Mary Cosby’s first season on Real Housewives of Salt Lake City was pretty light. Her antics ranged from goofy to nonsensical, whether she was falling asleep at the reunion or proclaiming her strange feelings about 7/11 gas stations. Her marriage to her step-grandfather obviously turned heads at the beginning. But she spent most of the season in her closet, or arguing about hospital smells with Jen Shah.
Now that RHOSLC has kicked off its second season, it looks Mary’s story is being turned up a notch. Aside from the Jen Shah allegations of it all, Mary has made her way out of her closet and into the drama. Namely, there have been accusations that Mary is running her church, which she inherited from her grandmother, like a “cult.” The cast is split on whether the rumors have merit or are simply hearsay. But a recent investigation by The Daily Beast, which spoke to former members of Faith Temple Pentecostal Church, shared their harrowing experiences and accusations about Mary’s church.
Out of the seven former church members interviewed, six agree with claims that Mary runs her church like a “cult.” They refer to instances where she refers to herself as God, or a special mediator to God who can decide whether people can go to heaven or hell. One ex-member claimed that Mary “tries to equate herself to like a female Jesus.”
Her uncle, Ernest Walton, agreed with the cult accusation, calling Mary’s methods an “abomination.” While another former member, Ralph Arnold Jr., claims that Mary “preaches that she is God on Earth.”
Additionally, Mary is being accused of using fear to get church-goers to donate more money than the traditional tithe — which is where members of churches are asked to donate 10% of their income to help fund the congregations. “If not a cult, they are definitely scam artists that manipulate the members of the church into giving them pretty much all of their money so that they can live high and mighty on the hill,” one female former member said.
One former member Abby, who was raised in the church, called Mary “the most evil thing that ever walked this Earth.” Additionally, she pointed out that the churchgoers were not aware of Mary’s massive wealth, mansions, and designer clothes until seeing it displayed on RHOSLC. “We all did think, ‘Where’s all this money going? They said we were going to build a temple, a temple greater than the Mormon Temple. Seriously, we’ve been so damn poor,” Abby said.
One of the members accused Mary of spending “grueling hours and hours” badgering people for donations. “They would shame you if you didn’t give enough,” the member said. Ralph added that there would be church meetings where senior leaders were “picked apart and mentally beaten down in from of the entire congregation.” He accused Mary of making fun of and verbally abusing congregation members. Ralph says that the church has “gone to ruin” and many people have left because Mary just “screams at her members and mentally abuses them into submission.”
In the Daily Beast piece, Mary’s lawyer gave the following statement: “[A]ll religious institutions, including the Faith Temple Pentecostal, accept donations from their parishioners; however they don’t force parishioners into poverty to make such contributions.” Additionally, the attorney said that the accusation that Mary refers to herself as God is “extremely offensive and has no basis in reality.”
RELATED: Lisa Barlow Explains Why Cult Rumors About Mary Cosby’s Church Come Up Next Season On Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City
It’s been clear that Mary is passionate about her church and disagrees with such accusations that she’s running a cult or misappropriating funds. But there are also the former members and their shared experiences that are extremely harrowing. And the truth likely lies somewhere in between.
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST MARY AND HER CHURCH? HOW DO YOU THINK MARY WILL RESPOND TO THESE ACCUSATIONS ON RHOSLC?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]