Memoirs, Non-Fiction

Book Review: Sex Cult Nun by Faith Jones

Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical  Religious Cult by Faith Jones

Trigger Warning: Sexual assault (some involving minors), rape

Sex Cult Nun is a memoir of sorts as the author recounts the story of being part of a cult, Children of God(CoG), founded by her grandfather. She recounts living in hiding in Macau with her family as the cult was having terrible PR with its controversial way of living. Her family constituted of two moms as CoG allowed for sexual liberation and anyone could sleep with anyone. As if that wasn’t enough, contraception was banned.

The terrible PR eventually led to a change in name of the cult to The Family. With locations around the world, members just showed up anywhere in the world and had to live in a Family house. If they felt you did wrong, they could reassign you anywhere. There was no formal education because her Grandfather (who she never met by the way) told them the rapture was going to happen in 1993, so there wasn’t even a plan for retirement.

I am fascinated by cult themes because I always try to understand how a person gets to this point and the mental strength it takes to get out of it. Everything about this book sounded unreal and quite frankly, inhumane. Everyone I told a synopsis of the book, asked me why I was reading it. This is a group that had its law modified to exclude sex with children under 16 ONLY because police was getting involved – imagine what it was before that.

As gross as it was, I had to remember that this was someone’s real life. I felt for her as a kid because this was all she knew. The kids didn’t ask for this. Her grandfather was in hiding for most of his regime so he was barely seen but he communicated with his followers through “Mo Letters” that were highly sexual. The cult promoted sexuality in what they called “sharing”.

At some point, her mom got pregnant and didn’t know the father. That’s because there was something called “Flirty Fishing” – preaching the gospel and trying to convert them, even if it means sleeping with them and her mom took her along on these expeditions. This is me letting you guys know that this book is very graphic. How graphic? There is a scene where her mom makes her watch as she masturbates her dad and I will leave it at that.

I completely understand being grossed out by the subject matter and detail but if you are able to stomach it, I found it quite fascinating. I think Jones was convincing as a reliable narrator and watching her journey to realization and eventually to freedom was worth it for me because even I didn’t know her, I was proud and happy for her.

The book doesn’t give much information into the psyche of the parents which would have been more informative. There’s lots of detail and people that might be a little difficult to navigate. It’s written in a matter of fact tone which is expected because it truly is a lot to unpack and is probably how she is able to get through. I was so intrigued by this book that I sought out old documentaries by other survivors and seeing it on screen backing up everything Jones said, was just a jarring experience.

Some people are confused about the name of the book. The sex and cult part are self explanatory but the nun part she says is tongue in cheek reference to the isolated devotion where she felt like she grew up like a nun except there was lots of sex involved.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and I think I left out one star because of how uncomfortable it made me but if it made me that uncomfortable, doesn’t that mean it did its job?

Taynement

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