Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Born into a cult, October's Sexy Brilliant Award Winner is Stephanie Lariviere. She knows all about UNLEARNING, the third step in the K.A.U.R Process. A process created by Sexy Brilliants founder Devina Kaur.
K.A.U.R. stands for Know, Accept, Unlearn/Unveil, and Release.
Born into the Jehovah Witness faith, Stephanie, like many teenagers brought up within the Kingdom Hall walls, had to come to terms with a difficult and painful reality: leaving a strict, prescriptive religion that did not resonate with her and with it, the love and support of the only friends and family she had known- forever. The people she loved more than anything would no longer be allowed to be a part of her life as it is strictly forbidden after “disassociating” yourself for JWs to socialize with “worldly people”.
The practice of “disfellowshipping” (shunning those who leave the faith) is accepted and well understood by those deciding to walk away from their fundamentalist religious communities. Stephanie was no exception. She knew if she walked away from the flock what her fate would be, and she embraced it with a heavy heart.
Imagine for a moment what it must feel like to step into the world with new and open eyes but with no worldly experience, no friends, family or sense of cultural connection that would help you to trust or form new relationships. I can only imagine how much courage that would take, and the deep sense of abandonment and loss she must have suffered.
Courage and resilience is what I encountered a few months ago when I had the privilege of interviewing Stephanie about her latest passion project. She has set out to write about her experiences in a new book. In “Beyond The Truth: A Worldly Kingdom” Stéphanie chronicles her travels with photographs and poetry as it relates to her unlearning/ unveiling of her religious programming and her eventual re-integration into the world as an enlightened and empowered, spiritual not religious, free woman.
In the Jehovah Witness circle, more than two decades ago, Stephanie recounts that there was very little education about other cultures, finances or even encouragement of women towards the pursuit of higher education. Today, Stephanie is a respected and successful executive in the Agriculture industry and works tirelessly representing her sector’s producers both provincially and across the country . She has traveled the world; experienced many different countries and their cultures; and has built a beautiful waterfront Haven where she lives surrounded by nature and the elements on the shores of Lake Erie. She is an icon of Canadian Success.
Despite her achievements Stephanie has gone through her fair share of trials and tribulations along the road. Often ridiculed, teased, even bullied for her beliefs, she was singled out daily among her peers as being different, odd, and eccentric. Voted in high school as “Most likely to start her own religion,” Stephanie was inspired to seek out God and Truth in other religions, cultures and ways of life in all the corners of the world and then use her incredible creative talents as a writer to blog about it.
Today she fearlessly expresses her spirituality through her writing, creative imagination and art. You can check her out on Facebook and Instagram at Spelleralla's Haven where she supports other creative artists and spiritual entrepreneurs and shares everything she has learned to lift up and light the path for others. She has created a beautiful and inspiring page based on her firm belief that “in serving others we also serve ourselves”.
Congratulations to Stephanie Lariviere, October 2021's Sexy Brilliant Award Winner.
You are an inspiration and truly Sexy Brilliant!
Fun fact: “ Jehovah's Witnesses state that they are not a cult and say that although individuals need proper guidance from God, they should do their own thinking. In 1992, American religious scholar J. Gordon Melton
placed the Jehovah's Witnesses denomination in a list of "established cults".
K.A.U.R. Process & the Sexy Brilliant Award
Do you know someone who is truly Sexy Brilliant? Someone who has overcome diversity and is an inspiration to others? Why not nominate them for the Sexy Brilliant Award. An award that celebrates the K.A.U.R Process, to KNOW ones self, To ACCEPT ones self , To UNLEARN toxic beliefs and behaviors, to RELEASE toxic shame so that we can live authentically and unapologetically.