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Publisher's Summary

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 of 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 23, 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. 

©2021 Faith Jones (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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An absolute page-turner

As someone who previously worked for a cult-like company and was with an abusive, narcissistic partner prior, the blatant brainwashing and manipulation Faith tells about in the book sounded so familiar.

Faith is a master storyteller and writes with such clarity and detail that it felt as if I was in her shoes, as she recalls her life experiences in the Children of God.

It takes such a strong person to be able to heal from such childhood. It felt like a horror story was unfolding before me as I listened. And it's heartbreaking that this reality exists.

Faith has done a phenomenal job shedding light on what goes on in cults, and why it's tough to get people out once they're in. There is such a complex, twisted dynamic that keep these structures in place, and managing to get out is half the battle. Between leaving a cult and rebuilding one's own identity, there's this chasm that you have to cross — the loneliness of leaving loved ones and parts of yourself behind, the questioning of truth, the anger, the limbo, the grief, and then finally, if and when it comes, the healing and rebuilding.

4 people found this helpful

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Shocked things like this occur in our world

Heard Faith’s interview on NPR and couldn’t wait to read this book. It did not disappoint!

1 person found this helpful

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So interesting

Really enjoyed this book. Very interesting and educational. What a sad, scary life and I’m glad she was able to get out of The Family.

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Excellent book!

I love the narrator's voice and the story being told. Luckily, it's not as graphic as I expected. I gained a whole new perspective and appreciation for life, people, and cultures after listening to this book.

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Incredibly powerful!

I didn’t want to stop listening! My commute to work became too short while listening to this powerful book! Ms. Jones is a wonderful writer, and, while it is difficult to listen to some of what she has been through in her life, it should be required reading for everyone! Thank you, Faith Jones, for being so brave!

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Powerful and relatable

I love how Jones puts you in another time and in her frame of mind during those times. Very relatable for anyone who felt out of control of their upbringing.

Reminds me of the book Educated, so I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed that!

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Loved this book!

I couldn’t wait to exercise so I could listen to this audio book. It is amazing how she was able to overcome the brainwashing and abuse in her upbringing and yet excel. Hers is a truly inspiring story.

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Harrowing but Enlightening

Excellently written account up being born into and raised in a religious cult. Hard to hear at times but I'm glad I got through it.

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appallingly disgusting!!!

I'm skipping bookclub next month, this has nauseating details. Normally I press through book club books, but not this one!

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Interesting First Hand Cult Experience

I’ve listened to multiple podcasts about the Children of God cult, so I was absolutely interested in a more in depth reading. The author does a great job taking us through history and expanding upon the culture within the group. In true cult fashion she uses all of the acronyms that such fanatical groups use and delivers an interesting story. However, I will say that it is challenging to understand all the acronyms as the author doesn’t explain them right away—she just uses them and you either look them up or guess. I would also say the author could have done a better job defining who was being addressed as mother, father, etc. The cult had kids refer to everyone as uncle, Aunty, and some kids had multiple mothers. As such it was confusing who “mom” was unless she specified “Mommy Ruthie” or “Mommy Esther”.

The narrator was enjoyable as well. Someone mentioned that it was jarring to have the narrator use different voices for the people in the story because of the serious nature of the story —I highly disagree. It’s helpful to keep the people straight, and also despite this being a true account, it’s still a story.

Great listen if you’re into cults and the like. Keep in mind there’s a bit of sexual content if you’re completely unfamiliar.