I Was Raised in a Cult. Like the Duggar Family, We Had Dark Secrets

Many are stunned after watching Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, a docuseries about the famously growing Duggar family, on Amazon Prime. How could this have happened? The Duggars looked like such good people! But for those of us who grew up in similarly repressive environments, none of this was shocking. We lived it every day. What we viewed […]

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I grew up in a cult and was married at 12 — in Texas

My mother was a liberal feminist; my father was a religious zealot who left the family to live by the cult leader. Two months before I married, I had my first period. I still wore a training bra. I was 12 and had never kissed a boy, never fathomed marriage. “Repeat after me: I, Habiba, […]

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On Guinevere Turner’s “When the World Didn’t End”

ON JANUARY 5, 1975, when Guinevere Turner was seven, the world was supposed to end. She grabbed her favorite toy and donned a fancy dress, but the spaceship to take Turner to Venus never arrived. Turner’s new memoir, When the World Didn’t End, follows her life as she grows up with the Lyman Family, an apocalyptic cult […]

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I was a child bride. It’s time to stop teaching young girls to stay sweet.

I was a child bride. It’s time to stop teaching young girls to stay sweet. Like the young girls in Netflix’s #2 trending true-crime docuseries, Keep Sweet: Pray and Obeyabout Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), I also grew up in a religious fundamentalist community and was brought up to […]

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Letter: Child Marriage is Never Cutesy

I am a survivor of an Islamic Temporary Marriage, called a mut’ah. I can attest that framing child marriages as cutesy and heartwarming rather than complex misogynistic practices is unacceptable. Child marriage is never okay—permanent or temporary. Despite their name, temporary marriages are anything but temporary; they change a child’s life forever. The NYT article also […]

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