Tracy Simmons on the TedX Spokane stage/Photo by Bryce Brewer

SpokaneFāVS.com Editor Tracy Simmons’ TEDxSpokane Talk on “The Cult Next Door” Now on YouTube

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SpokaneFāVS.com Editor Tracy Simmons’ TEDxSpokane Talk on “The Cult Next Door” Now on YouTube

As we wrote about before, Tracy Simmons is no stranger to cults, and now anyone can watch her TEDxSpokane 2020 talk, “The Cult Next Door,” on YouTube.

“I decided to share my story because I think it’s something a lot of people can relate to,” said Simmons. “Cults aren’t always these big, extreme, dramatic things that turn into a Netflix series. Sometimes cults are right in our own neighborhoods, and if we don’t care for those among us who are vulnerable and hurting, they become easy prey for spiritual abusers.”

Her talk came about a year after Simmons published her essay, I Left the Cult Next Door,” which also touches on her experience growing up in a cult, in the Wall Street Journal.

SpokaneFāVS Board President Debbie Selzer is grateful for Simmons’ desire to share her story.

“I so appreciate Tracy’s ability to thoughtfully tell her story in a way that gives me insight into ‘the cult next door,’ expanding my understanding on cults overall,” said Selzer. “Her story prompts me to think of my own religious background and how it has formed my faith and values in a variety of ways.”

According to her bio on the program that accompanied her talk, Simmons “wants to normalize the cult experience. She hopes to ‘shed the shame that come from it (cults).’”

Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism.

Currently she teaches journalism at Washington State University and serves as the executive director and editor of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash.

She is also the executive director for Spokane’s FāVS Center, Washington state’s only interfaith community center. She also writes for the Religion News Service and is a reporter and columnist for the Spokesman-Review.

About Cassy Benefield

Cassandra Benefield mostly goes by Cassy (pronounced like Cassie but spelled with a 'y'). She is a wife and mommy, who married at the age of 37 and had her baby girl just shy of 39. She has moved around all her life, first as an Army brat. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer to Romania where she taught Conversational English, Modern Literature, Creative Writing, U.S. Culture, U.S. Geography, and U.S. History (the last two subjects she was so not qualified to teach!). She is a Journalism major from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. She finds much comfort in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and considers herself a Bible nerd who is prone to buy more theology books than she is ever able to read. Morro Bay, California, is her favorite place on earth ... with the exception of being in the center of God's will. From time to time, you will find her writing devotions on her blog underhisshadow.blogspot.com.

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