Is God the secret to losing weight?
For Gwen Shamblin Lara, the answer was yes.
‘What I do in this program is to teach people how to stop bowing down to the refrigerator and how to bow back down to Him,’ she explained.
Shamblin Lara parlayed her piece of the billion-dollar diet industry into founding a new church called Remnant Fellowship, which has been accused of being a cult and encouraging harsh physical punishment, like hitting with a glue stick, to discipline children. Two church members were sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for the death of their eight-year-old son, who they forced to stay in a wicker box by binding it with bungee cords.
‘How members of Remnant behave is bit like the Handmaid’s Tale and Stepford Wives,’ Glen Wingerd, whose daughter Delaney joined the church, said in a new HBO Max docuseries.
Terasseee Morris, a former member, said: ‘The leadership has say in everything that you do. You don’t go on a trip anywhere without their permission. You don’t have family come visit you without their permission. You don’t go to funerals or weddings of family members without their permission.’
Shamblin Lara and her second husband, actor Joe Lara, died with five other people in a plane crash on May 29, 2021 in Tennessee and may have been en route to a MAGA rally in Florida. Lara, best known for a 1989 TV movie Tarzan in Manhattan and the 1990s Tarzan TV series, is called an ‘escort’ by a former church member in the series and portrayed as interested in Shamblin Lara’s substantial wealth, which critics say was accrued from the Remnant Fellowship Church and its members.
‘When he met Gwen, I feel like he won the lottery and he was also cast in her production. She honed in on him, he saw an opportunity in her and it was a match made in Remnant Fellowship heaven,’ Natasha Pavlovich, Joe Lara’s ex-girlfriend, said in the series. Pavlovich said Lara falsely accused her of sexually assaulting their daughter to prevent them from moving to Chicago.
The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin takes an in-depth look at the controversial church leader and diet guru with towering blond hair – who once said in a deposition: ‘When people were in prison camps and ate less food, they lost weight. All of them’ – and the Remnant Fellowship, a church based in Brentwood, Tennessee, which continues today under her daughter’s leadership.
A church statement, part of which is shown at the end of the docuseries and is available on its website, states: ‘Remnant Fellowship categorically denies the absurd, defamatory statements and accusations made in this documentary – yet another Hollywood attack on religion.’
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Source: Daily Mail