November 8, 2023
CULTS #4 – The Cult Wars
The Cult Wars have been raging for decades.
Arshy Mann
Host & Producer
Jordan Cornish
Noor Azrieh
Annette Ejiofor
Managing Editor, Podcasts

An explosion of new spiritual movements in the 1970s led to the creation of an entirely novel academic field. But right from the beginning, the discipline was riven asunder.

The Cult Wars have been raging for decades. They’re fought not only in academic journals and conference seminars, but in the press, the courts and in legislative assemblies. And their battles continue to have enormous consequences.


Featured in this episode: Michael Kropveld, Stephen A. Kent, Susan J. Palmer


To learn more:

“Caught Up in the Cult Wars: Confessions of a New Religious Movement Researcher” by Susan J. Palmer in University of Toronto Press

“Life after Doomsday: Tracking cult activity from a Montreal storage locker” by Simon Lewson in The Walrus

Misunderstanding Cults: Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field edited by Benjamin Zablocki & Thomas Robbins


Credits: Arshy Mann (Host and Producer), Jordan Cornish (Producer), Noor Azrieh (Producer), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief)


Additional music from Audio Network


Sponsors: Oxio


If you value this podcast, Support us! You’ll get premium access to all our shows ad free, including early releases and bonus content. You’ll also get our exclusive newsletter, discounts on merch, tickets to our live and virtual events, and more than anything, you’ll be a part of the solution to Canada’s journalism crisis, you’ll be keeping our work free and accessible to everybody. 


You can listen ad-free on Amazon Music—included with Prime.

More from this series
Nearly 1.4 million Canadians and almost 50 million Americans are involved in multi-level marketing.
November 29, 2023
Mary-Jayne Blackmore is one of the oldest children of Winston Blackmore, the most famous polygamist in Canada. 
November 22, 2023
The media have portrayed the Raelians as not just a cult, but a strange phantasmagoria of extraterrestrials, orgies and clones. But its followers insist it is the only true path forward for humanity.
November 15, 2023
The Cult Wars have been raging for decades.
November 8, 2023
Is it even possible to “brainwash” anyone?
November 1, 2023
He’s often called the Devil of De Courcy Island for good reason.
October 25, 2023
The idea of cults has become an omnipresent part of our discourse. But what even is a cult? And why have we become so intrigued by these groups?
October 18, 2023
Uncovering the stories of both devotees and dissenters, this season of COMMONS will go beyond the true crime cliches and will make you question everything you thought you knew about cults.
October 4, 2023
all podcasts arrow All Podcasts