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  • Esther Ruth Friedman

Memoir & Podcast Recommendations

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Good morning Readers -

Welcome to daylight saving's time. I'm using my extra hour to promote 2 cult busters! I'm honored to call both friends and colleagues.

Both wrote memoirs about misadventures in everyday cults: groups that look normal, at first. Members had jobs, families & homes. They didn't sell flowers in airports wearing white robes.

Gerette Buglion published her beautiful memoir this summer. She also created an accompanying podcast. Gerette imparts insight and wisdom in her uniquely compassionate voice. Retaining her innate kindness despite everything, she claimed her narrative, reclaimed her life and started creating resources, including a psycho-educational writing program for ex-members.

The podcast, Everyday Cults Everyday People, is bitesized, running 20-40 minutes (at most), topic depending. She boils down and clarifies difficult & convoluted topics with cohost, Jane Taylor. Recent episodes explore the BITE Model (behavior, information, thought, emotion) cultic control, (Steve Hassan, Freedom of Mind). The pod has me connecting dots that I'd missed previously. In the information episode, Gerette describes thought stopping as anything that interrupts cognitive processing. Suddenly, I remembered scribbling down "self observations" in little notebooks. The secret little cult that duped me into membership required that we "observe ourselves" several times a day -- thought stopping. My favorite pod moment (so far) came when Hassan announced during an interview, "Being in a cult sucks."

Speaking of how cults suck, my fellow "disgruntled ex-student" and "evil" blogger, Spencer Schneider-- Sharon Gans Cult Report -- just published his memoir about "School's" NYC branch (or what I call corporate headquarters). Spencer, a fantastic writer, has a voice that waltzes from hilarious to heartbreaking in an instance. I've been privileged to read some of the pre-released material & can't wait to get the book! So, If you're curious about the "invisible world", the little cult that snagged me, the one that I left, seemingly so that I could counsel ex-cult members in the future, I'm sure that Manhattan Cult Story will have you both laughing and crying! It will certainly shed light on how cults lure intelligent and thoughtful people into believing crazy things. My opinion: we could all use more cult education delivered through honest laughter and tears right now. Thank you, Spencer! Okay, I'm off to have a day. Inhale, exhale ...


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