Jen Shah is not the only controversial member of the cast of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.
With all of Jen’s antics on social media and on the show, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that.
Mary Cosby inherited an empire of Pentecostal churches when she married her step-grandfather.
Her castmates are deeply divided over what they think of her.
For a while now, Meredith Marks has been hearing things about Faith Pentecostal Temple, Mary Cosby’s church.
She’s not getting the details that she would like to hear.
Instead, she’s hearing rumors and cryptic warnings that she finds more frustrating than helpful.
The late Cameron Williams was previously a pastor at Mary’s church.
Meredith once had a conversation with him (at Lisa’s party).
Cameron was deliberately vague about what exactly went down, but … well, he’s no longer a member of Mary’s church.
In fact, Cameron made it clear that he was happy to no longer be a part of that congregation.
Without specifying his beef, he said that Mary and her husband “have done some things that are very harmful.”
Beyond that, Cameron warned Meredith to “be careful” when it comes to Mary.
Meredith is not alone in having been cautioned about Mary.
Whitney Rose later told her about a similar warning.
Whitney also shared that Mary’s congration more or less reveres her as a god, which is not generally acceptable doctrine in Christian denominations.
So this came up when Meredith sat down with Lisa Barlow.
Lisa delicately phrased that Mary can be “elusive” when it comes to her church, not always there.
As a result, her congregation treats her with some serious awe that might not be entirely healthy for anyone involved.
“I think Cameron thought the world of Mary and I think they had a very strong relationship,” Lisa stated diplomatically.
Meredith asked: “What are you trying to say, Lisa?”
“I’m not trying to say anything,” Lisa insisted. “I’m just saying I think he trusted in Mary and felt extremely close to her.”
You can see their exchange here, in the above video.
But Meredith and Lisa did not see eye to eye on this.
Meredith felt that it was her duty as Mary’s friend to share these vague insinuations with Mary.
In contrast, Lisa wanted Cameron’s name kept out of it.
Both of their desires to protect their respective friends are understandable.
Meredith went through with her plan.
When she did, Mary was quickly dismissive, telling her that all churches have people badmouthing them.
(Is that true? It’s hard to say how we’d determine if “all” churches have disgruntled ex-members who liken the place to a cult)
Still, the matter was dropped … until Mary retired for the evening.
The other Housewives began to compare notes, with Lisa describing Cameron as having suffered extreme “religious trauma.”
Religious trauma is more or less what it sounds like — people who were traumatized in a religious context.
This can come from cults or much more conventional houses of worship, and can be inflicted by parents, religious leaders, entire communities, or even teachers.
“Religious trauma is the most abstract thing I have ever heard in my life,” Meredith lamented.
“All these insinuations are being made that are way more damaging, I would guess, than what the truth is,” she speculated.
“I have stood behind Mary because she had been a good friend to me,” Meredith explained.
“But I am being told all these cryptic messages and nothing is clear,” Meredith complained.
“And,” she expressed, “I’m getting angry and upset.”
Additionally, Meredith asked for something concrete instead of words that, for her, were all too vague.
“He mortgaged his house,” Lisa revealed of the late Cameron, “and gave her $300,000.”
It is probably safe to say that this should literally never happen — either you’re rich enough to give a six-figure religious donation, or you don’t give it at all.
Hopefully, next week’s confrontation will offer some sort of explanation for all of this.