These Outrageous Crimes

Natalie Grand Author Interview

Cult Girls tells the story of Talia and her friends as they struggle with suspicions that their faith is a patriarchal religious cult. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I was raised a 3rd and 4th generation Jehovah’s Witness and I witnessed numerous friends as children sexually abused and their education and social education suppressed as a result of this high control organization that doesn’t evolve with modern social awareness. As a child I would hear public talks that were directed from the higher organization likening homosexuality to beastality (which animals are not consensual, so that is rape) and terrible labels pinned or certain sexual orientations. Also women have no representation in the church and are being judged and controlled by company appointed men to report personal details of interrogations the elders have in little embarrassing back rooms in front of their friends and family directly after worship. I have had minor friends accused of seducing men older than their father in child sex crimes and were publicly shamed and interrogated as minors, their parents did not report the abuse to authority because of their spiritual positions in the kingdom hall. Also because of the disfellowship arrangements that can be placed on youths, I knew two youths that committed suicide in my area after being announced to the congregation that they are now removed as a Jehovah’s Witness. I was announced as a Jehovah’s Witness as a teenage and it was one of the most horrific things I survived, even your own parents are to change their socialization and cannot be seen with you in public or even allowed to have dinner with you. Later I was married in it and husband’s are assigned as a wife’s boss and that means if he decides if you are allowed to work, go to the gym and what you can wear and you are required to obey him. As a Jehovah’s Witness you are constantly reminded in graphic films, photographs, their publications, high frequency of meetings that Armageddon is any day and that your life might not be spared and your job is to warn others, even in your primary school. College and very strong distrust in of medical doctors in is their published propaganda and culture. Elders have been removed from their appointments because of their daughters going to college, that is basically a bad example of a parent in the church of Jehovah’s Witness in their standard today. There is other odd criminal activities that are allowed in the organization from their leaders such as Voyerism and Child Pornography, neither are a crime to the Jehovah Judicial system and would not remove an elder, per sea, but in the world these outrageous crimes. Many of these issues are lightly addressed in my fun graphic Novel.

What do you feel is a common misconception people have about cults?

People think that a cult won’t affect someone in their house or that teachers and medical professionals need to mind their own business because of the rights of religious freedom. These cults are working hard to target youths. As a full time recruiter of Jehovah’s Witness, I went through a secret society called pioneering within the organization. I even got a secret book. I worked very hard to get my training and acceptance into pioneer ministry school that was only held once a year with higher traveling overseers in it and basically they train you to talk to householders, including children without their parents permission. Basically you can show pictures and scriptures to support that the last days are here and that apcolypse is around that corner and you can teach them to lie and hide what they are learning if their parents were not going to be supportive and that would be acceptable as a Jehovah’s Witness evangelist under their “theocratic warfare” ethic code. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a strong marketing presence now in ports, colleges, public squares, parks where children play and state fairs. As a child I use to bring brochures in my backpack to place with other students and tell them about the firey apocalypse that will happen any day.

Teachers and medical professionals see and know that their student or patient is a Jehovah’s Witness but most have no clue that they are being peddled to market this publishing and film company, being shown violent scenes, hearing that police and secular authorities are part of Satan’s wicked world. So how could these children feel safe to reach out to an authority when these ones are control by Satan and evil. A child is told that “these are God’s people” and children are encouraged to socialize with all ages and are told this is their new spiritual family and supersedes the physical blood line family. They are also told these appointed men that are elders and ministerial serrvants are “appointed by god” they are likened to apostles, some of them even sitting next to God in paradise in the heavenly realm. So children put a layer down of stranger danger and that makes them vulnerable to predators attracted to this organization. None of the leaders carry any professional training on how to handle child or domestic abuse or the prevention of suicide and they certainly are not required to have a criminal check.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

This book is support the idea that our dreams, ideals and intelligence growth should be supported as women as young as a child. Children and woman raised in this religious cult culture are not asked what they want to be and basically giving your life to the church, marriage, your travels and extra time are to be donated to the church. No one can truly be your true friend, because if you are Jehovah’s Witness you are suppose to turn your friends in for speaking against the elders, apostacy (reading other religious books or theories) or doing something as silly as smoking a cigarette or using invitro. Many of these subjects are addressed in the book. Also I had a powerful scene of a flashback of me as a little girl in a scenario of needing a blood transfusion and the father feeling relieaved that he didn’t have the burden of taken care of her daughter because of having to reject the blood transfusion procedure. Thousands and thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses (including children) have died for the rejection of blood transfusions, but yet they allow their members to eat meat on the bone dishes that have whole blood products in their food consumption.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

Many young ladies were raised in a similar environment than this whether it was Jehovah’s Witness or a different cult and they found the humor healing. Other readers have family members including their mother that was raised in this environment and disfellowshipped for having a baby out of wedlock and suffered religious orphanism as a result and pain. This help give their loved ones a glimpse of what that member endured and also to bring awareness to understanding the alternative motive a family member, co-worker or fellow student has in recruiting you to their organization and some of the policies and culture they won’t tell you about or that they will sugar coat. This book has become popular in libraries because cult parents heavily monitor their children’s reading material, even wives have had to read this in the library. I am hoping with content like this and more awareness, lawsuits, journalism, documentary and memoirs these cults will change their policies that treat women differently than men, or are interrogating, shunning, restricting education and not reporting crimes and abuse of their members. We as a society have more power than you think to tear down walls of racism, women inequality, unfair treatment of the gay and lesbian communities and put social pressure on organizations like these.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

Cult Girls based on a true story, tells the story of Talia and her friends as they struggle with growing suspicions that their faith is a patriarchal religious cult. It’s a story of tremendous courage and female empowerment as Talia as her friends successfully free themselves told through a feminist lens with cautionary humor. Read this first place BookFest award winning Girls and Women YA Graphic novel.

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Posted on December 24, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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