HEAVEN'S HARLOTS by Miriam Williams


My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God Cult
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What comes across most clearly in this arresting, regret-filled exposÇ from a former ritual prostitute is Williams’s own identity struggle—a struggle that, she notes, leads many young people into cults. As a young woman, Williams so desperately craved acceptance and self-esteem that she sought it in all of the likely places in the late 1960s (sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll) as well as in the more esoteric ones (a free-love commune that in these more puritanical times we now call a sex cult). What is most valuable about this account is Williams’s long tenure with the Children of God. She was nearly a charter member, and 15 years gave her the insight to track the movement’s development from an offshoot of the Jesus People to a hierarchical personality cult to a sacred prostitution ring. By her third year in the movement, female members were encouraged to —fish— for potential male recruits by sharing the message of God’s love through sexual intercourse. Based in Europe, particularly in France and Monaco, Williams claims to have had liaisons with many high-ranking men, including the scion of one of the wealthiest families in Greece. But hers was an unhappy life. She faced prejudice by some who thought her motives were less than pure (including ex-Beatle Ringo Starr). She endured a painful separation from her firstborn son, Thor, whose father, a former COG member, had kidnaped Thor to save him from the cult’s influence. In 1986, Williams discovered that little girls in the COG were being shown sexually explicit material to train them to please men. Fearing for her three daughters, Williams left the cult and eventually brought the whole family to America, where she obtained a college education and established a network of ex-members. An absorbing memoir of life in a controversial religious movement. The appendix discusses the developments in the COG in the several years since Williams’s departure. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 3rd, 1998
ISBN: 0-688-15504-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1998