What Should I Think About?
Falling in love with an ex cult member

Falling in love with an ex cult member

April 24, 2022

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 wanted to look at it from the other perspective. What's it like to meet and date someone who was in a cult? What are the potential difficulties and peculiarities? Stephen spoke to the newly weds on holiday in Paris.

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Fight Club: Cult Reading and Movie Review

Fight Club: Cult Reading and Movie Review

April 17, 2022

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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External Links

Fight Club IMDB Page


Cinema Therapy





Making Sense of an Abnormal Normal: Life in the Children of God

Making Sense of an Abnormal Normal: Life in the Children of God

April 10, 2022

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 'flirty fishing' and the demands of 'sharing' within the commune. She also discusses the experience of having children and raising them within the group. Mary is a wonderful guest and her story is sometimes difficult to hear but her resilience is truly inspirational. 

Mary's Book, Abnormal Normal, My Life in the Children of God


Mary's Blog on Medium


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Episode Index




Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds

April 6, 2022

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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Hypnotherapist and EX Jehovah’s Witness, Becky Armstrong-Corbett

Hypnotherapist and EX Jehovah’s Witness, Becky Armstrong-Corbett

April 3, 2022

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 to talk about this important subject. Becky talks to us about this and how she has made a life for herself outside the group becoming a professional psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. Becky also explains what hypnotherapy is and how it works.

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Becky's Website



Becky's YouTube Channel



Cult Wars

Cult Wars

March 30, 2022

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 brainwashing not really a thing? Are ex members unreliable sources of data and should they be sidelined in favour of more sober rational and objective opinions?

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References used on this episode

Barker, E. (2012). New religious movements: their incidence and significance (pp. 33-50). Routledge.



Zablocki, B. (1997). The blacklisting of a concept: The strange history of the brainwashing conjecture in the sociology of religion. Nova Religio1(1), 96-121.



Academics who ignore defectors as ‘apostates’ will never see Scientology for what it is by Chris Shelton.





Critical Thinking, Spirituality and life after Jehovah’s Witnesses: Daniel O’Brien

Critical Thinking, Spirituality and life after Jehovah’s Witnesses: Daniel O’Brien

March 27, 2022

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?

International Cultic Studies Association Conference 2022
For more information of to book a ticket https://whova.com/web/icsaa_202207/
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March 23, 2022

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 about Discord, mid life crises and MAMILs.

Paper discussed: Shoham, H. (2021). It is about time: Birthdays as modern rites of temporality. Time & Society30(1), 78-99.


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Ashlen Hilliard: From The International Cultic Studies Association

Ashlen Hilliard: From The International Cultic Studies Association

March 19, 2022

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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Ashlen's recent presentation can be found here:



A Cult Reading of The Movie Equilibrium WIth Jexit’s Riley

A Cult Reading of The Movie Equilibrium WIth Jexit’s Riley

March 15, 2022

Riley from the Jexit YouTube channel joins Stephen today to analyse the 2002 movie Equilibrium, directed by Kurt Wimmer, starring Christian Bale, Take Diggs, Sean Bean and Emily Watson.

Giving the movie a cult reading reveals some spine-tingling and remarkable parallels with living in a dystopian state and being in a High Control Group. 

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