Religious Texas Commune — Part 2: “The Least Beloved"

Was I in a Cult?

Kast Media


Liz Lacuzzi: Please note this episode contains highly sensitive material, including discussions of sexual assault, labor and sex trafficking.

Tyler Measom: Welcome to Was I an Occult? I’m Tyler Meesom. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And I’m Liz Iacuzzi. 

Tyler Measom: And today is the second half of Tamara’s story. 

Liz Lacuzzi: If you haven’t listened to part 

Kast Media: Tyler MeasomTyler Measom 

Liz Lacuzzi: one of her story yet, 

Tyler Measom: guys, we do appreciate your utter disregard for sequential order. 

Liz Lacuzzi: But you should go listen to that one first and then come back. We’ll.

Still be here, won’t we, Tyler? 

Tyler Measom: Got nothing else to do. And for the rest of you, a little catch up. Tamara was born to two Jewish 

Liz Lacuzzi: parents. But when she was five, her father was successfully recruited into a different religion that quickly indoctrinated him into their world. 

Tyler Measom: A religion in which Tamara asked us to keep anonymous, for her own safety.

Liz Lacuzzi: And perhaps ours?

Tyler Measom: Before long, Tamara was living two lives. One with her father, now stepmother, and step siblings at a compound in Texas with his newfound religious family. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And then during the school year, she lived a quote, normal life, going to public school in Arizona where she lived with her mother.

Tyler Measom: Years go by, living like this. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Until one summer when she was 12 years old. She showed up on the compound in Texas and was told that she was no longer going to be living with her siblings. 

Tyler Measom: Instead, it had been requested that she live with the leader and his multiple wives in their estate on a hill. 

Liz Lacuzzi: In last episode, we left off right after her father knocked on the door of the leader’s house and a woman answered.

Dr. Tamara MC: She was the leader’s wife. She assured my dad, she’s in good hands, she’s fine. And, and so my father was just so happy. And he kind of gave me like his little side hug and said, said, you’re going to be fine. Have a good summer. And he closed the door and left. And I was alone in a new house with new people.

And I didn’t know what I was doing there. It was like lunchtime when I arrived. So I kind of, they kind of gave me some nice food. I remember, and it was much nicer than like in the commune we had. So little food and I was always hungry and so I just remember those like the beautiful smell of like garlic and onions like sauteing in a pan and I just remember smelling the spices and like being really hungry and then like being able to eat and I was like, Oh, this isn’t too bad.

Tyler Measom: Big house on the hill, pseudo British royalty, delicious food. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Could Tamara’s Amy ability really be paying off? 

Dr. Tamara MC: We were told that the first day you’re a guest and like the second day you’re no longer a guest. And so I was told that and the next day I was no longer a guest and I was no longer going to ever be fed like that again or be treated like that again.

That was just kind of my one and done. 

Tyler Measom: The short answer, Liz, to your previous question is no, 

Liz Lacuzzi: no. It’s a cult. Duh. What was I thinking? 

Dr. Tamara MC: The next morning when I woke up, she got me up really early and handed me her baby. The baby’s starting to cry. I’m in this playroom, but the playroom doesn’t have any toys.

So there’s only like this, like little futon on the ground and there’s no toys. There’s nothing on the walls. It’s just like a white room. I was then given the other three children. So I now had four children in a room by myself with no toys. And she just left and closed the door. The baby’s crying. The kids are screaming.

I don’t know what the heck to do with four kids. And then lunchtime comes and she comes back and we like bring the kids to the table. And like, I’m now supposed to feed the kids. So I’m like feeding the kids. And after lunch, she escorts me back to the room, closes the door and leaves me again with the four children and comes back for the kids at dinnertime.

I was feeding the children alone. I was giving them baths alone. It was insane. That turned into my entire summer. The only reason I was brought to the Hill was to watch her four children. I was not at all special. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And as if taking care of four children that aren’t your own wasn’t enough. 

Dr. Tamara MC: We had like our own little community center on the Hill.

And there were a few people like the leaders. Best friends who kind of came from his country that would go there. And so after I watched the baby in the night, I would have to go to the community center and I would have to start preparing food and preparing things to like serve these people, like before prayers and like after prayers.

So I was like in the kitchen serving food. And so I was leaving there like at about 10 or 11 o’clock at night. And I then went back to my room. So the second leader’s wife had this beautiful house, except for the playroom. Like I said, that was totally empty. And then right next to the playroom was, I think, a converted shed.

And that’s where I was sleeping. There wasn’t a bed. There was just like a mattress on the floor and nothing else in the room. 

Tyler Measom: She was essentially the servant to the leader and his inner circle. 

Liz Lacuzzi: That’s what you call labor trafficking, guys. Pretty fucked up for anyone, especially a 12 year old. 

Tyler Measom: And then one night early that summer, she went to bed after a long torturous day.

Dr. Tamara MC: By the time I got into bed at like 10 or 11 o’clock at night, I was so happy to finally be alone without babies and children and serving and all of that. And I just lie down and I had just closed my eyes and I had fallen asleep. And then I heard a knock and I. I didn’t know what to do, but then like within another few seconds, I heard the glass door open and somebody was standing there.

I didn’t have a chance to say, go away. I didn’t have a chance to say anything. I had no control over this house and the doors and who came in and who came out. I didn’t have control over my body when I was working, when I was sleeping, any aspect, and obviously my father wasn’t around. I was completely alone.

And when this person came into my room, I didn’t know what they wanted. I didn’t know why they were there. The person seemed quite jovial when they came in, like, Oh, hi, you know, I just came to visit you. Like, I’m just here. It was a boy. He was just several years older than me. And I just sat there completely confused, not even understanding what was happening.

And eventually he left, but he then started coming into my room nightly. He then started bringing a girl who was exactly my age. She was living on the hill with her parents and I felt safer because she was there. But things pretty quickly changed. So they then told me one evening that we were going to play a game and I wasn’t familiar like with playing games or anything and they told me that this game was called Truth or Dare and I didn’t know what that meant.

So they were giving me examples and every time it would like turn to me, I would say truth, which was like fairly easy to do because I had the most boring life ever and there was nothing I was trying to hide at that point. And so we did that for a bit of time. When she came back one night, she’s like, we changed the rules of the game.

It’s now called all dare, you can have no truths. She said it was only a game between me and this person, this, this man. So she would dare the guy to do things to me. They would start off very slowly, like, okay, put your hand on her leg. Okay, show a part of your hair. And then the dares turned into him kissing me.

And I didn’t know what that meant up until that point. I, I had never wanted a boyfriend. I hadn’t even thought about a boyfriend. I had never even thought about kissing a boy. Like I didn’t know what kissing was like. I never saw like a man and woman, like even hug each other. Like, so it wasn’t anything that I was familiar with.

And then within a certain amount of time, this guy was the only one that was coming into my room. And it was really. Soon after he said that he had to marry me. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Yes, like actually 

marry her. 

Tyler Measom: So forced labor, forced sexual acts, and now forced marriage? 

Dr. Tamara MC: He had crossed all these lines by doing all these things and began to feel guilty and was like, the only way he could rectify this in the eyes of God is to marry me.

I don’t even know what marriage means. My mom and dad didn’t even have a marriage. I don’t even know what this entails. When I moved into the leader’s second wife’s house, she gave me a bunch of her dresses and she was like a full woman who would add four children. So I was wearing these clothes and the sleeves were always so long.

So as I did dishes, my sleeves were always soaking wet. When he came into my room and I was just wearing this outfit that was soaking wet and huge. And I’m tired. I haven’t eaten. And now I’m being told that I’m going to marry him. And not only am I going to marry him, but I’m going to marry him that night, right then, right now.

So he just told me to sit in front of him and he said to repeat after him. And it was in a language I didn’t understand. And then after that, he said we were married

and nobody else was in the room. There wasn’t a single witness. It was just me and him, in the dark, at midnight, and me in wet clothes, on my marriage day. I was 12 years old.

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Tyler Measom: whether you’ll be traveling abroad, connecting in a deeper way with family, or you just have some free time.

Liz Lacuzzi: Babble teaches bite-sized language lessons that you’ll actually use in the real world. 

Tyler Measom: You know, there are many benefits to learning a second language. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Like ordering bratwurst in Berlin. 

Tyler Measom: You know, I think that’s just bratwurst, Liz. 

Liz Lacuzzi: With Babbel, you can choose from 14 different languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, and German.

Tyler Measom: I use it, and I’ve actually found it to be quite easy, and in fact, fun. Four year old son and I do it together. 

Liz Lacuzzi: I love that I can hop on Babbel whenever I want and learn some Italian in short bursts or longer lessons, depending on what I have time for. Is it a number one or is it a number two? 

Tyler Measom: Start your new language learning journey today with Babbel.

Liz Lacuzzi: Right now when you purchase a three month Babbel subscription, you’ll get an additional three months for free. That’s six months 

Tyler Measom: for the price of two. Just go to babbel. com and use promo code INACULT, that’s B A B B E L dot com, code INACULT. 

Liz Lacuzzi: I don’t normally use Babbel when I’m on the toilet, just you know.

Tyler Measom: Yeah, I know, you read Vogue. I use 

Liz Lacuzzi: it at other times.

Tyler Measom: Hey, dear listeners, we know that many of you have your own cult stories, 

Liz Lacuzzi: and alas, we can’t tell everyone’s story on this show, but perhaps we can tell 

a portion of it. 

Tyler Measom: So if you have a good story of your time in a cult, we want to hear it, and we just might air it on the show. 

Liz Lacuzzi: It can be the highlight reel or a favorite part of your personal story when you got in, or more importantly, when you got out.

Tyler Measom: When you realized you were in a cult and what you’ve done to overcome your cultic experience. 

Liz Lacuzzi: It can be funny, shocking, sweet, heartbreaking, or uplifting. 


Tyler Measom: poem, a song, 

Liz Lacuzzi: whatever. Think about it, write it down if you need 

Tyler Measom: to. And then, record it.

Liz Lacuzzi: Go into a quiet room, use your iPhone mic, or your computer mic, or your Android mic, or any of those mics, and tell your story.

Tyler Measom: We’ll do some minor editing, so don’t worry about being too precious, but please keep it. around 10 to 15 minutes 

Liz Lacuzzi: and then send it our way, email it, Dropbox it, WeTransfer, Google Drive. 

Tyler Measom: And if you don’t know what that is, get your eight year old grandson to help you.

Liz Lacuzzi: Send it to us at info at was I in a cult dot com.

Again, that is info at was I in a cult dot com. 

Tyler Measom: We look forward to hearing your stories. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And now back to Tamara.

Dr. Tamara MC: He continued to come to my room every night. for the rest of the summer. So I was working all day taking care of the children, and then every night I was with this stranger who I was suddenly married to. He always told me that this is our secret. We can’t tell anybody this is our secret. And nobody can know about this.

The leader didn’t know, the wife didn’t, nobody, like, they never knew that this person was sneaking into my room at night. I didn’t know my body. I just never once thought about a single one of my body parts. They were just But he would tell me, you’re so beautiful, you’re so beautiful. And so now all of a sudden somebody’s telling me I’m beautiful and now I’m getting attention.

And by the end of the summer, I thought that I liked this person. 

Liz Lacuzzi: At this point, Tamara might be developing what is commonly known as Stockholm Syndrome. 

Tyler Measom: No, that is not what you get after eating too many Swedish meatballs.

Liz Lacuzzi: Or the inevitable relationship tension that occurs in the aisles of an Ikea. 

Tyler Measom: The struggle is real.

No, Stockholm Syndrome is a condition in which hostages develop a psychological bond with their captors. It was first coined in 1973 when two bank robbers in the lovely town of Stockholm, Sweden held four employees as hostages in a bank vault for six days. After the hostages were released, they actually claimed that the police were the true enemies and they refused to testify in court against their captors.

One even went so far as to raise money for their defense. And another became family friends with one of the criminals.

Liz Lacuzzi: Stockholm Syndrome can also be known as trauma bonding, and is quite rare in hostage situations. It is, however, more common in victims of childhood sexual abuse, which can be understood as a survival technique for children who are forced into this situation.

Dr. Tamara MC: I was basically completely isolated from everyone and alone. He would tell me, like, my responsibility as a wife. He was the only voice I had in my head about marriage and relationships and all of this. And he was so much more worldly than me and he spoke multiple languages. He’d already lived on several continents and he was super smart.

I thought that everything he said was like God’s word. The summer ends, my dad picks me up at the, at the leader’s house. I wasn’t happy to be going back to my mom because I now thought that I love this person and the only way I was going to live was going to be with him. Like, I had this person in my ear and he was warning me when I go back to my mother, like, you can’t have a boyfriend.

You can’t do this. You can’t do that. You have to dress like this. You have to dress like that. You can’t have friends. And he just put so many more restrictions on me that I was terrified of going to my mother’s. My dad would always tell me that too. And so would everybody in the community. Your mother’s going to hell.

She’s not a believer. I began to believe that my mom’s lifestyle was wrong. And then I flew home back to Arizona. My mom picked me up at the airport. And I went back to our little house, and I didn’t say a word. I didn’t tell her anything that happened. Nothing. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Which is understandable. I mean, where would you even start?

Like, hey honey, how was summer with dad? Well, I got married. So, what’s for dinner? 

Tyler Measom: And back at school, the minor stresses of eighth grade were nothing compared to living in the cult. 

Dr. Tamara MC: I couldn’t concentrate on my studies. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. All is I thought is I wanted to do was to be married.

Like, that was it. I went from not knowing the word marriage to suddenly, that’s all I wanted. I have to have this life with this person. 

Liz Lacuzzi: I hope people are really starting to understand the complexities of manipulation and abuse. 

Dr. Tamara MC: And then I found out the next time I came back for summer that the leader and all of his wives, they all had left America.

And then I was returning to the compound. When they left, I really missed the children. I have tears in my eyes now and probably going to cry because I loved him so much.

Like I knew them better than their mother knew them. Their mother didn’t even know those kids. Like I knew those children. So. That was my biggest heartbreak. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And what about her abuser, a. k. a. her quote, husband? 

Tyler Measom: She learned he too had fled with the leader and was now living out of the country. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And remember, this was the wealthy leader.

And when he left, so too did his money.

Dr. Tamara MC: He didn’t continue to support the community and so everything just started falling apart. We had so little food at that point. The conditions just got worse and worse and worse and like in Texas it’s really hot and there was no AC in any of the rooms. We had one washing machine for everybody.

When we finally did wash our clothes we’d hang them up but in Texas it’s always humid and wet so our clothes were always moldy. And I was now living on the compound alone with my sister again, and I was 13 turning 14 at that point. And so, the new leader, he would beat the children horribly, horribly, horribly.

Just the worst abuse you can imagine was happening. And my sister was at the brunt of a lot of it. And my way of surviving was just keeping my mouth shut and doing what I was told. So, this went on until I was 16. I was going back and forth between my mom and my dad. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Her husband slash abuser was traveling from country to country, likely at the behest of the leader, where he was slowly rising the ranks of the religion.

Tyler Measom: But occasionally he would stop by Texas for a brief visit. 

Dr. Tamara MC: He came back to America a couple of times, so I did see him, but for the most part, our relationship was through letters and then phone calls. I was just trying to think, how can I get back to my husband? Like how can this work? I had been begging my mom up until the time I was 12 that I could live with my father full time.

And she kept saying, no, no, no. Your dad is an occult. Your dad is an occult. Your dad is an occult. And I would just support my dad and say, no, he’s not. No, he’s not. Finally, she said it, she said, you can live with your father after you graduate high school. I came up with a plan that I was going to graduate high school early, so my junior year was insane.

I was like going to the community college and taking English classes and then taking other classes. And her plan? I graduated high school when I was 16 and she really had no say of, of me at that point. And I always worked when I lived with my mom, I was house cleaning and I always had a job and I was always saving money.

And so I think I, I had saved up 3, 000 and I bought a Nissan Sentra. And so the day after I graduated high school, I filled up that Nissan Sentra with whatever I could. And the next day I drove to Texas all by myself. My, um, husband at the time was not living in America then, but I was just waiting for us to live together.

And then, when I was 17, I ended up flying to England to live with the leader. I began living with the leader, and his wives, and the children, and the second wife now had two new babies. And so they brought me there specifically to take care of those little two. And so I came and then I did the exact same thing over two years.

I was fully responsible for the kitchen and the meals and all of the dishwashing and all of the cooking. There were 10 kids and they also had lots of visitors. So I always had to prepare lunch, a huge lunch. It would take me four or five hours to cook it. I had to put out like their special silverware and their special like China and serve the whole family.

I’d have to refill their water, whatever it was that they need. And I would have to do all the dishes completely by myself. Nobody even picked up a dish and brought it into the kitchen. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Non consensual indentured servitude. 

Tyler Measom: And even in England, she was still separated from her husband. 

Dr. Tamara MC: We had like this communication where we had always written letters.

He always wrote me. Then when I got to England after a while, I was writing him letters, but he stopped responding and I started getting really worried. I would talk to my husband on the phone and he wouldn’t tell me what was wrong, but I could tell something was wrong. So we finally came to England. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And once again, he wooed her with his romantic charm.

Dr. Tamara MC: He said, I married another woman, and she was living in America, and he said that he had fallen in love, and that he’s gonna be married to us both, and, um, in a polygamous marriage, and That’s it, and that is truly when my world felt like it fell apart.

Liz Lacuzzi: This episode is sponsored by Better Help. 

Tyler Measom: You know, when you listen to these amazing cult survivor stories on our show, you’re only hearing the shortened version of these interviews. 

Liz Lacuzzi: What you guys may not realize is that when we conduct the full interview. They can often last over four hours. 

Tyler Measom: And many of our guests at the end say that they felt like it was a great therapy session.

Liz Lacuzzi: But we are not therapists. 

Tyler Measom: No, no, no, no. We’re just humble podcast hosts. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Amazingly humble podcast hosts. 

Tyler Measom: But you don’t have to have been in a cult to understand the healing power of talking through issues with someone. That’s right. 

Liz Lacuzzi: If you really want to work through your issues, guys, the healthiest way to do it is with a licensed therapist and not me.

Tyler or a cult leader. 

Tyler Measom: That’s for sure. So if you are thinking about doing therapy, it’s never been easier than with 

Liz Lacuzzi: BetterHelp. BetterHelp is entirely online and it’s designed to be convenient, flexible, and suited to your schedule. 

Tyler Measom: You simply fill out a brief questionnaire and you get matched with a licensed therapist.

Liz Lacuzzi: And if it’s not the right fit for whatever reason, you can switch therapists at any time for no additional charge.

Tyler Measom: Liz and I have both benefited from seeing therapists. Me more than her, of course, naturally. And we encourage you to try it as well with BetterHelp. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Discover your potential with BetterHelp.

Visit betterhelp. com slash inocult today to get 10 percent off your first month. 

Tyler Measom: That’s betterhelp, H E L P dot com slash inocult.

Liz Lacuzzi: So, Tamara. She was finally reunited with her abuser after all these years. When he told her, he’s married to someone else, and they are now going to live happily ever after in a polygamous marriage. 

Tyler Measom: Her world, as she knew it, was broken. 

Dr. Tamara MC: Everything that I’d worked so hard for, working in the leader’s house, being what I thought was a good wife to him, just making sure that I left my mother, I left high school, I didn’t have friends, I didn’t have, like, I didn’t have boyfriends.

I didn’t like, my whole life I had organized around being with him. And now there’s like nothing at the end of this room. Like there’s nothing for me to look forward to at this point. I’ve never been loved by anybody but him. I’ve, I really don’t know anything other than him, like he’s, he’s who I learned to depend on.

Not that he gave me anything. He didn’t pay my bills. He didn’t, we didn’t live together. There was absolutely nothing that I depended on him for. I did everything by myself, but I thought that, that he was all I had.

And I just spent months begging him, please, please leave this other person. Please, please leave her. And every single time he would just say stone cold, no, I love her and I won’t leave her. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to turn. I kind of cut off all my ties. I couldn’t return to my father.

My mother, I had so many problems with because I was like trying to run away from her and to go live with my father. So it’s like, I just didn’t know where I belonged anymore. And I couldn’t be in England anymore because he was there and it was so painful. 

Tyler Measom: But she was still living in England with the leader, his wives, and their ten children.

Dr. Tamara MC: And then, during that time, my grandmother was with a man for many years, and I called him my grandfather. And he died. So, I told the leader and his wife that my grandfather had died, and I needed to go back to Arizona. 

Liz Lacuzzi: She told the leader’s family that she would come back after a few months. 

Dr. Tamara MC: But, I I told my husband at the time, like the day before I went to the airport, like he was there and I just was like, I’m leaving.

I can’t do this. And it was the hardest thing I ever said because I didn’t, I didn’t have like for me to get to that point and to have that strength, like I could have withstood like all the dishes. I could have withstood all the cleaning, like all of that. But, to withstand me being broken from this person, who is the only person in my world that I thought, that was the hardest thing I had ever done, and one of the hardest things I’ve probably ever done.

And that was it, with us.

Liz Lacuzzi: And so what do you do now? You’ve been married to a man from age 12 to age 20. And the life you thought you were working toward and waiting for comes crumbling down. 

Dr. Tamara MC: So I flew back to America. I had to support myself and so I started waitressing. I was living with my mom. I never told her my story.

She was really happy that I was home. She didn’t know why I had left, like I never told her I left, I just told her I was back to see my grandmother, like to spend time with my grandmother. So she didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t know what I was doing. 

Liz Lacuzzi: She was still young, though. So, 

Tyler Measom: not all was lost for her.

Dr. Tamara MC: I found that there was a class in university that I was really interested in. I had never planned to go to university, but I enrolled in this one class, and then that one class snowballed into me taking many classes in university, and that then became Like, the love of my life, like education. So I just kept enrolling in more courses and before I knew it I was taking 27 units a semester.

Like other people are taking like 12 units and that would even be hard. And I was taking like 27 and like, no problem. Like I have the emotional and physical capacity to kind of withstand almost anything. So I just started writing all of these papers and one of my first research papers I ever wrote in college was about cold.

I just went through and I was like, check, check, check, that’s me. Where I grew up had every single characteristic of a cult. I don’t think it missed one of them. Like there’s not even one I could say, nope, we didn’t have that. I then just started researching and researching like child marriage. I had never looked up what child marriage was.

I didn’t even know the word, like I knew I was married at 12, but I didn’t know the word. I didn’t know what the word forced marriage was. I was like, Oh wait, I was a child domestic servant. Oh, okay. I was human traffic. I was human trafficked for labor and I was sex trafficked as well. So it’s like, it just like grew and grew and I was like, Oh, wow.

It’s just kind of like when I did the checklist with the colts, I was like, yep, human, like the checklist for human trafficking. Yep. That’s me doing like click, click, click. So that was shocking to me to actually have a word to say what I was because I would never have called myself that three years ago ever.

So, so, so that, so that was my journey. And I graduated from college in three years. So I went from basically having no education to graduating from college, like 120 units in three years. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And soon she met someone, someone her own age. 

Dr. Tamara MC: He was in university and he saw me at a party and I was speaking fluently in this language and he’s like, who are you?

He was just totally like in awe of me. We did get married very quickly. 

Liz Lacuzzi: This time, consensual, legit, age appropriate marriage. 

Dr. Tamara MC: Then I became pregnant and I had my two children and for the next You know, and while they were growing up for quite a few years, you know, I stayed home with my children because that was the most important thing.

I took them to school every day, I picked them up, I brought them to all of their sports activities, they had the exact opposite life of me. I then went on to get a master’s degree, and I started a PhD as well. 

Tyler Measom: And then, one day, after many years of being together 

Dr. Tamara MC: My husband Basically said that he wanted a divorce kind of out of the blue, which of course it’s never really out of the blue, but.

It was again, shocking, kind of like the time when my first husband told me that, and so he pretty much left and I had to start at ground zero again. I mean, I didn’t have money. I had to finish my PhD. I had to be a single mom to these kids. 

Liz Lacuzzi: But, given everything she endured in her life to this point, the resilient Tamara was up to the challenge.

Tyler Measom: And she rebuilt her life. 

Dr. Tamara MC: Here I am like, like 47, I think was like where it was like, okay, I got my first place three years ago, my little tiny home that I bought and it’s super, but it’s mine. It’s like, nobody can take this away. And there’s no men involved and my boys, they’re really successful and they, they live in my town and so we’re very close.

Liz Lacuzzi: And slowly she started to put her experience into words. 

Dr. Tamara MC: I spent the whole year for the first time telling my story from the beginning until the end. And at the end of the year, I had close to 400, 000 words, which is the equivalent of four novels. And I think that that was the most healing of all.

Everything, out of everything that happened in my life, I just looked at my words at the end of the day and I was like, Oh my God, that was my life. I was in a cult, like what I was married, wait, wait, I was married, wait, how old was I? I was 12. No,

I can look back at my past and in every situation I was in, I was trapped. There was nothing I could do. And there are many women in domestic violence situations who are trapped. There are so many people around the world that don’t feel that they have another option because of money, because of resources, whatever reason for threat of their life, which is fine.

Like you don’t have to leave immediately. Like there is so much preparation that has to happen. And it doesn’t mean that we’re weak in any way. It just means. That the time has to be right and certain things have to be in place before we can leave. But just keep that to yourself. Keep that secret to yourself.

Come up with an exit plan. Take those tiny, tiny steps to leave, whatever that is. And one day, you’re going to escape. And you’re going to get out. And you’re going to start a whole new life that is yours and yours alone. It’s all yours.

I always feel very purposeful in my life. It goes back to my grandmother. Like, my grandmother survived the Holocaust, and I know that my life is a miracle. I’ve always known that. Like, I’m so happy to be living. I love living. I am here, and I am so happy, and I just want to experience everything that I can.

Tyler Measom: Wow, what a story, what a tale. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And as for the cult?

Dr. Tamara MC: The cult doesn’t exist in the way that it existed in any way. Everybody fled the country. Our community was always on the run for some reason.

Liz Lacuzzi: For some reason. Hmm. 

Tyler Measom: And what about her father? 

Dr. Tamara MC: My dad is still with my stepmom. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And what about her favorite rebellious stepsister?

Dr. Tamara MC: My stepsister? Escaped when she was 14 or 15. She ran away.

Tyler Measom: And she’s doing great. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And as for Tamara’s mother, she still doesn’t know what happened to her daughter all those summer and winter holidays. And she went to spend time with her dad. 

Dr. Tamara MC: One day, everybody will know, but it’s not today. I don’t know what day that’ll be, but I’m not, not looking forward to any of those conversations.

Tyler Measom: Unless of course her mother happens to listen to cult podcasts. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And eventually Tamara edited down her 400, 000 words from four novels. 

Dr. Tamara MC: I’m revising right now, and then I’ll look for a publisher, and then hopefully I’ll bring my memoir into the world. That’s my, that’s my goal. I just want to continue to, to share my story.

Liz Lacuzzi: As you should, Tamara. Congratulations on finishing your book. We cannot wait to read it.

Tyler Measom: Folks, don’t miss next week’s episode when we hear from a badass woman who investigates cases on behalf of cult survivors who have been sexually abused or assaulted within their cult. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And she brings litigation on their behalf. 

Dr. Tamara MC: And what we do is we listen to people’s stories. The first thing is that we believe people because nobody does this for fun, Liz.

You know? Nobody makes these things up. What we’re doing is we are listening. And then we are going back and with our team, we are thinking about, is there a way? Is there a path to a legal accountability? Through a lawsuit. 

Liz Lacuzzi: She’s like the Wonder Woman of cults. 

Tyler Measom: Yes, but instead of a cape, she has a briefcase full of documents.

Liz Lacuzzi: Wonder Woman doesn’t have a cape. 

Tyler Measom: Oh, you’re right. I’m sorry, what does she have? She has the 

Liz Lacuzzi: The lasso. 

Tyler Measom: The truth lasso. Lasso. 

Liz Lacuzzi: The lasso of truth. 

Tyler Measom: Which would be very helpful in cultic investigations. 

Liz Lacuzzi: Actually, that is the one tool we do need when dealing with sociopaths. 

Tyler Measom: Don’t forget that. Always end a podcast with the word rapist, I found.

Really keep them coming back for more. 

Liz Lacuzzi: You know, we really, we really get the audience coming back after we dropped the R, the R bomb. 

Tyler Measom: Thanks for listening, everyone. Don’t forget to record your 10 minute cult stories. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And send them to us at info at wazainacult. com. 

Tyler Measom: And we want to throw a special thanks to one of our Patreon subscribers, 

Liz Lacuzzi: Belinda Cook.

Tyler Measom: Belinda is a certified counselor and founder of Free to Grieve, where she champions people through their grief journey and trains people on suicide prevention. 

A noble cause, Belinda. 

And was I in a cult? This show that you just listened to was written, produced, and hosted by that girl, Liz Iacuzzi. 

Liz Lacuzzi: And that dude, Tyler Mason.

Tyler Measom: Who, me ?

Liz Lacuzzi: You! 

Tyler Measom: It was produced and edited by Kristen Vermilia. 

Liz Lacuzzi: It was also sound designed and mixed by Rob perra. 

Tyler Measom: Thanks, Rob, for your extra work. And it was additional editing by Emily Carr.

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