Mar 6, 2024

Immortal Consciousness & Dr. Duran: Arizona woman leaves cult to find happiness, advocacy

Steve Nielsen
Special Reports
FOX 10 Phoenix
March 5, 2024

No matter what expert you ask, they'll say there are still thousands of cults in the United States.

A Gilbert, Arizona woman says many of them are all around us in Arizona – and she would know.

She says she experienced a cult firsthand and wants to help others avoid what she fell for.

Flipping through childhood photos, everything seems normal.

But, Brooke Walker sees it differently now.

"We celebrated Halloween, we celebrated Easter," she said.

She says she was raised in a cult. "100%. Unfortunately."

As an 8-year-old girl, her parents moved her family to a Mesa neighborhood to live with another family and join the church of Immortal Consciousness.

"Looking for faith, but also something different than what they had," she said. "You know, the mainstream stuff."

What they found was a church leader and medium who said she could speak with and summon a 14th-century Englishman named Dr. Duran.

"You could be heavily corrected by the spirit for what you're doing," Walker explained.

She played for us her recording of what they called "a trance." Eventually, the church leader would speak as Duran.

"I had a lot of mixed emotions about it. Mostly, I'm surprised about the amount of power it used to hold over me," Walker said. "This is what the teaching is telling me. This is what the spirit is telling me. All these things are, if something is wrong, it's me. I'm the problem. So you create this belief set that if anything goes sideways, must be your fault."

The church headed north. About 150 members lived in Tonto Village.

Walker turned 19 and was in an arranged marriage arranged by Dr. Duran. The wedding was held in a room and was officiated by the 700-year-old spirit.

"You're going to be in a relationship with who the spirit says you're in a relationship with," Walker explained.

After two babies, her husband left, telling her he needed to leave.

"Everybody continued telling me after that, ‘It’s about you. He just doesn't love you and won't tell you the truth.' So, I spent 10 years believing that," she said with tears in her eyes.

‘You should be in environments where you are allowed to ask questions’

Now, things are different.

Walker lives in Gilbert and is happy with her new life.

She spends her time in front of a microphone.

"I'm here for you, and I'm here to support you, and I'm here to share with you a space that you can get past that," Walker said on her podcast.

She started the podcast out of her house called "How to Leave a Cult."

"For me, it's about creating a place where people can get some tools to heal," Walker said. "Most people think of a cult, and they immediately go to the worst of them, right? Drink the Kool-Aid, Jim Jones stuff, Waco stuff … so, you have these extreme sides to it," she explained.

She says the church she was raised in wasn't extreme like that, but she says it had all the trademarks of a cult.

The church has long denied that publicly, and Walker says it disbanded years ago.

Cults are all around us in many forms, she says, which is why she believes her podcast can be healing for people.

"You should be in environments where you are allowed to ask questions. You should be in environments where you're making the decisions for yourself about your life. I feel like nobody is a better advocate for who you are, what you need, how to parent, than you are as a person, and when somebody says they have a better way, that's where we get sideways," Walker said.

She's already recorded multiple podcasts, using her story to connect to others. Ultimately, she hopes to help anyone leave a cult.

"You're leaving your family behind. You're leaving your faith behind. Leaving all your friends behind. Probably leaving your means of living behind. Leaving a cult is a really f------ hard thing," Walker warned.

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