Episode 11: “The Vow’s” Mark Vicente

October 6 Episode 11: “The Vow’s” Mark Vicente

Leah and Mike talk to Mark Vicente about the HBO documentary series, The Vow, the similarities with Scientology and common themes of high control groups.

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The Vow on HBO


  • Sarah says:

    Hello! I have never been involved in scientology but I love to listen to your podcast and have also watched The Aftermath. It is amazing what you guys are doing!
    I grew up in the Mormon church and I have lots of family that is still members. I would just like to correct you and say that the mormon church does NOT “disown” or become a suppresive person. I am no longer a member and am still very close to my entire family. I think you are mistaking it for other religions like Amish.
    Your show is awesome, keep it up!!

  • scully says:

    What books did you guys read about dealing with trauma? Or websites or movies or anything really

  • Jeanean says:

    Great show, I look forward each week. . I’ve been watching The Vow and was so excited to listen to this episode with Mark. Keep up the good work.

  • Megan Couperthwaite says:

    I found this episode fascinating and really scary.

    How easy it is to suck someone into a cult because they believe in the surface ethos and only once they are steeped in it do they start to see some flaws in the model. Then how hard it is to extricate oneself from a poisonous situation.

    You are doing valuable work in exposing these groups. I know you have most knowledge of Scientology but it is so helpful to see the similarities between the different groups. It would be interesting to see more organisations exposed.

  • JAMES S. MARNER says:

    This episode was very good for comparisons. I enjoyed it. Here’s today’s suggestion. I’ve long thot that just below the surface of American culture is fascism, or something cultish. If my opinion has any purchase, I’d love to hear Leah & Mike discuss how certain American cultural vibes prime people to steer towards a cult. For example, where I work, is very cultish. At the top is that strong man who gaslights & denigrates his employees, efforts to keep us in line. No one will speak out against this abuse. I would say that is exactly what’s going on in the White House. Our cultural myth paints us as strong, independent loving citizens. In contrast, I see the willingness to be lead away. In American it takes three people to form one full consciousness. So, what is it about American culture that primes so many people to drink the Kool-aid?

  • Jane says:

    Hey Mike, Hey Leah.

    Great couple of episodes recently – loved hearing from the lawyer and hearing about what’s happened to Marty. Very mystifying, but there is still hope, even if that’s all there is. As I said in my last comment, I’ve been watching/listening to your both for years now, as have many folks, and we’re so grateful to you for fighting the good fight. On that note, as a fellow Texan we’d be glad to have you both! You’re welcome here anytime. Mike, I got a whole jar of vegemite with your name on it. It’s about 14 years old but I’m sure it’s still good 😀

    So with this episode I just wanted to make a quick comment about something Mark said. He was describing how he would go to Keith Raniere with all these problems and complaints not realizing that Keith himself was the problem. I’m paraphrasing obviously because he said a lot of things and it just reminded me of a quote I wrote down a long time ago to describe that kind of situation: “It’s like a drug addict going to their dealer asking their dealer to help them get off drugs.” That inherent catch-22 or paradox or whatever it is that makes people blind to the fact that the person they are going to for help is actually the person that CAN’T (and won’t) help because THEY are the problem. I just thought that was a pertinent observation. Very interesting episode.

    Anyway, can’t wait til next week. Going to watch The Vow now.


  • Spencer Quinn says:

    ‘ just a quick note to say thank you for your podcast–I am a voracious listener!
    Listening to this episode today, it dawned on me that perhaps a lot of my fascination with cults and people who get free from cults comes from my background growing up as a fundamental Baptist–I never thought of them as a cult before, but boy does it look like a cult from the outside looking in with lots of years between my experience then and my experience now. Crazy!
    Thank MYSELF and my rational mind, I managed to get free!

  • Katey Wallace says:

    Hi Leah & mike. I have a few questions. According to my understanding if an event happens to you it’s your fault. How will scientology be explaining Covid 19 and do you think they’ll be taking any precautions?

    Also when i listened to the podcast about Heber. His niece was concerned if he was even alive.. Surely if someone dies in scientology their bodies get released? Or what on earth happens to them? Is there a scientology cemetery?

    Doing a great job guys. Keep heloing people. ❤️ ❤️

  • mystery boy 2000 says:

    Holy shit this podcast was good. I wish the best to all of you guys. I felt the emotional pain you felt. And yes, I read your book leah and I give a shit.

    Mike, you have my respect and admiration.

  • Martin says:

    Hi Mike and Leah,

    Love your podcast. This was by far my favorite episode of any podcast that has ever dealt with cults (and I listen to a LOT of these).

    I think this could be a new format for either this podcast or others that deal with cults: having a survivor of one cult interview a survivor of another.

    The parallels that you all drew between Scientology and NXIVM, as well as the uniquely familiar terms that you traded (“codified gaslighting” – so on point), brought this episode above any other cult survivor interview I have ever heard.

    Perhaps this could be your next series? Leah and Mike interview a survivor of a different cult every week. I think your expertise on having actually been survivors yourselves, rather than just a “cult scholar” like most interviewers, makes your dialogue so much more enlightening in this context. You ask things that no interviewer who hadn’t been in a cult themselves would think to ask.

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