Jan 27, 2022

Parental Paradox w/ Jon Sawyer

Rachel Bernstein IndoctriNation

Rachel Bernstein
January 26, 2022

Listen to Parental Paradox w/ Jon Sawyer
Jon Sawyer was raised in two homes influenced by both high-demand religion and secular worldviews. Prior to his parent's divorce at the age of four, his family was involved with both Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Christian Science. Shortly after his parent's divorce, his mother took a secular route, while his father converted to Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity. While Jon's father sprinkled elements of TM and Christian Science into his childhood, his dad's newfound evangelical Christian faith fixated on the end of the world, divine healing, speaking in tongues, and the "prosperity gospel." When Jon was fifteen, he converted to Mormonism. From the age of fifteen to thirty-five, Jon was involved with various high-demand religious groups that were associated with both charismatic Christianity and Mormonism. As a teen who was deeply conflicted about his attraction to the same sex, Jon attended the now-defunct Spirit Life Bible College (SLBC)-associated with Roberts Liardon Ministries-in Orange County, CA. While at SLBC, Jon experienced multiple sessions of exorcism and conversion therapies that were aimed at "healing" his sexual identity. When Jon was twenty-six, he became involved with Sovereign Grace Churches: a group that began during the charismatic Jesus Movement of the 1970s and eventually adopted a neo-Calvinist theology that emphasized strict gender roles and courtship practices. Jon separated from organized religion six years ago, at the age of 35. Since that time, Jon has benefited from somatic therapy, completed both a BA and MA in education, and is currently a doctoral student and researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder. Partly due to the influence of his experiences with high-demand religious groups, Jon now studies the intersection of education policy and anti-discrimination law.

In this first half of Jon's two-part conversation with Rachel, He shares an intimate portrait of his childhood as he was pulled in the many different and extreme religious directions his divorced parents took. Throughout the conversation, Rachel gives insights into the religious trauma Jon likely experienced as a child by being exposed to graphic demonic imagery. Jon explains how his varied and controlling religious upbringing caused him to internalize homophobia as he examined his own sexuality and place on the LGBTQ spectrum.

Before You Go: Rachel warns about the dangers of parental alienation which often occurs in separated families, explaining how this can be exacerbated within families involved in high control groups and relationships.

You can contact Jon here:

Find Rachel's book "Now I Know, Kids Talking To Kids About Divorce..." here:

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