Carl Boss IV / Knopf Doubleday
Writer Lauren Hogg was raised in a nomadic Christian sect called the Children of God. She says she remembers that she learned that animals could talk to Noah – this was how he was able to carry them to the ark – and that heaven was located in a pyramid on the surface of the moon.
“I had problems with [the teachings] Too early, but I just couldn’t express it. “Maybe the closest thing I learned was to keep your mouth closed – and I couldn’t, and that was a problem.”
Hough recounts how she was placed in solitary confinement as a child and suffered rampant sexual abuse by adults in the “family” as the cult was known (it went through many iterations and is now called the International Family). When Hugh was 15, her family left the cult forever – but she struggled to communicate with other children. She joined the army, but it wasn’t right there either: Hogg gay – and that was in the ’90s, in the era ofDon’t ask, don’t tell“.
Hogg requested a demobilization from the Air Force and took it over, but things didn’t make it easier. She became homeless and lived in her car. Ultimately she took on a number of jobs, including a job as a bouncer at a gay club and a “cable worker” – and began writing as a way to sort out her feelings about the past.
She says, “I spent a lot more time lying to myself than, I think, anyone else. I tell myself that my childhood did not affect me, and I tell myself that the army did not affect me.” “I think the writing, more than anything, made it clear … you kind of have to tell the truth, or it’s crap knowing it.”
One article on Work as a cable owner It went viral. This article is included in the new Hough collection, Leaving is not the most difficult thing.
When she was brought up in the sect and punished if she was not “good”
I was punished mostly for any time I was too loud or not loud enough, too foolish, or not smiling enough. … it was impossible to figure out the balance. So you learn to walk around with that calm half smile on your face, but unfortunately I’m not very in control of my face. It didn’t all work out well for me. …
You will never find out. You will be pulled aside and it will start with, “Can I talk to you for a minute?” And your stomach will drop. This could be a simple thing [as]: Can you help the children tonight? Or you were escorted to … [a] And after a few hours, they were still trying to convince you to admit things, but you didn’t know what they wanted you to admit. Often times things are cliched: “I had an extra serving of peanut butter,” or “I had a glass of milk before bed last night.” Most of the times I’m in trouble, I don’t know what it is precisely. If you’ve been frustrated a lot lately, you’ve obviously had a demon, so you might be in trouble with a demon and the evidence for this is that you’ve been sad.
For children who are sexually assaulted in the sect
It really depends on where you are, and how old you are has mattered a lot. There are girls older than me who have a lot of different stories about me. They banned sex between children and adults in 1986, and that’s the thing [the cult] Always. And I always have two questions about this: Why would you need to block it all of a sudden? And why didn’t you tell us? Because they didn’t tell the kids. So if the adult supervising you wasn’t so interested in the new rule, I didn’t know there was anyone to tell, and I still never told my dad. [about the abuse] when I was in [the cult], Because I assumed they were okay with everything. … I don’t think until after a long time I realized how shocked I was.
When she left the sect when she was fifteen years old
One of my mother’s friends, another woman in the house, saw me my uncle was pressing me against the wall and trying to stay with me. And I told my mom, my mom called me, I told her what was going on and my mom lost her damn mind. The house command swore they were going to get rid of it and throw it out, and when we got to the next house, it was still there, so mom ended. She was really worried that we weren’t getting any kind of education. She was angry. So I started planning it long before we left and called my grandmother to raise money for the plane tickets and made sure she had her passports and all of that and she was working on trying to get our sisters out as well, but when I realized that wasn’t possible, it was just an emergency to get me and my little brother out. So we just went out for one night. The actual act of leaving – no one was chasing us. We didn’t have to sneak out. We just left.
About starting a new life in Texas
it was better; He was very lonely. I didn’t really know how to talk to other kids and kept making mistakes that I didn’t quite understand. Like you are in a foreign country and sometimes you scream at you Boarding the bus or grocery shopping and you won’t be completely sure what a mistake you made; You just know that you totally screwed up that interaction. And this is what Amarillo was. Some [the missteps] I can easily identify: I kept hugging people when I met them, and that’s not how you greet perfect strangers. I used to say “God bless you” or “I love you” after a sentence, and I did not realize it came out of my mouth. It was a nervous spasm, like apologizing so much. And then I didn’t understand pop culture.
Upon joining the Air Force at the age of 18
Compared to a sect, the army was easy. The rules are really defined, and you don’t deviate from them much. You really don’t have to make a lot of decisions for yourself once you decide to join. My biggest decision each morning is whether to roll my sleeves up or down or not, and you can just follow the bulk and do everything just right. It was comfortable. There is that instant camaraderie that occurs with the people around you. And for a while, I felt safe – until I had to lie again because I had another secret I had been hiding from: I was gay. …
The thing about the military is that you are generally around people your same age, and for the most part, people my age just didn’t care. They grew up on MTV. We thought being gay was a good thing, mostly. The problem with the military, the problem with “don’t ask, don’t tell,” is that it took one person not to have a problem with gays, but [to] Be so angry with you that you want to hurt you. And it was just an easy way to hurt someone. Lots of people expelled from the army were turned over by ex who wanted to harm them.
To learn to speak openly in writing
I think the writing, of course, sounds a little secret. Start writing in notebooks under your blanket with a flashlight. So it feels like something secret is just between you and the page. I have a long history of telling my secrets with a piece of paper. I didn’t want to publish any of it until there was a reason for it, because who knows the difference between porn trauma and writing, but I didn’t want anyone to be traumatized by my story. … if I were to tell any of that, I’d like a point and a reason and something I was trying to say.
Therese Madden and Seth Kelley produced and audio edited this interview. Bridget Bentz and Molly Seavy-Nesper have adapted it for the web.