‘I realised I grew up in a cult after I told therapist parents tied me up to obey rules’

Elizabeth Hunter grew up in a Christian organisation in the US, where she claims she was set strict rules by her parents, including being tied to her sister to ensure they followed the teachings

Daily Star, UK/February 25, 2022

ByAdam Goldsmith

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A cult survivor has opened up about her heavily-restricted childhood, where her parents would allegedly tie her together with her sister to make sure the pair obeyed their strict teachings.

Elizabeth Hunter grew up as part of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a Chistian organisation established in the US in 1961.

Speaking on LadBible’s ‘No Filter’ YouTube series, Liz outlined her experience beginning life within the institute and claimed that she was exposed to cult-like practices by her parents.

Elizabeth described how she grew up without most of the typical luxuries associated with life in the 21st century, including television, music, and makeup.

Liz then explained how religion was central to the group’s beliefs, and recalled how children were expected to read the Bible every day, with education revolving around the holy book’s teachings.

There was also the expectation of marriage lingering over Liz’s head from an early age, and she said that as soon as she turned 17, she was expecting to find a male life partner without dating or flirting with men.

“All of my life skills were about things I needed to do to be a good wife,” she explained.

The organisation’s hierarchy was formed with God at the top, followed by Liz’s father, and then her mother.

“There’s God, your dad, and then you. So if you do anything that goes outside of your dad’s instructions, then God will no longer protect you and you could be open to all sorts of danger,” she suggested.

So, even when she fell ill, Liz described how her mother had questioned what she had done wrong, assuming that she must have done something to upset God.

Eventually, Liz was permitted to go to college, and it was during her time in the outside world that she realised just how restricted her childhood had been.

Not quite fitting in with her peers’ typical existence, Elizabeth began to attend therapy, when she told her therapist the story of how she felt she had failed her sister because she was in charge of her life.

And, when the survivor’s therapist asked her why she felt this was, Liz replied: “well, my parents always told me it was my job to make sure that she obeyed the rules.

“Then when my sister refused to hang out with me and ran from the room when I was supposed to be watching her, my parents would tie us together by a rope so that we were always together and I could always make sure she obeyed."

Elizabeth’s therapist was understandably shocked by the tale, and to Liz’s surprise, she reassured her client that what she had experienced amounted to child abuse.

“For the first time, I realised what had happened was child abuse, and that my parents’ religious beliefs were not just religious beliefs, but were actually harmful cult ideas,” she explained.

Now, the cult survivor has since set up a TikTok channel where she shares details of her life and has also penned a fantasy novel for young adults.

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