Author Rebecca Stott on Growing Up In a Christian Cult

Rebecca Stott teaches English literature at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.
Nicholas Bradley/Spiegel & Grau

It can be hard to grow up in an ultra-religious household. I was raised in a strict Pentecostal family, and I remember not being allowed to go trick-or-treating or have any sign of Santa Claus because both were deemed to be inspired by Satan. When you’re a little kid, you don’t question it — that’s just how it is. It takes getting older to realize you’re different from everyone else.

That was the experience of Rebecca Stott. She grew up in England as part of the Exclusive Brethren, a fundamentalist Christian cult that was closed off to the rest of the world. Her family had been part of the group, or one of its earlier iterations, for four generations, but they left the Exclusive Brethren when Stott was a young girl.

“They were extremely controlling,” Stott says of the community. “So they believe in the rapture; they believe that they alone will be taken off the planet, and unless they stick to Brethren rules and have no contact with the outside world that they’ll be left behind in the rapture. So that’s essentially them. They’re very conservative, very secretive, very separatist.”

In her new book, In the Days of Rain, Stott writes about her childhood both in and out of the Exclusive Brethren.

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A Martinez

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