I was born into one of the world’s most notorious religious cults, we thought Armageddon was coming

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‘If you think about growing up, pretty much every three years was some deadline for when the world was going to end or Armageddon was going to show up.’

Public spanking with paddles or belts were commonplace, she claims, as were enforced silence restrictions, periods of isolation, and propositions by older men for ‘free sex’.

The cult, which has since rebranded as The Family International, was all Petra knew for the first 22 years of her life.

The Family International still operates in 70 countries globally, though in a lengthy statement given to Metro.co.uk, the organisation said it ‘disassembled [its] previous organisational structure’ in 2010 and ‘currently functions as a small online network of approximately 1,300 people’.

‘The Family International has had a zero-tolerance policy in place for over three decades for the protection of minors, and is diametrically opposed to the abuse of minors in any form, whether physical, sexual, educational, or emotional,’ it added.

Throughout her childhood, Petra lived in communes spanning Brazil, Belgium, Africa and Russia, under the watchful eye of leader David Berg, whom Petra and her siblings were told to call ‘grandpa’, despite never meeting him before his death when Petra was 13 years old.

‘By the time I was 10 years old, he had pretty much gone from being on the frontline into hiding,’ she says.

Content retrieved from: https://metro.co.uk/2023/07/16/i-was-born-into-one-of-the-worlds-most-notorious-religious-cults-18785696/.

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