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Cultish

Cultish

Journalist Tina Dupuy was born into Children of God, aka The Family, aka the sort of notorious cult that informs our most basic ideas about cultishness (a vague, sixties-era spirituality; an obsession with sex; smilingly-denied abuses of followers' minds and bodies). Her parents got out while Tina was young, but her uncle, who worked in the leadership, remained. When he eventually made his escape, he attempted to explode the group behind him via a storied appearance on Larry King Live, in which he claimed to have been forced into child abuse. Later, he committed suicide.

For a long time, Rick Dupuy was the weird uncle Tina tried not think about ("Everybody has a weird uncle," she says. "Mine was just ... super weird."). Now, via this independent podcast, she's trying to understand who Rick really was - how he came to The Family, rose to its upper echelons, and became trapped there - while also exploring experiences of fanaticism and defection more generally. In each episode, she speaks to someone about life inside and outside a cult (in Episode 1, it's Westboro Baptist defector Nate Phelps) and then continues the story of Rick, which will unfold in serial throughout the season. The production isn't always slick, but this story is absorbing and original. 

[After a handful of episodes, Cultish is on long-term hiatus through 2016]

Gateway episodes: Episode One (1 March 2016)

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

Cavern of Secrets

Cavern of Secrets