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Sex Cult Nun
Author:Faith Jones

Sex Cult Nun

Faith Jones



Dedication

To all of us who have fought to free ourselves from oppression, to claim our choices and bodies, and to thrive not just survive




A Note from the Author


Free love and sex, communes, withdrawal from society, living off donations instead of having jobs, staying vigilant for the rise of the Antichrist and the return of Jesus, spiritual revolutionaries against the system: these are some of the beliefs I grew up with.

I was born into the Family, a religious movement founded in Huntington Beach, California, in 1968 by my grandfather David Brandt Berg, with help from his four children, Deborah, Aaron, Faithy, and my father, Hosea. It was known as the Children of God in its early days and often referred to as a cult by outsiders.

With its aggressive proselytizing tactics and its demand that all its members serve as full-time missionaries, its live-in disciples quickly grew to over ten thousand, an average it maintained for over four decades and spread worldwide to 170 countries. With people leaving and joining, I’d estimate over sixty thousand people passed through the group as full-time members during its fifty years in existence. But its missionary activities reached millions more, with hundreds of thousands of converts.

The group’s more radical practices led to police raids and negative press in many countries, with accusations of kidnapping, prostitution, and child abuse; my grandfather was on Interpol’s wanted list for decades.

In 2010, it disbanded its communes, releasing into mainstream society thousands of people who’d never held a job or finished school. According to its official website at the time of this writing, it continues as “an online Christian community of 1,450 committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe.” I left the Family in 2000 and do not have firsthand knowledge of its official practices or beliefs since that time.

This book is based on my recollections, interviews with family members, and written records. I have made my best efforts to ensure accuracy of detail and emotion in this recounting. I changed the names and identifying personal details of certain people who appear in the book to preserve their anonymity. As memory is sometimes fallible, there are places in the text where some dialogue is approximated, combined, or moved in time. I omitted specific people and events, but only when those omissions had no impact on the substance of the story. The Family had thousands of members, and I cannot speak for all of them. Depending on when and where those thousands were born, we had different experiences. I can only tell my story.

Through all of this I never doubted that my parents loved me. They acted based on their sincerely held beliefs at the time, which have since changed dramatically. We have a good relationship today, and they understand my purpose in writing this.

There are two ways to read this book: as a story about a cult or a young woman’s personal story. If you are interested in the latter, feel free to skip the history section and jump straight into my story, beginning with Chapter 1. You can always go back to the history later if questions come up about the cult.

I write about my experiences from my perspective at each age, so you can peek into my mind and see how I saw the world and my family through the lens of the cult’s beliefs. My understanding of my experiences shifts with each realization I gain. Thank you for coming with me on this wild and crazy journey to its final destination—freedom. True liberation is in the mind.


Faith Jones

March 2021





A (Not So) Brief History of My Family and the Children of God



FOUR GENERATIONS OF EVANGELISTS


My father is a fourth-generation evangelist. His great-grandfather John Lincoln Brandt of Muskogee, Oklahoma, was a Baptist minister who moved between churches in Denver, Toledo, Valparaiso, and St. Louis. Later, he became a leader in the Campbellite movement (now known as the Disciples of Christ), building and pastoring churches across the United States and around the world. His travels took him to Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. He was also the author of over twenty books and a lecturer.

His daughter, Virginia, my father’s grandmother, was also a famous preacher. She was the nation’s first female radio evangelist with her program Meditation Moments, which started in Miami, Florida, in the 1930s. She was a prominent evangelist and revivalist who drew crowds of thousands at her evangelistic tabernacle events across America.

But her dedication to Jesus came later in life. Although she had been raised a Christian, her faith was shaken with the loss of her mother when she was in her early twenties, and for a time, she declared herself agnostic. It took a miracle to bring her back into the fold. After giving birth to her first child, Hjalmar Jr., she fell and broke her back in two places, leaving her in terrible pain and often bedridden. Several surgeries failed to correct the problem, and doctors ultimately diagnosed her condition as untreatable. But her husband, Hjalmar Berg, an evangelical minister, kept praying over her.





MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER’S MIRACLE HEALING


One afternoon, in pain and at the end of her strength, Virginia called out to God for help. A scripture came to her—“Whatever you desire, when you pray, believe you will receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24). She said, “I believe.” At that moment, as the story goes, she was miraculously healed and rose from her bed.

Hjalmar ministered to a small congregation in Northern California, and she shared her testimony there the following morning. Soon, speaking invitations started pouring in, and Virginia’s reputation and following began to grow. Preaching about miraculous healing was against her church’s doctrine, but Virginia and Hjalmar refused to keep quiet and were ultimately expelled from the Disciples of Christ.

Subsequently, they joined the Christian and Missionary Alliance, an evangelical Protestant denomination with a heavy emphasis on missionary work. By then, Virginia and Hjalmar had added their second and third children to the family: a daughter, also named Virginia, and my grandfather, David, who was born in Oakland, California, on February 18, 1919.