When someone loses their faith in Mormonism, there are several paths  often followed.  One is to become agnostic or atheist, and never to rejoin a religion again.  One is to re-join a Christian church.  One is to follow a more fundamentalist Mormon path (e.g. Denver Snuffer, Preppers, Julie Rowe).  And one is to become susceptible to new age beliefs and other gurus or cult leaders.  Today we will be talking about the last option.

Teal Swan (born Mary Teal Bosworth) is described on her web site as an American spiritual teacher, author, and social media personality.  She was raised in Logan, UT, and as a teenager was connected to controversial Mormon therapist Barbara Snow, who was at the center of the Satanic Ritual Abuse panic in the 1990s and 2000s.  After a very turbulent childhood, which involved self harm and suicidality, Teal pursued modeling for a time, and eventually began pursuing the path of becoming a spiritual guide.

Teal’s teachings on how to manage mental health issues have often been described as unconventional and she has received criticism for how she attracts fans, with some critics nicknaming her “The Suicide Catalyst”.  At present she has 700,000 followers and has been covered by the BBC, and in several documentaries, including a recent documentary on Netflix.

Her history of work is highly controversial because it incorporates various super controversial and problematic ideologies and practices such as:

  • The cultivation of repressed/recovered (false) memories.
  • Claims of Satanic ritual abuse.
  • Energy healing.
  • Clairvoyance.
  • Numerology.
  • The Law of Attraction.
  • A belief in a “Third Eye.”
  • The usage of crystals to “raise your vibration or frequency.”
  • A belief in multiple lives.
  • A belief that she is an alien from another planet.
  • A belief in spiritual projections/possessions.
  • When dealing with suicidal clients, referring to suicide as “pushing the reset button” for a future life.
  • Communal living.

A SUPER important podcast series exploring/exposing Teal Swan’s work can be found here: The Gateway: Teal Swan.

Jared Dobson was raised LDS, served an LDS mission, got married and divorced, became suicidal, and started searching for answers in New Age Spirituality.  He came across Teal Swan, and became a follower in her movement (a “Tealer”) for 2 years.  He ended up moving in with Teal and became a part of her communal family in Park City, Utah.  They were romantically involved for 5-6 months, were set to have a child together, and as the relationship began to fray, Jared was kicked out of the commune and checked himself into a psychiatric ward (UNI at the University of Utah).

He has been recovering ever since.

This is Jared’s story of his experiences with Teal Swan.  This story also has important connections to other cult-like phenomena occurring in recent times, including the Lori Vallow/Chad Daybell/Julie Rowe/Prepper phenomena.  It also is an insider’s view into the emergence of a modern cult.

Part 1: How Jared’s Mormon Life Fell Apart After His LDS Mission

Part 2: Jared Discovers Teal Swan, Joins Her Cult, and Moves in with Her and Her Followers 

Part 3: Jared Becomes Teal Swan’s New Boyfriend, and Eventually Things Fall Apart

Part 4: Jared Builds a New, Healthier Life without a Cult or Guru

 

Part 1: How Jared’s Mormon Life Fell Apart After His LDS Mission

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Part 2: Jared Discovers Teal Swan, Joins Her Cult, and Moves in with Her and Her Followers 

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Part 3: Jared Becomes Teal Swan’s New Boyfriend, and Eventually Things Fall Apart

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Part 4: Jared Builds a New, Healthier Life without a Cult or Guru

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11 Comments

  1. Teresa Poulson July 3, 2020 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    I have left the church for many reasons. I am angry and feel at times lost and searching for something to replace it. I. have found hope in reading mormon stories and knowing that I am not alone. Thank you John Dehlin

  2. R. Mark July 8, 2020 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    Jared, thank you for being vulnerable and expressing your truths about your journey. I too have seen fire and I’ve seen rain …. you inspired me to shower the people I love, with love. When you are in East Tennessee, look is up bro.
    John, you did it again. Thank you for bringing us Jared’s story. – so so critical.

  3. Maggie Rayner July 9, 2020 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jared and John, and Jared for your honesty and vulnerability. I agree about the need to be surrounded by a healthy community and the joy there is in spending time together. I identified strongly with your insights about feelings and not carrying others’ pain. Although I left the Mormon Church decades ago, overcoming my early programming of “don’t think, don’t feel, don’t question; accept, obey, and take your place in the patriarchal order” is a work on progress. John referred to a CBC.ca Uncover podcast on the cult Nexivn. Another CBC.ca podcast, Uncover: Satanic Panic, deals with false recovered memories from the 80’s and 90’s with the story of how this impacted the small town of Martensville in Saskatchewan, Canada.

  4. Andi August 9, 2020 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Jared, I am so glad you’ve come through this, you’re darling.

  5. J November 22, 2020 at 1:33 am - Reply

    JOHN’S DEHLIN’S MOST HILARIOUS QUESTION OF ALL TIME (especially on 1.5 speed):
    Video part 3: 04:52 – 5:01

    Thanks, John.
    Huge respect, Jared!

  6. Maria Xochitl Palacios April 23, 2021 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    I learned a lot from this conversation, I appreciate your honesty.

  7. Ray October 20, 2021 at 3:29 am - Reply

    Teal is dangerous. My life is also messed up because of her hypocrisy. I feel like she teaches everyone to trust her advice, and only her advice. I found her when suicidal as well. I feel so lost and miserable. Teal does not care.

  8. Susan Kemppinen June 9, 2022 at 10:25 am - Reply

    I have listened to the whole interview. Thank you John and Jared. Bless you both .Bless Teal Love

  9. Susan Kemppinen June 9, 2022 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Maybe you could have an nice talk with Teal in the future.

  10. Lorraine Hutter June 9, 2022 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    I listen to Teal’s tapes. I have no desire to move in with her or attend a retreat. I am not suicidal, nowhere near it. Her take on addiction is one I have never heard before and it has helped me tremendously.

    I have followed several people in my life who have been called cult leaders, I have derived a lot of benefit without surrendering my soul, myself or my free will.

  11. Michele Laux June 17, 2022 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Thank you John, for your insightful interview, and Jared for your tremendous courage and honesty. You’ve worked so hard to reduce your suffering and I wish you a life of more ease and peace.

    PS: The interview John does with Teal’s childhood friend fills in a lot of the empty spaces and is very well done, and the documentary, The Deep End, is just plain terrifying.

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