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Strange Country

Sometimes you need to have a glass of wine, cuppa whatever and listen to a good old weird story. Musical score Resting Place by A Cast of Thousands.

Aug 19, 2021

Maybe you've tried Keto or Atkins or the blood type diet, but have you thought about maybe trying God? The Weigh Down Workshop was founded by Gwen Shamblin in 1986. She didn't believe in dieting, exercising or counting calories. Shamblin instead told followers to rely on God and pray that He will slap the Doritos out of your hand. Strange Country cohosts Beth and Kelly talk about this program turned church and how some cult experts see it as a cult.

Theme music: Big White Lie by A Cast of Thousands

Cite your sources:

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Dugan, Jeanne. “Church Lady of Diet Weighs In On Trinity and Her Flock Flees.” Wall Street Journal, Cult Education Institute, 30 Oct. 2000,

Ellin, Abby. “Religion Journal; Seeing Overeating as a Sin, and God as the Diet Coach.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 May 2004,

“Firm Beliefs.” NewsChannel 5, Cult Education Institute, 5 Feb. 2004,

Levenson, Michael, and Jesus Jiménez. “7 Presumed Dead After Plane Crashes Into Tennessee Lake, Officials Say.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 May 2021,

Mead, Rebecca. “Slim for Him.” The New Yorker, 7 Jan. 2001,

“Parents Convicted of Killing Son, 8.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 16 Feb. 2007,

Ross, Rick Alan. “Has Gwen Shamblin's ‘Weigh Down’ Diet Turned into a ‘Cult’?” Cult Education Institute, 30 June 2017,

Shamblin, Gwen. The Weigh down Diet. Waterbrook Press, 2013.

“Why People Become Overweight.” Harvard Health, 24 June 2019,

Williams, Phil. “Controversy Surrounded Brentwood Church, Founder for Years; Gwen Shamblin Lara among Those Presumed Dead.” WTVF, WTVF, 30 May 2021,