Today a dream came true: My interview with Leah Remini and Mike Rinder – two personal heroes of mine – was released on Scientology: Fair Game Podcast.

I have four very important things to say as I announce this episode:

  1. I want to acknowledge that it is SUPER hard for LDS Church members to hear The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints described as a cult, not to mention being compared to a cult like the Church of Scientology. No one wants to think of themselves as being in a cult, so I acknowledge how hard this is to hear. In fact, it has taken me 51 years to admit to myself that I was, indeed, raised in a cult. But I was. I was raised in a cult.
  2. And as difficult as it has been for me to acknowledge/admit this to myself, I am absolutely convinced that the Mormon church meets full cult criteria.  My evidence? Where do I begin? Absolute devotion and obedience to a charismatic leader (the Mormon prophet). Bizarre and serial sexual predation and fraud by Mormon church founder Joseph Smith. A truly fraudulent church founding rooted in occult folk magic. Blatantly forged and fraudulent scriptural texts like the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham. MASSIVE and often stifling control over dress, sexual behavior, food and drink intake. Two centuries of church deception regarding its factual history. Anti-science rhetoric. The gaslighting of church members through unethical apologetic tactics. The shunning and constant dehumanization of members who choose to leave the church. The silencing, punishing, and excommunication of its vocal critics. The systemic and blatant subjugation of its women. A history of systemic protection of sexual predators at the expense of victims. The excessive financial demands requiring 10% of income for life, enforced by the threat and practice of excluding members from their own children’s weddings. The massive hoarding of egregious wealth and financial assets, controlled by Mormonism’s elite ruling class. Strange, secret rituals in Mormon temples. The ongoing LGBTQ+ suicides, with virtually no meaningful change in sight. The continued surge of excommunications of Mormon church critics (now at purge-levels in 2021). The list is virtually endless. Here’s my question to you: How is Mormonism NOT a cult?
  3. Serendipitously, perhaps there is no better example of Mormon church cult behavior than the recent youtube videos that have been released by Kwaku El, Cardon Ellis, and Bradley Witbeck – three Mormons who are in GOOD STANDING with the Mormon church, and who have been directly financed by the Mormon church through non-profits like the More Good Foundation and FairMormon, and whatever other donors independently finance their efforts (we’ll never know).  One very obvious trademark of a cult is that they smear their earnest critics publicly with incredibly damaging lies (e.g., “Mike Rinder is a wife beater!”), and that is EXACTLY what the Mormon church is doing THIS VERY WEEK to me via Kwaku El, Cardon Ellis, and Brad WItbeck (along with an assist from Kate Kelly).  I cannot help but note the beautify irony that in Scientology, the tactic of smearing vocal critics is called “Fair Gaming” – and that the VERY SAME WEEK that the Mormon church is in full “Fair Game” mode attacking and smearing me with verifiable lies on YouTube – that my episode on Scientology: Fair Game podcast is released. Thank you Ex-Mormon God ❤️.  Note to the Mormon Church: Every day that you allow these lying and smearing YouTube videos to remain up – hosted by Mormons in good standing, directly financed by the Mormon church through non-profits like the More Good Foundation and FairMormon (as I was directly informed by a former FAIRMormon board member) – is another day that you continue to show yourself as the cult that you are. You could stop these lying and smearing videos any second that you wanted to. And you know it.
  4. I am incredibly grateful to Leah and Mike for having me on their podcast, and for all of my friends and listeners over the years who have encouraged Leah and Mike to interview me after watching Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and Leah Remini: Scientology & the Aftermath.

In closing, I have two quick favors to ask of you:

  1. If you are willing, please show your gratitude and support of Leah and Mike by listening to and sharing this podcast episode far and wide, so that more and more people can be awakened to the ongoing cult tactics of the Mormon church.
  2. As the Mormon church continues to “Fair Game” (i.e. smear) its earnest critics (e.g., me, Jeremy Runnells, Sam Young,  Natasha Helfer), I would like to ask each of you to please share this post in response to these constant smears.  I believe that it is vitally important that we not let the Mormon church get away with this sort of behavior any longer.

My sincere hope is that some day, the Mormon church can and will stop acting like a cult. But it has a long, long way to go.

Fortunately, me and my friends will not stop until the church makes it right.

More exciting things are in the works, so please stay tuned!!!!



  1. commenter April 20, 2021 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    You are right. The Roman Catholic Church is a cult.

  2. Dave A April 21, 2021 at 7:01 am - Reply

    Love it! Great Interview! Love it!

    John, One Question…Can a duck stop being a duck?

    Keep on doing great and wonderful things!

  3. Mark LeBaron April 21, 2021 at 10:12 pm - Reply

    Wow! This was fantastic/amazing! Great job, John! How am I the first person to comment? Give it up, people! 🙌🏼

  4. Barb G April 22, 2021 at 1:04 am - Reply

    I am very concerned about a friend of mine. Although we have been “unconditional” friends for 30 years and have had numerous in depth discussions on many subjects and literally talked to one another every single day…. she swiftly and shockingly completely shunned me following a “friendly” discussion on my thoughts/concerns with LDS. She met a man 12 weeks ago who is part of the community of LDS followers whom she has fallen for. When I met him, I was instantly concerned with his obsessive/controlling behaviors. She apparently shared our conversation with him and I was instantly rejected. I was absolutely stunned!

  5. Joseph Rizoli April 22, 2021 at 1:06 am - Reply

    EXCELLENT information….

    It’s so nice to see people that still lead good moral lives upon exiting their Cult group…Some just go haywire with their new freedom which isn’t really freedom but another form of slavery but not a religious one..

    John covered so many topics, what a great job…

    One thing I devised to find out if a religious group is dangerous is called the “Ahitophel Syndrome”…

    In a few moments one can decide whether a group is a dangerous Cult or not..

    The JW’s, Mormons and Scientology ALL fulfill this Syndrome….it’s when the group becomes their ORACLE. Their “LIVING PROPHET”, THEIR “FAITHFUL AND DESCREET SLAVE”

    When this happens a person will kill of DIE for the group.

    For the Mormons seeing this happen would be the “Mountain Meadows Massacre” and the doctrine of “BLOOD ATTONEMENT” as examples…

    For the Jw’s the Blood transfusion issue would be where a person will die for their doctrine, putting the cult groups application of doctrine over their life.

    There are numerous other groups where people suicided themselves for the group

    Anyway, if a group fulfills that Ahitophel Syndrome, RUN….

  6. Mike April 22, 2021 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    What a great idea and interview. More of this type of exposure will only help. Let’s get X-Con on the books, I would love to attend (do we get to dress up like former prophets?)

  7. My Name April 23, 2021 at 10:45 am - Reply

    As Leah Remini points out, any organization can have whatever beliefs they want to. Adherents can put up with whatever they’re willing to. But when the government grants churches tax-exempt status they start “spending” the tax dollars that we, the public have to pay to supplement what the churches don’t pay. The churches accumulate obscene wealth and then use it to shield themselves from their evils and excesses. That’s when the general society is actually harmed. And we have the choice to pressure the government to withdraw these counter-productive preferences.

  8. DJ April 26, 2021 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    As an ex member of the Mormon Church of 6 years, I loved this episode. I am currently in a mixed faith marriage. We have struggled as a couple for 8 years. This summer will be our 28th wedding anniversary. My spouse and I have spent many hours in personal and couple’s therapy dealing with my leaving and other couples issues . When one leaves a high demand religion, it affects so many aspects of their life. I’ve lost friends, been told horrible things, been called mentally ill, etc. These are the fruits of this church. Mike Rinder said it best (I paraphrase)….how you are treated when you leave is what separates cult like groups from other religions. In my opinion, the Mormon church is a cult, only not an “in your face” cult, like Scientology, but a subtle, passive aggressive, and sly controlling organization. It drives it’s tentacles deep into a member’s psyche, it can affect the individual, their entire life even after they walk away. Thank you for doing this John.

    • Don Marlow July 6, 2021 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      Everyone has an opinion. I have lots of friends that have stepped away from the church or just lost interest after Covid. One of our sons has stopped attending and he may or may not join again. Point is I don’t treat him any different or anyone else. Could be because I converted myself a little over 20 years ago. I’ve been with other religions and grew up Catholic. There’s no cult here, membership yes but it’s what you make of it and I’m very sorry you’ve dealt with trauma through the years. Hopefully your working through it and are in another faith or something that works for you now.

  9. MarcoPolo April 28, 2021 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    I consider myself to be an unorthodox member and sympathetic to this movement and listened to this with an open mind. There were a few things that were claimed that I did not think were fair however. The main one being that the church still teaches that dark skin is a curse from god. I don’t feel like that is the case any more. I’ve heard many conference talks basically condemning racism and also the church disavowed directly the belief in the gospel essays. Here’s what it says

    Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.

    I know the intention and I’m sympathetic but to me alot of the attempts to show the harm that is being done by the church are much more nuanced than how it was explained. As someone straddling the fence it didn’t feel fully fair to the church.

    The church has problems but like leah was saying at least they are trying to change and i think in most of the areas you mentioned they are trying albeit very slowly to course correct. Sometimes two steps forward one step back. Similar to catholics probably.

    I dunno. My 2 cents.

  10. Adriana de Jong, The Netherlands May 1, 2021 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    I think there is a difference between the founder of the Mormonchurch and Scientology is:
    – I believe Joseph Smith believed he started up something good, for the benefit of people, not in the first place to make money.
    – However L. Ron Hubbard started his ‘religion’ for making money and getting rich. And as I read, in my teenage years, he boldly bragged: ‘ I know how to make slaves !’.

    A couple of months ago I heard an ex-Scientolist talk (in a youtube video) about and how the people on the ship worshipped L. Ron Hubbard and how he laughed at looking how these people were ‘running round’ for him. In combination with that sentence how he knew to make slaves (brainwashing) it made me clear how his inner mind was. He was simply a dumb hard cruel person. He played with lives, without any concern about the person he had to deal with. Being on a ship, a limited place, people are far more restricted in their freedom and have to adjust themselves to survival. It’s awful to see so much fear misunderstood as devotion.

    Peace !

    • Timothy F. Sharp September 4, 2021 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      Dear Adriana DeJong, I appreciate your comment above and your sharing of your beliefs about Scientology and Mormonism.
      My study of the early days when Joseph Smith was forming what became the Mormon Church cum The LDS has led me to believe that Smith very much created the church in order to make a living and have a comfortable life for himself and his new bride Emma. The idea that proselytizing and spreading the word of God is good and for the benefit of other people though is ambiguous at best, harmful at worst, and self-serving in both cases because it is adhering to the commands laid out in the New Testament.
      Since Joseph Smith made a vow to Emmas` father that he would give up scrying, he had to find a new career and so he looked around the Burned-Over District of New York and chose Preaching.
      I do not discount the possibility that Mr. Smith had a true spiritual revelation that laid before him the pathway to the one true church. Whether that revelation came from God or the Angel Momon, or just a great trip on ergotized wine does not truly matter if it was indeed a revelation from the spiritual realm of God. Nobody should ever discount or poo-poo another person`s deep-felt spirituality. So it very well may be true that God made Joseph Smith his Prophet here on Earth. What is certain is that Joseph Smith chose that narrative upon which to build his religion and his church.
      But to my mind, history shows that the early church was burdened with so many contradictions and involved itself with so much make-believe fantasy that it completely lost touch with reality, and its followers then and even to this day have to dispatch reality to stay within the flock of believing LDS membership.
      This is all kind of a long way to say that to an outsider, or a close observer, it is obvious that Mormonism is now and has always been a megalomaniacal fantasy concocted by a charismatic sexual predator disguising it(him)self as a religion. Even if it came directly from a God-like spirit being, in reality, Mormonism, not unlike Scientology, is now and has always been a cult, of personality in its beginning and of religion in its current ideation.
      I know you have not asked, but I believe that from truth comes understanding, and from understanding come peace and love. I wish peace love and understanding for everyone.

  11. VFanRJ May 2, 2021 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    It took another 15 years after leaving Mormonism to recognize its cult like behavior and without the information age I’m not sure I ever would have. Thanks for another great episode.

  12. Carpe Veritas September 11, 2021 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    This video appears to be down. Anywhere I can watch it I’m very interested

  13. Craig Davis September 18, 2023 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Thank You for this information. I have recently heard about how it seems the LDS Church is putting distance between themselves and people like Tim Ballard and others that have worked with OUR and other groups that are exposing child trafficking and trying to get mire people people involved and aware of this evil. It seems to me the Church would be 100 % supportive, but it doesn’t appear this way.

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