May 29, 2021 was a beautiful spring day. I was on a trail ride in the woods when my phone started to ping with text messages. My cousin was wanting to know if I was on Percy Priest Lake in Nashville paddle boarding. She was relived that I wasn’t because a private plane had crashed into the lake.
The seven people on board were all leaders of a local church, Remnant Fellowship Church. The church is located only a couple of miles from my house. They have been in the local news on several occasions, particularly after a child abuse trial.
In the 1990’s Gwen Shamblin started a weight loss plan, The Weigh Down. It is an extreme diet that basically has one pray away the pounds. The success of the diet lead to the church. Some locals have fought against the church since the started trying to buy what is now their church location. The members close ranks and don’t mix with those outside of the church, even in business. Their beliefs are different from the typical Baptist or Church of Christ churches that populate the area. They seem to be a cult.
The next weekend I was with my cousin for our semi-regular Sunday coffee on the porch. We had both been researching the church on-line and were excited talk about what we had learned. There is a treasure trove on YouTube. There is a very informative message board. Cousin found Gwen’s books in thrift stores.
Last week HBO Max premiered “The Way Down” about the church and Gwen. They were already filming before the plane crash. It is fascinating. I highly recommend this first installment. The new two installments will arrive in 2022.
I also recommend episode 396 of the podcast Reality Life with Kate Casey where she talks with the Executive Producer of the documentary. Also, this a great pop culture podcast.
If you watch or have watch, let’s chat in comments. I’m just a little obsessed!