895: Eric Skwarczynski | Is That a Cult?
Eric Skwarczynski (@eskwarczynski) is a versatile media professional with a passion for storytelling. Over the past 7 years, he has worked in various roles, including videographer, photographer, writer, and graphic designer, taking him to over 20 states and 13 countries. His mission is to shed light on the important issue of mental, physical, and sexual abuse within Independent Baptist Churches. He hosts the Preacher Boys podcast, which launched in January 2020 and has since amassed millions of downloads. Content from his podcast has been featured on Peacock and CBC, and on his accompanying YouTube channel.
He has also launched a second YouTube channel, Film School’d, featuring directors, actors, writers, Academy Award-winning FX artists, and more film industry experts.
Today, Eric is promoting the new documentary "Let Us Prey: A Ministry of Scandals" which premieres on Investigation Discovery on November 24th and 25th of 2023. The four-part docuseries exposes predatory behavior within Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches and gives voice to survivors seeking justice. Featuring first-hand accounts from survivors like Ruthy Heiler, Kathy Durbin, and Amanda Householder, Let Us Prey offers crucial insight into the troubling culture within the IFB. Eric's testimony is also featured in the documentary, continuing his mission to shed light on abuse within Independent Baptist Churches.
What Travis and Eric discussed:
- Why Eric started the Preacher Boys podcast to expose abuse and corruption in the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church community he grew up in. He felt someone needed to uncover the problems, even though he was no longer part of the church.
- The upcoming documentary "Let Us Prey" on Investigation Discovery and HBO Max will shine a bigger spotlight on abuse in the IFB. Eric and others spent significant time being interviewed for it.
- According to Eric, the IFB attracts and enables abuse because of its authoritarian power structure, purity culture, and lack of accountability for leaders. It sends the message that abuse will be tolerated.
- Both Eric and Travis emphasize the importance of continual questioning and keeping an open mind, rather than sticking dogmatically to answers that can't be questioned. This prevents becoming trapped in harmful fundamentalist thinking.
- They feel empathy for Christians saddened by their deconversions but ultimately had to be honest about their beliefs. Mutual love and conversation matter more than agreement.
This raw, revealing conversation exposed the rampant abuse and silencing in Christian fundamentalist circles, through Eric's courageous Preacher Boys podcast and the upcoming documentary "Let Us Prey." However, effecting real change requires questioning the system and speaking truth, with integrity and empathy. Travis and Eric model this by engaging kindly across deep divides. Listen to this entire inspiring episode if you want inspiration to fight injustice with compassion. By leading with moral courage, we can take away permission to abuse power, in churches or anywhere else. A better world is possible when we stand for truth empathetically.
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