DiscoverGuru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment
Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment
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Guru: The Dark Side of Enlightenment

Author: Wondery

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All episodes are available for free, with ad-free episodes available for Wondery+ subscribers.

When we face challenges in life, we seek answers from people we believe can help us. When tragedy strikes an exclusive retreat with a self-help superstar, many people are left to wonder: how far is too far? James Arthur Ray was an Oprah-endorsed self-help teacher who achieved fame, fortune, and influence. But friends and family members of his followers questioned his unorthodox methods, and tried to stop him. From Wondery, the makers of “Dirty John,” “Dr. Death,” and “The Shrink Next Door,” comes a story about the dark side of enlightenment. Hosted by journalist Matt Stroud.

New episodes will come out weekly.

11 Episodes
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Introducing: Guru

Introducing: Guru

2020-06-1657:4630

A search for spiritual guidance leads a group of strangers to seek help from a self-help guru. He’s part of a growing number of entrepreneurs giving workshops and seminars all over the US in the 2000s. His unorthodox methods and blend of self-improvement philosophies and economic advice have won praise from Oprah and others. His career seems to be taking off, but his ever more extreme methods push his pupils to their limits. What are they seeking? What does he offer? And what happens when it all goes too far, and people die. Listen on Apple Podcasts starting July 1st.Binge ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/guruSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Spiritual Warriors

Spiritual Warriors

2020-07-0138:5499

Ginny and her daughter Kirby attend an event featuring self-help superstar James Arthur Ray. Ginny has some concerns about him, but Kirby is drawn in. She spends her life savings to travel for a week-long event in the desert. But when things turn deadly, Ginny is left to figure out what went wrong.Binge ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/guruSupport the show by supporting our sponsors!Simplisafe - Head to Simplisafe.com/GURU for free shipping and a 60 day money back guarantee.Best Fiends - Download Best Fiends FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Black Bags

Black Bags

2020-07-0137:1258

Eight rounds. Scalding fire rocks. Oppressive heat. What happened to Kirby and the other participants at “Spiritual Warrior”?Binge ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/guruSupport the show by supporting our sponsors!Simplisafe - Head to Simplisafe.com/GURU for free shipping and a 60 day money back guarantee.Best Fiends - Download Best Fiends FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
James’ Good Story

James’ Good Story

2020-07-0341:3169

When Detective Ross Diskin first arrives in Angel Valley in Sedona, he wonders if what he’s seeing is the result of a mass suicide . Now, his search for answers will take him from Angel Valley into James’ history. And it will lead him back to one particularly famous talk show host.Binge ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/guruSupport the show by supporting our sponsors!Simplisafe - Head to Simplisafe.com/GURU for free shipping and a 60 day money back guarantee.Best Fiends - Download Best Fiends FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Ginny flies to Arizona seeking justice. But will a jury decide what happened in Angel Valley was an accident or a crime?Binge ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/guruSupport the show by supporting our sponsors!Simplisafe - Head to Simplisafe.com/GURU for free shipping and a 60 day money back guarantee.Best Fiends - Download Best Fiends FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Play Full On

Play Full On

2020-07-1541:5539

The trial may be over, but Ginny’s family are not finished with James. And when another incident from James’ past comes to light, they get another chance to confront him.Binge ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/guruSupport the show by supporting our sponsors!Simplisafe - Head to Simplisafe.com/GURU for free shipping and a 60 day money back guarantee.Best Fiends - Download Best Fiends FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play.ShipStation - Use offer code GURU at ShipStation.com for a FREE 60 day trial!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Ginny gets an unwelcome interruption before Thanksgiving. And a fan of James Ray’s faces a stark choice.Binge ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/guruSupport the show by supporting our sponsors!Simplisafe - Head to Simplisafe.com/GURU for free shipping and a 60 day money back guarantee.Best Fiends - Download Best Fiends FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play.ShipStation - Use offer code GURU at ShipStation.com for a FREE 60 day trial!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Seeking Safe Self-Help

Seeking Safe Self-Help

2020-07-2941:3922

Matt Stroud, Ginny Brown and Laura Tucker sit down with Laura Beil, host of Dr. Death and Bad Batch, for a live Q&A at the GURU virtual listening premiere.Binge ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/guruSupport the show by supporting our sponsors!Simplisafe - Head to Simplisafe.com/GURU for free shipping and a 60 day money back guarantee.Best Fiends - Download Best Fiends FREE on the Apple App Store or Google Play.ShipStation - Use offer code GURU at ShipStation.com for a FREE 60 day trial!See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Cult Buster

Cult Buster

2020-08-0536:5719

Matt Stroud speaks with cult expert Rick Ross about his controversial “cult busting” career and how it led to his involvement in the James Arthur Ray case.Binge ad free with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App. https://wondery.app.link/guruSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
A small town cop is gunned down in a swamp in the summer of 2015. He quickly became a martyr in the national media, until a dogged investigator uncovered the officer's bizarre and dark past. When the truth comes out, the townspeople must reconcile betrayal, corruption and the secrets of an American hero. From Wondery, the makers of The Shrink Next Door and Dr. Death comes the third season of Over My Dead Body: Fox Lake.Listen to Over My Dead Body Fox Lake -wondery.fm/FL_GuruSee Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Steve Kough lived many lives. He was an NFL journeyman, a male model, and one of the most well-connected smugglers in 1980’s Miami, the “Drug Capital of the World." Kough collected many souvenirs from his adventures, but his most treasured bounty – a beautiful ceramic, crafted by Pablo Picasso and gifted to Ernest Hemingway at the author’s Cuban home, the Finca Vigia... or so the story goes. Lost during the Cuban Revolution, the artwork resurfaced when Kough took it as a payment for drug run financed by the notorious Pablo Escobar. Kough passed away in 2018, passing the piece down to his son, Stevie, a skateboarding hippie growing weed in California. Stevie feels he needs to complete his father’s mission – of selling this piece and telling Steve’s cinematic life story.  So, is the Picasso authentic—or a fraud? Was Steve Kough a big talker or a real deal smuggler? Does any of that matter or is this a story of aspiration, legacy, and difficult love? Tune in on Monday’s starting on October 18th to find out! This is a Somethin' Else production in association with Vespucci.See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
Comments (55)

Kimica Z

Every time they say his full name I just think "JAR" lol

Jun 24th
Reply

A Gannon

some judgy asshole commenters on previous episodes, or on any article about cults, etc., need to listen to the last 5 minutes and take it to heart. i really wish they'd talked about vulnerability more. so many people think they're above being drawn in to something like this...they aren't. nobody who winds up in a cult or in a near cult situation has ever said to themselves "wow, boy howdy, am I ever gullible and ripe for exploitation. think I'll go join a cult, as I'm such easy pickings!" it has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with vulnerability, and what those judgy assholes need to understand is that *the purpose of society and the duty of humanity is to protect the vulnerable*, not mock them when they are harmed. you are not immune. there is a philosophy out there strong enough to draw you in, if the right bastard catches you at the right time. we must be sympathetic.

May 22nd
Reply

priyankasj28

Another riveting program. I can always rely on #wondery to share engaging stories.

May 1st
Reply

Cayenne Love

It's ironic that a show about sketchy wellness practice is full of ads for sketchy wellness products.

Mar 26th
Reply

Catherine Dove

isn t it almost the non religious version of Osteen s prosperity church? it did hit all the cult markers save cutting off those who don't follow. I suspect that if it were not for the deaths at the time they did happen,it would become a nexium like cult

Jan 1st
Reply

A Gannon

This absolute SHIT has the unmitigated gall to complain about the heat in prison?! WOW he can go fuck a bed of hot coals and suck Satan's farts for air.

Dec 14th
Reply

Dee Smith

He carries on about how he lost 3 Friends BUT then straight after says I LOST ALL MY COMPANIES WHAT A TWAT

Oct 22nd
Reply

Dee Smith

I take my hat 🧢 off to Jenny I think I would of cut his neck

Oct 21st
Reply

Dee Smith

Stupid Oprah

Oct 21st
Reply

Dee Smith

I’m an ex drug addict & just can’t understand how stupid ppl can be to believe in this shit

Oct 20th
Reply

LadyMae

One of the best podcast episodes I've listened to in a while. I'm totally looking this guy up later.

Sep 26th
Reply

SleepyCat

I thought inner happiness was more than success and money?😑

Aug 9th
Reply (1)

SleepyCat

Many of these people needed therapy, medication and some social interaction, not some nut job locking them in a hot shed!!😬

Aug 9th
Reply

SleepyCat

This is based on cult models - dressed up as 'wellness' and 'empowerment' James Ray is a snake oil salesman with a thirst for power, cash and has a god complex. How did such intelligent people fall for such nonsense? Did I also hear Herbal life mentioned? Wasn't that some MLM scam??? Good grief😧

Aug 9th
Reply

Samp 75

I'm not sure why this is a 7 part podcast? It seems to be a witch hunt against an irresponsible person who was followed by equally irresponsible consenting adults which led to their demise...

Jul 29th
Reply (1)

Kara Matthews

You know at first I was irritated by the followers, but the more I listened to what this guy was saying and how he was "grooming" them, I realized how manipulative he was. A lot of those people probably couldn't see past his machinations no matter how intelligent they were because he was playing on their vulnerabilities and telling them what they wanted to hear. In short, he brainwashed them. They didn't have the ability to make better decisions.

Jul 27th
Reply

Santos Mendez

This guy is so showman this is the same thing Joe osteen does

Jul 24th
Reply

Santos Mendez

Funny how Oprah Invites these scam artists to her show And gives him the green light and has people believing in them And they end up being Frauds What does that tell you people stop believing what Oprah says

Jul 24th
Reply

Kitabug

I always try to consider all sides of arguments presented and to place myself in others' shoes. I'm surprised that I find myself feeling more outraged/frustrated by the followers and their willingness to do whatever this guy said than the 'guru.' It's so sad that people are so willing to 'follow' that they would throw all rational thinking out the window. I'm just blown away by the fact that their need to believe in something cancelled their ability to recognize that they were literally baking to death. Wow! I agree with other comments that at the end of the day you're responsible for prioritizing your own personal safety. I guess they weren't given enough information to fully weigh the risks...but you would think that internal alarm bells would start to sound as they approached their physical limit. Had every participant in this extreme heat challenge died, I would have a completely different reaction. The fact that some of them had the soundness of mind to leave the tent when they reached their individual limits is what makes it hard for me to understand the ones that stayed.

Jul 18th
Reply

Domerciful

Great podcast but that intro music really gets on my nerves

Jul 18th
Reply
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