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This week's episode looks at the question of abortion and the recent Supreme Court decision in the USA. It's a subject that we've planned to talk about for some time and recent events have made it absolutely time we did. Content warning: Obviously given the subject matter listener discretion is recommended. If you'd like to become a patron you can sign up for just £1 ($1.50) a month.  
Ex Jehovah's Witness Alisha tried to simply leave the religion she was raised in and build her own life. The elders had other ideas. Become a patron
The promise that you can be transformed into the person you've always wanted to be is a tempting one. This week Celine and Stephen explore the LGAT - Large Group Awareness Training industry and similar interventions. Can they deliver their promise? Are there risks associated with them? Are some of them cultic in their methods? 
One of the most emotional interviews ever on our podcast, author Kimberley L Miller talks movingly about her life as Jehovah's Witness. She describes growing up as a Witness and the struggle to just be a child, to just be herself, and the fear that came along with that upbringing. She also talks about her leaving the organization, her return and the lowest point in her life. Kimberley's story is ultimately life affirming and inspirational. It was such a privilege to talk to her. Warning: This episode briefly discusses the suicide attempt Kimberley talks about in her book. The Human Library Kimberley's Book Become a patron and join the WhatSITA community.    
In today’s episode I spend a very pleasant afternoon having a walk and a chat with a friend of the podcast and former guest John Elson at Castor & Ailsworth, a village just outside of Peterborough. John is a successful artist and he talked about his journey out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses back in September of 2021.  Our main topic of conversation today is the natural world and we had an interesting chat about all things evolution, creation, our place in the Universe and other minor considerations. John also showed me the rewilding project he is working on as part of a local community project. If you want to see the area we walked, Sarah and I recorded a little video of the area as we took a stroll with our little dog Pepper. You can watch the video here. Don't forget to subscribe and leave a review. You can also become a patron here.   Further exploration Euginie C. Scott, PhD, Evolution and Creationism as Science and Myth African Myths  
Theocracy to Democracy

Theocracy to Democracy


When you are a fundamentalist Christian, Theocracy sounds like a great idea but when you leave, the reality becomes clear. Celine and Stephen discuss what it's like to live in a Theocracy and then explore more democratic forms. They get 'into the weeds' about how these systems work, and why sometimes they seem not to. What is a filibuster? And why gerrymander? are two of the topics of discussion, as well as why the Queen has no power and just who is the most powerful Joe in the USA? Why not become a patron?    
The 'What should I think about..?' podcast goes 'sight & sound' this week on this special edition of the show, with an episode being shown on YouTube for the first time as well as a pure podcast. Stephen speaks to Dr Heather Ransom, who researches the experience of living in, and leaving a high control group often called a cult. Dr Ransom is a former 'born-in' Jehovah's Witness who left as an adult and now works in academia. She has written two published papers about the effect of disfellowshipping and shunning on the psychology of leavers. Heather first talks about her own life and the process of leaving and then about her work. Dr Ransom's papers: Grieving the Living: The Social Death of Former Jehovah’s Witnesses Life after Social Death: Leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Identity Transition and Recovery Become a patron for early access and exclusive content for just £1 ($1:50).  
High control religious groups often discourage games, warning about the 'dangers' of being influenced by Satan or the world. But what about the benefits of playing games and their role in finding community, experiencing a sense of competence and potential benefits around memory and thinking? Germ joins Celine and Stephen this week to talk all things gaming and games. There's also a bit of reminiscing about some of the team's favourite games, with a dash of psychology thrown in and the link between video games and a sense of well-being.  Become a patron for just £1 per month ($1:50) Paper Johannes, N., Vuorre, M., & Przybylski, A. K. (2021). Video game play is positively correlated with well-being. Royal Society Open Science, 8(2), 202049.      
I (Stephen) had an online conversation recently with a friend who had recently experienced a family loss. We chatted and she suggested that the way we think about death changes after we leave a belief system such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, who preach the possibility of living forever. It got me thinking about an episode Celine and I recorded about a year ago when we had very few listeners about the subject of life and death. I listened to it again and realised how much I had enjoyed the conversation and how much Celine's words had taught me. So we've released it again. It's anything but morbid and I really hope you enjoy it too. 
Ex Jehovah's Witness Poet and Podcaster Leon Helsby tells his story of leaving the organization, why he finds poetry so important to him and describes the challenges of being creative within a high control setting. Stay till the end as Leon performs his poem 'An Amnesty'. Leon has a podcast called 'A Hug From The Moon'. Link below. Why not become a patron for exclusive and early content. It's only $1:50  
Celine and Stephen get into some pop psychology to see what we know, what we think we know but don't, what we don't know and.... you get the picture. The importance of learning styles, the power pose, the madness of crowds, attention blindness and diffusion of responsibility and more all feature on today's show. Become a patron and support the show for just $1:50 per month. References Grossman, R., & Salas, E. (2011). The transfer of training: what really matters. International journal of training and development, 15(2), 103-120. Reicher, S. (2001). The psychology of crowd dynamics (Vol. 1, pp. 182-208). Riener, C., & Willingham, D. (2010). The myth of learning styles. Change: The magazine of higher learning, 42(5), 32-35.  
Today we interview Marcia and Riley (AKA Jexit) about falling in love with someone who was a member of a cult and still in the process of deconstructing, or as ex JWs call it POMI (Physically Out Mentally In). Riley is an ex Jehovah's Witness You-tuber who talks about his experiences leaving the Group. We've discussed the difficulties of relationships, love and sex for ex members of cults in previous episodes, but today we wanted to look at it from the other perspective. What's it like to meet and date someone who was in a cult? What are the potential difficulties and peculiarities? Stephen spoke to the newly weds on holiday in Paris. Become a patron for just $1:50 on our single tier to receive exclusive and early access.    
This week Celine and Stephen review, and do a cult reading of the 1999 movie, Fight Club, directed by David Fincher and starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf. If you haven't seen the film, it's violent but it covers big subjects including masculinity, capitalism and mental illness and importantly for us cult dynamics and coercive control.  Become a patron for just $1:50 for early access and exclusive content   External Links Fight Club IMDB Page Cinema Therapy      
Author, Mary Mahoney talks about her 31 years in the Children of God. She tells Celine and Stephen about her life as a young woman, believing she was called by God to missionary service, her travels around the world and her efforts to obey increasingly dark and exploitative demands by the Group. She explains the implications of leader David Berg's bizarre doctrine on the 'law of love', the use of sex to recruit known as 'flirty fishing' and the demands of 'sharing' within the commune. She also discusses the experience of having children and raising them within the group. Mary is a wonderful guest and her story is sometimes difficult to hear but her resilience is truly inspirational.  Mary's Book, Abnormal Normal, My Life in the Children of God Mary's Blog on Medium Become a patron for just £1 ($1:50) Episode Index    
Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds


As if this world isn't confusing enough, today Celine and Stephen explore virtual worlds and our seemingly unavoidable destiny with them. From Zoom to Second Life, from Virtual Reality to Web 3.0, NFTs, Crypto and even whether we are already living in a simulated reality! On top of all of that Stephen explains what actors named Chris have to do with Non Fungible Tokens! Oh and Virtual Cults.. Become a patron for just £1 ($1:50)  
Becky Armstrong-Corbett is a qualified psychotherapist and solution focused clinical hypnotherapist. Raised as a Jehovah's Witness she was sexually abused by a member of the congregation as a child and has since  worked to raise awareness of neglectful practices within this and other organizations. She contributed to the work of the Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse in the UK and has appeared on a number of news programmes and media to talk about this important subject. Becky talks to us about this and how she has made a life for herself outside the group becoming a professional psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. Becky also explains what hypnotherapy is and how it works. Become a Patron - Just a single tier at £1 ($1:50)   Becky's Website   Becky's YouTube Channel  
Cult Wars

Cult Wars


Today Celine and Stephen decide to take a sober and even-handed approach to the question of how we should research and talk about High Control Groups or Cults, and then find themselves getting all worked up! The term 'New Religious Movements' is seen as a more appropriate and less prejudicial label than the word cult, should we be using it? Are anti-cult activists getting in the way of proper sociological research? Is brainwashing not really a thing? Are ex members unreliable sources of data and should they be sidelined in favour of more sober rational and objective opinions? Becoming a patron costs just $1:50 and gives you early access to many episodes and exclusive content.   References used on this episode Barker, E. (2012). New religious movements: their incidence and significance (pp. 33-50). Routledge.   Zablocki, B. (1997). The blacklisting of a concept: The strange history of the brainwashing conjecture in the sociology of religion. Nova Religio, 1(1), 96-121.   Academics who ignore defectors as ‘apostates’ will never see Scientology for what it is by Chris Shelton.      
Daniel O'Brien is an educator, musician and ex Jehovah's Witness elder. He talks to Stephen about his experience being recruited into the organization and his tough journey out. He also talks about his upcoming lecture at the 2022 International Cultic Studies Association Conference.  Daniel's Essay - Are Religious people happier?   International Cultic Studies Association Conference 2022 For more information of to book a ticket   To become a patron of "What should I think about...?"



As it's Stephen's birthday today , 'birthdays' is the theme of this week's chat. As a Jehovah's Witness child, birthday celebrations were something alien to Stephen and so Celine and her dad try to work out why JWs really don't celebrate them. Stephen finds a paper that provides some of the history and the sociological context and he then demonstrates his slow decent into grumpy old man by having a rant about Discord, mid life crises and MAMILs. Paper discussed: Shoham, H. (2021). It is about time: Birthdays as modern rites of temporality. Time & Society, 30(1), 78-99. Become a patron for early and exclusive content for just $1:50 per month - our only tier of support.      
Ashlen talks about her experience as a born-in member of a small Christian Fundamentalist group called the Churches of Christ, and her work now as the Director of Events at the International Cultic Studies Association. Ashlen also discusses her own research and her studies with the University of Salford on the psychology of coercive control. Such an interesting discussion. Why not become a patron for just £1 ($1:50)   Ashlen's recent presentation can be found here:  
Comments (2)


She hit it right on the nose when she said that in the incidences she was able to defend herself, it was because she felt safe and empowered. As a survivor of years of molestation by more than one during my childhood, I was conditioned to believe that no one would come if I screamed. So when as an adult I was sexually assaulted twice and raped once, I was practically silent….after all, who was going to care to come rescue me. Thank you for your story and thank you WSITA for patiently allowing her to tell it.

Feb 25th
Reply (1)
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