Elizabeth Esther grew up as the eldest and clearly favored granddaughter of the founder of a wacky, family-run sect of Jesus People. This coming of age narrative takes you back to the origins of ‘The Assembly’, its hopes for a near Apocalypse and the community-style of living. Holy, so set apart from the world, run by its own rules and practices. Esther recounts the impact of being cut of the outer world, the spankings and other physical and emotional abuse by her (grand)parents. Forbidden to date a regular boy, of course this causes troubles for a young teen. An arranged marriage with a fellow believer leads to a servant-like household with strict following of her husband rules, a series of pregnancies. Realizing that not being recognized as a human being couldn’t be God’s plan, she finally manages to leave The Assembly. A long journey to build up a ‘normal life’ begins. Will a Mega church fill the religious gaps? Or a Catholic Church, despite its status quo regarding sexual child abuse? Can she pass from fear for the end of the current world to a lasting faith in an Eternal, loving God? Next to a very personal view on her own youth, the author warns believers belonging to churches and ministries with a strong personality-focused leadership. “Follow the money” proves valuable again.
About the author
Elizabeth Esther is a blogger who was raised in Southern California inside a strict fundamentalist church from which she fled with her husband and children. In 2006, Elizabeth began writing a blog to document her family life. Soon, she was writing about her faith journey. She and her husband, Matthew, live with their five children in Santa Anna, California.
I got a review copy from Blogging for Books to read and share my personal impressions.