Fear Christianity: The Religious Terrorism 

Of Gwen Shamblin Lara's Remnant Fellowship And Weigh Down Workshop 

by Rev. Rafael D Martinez and Dr. Elizabeth Grace Chavez

What we fear comes to pass more speedily than what we hope.
Publilius Syrus - Moral Sayings

Why are so many of the membership of Remnant Fellowship so fearful?

Try as they might to cast themselves as liberated and healed people free from bondage, the cold reality remains: Remnant members are a deeply fearful people who simply mask it very well. Beneath their uplifted hands and energetic worship services, beyond the bright, shining eyes of Remnant royalty who gaze into cameras and gush about how beautiful their lives are, and behind the pristine surfaces of the "Zion Curtain" there is a reality that few Remnant Fellowship members really come to terms with. 

that Remnant likes to point to in its' members personal lives, which is supposed to prove its divine inspiration. The reality, however, is far more humanly centered, a reality that runs like a dark river through the places Remnant Fellowship and the Weigh Down Workshop hold social and cultural sway. The "healings" and "restorations" often heard come with a lot of string attached, namely, a potent and virulent dimension of fear that drives people into seasons of transformation and behavioral modification that just so happen to include loss of weight. the cited "healing"It is the plain fact that deeply implanted fear drives their religion and spirituality as well as their personal lives. It is the proverbial elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. This unsettling human dynamic is largely responsible for much of In this article, we are examining how fear is the main ingredient of the cultism of Gwen Shamblin's Remnant Fellowship and Weigh Down Workshop and how it is utilized to turn ordinary God fearing people into compliant, mind controlled victims of her fear-based spirituality.  (NOTE: Lara remarried in 2018 and her first marital name of Shamblin will be used to identify her in this article).

Fear is what you experience when your deepest misgivings about hidden troubles, secret shames and private trials suddenly confront us. It is among the most powerful stimulations a person can experience, yet it is used so mundanely by every human institution under the sun, from parenting to advertising, from socializing with others to religion and politics. And to be afraid of someone or something will often change your life profoundly when that person is in a position of authority over you. Although a proper respect of one's fears can be healthy and counterbalancing, it can also become a powerful tool in the hands of unscrupulous leaders everywhere. When those wishing to dominate you are aware of what you are afraid of, they can use that human impulse against you, your will and your very soul in some of the most manipulative of compulsions known to man. Fear can be used to drive you to do

From a Biblical perspective, the fear of God is man's privilege. What does it mean to fear God and view it as a blessing?

A healthy fear of God, according to Scripture, is part of a balanced Judeo-Christian spirituality. We learn of His divinity as the Creator of all, and of His majesty as the Holy One ruling over all creation. We behold the severity in His justice and judgment on rebellion as well as His unspeakable charity bestowed upon an unholy creation through merciful grace that belies His Triune nature. A sober, personal grasp of these divine characteristics is what the Bible describes in Proverbs 9:10 as "the fear of the LORD" which it goes on to say "is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Such a fear is the start of true spiritual growth in our lives, the foundations for a worshipful life devoted to honoring His glorious Being. 

" and to develop our relationship with God through trusting His Son's work of salvation for us becomes more and more precious, endearing and enriching. to know Him is to love Him, As we become more familiar with God, with His handiwork in our individual lives, the spiritual distance that dread has inspired in us becomes tempered by the intimacy that His fellowship with us can bring (John 14:23). His character as a truly loving Father becomes revealed as we understand that it is actually a delight to submit to the Lordship authority He commands of us, and that obedience to His commands is not only possible but enjoyable. For when we understand His direction of our lives as we deal with our sinful nature, inner troubles, our sickened bodies and all the outrages of our fallen world itself, we see more personally just how great His Lordship truly is and how we can unhesitatingly trust it. As the saying goes, "

Those who we call "God-fearing" are people whose life is steered by observable personal convictions about the nature of God and their relationship to Him. We call them as such in deference to the moral and ethical choices they make out of their reverence and respect for His Lordship over their lives. Out of such "fear" we learn to love God for all of the blessings of life and liberty He so freely bestows upon us all, and we come to sincerely love others as the creation of His handiwork. In time, the personal morality that this inspires in us should be expressed ideally in at least the plainest of civic courtesy we extend to all people in our communities, serving them in any way we can.

In short, from the Christian perspective, fearing God means to properly realize our position as God's creation over which He has complete claim. To fear God is to maintain reverence of Him as God Almighty, and a right relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ so that His nature might be manifested in our very lives. This is what it means in the Bible to e walk in "newness of life" (Romans 6:4) as one who has been truly "born again" (John 3:3, 7).

This is the glorious Christian reality tragically perverted in the realms where Gwen Shamblin has anointed herself both dietician and prophet.

 "Mere" Christianity Or Fear "Christianity"?

Christian in essence. The foundations of her faith are more rooted in a phobic fear of weight and a demand for performance-based piety than a love of God in Christ by the Spirit. Whether through personal counsel or public teaching, she inevitably evokes in her followers a morbid focus on their own fears, thus compelling control of their thoughts and behaviors through her moral legalism. It is this fear-oriented leverage resorted to by Shamblin and Remnant leadership in the "shepherding" of the Remnant faithful that is often little more than an immoral coercion of their consciences. Such blatant manipulation is something Mr. Lewis never intended or alluded to in his seminal work, but it is the stock in trade tool of authoritarian cultic movements, of which Remnant Fellowship is a painfully real example.butShamblin likes to calls her Weigh Down Workshop and Remnant Fellowship beliefs "mere Christianity," in her brash and clumsy attempt to associate her teachings with C.S. Lewis' own well known description of the basic tenets of Christian faith. Her convictions, however, are anything

This fear is then inevitably compounded by immoral greed for food that results in bingeing and what she calls "gluttony". Let's review one of Shamblin's autobiographical vignettes in the first chapter of her 1997 book, "The Weigh Down Diet," Through recollections about her past, delivered with a disarming transparency and self-abasing humility, Shamblin drives home how her personal fears and insecurities became her undoing - and how she used her personal history to create the Weigh Down philosophy:  that fear of not having enough to eat is what drives people to overeat in the first place. This fear mongering begins with the very premise of the Weigh Down Workshop (WDW) itself -

My father had been correct at one time about my eyes being bigger than my stomach — but by now, after years of strengthening the stomach and freely feeding my head hunger, my stomach could easily accommodate my eyes! Besides the increasing greed, fear was already a part of my life. There were four children in our family, and if I did not “get mine,” there might not be any left. I was older and freer to make my own food selections, and I had not been trained even to consider true stomach hunger and fullness. I quickly crept up five to ten pounds. The problem with even five excess pounds on my body type is that it all went to my waist and not to the area of my body that was in dire need of some extra meat—my legs! ..

.. I loved to eat and eat and eat. Although it felt good to stuff myself, I felt enslaved. As lightly or as humorously as I might describe this out-of-control situation, in reality, it was a very insecure time for me. ..

.. The ever-vigilant scales always told the truth of my wasted efforts. I had netted no weight loss. I was getting nowhere! .. It was baffling me, since I seemed to be fairly successful at other things in my life. Why couldn’t I do this? I started to feel that something was wrong with me. I started to feel like a failure for the first time in my life, and that started affecting other areas of my life. (1)

Those struggling with personal introspection over their weight problems will readily identify with Shamblin's reminiscences over her past and therefore entertain her thinking. Here, we see that fear, in her own mind, was a powerful force behind her overeating and was then reinforced by a personal lack of control she describes as greed. Her homespun reverie then engages in like manner the same kind of fears her audience struggles with in a far more personal and persuasive manner, making her teaching immediately more personally identifiable and therefore, personally applicable.

This premise, which is the foundation for her Weigh Down Workshop philosophy, is often completely missed by those who consider it. For Shamblin, this is the cornerstone of her worldview and belief system. In her whole Weigh Down dieting approach to improve one's lifestyle and self-image, you can see how many times she alludes to this, while adding her own homespun observations about the inner promptings of those struggling with their own dietary regimen:

The goal of the Weigh Down Workshop will be a decreased desire to eat large volumes of food. If you are less active because of an inability to exercise, your hunger will decrease to meet your fuel needs. You never have to fear missing an aerobics class or workout again. (2)

You have spent years disregarding your body’s signals. You need to see others who feel good from following their bodies’ signals. Pray for a focus on God and not on your fears. You will get there. (3) 

We have made eating—something intended to be enjoyable—into something complicated and burdensome. The food industry has picked up on our fears and has capitalized on them. (4)

Some participants actually open the package of cookies as they unload the newly purchased groceries and put some in a plastic bag for themselves. The family can have the rest of the package that they place in the pantry. This works well for the person who lives in fear that “If I don’t eat it now, it will be gone.” (5)

If fear that the food will be gone is driving you to eat when you are not hungry, then eliminate the source of the fear until you can have the confidence that food really is available abundantly and, more importantly, that God loves to feed you and will never let you starve. (6)

None of this, of course, is news to you if you've been a participant in Shamblin's programs in the past. It is from these seemingly on target premises that Shamblin's march down her "narrow way" begins, following her "Exodus" motif to describe permanent weight loss as a "promised land" her WDW students are to strive for.  

freedom of expression is Shamblin's right. Still, her purely personal perspective claims for itself a moral and philosophical high ground which she never relinquishes throughout the whole course. Her cited life experiences and credentials are only a means to establishing this end, that of seasoned dietician, university faculty member and Proverbs 31 wife and mom of two.    . Certainly anyone who takes a position and writes about it can speak as authoritatively as they wish;they are actually expressions of her own personal phobias and biases which she sanctifies as divine perspective that cannot be questioned. At first, in the "Weigh Down Diet" book, Ms. Gwen's self-disclosures of her supposedly sage-like wisdom seem to focus more upon a fear of God that sounds at once respectful and pious - but

This lofty authority is supposed to be self-evident based upon her view of dietetics, human nature and religion and is essentially self-asserted. Yet it has resonated with thousands of people, assuring them that she is a Christian woman who would only speak truth in love and in balance. However, Shamblin's followers often fail to consider how much of a factor that fear was in compelling her weight loss journey or how this shadow would soon completely blacken her worldview and, hence, her teaching and practice. 

The Fear Factor Continued  

Such an ominous and troubling change of spiritual tempo became immediately evident in Shamblin’s 2000 "Rise Above" book  In it, she alternates nimbly between being an all knowing, loving mentor and a driving coach as she introduces a whole new perspective on fear.

Shamblin's dual approach is a potent combination for compelling personal transformation that strikes a deep chord in her audience. Strong voices asserting deep truths always gain a hearing. 

Imagine a nurturing Naomi Judd channeling a driving R. Lee Ermey and you can possibly see how Shamblin's example might come across with all the sweetness of the proverbial lace glove covering an iron and ruthless fist.

What many of her audience came to realize was that Shamblin's example and preaching had begun to foster and demand a deeper emotional, psychological and spiritual dependence upon her guidance within the hearts and minds of her followers. Many of those now in Remnant who have joined in the last seven years or so simply don't realize how many past WDW members saw this between 1999 and 2002. This manipulation, as well as other far darker things in Gwen's manner and vision, caused them to realize just how imbalanced her approach to spirituality had become. This perfect storm cost many of the most faithful of the Remnant Nation dearly: they became lost at sea , thinking themselves safe in a harbor that was nothing more than a monstrous maelstrom ready to drown all caught beneath it's vortex of abuse, twisted Scripture and deceptive spirituality.

That's why more than 30,000 chapters of Weigh Down evaporated in a matter of months. For all of Gwen's spinning of the incident, the fact remains that hundreds of thousands, even millions of people weighed Shamblin's presumptuous authority and found it wanting. This factual, historical event and its implications are, however, routinely ignored by Shamblin and her Remnant followers. For them, her revisionist perspective on history doesn't include a fair view of the truth behind her sect's origins.

To address the heightened sensitivities to anxiety and fear that her writing created in WDW adherents, and in her uniquely ponderous and grandiose writing style, Gwen's voice of reason in "Rise Above" became more self centered and authoritarian as seen below, if you will but carefully consider it:

The solution that was introduced in The Weigh Down Diet is to trust God with the way He made our bodies. He has created the instincts of all animals, all infants, all children, all men, and all women with the ability to sense when they have eaten too much. Man-made rules have unplugged and confused this instinct to sense fullness and appropriate volume, and they have caused us to be greedier and to expect more self-indulgence than ever before. Dieting, which is the use of man-made rules, works only on making the food behave—not the heart of man. This is big! ... (7)

We are not lacking for information now; we are hurting for motivation and heart-changing cultivation to employ God’s plan for permanent weight control. This is the book to keep by your bedside for morning motivation, to keep  on your desk at work for heart-grabbing temptations, to keep in the kitchen to convict you into a wholehearted response to the heavenly Father, and to leave by the nighttime reading chair for tearful conviction. It is full of Scripture that will soften your heart, make you satisfied with less, and therefore bring you to permanent weight control.

A major goal of this book is to introduce a holy fear of God. I am convinced this is a foundational characteristic in my heart that has moved me to obedience. Jesus delighted in the fear of God (Isa. 11:3); it cleared His mind and His path for doing God’s will daily. Second Corinthians 5:10–11a says, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether  good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. I pray the words in this book will help you develop this holy fear. I truly live for that one day called Judgment Day, and my prayer is that instead of being a dreadful day for me, this day will be romantically delightful, like a bride meeting a groom (Rev. 21:2). I picture it as a huge reception hall with everyone dressed in the most elaborate clothing. The King will spot me as I enter and allow me to walk into His presence, seeing Him face-to-face.

You are not a failure. You are a prize to be won, and there are two contenders for your heart: food (the world) and the invisible jealous God. We are a passionate people—that is why we will see people anywhere from twenty to three hundred pounds or more overweight. This represents our longing, our passion, and our lust. We salivate for more. Passion is not the problem. Our problem is where we direct our passion and our hearts, and where we are grabbing for more.

Dear weary ones, God can make you thin. Don’t give up. (8)

By making these grandiose assumptions about how the fear of God should engage personal fears of being overweight, Shamblin intentionally taps into the deepest concerns of her audience in order to exploit them. Alternating between the soft strokes of gentle admonition to the whip crack of forceful demands, Shamblin's modus operandi is clear to anyone with a basic understanding of human psychology. The Judd-Ermey persona I suggested a moment ago was not an idle joke. She employs behavioral modification through positive and negative reinforcement all the while exploring and probing her audiences' spiritual, emotional and personal boundaries with her presumptuous teaching and preaching. She sobers her potential recruits with a frightening review of social diseases both in the world and the church and how powerless they've been to deal with them in their own lives. 

After indoctrinating them through their interaction with the Remnant culture with the fear of being overweight and with unquestioning trust in her ability to relieve them from their fears using "God's laws", Shamblin then drives home her true agenda. She uses her views on fearing God and hating sin to warn her followers, supposedly from the Bible, that there will only be a "remnant" of people on the earth who will please God and trust Him enough to follow what she claims are his appointed boundaries in terms of hunger and fullness, holiness and profanity. She paints a shining, radiant vision of a perfect land called Zion where God is exalted, the people are pure, the children obedient, and the faith of its inhabitants is undefiled by the carnality and sin of the age. It's a refuge of the steadfast "remnant" of true Christians, holding their own in a world doomed to judgment, a land of attractive, well dressed and slimmed-down men and women all too ready to extend their undying love to you - once you join in their quest to remain "pure" by becoming a baptized member of Remnant.

Shamblin's approach brings to mind one of the most disturbing scenes from George Orwell's classic novel "1984." A mass political rally regularly attended by members of an authoritarian society  Oceania is engineered to incite violent expressions of outrage from them directed at the country at war with them, Eurasia, and against a hated political enemy, one Emmanuel Goldstein. Called the "Two Minute Hate," the meeting involves accounts of the treachery, evil and abominations committed by them as depicted in propagandized programming everyone views and reacts to. Images of Goldstein speaking are drowned out by their roars of rage against him and his oratory which are paid no attention to whatsoever.. Suddenly it is abruptly interposed with a soldier firing a machine gun marching directly at the audience who had been screaming  denunciations only a few seconds before and they are momentarily startled by the violence. Then the imagery of the heretic and his executioner is then abruptly contrasted with a fade into the benevolent portrait of Oceania's godlike ruler, Big Brother.

The relief and joy is palpable, resulting in a "deep sigh of relief from everybody" that becomes a veneration of him in a communal chant of his initials in what is clearly adoration and reverence
("B-B ... B-B...").

In Shamblin's spiritual dogmatizing, the same thing occurs. She moves between playing upon the primal terrors she's elicited with her effective teaching, then smoothly, sharply counterbalancing it with the "divine" relief concocted through her Weigh Down and Remnant enterprises. To impressionable people seeking spiritual and physical change involving their very bodies and souls, this alternating current of transformative influence impacts them in ways impossible to underestimate. Scores of ex-WDW and ex-RF members have pointed to this group dynamic as the most personally difficult and damaging to move beyond after having left the groups. It is a shrewd, seductive proselytizing ploy for Shamblin's "remnant" vision that is a wile no different than what any other cult uses.

. This indoctrination shapes your view of life through the reaction to the fears instilled in you by a mentoring/parental figure. This mortal fear directly influences your every choice, your every moment, your every heartbeat and even every decision you'll make in life. The fear imparted into your thought life dominates it as stealthily as a computer virus would infiltrate a computer's operating system, controlling your thinking and therefore your behavior. It becomes abundantly clear in WDW and RF circles that the incorporation of this kind of dread into your own soul can only be alleviated by embracing her own set of biases to escape its terrors, by submitting to Shamblin’s authority and by dismissing the perspectives of others around you (such as non-RF/WDW husbands, parents, friends and family). , an intentional conditioning by the use of fear phobia indoctrinationIn essence, she leverages the social influence of the whole Remnant and WDW culture to compel the personal change of individual's lifestyles by playing continually upon their fears and group taboos to influence them.

Shamblin's fear-mongering only escalates as she continues to write:

In my experience and in my opinion, it is best to work out this relationship with God with fear and trembling. Show some respect. (9)

One participant .. asked God to make it clear to her—very clear .. (wanting) to know if overeating was indeed a sin. She thought she needed to see the word sin associated with overeating. She needed to see it in black and white. After praying for God to convict her, she opened her Bible (or let her Bible fall open) to the allegory in Ezekiel 16, where God referred to Israel as a baby girl whom He raised, loved, and clothed. But then she became a prostitute. The passage states,(10). The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fearWell, there it was—the verse where sin and being overfed were linked. It moved the participant to repentance. There are others who have told me of times they have felt overfed and unconcerned, so they cried out to God to scare them, so to speak, to put this holy fear back in their hearts. They knew they had be-come too casual with Him, and we cannot allow this to happen, for Isaiah 8:13a tells us, Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned (Ezek. 16:49).

The Israelites were fearful at Mount Sinai. What kind of fear do you have of God? Are you afraid because you know you have been disobedient, or do you have the fear of God that will keep you from sinning? Our God is very powerful. Commit yourself daily to obey His will for you that day. (11)

This new remnant, through Joshua, would cry out, As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord! (Josh. 24:15b). This remnant had seen God’s wrath, and they rejoiced in the fear of the Lord. (12 )

Finally, God ended this exclusive relationship with Jerusalem and decided to allow any willing to hear—even the Gentiles—to have a chance at this wholehearted, fearful but loving relationship with Him. (13)

The first Christians correctly worshiped seven days a week in public places and from home to home. They grew in number and were unified because they didn’t establish a kingdom on every corner under a different name. And there was only one church, with one set of elders or shepherds, per city—even when there were 1.5 million people in Rome and 650,000 in Corinth. That was the new picture of the New Jerusalem, and God was going to walk among His people and be in His people. Now He could have this relationship that He had been longing for. (14 )

.. Hear me when I say that God is shaking us all up now as we begin the twenty-first century to help us to restore this true picture of the church. Recently, God did a mighty shaking inside me that has led me out of complacency and contentment with the way things are. He has opened up my eyes to see the current state of His church and to warn all of the judgment that we are now under. John 9:39 tells us, Jesus said, For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.’ In other words, many will recognize this counterfeit religion, and many will not.

He is calling His church to unify. People can do that—buildings cannot. He is calling the called out to repentance, and He is calling all lambs to understand this holy priesthood—that they are to be pure and holy in this choice of devotion. Instead of relying on a few people in the front of the building to lead us in worship, He is calling for us to get the foundations right in our hearts—in this temple (the body)—and for us to grow up because God is judging the counterfeit church. (15)

. The church, an institution she shows nothing but contempt for, is one of the chief whipping posts she encourages others to fear and hate as well. It becomes quickly obvious that the church is far from the only one that Shamblin leads people to revulsively fear and hate. Not surprisingly, other objects of Shamblin's scorn center around therapeutic institutions that might compete with her own self-help mummery, such as other weight loss programs, weight reduction procedures, support groups not focused on her phobic ideology, the usage of anti-depressant medications and even professional counseling itself. She systematically narrows down for her followers any option of independent thought or action contrary to her own "advice", phrased in "suggestions" that are implicitly understood to be followed as a course of corrective action.people already inclined and conditioned to respond to them. While Gwen sees this kind of preaching as "telling truth," it actually is little more than a brazenly manipulative exploitation of the inner fears among the Weigh Down and Remnant communities she effectively dominates,

This fear factor of Shamblin's religion and the church culture she has created in Remnant Fellowship is magnified to an even greater degree when the usage of her handpicked leaders follow her mandate to purge their fold of "sin." To achieve the moral purity that Shamblin deems essential to true spirituality, she anoints her RF or WDW leadership figures as her chosen channels for valid objective truth, being a part of the hierarchy of authority she calls the "authority line. - while they don't live in a compound apart from the larger world, RF/WDW members effectively shut themselves socially away from it in this manner, and they do so out of fear of displeasing "Ms. Gwen", her inner circle and the leadership they directly control. isolation by indoctrination. Under such intrusive and authoritarian governance based upon peer pressure and shaming, WDW and RF members then reject alternative perspectives about life as invalid or immoral and, out of a real fear of displeasing God, they cut themselves off from the wisdom and input of people outside their groups. This is a very real group isolation from the outside world, even though they freely interact and dwell among the larger society. 

This coercive form of "correction" is explained in excruciating detail by a former member of Remnant:

“Leadership” bases this correction upon I Corinthians 5:12. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13.God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you. Most of Gwen’s teachings revolve around this Scripture. She teaches one to judge another person under the pretense of lovingly correcting them. Fear and manipulation is the motivation behind people “dropping their sins”.  For example, a member since the very beginning of Remnant Fellowship, three years into being a part of this fellowship, burst into tears because she had overeaten and felt she was going to go to hell. It begins subtly with the fear of God by what God might do to you if you overeat in Weigh Down and then leads into all other areas of a person’s life. Gwen says this is not a works oriented fellowship, but you tell, me, is this legalism or not?

..  After two years of receiving “correction” and “correcting” others myself, I became fearful and oppressed, wondering when I was going to receive that dreaded call from “leadership” about not living up to man’s standards. Every Remnant member has this underlying fear. FEAR of “leadership” which in turn equals God, is the motivation to laying down their strongholds, which is what they call the “fruit” (16).

Another former member's testimony readily attests to this in the most heartbreaking of ways in a recounting of 12 ways this abusive church readily exploits fear for control:

Fear is used in many ways in Remnant. Some of the fears I learned through the classes and sermons are:

1. Fear of gaining my weight back after losing it.

2. Fear of disappointing God by gaining weight or overeating.

3. Fear that overeating by one bite is a sin.

4. Fear that continuing to sin by overeating will not be tolerated by God and that He will get to a point where He will no longer forgive me or have a relationship with me, turning His back on me if I am overweight.

5. Fear that I am bringing sin into the camp (Remnant Fellowship) by overeating and endangering the other saints, because God will not bless us if I continue to sin.

6. Fear of having Gwen or any of the leadership to approach me and correct me about my weight.

7. Fear of not eating the right thing or the right amount when eating in front of other Remnant members.

8. Fear of never being good enough, thinking everyone else was doing well and I was never going to "get it."

9. Fear that if the many long time members I saw who got up and confessed in a worship service about gaining back some of their weight couldn't keep it off, then I would never be successful in keeping my own weight off.

10. Fear of God not loving me anymore.

11. Fear of not being able to worship anywhere else, if I left, because all other churches were said to be counterfeit.

12. Fear of going to weddings or funerals for family or friends not in Remnant, because it is forbidden to attend because the religious part of the ceremonies are counterfeit and not pleasing to God. 

I was told when I considered leaving Remnant, that things would only get worse for me, if I left. Gwen would tell us that if we left Remnant, we would gain all of our weight back, because we were no longer surrounded by like minded people. (meaning the saints) And because we were turning our backs on God and his one true church.

At the end, before I left, my fear was that I would never be able to get things right before God. I couldn't live up to the things I was being taught in Remnant and so I was a failure to the leadership and to God. I felt like I would take one step forward and two steps back. I was obsessed about my appearance and how much I was eating and then I began to wonder if anything I was doing in my life was right before God or not? Did God even care about me anymore? 

I must be a really bad person to not be able to keep my weight off. 

I would see others in Remnant and in the classes doing great and they were so happy, but I wasn't, I was miserable, and depressed. Every class and sermon focused on weight, being submissive to the line of authority, and being pure. I was good in being submissive, but believed myself not to be pure, because of my weight struggles.

Fear can destroy a person from the inside out, and I have experienced that as a member of Remnant.

" is actually achieved and what it will cost those aspiring to it. No other civil, moral or spiritual objectives can exist apart from Remnant's direct control, indeed, as Remnant has cast it for its membership, the world is a far more fearful place away from the "tender mercies" of their fellowship that likens itself to be a "Zion."Permanent Weight Loss & The Solution to All AddictionsThis member's painful testimony is hardly an isolated example. Their experience is shared by many current as well as former members of Weigh Down Workshop classes and Remnant Fellowship members and the extent of this personal intrusion into Christian liberty and personal conscience is profoundly disturbing. It illustrates how the "holiness" of "  And this is the bitter truth behind the alluring promise to reveal "the secrets to losing weight quickly and permanently while finding a new relationship with God" (18).

The New Masks Of Fear

Since the dawn of the Remnant Fellowship era, Shamblin has used dietary license, religious legalism and relentless marketing of the need for a "perfect church" to further suspend the better judgment of her audiences. Beginning with her "Weigh Down Advanced" (WDA) courses, Shamblin's phobia indoctrination continues to this day as seen in her fear-oriented WDW curricula. Her skill in concealing this has grown over the years: the heavy-handed and ominous undertone of the WDA has been cunningly obscured by her subsequent product line additions, namely the "Last Exodus", "Exodus Out Of Egypt: The Change Series", "Breakthrough" and "Legend To The Treasure." 

Each course, which is essentially a rehashing of her WDW philosophy and spirituality, is written with emphases that are rife with this unhealthy dimension of indoctrinating pressure. The targeted audiences for Shamblin's product line are all people already troubled by carnal perfectionism and pious obsession with one's "temple" - namely overweight people and her WDW/RF flocks. And Gwen expects her followers to not only agree with her fear-ridden view of God's severity but to adopt it into their own mindset with all of the spiritual, emotional and philosophical implications such fearful assumptions will personally bring to them.

Obsessed as she is with a desire to lead people in a church she would head and control, Shamblin has been repainting her entire WDW superstructure with all the bright colors her marketing successes could display. Gaining exposure on national and local TV markets provides for her new opportunities for market share. Such publicity is color coordinated seamlessly with the  promotional scheme of her Remnant programming, down to the "Before/After" photos, the teary testimonies by glowing, well dressed members, and the supremely self-assured visage of a beaming Gwen "loving on" her followers. But beneath it all to this day are the beautifully concealed snares of fear and dread Gwen had set for her audience to walk into. 

Shamblin has long known what she is doing. By continually making these fear-invoking moral and social codes binding upon all who join her Remnant movement, beginning with a rebaptism, she has established in essence a new body of pseudochristian religious law. Drawing from her obsession with Old Testament Judaism's perspective on Yahweh, and by adapting Jewish festivals and holy days out of her fertile religious imagination, Gwen Shamblin has - as she likes to point out through what others say about her - become a Lawgiver of a Remnant "Law" that her flock is to enthusiastically keep. 

In effect, she has become a modern day Ebionite, having created her own diet-oriented religion and culture, complete with its' own unique customs, rules and language using reinterpreted Christian and Jewish terminology completely at odds with sound Christian doctrine,.

Many WDW and RF members and their families, tragically, never knew what hit them when they were seduced out of their Christian churches into this new cultic one. They smile and reckon themselves to be a "pure" and "free" people, but bear within themselves hidden wells of apprehension, terror and anxiety all the while hiding it so well from their fellow members of Zion. They are people of scarred and burnt out conscience in Remnant who will stand by it no matter what outrage of principle and practice evolves there, primarily because they are too petrified or fearful to come to grips with the consequences of freedom from it - namely the loss of their Remnant spouses, friends, even job connections and family circles. 

This supreme terror that binds the tongue and shackles the consciences of the faithful in Remnant is a horrible bondage as literal as any actual fetters of iron. Afraid of losing their children, their friendships, their livelihoods, their very souls in spite of their inner struggles over the confusion, double standards and doctrinal twisting they've seen, many have resigned themselves to remaining under Shamblin's control. Out of sheer psychological self-defense, to allay or manage these inner fears, no matter how contradictory to their personal conscience or conflicted their choices become, the WDW/RF member must suspend belief in what their plain experiences are telling them. They will persist in their bedience and submission to it as the only direction they can follow and stubbornly, even defiantly set about building their lives around these choices at whatever cost they can pay to hold fast their business or marriages or families. 

These driven lifestyles dominated by Scripture twisted out of context and doctrinal fantasy, the average Remnant member is immersed in a mind-controlling culture where groupthink is the norm and hidden in plain sight by beaming pictures of young and old: this,  they are told, is supposed to be the abundant "Christian" life in the gospel according to Gwen Shamblin, a gospel heralding fear, terror and humiliation. Life in such a world of subtly imposed religious terror makes the brutal Islamic legalism seen in the Taliban or ISIS almost pale in comparison: there is no greater terror than that inflicted upon you by those most trusted in your life.  

The Good News Versus "The Message"

And this precious truth is what the religious slaves of Gwen Shamblin never truly see - because they've been taught to shut their eyes to the Gospel truth that Jesus died for them to receive.While the eternal holiness of God's nature has never changed, how men can approach such a holy Creator actually has. literally means "good news."  And what good news it is indeed, heralding God's completion of His great quest to save mankind from itself! Most lamentably, God's divine initiative to bring Himself and sinful man together at the cost of Christ's death on the Cross is what Remnant Fellowship piously ignores by the fear-mongering of its blonde "prophet". gospel The Christian faith did not begin in a vacuum: it is the final and complete fulfillment of the revelation of divine truth first given to the nation of Israel before and during its journey through the ancient Middle East and fully revealed in the person and gospel of Jesus Christ Himself. The Greek word

This has been the greatest issue to confront sinful humanity throughout the ages - this same distance is still set between Him and us due to our sin and sinfulness that defies His holy essence. It was Israel's diligent intent at keeping the letter of His law, as given to Moses, which was God’s divine remedy to make it possible to approach Him once more - even if their example eventually showed how miserably they failed to do so (Nehemiah 8-10). In response to this tragic national failure, at God's direction the prophets foretold the coming of a Savior who would finally resolve the issue of sinful humanity once and for all through His Lordship and final sacrifice for sin (Genesis 48:10, Hebrews 10:10-23).   In the Old Testament of the Bible, as God introduced Himself as a holy and righteous God at Mount Sinai to ancient Israel He instilled in His people a healthy respect for the vast chasm that exists between His holiness and and their imperfection.

The New Testament, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God the Son, became God's final Word on not only who He was, but what He commanded all humanity to do: "Repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:15). When Peter received his heavenly vision to take the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles shortly after Christ ascended into heaven, God showed how determined he was for humanity to understand their need to return to Him by accepting the Lordship of His Son over their lives. This Biblical invitation to embrace God's wonderful mercy in Christ now stands for all men to accept or reject.

The Bible's illumination on the depravity of man as set forth by the apostle Paul is painfully blunt:  , as we have seen time and again in the Biblical account. Our sinful human nature has us bent irrevocably towards breaking it; no matter how determined we are to do otherwise.man can't fulfill the demands of His law perfectlyHistory and human nature have abundantly revealed that