I hope my story will inspire you to have the courage to break free and the audacity to be you.
Be happy. You deserve it.
My new book, Trapped: My years in the sect the Children of God and how I got free, is my own story about the 40 years I was in the cult, living in their colonies in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Nepal, India and Thailand. Then I talk about what it was in the end made me leave, and about the incredible struggle it was to try to rebuild my life.
(For now the book is only available in Swedish. Hopefully coming in Norwegian and English very soon.)
One of the biggest surprises I have had in sharing my story with others, is that people from all walks of life find my story so relatable. Your story will help many people, they said.
At first I didn't undestand why. After all, they didn't have the same background that I had.
Many said are in a job they hate, or working for a boss they don’t get along with, or stuck in bad and even abusive relationships of all kinds.
They pretend, to themselves and others, that they are happy and content, when deep inside they know it is not true.
Because of choices they make or don’t make, they abandon their dreams and settle for a life that is less than it could have been. Just like I did.
ABOUT ME AND MY BOOK
I was 56 years old when I started from scratch and tried to build a new life. I had nothing. No income, no savings account, nowhere to live. For 40 years I had been a member of a sect and sacrificed everything to follow my leaders.
Håvard Lillethun was only a teenager when he first met God's children - and a middle-aged man when he finally tore himself free from the sect's grip. For many years he lived trapped in a closed world where the word of God, and that of the leaders, was all that mattered. Where the outside world was seen as the enemy and where you were not allowed to be critical or think for yourself. The members were expected to give up everything, both property, career and family, to live on a subsistence level in the sect's collective. Free sexuality was advocated, even with minors, sex was used to recruit members, and children were placed in special schools where they were raised separately from their parents.
What makes a person choose - and accept - such an existence? How do you find the strength and courage to break free? And what happens once you leave the sect and realize that it is only the beginning of a lifelong process?