Let's Talk About Sects

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Laura McConnell was born into a fundamentalist Christian sect that claims it has no name. Former member Elizabeth Coleman told Nathan Jolly for news.com.au earlier this year that, “It is of utmost importance to them that they do not have an official name or headquarters or centrally identifiable presence anywhere on earth.” From his investigative reporting in 2013, journalist Chris Johnston estimated there were 20,000 members in Australia, and hundreds of thousands around the world. Sometimes referred to as The Truth, the Two by Twos, or the Friends and Workers, the sect has seen multiple leaders face accusations of child sexual abuse, some of which are currently in court. Laura and many former members believe that this highly secretive group should certainly be considered a cult. Special Guests: Laura McConnell, Chris Johnston Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod. With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 4 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com). If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info. Credits:Written and hosted by Sarah SteelResearch by Haley Gray and Sarah SteelMusic by Joe Gould Links:Wings for Truth — support site for sexual assault survivors of the Two by TwosLaura McConnell’s website — including various blog posts and Links & Articles Related to The Truth SectFriends and enemies, truth and lies — by Chris Johnston, The Age, 23 September 2013Secrets, lies and sex abuse as ex-sect leader chooses life on the inside — by Chris Johnston, The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 July 2014The Truth Church: Inside the nameless church cult where TV and dancing are "the devil's work" — by Amy Clark, Mamamia,...  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Helen Zuman describes herself as “a tree-hugging dirt worshipper devoted to turning waste into food and the stinky guck of experience into fertile, fragrant prose.” Her memoir ‘Mating in Captivity’ details her experiences joining Zendik Farm, a commune in North Carolina with the motto ‘Stop Bitching, Start a Revolution’, which she came across in 1999. Helen stayed until 2004, but it wasn’t until the following year that she recognised she’d been in a cult. Special Guest: Helen Zuman Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod. With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 4 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com). If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info. Credits:Written and hosted by Sarah SteelMusic by Joe Gould Links:Mating in Captivity: A Memoir — by Helen Zuman, She Writes Press, 2018The Green Alternative At Zendik Arts Farm, a Commune Strives for a Dollar and Change — by Fredrick Kunkle, The Washington Post, 22 January 2006Who Are These People? — by Ryan Grim, Washington City Paper, 4-10 November 2005Commune Unplugs From the World to Save It — by Tom Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 19 April 1987Leaving Zendik Farm — by Alison Rooney, The Highlands Current, 9 May 2017Wulf Zendik — Facebook pageArol Wulf-Zendik — Facebook profileThe Work of Wulf Zendik — online archive of Wulf Zendik’s writingsSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Journalist A.M. Gittlitz released his book I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism earlier this year. In it, he explores the fascinating world of the Posadists – a Latin American Trotskyist group who are best known today for their zany beliefs around extra-terrestrial and dolphin intelligence. But their movement had a lot more to it than this, and in its later days would devolve into a cult around the authoritarian leadership of J. Posadas.Gittlitz drew on considerable archival research and numerous interviews with ex- and current Posadists in writing his book, and he spoke to me about the more cultic elements of this unusual socialist movement.Special Guest: A.M. Gittlitz.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).LinksI Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism — by A.M. Gittlitz, 2020 (Use code POSADAS20 for 20% discount)J. Posadas, the Trotskyist Who Believed in Intergalactic Communism — an interview with A.M. Gittlitz by David Broder, Jacobin, 5 April 2020A.M. Gittlitz on Twitter, and on The Antifada podcastPromo: The Troubles podcast  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Children of God, later known as The Family, became notorious for their practise called “flirty fishing”. They believed in bringing up their children to have no inhibitions around sex, but the ramifications of their approach to this would echo through the generations as trauma, and result in a shocking murder-suicide committed by the very son prophesied as the Prince who would lead them through the End Times. Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod. With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 3 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com). Credits:Written and hosted by Sarah SteelResearch by Sarah Steel and Haley GrayMusic by Joe Gould Links:The Origins of a Movement: From "The Children of God" to "The Family International" — website archive from thefamily.org, 29 April 2009History — The Family International website, accessed March 2020The Children of God: The Inside Story — by Deborah Davis & Bill Davis, Zondervan Publications, 1984The Children of God — by Robert McFarland, MD, The Journal of Psychohistory, Volume 24 Issue 4, Spring 1994The Family in Transition: The Moral Career of a New Religious Movement — by Gordon Shepherd and Gary Shepherd, research paper presented at CESNUR International Conference 2002The "RNR"! Destruction of the Super-Blob & the New Nationalisation — by David Berg, Mo Letter, January 1978The Pubs Purges — scanned and archived on exfamily.org, June 1991 & March 1996Summit ’93 Mama Jewels! — No.2, portion of newsletter by Karen Zerby written in 1992See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Children of God, later known as The Family, became notorious for their practise called “flirty fishing”. They believed in bringing up their children to have no inhibitions around sex, but the ramifications of their approach to this would echo through the generations as trauma, and result in a shocking murder-suicide committed by the very son prophesied as the Prince who would lead them through the End Times. Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod. With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 3 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com). Credits:Written and hosted by Sarah SteelResearch by Sarah Steel and Haley GrayMusic by Joe Gould Links:The Origins of a Movement: From "The Children of God" to "The Family International" — website archive from thefamily.org, 29 April 2009History — The Family International website, accessed March 2020The Children of God: The Inside Story — by Deborah Davis & Bill Davis, Zondervan Publications, 1984The Children of God — by Robert McFarland, MD, The Journal of Psychohistory, Volume 24 Issue 4, Spring 1994The Family in Transition: The Moral Career of a New Religious Movement — by Gordon Shepherd and Gary Shepherd, research paper presented at CESNUR International Conference 2002The "RNR"! Destruction of the Super-Blob & the New Nationalisation — by David Berg, Mo Letter, January 1978The Pubs Purges — scanned and archived on exfamily.org, June 1991 & March 1996Summit ’93 Mama Jewels! — No.2, portion of newsletter by Karen Zerby written in 1992See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
John Robert Stevens wrote when he was just 14 years old: “My joy must be in doing His will, in being His slave, in the confidence that whatever comes to me, when following Him, is His doing. In a real sense, I make Him responsible for my life.” He was writing about Jesus Christ, but it would turn out in the decades following that he could well have been writing to his future devotees as to how they should feel about himself. Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod. With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 3 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com). Credits:Written, researched and hosted by Sarah SteelMusic by Joe Gould Links:I Saw Satan: Breaking away from a Boomer Christian cult — by Andrew Marzoni, The Baffler, No. 44, March 2019Vain Glory — documentary film by Tony Cox, 1986Sacrifice Builds Training Area For Prophets — by Ann Grauvogl, Quad-City Times, 25 February 1979A Brief History of The Living Word Fellowship — internet archive of The Living Word Fellowship’s now defunct websiteThe Life of John Robert Stevens — website about John Robert Stevens by The Living Word, “a California nonprofit corporation”, accessed February 2020Frequently Asked Questions — Shiloh website, accessed February 2020An Open Letter to The Living Word Fellowship Congregation — from Shalom Abrahamson-Caples, 24 October 2018Shalom Abrahamson-Caples’ Facebook post — linking to the open letter, 25 October 2018Comparison of ‘To Be a Christian’ and excerpt from ‘The Call of the Cross’ — comparing John Robert Stevens’ 1933 text and George Herron’s 1892 textSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In 1996, journalist Madeleine Bunting wrote for The Guardian UK: “Most of the 130,000 Buddhists in this country are in the caring professions, or are academics, or are part of an ex-hippy culture; they are trusting, idealistic and naive. They thought Buddhism was immune to the fanaticism and hypocrisy which riddles all religions. The controversy surrounding the NKT is shattering illusions that Buddhism was the one fail-safe religion.” Twenty years later, clinical psychologist Dr Michelle Haslam joined the NKT under that very same illusion – one that she now feels obliged to help truly shatter herself. Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod. With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 3 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com). Credits:Written, researched and hosted by Sarah SteelMusic by Joe Gould Links:Geshe Kelsang Gyatso — biography by Tenzin Peljor and Carol McQuire, Tibetan Buddhism in the West blog, 2015Interviews in Cambridge, Meeting Children in London — His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, 19 September 2015To the Tibetan Buddhists around the world and fellow Tibetan compatriotswithin and outside Tibet — undated open letter with 15 Tibetan official signatoriesSeparate document regarding Geshe Kelsang's personal situation — Kelsang Gyatso statement on NKT letterhead, June 2008Recovery from The New Kadampa Tradition – A Resource Centre — website by Dr Michelle Haslam and former NKT membersPotential harm to mental and physical health through exposure to The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT-IKBU), Version 4 — by Dr Michelle Haslam, 17 January 2020Dr Michelle Haslam: Plagiarization & Misrepresentation of Research — website attributed to “Dr Robert Harrison”, archived as at 23 January 2020See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Hare Krishnas are often seen as joyous, harmless people, dancing their way through the streets, chanting to bells in their colourful robes. But in one particular Australian offshoot, a young woman named Lina told me about her not-so-harmless experiences. Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod. With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 3 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).Australian bushfire crisis appeals: Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery, WWF's Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund, and Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities. Please donate if you can. Credits:Written and Hosted by Sarah SteelResearched by Haley Gray and Sarah SteelMusic by Joe Gould Links:About ISKCON — background at Krishna.com, accessed November 2019What You Need to Know About Hare Krishnas — by Barbara Bradley Hagerty, NPR, 22 May 2008Wollumbin — Geographical Names Extract, Geographical Names Board, accessed November 2019Wollumbin (Mount Warning) summit track — NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service listing, accessed November 2019Hardly Krishna — by Sushi Das, The Age, 2 June 2003Judge Rejects Charges of ‘Brainwashing’ Against Hare Krishna Aides — by Murray Schumach, The New York Times, 18 March 1977Krishna Expels Leader of Group Under U.S. Probe — UPI, Los Angeles Times, 18 March 1987See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
WANTED: families to volunteer to live for six months in the Australian outback “to advance the frontiers of social science.” Be part of a cutting edge research project to test the ideal human environment. In a country known for a population that loves to travel, the write-ups appealed to plenty of adventurous spirits. Little did they know the reality of what they would be getting themselves into. Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod. With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 3 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com). Credits:Written, Researched and Hosted by Sarah SteelMusic by Joe Gould Links:A snake in the grass — by Andrew Burrell, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 24 August 2019The Utopia Project — by Andrew Burrell, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 8 August 2015Cult friction — by Frank Robson, Good Weekend, 6 November 1999Cult leader James 'Taipan' Salerno jailed for repeated sexual abuse of teenage girl — by Rebecca Opie, ABC News, 29 July 2019Leader of Adelaide Cult the ‘Ideal Human Environment’ Has Been Jailed for Sexual Abuse — by Gavin Butler, VICE, 30 July 2019Salute to Adelaide Hills cult leader inspired by Gladiator movie, court told — by Rebecca Opie, ABC News, 19 October 2018This Aussie Cult Boss Was Allegedly Inspired by Russell Crowe in Gladiator — by Gavin Butler, VICE, 19 October 2018'I felt like a piece of meat': Victim of cult leader James Salerno tells court of continued trauma — by Candice Prosser...  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Followers of The Move rejected mainstream society and headed into the wilderness in the 1970s, building isolated communities that were to set them up for the coming Apocalypse. Many ex-members would later tell stories of physical hardship, beatings, and worse, experienced in these communities. Move leader Sam Fife told devotees that should he ever die, they could consider it proof that he was a false prophet. Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod.With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 3 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com). Credits:Written, Researched and Hosted by Sarah SteelMusic by Joe Gould Links:Swindled by Faith: A Time For Reconciliation — by Richard A Kiers, Tellwell Talent, 2019Practices of Cults Receiving New Scrutiny — The New York Times, 21 January 1979From Survivor to Thriver — by Angela “Vennie” Kocsis, ICSA Today, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2014Cult Child — by Vennie Kocsis, Amazon, 2014Vennie Kocsis’ website — includes various collected materials about The MoveBrother Sam Prepares His Flock For The ‘End Days’ — by Adon Taft, Charleston Daily, 10 April 1975God’s School of Divine Government — by Sam Fife, 1974Awaiting apocalypse in the Peace River Valley — by Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, 27 October 2016Peace River commune awaits imminent apocalypse: Christian community of 250 shuns TV and requires year-long courtship void of physical contact — by Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, 22 September 2003See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Australian esoteric healing organisation Universal Medicine teaches that entities known as The Four Lords of Form rule over 9-foot-tall spirits that are all around us, and that most people have lived at least 2,300 lives before. Former student Matt Sutherland told Sunday Night journalist Matt Doran that he would describe Universal Medicine’s founder Serge Benhayon as “a human wrecking ball.”CORRECTION: The 'groping' allegations were found to be conveyed by the publication but the court did not find that Esther Rockett had proven them true. Defences of honest opinion and qualified privilege were upheld for these allegations. This episode has been updated to remove these points. Also, Esther Rockett named herself "Darkly Venus" and "Pranic Princess", it was not Serge Benhayon who did so. Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod.With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 3 of Let's Talk About Sects. If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com). Credits:Written, Researched and Hosted by Sarah SteelMusic by Joe Gould Links:The Cult: International investigation into Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine — by Matt Doran, Sunday Night, Channel 7, 17 February 2019Australian cult leader Serge Benhayon targeted in international investigation — by Matt Doran, Sunday Night, Channel 7, 15 May 2019The Da Vinci Mode — by David Leser, Good Weekend, 25 August 2012Universal Medicine follower's daughter releases private emails between mother and 'cult' leader — by Josh Robertson, ABC News, 10 November 2017Universal Medicine cult founder exposed as ‘charlatan’ — by Rhian Deutrom, news.com.au, 18 February 2019Universal Medicine 'cult' received hundreds of thousands in charity donations from prominent donors — by Josh Robertson, ABC News, 14 September 2019Universal Medicine Facebook page — accessed September 2019Universal Medicine website — accessed September 2019Serge Benhayon’s website — accessed September 2019See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Edgar Bronfman Sr. of the Seagram liquor fortune once wrote a testimonial for a course he had taken through an organisation called Executive Success Programs, or ESP. He said, quote, “If everyone were to go through this training, the world would be a much better and safer place to live.” Seventeen years later, the leader and inner circle of that same organisation, now going under the name NXIVM, would be on trial for charges including sex trafficking, forced labour, fraud, extortion and child pornography.Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. You can support the creation of this independent podcast at www.patreon.com/ltaspod.With thanks to Audio-Technica, presenting partner for season 3 of Let's Talk About Sects.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Credits:Written and Hosted by Sarah SteelResearched by Haley Gray and Sarah SteelMusic by Joe GouldLinks:The Founder of “Nxivm,” a Purported Self-Help Organization Based in Albany, N.Y., Arrested for Sex Trafficking and Forced Labor Conspiracy — US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New YorkComplaint and Affidavit — US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New YorkJury Finds Nxivm Leader Keith Raniere Guilty of All Counts — US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New YorkFounder Of “Nxivm,” a Purported Self-Help Organization, and Five Others Charged in Superseding Indictment with Racketeering Conspiracy — US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New YorkFounder of “NXIVM,” a Purported Self-Help Organization, and Actor Indicted for Sex Trafficking and Forced Labor Conspiracy — US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New YorkIndictment — US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New YorkSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
On the 14 June 2019, news broke in Australia that many people had been waiting on for a number of years. That news was the death of this country’s most notorious cult leader, Anne Hamilton-Byrne.In this bonus episode, I’m bringing you an interview with investigative journalist Chris Johnston, who has been looking into The Family for quite some time. He worked with director Rosie Jones on her recent documentary ‘The Cult of the Family’, and they also co-wrote a book together about the group and its history. Chris spoke to me from Melbourne.CORRECTION: In this episode I mentioned that Chris Johnston is a senior journalist for The Age. He worked with The Age for 20 years but is not currently working there.Special Guest: Chris Johnston.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:The Family: The shocking true story of a notorious cult — by Chris Johnston & Rosie Jones, Scribe Publications, 2016The Family — Documentary film website  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Chung Moo Quan positioned itself as a superior martial arts school that taught eight different practices at once. Though this may have originally struck prospective students as a bargain-and-a-half, many who chose to take it up would come out the other end having lost thousands of dollars, personal relationships and job opportunities, and even their sense of self. Before the school’s founder and four other defendants were jailed in 1995, various experts had told reporters that Chung Moo Quan fit their definition of a destructive cult.Special Guest: Russell Johnson.Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:Deceived: The Moo Years — podcast by Russell Johnson, with many resources from his researchHerding the Moo: Exploits of a Martial Arts Cult — by Joe Smith, Trafford Publishing, 2006Martial arts school owners convicted — UPI, 10 December 1996Chung Moo Quan HandbookInvestigators: Students take aim at martial arts school — by Chris Ingalls, KING 5 News, 16 February 2005The Cult and the Con — special report by Pam Zekman, CBS 2 Chicago, 1989Martial Arts School Chief Found Guilty in Tax Scam — by Matt O'Connor, Chicago Tribune, 10 December 1996Chung Moonies? Critics call martial-arts club a cult of violence and greed — by Ric Kahn, The Boston Phoenix, 25 October 1991Be True to Your School — by Jennifer Vogel, City Pages, 1 April 1992Martial Arts School Link to Body Found in Forest Probed — MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL LINK TO BODY FOUND IN FOREST PROBED by Harlene Ellin, Chicago Tribune, 12 October 1991The Martial Arts Cult of John C. Kim — by Laurence Gonzales, unpublished article for Penthouse, 5 May 1992Vivien Francis vs. John C....  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Order of the Solar Temple was a secret society that would go down sharing the pages of history with Jonestown, the Branch Davidians and Heaven’s Gate. But is it fair to compare the groups? When it comes to incidents of mass violence and cults, perhaps it may be unavoidable. Because whether they ended in mass murder-suicide or a different form of violence, in spite of the striking ideological differences between them, there were some similarities – in all of these groups that ended with such undeniable tragedy.Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links: Violence and New Religious Movements — by James R. Lewis, Oxford University Press, 2011Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem: Contemporary Apocalyptic Movements — by Thomas Robbins & Susan J. Palmer, Psychology Press, 1997Pont-Saint-Esprit poisoning: Did the CIA spread LSD? — by Mike Thomson, BBC News, 23 August 2010Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis — AMORC international websiteAncient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis — AMORC Austral-Asia websiteThe Tragedy Of The Solar Temple Cult — by Stephen Dafoe, TemplarHistory.com, 1 April 2010Joseph Di Mambro Biography — Biography.com listing for Joseph Di Mambro, 2 April 2014A Preacher With a Dark Side Led Cultists to Swiss Chalets — by Alan Riding, The New York Times, 9 October 1994Homeopathy — Homeopathy listing on the Victoria State Government's Better Health ChannelThe Order of the Solar Temple: The Temple of Death — by Professor James R Lewis, Ashgate Publishing, 2013Coroner's Report into the deaths at Morin Heights, Cheiry and Salvan — in French, June 1996"Our Terrestrial Journey is Coming to an End": The Last Voyage of the Solar Temple — by Jean-Francois Mayer, Nova Religio, 1999Swiss Say They've Identified Body of Solar Temple Leader — by Alan Riding, The New York Times, 14 October...  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
A New Zealand-born man who moved to Australia in the 1970s and started a sect, telling his eventual 9 wives and 60-plus children that he was Jesus Christ, was put behind bars for 7 years in Victoria in 2000. In spite of the fairly sensational nature of his lifestyle and crimes, his name is not well-known here, and his polygamous group gained the most media attention when a recent Bachelor Australia contestant was outed by the press for her childhood involvement.This episode we’re talking about a cult that didn’t officially have a name, but was unofficially referred to as The Seaside Sect.Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).Links:Abuser kept secret through cult of fear — by Naomi Larkin, NZ Herald, 12 August 2000Meet Sam and James, the Unsuspecting Villains of Netflix's 'Instant Hotel' — by Pippa Raga, Distractify, 11 January 2019Stayz accommodation listing for 'Sands North Byron – Private Oasis'Cult head, 71, molested girls, trial told — AAP, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 July 2000'Harem' deserts convicted guru — AAP, The Age, 4 August 2000'Guru' jailed for child molestation — News24, 11 August 2000Polygamist guru faces new child sex charges — by Katie Lapthorne, The Courier Mail, 8 March 2003Ian Francis LOWE Death Notice — New Zealand Herald, 14 April 2012The Bachelor Cult Bombshell — Alison Petrovsky, A Current Affair, 8 August 2016Polygamist Kiwi cult leader who fathered The Bachelor's Keira Maguire exposed — Stuff, 10 August 2016Aussie Bachelor star Keira Maguire reveals Kiwi father was cult leader jailed for sexual abuse — NZ Herald, 9 August 2016The Bachelor Australia: Keira Maguire cries on The Project for cult siblings — by Aja Styles, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 August 2016See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Joy Kuo and her husband moved to Sydney from Taiwan in 2000, and the couple both began working for the University of Sydney Library the following year. They both studied for and gained their masters degrees, and enjoyed their work. By 2012 they had had a son together, and Joy found herself wanting to help humanity in some greater way. She was looking for something she could really dedicate herself to in her career.Iphigenie Amoutzias moved to New Zealand from Germany in 1996. She completed postgraduate studies in her new home country, and had practised Buddhism for many years. By 2011 she had reached a point in her life where something seemed to be missing. She felt that the modern world was lacking in connection, that technology was driving people apart, and that she wanted to be surrounded with a greater sense of community.Both women came across the same new age group at this point in their lives. They had no idea that years later they would find themselves broke, emotionally affected, and questioning all of their previous decisions to become involved.Special Guest: Joy Kuo & Iphigenie Amoutzias.Further information on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:KF websiteBad Vibrations – The implosion of a New Age cult — by Steve Kilgallon and Tony Wall, stuff.co.nz, July 2018NZ Cult List — Entry for KFKF Foundation webpageKF Chronicles — blog credited to Ananya Bhakt NiranjanaAwakening with Joy — YouTube channel by Joy KuoJoy’s Story — by Joy Kuo, via the Cult Information and Family Support (CIFS) website  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Grace J. Adams and Poia Alpha are two sisters from New Zealand, who joined David Koresh’s Branch Davidians in the 1980s along with their other sister, the younger Rebecca. Poia left the sect in early 1990, and Grace in late 1991. Rebecca remained with the group at the compound in Waco, Texas, and perished in the fire of April 1993. Grace and Poia have recently released their memoir, called ‘Hearken O Daughter’, and I caught up with them on a recent trip to Auckland.Special Guest: Grace J. Adams and Poia Alpha.Further information available on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:Hearken O Daughter — by Grace J. Adams and Poia Alpha, 2018Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships — by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias, Bay Tree Publishing, 2006  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Laura left Outreach International when she was 32 years old, having been born into the sect in the late 1970s. Hear her story as she relates the experience of being a young woman in a highly patriarchal and controlling organisation, the difficult decision to leave, the trauma of starting her life from scratch, and the joy that she's found in this new life – a kind that most of us take for granted. You'll also hear from other ex-members about their experiences, and where the sect stands today.Special Guest: Laura Sullivan.Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:The Effect of Billy Graham Crusades in 1959 Still Being Felt Today — Christian TodayBilly Graham in Australia, 1959 - Was it Revival? — by Dr. Stuart Piggin, Lucas: An Evangelical History Review, no. 6, Oct 1989Letters to the Editor — Vision Magazine, No. 9, May-June 1975Salaries for ministers rapped by church founder — by Rose Simpson, The Ottawa Journal, Wednesday July 25, 1979The Association of Alatsatians — website with a history of the city of AlatsataOutreach International websiteTony Kostas' personal websiteSeek Ye First — by Tony Kostas, Outreach International, 1975The Ultimate Attainment — by Tony Kostas, Outreach Media, 1983Building with God — series by Tony Kostas, 1985Led Into Love — by Tony Kostas, 2016UK Charity Commission Records — London Outreach Church Community TrustOpen Charities UK — Basic charity accounts records from 30 April 2006 to 30 April 2010 for London Outreach Church Community Trust, AKA Outreach InternationalSee acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In May 2017, a sect that started in Melbourne, Australia, 50 years ago, and has been highly secretive over the last few decades, decided to change its closed-doors policy and go public with a website. Whilst up until now very little has been known about the group except by direct conversations with former believers, its members go to government schools, attend public universities, and work in everyday jobs. They could be your neighbour, your colleague, or even a friend, and you’d have no idea what’s really going on in their private lives.CORRECTION: There is a mention of the Book of David in this episode – this was a slip of the tongue, it should be the Book of John.Special Guest: Laura Sullivan.Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:The Effect of Billy Graham Crusades in 1959 Still Being Felt Today — Christian TodayBilly Graham in Australia, 1959 - Was it Revival? — by Dr. Stuart Piggin, Lucas: An Evangelical History Review, no. 6, Oct 1989Letters to the Editor — Vision Magazine, No. 9, May-June 1975Salaries for ministers rapped by church founder — by Rose Simpson, The Ottawa Journal, Wednesday July 25, 1979The Association of Alatsatians — website with a history of the city of AlatsataOutreach International websiteTony Kostas' personal websiteSeek Ye First — by Tony Kostas, Outreach International, 1975The Ultimate Attainment — by Tony Kostas, Outreach Media, 1983Building with God — series by Tony Kostas, 1985Led Into Love — by Tony Kostas, 2016UK Charity Commission Records — London Outreach Church Community TrustOpen Charities UK — Basic charity accounts records from 30 April 2006 to 30 April 2010 for London Outreach Church Community Trust, AKA Outreach...  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In October of 2013, the British organisation Freedom Charity received a call on their hotline. The woman on the other end said that her housemate had been held captive in South London for 30 years.At the time of this call, Katy Morgan-Davies was 30 years old, and the period of her imprisonment was her entire life. She, and the women she lived with, believed that an invisible machine called JACKIE could control household appliances, read their thoughts, and would incinerate them if they tried to escape the man they called ‘Comrade Bala’ – who was the covert leader of the world, and, in fact, God himself.Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:Caged Bird — by Katy Morgan-Davies, Random House, 2018The Cult Next Door — BBC documentary directed by Vanessa Engle, 2017Aravindan Balakrishnan: the Maoist cult leader who used brutal violence and rape to strip women of their dignity — by Victoria Ward, The Telegraph, 4 December 2015Thirty Years in Captivity — by Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, 3 December 2016The Classification and Dynamics of Sectarian Forms of Organisation: Grid/Group Perspectives on the Far-Left in Britain — by Stephen Frank Rayner, PhD thesis for University College London, 1979Statements of the National Executive Committee, CPE (ML) — Transcription, Editing and Markup by Sam Richards and Paul Saba for the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line – first published in The Marxist-Leninist, (Internal Discussion journal of the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist)) Vol. 1, No. 1, September 1974Maoist cult follower: “I think he’s being framed” — Channel 4 News segment with Josephine Herivel, 4 December 2015Maoist cult leader Aravindan Balakrishnan jailed for 23 years — by Hardeep Matharu, the Independent, 29 January 2016The radical ideological background of 'slave women' suspects — by Jake Wallis Simons, The Telegraph, 24 November 2013Slavery case: suspects named as former Maoist collective...  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Synanon began as an addiction support group that gathered in a grimy Californian flat in the late 1950s. It would grow to become a well-funded utopian society throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s, before declaring itself a religion in 1974. This organisation would attract Hollywood stars like Leonard Nimoy and Jane Fonda to participate in its so-called “Game”, and eventually break up married couples, force men to have vasectomies and women to have abortions, amass assets worth tens of millions of dollars, and become entangled in a web of violence.Synanon’s leader Charles Dederich is often credited with coining the phrase “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:American National Biography: Supplement — Oxford University Press, 2002Self-Reliance — by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1847 edition, Wikisource full textEstimating Emerson: An Anthology of Criticism from Carlyle to Cavell — edited by David LaRocca, A&C Black, 1 January 2013Charles Dederich, 83, Synanon Founder, Dies — by Lawrence van Gelder, The New York Times, 4 March 1997Synanon: Toward Building a Humanistic Organization — by Steven Simon, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer 1978Paul Morantz's website — with extensive writings by the attorney and investigative journalist about SynanonThe Man Who Fought the Synanon Cult and Won — by Matt Novak, Gizmodo, 27 August 2014Synanon's Sober Utopia: How A Drug Rehab Program Became A Violent Cult — by Matt Novak, Gizmodo, 20 April 2014The Rise and Fall of Synanon: A California Utopia — by Rod A. Janzen, Johns Hopkins University Press, 20012-year forced stay in drug rehab home inspires art exhibition — by Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 January 2018SYNONYM — Ongoing art/research project by Phillip Andrew LewisFrom the Jaws of Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar...  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
2018 marks the 25-year anniversary of a 51-day siege that ended in tragedy, following a shootout between the U.S. government and members of a sect called the Branch Davidians. The gunfire exchange lasted for well over an hour, killing four U.S. agents and six Branch Davidians, and wounding their leader Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh. Yet this violence was just the beginning of an ordeal that would culminate in an inferno later to become known as the Waco Massacre.CW: references to manipulative behaviours, suicide, murder, and physical abuse and sexual assault, including of minors. Please consider whether this is suitable for you and those around you who may be listening too.Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:The Sinful Messiah — The Waco Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series, 1993.The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation — by Dick J. Reavis, Syracuse University Press, 1998Breaking through the myths surrounding the 1993 Branch Davidian raid — by Lee Hancock, Dallas News, 27 February 2018Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict — by Stuart A. Wright, University of Chicago Press, 1995Who was David Koresh? — by Ashley Fantz, CNN, 14 April 2011Four Years After the Flames of Waco, a Film Keeps the Doubts Smoldering — by Sam Howe Verhovek, The New York Times, 19 August 1997Branch Davidian children's drawings foretold deadly Waco fire, psychiatrist says — by Spencer Wilking, ABC News, 4 January 2018Who was David Koresh: Ex-followers describe life inside apocalyptic religious sect involved in 1993 Waco siege — by Muriel Pearson, Spencer Wilking & Lauren Effron, ABC News, 2 January 2018The children of Waco — ABC News documentary, 17 April 2003Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, goes up in flames — ABC News television coverage, 19 April 1993See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Over recent days, several of the 13 incarcerated Aum Shinrikyo members sentenced to death have been moved to new facilities, prompting speculation that their execution is imminent.In this bonus episode, a follow-up to our third episode about the infamous Japanese sect, Let's Talk About Sects spoke with a woman who has researched the group for over 16 years, and has also been in direct contact with ex-members. She goes by the name of Sarah Skibtower, and she was kind enough to share her expertise and opinions with us ahead of this big development in the “Aum Affair”, which she considers to be one of the biggest tragedies the world has ever seen.Includes a correction from episode 3 about Aum Shinrikyo.UPDATE: The death penalty was carried out in Japan in July of 2018. Aum sympathizer Kazuhiro Kusakabe left 8 injured on 1 January 2019 when he drove into a crowd of people in the Harajuku district of Tokyo.Further information available on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at www.iasp.info.Links:Aum Shinrikyo Anime OP (English Subbed) — Aum Shinrikyo anime with the real audio (correction from original episode), featuring the voice of Shoko AsaharaJapan prepares to execute up to 13 members of Aum Shinrikyo cult — by Daniel Hurst, The Guardian, 20 March 2018  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
William Kamm has a 10pm curfew, and is not allowed to spend time with girls under the age of 17. He is prevented from entering the Shoalhaven district of New South Wales, and his movements and communications are monitored. These are conditions of his release after serving 9 years in jail for crimes he committed against two teenage girls – yet his followers still believe that he is the next true Pope, and that the Virgin Mary speaks to him on the 13th day of every month.Special Guest: Claire Ashman.CW: references to manipulative behaviours, and sexual assault of minors. A small amount of coarse language. Please consider whether you would like to listen on this basis. Content is not suitable for children.The opinions expressed in this podcast are not necessarily those of the makers of Let's Talk About Sects.Full research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com.If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).Links:Claire Ashman's website — where her book 'Lessons from a Cult Survivor' is available for pre-order.Lessons From A Cult Survivor — by Claire Ashman, 2018 – book pre-sale linkA WOLF Among the SHEEP: How God's Prophet the Little Pebble Became a Womanising, Millionaire Cult Leader — by Graeme Webber, KeyStone Press, 2008The Little Pebble: The Last Pope, A Man of Contradiction, Petrus Romanus, Sinner or Saint? — by William Costellia, self-published, 1999 (volume 1)Official website of The Little PebbleWilliam 'Little Pebble' Kamm's supervision to continue — AAP, The Illawarra Mercury, 8 January 2016DSM to Distinguish Paraphilias From Paraphilic Disorders — by Mark Moran, Psychiatric News, 3 May 2013South Coast cult leader William 'Little Pebble' Kamm fails to have supervision order lifted — by Angela Thompson, Illawarra Mercury, 14 August 2017The Republic Reform and Justice PartyLittle Pebble author 'surprised' by cult leader's impending release — ABC Illawarra, 12 November 2014Cult leader and convicted sex offender William Kamm to be freed within days — AAP, The Age, 11 November 2014Unrepentant Little Pebble talks about life behind bars — by Robert Crawford, South Coast Register, 2 July 2014See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Sarah Steel
Podcast Status
Active
Started
Sep 16th, 2017
Latest Episode
Oct 13th, 2020
Release Period
Monthly
Episodes
32
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No
Order
Episodic

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