Wed, 1 July 2020
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:
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.