Cults

Some Links and Info for Researching Religious Cults

(The Guru Trip is Over)


Contents of This Page

Links - What is a Cult?

Links - General Information on Cults

Links - Specific Groups

Documentary Films About Cults

Feature Films About Cults

Books About Cults


What is a Cult?


Wikipedia Article - Cult
Long, serious article addressing the many aspects of this complicated issue.
PLEASE READ above article if interested in this subject.

Wikipedia Article - Cult Checklist

Wikipedia Article - New Religous Movement (politically correct term for "cult")

Here are three more webpages which seriously discuss "what is a cult?":

Common Cult Characteristics (condensed from Revive website by A. Orange) www.orange-papers.org/orange-cultinfo.html

Key Cult Features (from SOS Europe website) www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult-sos.html

Totalism in Today's Cults - Jan Goenveld www.orange-papers.org/orange-totalism.html

The above 3 links are to pages on a large website critical of Alchohics Anonymous (AA). These pages refer to characteristics of cults in general, not necesarily to AA. I have no particular beef with AA myself, but I do think it interesting to analyze them. AA seems to have helped many people, though I know recovered alchoholics who did not seem to like or need AA. Here is a link to a page at that site discussing AA as a cult: Alcholics Anonymous as a Cult by A. Orange www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult.html

How to Become a Cult Guru - Phil Milstein - www.songpoemmusic.com/cults/guru.htm

Check This Out! (Awesome Youtube video)
Mind Control Made Easy or How to Become a Cult Leader - Carey Burtt - www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3wTtmrFQxI

The above video illustrates some of the concepts of "thought reform" (also called brain-washing or mind control) put forth by Robert Jay Lifton.
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jay_Lifton


General Information on Cults


Reddit Discussion Forum - Cults - www.reddit.com/r/cults

ICSA - International Cultic Studies Association - www.icsahome.com
Publishers of Cultic Studies Review

Rick Ross - www.culteducation.com
Rick Ross Groups Listing - www.culteducation.com/sg_alpha.html
Rick Ross Links Page - www.culteducation.com/links.html
Rick Ross is a "cult interventionist" and educator, his extensive site has a large list of groups with many articles and links. (site address was formerly rickross.com, changed to culteducation.com in 2014)

CultNews.net - thorough daily news roundup (from Rick Ross)

From the Age of the Guru to the Age of the Friend - Dr. Greg Goode - www.heartofnow.com/files/other.writings.html
Very thoughtful discussion of the guru concept, including "enlightenment by transmission".

Why the Age of the Guru is Over - Charles Eisenstein:
www.realitysandwich.com/across_threshold_0

Wikipedia Article - Guru

Sarlo's Guru Rating Service www3.telus.net/public/sarlo/Ratings.htm
Very interesting website. Extensive listings of gurus.

Guruphiliac.Blogspot.com
"Revealing Self-Aggrandizement and Superstition in Self-Realization Since 2005"
Very fun and interesting site - keeps up-to-date with wacky guru stories. This site was moved to Facebook in 2010. I don't find it nearly as useful or accessible there, but I think the old site is still up for searching the archives.
Guruphiliac Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/pages/Guruphiliac/170255186340026

Steven Alan Hassan - www.freedomofmind.com

FACTnet - www.factnet.org

Ex-Cult Resource Center www.ex-cult.org

Allen Tate Wood - www.allentwood.com

Walter Martin - www.waltermartin.com
Late Christian cult researcher - lots of videos available (I have not yet seen any of these), including 10-part series on Mormons and a video about Transcendental Meditation.

Stripping The Gurus - Geoffrey Faulk - www.strippingthegurus.com
Subtitled: Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment.
An online book - no one is spared here - maybe even goes a bit too far. Highly recommended reading though. Includes links and a large bibliography of books about cults.

Cult Information Centre - www.cultinformation.org.uk
List of groups with links, list of books, some good general articles.

Cult Awareness and Information Library - www.culthelp.info / www.caic.org.au

Fake Gurus discussion forum - www.fake-guru.com

Cult Apologist FAQ - home.snafu.de/tilman/faq-you/cult.apologists.txt

RelInfo.ch - a Swiss site, in German

Anti-Cult Movement (Wikipedia): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-cult_movement
Extensive article breaking down the various types of groups that oppose cults.


Info on Specific Groups


My funny story on "Yogic Flying" and Transcendental Meditation.

www.suggestibility.org
Falling Down the TM Rabbithole - How Transcendental Meditation Really Works, A Critical Opinion - Joe Kellett

Wikipedia Article - Scientology
Note - this is the main article at Wikipedia. Click "show" on the yellow bar at the bottom of the page to see all the Scientology-related articles at Wikipedia - there are over 80 different articles.

xenu.net - Operation Clambake
Very extensive anti-Scientology site. "Undressing the Church of Scientology since 1996."

Fun from The Onion: www.theonion.com/articles/scientology-losing-ground-to-new-fictionology,1327/

The Underground Bunker (Scientology Blog) tonyortega.org

newkadampa.com Critical of NKT
The New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) is a fast-growing, empire-building Buddhist cult. There are many sects and variations within Buddhism. They all seem to respect each other, but most seem to be suspicious of the NKT. They emphasize following the teachings of "the guru", and teach that you can become enlightened only by direct contact with the guru. And their leader just happens to be not only enlightened, but actually the "third Buddha".
Main official website: (they have many more) kadampa.org
NKT at Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Kadampa_Tradition
This Wikipedia article seems to have recently been purged (early 2008) of lots of critical info, such as their beef with the Dalai Lama.

My page on Oneness Movement / Oneness Blessing / Sri Kalki Bhagavan (includes links)

Unification Church (Sun Myung Moon) at Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unification_Church

www.leavingsiddhayoga.net Critical of Siddha Yoga - SYDA (the late Swami Muktananda)
Extensive site in English, Dutch, German, French and Italian.

www.ex-premie.org
Ex-followers of Guru Maharaj Ji, AKA Prem Rawat, AKA Lord of the Universe. In English, French and Spanish, with links to other similar sites.

"Wikipedia ruled by Lord of the Universe" - (amazing article) - www.rickross.com/reference/vital/vital19.html

And a followup to the above article: "Lord of the Universe" disciple exits Wikipedia
- www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/09/fresco_retires_from_wikipedia/

yogibhajan.tripod.com
Large collection of info on Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini Yoga, 3HO. Lots of court documents.

The Wacko World of Yogi Bhajan - www.wackoworldofyogibhajan.net

indiakids.blogspot.com
"Live Your Life - Memoirs and Accounts from a Second Generation Adult Raised in 3HO Sikh Dharma"
Recently started (04/08) blog relating experiences with 3HO/Yogi Bhajan

Kundalini Yoga/3HO/Yogi Bhajan www.rickross.com/groups/3ho.html
Collections of articles from Rick Ross's page for 3HO. This cult bugs me more than most, as I find yoga in general to be a serious and powerful method of healing, and this group continues to perpetuate the image of yoga as weird, wacky and cultish. And inexplicably, the yoga world seems to accept 3HO's "Kundalini Yoga" (not to be confused with actual kundalini yoga) as a valid form of yoga practice. They also claim to be Sikhs (hence the white turbans) but actually have nothing to do with Sikhism (which itself has nothing to do with yoga).

www.lifeincut.com One woman's experience with Elizabeth Clare Prophet and The Summit Lighthouse AKA Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT)

CUT at Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Universal_and_Triumphant

www.diamond-cutter.org - Critical of Geshe Michael Roach
(disappeared from the web circa 2009)

www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/us/mysterious-yoga-retreat-ends-in-a-grisly-death.html
New York Times Article 06/06/12 - Death at Michael Roach Retreat (over 330 comments)

www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/psychosis-stabbing-secrecy-and-death-at-a-neo-buddhist-universtiy-in-arizona
Article 05/04/12 by Matthew Remski about Death at Michael Roach Retreat (over 670 comments)

www.elephantjournal.com/2012/05/tragedy-at-diamond-mountain-an-update
An Extensive Update on 05/19/2012 to Remski's 05/04/12 article (over 1300 comments)

www.freecatherine.com An experience with Satchidananda's Yogaville.

Swami Nithyananda - www.nithyananda-cult.blogspot.com

Nithy at Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Nithyananda

Dahn Yoga - www.rickross.com/groups/dti.html
Dahn Yoga article in Rolling Stone FEB 18 2010 - www.rickross.com/reference/dti/dti71.html

Recoverying from YIDL (Yoga In Daily Life) - www.beyondorange.org

MISA / Gregorian Bivolaru / Natha / Mihai Stoian / Agama / Narcis Tarcau:
I came across a mention of MISA in 2012, referred to as a "European-based yoga tantra porn cult". Looked into it and found that they have been around since 1998, stirring up a lot of controversy.
www.exmisa.org Romanian forum for ex-members - has English section.
www.exnatha.dk Danish forum for ex-members - has English section
Official site - MISA: www.yogaesoteric.net English/Romanian/French
Official site - Gregorian Bivolaru (AKA Grieg) (founder/leader/guru of MISA): www.gregorianbivolaru.com
Official site - Mihai Stoian (AKA Advaitananda): www.mihaistoian.net
Official site - Natha : www.natha.net
Official site - Agama : www.agamayoga.com
(Narcis Tarcau's (AKA Swami Vivekananda Saraswati) offshoot from MISA, based in Thailand)

www.sustainedaction.org/
"devoted to exploring and evaluating the claims of Carlos Castaneda" (he wrote the Don Juan books)

The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda - Robert Marshall - April 22,2007
(Lengthy and interesting article at Salon.com about Carlos Casteneda):
www.salon.com/2007/04/12/castaneda/

www.cleargreen.com/
Official site of "Tensegrity", the movement technique developed and taught by Carlos Castaneda and his followers.

Wikipedia Article - Heaven's Gate
39 members commited mass suicide in 1997 to board alien spacecraft hiding behind Hale-Bopp comet.

www.gizmodo.com/the-online-legacy-of-a-suicide-cult-and-the-webmasters-1617403237
Very interesting article about the continued maintenance of the official website of the Heaven's Gate cult.


www.delightenment.com Check out these funny T-Shirts

thebabarazzi.com Examining the commercialization of yoga / yogilebrity/celebriyogi culture


Some Documentary Films Related to Cults


David Wants to Fly (2010 - 96min) David Sieveking
Official Site (In German):
www.davidwantstofly.de
Wikipedia (the film): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Wants_to_Fly
Wikipedia (Transcendental Meditation): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendental_Meditation
(This main artcle links to over 40 other TM-related Wikipedia articles)
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1598782/
Amazon.de (GERMANY) (DVD 11/26/10 PAL Region0) : www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B004265K7G
Can Watch Online Here: www.linktv.org/programs/david-wants-to-fly
Review: moviemorlocks.com/2011/01/24/the-film-david-lynch-doesnt-want-you-to-see/
Review: tmfree.blogspot.com/2010/05/david-wants-to-fly-very-personal-review.html
Article: www2.macleans.ca/2010/05/19/flying-yogis-and-flying-millions/
(lots of comments - many followers desperately defending their guru)
About David Lynch and Transcendental Meditation. A German filmmaker wants to make a documentary about his idol, David Lynch. Lynch invites him to a "creativity workshop" in Fairfield, Iowa. Unbeknownst to Sieveking, Fairfield is the headquarters of the TM cult. So his film turns out to be a close look at the wacky world of TM, including "yogic flying". (See my yogic flying page). As of 08/011, not yet released on DVD in the US. (David Lynch and TM may succeed in preventing this). I went ahead and ordered the European PAL DVD. I think I got it from a third-party seller at Amazon.com. Can also order from amazon.de and might find on ebay.com. The German DVD is region-free and has English subtitles. PAL DVDs will play in most newer DVD players. (can put in Saved queue at Netflix - hopefully they will have it someday) This is an awesome film - unbelievable stuff (but all true) - highly recommended. One of the best and most interesting looks at a cult.


Guru: Bhagwan, His Secretary & His Bodyguard (2010 - 98min) Sabine Gisiger, Beat Haner
Official Site (Swiss site, in German): www.gurufilm.ch
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1735976/
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osho
Amazon.de (GERMANY) (DVD 02/11/11 PAL Region2) : www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B004F54PZC
About Osho (Rajneesh), from the points of view of his long-time secretary and his long-time bodyguard. No telling when or if American DVD will be released. Can order German PAL DVD from amazon.de, which I finally did in DEC 2011. Wow! I wasn't sure what to expect from this and I have to admit I had not really looked much into the whole Rajneesh trip. A little ways into this I stopped it and went to read the Wikipedia article on Osho, which was mind-blowing. Going back to the film, I was impressed that it covered all the main points in the history of this major cult. This is a very interesting film for sure! This is a Swiss film, but everyone in it speaks English, so its in English. There are optional German subtitles. All the text on the DVD box is in German. Very thought-provoking and highly recommended.


Kumare (2011 - 84min) Vikram Gandhi
Subtitle: The True Story of a False Prophet
Official Site: www.kumaremovie.com/
Official "Fake" Site: www.kumare.org/
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumare
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1865425/
Amazon (DVD 03/12/13 Kino Lorber): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B00AOCDEF2
Article by the Director: www.realitysandwich.com/taking_leap_faith
Review at YogaDork: www.yogadork.com/news/man-in-the-mirror-reflections-on-an-enlightening-prankster/
Link to Stephen Colbert Interview 07/23/12 via YogaDork: www.yogadork.com/news/stephen-colbert-interviews-vikram-gandhi-on-his-fake-yoga-guru-kumare/
Mind-blowing awesome. The director grows a beard, heads to Arizona and impersonates a guru. He easily develops quite a following. I waited for this a long time and it did not disappoint. Very entertaining as well as very interesting. I was HOWLING when I watched this. An essential watch for anyone interested in the cult/guru trip.


Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015 - 119min) Alex Gibney
Official HBO site: www.hbo.com/documentaries/going-clear#/
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt4257858/
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Going_Clear
Master documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney's extensive look at Scientology, based on the 2013 book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright. Totally amazing, as expected.


Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (2006 - 90min) Stanley Nelson
PBS / Paramount / American Experience / WBGH Boston / BBC
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0762111/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000MTFFUO
PBS: www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/jonestown/
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonestown:_The_Life_and_Death_of_Peoples_Temple
Excellent, serious documentary covering Jim Jones and Jonestown, a classic example of a cult and the tragedy that can result (the largest mass-suicide in history). I have come across some mutterings that there is a whole other dimension to this story, which we would not expect to be revealed in this mainstream film. (google Jonestown CIA).


Transformation - The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard (2006 - 77min) Robyn Symon
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0849480/
Amazon (DVD): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0013LRKQ2
Official site: www.transformationfilm.com
Very interesting, wellmade film on a very interesting man. est was a big deal in America in the 70's. After Erhard left in 1991, the organization was renamed Landmark Education. This film leans toward showing the good side of Werner and est. Here is a website critical of est, Landmark and other LGATs (Large Group Awareness Trainings): lgattruth.blogspot.com. One very interesting revelation in the film is that Werner claims the reason he left the country was due to harrassment from Scientologists, having been declared an SP (suppressive person) and thus "fair game" by L. Ron Hubbard.


A (1998 - 136min) Tatsuya Mori (Japanese with English subtitles)
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0241146/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000EWBKXK
A2 (2001 - 131min) Tatsuya Mori (Japanese with English subtitles)
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0318960/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000FMGTT4
The film A and its sequel, A2, (both released on DVD in 2006) give a close inside look at a community of members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which became famous in 1995 when poison sarin gas was released into the Tokyo subway by members of the cult. Shoko Asahara, the group's leader, carried out this attack to divert attention from the group, which he had learned was about to be raided by police in connection with another crime. These films deal more with the day to day lives of some of the members after this incident occurred. The poison gas incident or the general history of the group are not explained in the films. I found them interesting, many people would find them long and slow. For more info on Aum Shinrikyo, see the Wikipedia article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aum_Shinrikyo


Join Us (2008 - 97min) Ondi Timoner
Official Site: www.joinusthemovie.com
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1059801/
Amazon (DVD): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0014NGNJO
Looks at a group of families as they leave a small Christian cult in South Carolina. Talks to a lot of "cult experts", explores the subject of cults in general. Amazingly, one family moves all the way to Montana to leave the cult behind only to discover that they are now right next door to one of the biggest and wackiest cults ever (Elizabeth Clair Prophet's Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT), formerly the Summit Lighthouse), and they are knocking at the door with books in hand. Very good film. Netflix has this.


Carlos Castaneda: Enigma of a Sorcerer (2004 - 91min) Ralph Torjan
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0398835/
Amazon (DVD 06/01/06 Indican): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000ARXG5E
Very interesting film, though the "psychedelic" presentation could be a bit irritating. Helps if you are familiar with Castaneda. Check out the links in the section above.


The Source Family (2012 - 98min) Jodi Wille, Maria Demopoulos
Official Site: www.thesourcedoc.com
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Source_Family
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thesourcedoc
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt2245223/
Amazon (DVD 06/18/13 Drag City): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B00CJGGDJK
Interview with Isis Aquarian at Reality Sandwich: www.realitysandwich.com/isis-aquarian-father-yod
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_Family
Official Site of The Source Family: www.yahowha.org
Very interesting look at a cult from the 60's/70's.


Re-Visiting Father and the Source Family (2005 - 148min) Evan Wells
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0015N3BSO
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_Family
Review: www.dustedmagazine.com/features/413
An earlier, more primitve look at the Source Family (see above). Very interesting. Tons of archival footage. Netflix has this.


Sons of Perdition (2010 - 85min) Tyler Measom, Jennilyn Merten
Official Site: www.sonsofperditionthemovie.com/
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1296893/
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sons_of_Perdition_(film)
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B005IAAQKQ
Looks at young men exiled from the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saint), a radical polygamous sect of Mormonism.


Karmageddon (2012 - 120min) Jeff Brown
Official Site: www.karmageddonthemovie.com/
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt2261727/
Review: www.elephantjournal.com/2012/06/karmageddon-lord-of-the-vagina-meets-mr-nice-guy-exclusive-film-review/
Bhagavan Das Official Site: www.bhagavandas.com/
About Bhagavan Das, who became famous when Ram Das published his classic book Be Here Now. I don't want to be too judgemental about this one, and could have filed it in the Spirituality section on my main docus page, but I think this gets into enough relevant issues to be of interest in cult/guru studies. (you see a bit of Bhagavan Das at the beginning of Kumare).


Deprogrammed (2015) Mia Donovan
Official Site: www.eyesteelfilm.com/deprogrammed
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt4543744/
About the "father of deprogramming" Ted Patrick. (have not yet seen - looking forward to it - not yet on DVD as of 04/16) There is also a feature film about Patrick in the works - deadline.com/2015/02/orlando-jones-noam-dromi-ted-patrick-cult-deprogrammer-1201367273


Aliens From Spaceship Earth (1977 - 91min) Don Como
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0075657/
Amazon (DVD UFOTV): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000FS2WKS
Sort of a random sampling of film footage of some of the most popular gurus of the 1970's. Lots of archival footage, including: Swami Muktananda, Hare Krishnas (Madonna Slavin kidnapping case), Guru Maharaj Ji (Prem Rawat), Satya Sai Baba, Swami Satchidananda, Yogi Bhajan, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Father Yod, Elizabeth Claire Prophet, Baba Ram Das. Presented and narrated by Donovan and Rennie Davis. Netfix has this.


Holy Cow, Swami! (1996 - 3hrs) Jacob Young
Director's Website: www.dancingoutlaw.com
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000A7Y18U
New Vrindaban: www.newvrindaban.com
Palace of Gold: www.palaceofgold.com
Wikipedia - Kirtanananda Swami: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirtanananda_Swami
Kirtanananda Swami's Website: www.kirtananandaswami.org
New York Times Article on His Death: www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/us/swami-bhaktipada-ex-hare-krishna-leader-dies-at-74.html
Looks at Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada, founder and former leader of the New Vrindaban Hare Krishna commune, near Moundsville, West Virginia. After serving some prison time, he moved to India. He passed away in October of 2011. Have not yet seen.


Mind Control Made Easy or How to Become a Cult Leader - (2009 - 12min) Carey Burtt
Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJfm71I0OyU
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carey_Burtt
Awesome humorous 12-minute short. Check it out on Youtube. This is one of the most informative things you can watch about cults. Illustrates ideas of mind control put forth by Robert Jay Lifton. Links to youtube are all over the web, but it doesn't seem to be available on DVD. (note that there are several versions of this on youtube, the link above is to a high-definition 360p version, as opposed to the lower quailty 240p versions).


Lord of the Universe (1974 - 58min)
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_Universe
IMBD: www.imdb.com/title/tt1087602/
Watch Online: www.mediaburn.org/video/lord-of-the-universe-2/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B004FEG1LY
Expose on 16-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji, (later known as Prem Rawat). Documents Millenium 73 event at the Houston Astrodome in 1973, in which Maharaj Ji was supposed to levitate the building (uh, didn't happen).


It Takes a Cult (2009 - 90min) Eric Johannsen
IMBD: www.imdb.com/title/tt1347347/
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Family
About the Love Family. Have not seen. (DVD not yet available? 06/29/14)


Guru Busters (1995 - 50min) Robert Eagle
Official Site: www.eagletv.co.uk/home/guru.htm
IMBD: www.imdb.com/title/tt0472100/


Cults - An Educational Volume Rick Ross
www.rickross.com
Comes across as an advertisement for his services (which I guess it is), but does clearly discuss basic issues of cults.


Scientology: The Science of Truth or the Art of Deception? (2012 - 60min) Dr. Rainer Fromm
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B008YWBSVQ
have not seen. from a Christian point of view.



Some Feature Films Related to Cults


Holy Smoke! (1999 - 114min) Jane Campion
Wikipedia:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Smoke!
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0144715
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B00003CWRC
Harvey Keitel is a hotshot cult deprogrammer sent to Australia to deprogram a devotee of an Indian guru, played by Kate Winslet. May have met his match. Interesting film by feminist filmmaker Jane Campion.


Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011 - 102min) Sean Durkin
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_Marcy_May_Marlene
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1441326/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B006OV7RQ4
Excellent film, based on kind of a modern Charles Manson type of cult.


Sound of My Voice (2011 - 85min) Zal Batmanglij
Official Site: www.soundofmyvoicemovie.com
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_of_My_Voice
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1748207/
Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com/m/sound_of_my_voice/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B008P7V5F4
Very well-done psychological thriller about a cult based around a woman who claims to be from the future.


Mouth to Mouth (2005 - 101min) Allison Murray
Official Site: www.mouthtomouthmovie.com
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouth_to_Mouth_(2005_British_film)
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0383518/
Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com/m/10006851-mouth_to_mouth/
Amazon (DVD 09/25/07 Strand Releasing): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000UCD4L0
Starring Ellen Page as a runawy girl who gets involved with a cult.


Happiness Runs (2010 - 90min) Adam Sherman
Official Site: www.happinessruns.com
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1079964/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B003M5NSVS


Savage Messiah (2002 - 94min) Mario Azzopardi
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0303010/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B00007L4LV/
Based on true story of a cult in Canada, led by Roc Tremain.


Bright Day (2010 - 86min) Maggie Rowe
Official Site: www.pyrasphere.com
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1753543/
Amazon (DVD 01/08/13): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0094GWB5S
Satirical and quite silly mockumentary about "Pyrasphere" - "Hollywood's fastest-growing new religion." Its a low-budget indie. Maybe not the greatest film, but I find it hilarious. Have watched a couple of times. Bill Mauer makes an appearance. As does Richard Belzer. Very fun.


The Master (2012) Paul Thomas Anderson
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Master_(2012_film)
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt1560747/
Not exactly about Scientology, but the backdrop for most of this story seems to be the early days of Scientology and the character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman seems to be based on L. Ron Hubbard.


Ticket to Heaven (1981 - 102min) Ralph L. Thomas
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticket_To_Heaven
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0083201/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000MTEFTQ


The Rapture (1991 - 100min) Michael Tolkin
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rapture_(film)
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0102757/
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0002XNT1C


Safe (1995 - 119min) Todd Haynes
AKA: [Safe]
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safe_(1995_film)
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0114323/
Criterion: www.criterion.com/films/28548-safe/
Essay by Julie Grossman: www.othervoices.org/2.3/jgrossman/
Amazon (Bluray 12/09/14 Criterion): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B00NMUCLDO
Amazon (DVD 12/09/14 Criterion 2-disc): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B00NMUCL1G
Amazon (DVD 09/21/01 Sony OOP): www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B00005LVWV
Wikipedia - Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_chemical_sensitivity
Stars Julianne Moore as a housewife suffering from exposure to environmental chemicals (MCS - multiple chemical sensitivity). Well-reviewed, the Village Voice calls it "the best film of the 90's". Original Sony DVD was out of print for awhile. Reissued on Criterion in 2014. An interesting aspect of the film is the retreat center that she winds up at, which turns out to be kind of a new-age self-help cult run by an apparent charlatan, who teaches both that "the world out there is toxic" and that "you caused your own sickness". The ending is ambiguous. Many people will find this slow and boring. I would agree with the critics who consider it a masterpiece, and I recommend it most highly. (this one is also listed on my Feature Films page)


Faults (2015 - 93min) Riley Stearns
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faults_(film)
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt3021360/
Very interesting black comedy-drama involving a cult deprogrammer.


The Profit (2001 - 128min) Peter N. Alexander
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Profit
IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt0277255/
About Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard (they say it isn't - but it is). I found out about this when I was looking through a list of banned films on Wikipedia - Scientology succeeded in preventing this from being released. Search around - you might find a torrent or someplace to watch online.



Some Books About Cults


As you might imagine, there are stacks and stacks of books written by ex-members of various cults. Full of crazy tales, stranger than fiction. These are just a few that I happen to have listed. There are much more extensive bibliographies on this subject elsewhere. Check out:

www.culteducation.com/books.html
Over 600 books listed. Categorized, with Amazon links.

www.strippingthegurus.com/stgsamplechapters/bibliography.asp
Over 600 books listed. Alphabetized, with Amazon or other links.


The Guru Papers - Joel Kramer, Diana Alstad
Subtitled: Masks of Authoritarian Power
1993 Frog Books 408 pages (paperback $19.95) ISBN10:1883319005 ISBN13:9781883319007
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/1883319005
The classic work on the guru trip.

Feet of Clay - Anthony Storr
Subtitled: Saints, Sinners, and Madmen - A Study of Gurus
1997 Free Press 275 pages (paperback $18.95) ISBN10:0684834952 ISBN13:9780684834955
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0684834952

Under the Banner of Heaven - Jon Krakauer
Subtitled: A Story of Violent Faith
2004 Anchor 432 pages (paperback $16.00) ISBN10:1400032806 ISBN13:9781400032808
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/1400032806
Best-selling book about an incident involving Mormons.

A Piece of Blue Sky - Jon Atack
Subtitled: Scientology, Dianetics, and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed
1990 Lyle Stewart 428 pages (paperback) ISBN10:0818140499X ISBN13:97808181404993
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0818140499X
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Piece_of_Blue_Sky

Inside Scientology - Janet Reitman
Subtitled: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion
2011 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 464 pages (hardback $28.00) ISBN10:0618883029 ISBN13:9780618883028
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0618883029
Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inside_Scientology:_The_Story_of_America's_Most_Secretive_Religion
Author's Website: www.janetreitman.com/book/

Enlightenment Blues - Andre van der Braak
Subtitled: My Years With An American Guru
2003 Monkfish Book Publishing 240 pages (paperback $16.00) ISBN10:0972635718 ISBN13:9780972635714
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0972635718
About experiences with Andrew Cohen.

The Mother of God - Luna Tarlo
2009 Epigraph Publishing 320 pages (paperback $16.00) ISBN10:098245306X ISBN13:9780982453063
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/098245306X
About experiences as a follower of Andrew Cohen - by his mother.

Cartwheels in a Sari - Jayanti Tamm
Subtitled: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult
2009 Harmony 304 pages (hardback $22.99) ISBN10:0307393925 ISBN13:9780307393920
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0307393925
An insider's view of the world around Sri Chinmoy.

Monkey on a Stick - John Hubner, Lindsey Gruson
Subtitled: Murder, Madness and the Hare Krishnas
1990 Onyx 462 pages (out-of-print) ISBN10:0451401875 ISBN13:9780451401878
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0451401875
HAREKRSNA.org (some chapters online here): www.harekrsna.org/iskgone/mostick.htm
Hare Krishnas (ISKCON).

Betrayal of the Spirit - Nori J. Muster
Subtitled: My Life Behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement
2001 University of Illinois Press 256 pages ($25.00 paperback) ISBN10:0252065662,ISBN13:9780252065668
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0252065662
Hare Krishnas (ISKCON).

The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Yo Ho Wa 13, and the Source Family - Isis Aquarian, Electricity Aquarian
2007 Process 308 pages ($24.95 paperback) ISBN10:0976082292,ISBN13:9780976082293
Amazon: www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0976082292
(See films above).


"Avoid gurus and religions. They're bad for your mental health and they want your money." Richard Sutphen


Back to Slade's Home Page      This page revised 04/14/16. First posted 04/05/08. Links checked/fixed 03/12/11.