the Rajneesh compound in Oregon. Thanks for the letter. We love these insights.

Bonnie describes the 70s. Disco. Bell bottoms. Leisure suits. Not a lot of bras. Lots of rainbows on things before the gays appropriated them.

Karen gives the run-down of David Berkowitz’s crimes. He randomly shot people, mostly couples while they were in their car. It scared New York and the nation.

When Berkowitz was a kid, his birthmother gave him up for adoption. He was adopted and was a bad, bad kid. When he was caught after all the killings, people were upset at his last name and Jewish people were happy to find out he was adopted but then it was revealed his birthmother was also Jewish. Then Karen tells an old reverse racist Jewish joke.

Berkowitz might or might not have been involved in the occult. It depends if you ask, Bonnie or Karen. Karen goes by the story that he’d been getting into the idea of demons from the Kentucky church he got initially saved in. Then he parlayed this into a story once he was arrested.

Berkowitz got a lot of attention when he converted in the clink and was interviewed by Larry King and anyone else who wanted to nab a juicy subject but got Berkowitz’s testimony instead. David even wrote a book! And you can find it somewhere online. He isn’t supposed to make money off it, but it will definitely help build his ministry.

David Berkowitz’s book “Son of Hope.”

Berkowitz also has an organization. Ok, he doesn’t, but his “friends” have made on for him. You can read his journals and see all the people who visit him. He has more of a reach from prison than most people on the outside.

David Berkowitz, Son of Sam, and his website for his ministry.
David Berkowitz, Son of Sam, has a better social life than you do.

If you were in prison, why wouldn’t you want to become a Christian? You get forgiveness, a community, meaning, something to do away from other prisoners. Bonnie and Karen discuss how disproportionate Christian chaplains are to other religions in prison. Plus, Bonnie tells Prison Jesus, which is an actual psychological disorder.

We’ll give it to Berkowitz, although we do feel he sincerely believes, he has carved out a pretty successful life since slaughtering 6 people.

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Lettersode 2: Divorces, Hair, and Mormons

Letters and letters!

Thanks for writing in. You can send us yours via our website www.deconversiontherapypodcast.com.

Our first one is from Heather, a kick-ass deconvert who’s been through it. She’s still healing from losing sword drills. Then she tells us about the universal kids’ musical/dancing controversies we all lived through growing up.

Psalty the Songbook

We read a letter from a Christian college “bad boy,” as well as hear about a JW vs Mormon turf war.

Bad Boy of the Christian College
Mormon Gangsters

Come laugh at yourselves with us.

As always, we really would love your ratings and reviews, as that helps us get seen by other listeners. iTunes is the best place to do one, even if you listen on another pod place thingy.

The audio books we talk about this week are The Complete Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live and Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered. Use our code at www.audibletrial.com/deconversion to get a 30-day free trial plus one book.

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