After escaping from the Children of God cult, Bexy Cameron at age 15 came to the realisation that her whole life had been a lie. She had been told and believed that she would die when she was 15 due to an apocalypse, and in fear of this was subject to physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
The Children of God cult was founded in California in 1968 by the self-proclaimed prophet, David Berg, and at one point had over 10,000 followers. Women were described as ‘whores of Jesus’ and were encouraged and sometimes forced to entice men into the cult using sex. Berg would also condone sex with children of the cult and would make daughters marry their fathers.
Bexy Cameron has recently published a memoir about her time as a child in the cult, titled ‘Cult Following’, and appeared on Annie Macmanus’ podcast Changes.
Bexy describes how she grew up within the cult alongside her 11 siblings, with her parents being prolific members of the Children of God who headed up the cult’s PR in the UK. She grew up only knowing what her parents and the Children of God told her and would often move to different communes fleeing from one area to another when people learnt of the horrific goings on. Children would be forced to live in overcrowded dorms, complete hours of prayer and manual labour and be subject to beatings and exorcisms. The cult also attracted dangerous adults whom Bexy and her siblings would avoid and hide from in fear of sexual abuse.
Whilst Bexy and her siblings have now escaped, her parents remain members of the iteration of the cult known as ‘The Family International’ whose members have been accused of child sexual and physical abuse, exploitation and the targeting of vulnerable people.
This ‘new religious movement’ was an attempt by members to step away from the controversy surrounding the Children of God following the allegations made against Berg. Berg died in 1994 however was wanted for questioning by the FBI and Interpol over allegations of incarceration, kidnapping, rape and incest. He was known to spread a message to his cult followers that ‘God was love, and love was sex, so there should be no limits regardless of age or relationship’.
Past members of the Children of God including Derek Lincoln have been prosecuted after victims came forward with allegations of abuse. Lincoln was arrested in 2020 and there are thought to be over a dozen victims across the UK however there have been major challenges in proving allegations due to the remote nature in which the children were brought up. Police have encouraged past members to come forward with information.
You can listen to Bexy Cameron’s recount and rare perspective on the Children of God in her podcast episode with Annie Macmanus: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3odeZ4TA3cLUr4WRuZ0WNu?si=iAm_2mH7TUaXsM-ugIRBVg