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Cult Hackers
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... more

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Episodes

The End of the World - Armageddon Obsessed

Celine and Stephen explore the ever-present belief that the end is nigh, starting with Stephen's former group Jehovah's Witnesses, including... more

26 Nov 2022 · 1 hour, 1 minute
Special Mini Series: Cults at Work Part 2, Leadership

Part 2 of our special collaboration with the World of Work Project's Jane Stewart and James Carrier. This week we... more

23 Nov 2022 · 1 hour, 14 minutes
Cult Survivor, Activist and Podcaster, Andrew Pledger - Part 2

In part 2, Andrew continues his discussion with Celine and Stephen. Andrew Pledger is a podcaster, activist, writer and life... more

20 Nov 2022 · 52 minutes
Cult Survivor, Activist and Podcaster Andrew Pledger - Part 1

Andrew Pledger is a podcaster, activist, writer and life coach who left a fundamentalist Christian cult. He raises awareness about... more

19 Nov 2022 · 1 hour, 27 minutes
Special Mini Series With The WOW Project: Cults at Work Part 1

This is a special collaboration between Cult Hackers and The World of Work Project, exploring cultic practices in the workplace.... more

16 Nov 2022 · 1 hour, 10 minutes
The Cornetto Trilogy

To lift the mood this week Stephen and Celine review three of their favourite comedy movies, all with tangentially cult... more

12 Nov 2022 · 53 minutes
Trauma Recovery Coach Jolyn Armstrong

Jolyn Armstrong is a certified trauma recovery coach and has an interesting personal perspective, having gone through the experience of... more

05 Nov 2022 · 57 minutes
A Diabolical Week and Demons On Repeat

Today Stephen briefly considers a week of hell, and then Cult Hackers revisits an episode from the archives exploring the... more

28 Oct 2022 · 1 hour, 28 minutes
“Jonestown in slow motion”. Leaving Christian Science with Hilary Alexander

Today Celine and Stephen explore a group they've not talked about before, Christian Science. Hilary Alexander was raised as a... more

21 Oct 2022 · 58 minutes
Bonus Episode: Separating the Quantum Science From the Woo

After leaving a cult or fundamentalist group with an all-encompassing belief system, it’s great fun to explore science and philosophy... more

18 Oct 2022 · 1 hour, 4 minutes
The Abuse of Power in Cults

In this week's episode we explore how cults use power to ensure the obedience of their followers, drawing from French... more

14 Oct 2022 · 1 hour, 7 minutes
Bonus Episode: Cults on Film, The Borg

Assimilation, group identity and leaving is hard. In this bonus episode taken from our short series, Cults on Film, Stephen... more

13 Oct 2022 · 15 minutes
Jennifer French: Reconnecting With Family After Leaving a Mystical Cult

Jennifer French is a mental health counselor and podcaster. She was a member of a Christian Mystical Cult and as... more

07 Oct 2022 · 1 hour, 10 minutes
Cults and the promise of happiness

Celine and Stephen explore how cults use the promise of happiness to attract people and keep them on the hook.... more

30 Sep 2022 · 1 hour, 35 minutes
Special Episode: Recovering from a Damaging Religious Group with Sherrie D’Souza

Sherrie D'Souza is the International Development Director and board member of 'Recovering From Religion' an organization that specialises in helping... more

27 Sep 2022 · 1 hour, 15 minutes
Nicola Ranson: Life, love and leaving the Rajneeshpuram

Welcome to the first official episode of Cult Hackers (formerly 'What should I think about..?') For our first show we... more

23 Sep 2022 · 1 hour, 10 minutes
Spirituality, Mysticism and Consciousness With Andrew Jasko

In the last ever episode of 'What Should I Think About...?' (soon to become Cult Hackers), Andrew Jasko, M.Div. joins... more

17 Sep 2022 · 1 hour, 4 minutes
Work Life Balance in a Cult

Did Jesus have a work-life balance problem? What are the 'work' commitments for members of cults? As a former Jehovah's... more

10 Sep 2022 · 1 hour, 23 minutes
Changing Laws To Protect Society From Cults With The Counter Cult Coalition

Taking action against cults and spiritual abuse requires changes in law and policies often at the National or State level.... more

03 Sep 2022 · 55 minutes
Does Jehovah’s Witnesses literature cause psychological disorders?

Prompted by a Tweet, Celine and Stephen explore the judgement that Jehovah's Witnesses literature can cause psychological damage and that... more

27 Aug 2022 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
Synergy between Terrorism and Cults with Darin Challacombe PhD

Darin Challacombe is a social scientist and researcher in the field of terrorism. He recently gave a talk at the... more

20 Aug 2022 · 49 minutes
Beliefs: The weird, the dangerous, the benign and the useful.

Does it matter what cults believe? Or is it only what they do that matters? Should we respect beliefs that... more

13 Aug 2022 · 1 hour, 17 minutes
Hero Worship with Germ and Maryann

What function do heroes serve? Why were we not allowed to have posters of our heroes on our bedroom walls?... more

06 Aug 2022 · 55 minutes
Special Episode: Reflections on ’The Last Days’ with Ali Millar

On this special episode, author Ali Millar talks about the release of her wonderful new book 'The Last Days' and... more

03 Aug 2022 · 1 hour, 7 minutes
The Emotional Journey of Leaving a Cult

How many core emotions are there? How do we understand them? How do they come into play when people leave... more

30 Jul 2022 · 39 minutes
Unpacking Belief Systems with Kat Wallace

Kat Wallace is a 4th generation ex Jehovah's Witness and speaker at the recent ICSA conference, who struggled growing up... more

23 Jul 2022 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness

Did Google just create a conscious A.I.? If it has, what would that mean? Today Celine and Stephen explore the... more

16 Jul 2022 · 49 minutes
ICSA Conference Highlights

Two conference speakers, the winner of an award, and the conference attendee first-prize winner! Today's special episode  welcomes Daniel O'Brien,... more

09 Jul 2022 · 1 hour, 30 minutes
Abortion

This week's episode looks at the question of abortion and the recent Supreme Court decision in the USA. It's a... more

02 Jul 2022 · 1 hour, 11 minutes
”To say it was awful was an understatement”: Alisha’s Story

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

25 Jun 2022 · 56 minutes
Transformational Training

The promise that you can be transformed into the person you've always wanted to be is a tempting one. This... more

18 Jun 2022 · 45 minutes
From Fear to Freedom with Kimberley Miller

One of the most emotional interviews ever on our podcast, author Kimberley L Miller talks movingly about her life as... more

11 Jun 2022 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
Does Nature Tell Us Anything About God? With John Elson

In today’s episode I spend a very pleasant afternoon having a walk and a chat with a friend of the... more

04 Jun 2022 · 1 hour, 13 minutes
Theocracy to Democracy

When you are a fundamentalist Christian, Theocracy sounds like a great idea but when you leave, the reality becomes clear.... more

29 May 2022 · 1 hour, 15 minutes
The Psychological Impact of Shunning with Dr Heather Ransom

The 'What should I think about..?' podcast goes 'sight & sound' this week on this special edition of the show,... more

21 May 2022 · 1 hour, 29 minutes
Having Fun and Healing With Games: Guest Starring Germ

High control religious groups often discourage games, warning about the 'dangers' of being influenced by Satan or the world. But... more

14 May 2022 · 58 minutes
Living and dying (rebroadcast from the archive)

I (Stephen) had an online conversation recently with a friend who had recently experienced a family loss. We chatted and... more

10 May 2022 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
Ex Jehovah’s Witness Poet and Podcaster Leon Helsby

Ex Jehovah's Witness Poet and Podcaster Leon Helsby tells his story of leaving the organization, why he finds poetry so... more

07 May 2022 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
Learning Styles and Other Myths

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

30 Apr 2022 · 59 minutes
Falling in love with an ex cult member

Today we interview Marcia and Riley (AKA Jexit) about falling in love with someone who was a member of a... more

23 Apr 2022 · 1 hour, 12 minutes
Fight Club: Cult Reading and Movie Review

This week Celine and Stephen review, and do a cult reading of the 1999 movie, Fight Club, directed by David... more

16 Apr 2022 · 55 minutes
Making Sense of an Abnormal Normal: Life in the Children of God

Author, Mary Mahoney talks about her 31 years in the Children of God. She tells Celine and Stephen about her... more

09 Apr 2022 · 1 hour, 9 minutes
Virtual Worlds

As if this world isn't confusing enough, today Celine and Stephen explore virtual worlds and our seemingly unavoidable destiny with... more

05 Apr 2022 · 1 hour, 5 minutes
Hypnotherapist and EX Jehovah’s Witness, Becky Armstrong-Corbett

Becky Armstrong-Corbett is a qualified psychotherapist and solution focused clinical hypnotherapist. Raised as a Jehovah's Witness she was sexually abused... more

02 Apr 2022 · 1 hour, 1 minute
Cult Wars

Today Celine and Stephen decide to take a sober and even-handed approach to the question of how we should research... more

29 Mar 2022 · 1 hour, 1 minute
Critical Thinking, Spirituality and life after Jehovah’s Witnesses: Daniel O’Brien

Daniel O'Brien is an educator, musician and ex Jehovah's Witness elder. He talks to Stephen about his experience being recruited... more

27 Mar 2022 · 1 hour, 17 minutes
Birthdays

As it's Stephen's birthday today , 'birthdays' is the theme of this week's chat. As a Jehovah's Witness child, birthday... more

23 Mar 2022 · 56 minutes
Ashlen Hilliard: From The International Cultic Studies Association

Ashlen talks about her experience as a born-in member of a small Christian Fundamentalist group called the Churches of Christ,... more

19 Mar 2022 · 1 hour,
A Cult Reading of The Movie Equilibrium WIth Jexit’s Riley

Riley from the Jexit YouTube channel joins Stephen today to analyse the 2002 movie Equilibrium, directed by Kurt Wimmer, starring... more

15 Mar 2022 · 1 hour, 22 minutes
The History of Atheism

Today Celine and Stephen are joined by Jordan Robertson from the Shunned Experience to talk about the history of atheism.... more

13 Mar 2022 · 1 hour, 4 minutes
Taking Risks

We manage risk every day but how we calculate it is often difficult to understand. Our attitude towards risk is... more

09 Mar 2022 · 47 minutes
Signs and Symbols with Producer Bob

Producer Bob joins us to talk about the use of signs and symbols in religions, cults and the social world... more

06 Mar 2022 · 1 hour, 5 minutes
Knowing Right From Wrong: Ethics and Morals after leaving a Cult

As a member of totalistic group or cult, morals and ethics are to a large degree determined by the Group.... more

02 Mar 2022 · 1 hour, 1 minute
Raised in Fear: Kwasizabantu with Daniel Schricker PhD

Daniel Schricker grew up in the Kwasizabantu Mission and since leaving has written a number of blogs about the psychological... more

26 Feb 2022 · 59 minutes
Russia Invades Ukraine

This emergency podcast comes out on the day Russia launches an attack upon Ukraine. It's natural to feel some anxiety... more

24 Feb 2022 · 19 minutes
Cults in Movies: Midsommer

Celine and Stephen review Midsommer, a movie released in 2019, directed by Ari Aster and starring Florence Pugh. There are... more

23 Feb 2022 · 51 minutes
Alt Worldly: Jake Vaughn, Pathos And Comedy

Jake Vaughn from the Alt Worldly YouTube Channel talks about his waking up process from the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the... more

20 Feb 2022 · 1 hour, 11 minutes
Nature Vs Nurture

Do some born-in cult members experience greater harm than others because they happen to have certain personality traits? Psychology suggests that... more

16 Feb 2022 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
”I feared God with every fibre of my being” Erika Bornman on Life in Kwasizabantu

Erika Bornman, author of Mission of Malice talks to us about her life growing up in Kwasizabantu, a non-denominational Christian... more

13 Feb 2022 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
Wasted Years?

Two completely different topics today on the podcast.    Time Stamp 00:00: Segment 1. The medical condition and psychological impact of serious... more

09 Feb 2022 · 59 minutes
Coercive Control with Min Grob

The guest today is Min Grob from CCChat Magazine. Min experienced a coercively controlling relationship and talks about the behaviours... more

06 Feb 2022 · 58 minutes
Gaslight: The Movie that Gave us the Playbook

The 1940's film Gaslight about the systematic attack by a man on his wife's psychological wellbeing, provided us with the... more

02 Feb 2022 · 47 minutes
Deconversion and Religious Trauma with Darren Slade PhD

Darren Slade has a fascinating story. Although not raised in a religious household as a young person he loved religious... more

30 Jan 2022 · 55 minutes
Science

What is science? How does it work? Can we trust it? Who does it? And can we trust the scientists?... more

26 Jan 2022 · 54 minutes
Brent Lee: Ex Conspiracist

Today's guest is Brent Lee who describes himself as a recovering conspiracist of 15 years. Brent explains how he became... more

23 Jan 2022 · 1 hour, 11 minutes
Why Ordinary People Do Atrocious Things: Cults and the Milgram Experiments

The Milgram experiments of the 1960s tried to answer the question of how seemingly normal people can do the most... more

19 Jan 2022 · 44 minutes
Singer Songwriter, Ex Jehovah’s Witness Sapphire Phoenix

Sapphire Phoenix was raised as an 'exemplary' Jehovah's Witness until he found himself disfellowshipped and outside the organisation and his... more

16 Jan 2022 · 51 minutes
Being Wrong

Today Celine and Stephen talk about being wrong and why it's so often hard to accept. They look at the... more

12 Jan 2022 · 52 minutes
Women in the Bible with Producer Bob

Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness or other fundamentalist religious group members are taught a particular view about the role... more

09 Jan 2022 · 1 hour, 2 minutes
Cults in Movies: Whiplash

Does the 2014 movie Whiplash starring Miles Teller and JK Simmons depict a cultic relationship? One of our favourite movies... more

05 Jan 2022 · 59 minutes
Leaving the Amish: Lizzie’s Story

It's a fascinating and emotional episode this week, as Lizzie tells us about her life being raised within an Amish... more

02 Jan 2022 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
Bonus: Stephen’s Top Ten Recommended Podcasts for 2022

Recorded just before Christmas Day, Stephen's favourite podcasts of the year plus other recommendations to help make sense of a... more

31 Dec 2021 · 30 minutes
New Year’s Resolutions

As a Jehovah's Witness dad didn't really 'do' New Year, but upon leaving he observed the common tradition of the... more

29 Dec 2021 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
My Story: Growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, leaving and making sense of life

Early in 2021 Stephen talked to his daughter, Celine about his life as a Jehovah's Witness, being raised in the... more

25 Dec 2021 · 2 hours, 27 minutes
Christmas Special

Sarah, joins Stephen for our Christmas Special as we think about the joys and 'tricky bits' of celebrating Christmas after... more

22 Dec 2021 · 43 minutes
MindShift Time! Interview with Clint Heacock on Religious Deconstruction and Dominion Theology

Clint Heacock was raised in a Fundamentalist Christian group. As a young man he studied theology and Bible studies in various... more

18 Dec 2021 · 1 hour, 5 minutes
Believe In Yourself! Self Efficacy, Inside And Outside a Cult

The term 'Self Efficacy' describes the amount of belief an individual has that they can achieve something. In study after... more

15 Dec 2021 · 32 minutes
Bonus: Cults as Organizations - Motivating Members

This week in the series of Cults as Organizations Stephen explores Herzberg's Two Factors, and Expectancy Theory, often used in... more

13 Dec 2021 · 14 minutes
Transcendental Meditation, Cults and Exiting: Interview with Patrick Ryan from Cult 101

Patrick Ryan found himself deeply involved in Transcendental Meditation during the 1970s until he started to believe he was part... more

12 Dec 2021 · 1 hour, 8 minutes
Dreams

Today Celine and Stephen explore dreams. Religion, psychoanalysis, neuroscience and psychology all attempt to explain what happens when we dream... more

08 Dec 2021 · 57 minutes
”I’ve got the ball and chain around you and only I have the key”: Ex Jehovah‘s Witness Sarah‘s Story

Today is a very personal episode with a very special guest because it's Sarah, Celine's mum and Stephen's wife. Warning... more

05 Dec 2021 · 1 hour, 3 minutes
Free Will Vs Determinism

Today Celine and Stephen argue! Is there such thing as free will? Is everything predetermined at the moment of the... more

01 Dec 2021 · 57 minutes
Award-Winning Film Witness Underground: Interview with Scott Homan and Ryan Sutter

This week's interview is with filmmaker Scott Homan, Writer, Cinematographer and Director of the documentary movie Witness Underground about a... more

28 Nov 2021 · 1 hour, 1 minute
Special 100th Episode and 1st Birthday

To celebrate the 100th episode of the 'What should I think about..?' podcast and the 1 year birthday, Celine and... more

24 Nov 2021 · 1 hour, 28 minutes
I‘m safer in a bar than I am in a Kingdom Hall: Ex Jehovah‘s Witness Donna Stevenson talks about her experience

Donna Stevenson was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and describes herself as a "happy Witness", but her experiences as a... more

21 Nov 2021 · 2 hours, 10 minutes
Trying to Make Sense of War After Leaving a Pacifist Cult

As a Jehovah's Witness Stephen was raised to be a pacifist. Upon leaving the group ex members find themselves trying... more

17 Nov 2021 · 52 minutes
Bonus: Are Cults a Wicked Problem?

In organisational studies, "Wicked problems" are a type of problem that's hard to define and wickedly difficult to solve. In... more

16 Nov 2021 · 18 minutes
Specialist Counsellor in Cult Recovery Gillie Jenkinson: 4 Phase Model

Gillie Jenkinson PhD is a leading accredited psychotherapist, specialising in cult recovery and recovery from spiritual abuse. She shares with... more

14 Nov 2021 · 59 minutes
Meerkats, Cleaner Fish and the Social Instinct with Producer Bob

Producer Bob and Stephen review the Voltaire lecture given by Nichola Raihani about how deeply embedded is the instinct to... more

10 Nov 2021 · 48 minutes
Growing up in The Children of God Cult

Angela Lathwell was raised in the Children of God cult. She describes speaking out about the cult as the last... more

06 Nov 2021 · 56 minutes
Cult Hackers
Award-Winning Film Witness Underground: Interview with Scott Homan and Ryan Sutter
Cult Hackers
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Description

This week's interview is with filmmaker Scott Homan, Writer, Cinematographer and Director of the documentary movie Witness Underground about a group of... more