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Renounced: Leaving A Religious Community

Illustration of someone pushing open a set of doors with crosses on them and walking out into a sunset. At the top right of the illustration is the episode title "Renounced." The person is light-skinned with medium-length straight, brown hair and is wearing a light-pink long-sleeved shirt.
Charnel Hunter
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Anita grew up betwixt and between two religious communities and never felt like she fully belonged to either. The upside? She had a lot of room to figure things out on her own. She talks with two people who didn't find that freedom until they left their conservative religions. They tell her about extracting themselves from tight-knit religious communities and reconnecting with their sexuality and identity on their own terms.

Meet the guests:

  • Nicole Hardy, writer and author of the memoir "Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin," tells Anita about why she left the Mormon church as a single woman in her mid-30s, and how that process shaped her sexuality and relationships.
  • Dr. Jon Paul Higgins, creator and executive producer of "Black, Fat Femme" podcast, shares their experience growing up as a Jehovah's Witness, what led them to leave, and their ongoing healing work to make sense of religious trauma.

Read the transcript | Review the podcast

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Audrey Smith is a writer, educator, and temporary producer of "Embodied" based in Greensboro, NC. She holds a Master's degree in Secondary English Language Arts Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2018) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from Oregon State University (2021).
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.