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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Apocalypse Child: A Life in End Times is written by Flor Edwards. Now this is a riveting read…if you’re at all curious about what it’s like to be raised in a cult when you don’t even know you’re a member of one! Flor Edwards is the Apocalypse Child and she and eleven siblings and her parents were members of the Children of God cult. “Father David” was their glorious leader, but in all the years Flor was a member, none of her family members ever met him face to face or even saw a photograph of him. David Berg instructed and issued his commandments to his massive, worldwide flock via written newsletters, and the flock followed his missives religiously.
From the time Flor was born, till after David Berg’s death, when bit by bit, the Children of God cult began disintegrating, Flor’s family moved so many times she lost count. From the US to Thailand, with their meager belongings, the family learned to live with several other families in one walled compound after another. Their time was spent collecting donations after spreading the love of Jesus to all who would listen. These were good people on a worthwhile mission: to bring people to Jesus. But it’s what went on behind the walls of the compound that makes readers shake their heads. The children were beaten for ridiculously small infractions; adults were encouraged to have sex and it was okay for the children to witness their activity. If letting a child sit on a sailor’s lap brought another soul to Jesus, along with a donation, that was perfectly acceptable. And yet, Father David saw the US as a “whore” and brainwashed his brethren to believe the world outside his compounds and teachings were evil. Really?
Surprisingly, the children were happy as long as they were with their parents. Flor often wished they didn’t have to live with so many other adults and children, but as children do, she made the best of her situation. But it wasn’t until Flor’s family finally moved back to the US, when she was a teen, that Flor began to really question, as did her siblings, the world in which she’d grown up. The realization that her family were members of a cult hit her hard. She and her twin sister broke away from the cult, began drinking, taking drugs and showing their rebellion against a life in which they’d had no say in every way they could. Fortunately, they both survived finding the ugly truth: many of their young peers did not. Suicide was rampant amongst former young members of the Children of God.
Flor Edwards isn’t the first to tell the truth about the Children of God, known today as The Family International. Sadly it is still alive and well. A movie is available on Netflix. The cult is infamous for advocating incest with minors, a fact which makes this reviewer’s skin crawl for personal reasons. But subjectivity aside, if you want to know more, pick up Apocalypse Child: it’s very well written and easy to read. Thanks, Flor Edwards, for having the courage to speak up about what goes on behind the compound walls of cults like this one.