Ethan welcomes author Amber Scorah to The Road Home for a conversation about her exit from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the ‘partial cults’ we can all find ourselves trapped in.
Amber Scorah is a Canadian writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is the author of Leaving the Witness, and her articles have been published in The New York Times, The Believer, and USA Today. Prior to coming to New York, Scorah lived in Shanghai, where she was the creator and host of the podcast “Dear Amber – The Insider’s Guide to Everything China.” You can learn more about her at amberscorah.com and Twitter.
Ethan welcomes Amber to the show and asks about her experience growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness. They talk about the fear and oppression within that community, and how Amber’s stealth mission to preach in China changed everything for her.
“I think what happens, if you’re a reasonably intelligent person, is there’s really brainwashing occurring from childhood… you learn to almost thought block.” – Amber Scorah
Rebirth and Death (17:19)
Ethan and Amber discuss the podcast that she started while living in China, and the listener who began challenging her beliefs. Amber talks about how leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses was like being reborn, and how she faced the death of her son without her familiar spiritual narratives.
“So on all levels, yes, it was like a rebirth. There’s this line in my life that is the before and the after.” – Amber Scorah
Frank Ostaseski addresses What Death Teaches About Life
Partial Cults (34:40)
Ethan brings up Amber’s recent TED talk and the notion of ‘partial cults’ as he discusses what has happened in the Shambhala community. They touch different types of cults, from scientific to political, and what draws us to them as human beings.
“It’s hard for us, in any community, to have total perspective, because we’re invested in it. Maybe we even love what we believe.” – Amber Scorah