Shining a Light in Dark Places - Tonts Podcast
A Podcast with Claire Tonti - Laura McConnell Conti - The Truth Sect
At 11 years of age I started to question the faith that permeated our home and our community. I had felt uncomfotable and unhappy since 8 years of age.
I grew up inside a secretive sect, a 4th/5th generation believer inside a large extended family. I rarely saw children other than my sisters and cousins, and almost everyone I knew was a follower of our faith.
I left at 19, and 'assimilated' into mainstream society in order to survive. I got an education, built a career & tried to forget about the world I'd been raised in.
In 20 years I'd barely mentioned my past - determined that it should be kept secret and separate from my professional career. I felt it was important that my work with women (and young people) exploring leaving Fundamentalist christian groups be kept underground to protect my extended family and community.
As years have passed and senior family passed away, I have less to protect and am now willing to speak publically.
I have been left with scars from a childhood inside The Truth, suffering PTSD after what I now realise to have been shunning, emotional and spiritual abuse. I lost my extended family, and have had to process ongoing grief and loss as well as build a life in mainstream society.
My health has suffered - from anxiety, to eating disorders and migraines - trauma continually reminds me of The Truth's legacy in the lives of those who leave.
My aim in sharing and speaking publically is not to shame, embarass or humilate - it is to raise awareness and to provide hope to others recovering from similar experiences.