The Inner Workings Of Cults, As Described By Women

When novelist Clara Salaman was young, her parents forced her to be part of a weird, religious “organization” that dominated every aspect of her life. Women weren’t allowed to wear skirts or makeup, and television, magazines, most books, and pop culture in all forms were also forbidden. Luckily, she never had to drink any mysterious Kool-Aid. While Salaman isn’t bitter, she recognizes that her experience in this cult, which she broke from as a teen, profoundly influenced her life. On August 6, her thriller “Shame On You” comes out, and it’s based on her cult experience. After the jump, more women who’ve lived to tell the tale. [Guardian UK]

  • Unlike Salaman, Jehovah Witness Kyria Abrahams did not immediately rebel against her religious upbringing. In fact, she became even more fanatical that her ‘rents and got married uber-young. But her religion was not making her happy. Abrahams began staying home all day, drinking, having sex with random dudes, and cutting herself. She got kicked out of the church, but got her stuff together and told us all about it in her awesome book, I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing. [NY Post]
  • Also an ex-Jehovah Witness, Brenda Lee wrote Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman’s Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult. She had a lot of awful experiences in the church, suffering from loads of abuse and isolation. Eventually, Lee was even shunned by her family. [Amazon]
  • In Stolen Innocence, Elissa Wall explains what it was like growing up with the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a polygamous cult in Utah. At 14, this poor girl was forced to marry her first cousin. They were “together” for three years, during which Wall was raped repeatedly. Wall got out of this awful marriage, left this wacko cult, and got married for love. [Amazon]
  • In Heaven’s Harlots: My Fifteen Years in a Sex Cult, Miriam Williams describes what it was like to be in a cult that advocated arranged marriage and separated children from their parents. This crazy organization even used sex to recruit—members were supposed to have sex with people outside the cult in order to show them what God’s love was like. This deranged crap eventually degraded (even more) into a group that practiced prostitution, group sex, crime, and worse. [Amazon]