Does RHOSLC’s Mary Cosby lead a cult? The charges, explained

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Season 2 of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City brought all the drama this fall. Between ski trips and over-the-top parties, the housewives were shocked when co-star Jen Shah was arrested and charged with money laundering and fraud.

Then, just an episode later, the ladies were in shock after rumors started circulating that housewife Mary Cosby is a cult leader. It is true that Mary leads a church. But is it a cult? Some Housewives (and viewers) were just not convinced.

A sect is defined as a small religious group that is not part of the mainstream religion. Cults can be dangerous because some use mind control techniques (like behavior modification or thought-stopping techniques), which can cause members lasting psychological harm, according to the American Psychological Association. .

Technically, “anyone can create a new religion, and can appeal to the government for new religious status and gain government protections and recognition,” said University of Pennsylvania senior lecturer Ori Tavor. at the Department of East Asian Languages ​​and Civilizations. . But if a cult engages in illegal activities, members (including the founder) can face legal consequences.

Mary insists the cult accusations are false. “There is no cult,” she said entertainment tonight. And to date, no legal action has been taken against Mary for her role in the church. So what is the truth, if any, behind the rumours? Here is all there is to know:

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How does Mary’s Church work, by the way?

Mary inherited the Faith Temple Pentecostal Church from her grandmother, Rosemary (who founded the church), after her death. But to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps, Mary had to marry Rosemary’s husband, aka her step-grandfather, Robert Cosby Sr.

“Don’t think it wasn’t weird, because it was!” said Mary. “But I did it because I trusted my grandmother, and I’m so glad I did.” Now Mary’s husband, Robert, is a pastor in the church, and Mary is considered the first Pentecostal lady.

Mary is very dedicated to her role in the church, as viewers saw on the show. Other Housewives even attended her services: Housewife Whitney Rose brought her father to Mary’s Church in Season 1.

Where are the accusations coming from?

The first housewife to suggest that Mary might be a cult leader was Lisa Barlow. After being pressed, Lisa revealed that a friend of hers, Cameron Williams, left Mary’s Church after suffering “extreme religious trauma”.

Lisa claimed Cameron told her he gave the Cosbys around $300,000 and even mortgaged his house because Mary told him. “Is it a cult? Yes. Is it called ‘God’? Yes,” Cameron said in one of the RHOSLC trailers.

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Cameron also sat down with housewife Meredith Marks in a later episode to discuss what he claims he went through at Mary’s Church. “Be careful,” he said. “Fortunately,” Cameron explained, he is now “out of this situation” because he “had to walk away” after seeing the Cosbys doing “very harmful things” to church members.

When Meredith wanted more details, all Cameron said was “this is Mary’s story to tell.” Sadly, Cameron passed away in June, but Lisa Barlow continues to support her side of the story.

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” I believe him. I believe his feelings,” she said Page 6 in October. “I believe he was an amazing person. I believe he had an incredible heart. It’s important for people to hear his side and what he went through because it could be beneficial and helpful for people in hear what Cameron told me.

Did anyone else show up?

Cameron isn’t the only ex-member to share his story. Six of the seven former members who were contacted by the daily beast also claimed that Mary ran her church as a “cult”. Abby, who left Faith Temple in the 1990s, said “it’s not a joke”. “She has these terrified people,” Abby continued. “You have no idea, all those smiles and th…it’s not real.”

Another former member, Ralph Arnold Jr., accused Mary to preach “that she is God on earth”. “The church has fallen into disrepair,” said Arnold the exit. “She just screams at her limbs and mentally abuses them into submission. [She] brainwashes them regularly, not to mention the utterly flamboyant and hypocritical life she leads.

Ralph also remembered that Mary positioned herself above the congregation. “Mary is trying to convince people that she is God, or like that special mediator,” he said. “That she has the power to talk to God and decide where you go [heaven or hell]. Mary tries to assimilate herself to a woman Jesus.

Other anonymous members recalled a steady surge in donations. “It was all about the money,” one person said. “They would shame you if you didn’t give enough. It was a form of mind control.”

Another woman explained that the church was not what she expected. “We thought we were learning a new way of life, a new way of worshiping God, but that was never the case…There are so many shady things going on in this church,” she said.

Even Mary’s uncle, Ernest Walton, calls the church “an abomination”. “Everything is coming out into the light now and everything is falling apart,” he adds.

But so far, no one has filed charges against Mary, Robert Sr., or the church, and law enforcement apparently never got involved in Faith Temple’s activities.

Did Mary respond to these claims?

Yes, and she insists the accusations are all false. “Obviously I’m not going to be on national TV and be a ‘housewife’ and be in a cult,” she said. entertainment tonight. “My church members, they know these are false allegations.”

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At RHOSLC season 1 reunion, host Andy Cohen played an audio recording of one of Mary’s sermons. In the clip, Mary called her congregation “stingy” and “poor” after they didn’t get enough birthday cards.

Mary maintained that she would never take money from the church for herself. “I am a God-fearing woman,” she said. “I would never do that.”

“[A]All religious institutions, including Faith Temple Pentecostal, are accepting donations from their parishioners,” said one of Mary’s attorneys. The daily beast. “However, they are not forcing parishioners into poverty to make such contributions.” He also added that the idea of ​​Mary being called “God” is “extremely offensive and has no basis in reality.”

What are the others doing RHOSLC the ladies think?

Meredith Marks attended one of Mary’s services. “I was at Mary’s Church and I saw nothing but very energetic people, who really love expressing their faith and who really love Mary,” she said. E! News.

“I saw nothing to make me believe it was anything other than a church,” she continued. “This is my personal experience and I have no reason to believe anything beyond that.”

Stay tuned for more RHOSLC bombs every Sunday night at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

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