How To!

How To Survive a Doomsday Cult

My family spent years in an apocalyptic cult. I’m desperate to move on.

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Episode Notes

Michael grew up terrified that the world was going to end. This wasn’t your typical childhood anxiety, but something he was taught while being raised in the Children of God cult. Michael left the cult years ago, but now in his 30s he’s struggling to heal the scars it left on his parents and 11 siblings. How do you go on living when the world doesn’t actually come to an end? On this episode of How To!, we bring on Rebecca Stott, author of In the Days of Rain, a memoir about her childhood in a cult called the Exclusive Brethren. “Whenever I have an interview like this, I can feel the frog in my throat,” Rebecca tells us. “It’s like there’s something still censoring me…in my own head.” Rebecca knows what it’s like to feel ashamed of her childhood, but she’s also learned to find what was useful in her experience and apply it to her life today. She says Michael can do the same thing by opening himself up to his loved ones and in future relationships.

If you liked this episode, check out “How To Forgive the Unforgivable.”

Do you have an unusual problem that needs solving? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Podcast production by Derek John, Rachael Allen, and Rosemary Belson.

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About the Show

What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, David Epstein (bestselling author of Range and The Sports Gene) takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Have you found the advice on our podcast helpful? Send us a note at howto@slate.com or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might play it on the air.

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