Your hunch is right. Something is off in Christian circles.

High-control religion is not only reshaping our families. They’re also changing our politics, laws, and elections. And what many don’t realize is that Christian fundamentalists want to govern our country the way they govern their homes. No one knows that as well as the wives and children of the patriarchs––but these citizens of fundamentalism aren’t allowed to speak.

Have you:

  • watched your loved ones sink further into high-control religion and felt powerless to help them?
  • had experiences at church that feel traumatic?
  • felt triggered by headlines and cultural news but can’t understand why?
  • felt distressed at the changes happening in America and wondered how are we going backward?

I believe knowledge is power. And I can tell you what the patriarchs don’t want you to know.

Because I was one of them, once. When I was excommunicated and shunned, and then escaped the violence with my life and my children, I made myself a promise:

I’d tell my story one day. I’d tell as many who would listen what it’s really like to live in fundamentalism.

Because stories like mine offer insight into where America is heading.

Along with books like Dissent: The Radicalization of the Republican Party, cult-exposing content is popular. Bestsellers like Jesus and John Wayne, Cultish, Educated and The Making of Biblical Womanhood; cult documentaries like The Cult Next Door, The Way Down, Join Us, and Lula Rich; movies like Jesus Camp, and the startling near-future of The Handmaid’s Tale, are giving American audiences pause about what kind of Christians live next door. 

I open that door. My book and work show readers what it’s like inside a fundy home––reality without TLC’s cheerful narrator and gaslighting editor. My memoir reads like a novel and I’m a face you can connect to the story. Connection is how we smash the patriarchy.

Your story matters to me.

It’s agonizing to watch a loved one descend into a cult. To see our country restrict hard-fought freedoms and move backward in time. But that’s by design.

Fundies (a shortened nickname for “Fundamentalist”) keep women busy having and caring for babies. She’s a “keeper of the home.” If her world is small and simple, the rest of their governing goals will fall into place without her opposition. As a fundie wife, I wasn’t allowed to vote, drive, or spend without permission. I couldn’t say no, use birth control, or get a divorce. Sharing my story has proven what I never knew when I was locked inside: I was not alone.

The messages flood my inbox and social media: 

“I was raised this way too. I’m the oldest of 13 and I was their second mom from the time I was 9.”

“My parents spanked me until I was eighteen.”

“My mom died when I was 16. I’ve always thought it was from exhaustion. She had 12 kids in 12 years.”

“I was horrified when TLC put the Duggars on TV. That was my life! Set to cheerful music with a gaslighting narrator!”

“I always thought there was something off with that show. You’re helping me understand why.”

“I have a close family member caught up in a church like that. You’re helping me see why they’re under so much control.”

See @tialevingswriter on Instagram, Tiktok, and Facebook

Through information and connection, we can stop the spread of fundamentalism.

High-control religion manipulated my thoughts, choices, and behavior. And the hard truth is, the majority of women and children who make it out of Christian Fundamentalism are too traumatized to talk. They can’t risk severing the fragile ties they have to their remaining family relationships and they are mortified when confronting their complicity and shame.

I barely escaped, with my kids and my life, and I’ve done the therapeutic work to get to a place where I can share my experiences with you. I can decode the language that allows fundies to fly under the radar. My goal is to offer compassion and nuance, even to those who hurt me, because Fundamentalism made victims of us all––and I don’t want anyone to stay here.

It’s not too late to learn and take action.

If we want to save ourselves, our loved ones, and our country from the dangers of Dominionism and Authoritarian control, we have to look under the hood of Christian Fundamentalism.

We have to examine the way they raise their families.

We have to talk about what’s hidden behind closed doors.

We have to step away from shiny ideals and look at the rotten fruit and dark realities in the headlines.

Their culture war is intentional and strategic. Their game is long and eats women alive. But I got myself and my children out of there––I saved me. And I can tell you what it’s like inside.

I want to help you:

  • understand what’s happening to your loved ones and know how best to support them.
  • find support and healing as you identify the sources of your religious trauma.
  • feel empowered to protect American ideals of freedom, liberty, and rights.
  • find progressive solutions that emphasize compassion and inclusion without rigid, binary rules that serve only the oppressors.
  • find joy and healing in reclaiming years lost to high-control religion. Discover your DIAMOND DAYS

We can make something beautiful from our pain. I hope my work is proof there is light after darkness.

What you can do right now:

  • Find out what the insider words really mean. Grab my free, printable FUNDIE CHEATSHEET
  • Connect with me on social media: my handle is @TiaLevingswriter everywhere (Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok.) I have tons of videos on what Fundie life is really like.
  • If my videos have ever left you wanting “more,” my newsletter is where you can get it. More details, more action steps, and more information on what to watch for in your community. Already have the CHEATSHEET? Then you’re signed up.
  • Share my posts. Whether it’s an issue of my free Dear Fellow column or a video online, every share helps spread the word. I deeply appreciate you.
  • Book me to speak at your event or invite me on your podcast.
  • Build a bridge between you and friends and family under the influence of high-control religion. Connect over what you have in common––even if it seems basic or trite. Remember people changing their minds require space and dignity to do so. The golden rule goes a long way but live out loud. Let them see what critical thinking, love and diverse acceptance look like in you.
  • Have a question about a resource or account you think might be fundamentalist? Shoot me a question through DMs, the chat form on the website, or my contact form (under “About Tia” in my site header.)

Together and with knowledge, we have power.

Are you healing from religious trauma and Christian Fundamentalism? Here’s a list of Religious Trauma Resources that helped me.

See my other work here.

Healing on Purpose. Reclaiming Joy.

I recently returned to my 100 Happy Days project, the 2021 version. After a lifetime of “suffering for Jesus” and waiting for heaven in order to be happy, I now embrace my life for what it is and I live in the present. No bypassing, no wishful denial, no toxic positivity.

It turns out, dear fellow exevangelical, that life on the outside is full of ups and downs without any magic formula for happiness. Healing requires bulldog devotion and a multi-faceted strategy for trauma healing. This happy days project is just one light-hearted attempt to nurture joy within me.

There’s a highlight under my profile on Instagram of the first time I did this—a photo project to document a happy moment in each day for a hundred. My rules:

🌞use my big camera on a timer. Catch myself in the act of being happy
🌞no selfie poses or looking straight at the camera
🌞I must be in it

The last time I did this, I blew the top off my definition of happiness and what it looks like, what conditions it requires to exist, and how I’m impacted by actively waiting for “the happy moment of the day.” I discovered a new depth of gratitude. And I created a stack of some of my favorite photographs that I put in a book and regularly return to with love. This was absolutely the best time to do it again.

I completed my 100 and simply kept going. Others have joined in and it’s been a ton of fun. This idea originated with the 100 Happy Days Project. Check them out! It’s a project that will change your mind and your life.