I’m Tia Levings, a writer, creator and content specialist. I tell stories that shine light on the abuses of Christian fundamentalism and offer insight into the true horrors of religious trauma. My memoir, A Well-Trained Wife: My Escape from Christian Patriarchy, releases with St. Martin’s Press in 2024.
My videos on social media have millions of views. Through the lens of my personal experience, I connect entertainment, news headlines, and current events to fundamentalist influences and strategy.
I write about religious trauma and Christian fundamentalism to educate, validate, and empower those who feel smashed by the patriarchy. To create something beautiful from pain. And, because when I went through the hell of church-sanctioned violence, I felt alone and I wasn’t. There are thousands of others out there.
I want you to know you aren’t alone. And even if the church condones and shelters it, abuse is never okay.
A high-level glimpse of my story:
I was married at 19 to a charming but erratic man who loved theology. I’d grown up in a conservative, mainline Baptist church, groomed to be a sexually pure bride and submissive wife. But there was violence and abuse from the beginning––and I wasn’t equipped to recognize it.
I did what I’d been trained to do: turn to my church for help.
Help came in the form of mentors who were part of Bill Gothard’s Institute of Basic Life Principles, and pastor-counselors who’d been influenced by the rise of Christian Fundamentalism. “Help” looked like teaching me to be more submissive and to receive what my husband offered, even if that was abuse. Life grew smaller and more narrow and I felt like I was dying inside.
But a series of tragic events cracked me open.
And then, I found a group of smart women online who shared their discoveries and growth. “Women talking” directly opposed the “women should be silent” world I lived in.
I became more assertive. And I thought I’d found a way to balance these two worlds:
- one where I felt empowered and alive
- and one where I submitted into near non-existence.
Balance was a delusion. As I became more independent and healthy, high-control religion and domestic abuse tightened its grip. My husband became more erratic and dangerous. In October of 2007, things came to a violent head and I narrowly escaped with my children in the middle of the night.
What followed was a long road to freedom and healing. Ten years of trauma therapy. Five years of faith deconstruction. Becoming a single parent; falling in love. Raising four children with my village. Developing a career. Finding, and then using, my voice. Learning how to step out of the shadows so that I could shine.
It’s been a long time since I was stuttering and hiding in a bedroom closet. And it also feels like yesterday. As I create videos, bylines, and my memoir about Christian Fundamentalism, time feels urgent. TV shows like the Duggar’s 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On glossed up the hideous realities and made fundie life seem wholesome. But that delusion is dangerous. Our laws, and women’s rights specifically, are impacted by high-control religion right now. Our society is being shaped, our country is changing.
I believe you need to know why.
The Christian Patriarchy has a strategy and a plan. As they shelter abuses, riding on the assumption that no one knows what’s going on behind closed doors, and using religious freedom as an umbrella shield, true suffering is happening. Slavery, rape, trafficking, child neglect, medical neglect, baby abuse and more is the reality as they prepare for their holy war.
I’ve been there and I’m here to talk about it.
A few personal details:
I’m also a Content Strategist and marketing copywriter. My day job is writing web and UX copy for a major healthcare system
I’m Mom to four incredible young adults. Favorite hooman of dog Georgia and cat Howard, favorite friend to Husband 2.0.
I love to hike, daydream and travel slowly. I now identify as spiritually private, because it was having a binary, firm answer to life’s mysterious questions that got me into fundamentalism in the first place. I don’t believe there’s a magic formula or set of rules to help us escape the Human Experience.
I also paint and love movies.
“A wild patience has brought me this far.” –Adrienne Rich
I’m represented by Trinity McFadden of The Bindery Agency. My memoir releases in 2024.
Listen to my recent podcast appearances here.
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