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Houston Cult Survivor Speaks Out

After spending her childhood in a well known cult, one Houston woman has a message. She says no matter what you’re going through, you can overcome it and succeed in life. She had to do just that. Bill Stamps has the story.



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(music of old television show)

You might remember that theme music. Houston’s Carla Powers remembers it all too well. As a young girl, she says her family was involved in the Radio Church of God Cult. She says her dad uprooted the family from Arkansas and moved them to Big Sandy, Texas when she was just three years old. Her life would never be the same.

“It was a very strange upbringing.”

Powers has written a book about her life in the cult. It’s called Matches in the Gas Tank. Despite her upbringing she’s now a successful lawyer and head of the litigation department for a major oil company. She started writing the book some ten years ago.

“I was awakened in the middle of the night by a voice that said get up and start writing and I did. So much of what I had buried for decades came tumbling out and I stayed up until dawn writing and then everyday from that point on I wrote.”

(song again)

Powers said Radio Church of God leader Herbert Armstrong taught his followers the world would be destroyed in 1975. Obviously that didn’t happen.

Pittman McGehee is University of Houston Psychology professor who studies cults.  Whether it’s David Koresh or Jim Jones, he says the leaders prey on society’s most vulnerable.

“Many of the charismatic leaders are very much geniuses in terms of ability to control and manipulate, but they’re psychopathic.  That is that they are sociopathic and that is that they make up their own rules and ask people to abide by their authority rather than their own inner authority.”

You’ll have to read the book to hear more of Carla Powers story about life in the cult but the message she wants to get across is this.

“The message is about being true to yourself and finding your own voice and your own calling.”

Realizing that you’re not alone in having baggage. Everybody has baggage and you have to banish the shame that comes with that baggage and then learn to live your life.

(song again)