Dr. Tamara MC's TOP 11

Favorite Essays about Cults

I Can’t Shake the Guru Bhagwan by Ronit Plank

Ronit is a writer, teacher, & podcaster with work in the The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Iowa Review, and American Literary Review among others. She is host & producer of the award-winning podcast And Then Everything Changed and author of When She Comes Back, a memoir about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Her short story collection Home Is A Made-Up Place won Hidden River Arts’ 2020 Eludia Award and will be published in 2022. For more about Ronit and a complete list of work visit: https://ronitplank.com/

Escape from Jonestown by Julia Scheeres

For our latest Longreads Exclusive, we’re proud to share Julia Scheeres’ adaptation of her book, A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown, which tells the story of five people who lived in Jonestown at the time of the infamous massacre, which occurred 36 years ago, on Nov. 18, 1978.

This story also includes home movies—never before released publicly—from inside Jonestown. The footage, discovered after the massacre, includes tours of the compound by Jim Jones and interviews with many of those who lived and died there. You can view the entire series of clips at YouTube.com/Longreads.

I Grew Up In The Children Of God, A Doomsday Cult. Here's How I Finally Got Out by Flor Edwards

Flor Edwards is an author and lives in Los Angeles, California. By age twelve, Flor had lived in 24 different locations across three continents. Always on the move to escape the Antichrist and in preparation for the apocalypse supposedly arriving in 1993, her nomadic childhood prompted her to pen her memoir “Apocalypse Child: A Life in End Times.” In her debut memoir, Flor describes her early life growing up with her family and 11 siblings as a member of The Children of God, a controversial religious movement that many describe as an apocalyptic cult. Visit her website at www.floredwards.com.

My Teenage Life After Leaving a Cult by Flor Edwards

Faith Jones is a lawyer, activist, entrepreneur, and business advisor. She began her career as an attorney with Skadden Arps representing clients in a wide variety of cross-border corporate transactions and has worked with businesses and government leaders in the Pacific Rim. Faith has been a featured TEDx speaker, has traveled the world, and has done humanitarian aid work in Kazakhstan, Russia, Japan, and Taiwan.

Daniella was born a third-generation member of the infamous Children of God religious cult, and grew up being trafficked around the world, before escaping that life and moving to America at age 15. She put herself through high school and graduated as college valedictorian before commissioning into the US Army as an intelligence officer. That’s where she really started to think about group behavior…and seeing it, well, everywhere.

Work, pray, fear: my life in the Family cult by Lauren Hough

Lauren Hough was raised by the Family, the global religious cult that started in California in the 1960s. Hough recalls a typical punishment and, in a Q&A, talks about the lasting effect of her experiences.

My Childhood in a Cult by Guinevere Turner

Guinevere Turner is a writer, director and actor who has been working in film and TV since her 1994 debut film Go Fish, which she wrote, produced and starred in. She teamed up with director Mary Harron to write the films American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page and the 2019 film Charlie Says. She was a writer and story editor on Showtime’s The L Word, and she played the recurring character Gabby Deveaux on that show. She has written and directed seven short films, two of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

I could've been a Duggar wife: I grew up in the same church, and the abuse scandal doesn't shock me by Brooke Arnold

Brooke Arnold is a writer and a stand-up comic who lives in New York. She is currently writing a comic memoir called “Growing Up Fundie” about her experience growing up in a fundamentalist Christian church. You can find out more about this book and her other projects on her website.

When I Left the Cult I Was Raised In, I Learned What a Family Could Be by Michelle Dowd

Michelle Dowd is a journalism professor and contributor to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Book Review, The Alpinist, Catapult, and other national publications. She is Faculty Lecturer of the Year for 2022 at Chaffey College, where she founded the award-winning literary journal and creative collective, The Chaffey Review, advises Student Media, and teaches poetry and critical thinking in the California Institutes for Men and women in Chino. She has been recognized as a Longreads Top 5 for her article on the relationship between environmentalism and hope in The Alpinist, nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and profiled on the second season of Sincerely X, a TED production for stories too risky, painful, or controversial to be shared on the stage. Her popular Modern Love column in The New York Times inspired a book contract.

I could've been a Duggar wife: I grew up in the same church, and the abuse scandal doesn't shock me by Brooke Arnold

Sharon Hendry is an experienced journalist whose industry knowledge can help to increase your profile and ensure your brand gets noticed on national and international media platforms. She is also qualified to give media training and is a highly regarded speaker who is available for lectures and panels. Sharon is also available for ghostwriting projects and her most recent endeavour spent consecutive weeks on the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller List.

Dr. Tamara MC is a cult, child marriage, and human trafficking Lived Experience Expert who advocates for girls and women to live free from gender-based violence worldwide. Her Ph.D. is in Applied Linguistics, and she researches how language manipulates vulnerable populations.

Themes in her work explore coercive control, intergenerational trauma, Complex PTSD, religion/spirituality, and mothering. She researches language, culture, and identity in the Middle East and beyond, specifically her hybrid identity of growing up simultaneously Jewish and Muslim.

Dr. Tamara MC's a Contributor to Over 60 Outlets

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Leave Dr. Tamara MC a tip to support her unicorn mission

Dr. Tamara MC's Wall of Icons

These incredible women have influenced Tamara as mentors from afar.

An image titled, Dr. Tamara MC's Wall of Icons. 70 women are included including Oprah, Ruth Bader, Princess Diana, Lady Gaga, Dolly Parton, Malala, and others.


How do you pronounce my name?

My name is pronounced:

“Tamara” like the sun will come out tomorrow.

“MC” like emcee, not McDonalds. 

My students often call me Doc MC, and you can too.

What is a Unicorn Activist?

Someone who believes in the magical strength of all girls, women, and female-identifying humans to live free in matriarchal magnificence.


And yes, I did make up this title. 

What's with all the pink? And Unicorns?

Pink is power. Unicorns represents our eternal search for magic. 

You deal with such a heavy topics but your website is so joyful. Why?

Joy is transgressive. Being joyful is activism.

“Joy and pain

Like sunshine and rain”

(From the lyrics of Rob Base.)

You mention girls and women. Are others welcome?



This is an inclusive space, and anyone who supports our mission is welcome.

What's up with the Barbie theme?

I’ve loved Barbie since I was a little girl. She was able to do all the things I dreamed of before I was physically able. 


Barbie was my girl way before the movie premiered.

What do cults and unicorns have in common?

Absolutely nothing. That’s exactly why unicorns are the symbol of my brand and my website. Unicorns stand for freedom. 

An image with the saying, "May purple be with you."