Imagine not watching TV until the age of 15. That’s what happened to a woman who spent her childhood in a cult. Flor Edwards grew up a member of the apocalyptic cult, Children of God, according to Narratively. Ahead, learn the shocking details about what it’s really like to grow up in a cult according to her own account.
She constantly moved house
- Fact: Edwards first foray into watching TV involved the Winter Olympics.
For Edwards, her family’s duty to God meant moving every six months. “I had lost count of how many places we had lived,” she told Narratively. She spent her early childhood living in Thailand with her family and many other cult members who were all ready to move on a moment’s notice.
She received no formal education
- Fact: Her first day of school came at 15 years old.
Growing up in a cult meant minimal education for Edwards. She learned fractions, geography, and had to memorize “chapters upon chapters of scripture” to be recited on command. Outside books, movies, and music weren’t allowed.
Time wasn’t her own
- Fact: Edwards learned she grew up in a cult by taking a quiz in Seventeen magazine. Learn the warning signs of cults.
She knew exactly how her day would go because every day followed the same schedule for Edwards and the rest of the cult members. Edwards woke up at 7 a.m. and “by 7:30 our rooms were immaculate and spotless, the bed sheets unwrinkled and firm.”
She had no privacy
- Fact: An adult watched the kids while they slept.
“We slept in rooms sometimes filled with fifteen to twenty children on bunk beds, trundle beds, and rollaway beds,” Edwards told Narratively. She and other kids “showered communally” and took “clothes off in the humid tropical afternoons.”
Death was brought up often
- Fact: “Every year after 1993 a letter came out entitled, It Could Happen This Year,” Edwards told Narratively.
The cult’s leader, David Brandt Berg, believed the world would end in 1993 and only a chosen number of people would go to heaven. As a result, Edwards spent her childhood thinking she would die. “Most of my childhood was spent fantasizing about the details of my death,” Edwards told Narratively.
She always had a bag packed
- Fact: Edwards experienced a raid in Thailand but got away on a “Song-Taow, a Thai open-air taxi.”
Berg taught his followers to have what he called “fleebags” ready, Edwards told Narratively. They were “packed at all times with toiletries, socks, underwear and a few pairs of light clothing in the case of a raid, natural disaster, or the end time.”
She made none of her own decisions
- Fact: Edwards ate white flour for the first time in Chicago in the form of a bagel.
Edwards didn’t get to decide what she wanted for breakfast or what outfit she would wear that day. “All of our lives, we had never been allowed to choose where to live, what clothes to wear, or what food to eat,” Edwards told Narratively. “Everything had been decided for us.”
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