In this pilot episode for Blinded by the Light, Bayard Lewis interviews his co-host, Justice Bartlett.
Bayard and Justice both grew up in Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), the largest fringe religion to ever establish a presence in Montana. In the late 1980's their leader Elizabeth Prophet warned of possible nuclear war and the members entered bomb shelters in 1990 for two days to prepare for a nuclear holocaust. Justice was nine years old when her family went underground to prepare for the end of the world and in this episode she shares how that experience, and others, shaped her life.
Episode topics include:
- Her experience when the members entered the bomb shelters with CUT
- How does a person find their identity after leaving a cult or religion
- What coping mechanisms do people have surrounding religious dogma
- How do people heal from PTSD experienced in childhood surrounding spirituality?
- How cognitive dissonance allows people to stay in harmful religions
- How Toxic Positivity plays into the belief system
- The adoration for Trump inside the CUT membership
- Why people bond to Trump as a leader
Check out these articles by Justice Bartlett for more information on this topic:
"What Trump does serves his image of himself, and so those who have not dealt with their own narcissistic wounds also find themselves serving his image.
So, what is the narcissistic wound? It is a massive blindspot that affects us as individuals and as a collective.
The elevation of the martyr archetype as the highest moral standard achievable keeps people fawning—seeking approval, looking for salvation, dissociated from their own internal guidance—and forever looking to a patriarchal figure for redemption."
"In many ways, the church that I was raised in is no different from many religions. It had a doctrine that it followed, rules and regulations, rituals, a leader, and a global following. And, as with many religions, they believed themselves to be special—chosen.
What were they chosen for? To survive the end of the world.
Having lived through a couple of would-be armageddons—my first with Church Universal and Triumphant, the whole Y-2K fiasco, and now COVID-19—I have to say, I’m wary of the end of the world. My nervous system simply can’t take any more catastrophic preoccupation. It messes with every area of my life, particularly in regard to intimacy, where I most want to be vulnerable.
I’m tired. I’m traumatized. I need a break."