My name is Sierra Davis. I am speaking out about my story to help raise awareness.
I was three years old when my mother first introduced me to the religion. My mother had been in the religion most of her life. She was briefly out when she met my father, because he was not in. When my mother got pregnant with me she began attending meetings again, and decided she wanted back in. My father soon after broke up their marriage for another woman. So my mother moved to my “anointed” grandmother’s home.
My grandmother was very extreme and pushed my mom the rest of the way back into the cult. I was then forced to sit for hours at a time listening to her rant on about their literature. If she asked a question and I didn’t get it right, I was whipped and forced to kneel on my knees until called back to the table. The sick thing is I actually believed I had done something wrong (I became accustomed to this way of thinking because I had been abused in the past by my mother’s boyfriend). When I would go to my father’s during holidays I would dread going back to my mother’s, because I would be yelled at for celebrating. Sometimes I would be given the silent treatment.
When I turned ten years old my mother married again. This time to a man that was an abusive alcoholic that enjoyed using the religion to manipulate my mother. When my mother went to the “elders” about it they didn’t do a thing about it. They told her to stay. By the time I hit eleven years old I thought about suicide all the time. He made our lives a living hell and the religion helped him do it. It was a constant cycle of leaving and coming back, and going to the meeting and pretending like everything was perfect.
At this point in my life I decided I wanted nothing to do with the cult. Me standing up for myself made my life even worse. My mother’s husband would constantly try to pick fights with me and blame me for everything. People in the congregation would constantly gossip and talk about my mother and I. We could never do anything right. Even staying with her abusive husband wasn’t enough for them. I was constantly looked down upon because I refused to do talks, hand out literature, or answer questions during meetings.
I was reproved for wanting to pursue higher education and not giving into their sexist bull shit. I didn’t officially get away from the nightmare until I turned seventeen when my mother divorced her husband despite elders warning her not to.
Unfortunately for me it isn’t over. I am still recovering from the abuse I was put through. I am now being treated for mixed bipolar disorder, paranoia, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I could have received help for my severe bipolar disorder years ago, but because the cult believes hallucinations are caused by demons, I was scared to speak up. I was afraid of myself.
I survived, but not without scars.