‘I should be in prison or dead’: Cameron Black on his journey from cult to campus

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“Based on what I’ve been through, I should be in prison or dead,” Cameron Black ’25 said.

Born into a cult led by his father, who proclaimed himself to be God, Black’s early life in Sedona, Ariz. was anything but ordinary. This familial cult consisted of nine people and operated under unconventional religious and sexual practices, deeply entangled in manipulation and abuse, Black said.

“Don’t try to make sense of it because it doesn’t make sense,” he said as he explained the cult’s philosophy. “It’s like my father combined the Bible, sci-fi books and ‘The Matrix’ into one big ball of crazy.”

Describing his childhood, Black recounts harrowing experiences of physical and psychological torture at the hands of his father.

“Starting at 7 years old, for a few years, I would wake up at 2 a.m. to my father standing over me with a 45 caliber pistol or his machete, and he would ‘fake’ kill me,” Black said.

Black’s childhood was a continuous battle for survival. His father’s abuse included being left outside naked in below freezing temperatures for hours, forced to exclusively eat smoothies made up of food from the trash and being routinely drowned starting at age 4.

Content retrieved from: https://stanforddaily.com/2024/01/23/i-should-be-in-prison-or-dead-cameron-black-on-going-from-cult-to-campus/.

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