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A podcast about cults, extreme belief, and abuse of power – from two hosts who’ve actually lived it. Hosted by Lola Blanc and Meagan Elizabeth. If you have your own story about cults, high control groups, manipulation, or abuse of power - leave us a voicemail at 513.900.2955 OR shoot us an email at TrustMePod@gmail.com. FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM: @trustmepod @oohlalola @vibehigherbitch OR TWITTER: @trustmecultpod @ohlaloka
 
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show series
 
Two best friends in a cult. Angie Kehler & Yahanna Masimer share their experience growing up in the Assembly of YHWHhoshua, founded by self-proclaimed prophet Laycher Gonzalez, who had visions from "YHWH." They discuss the strict dress code restrictions, not being allowed to have drawings, paintings, or photos, and how one member died after being f…
 
Lola & Meagan open up the hotline to Mlee in Houston as she shares her culty childhood with a narcissist "Super Dad", and Holly in West Virginia, a self-described "bus kid" who grew up dating two brothers in a small town Baptist purity culture. If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulation, or abuse of power, leave us a …
 
Ever heard of a cult specialist? Therapist and IndoctriNation podcast host Rachel Bernstein shares what healing looks like after leaving a cult, common themes in manipulation recovery, signs that someone is in a high-control group or experiencing dissociation, and advice for those with loved ones in a cult. If you have your own story about cults, h…
 
Are you a narcissist? Statistically, it's possible! Dr. Ramani Durvasula joins Lola and Meagan for a clinic on all things narcissism. They discuss whether narcissists are born or made, how narcissism differs from psychopathy, why dating a narcissist is similar to being in a cult, and whether it's possible to prevent someone from becoming a narcissi…
 
Jennings Brown, reporter and host of cult podcasts The Gateway and Revelations, discusses life on the lavish compound of the Fellowship of Friends leading up to their doomsday date, why people cling to their prophecies when they don't come true, allegations of sexual assault against the group's leader, and the orgy that was compared to a trip to th…
 
In part two of Lola and Meagan's interview with UFO cult leader Glenn Carter, they discuss the cloning controversy that the Raelian movement was known for, Glenn's relationship with the movement's founder, and an interesting debate on power dynamics and personal responsibility. If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulati…
 
It's a Trust Me first! Actor / musician / leader of the UK Raelian chapter Glenn Carter joins Lola & Meagan in part one of their conversation about Glenn's religious group with unconventional views on alien life, how he became the regional leader, and all things meditation, evolution, and cloning! If you have your own story about cults, high-contro…
 
Can success be its own cult? Lola & Meagan delve into how abuse of power plays into the entertainment industry, the experiences they've had firsthand with people in power, and the dark side of the pursuit of stardom.If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulation, or abuse of power, leave us a voicemail at 513-900-2955, OR…
 
In part two of their discussion with author of The First 50, Natascia Mallin, Lola and Meagan discuss the trauma bonding that happened within the group, whether or not the program really worked, and the importance of staying anchored to the outside world. If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulation, or abuse of power, …
 
In part one of their chat with author of The First 50: A Saga of Backseats, Bedrooms, Lookout Points, and Dive Bars, Natascia Mallin, Lola and Meagan discuss how Natascia's time working at Cafe Gratitude and the Landmark Forum led her to join a "therapy cult" led by a well-read charismatic guru named Stan. If you have your own story about cults, hi…
 
In part two of their interview with Children of God survivor, Christina Babin, Lola and Meagan discuss life in the "reprogramming camps," the difficulty coming forward about these kinds of experiences, and finding love after leaving the group. If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulation, or abuse of power, leave us a v…
 
Love bombing. Flirty fishing. Moving from country to country. Just a few standard parts of life as a member of David Berg's Children of God. In part one of their conversation with Christina Babin, Lola and Meagan discuss Christina's experience in punishment camps, the separation from her family, and being exploited in a child sex trafficking cult. …
 
Lola & Meagan chat with a woman named Kathryn about her experiences as a follower of the charismatic social media guru Teal Swan... who is often accused of being a cult leader. They discuss Teal's online presence and appeal, how she conducts her workshops, controversies of plagiarism, and a concerning story of what happened to one member. If you ha…
 
Executive producer of Netflix's How To Become a Tyrant (and friend of the show!) Jonas Bell Pasht joins Lola & Meagan to talk about the behaviors of infamous dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, and Saddam Hussein, the parallels between tyrants and cult leaders, and how dictators prey upon societies' wants and needs. If you have your own story …
 
In part two of their conversation with activist / Amish Girl in Manhattan author TORAH BONTRAGER, Lola & Meagan discuss the abuse Torah suffered in her family, escaping the community, graduating from Columbia University, and Torah's involvement with the fight against the Supreme Court case, Wisconsin v Yoder. If you have your own story about cults,…
 
No cars, electricity, or indoor bathrooms - think you could do it? Activist / Amish Girl in Manhattan author TORAH BONTRAGER shares about her upbringing in an Amish community in Wisconsin, speaking the Amish language, the real meaning of Rumspringa, her tumultuous family relationships, the use of corporal punishment in Amish culture, and some of th…
 
End time prophecies? Memorizing the bible? Required church vacations your family can't afford? Snap Judgment host and creator Glynn Washington shares his experiences growing up in the apocalyptic religion the Worldwide Church of God. He tells the girls about believing the end of the world was imminent, the white supremacist roots of the group and h…
 
What do you model your life after? For producer, actor, and former supermodel Hoyt Richards, it was the teachings of a charming man from Nantucket who spoke about the impending apocalypse and a distant star named Arcturus. Hoyt shares how he was indoctrinated into the Eternal Values cult as his modeling career was taking off, what he describes as "…
 
In part two of Trust Me's first interview with a former Scientologist, April Snow shares her thoughts on how the church treats drug and alcohol addiction, the fallout from her appearance on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, and the division it caused within her family. If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulat…
 
This one is sure to stimulate your thetans. Trust Me's first former Scientologist guest, April Snow, talks about growing up in the church, living in the LA Celebrity Centre as a child, and joining the infamous Sea Organization at age 15—and what it was like when her loved ones disconnected from her. If you have your own story about cults, high-cont…
 
Can delusional beliefs be passed on to others? Forensic psychiatrist Brian Holoyda discusses the science of shared psychotic disorders (also known as folie à deux), how cult beliefs can mimic this phenomenon, and why Qanon doesn't necessarily count as a delusion. If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulation, or abuse of…
 
From the Burmese mafia to Nigeria's Black Axe, journalists and hosts of The Underworld Podcast Danny Gold and Sean Williams compare the world's mafias, cults, and organized crime groups. They discuss their most harrowing reporting experiences, what groups they've been the most fascinated by, and the parallels between mafias and cults. If you have y…
 
The long-awaited episode! Meagan and producer / funny gal Liz Maupin talk about their shared cult upbringing as a part of the elusive proselytizing "Two by Twos" cult - how it led to Liz getting iodine poisoning - and whether the group fits under the definition of "cult." If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulation, or…
 
Charisma. Grand Ideas. Unchecked narcissism. What's stopping the world's tech CEOs from becoming our new 21st century cult leaders? Former corporate executive Taylor Brown joins Lola & Meagan to discuss all things WeWork, Elon Musk, Donald Trump, group retreats - and the psychology of corporate culture. If you have your own story about cults, high-…
 
Lola and Meagan dive deeper with Dianne Lake, aka “Snake,” the youngest member of the Manson family, and her co-author Deborah Herman. They discuss the LSD-fueled lifestyle on Spahn Ranch, Charles Manson's connection to the Beach Boys, his obsession with an impending race war, and how Dianne learned about the Tate-LaBianca murders--and the legal an…
 
You’re a teenage girl in the late 60s, bouncing between communes, when a charismatic man and his group of young women welcome you with open arms. You were looking for a family, and now you’ve found one. In part one of an incredible interview, Dianne Lake, aka “Snake,” and her co-author Deborah Herman discuss growing up in 1960s counter-culture, the…
 
How far would you go for your ideals? Sociologist and author Janja Lalich chats with Lola and Meagan about her time in the 70s as part of a radical Marxist-Leninist group called the Democratic Workers Party, how she became a high-ranking member, and the toll it took on her personal relationships. They discuss how to tell the difference between a le…
 
Traditions! Are they helpful customs that keep us connected to our history? Or can they become too rigid and hinder the personal and intellectual growth of those who observe them? Comedian/actor/director Avital Ash joins Lola & Meagan to dive into what it was like growing up practicing Orthodox Judaism, internalizing shame about her womanhood, and …
 
You've only met your dad twice, but you know he's the prophet. You live in abject poverty, forced into child labor. And you often have to move your entire household in the middle of the night, for reasons you don't understand. Anna LeBaron joins Lola & Meagan to talk about the trauma of living in a polygamist cult and the murders perpetrated by her…
 
Kilian Aulenbacher went from a German kid who spoke zero English to harvesting crops and hanging out in bomb shelters on a Montana commune, as a member of the Church Universal and Triumphant. Typical childhood, right? Meagan & Lola dig into what brought Killian's family to Montana, what it was like believing the world was ending, and the Christian …
 
In part 2 with former MS-13 member Gerardo Lopez, Lola and Meagan discuss how he left the gang, the harassment he experienced by the LAPD in the era of the Rampart Scandal, and how one of the Chicago Seven took him under his wing. Then: How he started a new life in Colorado, only to be suddenly arrested on a federal warrant, accused of starting a n…
 
Meagan & Lola interview Gerardo Lopez, gang interventionist and former member of gang MS-13. In part 1, he tells the ladies about growing up in gang territory in LA in the 80s and 90s, getting jumped in to MS-13, and what life was like in the gang. They discuss getting arrested, gaming the system, and how being approached by an interventionist bega…
 
Lola Blanc & Meagan Elizabeth continue to interview Frank Lyford, former member of Heaven's Gate. In part 2, they discuss the growing number of red flags he began to notice after one of the leaders died, including talk of castration, and what led to his decision to finally, after 18 years, break away. He also tells the girls what it was like when h…
 
Lola & Meagan interview Frank Lyford, survivor of Heaven's Gate who left after 18 years--just a few years before discovering his friends and loved ones in the group had died by suicide. In part 1, he tells the girls how he began following the leaders Ti and Do, what it was like living a nomadic lifestyle with his "check partner," and what happened …
 
Lola Blanc and Meagan Elizabeth interview speaker and sex educator Gloria Jackson-Nefertiti. She tells the girls about being the only Black woman in an all-white Christian cult in college, the racism and bullying she experienced, and why autistic people like herself are uniquely susceptible to coercive control. They also discuss the life change tha…
 
Meagan Elizabeth and Lola Blanc interview M.E. Thomas, author of Confessions of a Sociopath, and her girlfriend Arya--two sociopaths who are dating each other. They talk about how they met, what love is like for a sociopath, and how for them it has included blood play. They also discuss whether psychopaths can be rehabilitated, how malignant behavi…
 
Lola Blanc & Meagan Elizabeth interview Elana Auerbach, former follower of sexual wellness company OneTaste--elsewhere deemed the Orgasm Cult--in its early years. Elana discusses being the founder's right hand woman as the program developed, and how the sexual practice involving stimulating a woman's genitals evolved into what's now called Orgasmic…
 
Lola Blanc and Meagan Elizabeth interview sex therapist, sexologist, and Sluts and Scholars podcast host Nicoletta Heidegger about all things BDSM! They discuss the basics of consensual play, Armie Hammer (and why cannibal fantasies are not the problem), red flags to look out for, making check-ins sexy, and how to tell the difference between kink a…
 
Lola and Meagan interview Dr. Yuval Laor, behavioral and cultural scientist who studies evolutionary biology and religion. Yuval describes his theories on awe experiences and fervor, and how cult leaders manipulate these emotional states to earn and keep their followers' loyalty. He also talks about belief attachment and why it's not so different f…
 
Meagan and Lola interview Lucien Greaves, co-founder of the Satanic Temple, about how the Satanic Temple was founded and why their (hilarious) stunts and lawsuits are actually deeply important for religious freedom and the separation of church and state. They also discuss the Satanic panic of the 80s and 90s and how it's had a resurgence in the for…
 
Lola and Meagan interview Jitarth Jadeja, former QAnon believer. He tells the girls about how, despite being Australian, he first was a Bernie supporter, then shifted his support to Trump before becoming obsessed with conspiracy theories. They discuss the two years of his life in which he believed in Q, the moment he realized it was all a lie, how …
 
**TW: This episode contains detailed descriptions of sexual assault and child abuse.** Meagan and Lola interview Amber Dawn Lee about her childhood in Zion Society, a Fundamentalist Mormon group run by self-proclaimed prophet Arvin Shreeve. They discuss how she lived in poverty with extremist parents, what it was like in the abusive cult, and what …
 
Meagan and Lola interview Amanda Montell, linguist and author of Wordslut and now Cultish, her new book about the language of fanaticism. They discuss loaded language, thought-terminating cliches, cultish jargon that can be found in wellness communities and beyond, and the surprising characteristic those who join cultish groups have in common. Plus…
 
Meagan and Lola interview rapper Fifth, also known as Cliff Henderson, about his experiences as a Jehovah's Witness. Fifth tells the girls how he was a devout member until he lost his faith in his 20s, when he was disfellowshipped and subsequently shunned by his family and community at large. He also talks about the dangerous practices that the chu…
 
PART TWO: Lola and Meagan finish their interview with Naomi Gibson, former member of both the Children of God (aka the Family) and NXIVM. In part two of this two-part episode, she talks to the girls about how Mark Vicente recruited her into NXIVM, what she loved about J'ness, and how she was involved in the cult's unraveling. www.trustmepod.com If …
 
Meagan and Lola interview Frank Meeink, author of Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead, about his journey from neo-Nazism as a teenager to present-day anti-racism. They discuss how he was indoctrinated into his white supremacist group, the crimes he committed that landed him in prison, the moment that changed everything for him, where he is now, …
 
Lola and Meagan interview Naomi Gibson, former member of both the Children of God (aka the Family) and NXIVM. In part one of this two-part episode, she talks to the girls about living on a commune in the Philippines with the Family, the abuse that went on there, how her mother decided to leave, and why it's so hard to leave a group without a strong…
 
Lola and Meagan interview filmmaker Vikram Gandhi about the making of his documentary Kumaré, in which he pretended to be a spiritual leader from a fictional village in India--and quickly built a following in Phoenix, Arizona. They discuss how it happened, why he did it, and how his followers reacted when he revealed his true identity. They also ta…
 
The girls interview filmmaker, musician, and actress Noël Wells about her experience going to a weekend retreat with a celebrity psychic - and eventually realizing she'd been scammed. Plus: an update on how Noël confronted the "psychic" after the initial interview. If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulation, or abuse …
 
Lola and Meagan interview India Oxenberg, former member of NXIVM and star of Seduced, now on Starz. They discuss EMs, the group's grooming tactics, her feelings on Allison Mack, and what it was like to face Keith Raniere in court. If you have your own story about cults, high-control groups, manipulation, or abuse of power, leave us a voicemail at 5…
 
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