23 episodes

An interview show about people who grew up in cults and what they had to go through to acclimate to mainstream society.

Generation Cult Generation Cult

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7, 50 Ratings

An interview show about people who grew up in cults and what they had to go through to acclimate to mainstream society.

    Ep. 10: You Don't Have to Tell Them Anything

    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

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Ep. 9: TM Redux

    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

    • 44 min
    Ep. 8: The Cult Pseudo Identity

    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.

    • 34 min
    Ep. 7: Devastating Disconnections

    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

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Ep. 6: The Medium and the Time Machine

    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.
    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

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Ep. 5: You Might As Well Be a Therapist!

    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.

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
50 Ratings

50 Ratings

Mikec006 ,

Don’t end the show

I have enjoyed this podcast and I wish this podcast wouldn’t end. I will miss you.

Spoonsler ,

Helpful for a recent survivor

Thanks for doing this, the information I came away with in just the first episode was immensely helpful for me.

Writer30033 ,


I love the way you listen and engage with respect with your guests. Thank you.

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