Bexy Cameron grew up in the infamous Children of God cult. As a child, she underwent “army training,” digging holes and lifting concrete blocks to prep for the “Armageddon.” When she was 10, she spent a whole 12 months on “Silence Restriction” — forbidden to even talk together with her mother and father. For some time, she wore an indication round her neck studying “Please Do Not Speak With Me.”
Still, Cameron was fortunate. At least her dad “wasn’t a paedophile.”
Cameron, now 38 and primarily based in London, left the Children of God at 15, however she remained traumatized. So she started documenting totally different spiritual cults as a method to course of and perceive her childhood.
Her memoir, “Cult Following” (Manilla Press), chronicles that quest. The e book, which has been optioned for TV by Dakota Johnson and Riley Keough, follows Cameron by means of 10 cults, from the eccentric Rose Creek Village in Tennessee, whose adherents as soon as carried samurai swords, to Chicago’s Christian-rock-singing Jesus People USA.
Yet even her upbringing didn’t put together her for her encounters with the Twelve Tribes, which ended when she was chased by the cult’s surveillance van throughout 5 states.
“When I left home I believed, or maybe hoped, the group I grew up in was a dark anomaly,” Cameron writes. But “there were more of us than I could have imagined.”
Cameron was born in 1982, in Chesterfield, England, the sixth of 12 kids. Her mother and father, Martin and Linda, had been finding out medication when, in 1972, Martin disappeared. Hearing rumors that he had gotten sucked right into a cult, Linda went to retrieve him; she joined him as a substitute.
Cameron spent her childhood on the transfer, in Africa, India and all through the UK. She witnessed girls prostituting themselves for Jesus, and ladies pressured to marry their fathers. She by no means went to highschool. She cooked, cleaned and tried to keep away from beatings and a spotlight from predatory “uncles.” She was lastly banished from the group at 15 for secretly working nights in a bar.
In 2012, Cameron began researching different cults and found the Twelve Tribes, an end-times neighborhood with offshoots all around the world. The group, based in Tennessee in 1972, had similarities with the Children of God, together with elevating youngsters to be “brides of Christ.” She referred to as a Twelve Tribes farm in San Diego in 2013 and defined that she was a filmmaker in “experiencing their way of life.”
The Tribes “had a strangely open-door policy at the time,” Cameron informed The Post. “It was part of their recruitment process.”
But Cameron and her good friend, Sofi, arrived to a hostile setting. Their stern feminine host took one take a look at their saggy flannels and denims and pronounced them “too tempting,” handing them lengthy attire, head scarves and frumpy tabards to put on. The girls labored from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. choosing kale for the group’s Yellow Delis, folding laundry and cooking dinner.
At their closing gathering, a toddler stood up and requested to be “broken” as adults railed on and on about their proper to “discipline” their youngsters.
“There was something in this group, the way they spoke, the way that the kids were in the workforce, that was so reminiscent of my own,” Cameron mentioned. “I knew I had to go back.”
She did in 2016, this time as a part of a three-person crew. The plan was to fulfill their contact, Maliki, on the group’s deli in Pulaski, Tenn., earlier than going to the ranch to movie. But when Cameron requested once they might lastly head over, the white-haired Maliki checked out her blankly:
“What ranch?” he mentioned.
The members on the deli appeared to be studying from a script. When one man talked about his youngsters “up in the farm,” he was spirited away by Maliki. It was “really weird.”
Later that night, Cameron interviewed a collection of former Twelve Tribes members who alleged the group hid pedophiles and criminals, starved and locked youngsters up in cabinets, and even kidnapped kids from their mother and father. “The Watchers are watching you now,” one ex-member warned.
Indeed: The subsequent morning, after waking up in an Airbnb in a city hours away, they observed a suspicious van exterior.
“Look at the Wi-Fi,” the assistant producer mentioned. It learn: TT Surveillance Van.
“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Cameron mentioned.
The group frantically packed their suitcases and drove by means of 5 states. They might really feel “the Twelve Tribes constantly behind us, like an ominous drone that you can sense but not see.” They made it again to London, however Cameron had continuous nightmares about being watched.
Years later, she has written about her journey, which has helped her perceive why folks like her mother and father be a part of even essentially the most excessive cults.
These teams “make people feel that a world full of sin and evil will soon be over,” she mentioned. And then “they’ll be taken to heaven [where they will] reign for a thousand years.”