What Should I Think About?

What Should I Think About?

Making sense of life after leaving a cult. Dad left a high control religious group, often called a cult, when he was 30 and since then has been trying to work out what he thinks about a whole bunch of stuff. With new episodes every Sunday, ”What should I think about..?” is a daughter - father podcast with the lofty, if overly ambitious goal, to make sense of the complicated, contradictory, confusing but wonderful thing we call the world. Since leaving, Dad has gained a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Organizational Psychology so brings some of this knowledge and experience to the conversation. Celine is a young filmmaker working on a number of different documentary projects including ”The Pink Pound”, a documentary that explores the relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and commerce. Podcast theme, original music “Electric Sheep” composed and performed by Stephen Mather copyright Evil Sheep Productions 2020.

Episodes

July 2, 2022 71 min

This week's episode looks at the question of abortion and the recent Supreme Court decision in the USA. It's a subject that we've planned to talk about for some time and recent events have made it absolutely time we did.

Content warning: Obviously given the subject matter listener discretion is recommended.

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Ex Jehovah's Witness Alisha tried to simply leave the religion she was raised in and build her own life. The elders had other ideas.

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June 18, 2022 45 min

The promise that you can be transformed into the person you've always wanted to be is a tempting one. This week Celine and Stephen explore the LGAT - Large Group Awareness Training industry and similar interventions. Can they deliver their promise? Are there risks associated with them? Are some of them cultic in their methods? 

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One of the most emotional interviews ever on our podcast, author Kimberley L Miller talks movingly about her life as Jehovah's Witness. She describes growing up as a Witness and the struggle to just be a child, to just be herself, and the fear that came along with that upbringing. She also talks about her leaving the organization, her return and the lowest point in her life. Kimberley's story is ultimately life affirming an...

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In today’s episode I spend a very pleasant afternoon having a walk and a chat with a friend of the podcast and former guest John Elson at Castor & Ailsworth, a village just outside of Peterborough. John is a successful artist and he talked about his journey out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses back in September of 2021. 

Our main topic of conversation today is the natural world and we had an interesting chat about all things evolutio...

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May 29, 2022 75 min

When you are a fundamentalist Christian, Theocracy sounds like a great idea but when you leave, the reality becomes clear. Celine and Stephen discuss what it's like to live in a Theocracy and then explore more democratic forms. They get 'into the weeds' about how these systems work, and why sometimes they seem not to. What is a filibuster? And why gerrymander? are two of the topics of discussion, as well as why the Quee...

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The 'What should I think about..?' podcast goes 'sight & sound' this week on this special edition of the show, with an episode being shown on YouTube for the first time as well as a pure podcast.

Stephen speaks to Dr Heather Ransom, who researches the experience of living in, and leaving a high control group often called a cult. Dr Ransom is a former 'born-in' Jehovah's Witness who left as an adult a...

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High control religious groups often discourage games, warning about the 'dangers' of being influenced by Satan or the world. But what about the benefits of playing games and their role in finding community, experiencing a sense of competence and potential benefits around memory and thinking? Germ joins Celine and Stephen this week to talk all things gaming and games. There's also a bit of reminiscing about some of the t...

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I (Stephen) had an online conversation recently with a friend who had recently experienced a family loss. We chatted and she suggested that the way we think about death changes after we leave a belief system such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, who preach the possibility of living forever. It got me thinking about an episode Celine and I recorded about a year ago when we had very few listeners about the subject of life and death. I...

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Ex Jehovah's Witness Poet and Podcaster Leon Helsby tells his story of leaving the organization, why he finds poetry so important to him and describes the challenges of being creative within a high control setting. Stay till the end as Leon performs his poem 'An Amnesty'.

Leon has a podcast called 'A Hug From The Moon'. Link below.

https://open.spotify.com/show/2FIBwQGqOUNEQqdK5FxECh?si=e51f0a692fc54894

Why ...

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April 30, 2022 59 min

Celine and Stephen get into some pop psychology to see what we know, what we think we know but don't, what we don't know and.... you get the picture.

The importance of learning styles, the power pose, the madness of crowds, attention blindness and diffusion of responsibility and more all feature on today's show.

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Today we interview Marcia and Riley (AKA Jexit) about falling in love with someone who was a member of a cult and still in the process of deconstructing, or as ex JWs call it POMI (Physically Out Mentally In).

Riley is an ex Jehovah's Witness You-tuber who talks about his experiences leaving the Group. We've discussed the difficulties of relationships, love and sex for ex members of cults in previous episodes, but today we ...

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This week Celine and Stephen review, and do a cult reading of the 1999 movie, Fight Club, directed by David Fincher and starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf. If you haven't seen the film, it's violent but it covers big subjects including masculinity, capitalism and mental illness and importantly for us cult dynamics and coercive control. 

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Author, Mary Mahoney talks about her 31 years in the Children of God. She tells Celine and Stephen about her life as a young woman, believing she was called by God to missionary service, her travels around the world and her efforts to obey increasingly dark and exploitative demands by the Group. She explains the implications of leader David Berg's bizarre doctrine on the 'law of love', the use of sex to recruit known as...

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April 5, 2022 65 min

As if this world isn't confusing enough, today Celine and Stephen explore virtual worlds and our seemingly unavoidable destiny with them. From Zoom to Second Life, from Virtual Reality to Web 3.0, NFTs, Crypto and even whether we are already living in a simulated reality! On top of all of that Stephen explains what actors named Chris have to do with Non Fungible Tokens! Oh and Virtual Cults..

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Becky Armstrong-Corbett is a qualified psychotherapist and solution focused clinical hypnotherapist. Raised as a Jehovah's Witness she was sexually abused by a member of the congregation as a child and has since  worked to raise awareness of neglectful practices within this and other organizations. She contributed to the work of the Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse in the UK and has appeared on a number of news programmes and media...

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March 29, 2022 61 min

Today Celine and Stephen decide to take a sober and even-handed approach to the question of how we should research and talk about High Control Groups or Cults, and then find themselves getting all worked up! The term 'New Religious Movements' is seen as a more appropriate and less prejudicial label than the word cult, should we be using it? Are anti-cult activists getting in the way of proper sociological research? Is brain...

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Daniel O'Brien is an educator, musician and ex Jehovah's Witness elder. He talks to Stephen about his experience being recruited into the organization and his tough journey out. He also talks about his upcoming lecture at the 2022 International Cultic Studies Association Conference. 

Daniel's Essay - Are Religious people happier?

https://t.co/yUMEX7zTnv   International Cultic Studies Association Conference 2022 Fo...
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March 23, 2022 56 min

As it's Stephen's birthday today , 'birthdays' is the theme of this week's chat. As a Jehovah's Witness child, birthday celebrations were something alien to Stephen and so Celine and her dad try to work out why JWs really don't celebrate them. Stephen finds a paper that provides some of the history and the sociological context and he then demonstrates his slow decent into grumpy old man by having a rant ...

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Ashlen talks about her experience as a born-in member of a small Christian Fundamentalist group called the Churches of Christ, and her work now as the Director of Events at the International Cultic Studies Association. Ashlen also discusses her own research and her studies with the University of Salford on the psychology of coercive control. Such an interesting discussion.

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