Father-of-three who lives off-grid with his family reveals he sought peace after his mother was ‘brainwashed’ by a ‘religious cult’

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A father-of-three who lives in a remote, self-sufficient house has revealed how he sought the off-grid life after being raised by a mother who was ‘brainwashed’ by a religious ‘cult’.

Magnus, 49, told Ben Fogle how his tumultuous childhood in which he was part of a ‘religious group’ led by a ‘controlling leader’ compelled him to setting up a self-sustaining home for his family in the small island of Flores, in the Azores.

Speaking to the presenter in an episode of Channel 5’s New Lives in the Wild – which  airs tomorrow at 9pm – the father-of-three admitted that his life on an off-grid cottage, positioned on a steep sloped mountain is influenced by a lack of stability in his own formative years.

The dwelling houses him, his partner, Yorkshire-born Lucy, their one-year-old baby Frey, and Magnus’s two sons from a previous marriage – Odin, 11, and Mitra, nine.

The nature lover, who is from the British Virgin Islands and spent 15 years renovating his home in a secluded valley, admits that his early life was as full of adventure as it was chaos.

‘Although it was idyllic in many ways, my parents didn’t have a healthy relationship,’ he revealed.

‘There was a lot of arguing, a lot of fighting, a lot of throwing plates and dishes at one another.’

When Magnus was around seven or eight, his mother decided to move to North America, where she got involved in what he calls a ‘religious cult’.

‘You’re in the same group of 50 people all the time and they’re in charge and they’re by and large controlling the decisions of the weaker members of the group…getting them to invest money,’ he explained.

‘They’d say “we’re Christians and therefore we’re not a cult because we’re Christians and we’re an established religion” but they weren’t just Christians.

‘They had a charismatic leader…he was a salesman by trade…he could sell cars, he could sell Jesus.’

Soon, Magnus began to see his mother’s behaviour shift from liberal stances on upbringing to more conservative values.

‘The rules changed abruptly,’ he admitted. ‘My parents were very hands off in their parenting, they let me have a lot of freedom in the Caribbean, didn’t believe in corporal punishment.

‘Whereas my mom went to Virginia and the church insisted that she get comfortable with the idea of spanking me…My mom really struggled with that.’

Magnus says she was ‘brainwashed’ into thinking she was ‘doing her son justice’ by behaving how the church wanted, despite knowing it was ‘wrong’.

Aged 14, he decided to step away from the church to disconnect himself from the difficult family dynamic, telling his mother he was no longer going to attend.

‘I’m gonna spend my Sundays walking in the woods…that’s my church now,’ he said.

As a result, Magnus struggled to find ‘magic’ where the world made sense after leaving his faith behind, revealing it created a ‘void’ in his life which led to suicidal thoughts during that time – ‘just because he saw the pointlessness of life…and that was tricky to get around’.

Content retrieved from: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-11827585/Ben-Fogle-hears-father-three-lives-grid-grew-religious-cult.html.

1 comment

  1. This cult leader used his interpretation of the bible to influence and manipulate members. But a survivor tells his childhood story and about how he was able to think outside the box.

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