Jan 27, 2023

Abnormal Normal: My Life in the Children of God - Kindle edition by Mahoney, Mary.

Abnormal Normal: My Life in the Children of God - Kindle edition by Mahoney, Mary.

A rational look into a very irrational group mentality.

The early 1970’s was a turbulent time in the US. Anti-war protesters took to the streets, countless students dropped out and became hippies, and drug use spread among the young. As if to offer the youth a way out of this societal storm, there arose a rebirth of Christianity, the Jesus People. The Children of God was at the cutting edge of this movement. It is behind the curtains of this enigmatic group that our story unfolds.

Mary was only 16 when she was swept into the Children of God. The hugs, the camaraderie, the sincerity of the members touched her deeply, and she fell in love with their pure ideology of living simply and freely for Jesus. She threw herself heart, mind, and soul into what she saw as a noble life of self-sacrifice. Her days were filled with studying and memorizing the Bible and the group’s texts, and telling others of her new-found faith. From that naive and well-meaning beginning, her world ever so gradually transformed through the years into a veritable house of horrors. But by then, she could not see the abuse, the exploitation, and the cruelty that surrounded her for what it was. Her sense of normal had also been transformed. Determined to never go back on her initial commitment, she continued on in denial, doing her best to be what she had been told “the Lord wanted her to be.”

Imagine the shock she felt when the curtain was lifted after 31 years and she saw the Children of God for what it was. The guilt she felt for having been part of that abusive and exploitative group, the years she had lost, the family she had given up—all these had been sacrificed on the altar of her misplaced idealism. But worst of all, what weighed the most heavily on her broken spirit was the horrific realization that she had raised her children—the ones she loved the most in the world—in that toxic atmosphere.

How Mary pulled herself out of the darkness of despair and rebuilt her life is a tribute to the power of education and the indomitable strength of the human spirit.

You can read this survivor memoir for free! 

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