I Escaped the Cult. But I Couldn’t Escape the Cult Mentality.
After leaving the Children of God, I was so proud to join the Army. But then I had to ask myself: Was I trading one culture of blind obedience for another?
Illustrations by Jackie Ferrentino
It was the first time I’d ever been allowed to watch television. I was 14 years old. Glass exploded, metal shrieked, and red flames shot skyward before being enveloped in a mushroom cloud of thick, black smoke. A tower in New York City had been hit by a plane. America stared transfixed in horror as people leapt to their deaths and two landmark buildings collapsed. Terror enveloped the nation.
Was the Apocalypse about to start?
The September 11th terrorist attacks were shocking everywhere, but the most shocking thing in my house was that the adults had turned on the television and images from the outside world were permeating our closed society. Our Prophet had always predicted that America, Babylon the Whore, would feel the wrath of an angry God, and we could see it happening as the buildings collapsed. But worldly television? That was never allowed.
I was born and raised behind the commune walls of an extreme modern-day religious cult, the Children of G…
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