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From Brainwashed to Empowered: Peter Young's Story of Escaping a Cult's Toxic Leadership
Episode 2511st August 2023 • Leaders Moment • Scott McClelland
00:00:00 00:32:25

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Peter Young shares the chilling experience of being a part of a destructive religious cult. As he delves into the dangers of toxic leadership and the lasting impact it can have, Peter's story takes an unexpected turn. Looking back, it seems inevitable, but it took him completely by surprise at the time, and it was something his brother said that helped him to see what was really going on. 

Listen to discover some of the earmarks of cults as well as a discussion of how toxic leadership always tries to supplant God-ordained order and structure.

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  • An insider’s perspective on decoded signals of cults and strategies to recognize them.
  • A key leadership truth about hard decisions from Peter's failure and what he's learned.
  • Valuable insights that shed light on leadership traits born out of the ashes of failure and how to embrace them.


  • Stop the Tall Man, Save the Tiger, a memoir about Peter’s experience in a destructive cult and how he found redemption.
  • The Blue Team, a fictional story that uses basketball to demonstrate biblical principles and highlights positive lessons of sharing, caring, and standing firm.
  • Author Peter Young's website, where you can learn more about his story, find leadership insights, and more.


Peter Young is a sports broadcaster now turned author. He's written two books, The Blue Team, and Stop the Tall Man, Save the Tiger. Life has thrown him many curveballs, including an unexpected transition out of sports broadcasting. But probably the biggest curveball was realizing that he and his family had spent years in a cult - and they didn't realize it. Now, looking back, he has a powerful perspective on the importance of good leadership - especially in the home - and how to recognize the kind of toxic leadership and culture that has the potential to create a cult.

His story can enlighten us to the dangers of powerful, but misguided (and misguiding) leadership. These are lessons that have cost him and his family dearly, and our hope is that his story can help some avoid the pain he's gone through and others find healing and restoration.

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