“I think my parents thought they had found a community that shared their ideals Cults are rarely advertised as cults. Usually someone says, ‘We are like-minded people. This is a community, ‘but I think the moment my parents realized there was something else, they came out, ” actor Joaquin Phoenix revealed to Playboy magazine in 2014 in one of the countless times the media reminded him his peculiar childhood in a sect.
That “something else” to which the actor refers was a letter in which the leader of the sect, Children of God (The children of God) asked women to practice flirty fishingor “flirtatious fishing”, that is, they slept with as many men as possible in order to attract more followers and more money.
The Phoenix, who were still called Botton at that time – they would change their surname to Phoenix later, in honor of the mythological bird – had been singing and preaching for years in benefit of Los Niños de Dios in different cities of South America, living in absolute poverty and far from the core of the cult.
That letter corroborated his suspicion that the idyllic community in which they had taken refuge fleeing the troubled United States of Nixon was no longer their place. They took their children and their guitars and left the community.
The community, which was in the crosshairs of Interpol, had unleashed the first anti-culture movement in history and would end up being responsible for hundreds of cases of child abuse and even murder. Everything had been built around a man whom little was known about but whom his followers considered the new Moses.
David Berg (Oakland, 1919 – Costa de Caparica, 1994). Berg came from a family of preachers with two centuries of tradition that had grown up between churches and psalms. His mother, one of the first radio preachers, had raised him to be the new messiah, but at fifty he was a desolate man with no project who had been expelled from his own church for a sexual scandal that he disguised as a doctrinal difference.