Born to Stand Out: Daniella Mestyanek Young Interviewed by Tamara MC

As soon as I heard about Daniella Mestyanek Young’s book Uncultured (St. Martin’s Press), I knew I had to interview her. Both of us are “cult babies,” children born or raised in cults. Young was born a third-generation member of the Children of God, the infamous sex cult alleged to have encouraged sex with children as a way to get closer to God. I grew up in a Sufi cult in the eighties in Texas, and although our cult was not a sex cult, our girls were sexually assaulted. I was married at age twelve in an Islamic temporary marriage called a mut’ah, and most of the girls I grew up with were married off at age fourteen to men much older than them and usually in plural marriages. So, although we grew up in different places with different religions, our experiences mirror each other in many significant ways.

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