Born Into And Married In The Moon Cult With Elgen Strait

Elgen Strait was not only born into the Moonies but participated in an arranged mass marriage ceremony (the so-called “blessing”). His parents were active members when I was in the cult in the 1970s.  He’s a fellow survivor. Strait hosts Falling Out with Elgen Strait, a podcast focused on the experiences of second-generation survivors of the Moonies. Strait’s work on the podcast aims to expose the abuse, manipulation, and hypocrisy of the Moon cult. He provides a forum for ex-second-generation members to share resources that can aid them in their journeys out of the cult and through the transition into living in the “outside world.” Listening to Falling Out has been a catalyst for many members to wake up and exit the cult. Many who left the cult continue to have difficulty staying connected and accepted by their parents, who remain in the cult. 

Professor Alan Scheflin’s Social Influence Model (SIM)

Law Professor Alan W. Scheflin coined the phrase The Myth of the Unmalleable Mind which is the basic belief that we are in control of our own minds and cannot be unfairly influenced outside of our awareness. This is a comforting thought; however, history has shown that this “comforting thought” is a myth. Most readers of this book have come to this understanding the hard way. 

Autism, Extremism, And Protecting The Vulnerable With Dr. Tony Attwood

I feel honored to interview Dr. Tony Attwood, one of the world’s foremost experts on Autism Spectrum Disorder. His first book, Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, is considered a must-read book. Dr. Attwood hailed from the U.K. and completed his education with an honors degree in psychology, a master’s degree in clinical psychology, and a Ph.D. His interest in autism was first sparked when he volunteered at a school during the summer of 1971. He met two autistic children and became fascinated with their interests, abilities, and challenges. Some thirty years later, he realized his own son was “on the spectrum.”

Mormonism, Mental Health, And Whistleblowing With Dr. John Dehlin 

Whistleblowers often suffer consequences for speaking out, and our guest Dr. John Dehlin knows that first-hand. A 6th generation member, he was excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) for speaking up about gay rights and the suicide problem within the LDS church and for hosting a podcast that discussed problems with LDS Church history, truth claims, etc. They didn’t like him raising those issues, but he persevered and is now helping provide support for Mormons experiencing religious faith crises.   

Recruited at Sarah Lawrence College Into The Larry Ray Cult With Daniel Barban Levin 

On January 20th, 2023, Larry Ray was sentenced to 60 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy, violent crime in aid of racketeering, extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor, tax evasion, and money laundering offenses. Daniel Barban Levin escaped the cult and used writing to process his mind control experience. He also wanted to do something to help his friends, who were still psychologically imprisoned. His memoir, Slonim Woods 9, published in 2021, was a revealing and poetic description of his time in a mind control cult. Former members sometimes utilize writing as a device to release painful experiences through journaling, poetry, and novels. I loved listening to this book.

The Perils Of Extreme Religious Liberty And Protecting Children With Marci Hamilton 

Religious liberty is one of the founding fathers’ ideals, but the idea of religious liberty and its practice produces results that can cause great harm. Marci A. Hamilton is the founder and CEO of CHILD USA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit academic think tank dedicated to interdisciplinary, evidence-based research to improve laws and public policy to end child abuse and neglect. She is a leading expert on clergy sex abuse and child sex abuse statutes of limitation (SOL). She is also a leading religious liberty scholar and Professor of Practice in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches Constitutional Law and Law, Religion, and Politics. 

Training Therapists To Work In Post-Cult Counseling With Dr. Gillie Jenkinson

Leaving a cult or another situation of undue influence is a truly heroic feat. Unfortunately, however, the experience of being in a cult can leave former members with many long-term effects, including radical personality change, psychological and relationship problems, and difficulties in their daily lives. It takes time and often the experience of a therapist trained in cult recovery to get beyond the mentality that authoritarian cults indoctrinate into their members. 

Cured: Strengthen Your Immune System and Heal Your Life with Jeffrey Rediger, MD

Medicine and spirituality are not often concepts we combine. Still, Dr. Jeffrey Rediger has done just that, chronicling the remarkable stories of people who beat the odds on terminal illnesses in his book Cured: Strengthen Your Immune System and Heal Your Life.
Dr. Rediger, MD, MDiv, is a board-certified psychiatrist, best-selling author, and popular speaker. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and has served as Medical Director of McLean SE Adult psychiatry and Community Affairs at McLean Hospital for many years. 

January 6 Violent Coup Attempt: Two Years Later 

On January 6, 2021, the seat of our federal government and the heart of our American democracy came under siege. Now, two years on, there is the opportunity to examine developments since the attack on the Capital and to look at what can be done about it. I was honored to be invited to speak about this at the New York Society for Ethical Culture this January 2023. The title of my talk was ‘Two Years After the Violent Coup Attempt.’ 

In my talk, I discussed some of the forces behind the insurrection attempt. Based on typical cult leader behavior, I predicted in 2019 that Trump would never voluntarily cede power and would attempt to create as much chaos and damage as possible. In my book The Cult of Trump, I also warned that his followers would become violent.  

Whenever I hear about a tragedy or destructive event, like the Jonestown massacre or the January 6 coup attempt, my first thought is always – I could have done that. When I was in the Moon cult, I would have obeyed any order from Sun Myung Moon, including breaking the law. But, when someone is under mind control, their real self, values, and beliefs are taken over by a new cult identity; they are programmed into a different reality. So, it is crucial to understand how undue influence works and how to protect ourselves and others.

Unveiled: Discovering the Truth Behind Islamic Extremism with Yasmine Mohammed

We all hear the words Al-Qaeda, and certain thoughts and images come to mind, but we are removed from what it means to be entrenched in a world of religious extremism. We’re talking with Yasmine Mohammed, whose book Unveiled: How Western Liberals Empower Radical Islam recounts her experiences of being raised in a fundamentalist Islamic household and entering an arranged marriage with a man who, unbeknownst to Yasmine, turned out to be an Al-Qaeda operative. 

Former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen on His Experience in The Cult of Trump 

Michael Cohen is a two-time New York Times best-selling author, first with his book Disloyal: A Memoir, and now with his latest book Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the Department of Justice Against His Critics. Cohen is famous for being the former attorney and personal ‘fixer’ for Donald Trump (2006-2018) and has testified for congress as well as New York’s Attorney General’s office and confessed he was in “The Cult of Trump.” I wrote about him in my book, and he is a courageous whistle-blower who, like me, has devoted an enormous amount of time and effort to shedding light on the disgraced and twice impeached former president.