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Photos via Renee Linnell/Facebook. Author Renee Linnell was a surfer and model seeking change in her life when she first encountered the University of Mysticism, a cult that would encourage her to burn all her worldly possessions and cut off her friends and family—ultimately costing her $500,000 plus years of therapy. In this excerpt from her upcoming memoir The Burn Zone, Linnell reflects on why it takes years for someone under a charismatic teacher’s influence to see they’re in a cult. It happens so slowly. So insidiously. At first it is like winning the lottery: You think you’ve finally found someone who understands you, someone who seems like she knows what you’ve been looking for.... Full story

10 August