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63 minutes | Apr 22, 2020
Ep. 10: You Don't Have to Tell Them Anything
On the final episode of Generation Cult, we wrap up Season 2 with a conversation with Meghan, an ex-Jehovah's Witness. She left as a young adult when the mental anguish she experienced within the organization threatened to take her life. But that departure sent her on a roller coaster of family detachments that she still rides to this very day. Although relieved to flee the bible-based religion, she continued to believe its teachings and was convinced she was going to die in Armageddon. So, she experimented with everything she had been taught not to do: She smoked cigarettes, tried a few drugs and worked on a pot farm. And she had a lot of sex. Eventually, she began to work in the sex industry as an escort. Find out what happened to Meghan and how she became the person she is today. Thank you so much for listening to Generation Cult. *This episode contains discussions of self-harm and sexuality and is not for younger listeners. Discretion is advised. **Photo courtesy of Meghan Smith
45 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
Ep. 9: TM Redux
Do you remember Gina from Season 1? She discussed growing up in the Transcendental Meditation movement during the height of its guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's fame. Well, due to some pretty poor sound issues in that last episode, we've brought Gina back for Season 2! Hence, the "TM Redux" title. While Gina does talk again about her unattended childhood in the movement, which led to a relationship with a much older man and, subsequently, children, we also discuss other issues with TM overall. Like, why did people get so upset that we brought up Transcendental Meditation at all on the show? Join us as we offer a better-sounding episode touching on Gina's life in a TM community through age 30, leaving with three kids and a reluctant husband, education in both medicine and cultic groups, as well as her own thoughts on communication about the TM movement. *Image courtesy of Gina Catena
34 minutes | Feb 11, 2020
Ep. 8: The Cult Pseudo Identity
In this expert episode, we talk to Gillie, a psychotherapist and the director of the UK-based Hope Valley Counselling, which for the past 16 years has provided post-cult counseling to those recovering from extreme, “high-demand” organizations. Join us as we chat about the mental health services she provides to patients as well as the training she offers for other therapists who want to work with people coming out of cults. Gillie also discusses her doctoral research and thoughts about what she calls “the cult pseudo identity,” which people can develop while integrating aspects of an authoritarian group into their own personalities.
68 minutes | Jan 24, 2020
Ep. 7: Devastating Disconnections
When Aaron and his twin brother were 4, their mom joined Scientology. The boys grew up with the organization as a main focus in their lives. Their formal education ended after Aaron finished the seventh grade. He then worked full time for Scientology as a staff member from age 12 to 26. But soon came a wave of family rifts, including a great tragedy that severed him from someone he loved. Aaron left Scientology in 2014 and appeared on the first season of A&E's "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath." While he has a happy life, job and family, the fall out from their time in Scientology continues to undermine relationships for him, his wife, children and even his dog He's now the vice president of the The Aftermath Foundation, a nonprofit that helps people suffering from "disconnection" and "fair game" as they leave the group. Join us as we talk about his life, The Aftermath Foundation and recent legal action brought against Scientology. **This episode contains language and subject matter that some listeners might find disturbing. Discretion advised. *Image courtesy of Aaron Smith-Levin
65 minutes | Dec 23, 2019
Ep. 6: The Medium and the Time Machine
When Katharina was 10 years old, her parents packed up their possessions, moved out and joined "The Family," a New Age cult that started in Germany and moved around a bit before settling in a Belize jungle. The group was led by a controlling man who managed a woman claiming to be a medium. Both favored inappropriate relationships with minors and encouraged other members of the cult to do the same. Katharina's childhood experiences included separation from her parents, sexual abuse, underage labor, denial of emotions and the bizarre fashioning of a time machine. She made her way out and now directs Stronger After, an online resource for people harmed by coercive groups and relationships. https://www.stronger-after.org/ In this episode, we'll hear her story and thoughts on the psychological impacts of high-control groups on children. *This episode contains descriptions of sexual abuse and violence. Listener discretion advised. **Image courtesy of Katharina Meredith
38 minutes | Nov 21, 2019
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
53 minutes | Nov 1, 2019
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
46 minutes | Oct 13, 2019
Ep. 3: Moonies (But Don't Call Them Moonies) 2
In Part 2 of our two-part series about The Unification Church (Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity) otherwise known as the "Moonies," we chat with Lisa Kohn, author of the recent memoir "To the Moon and Back: A Childhood Under the Influence." Lisa joined the church at age 10 with her mom and little brother and thought it was the answer to her family's problems. She hadn't approved of her parents' counter-culture lifestyle and craved the stability she believed she was offered in the Unification Church. She preached on soapboxes, enthusiastically wore a pin featuring the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's face and watched her mom get remarried in a mass wedding at Madison Square Garden. But in college, her ideas began to change and she suffered while figuring out where she belonged in the outside world -- a struggle that included drug abuse, an eating disorder and unhealthy relationships. *Image from photo courtesy of Lisa Kohn
52 minutes | Sep 30, 2019
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
61 minutes | Sep 15, 2019
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.
3 minutes | May 23, 2019
Generation Cult Preparing for Season 2!
Generation Cult is working on a Season 2! Come support the show at StudioToBe in Oakland on Friday, May 31 and enjoy a happy hour plus a Q&A with guests from Season 1. Tickets are available on eventbrite: www.eventbrite.com/e/a-happy-hour-…ets-61544020823 Join us for a fun time and help us raise money for editing, sound engineering and more! If you can't make the event or just want to donate, check out our GoFundMe page: www.gofundme.com/f/generation-cult-season-2 Thanks for your support!
54 minutes | Nov 9, 2018
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!
31 minutes | Oct 26, 2018
Ep. 8: Escaping Utopia; A Conversation with Janja Lalich
We had a visit from Dr. Janja Lalich, an author and educator who has a new book out about children raised in cults called "Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out and Starting Over." Janja chats with us about her research for this project as well as her time working and writing with the late Margaret Singer, a prominent psychologist known for her studies on undue influence. *A few sound issues on this one, too. Please bear with us -- the content is good!
55 minutes | Oct 19, 2018
Ep. 7: The Age of Enlightenment
Welcome back! Now we are talking Transcendental Meditation, focusing on the story of one women who grew up in the TM community during the reign of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Gina, the focus of this episode, talks about being a child in the group and then becoming mother of three who had to struggle once she left. *There were some noise issues during this episode including spotty microphone quality and what sounded like a large group of people having a party outside the studio during recording. Sorry about that. Hope it's not too distracting.
55 minutes | Sep 14, 2018
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.
58 minutes | Aug 30, 2018
Bonus Ep. 5b: IndoctriNation Interview w/Dhyana Levey
Dhyana Levey, host of Generation Cult, was recently interviewed on another podcast called IndoctriNation. It's hosted by Rachel Bernstein, who was just a guest on our last episode titled "Let's Call an Expert!" Today we will share the interview from Rachel's show IndoctriNation. We hope you aren't confused. Just listen.
43 minutes | Aug 20, 2018
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.
62 minutes | Aug 2, 2018
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.
67 minutes | Jul 20, 2018
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.
51 minutes | Jul 5, 2018
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?
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