Yes, to be clear, there are/were two notorious cults known as 'The Family'. David Berg's international yet US-founded organisation involved a lot of sexual abuse of children. They're still going but grew less extreme since Berg's passing. Anne Hamilton-Byrne's Australian organisation involved traumatising children through enforced LSD trips and other abuse.
Ben learned that his mother was not Anne, but an "auntie" he disliked named Joy. She told himBen and the other children were told that Anne was their mother. She taught them to avoid outsiders and if any approached them - on the shore of the lake perhaps - to follow the mantra Unseen, Unheard, Unknown. "It was very much a thing of: you do not tell any outside person who is not a sect member anything," Ben says. "If I had any interaction with them, I would check through what I said to make sure that I hadn't revealed anything."
Members of Anne's inner circle, known as "aunties", helped looked after Ben and the other children. They woke at 5am in dormitory-style rooms and followed an unchanging routine: yoga, meditation, lessons, yoga, meditation, homework, bed. Though there were only a handful of children when the police arrived in 1987, there had once been 28 of them.
They ate meagre vegetarian meals and were frequently punished. "Aunties" held children's heads under water and hands above candles to the point of burning, while Anne, when she wasn't away travelling, sometimes beat them with her stiletto heels.
Children were kept on a steady stream of sedatives such as Mogadon and Valium. Adults and older teenagers were obliged to take LSD at regular ceremonies called "clearings"; Anne thought that by this means she could strengthen her followers' devotion to her.
He meets her later in 2006 & there's a slight reconciliation."Don't ever bother turning up at my doorstep, I'll slam the door in your face."
There's a radio version here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07gmrwb"She had given Anne her word not to connect with me," he says. "That didn't mean there was no concern, desire to have a relationship or love."
All of the children of The Family suffered various degrees of damage, Ben says. With his steady job, wife and two children, he considers himself lucky.
He has started a website, Rescue the Family, to educate people on cults, totalitarian organisations and the freedom of the will. He is also writing a book, Life Behind the Wire, which recounts lessons he learned from his childhood about the dangers of cult thinking.
"You try to unpack what happened and why, and make sense of it all," he says.
"I've calibrated my life to reality."
Not so - according to your link:
A few years ago speculation emerged that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had grown up in The Family. His hair colour didn’t help nor, possibly, his personality. Assange admitted that a man who was his mother’s boyfriend in the late 1970s had been a member of the cult. The man had been “a sinister presence” who sought to have “a certain psychological power” over his family, Assange said, and they eventually went on the run from him. But he said he never met Hamilton-Byrne or had any direct contact with the group as a whole.
Not quite. The man in question, Lief Meynell, was in the Hamilton Byrne Cult LINK . Look, I met Assange at a nightclub in Melbourne Australia in the 90s and as I had heard about that part of his life from a foaf rumor, so I asked him about it, and he told me a bit about that part of his life. Of course at the time I had no idea that little goth hacker dude was going to become world news.Not so - according to your link:
Wow! You met him!Not quite. The man in question, Lief Meynell, was in the Hamilton Byrne Cult LINK . Look, I met Assange at a nightclub in Melbourne Australia in the 90s and as I had heard about that part of his life from a foaf rumor, so I asked him about it, and he told me a bit about that part of his life. Of course at the time I had no idea that little goth hacker dude was going to become world news.