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Generation Cult

An interview show about people who grew up in cults and how they acclimated to mainstream society after they left.

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Ep. 3: Thetans Anonymous

Scientology is such a large topic that we need two guests. First up we have someone going by a false name to explain the fall out of leaving the group after a questionable accusation. We also chat with Christi (real name) who appeared recently on A&E's Scientology and the Aftermath to discuss her chaotic childhood within the church. Warning: This episode contains descriptions of sexual abuse.

1hr 6mins

20 Jul 2018

Rank #1

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Ep. 2: A Recovering Monk

We catch up with Nitai, a student at Columbia University who just recently left his life as a monk with the The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, also known as ISKCON or the Hare Krishnas. What's our problem with these groups, anyway?


5 Jul 2018

Rank #2

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Ep. 4: The Perpetual Armageddon

Why do some people consider being a Jehovah Witness being part of a cult? Our first guest is Kourtney, who grew up a true believer in the religion only to lose her whole family when she began to question it. This is another two-guest episode: We'll also meet Andre, a makeup artist who tried desperately to fit in with his Jehovah Witness community until accepting that the community had rejected him.

1hr 1min

3 Aug 2018

Rank #3

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Ep. 1: No Horses in India

*Artwork: oil on canvas by Narangkar Glover Shangri-La Girls School: A Thousand Stairs 2011 (60 x 60 inches) **This episode contains descriptions of child abuse and other content that listeners might find disturbing. Welcome back to Generation Cult! We are kicking off the second season of the podcast with a story about Narangkar, an artist who grew up in 3HO (Healthy, Happy Holy Organization), which is connected to Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma. Narangkar and her two sisters navigated a troubling childhood during their time within the group that included neglect, child-swapping, violence and a traumatizing stay at a harsh boarding school in India. How did Narangkar process these occurrences during her young life and where did she go after returning to the US? What did she find most healing as she recovered from her experiences and how is she doing today? Join us for this intense story as Generation Cult finally makes its return.


16 Sep 2019

Rank #4

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Ep. 4: Fright-Based Faith

During this week of Halloween, we discuss fear -- fear of punishment, fear of the apocalypse, fear of God. Tammie grew up with these fears in an ultra fundamentalist Christian organization that subjected children to harsh punishments and encouraged its members not to interact with the rest of society. Tammie was taught everyone outside her church and school was sinful, but what she ended up fearing most was the group itself. And now that she's out, she sees some pretty scary things in current politics that remind her of her childhood. *Image from photo courtesy of Tammie Willis


1 Nov 2019

Rank #5

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Ep. 2: Moonies (But Don't Call Them Moonies) 1

In Part 1 of our two-part series about The Unification Church (Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity) otherwise known as the "Moonies," we sit down for a chat with San Francisco artist and comedian Teddy Hose. He was a "blessed child" -- the result of a marriage between two church members brought together by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon -- and grew up close to the Moon family. Join us as we discuss Moon's children, the church, concerns about its use of guns and Teddy's recent gun-control activism related to a splinter group called the Sanctuary Church. *Image from comic: Growing Up “Moonie” by Teddy Hose The Nib, posted March 7th, 2019 https://thenib.com/moon-child


1 Oct 2019

Rank #6

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Ep. 6: God's Chosen People

On this episode we learn about the harsh rules and restrictions for members --- especially children -- in Eugene Spriggs' The Twelve Tribes, which began in 1970s Tennessee. Samie, founder of a nonprofit to assist people raised in cults, tells us all about growing up in this group and her detachment from mainstream society. Her first attempt to escape at age 18 was unsuccessful. She'll talk to us about how she got out and where she went.


14 Sep 2018

Rank #7

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Ep. 9: Sandy Footprints

Wrap things up with us for the season during a chat with Lalita, who was raised in the Science of Identity Foundation. This group, developed in the 1970s, has similarities to the Hare Krishna movement and revolves around a. ... let's say. ... very demanding leader. We'll discuss germaphobia, child labor, arranged marriages, eating sand out of footprints and pursuing a long-overdue education. We hope you enjoyed this season and hope to discuss cults with you again next year!


9 Nov 2018

Rank #8

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Ep. 5: Let's Call An Expert!

Although we love a good personal story, we also love a good expert -- so we're going to call one. For this show we're chatting with family therapist and cult specialist Rachel Bernstein, who has spent 27 years counseling people who grew up in high-demand groups. She'll tell us about common struggles these people face when trying to get on with their lives, and where anyone seeking resources can go to get help.


20 Aug 2018

Rank #9

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Ep. 5: You Might As Well Be a Therapist!

It's time to bring in an expert! As much as we love hearing personal stories, we'd also like to add commentary about cults and coercive control from someone who has studied the subject matter and worked directly with patients. In this episode, we sit down with Colleen Russell, a San Francisco Bay Area therapist who has spent about 20 years counseling people who were raised in or joined cults. Colleen has not only helped people recover from controlling group or one-on-one experiences but she's also dealt with those experiences personally. Join us to discuss her own story as well as her thoughts and professional observations about recovery, cult leaders, narcissism and people who were part of high-demand groups. For more information about her practice and online workshops, visit her website at https://www.colleenrussellmft.com


21 Nov 2019

Rank #10