The 10 Best Documentaries About Religious Cults

Sep 27, 2023 | Best Of, Religion

Welcome to our latest article on the best documentaries about religious cults! If you’ve ever been curious about what goes on behind the closed doors of some of the world’s most controversial and secretive sects, then this is the place for you. We have put together a list of inspiring, informative, and engaging films that examine these communities in depth. From exploring the beliefs and practices of certain groups to looking at the psychological impact of cults on their members, these stories provide a thought-provoking look into this often misunderstood world. Dive in and explore!


1. Shocking expose of accused ‘religious cult’ Esther House

For over forty years, 60 Minutes has been the vanguard of investigative journalism. Documenting some of the most groundbreaking stories that have changed Australia forever. Our intrepid reporters Liz Hayes, Tom Steinfort, Tara Brown, Liam Bartlett and Sarah Abo are dedicated to getting at the truth behind every story; no matter how hard it may be to uncover. Esther House is one such story, where a dangerous religious cult has been accused of brainwashing its followers and recruiting young people into a twisted web of lies and deception.


2. Strong City Religious Cult Documentary

A religious cult led by Wayne Bent, also known as Michael Travesser, emerged in New Mexico during 2000 and was named the Lord Our Righteousness Church or “Strong City”. This group was founded based on a prophecy number (490) that was calculated from the year 1517 when the Protestant Reformation began. Bent declared October 31, 2007 to be the Day of Judgment (End of the World) in a symbolic reference to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses which had been posted on that day. With its unique beliefs, this cult has become popular among documentary filmmakers worldwide.


3. Religious Cult Headed By Murderous Man: Temple of Fear | The FBI Files

This gripping FBI Files documentary takes us deep into the world of a murderous man and his religious cult. Through interviews, reenactments, and expert commentary, viewers get an inside look at the investigation that followed after multiple victims were discovered in the group’s compound. Hear from those closest to the case as they share their experiences and uncover never-before-seen details about this frightening cult. Experience the gripping tension of this award-winning documentary as you uncover the tragic events that occurred within this religious group. Unravel the truth behind this story and explore why it remains one of the most shocking cases in FBI history.


4. South Africa’s Unexplained Religious Cult Deaths

Deep in the hills of South Africa, a mysterious religious cult has been discovered. Eight bodies have been uncovered in unmarked graves on a compound and investigations are underway to determine the cause of death. The people who lived there were waiting for Jesus, believing he would come and save them from their earthly suffering. Who was behind this strange group and what happened to them? This documentary uncovers the truth of this cult and how it all ended. With interviews from those who lived there, as well as experts in religion and psychology, we learn more about why these people were drawn to this unorthodox belief system and the tragedy that unfolded when they could not make a connection with their savior.


5. Inside The INSANE Religious Cult That Marries Strangers

Are you curious to find out what it would be like to grow up in a religious cult that marries strangers? Elgen Strait invites you to step inside the Moonies, or Unification Church, and take a look at one of their most bizarre practices: mass weddings. In these marriages, “pure” church members are wed in order to produce children who will then serve as a ticket to their promised afterlife. Discover what it was like for Strait to have been raised in such an environment, and learn more about the Moonies today. Have a glimpse inside the INSANE cult that marries strangers!


6. Inside YUSMALOS: The Cult that tried to burn down Ukraine | Religious cult documentary

Yuri Krivonogov and Marina Tsvigun were at the forefront of a religious movement that swept through Ukraine in the early 1990s. They created YUSMALOS, a cult-like society with its own set of beliefs and practices that gained notoriety for trying to burn down parts of the country. This documentary follows their story from its inception to present day, exploring the impact they have had on Ukraine and beyond. With extraordinary access, it provides a fascinating insight into YUSMALOS’ culture, its people, their beliefs and rituals.


7. Former TLC Star Jinger Duggar Hopes to Expose “Religious Cult” She Grew Up In

Tamron Hall brings a fresh perspective to the world of documentaries with her latest endeavor: exposing religious cults. As a new mom, wife and survivor who has accomplished so much with resilience and strength, Tamron is now taking on the complex issue of cults from within. She shares her experience as Jinger Duggar, growing up in the conservative Christian faith that many have called a cult, and hopes to shed light on the realities of life within a religious community that is restrictive and oppressive. With her signature lack of fear and openness for dialogue, Tamron’s documentary promises viewers an inside look at how her upbringing has shaped her views today — as well as what she believes will help bring about meaningful change in the future.



Growing up in a religious cult is no easy feat. Learning the ways of an unfamiliar culture, strict rules to abide by and rituals that are foreign can be difficult to comprehend. For many of us, it’s hard to imagine what life was like for those living under such oppressive conditions. But thanks to documentaries, we can gain insight into these unique lifestyles and explore the nuances of living in a religious cult. From the devastation of Jonestown to the daily struggles within the FLDS, these amazing films provide an invaluable look into this otherworldly way of life.


9. The Religious Cult Armed With Chemical Weapons | The Business of Crime

From the depths of a sleepy Japanese town came an ancient cult hell-bent on unleashing destruction. The Aum Shinrikyo terror cell had infiltrated the lives of hundreds of followers who went to extreme lengths in pursuit of their contaminated cause. In this special episode, we explore how they managed to smuggle deadly chemical weapons and use religion as a cover for their dark agenda. From the Japanese government’s failed attempts to bring them down, to secret underground networks developed by the cult, we investigate how their business of crime managed to cast a long-lasting shadow over modern Japan. Don’t miss this gripping story as we uncover more about one of the most dangerous cults in history.


10. Pythagoras & His Weird Religious Cult

Pythagoras was a great thinker of his time, known for the theorem that bears his name. But there is more to him than meets the eye – he was also the founder of a strange religious cult which goes by many different names and has its roots in ancient Greece. In this documentary, we dive deep into the story of Pythagoras and his cult, and uncover the strange beliefs and practices it entailed. From its peculiar initiation rites to its mysterious symbols, we explore how this ancient religion shaped our understanding of the world today. We also look at its strained relationship with other religious movements of the time, as well as its influence on modern-day faith systems.


Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B