Her Body. Her Self.
A sex-cult survivor speaks out.
“I own me!” That’s the lesson in attorney/author Faith Jones’ TEDx Talk about women understanding property rights to our own bodies.
This declaration is significant for many reasons, but for Faith, it was her concrete realization that she’d freed herself from the obligation and guilt of her upbringing in the Children of God cult, later renamed the Family of Love, or the Family. In today’s world of social unrest and wannabe demagogues, we need to listen.
In her terrifying forthcoming memoir, Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult, Faith chronicles her life growing up in the Family. The book reads like a horror story mixed with true crime and a recounted nightmare, all intertwined to recreate her real-life experiences.
The head of the so-called royal family was David Brandt Berg, Faith’s paternal grandfather, who founded the Children of God in 1968. Members called him Moses David, or Mo. The Family existed until 2010 and had a rolling membership of 60,000 in 170 countries. For decades, Interpol included Mo on its wanted list for kidnapping, prostitution, and child abuse.
Moses David “found his flock,” writes Faith, in the idealistic young people who’d already turned their backs on society and embraced his message of “dropping out of an evil system by forsaking everything, including money, education, jobs and families.”
Although Faith was part of the original royal family, her father and his tribe moved to the Portuguese colony of Macau off the southern coast of China in 1978, then to the isolated village of Hac Sa, a remote beach on the farthest end of Macau.
Life in Hac Sa lacked basic comforts like electricity (except for a 20-watt bulb), running water, and air conditioning. But her family created a thriving home made up of an “End-Time Army,” whose mission was to save as many souls as they could before the Rapture.
The Family prohibited members from having contact with most of mainstream society, known as the Systemites. Moses David disseminated all news and information through newsletters called the Mo Letters and Kidz True Comics, the latter a version of the former in comic-book form.
From the moment they woke up to the moment they fell asleep, Family members immersed themselves in prayer, songs about Jesus, and hours of religious reading. Every morning, they had two hours of devotions, then Joyful Job Time, or JJT.
Although members gave up all vices — except for Mo, to whom rules didn’t apply — sex pervaded their lives. They considered sex their service to God, and “refusing sex is being hard and selfish, unyielded to God’s will. And our absolute obedience is expected.”
According to Moses David, “Sex is pure and Godly and it has been corrupted as something dirty and shameful by the Devil, who is deceiving God’s people.” In one Mo Letter, he wrote, “The Devil Hates Sex — But God Loves It. There is nothing in the world at all wrong with sex as long as it’s practiced in love, whatever it is or whoever it’s with, no matter who or what age or what relative or what manner.”
Read the rest of my article at Washington Independent Review of Books.