'I want to make history.' Gwen Shamblin's daughter says she is ready to take mother's church to next level

In leaked recording, Elizabeth Hannah Shamblin on mother Gwen Shamblin's message: 'You’ll be lifted up if you follow this example, if you followed my mother and follow me as I followed her'

WTVF News Channel 5, Nashville/February 22, 2024

By Phil Williams

She's the reclusive leader of a controversial Brentwood church who reportedly hasn't been seen at church services in years.

Nashville, Tennessee — She's the reclusive leader of a controversial Brentwood church who reportedly hasn't been seen at services in years.

But in a newly obtained recording, Elizabeth Shamblin Hannah — daughter of the late Christian diet guru Gwen Shamblin Lara — declares her intention to take her mother's following at Remnant Fellowship to the next level.

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"I want to make a difference. I want to make history. I want to start a movement around the globe," Hannah said in a New Year's message played during a Remnant service on Jan. 6. That message was leaked by a current insider and provided to NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

"My mother started it, and I want to not only keep it going but to expand it around the globe in such an exponential level that anyone who sees it can pick it up and get it."

Hannah, 42, assumed leadership of the church after her mother was killed in a plane crash in May 2021, along with her husband Joe Lara and five other Remnant leaders. Elizabeth's husband, Brandon Hannah, was among those killed.

Remnant Fellowship, which Shamblin created and declared to the "the one true church," has faced widespread criticism from former members and others as being "a cult."

In the often-rambling message, which continues for 37 minutes, Elizabeth Shamblin Hannah brushes aside such criticisms, saying her goal is to become famous in heaven.

"I want my name to be written in heaven," she said. "I want to be friends with the greats, and I want them to know that every day I woke up that I was not here for myself. I was here to make the movement happen."

Former Remnant member Helen Byrd, who appeared in an HBO Max docuseries about Shamblin and Remnant Fellowship, could barely contain her disgust as we played the recording of Hannah's message for her.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, "She sounds a lot like her mother."

"She didn't before," Byrd replied. "She absolutely does, and I think that was probably what was most triggering."

"That she has ideations of spreading this absolute pain across the world, this pain, I think that it's a scary thing," the former Remnant member continued.

As for Hannah's desire to become well-known in heaven, "It's incredible hubris. You know, it's just, wow! Really? And you are part of a movement that has shielded abusers, child abusers."

This comes as her brother, Michael Shamblin, speaks out against the church where he was once a leader, although he's still reluctant to say anything critical of his younger sibling.

"I have so much sympathy for my sister," Michael Shamblin said.

When NewsChannel 5 Investigates first met Elizabeth 20 years ago, she was right at her mother's side — a role she continued to play. Remnant's website now says it operates "under the leadership and direction" of Hannah.

Oddly, her brother and others say she does not attend church services, opting instead to call in or, more recently, to provide recorded messages.

Remnant members widely considered her mother, Gwen Shamblin, to be a prophet.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Michael Shamblin about his sister: "Is she viewed as a prophet now?"

"She's viewed as having the lead," he answered. "I don't know if they call her a prophet, but she would be viewed as having a leading from God."

In the recorded message, Hannah calls upon Remnant members to follow her lead.

"You’ll be lifted up if you follow this example, if you followed my mother and follow me as I followed her."

Helen Byrd's reaction?

"How about following Jesus? That's a good place to start. How about following Jesus?"

It comes two years after an HBO Max docuseries — "The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin" — that portrayed Shamblin as a power-hungry cult leader.

We played Byrd a segment where Hannah references the docuseries.

"Ridiculous, negative and false," Hannah said, as Byrd interjected: "Truth!"

"National media."


"That is so ridiculously."


Hannah compared her mother to Dolly Parton, saying that both women had been mocked for their hair and their looks.

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