On the next episode of the podcast: Samie grew up in The Twelve Tribes, a religious organization that began in Tennessee in the 1970s. According to former members, The Twelve Tribes beliefs fall somewhere between Judaism and Christianity.
Although Samie was taught growing up that she was one of the new chosen people, treatment of children within the group was systematically harsh. Girls like her were put to work within the home cleaning and sewing as young as 4. Teachings promoted by the leaders encouraged strong discipline and corporal punishment. Imaginative play was referred to as “the devil’s workshop.”
“There was no such thing as playing,” she said. “I didn’t have dolls, I didn’t have toys.. .. we never played pretend. We weren’t allowed to. The childhood that I had was not so much a childhood.”
Restrictions also applied to clothing, music, dancing, food and countless other aspects of life. Although her family moved around often to different cities and wasn’t completely isolated, Samie wasn’t allowed access to mainstream education, entertainment or basic experiences such as wearing a bathing suit or ordering from a café.
At age 18, when she was admonished for being caught with a CD in her backpack, she told her family she wanted to leave. They said “no.” So she escaped – but they caught her and brought her back.
How did she get away again? What was her life like after she finally got out into the world?
Samie went on to found a nonprofit called Liberation Point, dedicated to helping people like her who were raised in cults. But how did she adjust and receive the education to get to this point?