The Guardian – My life in a religious cult: ‘The most dangerous place in the world is the womb of an ungodly woman
Books – The Guardian – 30/08/2022
My life in a religious cult: ‘The most dangerous place in the world is the womb of an ungodly woman By Lilia Tarawa
After her childhood in a secretive cult founded by her grandfather, New Zealand woman Lilia Tarawa risked hellfire and damnation to escape. In this book extract, she shares a slice of her life at Gloriavale Christian Community.
On the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand, a religious cult named Gloriavale Christian Community closed itself off from the rest of the world in 1969.
Founded by the self-styled and self-named Australian religious leader Hopeful Christian – who was convicted and jailed on three charges of indecent sexual assault of a young woman in 1995 – the 500-strong community was run according to a strict and oppressive interpretation of fundamental Christianity.
Women had to cover their heads, show no flesh so as not to tempt sin from the menfolk, do all the domestic work, submit to their husbands and birth as many babies as they could.
Eight years ago, Lilia Tarawa – granddaughter of Hopeful Christian – escaped with her family into what she had always believed to be the evil, wicked world. This is an extract from her memoir about her life in the cult.