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Spiritual and Sexual Abuse in a Cult-like Church with Survivor Justin Woodbury

  • Broadcast in Spirituality
A Fine Time for Healing

A Fine Time for Healing


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In a moving yet disturbing memoir about finding healing after suffering unthinkable trauma, today's special guest Justin Woodbury recounts his time growing up in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church and how its cultlike organization allowed for child abuse. Justin was taught from a young age that if he followed a strict set of morals he would be protected from all the evil in the world. But one spring day in 1998 when he was followed into a barn by a sexual predator and faithful church attender Carol Lynn Mathia, he learned this wasn’t true. He didn’t know this family friend had been grooming him for years, and he certainly didn’t know that forty minutes after walking into the barn, he would leave feeling confused, dirty, and guilty. After the incident, Justin became trapped in a twisted sexual relationship that lasted months and ended with a conspiracy to commit murder. When the church found out, the abuse was covered up and life went on as normal—except it didn’t, not for Justin. For the next 20 years, he experienced PTSD and nightmares, and carried heavy baggage that almost ended his marriage. His book Sheltered but Not Protected is the true story of growing up in the IFB church; the sexual, mental, and emotional abuse he experienced; how he escaped; and his journey to find healing and forgiveness. Justin Woodbury, a child survivor of church abuse decided to start his life over at age thirty in Littleton, Colorado. There, he met his best friend, soulmate, and love of his life, Emily. Justin began advocating for victims of abuse after he held his son in his arms for the first time and realized the weight of responsibility he would have as a father. Since then, Justin has made it his life's mission to speak out against abuse in all forms and to be a voice for victims, especially those who were abused in a religious setting.

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