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.
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
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).
- The Cult Effect — by Carli McConkey
- Carli McConkey's website
- Cult Leaders and Ballet Dancers: The Strange Rock School Lawsuit — by Victor Fiorillo, Philadelphia Magazine, 30 June 2014
- Natasha Lakaev's evidence 'deliberately untrue', says judge — by Michael Bachelard, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 October 2014
- Alleged cult leader to settle defamation claims out of court — by Chris Calcino, Byron Shire News, 11 October 2014
- Ex-alleged cult members 'sleep well' with court case over — APN Newsdesk, The Northern Star, 11 October 2014
- LAKAEV v. THE ROCK SCHOOL FOR DANCE EDUCATION et al — PacerMonitor record of libel, assault, slander case – plaintiff's claims dismissed with prejudice 24 November 2014
- 105 Hunter Street, Burringbar — Omaroo property history, sold on 29 November 2016 for $882,000
- 9354/11 LAKAEV -V- THE AGE COMPANY LIMITED & others — Supreme Court of Queensland case file summary
- Why the Secrecy — Footage shot by LIP member during A Current Affair television interview (published in September 2007, interview took place in 1998)
- A Current Affair segment on LIP — Uploaded to YouTube in July 2007, screened on Australian network television in 1998
- An Investigation into Cult Pseudo-Personality: What Is It and How Does It Form? — by Gillie Jenkinson, M.A., Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2008, pp199-224
- In thrall to a cult: how the unwary fall victim to mind control — by Michael Bachelard, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 October 2010 – the article that was removed (but not retracted) from Fairfax Media websites on court case settlement, but had already been reproduced in a number of places including this CIFS website example
- Camp Hell — by Chris Griffith, The Sunday Mail, 7 March 1999 – reproduced on the Cult Education Institute website, unclear if this was retracted by the original publisher