Episode 108: Shiny, Happy People — Religious Cult Deconstruction with Tara Oath

In this episode, cult survivor Tara Oathout shares her experience growing up in the IBLP cult (think the Duggar Family/Quiverfull Movement) and the impact it had on her life. Tara and Lindsey open up about the effects of purity culture and the shame they felt around sex, despite growing up in 2 different cult environments. Tara and Lindsey also discuss other experiences with religion, including some of the aspects they miss. They explore the stages of anger and ambivalence towards religion, the complexities of faith deconstruction, the longing for corporate worship, and the personal growth and self-discovery that come when one bravely challenges indoctrination.


About Tara: Tara Oathout may not know the Duggars, but she was still asked to participate along side her husband, Floyd, in the Amazon Prime documentary Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets. The documentary does touch on the famous family of “19 Kids & Counting but primarily uses them as an introduction to the religious, cult-like organization called Institute in Basic Life Principles. The legalistic and toxic ideology put forth by IBLP is deeply imbeded in both Tara’s upbringing. In an effort to underscore the harm this belief system is capable of, Tara, and her husband, along with many other survivors, share their stories. Tara is still in her deconstruction era and while she doesn’t promise to have the answers, she is deeply motivated to share her journey in an effort to help others shed the shame of Christian fundamentalism. Giving up the “certainty” that a religious life offers is a hard addiction to beat and the journey can be incredibly isolating, but Tara’s goal is to find peace, not in the answers, but in herself. She works daily to rebuild a relationship with herself through inner child work, somatic movement, healthy boundaries, therapy and more. The sacrifice for this cause has been monumental, but every time someone finds camaraderie or comfort in her story, Tara knows it was worth it.