Cult Hackers

Cult Hackers

A podcast about cult hacking! Cracking the cult code to understand what they are, how they work, how people leave and how to make sense of the world after leaving. Father and daughter team, media graduate Celine, and former cult member now organizational psychologist Stephen, explore how cults work, why they are so dangerous and the experience of leaving and making sense of the world. They speak to cult hackers from all over the world, from ex members to academics, from writers to filmmakers, and from therapists to activists. https://pod.link/1540824671 https://www.patreon.com/culthackers https://culthackers.com/ Music is Snap by Purple Planet Music Music: https://www.purple-planet.com

Episodes

May 18, 2024 42 mins

This special episode is about the Frank Herbert story, Dune, including the recent film adaptation. This story covers many of the topics we've been interested in over the years doing the podcast and we hope you enjoy this discussion about a shared favourite of ours.

More news to come soon about the future of the podcast.

Links

The latest movie directed by Denis Villeneuve

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15239678/

Mini series

https://ww...

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After 267 episodes we've decided that's the end of season 1. In the final episode of the season Celine and Stephen explore why leavers of cults and coercively controlling religions feel the need to express themselves about their experience. 

To reach out to us: https://www.culthackers.com/

To become a patron: https://www.patreon.com/culthackers/posts

 

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Our guest today is Kendra Petty, author of the memoir "I Can't Believe I'm Not Dead". Coercively controlled by her mother and a child member of a fundamentalist Christian group, only to leave and experience multiple threats to her life. It's an extraordinary story and Kendra is an engaging and fascinating guest.

Kendra's website https://kendrapettyofficial.com/

To reach out to us: https://www.culthackers.com/

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January 27, 2024 66 mins

Celine raises the question whether there is a link between religious belief and long life. Following the Netflix series Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones the question of whether religious belief increases wellbeing is discussed by Stephen and Celine. Is there good data to suggest there is a link? If there is, is it a causal relationship or can it be explained through other factors. Is "belief" itself the key or is it what the ...

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This week Celine and Stephen's guest is Carmel Mikol, a filmmaker, musician, artist and former Jehovah's Witness. Carmel talks about her own experience as a young Witness finding herself in an abusive marriage and her difficulties escaping the relationship and then leaving the group. Carmel talks about the misogynistic attitudes and policies within the group and the damage they can do to young women. She also provides the Governing...

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January 13, 2024 58 mins

A high profile case of people behaving appallingly on behalf of an organisation is big news in the UK, known as the Post Office scandal. The question of why people do unethical things to support the business, religion or cult to which they belong, has been researched and is multi-faceted. Today Stephen and Celine explore the psychological research into "Unethical Pro-organizational Behavior" as it relates to businesses but also cul...

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January 6, 2024 61 mins

Celine and Stephen are joined by Micki, AKA Apostate Barbie, from Instagram and Tic Tok. Micki tells us about her journey out of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Challenging an aunt about outlandish QANON conspiracy theories, made her consider her own beliefs - not the first time we've heard our guests speak of this type of exit, from Christian Fundamentalist beliefs. Micki talks about the help and support she has experienced from other fo...

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January 3, 2024 53 mins

A follow-up to the conversation Stephen had with Spencer Watson from the Truth Unrestricted Podcast about magical thinking. This time Stephen was a guest on Spencer's show and this audio is brought to you by his permission. They discuss developmental psychology and how babies and children develop an understanding of a world apart from themselves and then symbolic thought. Spencer proposes a concept called pseudo-tangibility to desc...

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Jan Frode Nilsen has a long-form interview with Stephen about his work exposing the damaging shunning policies of Jehovah's Witnesses, and his appearance as a witness for the Norwegian government in recent court cases. He also talks about his own experience as a former member raised in the group.

Documents related to the case on: Avoid JW website

Recording of elders visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RkXsh332Fo

To reach out to...

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Losing friends, making new ones, reuniting with old ones, all at the same time as finding yourself. Friendships can be a tricky thing after leaving a cult. This week some of the Cult Hacker Patreon supporters join Celine and Stephen on a panel of former Jehovah's Witnesses, to explore the process of finding and making friendships outside a high-control group. Maryann, Regina, Vincent, Tanya, Riley from the Jexit Channel and Scott f...

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December 19, 2023 15 mins

This short bonus episode is the audio version of a blog Stephen recently published on Medium. Many leavers of high control religions use 'waking up' as a metaphor for realising the group we had been a member of had been telling us lies, and that we had a warped worldview. The film 'The Matrix' holds resonance for many of us. In this short piece Stephen explores this, and another movie about dreaming and waking up - Inception. Upon ...

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In the late 70s Sharon and Tracey were attracted to "The Jesus People" and joined the Last Days Ministries, living on a cult commune as teenagers with rock star Keith Green and the community he built. As teenagers they believed Jesus return would happen in 1981 and that they would be saved if they stayed within the group that was following Jesus properly. Their story is fascinating and important and they are also great fun to talk ...

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December 9, 2023 58 mins

For this week's podcast Celine and Stephen discuss the "software bug" inherent in human beings that makes us vulnerable to cults and their leaders.

The article on Medium https://medium.com/

To reach out to us: https://www.culthackers.com/

To become a patron: https://www.patreon.com/culthackers/posts

 

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This week Stephen talks to Spencer Watson from the Truth Unrestricted Podcast about the question of 'Magical Thinking'. What is it? How is it different from scientific thinking? Why is it attractive? Why do ex cult members have a special interest in it? and many more questions. It's a bumper discussion this week that gets into some deep stuff as well as Spencer asking Stephen about his experience of making sense of life after leavi...

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When you're a member of a fundamentalist religious group, you find comfort in the certain knowledge that you have "The Truth". Leaving is partly a journey of coming to terms with uncertainty. Olivia Jackson herself a former member of such a group, has created an impressive piece of work, where she has interviewed 140 former members at various stages of deconstruction from former fundamentalist beliefs. Olivia is thoughtful and eloq...

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November 18, 2023 70 mins

Join the party to listen to some of our nearly 100 hundred different guests over the last three years. We chat over a glass of virtual bubbly to ex members of groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Children of God, NXIVM, Rajneeshpuram, Evangelicalism, Amish, Christian Fundamentalism and Conspiracism.

Guests featured:

Lizzie Ens, former Amish

Brent Lee, former Conspiracist

Daniella Mestyanek Young, Army Veteran and former member of th...

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Celine and Stephen speak to cult expert, therapist and podcaster, Rachel Bernstein about her introduction into the topic, her work as a therapist helping leavers and her thoughts on the anti-cult ecosystem. Such a thrill to speak to Rachel about her work, her experiences and her insights into cults.

To reach out to us: https://www.culthackers.com/

To become a patron: https://www.patreon.com/culthackers/posts

Links about today's gue...

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Today we're joined by Cynane, a former member of a fundamentalist Christian group. Cynane is writing a book about the links between Fundamentalism, white Christian Nationalism and conspiracy theories. Cynane talks about her life as an evangelical Christian and how lizard people and space lasers led her out. 

To reach out to us: https://www.culthackers.com/

To become a patron: https://www.patreon.com/culthackers/posts

Witness Underg...

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It's perhaps the most famous psychological study ever but what does it really tell us? And what might it tell us about cults?

In the 1970s Professor Philip Zimbardo created a simulated prison in the basement of a college building, separating volunteer students into the roles of prisoners and guards to observe their behaviour. What happened next is disturbing, and led to a view that when it comes to behaviour, more important than th...

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Stephen speaks to Scott Homan, Ryan Sutter, Anthony Mathenia, Denise Wise and Micah Allen Losch from the Witness Underground team. In this special episode each former Jehovah's Witness speaks about their struggle to find creative expression while a member, and their journey of self discovery as they left, as well as updating us on the amazing documentary film Witness Underground, and their mission to get it on the streaming platfor...

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