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A podcast about cults, extreme belief, and manipulation – from two hosts who’ve actually lived it. Hosted by Lola Blanc and Meagan Elizabeth. Got your own story about cults, extreme belief, or manipulation? Leave a voicemail or text us at 347-86-TRUST (347-868-7878) OR shoot us an email at Trust Me Pod @gmail.com INSTAGRAM: @TrustMePodcast @oohlalola @meaganelizabeth11 TWITTER: @TrustMeCultPod @ohlalola @baberahamhicks TIKTOK: @TrustMeCultPodcast
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Religious and cult ideologies often use the practice of shunning to silence their critics and to control their members through fear. This podcast sheds light on shunning through real life stories as told by the people that have lived through it. Learn what their lives were like and where they have ended up in life after being shunned. Featuring stories from Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology, Amish, Mennonite, FLDS, the Moonies, and more, you will learn about the real lives of former members t ...
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In this episode we meet Kyle and Kari, a brave couple that has been a support (along with others) to their community of religious disaffiliates as they have been awakened to the realities of their group in shocking ways. What group are we talking about? Meet the Two By Twos, at times referred to as “the no name church”, a group that doesn’t necessa…
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Whether it is aligning people against you, telling you that you can’t trust people on the outside, or trying to convince you that you’re crazy, a person that is gaslighting you can wreak havoc on your relationships. When that person isn’t just one person but an entire cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses and it is everyone that you know, you don’t stand a c…
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Today we chat with Jessica Kahn, former member of a group we're calling "The Narrow Road." She'll tell us about being born into this isolated fundamentalist Christian sect that was originally formed as an addiction treatment program, the leader's connection to the founders of AA, how every part of life was strictly controlled, how they believed tha…
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Today our guest is Madi Stroud. She was featured on the HBO docu series Love Has Won, and is late cult leader Amy Carlson’s daughter - the one whose mummified body was found wrapped in Christmas lights in Colorado. Madi shares what she remembers of her mom as a kid, how it felt after Amy suddenly left Madi and her brothers when she was only 7, and …
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Gaslighting isn’t just a one time event, it is a pattern expressed over time, and Jehovah’s Witnesses use it with regularity in the cult. Love bombing, brainwashing, projecting what they’re doing onto others, hypocrisy, etc. are all a part of the experience. This is the fifth in a series where I’ll break down the ways that the cult of Jehovah’s Wit…
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Dr. Inna Kanevsky, psychologist, professor, and debunker of pseudoscience psychology TikToks, discusses the misinformation videos that got her started on the path of debunking, why mental health labels can be helpful but can also lead us to incorrectly self-diagnose and take on labels that do not belong to us, and why it’s a problem when we make a …
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Catherine wasn’t born into the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses. There was a lot of abuse and bullying that went on in her home, both parental and from her siblings. Her family was lacking love, and one day she thought that she found it when she met a young man. That young man ended up bringing her to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and she took to what she though…
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Today is part two with Warren Kohl, former member and religious leader within the 2x2s (Meagan's secretive childhood group that technically has no name). Today we'll hear how Warren left behind his dreams of medical school to become a "worker" (a minister who stays in people's homes). He'll talk about the pressure to speak with some kind of authori…
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Lying is integral to gaslighting, pushing the false realities that create confusion and lead to controlling behaviors. “The Truth”, as Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to their religious cult, is full of lies. The organization conveniently bends truth to create narratives to support and excuse their own behavior. The constant pressure to conform creates s…
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Today's guest is Warren kohl, a fifth generation member and former “worker” (or minister) in the 2x2’s, the group that Meagan grew up in. Warren shares how devout he was to the group at a very young age, having your entire life controlled, and how utter heartbreak in high school led him to celibacy and a deeper commitment to the group. Trust Me is …
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Waking up to the realities of life in the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses is hard enough to do even in the best of circumstances. But what if you were an active JW, and what if you were fighting another active JW for custody of your child? And what if, in doing so, your eyes were opened to the reality of everything that you were involved in through the…
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Psychologist, trauma bond expert, and author of Run Like Hell: A Therapist's Guide to Recognizing, Escaping, and Healing from Trauma Bonds, Nadine Macaluso share about her relationship with ex-husband Jordan Belfort (aka The Wolf of Wall Street) and how it led her to become a therapist with a focus on trauma bonds. They also discuss "mind mapping",…
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One hallmark of gaslighting is using what is near and dear to a person as ammunition against them. Jehovah’s Witnesses weaponize their relationships with you, your normal and natural desires, the expression of those desire, and more. They use shame to make you feel like a bad person for daring to want something outside of the approved list of perso…
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Life happens, both for the better and for the worse. Being a kid is hard, especially as it relates to school. Families fight. Relationships come and go. Individuals have their own internal struggles. There are amazing people in this world that seek to uplift others, and also people that prey on others and hope to take them down. Cherie’s story high…
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In part two with Zoe and Lilly, survivors of Midwest Academy, one of the abusive troubled teen programs in the same organization that was spotlighted in the docuseries The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping, we dig deeper into Lily’s experience. She’ll tell us how she was in solitary confinement for two months, and how her reaction was to rebel i…
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One hallmark of gaslighting is the denial of what happened, even in the face of proof. Jehovah’s Witnesses are masters of spin, from the organization itself to the individual members of the cult. When you hold something dear and you call it “The Truth”, you need it to be true no matter the cost. Whether it is the denial of their systematic shunning…
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Survivors of the infamous WWASP schools, Zoe & Lillian, share about their experiences being forced to join Ivy Ridge, Midwest Academy, and Casa by the Sea; All schools featured in the current Netflix docudrama, The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping. Lola & Meagan dig into how these programs were marketed to parents, the dramatic ways Zoe & Lilli…
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Jess grew up between two worlds, the one at her father’s house and the one at her mother’s. Both involved abuse and created much trauma for her, and as a child she would have to choose which home to stay at. That often meant staying at one home until she could no longer tolerate it, and then moving to the next. Add in bullying at school, by other f…
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In part two with former LuLaRoe seller, Roberta Blevins, they discuss everything about LuLaRoe's founder DeAnne Brady and her family, the mother figure role DeAnne provided in Roberta's life, dealing with toxic positivity, and a thorough list of MLM red flags to look out for. Plus, how Roberta finally realized that she was in a cult and how startin…
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On March 15, 2024, Mark Sanderson of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses gave an update to his cult followers. This comes on the heels of a country like Norway taking the cult to task for their shunning policies, something that most Jehovah's Witnesses likely won't even know happened, and a court case that the JWs lost. As a result, funding w…
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In part one with former LuLaRoe seller and Life After MLM podcast host, Roberta Blevins, she'll share how she first got involved in MLMS, what LuLaRoe was like, what the deal was with the wet smelly leggings, and what made realize that she did not want to be a part of MLM life anymore. We'll discuss how MLMs make good people act badly, what "huns" …
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This week, Lola and Meagan's guests are... Lola and Meagan! They talk about the cult of seeing everything as a cult, discussing how things that might seem a little culty don’t necessarily inherently mean that a group IS a cult. They’ll discuss political polarization, online miscommunication, group dynamics that happen in ALL groups, and the differe…
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In part two of this listener story with Operation Light Force survivor, Katelyn Hlavaty, Lola and Meagan unpack how the leader's bogus healing protocol, which involved digging into old trauma, eventually led to Satanic Ritual Abuse. Katelyn shares how isolation from her family and a period of spontaneous remission from her bout Crohn's disease deep…
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Young Jacob was diagnosed with cancer at just 5 years of age and suddenly found himself in different environments that garnered attention. However, as he would move on throughout his life, Jacob would find himself on the outside looking in, trying to be good enough to qualify to do the things that he saw other Jehovah’s Witnesses doing around him. …
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In part one of this wild listener story, Katelyn Hlavaty chats with Lola and Meagan about her experience in the evangelical healing ministry group, Operation Light Force. Katelyn shares how she joined the group when she was isolated and struggling with Crohn's disease, and how the group's promises of community, God, and literal physical healing see…
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Through gaslighting, one person or one group of people can become the reality check for an individual, whether that person wanted that reality check or not. A person is systematically broken down, detaching from themselves and attaching to the one doing the gaslighting. Cults often employ gaslighting to get oneness of mind, unity, sameness. Jehovah…
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Sara Gorman, public health expert, CEO & founder of Critica, and author of Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us, joins Lola and Meagan to discuss the importance of the scientific method, why presenting evidence can feel like an attack, common debunked beliefs that persist in American culture, and the role that media plays…
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Getting baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a forever contract with a cult. In Justin’s case, that decision to get dunked in a pool of water was made as a young man, a young man that knew he was gay. Because of that, ultimately he would never be able to be what they wanted him to be. He realized that if he were ever to be disfellowshipped fro…
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Former Sea Org member and niece of Scientology leader David Miscavige, Jenna Miscavige, talks about leaving "The Ranch" in order to join the Sea Org, getting involved in higher level management, how she barely knew her own parents, the constant level of paranoia she saw from everyone at all levels, what it was like to date within the Sea Org, how s…
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The Covid-19 pandemic brought a lot of change to the world. Many started to wear masks for protection. But for many Jehovah’s Witnesses, their facial freedom was about to be granted as a result of something that is seemingly totally unrelated. Will these bearded brothers continue to grow their beards bred in captivity, or will they eventually becom…
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Former Scientology Sea Org member and niece of current Scientology leader David Miscavige, Jenna Miscavige, talks about being a third generation member, growing up in the infamous Sea Organization, doing child labor in a place called The Ranch, the strong snitching culture and knowledge reports that made it hard to trust anyone, bizarre educational…
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Finding a way out of a cult is one of the hardest things that a human can do. To find one’s own way free, to take a stand against everything you’ve ever known while knowing that it will cost you dearly, is hard. For many it costs them their entire family, and in this episode I talk with a couple that made it out together. That comes with its own un…
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Crystal Hefner, former Playboy Playmate, Hugh Hefner's widow, author of Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and Finding Myself shares how she ended going to the Playboy Mansion for the first time, getting invited by Hef to stay, her tightly controlled lifestyle and the weekly rituals that were designed to please Hef and no one else, how she fel…
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Many people don’t realize that Jehovah’s Witnesses were among the many that were persecuted and brutally murdered by the German Nazi Party. Growing up, this was put to me as both a source of unusual pride but was also used to instill fear in me that someday this would likely happen again… to us, because it was always about us. We were told many JW …
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