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