Let's Talk About Sects
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Outreach International – Part 1
In May 2017, a sect that started in Melbourne, Australia, 50 years ago, and has been highly secretive over the last few decades, decided to change its closed-doors policy and go public with a website. Whilst up until now very little has been known about the group except by direct conversations with former believers, its members go to government schools, attend public universities, and work in everyday jobs. They could be your neighbour, your colleague, or even a friend, and you’d have no...
The Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought
In October of 2013, the British organisation Freedom Charity received a call on their hotline. The woman on the other end said that her housemate had been held captive in South London for 30 years. At the time of this call, Katy Morgan-Davies was 30 years old, and the period of her imprisonment was her entire life. She, and the women she lived with, believed that an invisible machine called JACKIE could control household appliances, read their thoughts, and would incinerate them if they...
Synanon began as an addiction support group that gathered in a grimy Californian flat in the late 1950s. It would grow to become a well-funded utopian society throughout the late ’60s and early ’70s, before declaring itself a religion in 1974. This organisation would attract Hollywood stars like Leonard Nimoy and Jane Fonda to participate in its so-called “Game”, and eventually break up married couples, force men to have vasectomies and women to have abortions, amass assets worth tens of...
2018 marks the 25-year anniversary of a 51-day siege that ended in tragedy, following a shootout between the U.S. government and members of a sect called the Branch Davidians. The gunfire exchange lasted for well over an hour, killing four U.S. agents and six Branch Davidians, and wounding their leader Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh. Yet this violence was just the beginning of an ordeal that would culminate in an inferno later to become known as the Waco Massacre. CW: references...
Bonus Episode: Aum Shinrikyo Update
Over recent days, several of the 13 incarcerated Aum Shinrikyo members sentenced to death have been moved to new facilities, prompting speculation that their execution is imminent. In this bonus episode, a follow-up to our third episode about the infamous Japanese sect, Let's Talk About Sects spoke with a woman who has researched the group for over 16 years, and has also been in direct contact with ex-members. She goes by the name of Sarah Skibtower, and she was kind enough to share her...
The Order of St Charbel
William Kamm has a 10pm curfew, and is not allowed to spend time with girls under the age of 17. He is prevented from entering the Shoalhaven district of New South Wales, and his movements and communications are monitored. These are conditions of his release after serving 9 years in jail for crimes he committed against two teenage girls – yet his followers still believe that he is the next true Pope, and that the Virgin Mary speaks to him on the 13th day of every month. CW: references to...
The Koreshans believed that the earth was hollow, and that humans lived on the concave inside surface of it. They theorised that the moon and stars, and indeed the rest of the universe, was contained within. On the outside? A void. When they formed the utopian community in Estero, Florida that they called the Koreshan Unity Settlement, a common greeting of one member to another was, “We live inside.” Research sources listed on each episode page at www.ltaspod.com. If you have been...
Carli McConkey was a 21-year-old university graduate when she decided to attend the Mind Body Spirit Festival in Sydney, and came across the stand for Life Integration Programmes. The course they offered sounded like exactly what she needed to get her life on track and realise her potential. Little did she know that this encounter was the start of a 13-year ordeal that would see her estranged from her family, under continued financial stress, a victim and perpetrator of physical assault,...
Ken Dyers passed away 10 years ago this year, but the organisation that he spearheaded with his partner Jan Hamilton lives on. In spite of a few parallels, this Australian organisation, called Kenja, has been listed as a suppressive group by the Church of Scientology. Jan claims that Kenja has faced decades of persecution by those who want to bring them down, including a member of parliament, and charges levied at the organisation include brainwashing, exacerbation of psychological illnesses...
Twenty years ago this year, Japan was to become a nuclear wasteland, according to the leader of a sect who claimed that the only survivors would be his followers and 10% of the major cities. It was in the lead up to this year of the predicted apocalypse, 1997, that he ordered shocking acts that would eventually result in his group being labelled a terrorist organisation, and himself and 12 other sect members being sentenced to death. CW: references to physical and emotional abuse,...
The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God
Ugandan cult The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God was one of the deadliest in world history, with the number of people who died similar to the infamous Jonestown massacre, and some say even more. The mastermind behind this cult? A woman named Credonia Mwerinde, who said she was receiving messages directly from the Virgin Mary. CW: references to physical and emotional abuse, controlling behaviours, and murder. Please consider whether you would like to listen on...
There is a 95-year-old woman in a Melbourne nursing home who dotes on a plastic baby doll. You wouldn’t guess it to look at her, but this is a woman who amassed a multi-million dollar fortune, destroyed families, and affected the lives of numerous people giving them ongoing psychological issues, some of which ended in suicide. Former police detective Lex de Man said of this women to 60 Minutes, “Of all the crimes that I investigated, she is the most evil person that I’ve ever met.” CW:...
Let's Talk About Sects Trailer
Let's Talk About Sects is a new Australian podcast about cults around the world. We cover a different sect each episode, launching on Wednesday 20th September and then releasing an episode each month. Hope you can join us.