As young girls, Flor and Tamar Edwards emerged from an apocalyptic cult to find a world they didn’t understand.
Learning how to ride a bike, to use water fountains, eat pizza and go to movie theaters seems more like a episode from Netflix series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” but it was a hard reality for the twin sisters when the religious sect formerly known as the “Children of God” disbanded in 1994.
“When we saw a drinking fountain for the first time, we all just saw and huddled around it like it was some novelty,” Flor Edwards explained to ABC Nightline.
The twins revealed what it was like growing up in the religious movement founded around the free love spirit of the 1960s. Some ex-members have gone as far to call the sect a cult and accused its founder David Berg of sexually abusing women and children.
The group’s beliefs encouraged sexual encounters as a form of expressing their faith.
“Sex was the thing that drove people. They didn’t do any drugs, no alcohol. Sex was the way to freedom,” Tamar Edwards said.
The sisters experienced no such abuse, but Tamar had experienced suicidal thoughts. She and Flor grew up believing they would die in one of Berg’s predicted end-of-the-world events that never amounted to anything, such as the state of California falling into the ocean.
“We were supposed to be God’s martyrs. I was going to die at 12,” Flor added.
The Edwards cite Rev. Pongsak Limthongviratn, a Thai, pastor for helping the family adjust to the modern world. They recently reunited with Limthongviratn for the Nightline report.
Life is not that easy in the 20 years since the twins obtained their freedom. They don’t blame their parents for missing out on a childhood full of 1980s pop culture.
“Who are we supposed to be mad at? Father David’s dead,” Flor told ABC. “Should I blame God? Should I blame religion?”
The women continue to feel different even as 34-year-old working adults, leading seemingly normal lives.
“We were just kind of like aliens from another planet,” Flor said. “Meeting someone at a party, when they ask you where you’re from, I almost want to run away and hide.”
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