‘Good Cult’ investigates the controversial self-help company Lifespring

True Crime September 24, 2022
Good Cult
Listen to ‘Good Cult’

A self-help company called Lifespring marketed itself as a “personal-growth seminar group” and became popular in the 1970s and ’80s. Lifespring’s leader deemed it “one big happy family,” but this organization stirred up controversies and held many sinister secrets. It attracted hundreds of thousands of followers who believed the seminars changed their lives and could also change the world. But at what cost?

Lifespring faced lawsuits from trainees that allegedly experienced adverse effects after taking the seminars. Many attendees claimed they suffered psychotic breaks afterward, some attempted suicide, at least 4 people died, and others checked into hospitals for months at a time.

River Donaghey’s parents attended Wings seminars based on Lifespring’s teachings, and what some believed was a cult. In “Good Cult,” River dug into his family’s history, his personal experiences in Wings, and investigated Lifespring’s strange world. Along the way, he unearthed the company’s controlling and deceptive tactics he did not know about as a kid.

River shares what he learned about Lifespring’s leader, John Hanley, a con artist and convicted felon who became a New Age guru. As River investigated, he began questioning his childhood and the seminars that are still happening today. On the podcast, River takes listeners inside one of Lifespring’s seminars, and we’ll hear how John carried Lifespring forward in the 1990s.

Start Kast Media’s “Good Cult” from episode 1 to hear about River’s experiences, why he wanted to investigate, and a complete breakdown of Lifespring. All 6 bingeable episodes run less than 35 minutes on average. In episodes, listeners will hear from River’s parents, insiders’ perspectives from Lifespring’s former members, and more.

“Good Cult” is a captivating, well-researched, and scandalous story for fans of “The Opportunist” and “Twin Flames.” River previously produced “Dirtbags at Dope Lake” for Kast Media, “Ken Kesey’s Acid Quest” for WNYC, joined NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and WGA’s OnWriting Guide to Crafting Scripted Podcasts.

“Good Cult” is now streaming wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Listen to ‘Good Cult’

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