Ex-Cult Member Reflects on Life With Children of God Church/Family International

Michael Young grew up immersed in the Children of God church, which was labelled as a sect by the FBI and dogged by child abuse allegations.

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Michael Young grew up immersed in the Children of God church, which was labelled as a sect by the FBI and dogged by child abuse allegations.

Of his eight siblings, Michael Young was the most zealous street missionary. As a child growing up in Monterrey, Mexico, he preached up to 10 hours a day, three to four days each week. He spoke to strangers on the streets and often went door-to-door. He’d ask them, in broken Spanish, if they wished to go to heaven. If they said yes, he would pray for them. If they said no, he would ask for at least a donation to The Family International, a church formerly known as the sex cult The Children of God.

Young’s parents, devout American missionaries who moved to Mexico in 1998, told him that such work was his destiny and duty. The alternative was an afterlife spent in the slums of heaven, a place only slightly better than hell.

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