What People Have Said:

"A propulsive memoir delivered in the honest tones of a woman who didn't always think she'd live to tell her story." --NYT  


"Mestyanek Young searingly captures the fear and intensity that were her constant companions in the Children of God, and she draws smart parallels between the dogmatic 'indoctrination' she encountered in both the cult and the Army ... Readers won’t be able to put down this harrowing and enthralling memoir." —Publisher’s Weekly STARRED Review

“Affecting … and a deft portrait of the dangers of blindly following leaders of whatever stripe.”—Kirkus Rveview

UNCULTURED’s Audiobook was featured in the New York Times

Read about UNCULTURED and Intergenerational trauma in Ms Magazine

UNCULTURED has recently been named:

Daniella is, primarily, an amazing storyteller with some incredible stories to tell.

“Her insights into organizational and institutional dysfunction were among the most disturbing things I've ever decided to read at the pool.” —The Linden Review

“What Daniella does that is truly unforgettable is how she works in serious topics, ideas, themes, and behavioral science research into her fantastic stories. 

”These concepts stick with your audience because story is the best way to understand things in new ways, to gain new perspectives, and to make those gains stick. Your friends, family, work teams, and organizations will be talking about these ideas long after Daniella takes her leave.” —A Satisfied Client 


    • Organizational Culture-building & Culture Change
    • Group behavior 101
    • Group norms & how they work for and against you
    • Creating Strong Teams
    • Innovation & Creativity
    • Banishing Imposter Syndrome
    • Leadership Development
    • Reducing Groupthink in Your Organization or Industry
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Power & Privilege
    • Incorporating Diverse Perspectives into Your Organization
    • Feminism for Men



Tedx: Lost in Transition

Daniella’s talk, Lost in Transition, will illuminate a compass that you can rely on to navigate any life transition.

The Jordan Harbinger Show

On this episode, Daniella shares the disturbing details of child sexual abuse that were encouraged by the cult’s leaders throughout its history, what this cult and others do to cultivate credibility among its followers and the outside world, how an organization with such well-documented transgressions manages to rake in millions of dollars every year even now, and the toll that life in a cult takes on those who are lucky enough to exit.

A Little Bit Culty

If hell is real, there is perhaps no circle of it as harrowing nor vile as the experience of growing up in the Children of God cult.

One would hope that growing up in COG would be the last coercive, abusive, and negligent experience for today’s guest, Daniella Mestyanek Young, who is an American author, keynote speaker, and previous Captain in the US Army. One would also hope for ponies and rainbows and a bigger tax return this year but HEY, life’s no cake walk. On today’s episode, Young discusses her book Uncultured: a Memoir, wherein she details her cult-riddled childhood and how, shockingly, the US Army reflected comparable practices.

On The Edge Podcast

Daniella talks about going from cult to army, toxic groups and how we are all liable to succumb to group think.

IndoctriNation Podcast

Daniella shares with Rachel some insights behind the stories in her book Uncultured, more than a memoir about an exceptional upbringing, but about a woman who, no matter the lack of tools given to her, is determined to overcome. Throughout her story, Daniella draws parallels between her life as a child in the Children of God commune and her time as an adult in the U.S. military. Pointing out the stunning similarities in rape culture in both organizations. She goes on to explain the dangerous deification of the U.S. Army, and the cult-like devotion and martyrdom expected of its soldiers

Cult Vault Podcast

Talk Beliefs

Daniella speaks with Mark from Talk Beliefs about growing up in the cult, performing in lewd videos as a youngster, and ultimately engineering her escape and joining the US Army. Free from the sect, she was shocked to find echoes of the cult within the military.

I Bounced Back Podcast

Getting Out of a Cult: Daniella speaks to being excommunicated from the cult and moving to the United States alone to rebuild her life in freedom.

The Inspired Women Podcast

Women of the Military Podcast


Daniella is represented by Dystel, Godderich and Bourret. For author-related inquiries, please contact Michael Bourret at mbourret@dystel.com.