Thanks for requesting @dudleyjoshua
  1. It was called Church Universal and Triumphant.
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  2. We lived on a big campus in Malibu Canyon.
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    It's now called King Gillette Ranch and it's where they film the Biggest Loser. When we lived there, it was called Camelot. It was an amazing place to grow up. We had a lot of freedom to roam on the campus. We had horses, goats, gardens, mountains to wander over.
  3. It was a mishmash of many different religions and schools of thought.
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    Heavy on the Eastern religions. Karma, reincarnation, chanting, etc. They believed in Ascended Masters, which are kind of like junior gods who specialize in different things. And they believed that the leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet (called Mother) was a conduit to the Masters.
  4. 0%
    How much of it I believed.
  5. 💯
    How much my mom believed.
  6. 0%
    How much anyone gave a fuck about what an 8 year old kid like me believed.
  7. 💯
    The amount my mom turned over the care and raising of myself and my sister.
  8. There were hippie elements.
    There was a focus on nature, on community, on spiritual awakening. But it was not a free love kind of a place. There was a strong sense of conservatism. There were many rules and requirements and a clear hierarchy.
  9. There was communal living.
    We lived off-campus in the Valley in a motel where they rented out a block of suites. We(mom, sister, me) lived in a one bedroom suite with another single mother and her kid. One summer we lived on-campus in a kitchen in an annex building.
  10. There was a lot of religious worship requirement.
    Decrees(chanting) 2-3 times a day, Wednesday and Saturday nights and church all day Sunday.
  11. There were restrictions.
    On pretty much everything. Foods we could eat, music we could listen to, movies we could see, which members could date and marry each other.
  12. I didn't do too well with these restrictions.
    I had a lot of questions. They were not willing to answer or to accept that questions were being asked. I spent a lot of time in the principal's office, doing dishes in the cafeteria or kicked the fuck out. All before I turned 13.
  13. There was a lot of fear being instilled.
    Fear of questions, fear of the outside world, fear of disobeying and being ejected, fear of nuclear war. This was not my fear.
  14. I made lifelong connections with the other kids.
    We hadn't chosen this life, our parents did. And there is no bonding quite like that of a shared trauma. Especially during the formative years. My bestie then is still my bestie. We all get together for weddings, births, deaths or just because we want to. A lot of us struggled, but those of us who are left seem to be mostly doing well.
  15. It monumentally impacted who I became.
    It was where I learned to resist much and obey little. To fight the man and always defend those not strong enough to fight for themselves. It also took me down a long road of self-loathing, depression and addiction. I'm extremely grateful for the relationships I still have today with the other grown up 'kids', but I continue to view it as the most traumatic experience of my life.