VIDEO: “Overcoming Spiritual Abuse” Coffee Talk

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VIDEO: “Overcoming Spiritual Abuse” Coffee Talk

Since FāVS published the story of Gerrette Buglion snapping out of a cult, readers have written in expressing that they too, have experience spiritual abuse, or know someone who has.

So on Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. FāVS hosted a next Coffee Talk (via Zoom) on ‘Overcoming Spiritual Abuse.”

Panelists were:


FāVS Editor Tracy Simmons.

Simmons has been a religion reporter for about 20 years. She grew up in a cult in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has written about her experience in the Wall Street Journal and regularly writes about it on SpokaneFāVS and in the Spokesman-Review.

In 2020 she also delivered a TedX Spokane talk, “Have You Heard of the Cult Next Door?

On the topic she wrote, “Telling My Cult Story Is How I’ve Found Spiritual Healing

FāVS Columnist and FāVS Center Manager Cassy Benefield


Benefield is an Evangelical columnist for SpokaneFāVS.com.

When she dedicated her life to Jesus in her 20s it happened to be in the cultish and at times spiritually abusive sect of Christianity known as Independent Fundamental Baptist, she said. Today she still considers herself a Bible-believing Christian who loves Jesus, but considers grace a key part of her practice.

On the topic she wrote, “From ‘Hater’ to Lover of Souls: My Journey Out of a Narrow Christian Sect

Guest panelist Jan Shannon


Shannon has journeyed through pastoral positions in three denominations, been fired from clergy positions twice, and yet she says she has hung on to her faith “in the One who can be treated above all.”

She is a Christian leader with the Spokane queer community and is organizing the Spokane Pride Drive-Thru service on Oct. 9.

Guest Panelist James Ellis

Ellis graduated from Gonzaga University with a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, is an independently licensed mental health counselor, a national certified counselor, and a child mental health specialist. He completed his clinical training at the regional sexual assault and family trauma response center and has worked with individuals in both agency, private practice, and clinic settings who have experienced reactions to severe stress and trauma, including stress and trauma resulting from spiritual and religious abuse.

The event was moderated by FāVS Board Member Ben Backstrom.

About Spokane FāVS

SpokaneFāVS informs and builds faith and non-faith community through digital journalism and online and offline engagement opportunities.

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