Recovery from religion retreat in San Fran area Nov 16

Dr. Marlene Winell is holding a retreat in San Fracisco to help those looking for guidance with life after leaving religion.  Dr. Winell is considering attending the 2008 AAI conference at her own expense.  Thanks, Dr. Winell, for your hard work. We hope you have a successful retreat.



In this newsletter:

  • Upcoming "Release and Reclaim" retreat November 2-4 near San Francisco
  • Call for Submissions!  We need your deconversion stories.



It's not the end of the world. Join us at a recovery retreat.

A workshop for letting go of religious indoctrination and reclaiming your life.

Led by Marlene Winell, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Leaving the Fold, A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion

WHEN: FRIDAY, Nov 16, 7PM until SUNDAY, Nov 18, 3PM.

WHERE: The YMCA Point Bonita Conference Center, 10 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, CA

COST: $320 for the workshop, $135 for room and board A deposit of $100 will secure a space. $20 discount for payment by Oct. 10. $20 REBATE for written exercises completed before the workshop.

Authoritarian religious training can seriously impact your ability to live a full life. Recovery involves reclaiming your right to your own thoughts and feelings. But it's not easy and leaving one's faith often creates intense feelings of confusion, grief, anxiety, and anger. Moving on can be difficult if the issues are not clear and you feel alone in the struggle.

This workshop is designed to support you in this process of healing and growth. The weekend is a powerful group experience of sharing personal history, examining key issues, healing activities, and exploring new liberating concepts. We'll use dance, art, role-play, guided imagery as needed. . .and we'll have fun too.

To register, send an email to [email protected] with your contact information, or call 510-292-0509 Register soon to save a place. Financial need will be considered.

For more information, including info from past workshops, visit Dr. Winell's website:

About Dr. Winell: Marlene Winell is a consultant/educator and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies. She has worked in human services for 30 years and has private practice in Berkeley and Alameda, CA. She specializes in group work, communications training for couples, and recovery from religious indoctrination. She also consults by telephone.

Calling all ex-fundamentalists!

Calling all ex-fundamentalists (from all varieties of groups with rigid, authoritarian qualities, including evangelical Christian, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Christian Science, Scientology, Moonies, Eastern cults, etc.) who have successfully broken free and have a story to tell. Please help us at by submitting your testimonial!

A small group of us are putting together a new website designed to provide hope and resources to people who are in the process of leaving their dogmatic religion, and others who want to support them. We'd like visitors to know they are not alone in their struggle, others have successfully left, and help is available.

As many of you know, the rise of fundamentalist religion in this country is leaving millions of casualties in its wake. Countless Americans struggle every day with the confusion, fear, guilt, anger, and grief that often accompany leaving an all-encompassing world view, often while being ostracized from their prior social network. Many are desperate for support from others who can understand their experience. will feature testimonials (both written and video) from former fundamentalists, and a selection of writings, faqs, resources, self-assessment quizzes, links, and other interactive functionality. We want visitors to the site to feel welcomed and at ease, not barraged by angry polemics or strident graphic design. This tone will be especially important because many who are in the early stages of leaving dogmatic religion worry that even seeking information is a sin.

This website will in general not be anti-God, anti-religion, or anti-spiritual. We are anti-dogma, to put it simply. We are concerned about HARMFUL FORMS of religion that take away individual sovereignty and require conformity to the group's theology, behavior, and mindset. The support and services we offer are designed to help people let go of dysfunctional beliefs (eg. original sin, hell-fire), reclaim their rights to their own thoughts and feelings, and rebuild their lives in line with their own chosen values.

Please help us build this resource by submitting your testimonial!

We're looking for testimonials that describe the challenges you faced, and some things that were helpful along the way. You may also want to describe how you're doing now, and offer any advice, suggestions, or encouragement you may have for folks who are considering leaving their dogmatic religion or still struggling through the process. You do not have to consider your own healing and growth to be finished. It's fine to talk about what you've experienced so far, and remaining issues you are still dealing with. The point is to provide visitors with some hope that there is life after fundamentalism. As you know, the phobia indoctrination about what will happen to you if you leave is pretty strong.

What's in it for you? Writing a testimonial to publish online could help you clarify your thoughts and even be a growth experience, and would certainly be a gift that will help others. Testimonials can be published anonymously by request. All email correspondence is 100% confidential. By way of thanks, we will give you access to the online version of Marlene Winell's book, "Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion." You can download the book and workbook for free.

  • Video: Please upload your clip(s) to and email the link(s) to [email protected] . If you don't have access to a video camera but are in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can also contact us. We are looking to have a testimonial video party in Alameda on October 6th from 10am to 1pm . Refreshments will be be provided. If you are interested, please RSVP by email to [email protected] as soon as you can. If this time doesn't work you, we may also be able to arrange another time.
  • Written: Please try to keep it under 1000 words, although we can still publish your piece if it goes over this length. Send submissions to [email protected] and attach a headshot of yourself we can put up there. Please specify clearly that you would like us to post your testimonial on the website, and whether you would like us to credit you as the author or to publish your work anonymously.

THANK-YOU in advance!