Universal Knowledge

Special Guest: Carli McConkey

Carli McConkey spent over 13 years in a destructive cult from the age of 21 to 35 and escaped in January, 2010.

She says 'escape', because she was brainwashed into believing that she could not leave. If she did, either her three children would be taken from her, or she would die in Armageddon, prophesied by the cult leader for December 2012.

This may seem odd and bizarre and you may think that she must have been crazy to believe in such nonsense. However, she considers herself to be a normal, everyday person who is intelligent, and yet she found herself in this situation.

Carli wrote a book about her experiences called 'The Cult Effect', published in July 2017. You can purchase it via Amazon or Booktopia.

People do not join cults. Individuals or families in vulnerable stages of their lives are recruited via manipulative methods to become involved with a seemingly legitimate group. Before they realise what is happening, the group's indoctrination is ingrained in their psyche through sophisticated thought reform.

They are then trapped in a prison with or without walls, until they are either thrown out, deprogrammed via intervention, or get to a point where their current circumstances are so bad that losing their salvation or the prospect of death is a better alternative.

Carli was abused by a (female) cult leader who used mind control to yield power, money and glorification within a high demand group.

She wishes to help educate family and friends of current and former cult members so that they are better able to understand the process of mind control and support their loved ones through recovery.

She also wishes to provide a platform for fellow ex-members to connect and share personal insights so that together we can grow stronger each and every day and lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.


January 17th, 2018

57 mins 34 secs

Season 1



Carli McConkey was a 21-year-old university graduate when she decided to attend the Mind Body Spirit Festival in Sydney, and came across the stand for Life Integration Programmes. The course they offered sounded like exactly what she needed to get her life on track and realise her potential. Little did she know that this encounter was the start of a 13-year ordeal that would see her estranged from her family, under continued financial stress, a victim and perpetrator of physical assault, working untold hours of unpaid labour, and eventually, medically sterilised.

CW: references to manipulative behaviours, and physical abuse, including of minors. A small amount of coarse language. Please consider whether you would like to listen on this basis. Content is not suitable for children.

The opinions expressed in this podcast are not necessarily those of the makers of Let's Talk About Sects.

If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via www.cifs.org.au), and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via www.icsahome.com).