TED talk on leaving an evangelical cult

This woman is Dawn Smith. She is funny, and smart. Her parents and grandparents started The Assembly, a cult that preached its version of the Gospel on street corners. Forbidden in her childhood: science, ambitious females (horrors!), loud clapping, psychiatry, puppies, dancing … On the other hand, climate change denial, creepy men and pyramid schemes were encouraged.

She says,  “Cults don’t want to be defined as a cult because it empowers its members to take a critical look at it. Language in cults is controlled because language is powerful. This happens in the real world, too. Despite what 98% of what the world’s scientists say, let’s not call it climate change.

She also said, “Staunch loyalty is wrong if it means supporting an abusive pathological liar. That pathology trickles down … ”

Admitting that it was hard to leave, she lost her grandparents … and her parents … well her relationship with them “is complicated.” But she concludes with this:
” … even the hardest day of freedom was better than the best day in a cult.”

It’s a worthwhile 15 minutes:



A BBC report about the supermodel who took down a cult …

… Hello readers – this report below is about one hour. The first time I attended an International Cultic Studies Association,  I met the executive director, Michael Langone. For the first time since leaving “school” I talked with ex-members from various cults. We were all telling essentially the same story.

I said to him, “All these fucking groups are the same.” Margaret Singer, co-author of Cults In Our Midst, begs to differ. She says not all cults are the same. Maybe not exactly … but all cults do share specific characteristics.

Take a listen and identify the characteristics that “school” shares with the cult Eternal Values (that’s a perfect name for a cult, btw).