Speaking of Cults

Speaking of Cults

A podcast about cults, coercive control and recovery. Formerly called the Sensibly Speaking podcast, in this weekly show host Chris Shelton interviews cult survivors, psychologists and other professionals and specialists about the topics of cult recruitment, retention and recovery.


February 24, 2024 83 mins

This week I am joined by Chad Harris, a man who grew up under the religious homeschooling program of Bill Gothard and the IBLP, infamously connected to the Duggar family and featured on the recent documentary Shiny Happy People. Chad has quite a bit to share with us about how religious homeschooling can be done very wrong, how this can lead to other abuses and how he broke away. Enjoy!

Chad Harris on TikTok: @archradish

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This week I am joined by Cass Filetti, aka Theta Novis, a very recently escaped ex-Scientologist from Brisbane, Australia who has a lot of updates and an interesting story to share of her experience with Scientology in Australia and its connections to the US and Sea Org. Enjoy!

Please consider supporting this podcast and helping me to offer more and better content.

Venmo: @shelton1492

Patreon: https://patreon.com/chrisshelton


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This week I am joined by Dr. Jessica Schleider, a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist, to discuss her new book, "Little Treatments, Big Effects" and how single session interventions and recognizing the power of psychoeducation and epiphanies may help revolutionize mental health care. Enjoy!

Dr. Schleider on Twitter: @jschleiderPhD

Her book on Amazon: https://shorturl.at/itV69

Some of Dr. Schleider's work: https://acamh.onlinelib...

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This week I am joined by Dr. Yuval Laor to discuss in detail the symptoms and characteristics of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and why we believe that L. Ron Hubbard (as well as many other cult leaders and historical figures) suffered from this condition. We go deep in this one because this has more relevant and importance of cultic studies than most people realize. Enjoy!

Yuval Laor: YuvalLaor(@)gmail.com

Here are some academic research ...

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This week I am joined by Emily Ragland, trauma facilitator and coach, to discuss how to recognize trauma in others, how to deal with that and help rather than make it worse. As part of this podcast, we go into detail about an incident of SA which is part of Emily's own story. This is a tough one but if you want to know more about these issues, this show is for you.

Emily Ragland on social media: Instagram: (at)em_ragland LinkedIn: ...

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In this week's episode, I am joined by Dr. Laura Anderson, a religious trauma specialist who has written When Religion Hurts You and who treats clients overcoming difficult experiences with religion. We discuss post-cult trauma and how this can affect ex-cult communities as well. Enjoy!

Dr. Anderson's websites: https://drlauraeanderson.com/ https://www.traumaresolutionandrecovery.com/

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For our second episode of Speaking of Cults, I am joined by Alexander Barnes-Ross aka @ApostateAlex, fellow YouTuber and former Scientologist for a deep dive discussion on how David Miscavige has been recycling the same "weird trick" for decades now and one way or another, things are going to come to a head with his most important supporters if something doesn't change. Enjoy!

[We apologize for having uploaded the wrong audio file ...

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Welcome to the first episode of the rebranded Sensibly Speaking podcast, now re-titled and re-purposed as the Speaking of Cults podcast. This podcast remains on the same website and RSS stream as the previous one, so you shouldn't have to change anything as an audio subscriber. 

This week we review all the basics of what a destructive cult is (and isn't) and how coercive control plays a part, plus we clear up common misconceptions ...

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November 25, 2023 32 mins

This week I am talking about the fact I'm taking a break for December on a bunch of my work, including this podcast and that when it comes back in January it will have a new name and branding. Details of this and a lot more personal stuff that's been going on recently are gone over. Enjoy!

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This week I am joined by former Scientologist Mirriam Francis, whose story was featured on Scientology and the Aftermath, to discuss her experiences being raised in the Sea Org, escaping and what recovery has been like for her, including her involvement with the justice system for the abuse she endured at the hands of a family member. This is a tough but educational story about the lengths a cult will go to in hiding up its crimes.

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This week I am joined by Dr. Darrel Ray - psychologist, researcher, author and President of the Recovering from Religion Foundation - to discuss childhood religious trauma, why it exists and why it can be so life destroying. This is not an anti-religious screed - it is a psychological fact and one that we have to deal with if we want happy, successful children. Enjoy!

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November 7, 2023 85 mins

We are posting a special bonus podcast episode this week as we didn't want to wait to get this interview out. Here we talk about the big protest staged by Apostate Alex with the help of Jeff Beaumont (PTS for Life) and others, what happened over the three days and why Scientology and David Miscavige definitely took notice. Enjoy!

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This week I am joined by Jon Atack to finally have that talk about psychedelics, cult recovery and the drugs which can help bring about extremely altered states of consciousness. This was another wide-ranging discussion where we go deep on the dangers and potentials of drug therapy in moving on from an abusive/cultic experience. Enjoy!

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This week I am joined by Jeff Beaumont, known in the SP TV community as PTS for Life, who has quite a story to tell as a second generation Scientologist raised in a broken home and in and out of the Sea Org more than once. We had an insightful time discussing his experiences and comparing notes on our time in the Sea Org. Enjoy!

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October 21, 2023 124 mins

This week I am joined by River Wood to discuss their upbringing in what is known as 2x2s but really is an extremist Christian cult with no official name and hiding in plain sight. We cover a lot of territory and I hope you find it as fascinating as I did. Enjoy!

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This week I am joined by Jon Atack to discuss and debunk the conspiracy theories surrounding the Process Church, the Son of Sam and Scientology. And when we're done with that, we get into the real facts about Manson's involvement with Scientology. This is a wild one. Enjoy!

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This week I welcome Dr. Laura Anderson, psychotherapist and religious trauma expert, to discuss how trauma works, how it is treated and what this has to do with cult members and everyday folks in our day to day life. We cover a lot of territory in this one. Enjoy!

Find out more about Dr. Anderson at https://drlauraeanderson.com and check out her new book, When Religion Hurts You. 

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This week I am joined by former "tradcat" (Traditional Catholic) Anthony Spurgin to discuss his experiences and abuses growing up in a family practicing pre-Vatican II Catholicism. We cover what "tradcats" are, how sexual and child abuse is not dealt with in Catholicism and why this is absolutely unacceptable.

Link to YouTube video of this podcast: https://youtu.be/5iKIszlTS4Y

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This week I am joined by educator Melanie Trecek-King to discuss the real barriers and problems people have with engaging in critical thinking and we dived into cult thinking, belief and a bunch of other stuff. This was another fun and insightful conversation. Enjoy!


The post Sensibly Speaking Podcast #405: Our Biggest Barriers to Critical Thinking appeared first on The Sensibly Speaking Podcast.

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This week I am joined by Mark Vicente, NXIVM survivor and film maker who joins me to discuss our cult experiences and life beyond that, including his most recent project interviewing psychopaths and where that is going. This was a fun and insightful conversation. Enjoy!

The post Sensibly Speaking Podcast #404: NXIVM, Scientology and Beyond w/Mark Vicente appeared first on The Sensibly Speaking Podcast.

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