Cult Accusations Against Gwen Shamblin Lacked Malice, Court Affirms

Weight-loss guru Gwen Shamblin failed to prove that she was defamed by a critic who accused her on the Internet of running a cult, a Tennessee appeals court ruled.

Courthouse News Service reports:

Gwen Shamblin, leader of the Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood, Tenn., sued Rafael Martinez after he made an allegedly defamatory comment about her on the website.

“An equally dangerous cult called Remnant Fellowship found itself under scrutiny when two of its members were arrested, tried and convicted of murdering one of their children when they followed the child-rearing directions of the cult’s leadership, self-anointed ‘prophetess’ Gwen Shamblin and her sycophant lieutenant, Tedd Anger,” the post read, according to court documents. “When the members, Joseph and Sonya Smith, went to trial, however, Remnant was able to cop a deal with prosecutors and avoid getting dragged into the murder trial.”

Martinez also called Shamblin a “twisted woman” who was “blindly followed by about 1100 or so people, many of whom are children who are just as vulnerable to the practical lifestyle excesses Shamblin advances as ‘God’s Way,’ and who likely have endured abuses that would make you swallow hard.”

A trial court dismissed Shamblin’s lawsuit against Martinez.

The trial court dismissed the lawsuit and now the Tennessee Court of Appeals has upheld the lower court’s decision.

Theologically, Remnant Fellowship is a cult of Christianity due in part to its rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity – one of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.

Sociologically the movement appears to have some cult-like elements as well, including heavy-handed authoritarianism, the reported suggestion that those who leave are “devils,” and the reported shunning of ex-members.

Shamblin is known for her book “The Weigh Down Diet” a “faith-based weight loss” program also promoted in The Weigh Down Workshop.

Rafael Martinez’ website includes research resources on Gwen Shamblin, her teachings, and the cultic church she leads.

Gwen Shamblin/Remnant Fellowship news archive

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday April 19, 2011.
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