Iyanla: Fix My Life starts off this season with its most controversial stories yet – this time, there are two gay pastors who choose Iyanla’s show as their vehicle to come out. It was initially supposed to be three but the third pastor wasn’t ready to go public. One pastor is married with children and the other is single.
“One is no longer pastoring a church and the other is pastoring but hadn’t really spoken about it.” Vanzant says. “The focus is not on their being gay. The focus is on these ministers who are leading God’s people are not standing in the truth and why they’re not standing in the truth and what happens when someone is living a lie. The suffering they experience and the suffering they cause.
As they expressed it, they felt they would condemned and judged by the church. The reason why they weren’t living their truth is because they feared reprisal in the church. You know this a long-standing issue in the Black church – lining up in the theology when it doesn’t fit who you are. They just happened to be gay. It could be those who are not loyal in their marriages. It could be those who are not being honest with their finances. It’s really about living a lie and they are an example to all of us.”
Vanzant also takes on the surprising story of former Olympian ice skater Debi Thomas. Although she became an orthopedic surgeon after her Olympic triumph, as one of the first and only African-Americans in ice skating to reach that level, Thomas has struggled. She is now living in a women’s shelter.
“What happened was fame and fortune isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. When you have issues that aren’t addressed, fame and fortune doesn’t help you with them. When she didn’t get the gold she didn’t feel as she had any value whatsoever and as an orthopedic surgeon, she couldn’t fit into the system and line up with the requirements and ended up losing her license.”
As for what makes Vanzant so popular that people seek our her counsel on television, Vanzant says that one of the big things is that she doesn’t judge.
“I tell the truth, I don’t judge people and I don’t want anything from them. I provide them a space to tell the truth where I don’t judge them. But I’m not going to allow you or indulge you in the very thing that’s destroying you.”
Even Vanzant shakes her head at some things, though. The story of the two brothers who attempted to kill their parents is making news and her take on it is an interesting one.
“We live in a society where people either have to be totally successful or totally crazy for anybody to pay you attention. If you’re in that marginal area where there are some challenges and some issues, but you’re not a danger to yourself or others in the moment, then you are totally ignored. There are a lot of young people who have emotional, physical, psychological imbalances but they can spell their name and tie their shoe, so they are ignored. Do you know who many marginal, unseen, unheard people are in our society? And that’s why they’re calling me. These young men had issues that either their parents ignored or didn’t see or the school didn’t see it. You don’t wake up one morning and say ‘I’m going to kill my mama.’
Does nutrition play a role? Vanzant believes it does.
“God didn’t make anything without a seed,” Vanzant says. “What is happening to the children…and the adults? If food was created to nurture and nourish our bodies what’s happening to our bodies when those foods are genetically engineered or chemically made? If you look at the increase in cancer, diabetes, all sorts of learning disabilities….I do believe that is has to do with how we eat and how we live.”
Iyanla: Fix My Life begins its all-new season on Saturday, September 19 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.
Click the link above to hear the entire interview.