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Twins Who Escaped from the “Children of God” Revealed What Life Was Like Inside The Cult

Ann Moises

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Flor and Tamar Edwards were only 5-years-old when their family joined the “Children of God”.  Now at the age of 34, the twins recount their experiences after escaping the controversial cult.

The Children of God was a sect first established in Huntington Beach, California in 1968 by David Brandt Berg, a former pastor also known as Moses David, Mo, King David, Dad, and Grandpa. The sect encouraged its members to live a life of poverty and simplicity as they incorporated traditional Christian beliefs and practices in their teachings. They practiced free love and “prepared” for the Lord’s second coming. New converts were instructed to memorize long bible verses and participate in bible studies.

Twins Flor and Tamar, 34, grew up as members of the religious sect.

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Photo credit: Facebook
The “Children of God” during the 60’s.

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Photo credit: egokick
Picture of David Brandt Berg, the founder of the controversial cult.

berg

Photo credit: David Berg Org.
It was first established in Huntington beach, California.

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Photo credit: Google

Adults expressed their love for God through sex—as the leaders instructed. And within all that, there was abuse that happened, which was why some former members allegedly committed suicide.

News about the physical and sexual abuse finally became known to the public and this led to the reorganization of the sect in 1978. More than 300 leaders were dismissed and adults were prohibited to have sexual contact with minors. The movement was then renamed “The Family of Love” (TFOL). Still, more allegations of abuse emerged against TFOL or “The Family” during the 90’s.

Flor and Tamar confirmed the allegations that the sect was sex- driven at that time.

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Photo credit: ABC Nightline
According to the twins, adults even performed the act in front of children.

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Photo credit: ABC Nightline
However, the twins said they were never abused sexually

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Photo credit: ABC Nightline

But they confirmed that the children were physically abused…

“Children would be getting spanked really young. My little sister was like six months old which, you know, you don’t get spanked at that age,” Flor said.

The twins were even told that they would die as “God’s Martyrs” at the age of 12. Growing up in sadness and in fear that the world will soon come to an end, (as prophesied by Berg) Tamara contemplated on committing suicide at the age of 7; none of the Berg’s prophesies ever came true.

Children were forbidden to attend school, watch TV, and listen to music. They didn’t know how to read until age nine. Kids were taught that everything outside the sect was evil including money and politics.

“I didn’t even know what a movie theater was”, says Flor.

The Edwards were living in Los Angeles at the time they joined the cult but on Berg’s orders, they moved to Thailand where they were kept in small living quarters. The twins, along with their parents and 12 siblings were advised to return to the Unites States in 1994.

They were brought to Chicago where they stayed in a house with dozens of other families.

house

Photo credit: ABC Nightline

The twins were able to escape the sect with their family when Berg died that same year. Flor and Tamar were already 13-years-old then.

But the transition from living in a secluded community to blending with the outside world wasn’t easy. The twins associated their experience to Netflix’s new series “Kimmy Scmidt:Unbreakable”, where the 29-year-old fictional character Kimmy, was rescued from an Indiana cult. The show revolves around Kimmy’s struggles in adjusting to her new life in New York City.

Kimmy Schmidt: Unbreakable

kimmy

Meanwhile, the name of “The Family” has been changed to “The Family International” after ten years. Karen Zerby, also knows as Mama Maria, Maria David, Maria Fontaine, and Queen Maria became the group’s new leader.

Despite what they had been through, none of them held any grudge against their parents.

guest

Photo credit: ABC Nightline
Rev.Pongsak Limthongviratn, a Thai pastor, helped them adapt to their new life.

pastor

Photo credit: ABC Nightline
Eventually, they were able to leave their dark past behind.

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Photo credit: Facebook
Both are now living and working in California.

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Photo credit: Facebook

enjoy

Photo credit: ABC Nightline

Flor is a freelance writer and Tamar is a yoga instructor.

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H/T: Daily Mail, ABC News, Top News Stories

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