My journey as an author began with a TEDx talk in Stockholm

I was a member of the cult Children of God for 40 years. After I left, that part of my life was swept under the rug. I felt ashamed. I was afraid people would look down on me if they knew the truth.

After eight years, I no longer wanted to live a lie. I'd rather have the truth come out than continue to hide what I had done.

In my TEDx talk in Stockholm in November 2019, I opened the door to my past for the first time. I told the world that I had been a member of a cult.

It was hard to come to terms with what I had been through. I went through a long and challenging process to find myself again.

In my books, I describe the experiences and thoughts I had on that journey. And I show that no matter how difficult life has been and how long you've been stuck, it's never too late to start over.

Writing became my rescue

When I first opened the door to my past and looked back, everything was foggy. I struggled to see how bad it had been.

Like an archaeologist, I began to brush away the dust and dirt that had accumulated over the years. I took off the cult glasses.

I relived details about the years in the cult that I had desperately wanted to forget. What I saw shocked me. It's one of the most challenging things I've ever done in my life.

The years I've spent writing these books were necessary for me to see the cult for what it was, and finally break free from its influence on my life. The whole process has given me a peace I find difficult to explain. I have more confidence and belief in myself, and I look forward to the rest of my life.


"A well-written and interesting insight into the sect God's children from Lillethun's perspective. He is a skilled writer who portrays his different life in an entertaining way." Daniel Gustavsson, BTJ-häftet.

"An honest, straightforward and captivating story from reality....The book feels like sitting and listening to him tell his story. It was so engaging that it was a quick read." Kulturbloggen

"... a vulnerable insight into one of the greatest cults of modern times." Vildisbokvra

Media coverage


Outwardly, the Children of God pretended to be a Christian volunteer organization, but beneath the surface there was sexual abuse and demands for total obedience.

In the book, Håvard Lillethun tells about the brainwashing he experienced, his years in the cult, and the way back to a normal life.

In that process I learned that we often think too low of ourselves. We identify with the caterpillar when we are actually butterflies.

With the book, I want to convey that nothing is impossible. It is never too late to create a new life.


When Håvard today thinks back on his life in the cult, what makes him the most downcast is the fact that he let his children grow up in the cult, with the cult's narrow worldview and without formal education.

I forgot how bad the cult really was and only remembered the good. Writing the book forced me to go back and relive the past, and for the first time I could see my past life more as an objective observer than a brainwashed member.

TV & Radio

Go'kväll, RixFM and Radio Varan

Håvard Lillethun was drawn into the cult  the Children of God and has written the book "Instängd, mina år i sekten Gods Barn" (Trappen, my years in the cult the Children of God.) It is a story about life in the cult and what followed, sex, violence, and brainwashing, but it is also a story about how he was freed from the cult, and about rebuilding himself from the ground up afterwards.


Mellan Himmel och Jord og Sektpodden

Our guest is Håvard Lillethun, who was part of the cult the Children of God for 40 years and has recently come out with the book Instängd, mina år i secten Gods Barn och hur jag blev fri. Together with presenter Soraya Hasjim, he talks about his time in the movement and what enticed him to join.