Apr 1, 2022

We need to talk about that fat-shaming cult Clarence Thomas’ wife belonged to in the ’80s

Graham Gremore
January 23, 2022

Right-wing extremist Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, was the subject of a damning exposé published by The New Yorker this week that claimed, among other things, that she once belonged to a cult. Naturally, this got our attention and we wanted to learn more. So, we did some digging…

Lifespring was founded in 1974 and billed itself as a “self-awareness program” that taught members how to be more accountable in their personal and professional lives. In reality, organizers merely took people’s money, forced them to participate in weird “training sessions”, and then wouldn’t let them leave when they wanted to.

Related: Clarence Thomas’ wife’s craptastic week just got even worse

Thomas, who believes “transsexual fascists” are ruining America, had recently flunked the bar exam and was working as congressional aide when she connected with Lifespring in the early 1980s. She was with the group for several years before realizing something was amiss.

In 1987, she told The Washington Post that the training sessions left her feeling “confused and troubled”, particularly when she and the other trainees were instructed to get completely naked, form a U-shape, and “[make] fun of fat people’s bodies and [ridicule] one another with sexual questions”.

Nevertheless, she stuck around. It wasn’t until she realized Lifespring was separating her from her friends and family that she got really suspicious.

In 1991, she told the Washington Post, “I had intellectually and emotionally gotten myself so wrapped up with this group that I was moving away from my family and friends and the people I work with. My best friend came to visit me and I was preaching at her using that rough attitude they teach you.”

Breaking away from the cult took several months, and at one point Thomas had to go into hiding to escape the constant calls and harassment she was receiving from the other members.

She finally managed to escape with the help of a former stockbroker who she met at a hamburger restaurant in Georgetown on a Sunday afternoon in 1984. She later described Lifespring as “a group that used mind control techniques” and she called its members “pretty scary people.”

Afterwards, Thomas joined the Cult Awareness Network and spoke before Congress about anti-cult workshops on two separate occasions. She also sought professional counseling. Unfortunately, it was all for naught because in 2016 she fell into another cult, this one led by a former-reality-TV-star-turned-twice-impeached-one-term-president.

Last year, Thomas, a die-hard Trump supporter, took to Facebook on the morning of January 6, 2021 to voice her support for “MAGA people” protesting the 2020 election results in Washington, D.C. And last month, she signed a letter saying 11 Oath Keepers who were arrested for seditious conspiracy “have done nothing wrong.”

Here’s a creepy video about Lifespring from the early ’80s…

We need to talk about that fat-shaming cult Clarence Thomas’ wife belonged to in the ’80s

DO we have to? I mean really this was back between 30 and 40 years ago. I have enough problems remembering what generic celebrity X did just 6 months ago without being dragged back to my teenage years.

Yes, I was wondering if there’s a person on the planet who would agree with the title of this piece.

It is very important to figure out what makes this dangerous woman tick. She is married to the only Supreme Court Justice who voted to protect Trump’s communications private as his wife… the aforementioned Ginni… worked to overthrow our government on the 6th of January. She is a danger to this nation and to your rights as a gay man.

It’s good to know that trump wasn’t her first cult.

Did this cult encourage a liking for stray pubic hairs on Coke cans? Ew. That would explain a lot, though.

Seems like she has not learned anything or grown wiser with age. She keeps falling for the same tricks.

Actually, I think she employs some of those tricks to control others who are gullible.

Lifespring was a spin-off of EST in the mid-seventies. Thousands of people went through these “trainings” and they could be pretty brutal. As much as I dislike Clarence Thomas (as well as his wife’s political views), many people underwent this therapy and realized years later how they’d been duped.

Although the founder of Lifespring knew Erhard (as an ex-coworker), it was founded only two years after EST and the two groups were never connected. So it cannot really be considered a “spinoff”. They both were artifacts of the 1970s zeitgeist.

And EST was never a true cult in the sense that Lifespring was. I took the EST training and one additional seminar back in the late 70’s, and was a volunteer with Erhardt’s Hunger Project (a pointless organization if there ever was one) for several years. The training and subsequent seminar was instrumental in getting me to come out to my family and everyone else I knew (I had been out to close friends already). Unlike classic cults it never encouraged members to separate from friends and family that were not members, and when I left the organization there was neither hostility nor attempts to lure me back.

This was very different from what went on at lifespring, and the two groups were not friendly to each other. Can’t speak for lifespring, but there was some value to be had in the basic EST training as well as the seminars. The time spent at The Hunger Project, however was a total waste of time!


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