Daniella Mestyanek Young grew up in the Children of God cult, also known as The Family. She escaped aged 15, then joined the US army after college – and recognised similar systems of toxic control.
What is the appeal of cults? How do they work? And what is the damage they do? A new book, by the creator of the podcast Let’s Talk About Sects, answers these questions and more.
Romana Didulo has declared herself the Queen of Canada. Thousands of people follow her and her outlandish conspiracy theories, and here’s why that’s so dangerous.
A professor of religious studies argues that describing QAnon followers as brainwashed overlooks their role in accepting and spreading potentially dangerous beliefs.
The idea of organized satanic witchcraft was invented in 15th-century Europe by church and state authorities, who at first had a hard time convincing regular folks it was real.
Brazil’s Valley of the Dawn faith is often dismissed as a cult. But many of the group’s fantastical rituals are a recognizable reaction to this harsh world of inequality, loneliness and pandemics.
Mubarak held power for three decades, on the foundation of a personality cult.
After a bribery scandal that took down four presidents and led Congress to dissolve, some Peruvians are putting their faith in an austere religion called the Israelites of the New Universal Pact.
There are many legitimate ways to critique Donald Trump, but demonizing his voters as cult followers doesn’t help us understand why they are attracted to him and how their world view has developed.
Some have started to frame Thunberg’s activism in messianistic terms – and this can serve as fodder for climate deniers.
Prosperity gospel in South Africa is in the news for all the wrong reasons. But for its followers, it’s not a con, just a different approach to God.
From a sarin attack on a city subway to the rebirth of Buddha to protest marches against indecent magazines, Japan’s religious movements have covered a lot of ground.
This is the real reason you believe in superstitions.
The case of this cult-like group shows health consumers need better protection.
A scholar visited Rajneeshpuram and met the many highly accomplished men and women who became devotees of the controversial guru. What brought them to the spiritual community, and what made them stay?
The story of this video game speaks to what seems a powerful political moment, of an American nation literally at war with itself.
A scholar explains the popular use of the label ‘cult,’ and what makes it problematic.
The 1995 Tokyo sarin attack helped make Japanese criminal justice dramatically more punitive.
Charles Manson, who has died aged 83, was a cult leader par excellence.
The Dera Sacha Sauda episode has several important questions, mostly related to the crisis of spirituality and modernity in India today.