Watch People Magazine Investigates: Cults

This docuseries takes a look at controversial groups that allegedly use devious practices to lure and detain followers. In most cases, the cults are led by charismatic men who use religious ideas to mask the harm they do to the people who follow them. The series airs on the Investigation Discovery network.

Monday 9:00 PM et/pt on Investigation Discovery
2 Seasons, 12 Episodes
June 4, 2018
Crime, Documentary, Reality
8.6/10
Cast: Theresa Croft, Anna Andersen
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People Magazine Investigates: Cults Full Episode Guide

  • Lost souls flock to North Carolina where they're promised deliverance from demons by Pastor Jane Whaley at the Word of Faith Fellowship; however, deliverance comes at a price, including beatings, medical horrors and psychological abuse.

  • Charismatic preacher Sam Fife inspires a worldwide network of nondenominational Christian groups. To prepare for the apocalypse, followers renounce everything to move to the wilderness where they're subjected to beatings, exorcisms and brainwashing.

  • In 2014, a severed human leg draws attention to The Work, an apocalyptic cult; known as the Sinful Messiah, Julius Shacknow commands total devotion and terrible sacrifice, called "the special work," as the only way to achieve eternal salvation.

  • In 1997, Heaven's Gate leader Marshall Applewhite convinces 39 people to follow him to their graves; the world sees the event as the largest mass suicide on U.S. soil, but for Applewhite's followers, it is a way to catch a UFO to heaven.

  • In the late 60s, Charles Manson entices dozens of young women to live with him in a California desert commune. The facade breaks when Manson orders his followers to commit a string of gruesome murders that 50 years later, still haunt the nation's psyche.

  • Prophet David Berg attracts thousands of followers as the Children of God cult spreads through communes around the world. But his free love message turns sinister, espousing prostitution, sexual abuse of children and rampant violence in prison camps.

  • The followers of cult leader Dwight York come from all walks of life. Ruby joins the Nuwaubian Nation when looking for answers to life's big questions while Niki is brought in as a child. Both become disillusioned as they learn the truth about York.

  • Deborah and Jim Green believe they're generals in a holy army for God, for more than 30 years their harsh rule has destroyed families and ruined lives. Cult survivors reveal how the Greens transformed from charismatic hippies into militant cult leaders.

  • Yahweh ben Yahweh is a respected religious leader in the 1980s, but behind the facade, he rules his followers with terror and violence. One survivor shares the story of this cult leader whose ruthless tactics ruin hundreds of lives and leaves 14 dead.

  • The Word of Life Church, starts as a small bible study group led by Pastor Jerry Irwin. After his death, his daughter Tiffanie gains control and makes life hell for the church followers, leading to the brutal death of a teenaged boy.

  • In the late '50s, Jim Jones founded the People's Temple, which focused on helping those in need. By 1975 he was setting up what was supposed to be a utopia known as Jonestown. But utopia quickly turned into a hell as Jones spiraled deeper into paranoia.

  • Initially, the Alamo Christian Foundation once held hope for a better society for young people seeking purpose. But when Susan Alamo dies of cancer, Tony reveals his dark side and turns his anger on his followers, including taking multiple child brides.

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People Magazine Investigates: Cults is currently available to watch and stream on Investigation Discovery. You can also buy, rent People Magazine Investigates: Cults on demand at Philo, Amazon, Investigation Discovery, Microsoft Movies & TV, Google Play, iTunes online.