On Belief: A Podcast About Cults

On Belief is about why none of us are immune from coercive thought reform

About the show

We all would like to think that we're immune to being persuaded, but were that true, advertising wouldn't work, the best candidates would always get elected, and our personal relationships would always be equitable.

On Belief examines why, with so much information available to us to dissuade us from joining harmful groups. I ask people who have had first hand experience with harmful groups and sects how they were seduced, how they were tricked, and how they got out.

On Belief: A Podcast About Cults on social media


  • Episode 210: The Work

    November 19th, 2019  |  Season 2  |  16 mins 16 secs

    What's it like to be born into a group that believes in a biblical Armageddon prophecy and that their leader is God on Earth? My guest Sarah Ficca explains

  • Episode 209: Tony Ortega

    November 12th, 2019  |  Season 2  |  20 mins 26 secs

    For years, Tony Ortega has been relentlessly covering the Church of Scientology. He has made some powerful enemies. Find out what it's like to be one of Scientology's biggest enemies.

  • Episode 208: Transcendental Meditation (TM)

    November 5th, 2019  |  Season 2  |  15 mins 40 secs

    Aryeh Siegel, author of Transcendental Deception (0999661507) joins me to describe his time in the TM movement and why you should not allow your school to welcome TM practitioners.

  • Episode 207: Steve Hassan

    October 29th, 2019  |  Season 2  |  59 mins 48 secs


    Cult Survivor and Cult Expert Steve Hassan joins me for a full hour to discuss his latest book The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control ( ISBN 1982127333) and why we should be more concerned about Manchurian Candidates in the future.

  • Episode 205: Soka Gakkai International with Juana Castanheira

    October 15th, 2019  |  Season 2  |  1 hr 5 mins

    Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō. It's a chant you may have heard, and you may have thought it was part of regular Buddhist practice. It's actually a chant that's the cornerstone of a group called Soka Gakkai International

  • Episode 204: OneTaste With Ellen Huet and Ruwan Meepagala

    October 8th, 2019  |  Season 2  |  15 mins 30 secs

    OneTaste started with a simple but powerful mission: to teach women to receive pleasure without any hang ups or need to reciprocate. What ended up happening to many who joined the organization has left them wondering if their consent was ever fully given.

  • Episode 203: Munchausen By Proxy With Dr. Marc Feldman and Judy Tienken

    October 1st, 2019  |  Season 2  |  14 mins 57 secs

    Coercive thought control doesn't just happen in cults or cult-like groups. In cases like Munchausen By Proxy, it's complete, abusive control by a mother over her children.

  • Episode 202: Cult Therapy with Rachel Bernstein

    September 24th, 2019  |  Season 2  |  15 mins 13 secs

    Most people think De-Programming is the only method to work with ex-cult members, but Rachel Bernstein, a licensed family therapist, specializes in therapy for family members and survivors of cults.

  • Episode 000: Cross Post: Hear the first episode of On Grief: a Podcast about Death Free Now

    September 19th, 2019  |  Season 0  |  51 mins 32 secs

    UNLOCKED FULL EPISODE* For more free episodes, visit Patreon.com/ongriefpod

    To understand death, we have to ask people who have been there what it's like. I asked Dr. Eben Alexander, a Neurosurgeon and Near Death Experiencer to tell me what happened to him.

    I also induce a Near Death Experience with the help of a substance called 5-MeO DMT.

  • Episode 201: Hate Groups with David Neiwert

    September 17th, 2019  |  Season 2  |  56 mins 47 secs
    david neiwert, hate groups, militias, patriots, white supremacy

    Season 2 of On Belief will look at other ways that control and coercive thought reform are deployed.

    This week, David Neiwert, Author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump (ISBN 1786634236) Joins me to discuss White Supremacist Hate Groups and their similarities to cults


    September 17th, 2019  |  1 min

    Launching this week: On Grief: A Podcast about Death

    Find out more about my next project

  • Episode 118: Catherine Oxenberg on Cults and Families

    September 3rd, 2019  |  Season 1  |  15 mins 46 secs
    allison mack, belief, catherine oxenberg, coercion, cults, karen geier, keith raniere, nancy saltzman, nxivm, religions, rick alan ross, sects, yoga

    Catherine Oxenberg, author of Captive: A Mother's Crusade to Save Her Daughter from a Terrifying Cult joins me to discuss her ordeal extracting her daughter India from NXIVM and her experiences helping bring Keith Raniere to justice.

  • Episode 117: De-Programming With Mia Donovan

    August 27th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  16 mins 22 secs
    brainwashing, cults, deprogramming, mia donovan, ted patrick

    Director of Deprogrammed, Mia Donovan, joins me to talk about the Godfather of De-programming, Ted Patrick, who 'De-programmed' her step-brother when he was 14 years old.

  • Episode 116: Jehovah's Witnesses Part 2 with Jerry Minor

    August 20th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  16 mins 1 sec
    apostate, ex-jw, jehovah, jehovah's witnesses

    Jerry Minor (SNL, Mr. Show, Arrested Development) joins me today to discuss his time in the witnesses and the rather unusual way he got out.

  • Episode 115: Jehovah's Witnesses Part 1 with Dawn Wilburn-Saboe

    August 13th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  15 mins 28 secs
    apostate, ex-jw, jehovah, jehovah's witnesses

    If your only exposure to the Jehovah's Witnesses has been at your door when they've been recruiting, you might not know about the rather extreme belief system Witnesses are forced to adhere to under threat of Disfellowshipment. My guest today describes her live inside and out of the Witnesses.

  • Episode 114: Quiverfull with Guest Heather Doney

    August 6th, 2019  |  Season 1  |  15 mins 46 secs
    bible, biblical patriarchy, christians, evangelicals, fundamentalism, fundies, heather doney, quiverfull

    Heather Doney was raised in the Quiverfull belief system while living in New Orleans and peeking out her backyard at the sights of Mardi Gras.