Named a Best Book of 2021 by Newsweek and a Most Anticipated by People, TIME, USA Today, Real Simple, Glamour, Nylon, Bustle, Purewow, Shondaland, and more!
Educated meets The Vow in this story of liberation and self-empowerment—an inspiring and stranger-than-fiction memoir of growing up in and breaking free from the Children of God, an oppressive, extremist religious cult.
Faith Jones was raised to be part a religious army preparing for the End Times. Growing up on an isolated farm in Macau, she prayed for hours every day and read letters of prophecy written by her grandfather, the founder of the Children of God. Tens of thousands of members strong, the cult followers looked to Faith’s grandfather as their guiding light. As such, Faith was celebrated as special and then punished doubly to remind her that she was not.
Over decades, the Children of God grew into an international organization that became notorious for its alarming sex practices and allegations of abuse and exploitation. But with indomitable grit, Faith survived, creating a world of her own—pilfering books and teaching herself high school curriculum. Finally, at age twenty-three, thirsting for knowledge and freedom, she broke away, leaving behind everything she knew to forge her own path in America.
A complicated family story mixed with a hauntingly intimate coming-of-age narrative, Faith Jones’ extraordinary memoir reflects our societal norms of oppression and abuse while providing a unique lens to explore spiritual manipulation and our rights in our bodies. Honest, eye-opening, uplifting, and intensely affecting, Sex Cult Nun brings to life a hidden world that’s hypnotically alien yet unexpectedly relatable.
In this outstanding debut, Jones recounts her upbringing in and escape from the infamous cult, the Children of God. Founded by her paternal grandfather, David Brandt Berg, in 1968, the group, later referred to as "the Family," was notorious for its "radical practices," which required members to become full-time missionaries, forgo income, and submit to the "Law of Love," a doctrine which encouraged spouse sharing and sexual relations with children, and used female "disciples" as sex "bait" for followers. By the time Jones was born in Hong Kong in 1977—the seventh child in her parents' polygamous family—the cult had fanned around the globe with around 10,000 members. In thrilling detail, she describes a childhood spent off the grid throughout Southeast Asia—where her family prepared for the "end times," opting for prayer over education—and how, after years of struggling and incidents of sexual abuse, she emancipated herself at age 23 and, through self-taught study, was later accepted into Berkeley Law school. As Jones transports readers from Macau to Kazakhstan to the United States, Jones skillfully provides the mental framework to understand her past as an indoctrinated individual in hopes of helping others "stand up for themselves." This remarkable account of self-liberation is not to be missed.