Good Cult

Reviews For Good Cult

A great mix of first hand interviews with key players, personal insight & pops of humor. Will def be looking out for more of River’s podcasts.
First, the ad transitions were cute IMO. But the podcast was an easy binge. It had an Interesting and sympathetic take on cults from a former cult kid and his family. I loved the interviews from victims and a current empathetic trainer allowing us to see the appeal and harm caused by the cults. Even on the journalist which while it was as front seat as you can get… that was dangerous for the journalist and the ring leader was paid to put him in a manic state. I wish they hadn’t put themselves at such risk that took weeks to recover from.
Enjoyed the program


By JssAint
Short yet in depth. Highly recommend!
Very well done. I learned so much about modern day cults. I’ve been tempted to pay for these type of seminars. I’m glad I didn’t do it
Bravo! Great podcast. And I was so happy to see it is recent. Most press online on LS is dated. Did LS in early 90’s NYC. At one point marching into Advanced Graduation I turned to my friend and said “Is this a cult?”, the candles burning in the background as the music swelled. Yes, it was one of the most significant and positive experiences of my life. I met such wonderful people and learned a lot. And yes, it is a cult. And everything described in the podcast was true. And yes, people, me included, had terrible post-training experiences. They “screen” for past psych issues when doing enrollment. Naturally, my guess, nobody tells the truth. So my guess a lot of people struggle with exiting the fold. I got out before leadership training… I couldn’t recruit, in good conscious, AND my gut said “Run!” But that left me out of the loop with many people… and, well, that was tough. Beyond tough. I dodged a BIG bullet. Beware! Jonathan Portand, Oregon
I don’t normally leave reviews but apparently the cult has a Facebook group where they’re asking members to rate this podcast poorly because it gives such an in depth look at their harmful practices, and of course cult members don’t like having their ideas challenged or methods exposed. And if there’s two things I don’t like, it’s cults and Facebook. Question everything, babies (but be chill about it or you’ll never relax).
Really enjoyed the POV the host has on the subject. Great exploration and an interesting listen. Looking forward to more from the team!
Great podcast, lots of overlap with my own struggles with Catholicism. Please keep all your fingers.
I’ve prob listened to thousands of hours of podcasts and I’ve never taken the time to rate and review. That’s an indication of how compelling River is. I listened to the entire season in a day and feel his journey on a personal level.


By ND#33
Informative podcast about the dangers of cult programs/organizations. I appreciate your willingness to share your personal story. One drawback is number of ads, but they more often than not, is the reality of offering shows without having to pay.
I wasn’t going to write this until the last episode lit a fire. Don’t get me wrong. I loved this. River is a fantastic narrator and the episodes are expertly crafted. But until the last episode it was just an interesting story. Then I heard you interact with Hanley and I wanted to throw my phone through a window. I wanted to scream and pull you out of there. That one episode, which started with the clarity from the previous episode, illustrated a topic that drives me insane. The leader from episode 5 who had three psychology degrees vs the charismatic, pushy, “you’re with me or you’re against me,” talks for days but says nothing, putting on a front because deep down there’s nothing there for him guy. I don’t know that everyone who will listen to your show will have experienced it. It’s infuriating. And the frustration is that you’ll try, but you’ll never be able to see if from Hanley’s perspective because, thank god, you’re healthy and normal and you’re not wired like that. But he treated you the way he did in that final seminar because you’re smarter than him and you challenged his established world view. Oh my gosh I’m now the crazy person leaving a super long review. But MAN did that last episode get to me. I hope you’re doing well now.


Amazing! I was born and raised in Eugene OR and found this all so very interesting and knew so many people who were directly involved in the seminars. Thank you for the detailed narrative River, such an impactful and poignant ending. They should make this into a tv show!
Riveting! Wow! What a story! I love it!
Good topic, engaging narration. The first 2-4 mins of each episode were wasted time (ads and intro), the last five mins of each episode was all ads, outros, kind of teasers, just kind of a mishmash of wasted airspace. The ads jammed into the middle of the episodes were kind of woven in so you couldn’t tell they were ads for moments. I’m complaining about ads, but really the whole production just felt overly long for the payoff of each episode. There was a long beg in the middle of each episode to rate the podcast on iTunes, so… that’s my rating. Looking forward to more from this writer with a bit more there there and better content management.
This podcast is both insightful and honest. The host, River is so sincere in genuinely understanding the impact of Lifespring and John Hanley. I had never heard of either before this and was impressed by River’s willingness to see both the good and bad. I will say my heart ached over River’s interactions with John. No matter what, treating someone so dismissively and rudely is unacceptable. I hope people will stop giving John Hanley money for the nothingness he is now passing as wisdom. River you are a wise, compassionate, thoughtful person. The world could use more of that.
Interesting story that is well organized and interesting to listen to. Docking a star for the super annoying ads. Would rather have a “let’s take a break for ads” than having them woven into the podcast in various ways so that they seem genuine.
It’s always interesting hearing a Second Generation Adult from a cult tell their stories, and River does a thorough job explaining the evolution of his particular cult, his experience, and the experiences of the survivors he interviews.
I love the content, but the host makes it! He is very authentic and relatable. He even makes the ads interesting! Very witty and eye-opening.
Good cult is an amazing podcast! River’s clever way of promoting rating the podcast is also clever and entertaining.
Good cult is an ok listen. Not amazing, not terrible. Was hoping for more exciting content. Felt kind of unsatisfied at the end.


By Baycyd
I initially gav this a 5 star review bc I had listened to 3 eps and found it compelling. By the end however, I wished I had the 6 hrs back. Meh.
When I was a kid my dad was part of this cult. And I was sent to a Wings camp as a teenager, it was traumatic. As soon as I started listening to this all I could think was “wow this sounds so familiar” and the moment he said Wings it was like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. My family and I had always suspected it was a cult - but to find out it really was- and I wasn’t crazy for being disturbed by what they had us do as children…I can’t explain how much of a relief this podcast is to know I’m not alone and that people are bringing it to light. (For the record my dads no longer part of it, but he lost a lot of things in his life because of this “self help family”)
Such an interesting podcast. Check it out if you are into the strange, bizarre world of cults!
I docked two stars because the “please rate & review” segments were super annoying.
I rarely write reviews but I wanted to take a few minutes to compliment River on his hard work. Not only is he an AMAZING researcher, but his storytelling and cadence is top notch! I listen to podcasts constantly and this is one of my faves. Can’t wait for the next one!
I’m fascinated by cults - the psychological aspects of them and the wild minds that create them. I really enjoyed River’s insight into this group based on his own personal experience and some really solid research. Looking forward to his future projects!
Thank you, River!! I went through Lifespring in 1987 in New York. It was a trip. Apple, don’t punish River for telling this story!!
And not because River doesn’t do a truly well balanced job, he does. Anyway this podcast is worth listening to just for River’s requests for us to leave a review, which are spectacular and creative.
River had done a great job with this podcast and I have been binging it since I heard the first episode. He was there first hand and his parents were in this program. So it’s not line some investigative journalist from the outside trying to understand what a cult is. He lived this, and this is his journey on self discovery and healing from his past. Take a listen, and I think that you will be hooked and ask why and how so people become involved in these programs that for all intents and purposes are cults.
I really enjoyed the information in this podcast and thought it was interesting. I was going to give it 4 or 5 stars but there are too many ad breaks in this podcast. At times it made hard to listen to.
If you’re only listening for some juicy Ginni tea, don’t bother. Even though her time in Lifespring is probably the most culturally relevant thing about it in this century, she isn’t mentioned. The journalism is earnest, but the stories are just sad tales that don’t really flesh out the people involved or offer any hope of a satisfying resolution.
Dope podcast!!!
I have NEVER written a podcast review. But this podcast is so good and River’s (I feel like we’re on a first name basis now) clever asks for reviews were enough to get me to do it, at least this once. I have a thing for cults, so the name alone had me hooked. I eagerly awaited each new episode and was never disappointed. It was insightful, sincere, and engaging in a way that even my favorite podcasts are not. I would highly recommend this podcast to everyone, even if you’re not predisposed to all things cult-related. I simply cannot wait for season two.
I really enjoyed the first season. Before listening, I wasn’t very aware of groups like Life Spring. It’s unfortunate John Hanley wouldn’t do an interview. Maybe I’d have less inclination to think of him as a successful con-man had I heard his perspective on things. Hope there’s more episodes in the future!
I started listening to episode 1 on a whim over my lunch break and then binged the rest of the season that night. Great research, good storytelling, and I love River’s sense of humor.
I think there are many kids out there with a similar situation having parents that raised them with all the jargon of the self-help seminar movement of the 70s and 80s. It’s incredible that the seminars are still around and I’m glad to see that someone has taken a very personal journey to try and understand the impact it had on their life as well as many others. I really enjoyed this first season and I look forward to many more excellent insights in season two!
I thoroughly enjoyed the first season and love River’s perspective and humor! Please let him keep all the fingers on his left hand.
Informative and entertaining. Shut down the shameless scammers!
Is it a good cult or a bad cult? Little bit of column A, little bit column B… The podcast is totally great- I cringe some because I heard River describe therapeutic activities that I have seen used during intensive therapeutic events. The big difference is that the events were run by licensed therapists. If cults, how people make choices and are influenced interest you, if the journey of one person, seeking truth about his past and present interests you, give this a listen. Thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing.
Whether you've done seminars or not, this is great and well researched information. River is a great speaker!
After listening to John Hanley show how fragile his ego is in episode 6, I was convinced he is a conman. He is very narcissistic. It’s sad you had to pay $7,000 just to have him put you down. You could tell he fully enjoyed it.
Was going to give this 3 stars until the “at 46 he’s still holding onto his youthful glow.😂Podcast was kind of boring and repetitive but he has a nice enough voice to listen to on the commute to work. His “request” to like, rate, and review, is a big turn off. You think you’re still listening to part of the story but it ends up being him asking for reviews and likes. Annoying. It was just blah but not awful. Like I said, filled the time while I waited for my regular podcasts.
It’s very interesting to hear River talk about his experience growing up in this “good cult” and then revisiting it as an adult.
Well presented and thoughtful.
Well written and produced. Entertaining, great story telling, personal, and honest but an unsatisfactory and superficial conclusion. I understand the battles the host has to deal with since his childhood memories are so contradictory with other people’s experiences. However, this “lifestyle” clearly presents every signs of a cult, especially the targeting of vulnerable people, and there’s nothing in this story that can outweigh the lack of responsibility for lives that were lost, broken families, and forever scared people. I disagree it’s a matter of how you choose to accept this tragic reality but I respect his opinion and appreciate him putting himself out there and telling his story.
Great story telling, great production! I liked that you had the perspective of someone who’s grown up through this, but still did your best to keep an objective view when telling other’s experiences.