Faith Jones bridges entertainment and empathy by penning a page-turning memoir that is not just a fascinating and heartbreaking look at life inside a cult, but ultimately an empowering story of resilience ... At first, in describing her childhood, Jones' writing is simple and straightforward, sharing her daily life while educating the reader on the Family's cultish rules such as speaking in code, reporting on each other's activities, distrust of outsiders and authority. But as she ages and becomes more sophisticated, so does her prose.
Jones brilliantly articulates not just the Family's shortcomings in terms of personal freedom but expands on society's as a whole ... The only critique on Sex Cult Nun, is wishing for a more in-depth look at Jones' life after she was emancipated from the Family. She touches on some of her college, law school and professional life but just enough for us to want more. Reading more about her life and her struggles post-cult would make for a fascinating and welcome follow-up.
... the lurid title doesn’t remotely capture the flavor of Faith Jones’s thoughtful, carefully recounted memoir. Not to imply the book is not disturbing. There are many images you will wish you could forget, and descriptions of sexual mores and practices that call into question basic human values. But there are no nuns, and Jones’s life was anything but chaste, though not by choice ... The author’s absorbing, meticulously detailed description of her early life with her eight siblings in Macau, and later episodes in Thailand, Hong Kong, the U.S. and Kazakhstan, recall both The Glass Castle and Educated. The extreme poverty, hard work and over-the-top physical punishment are balanced by a child’s-eye view of a fascinating, unfamiliar world ... this memoir has left me questioning humanity in some of the same ways as first-person accounts of the Holocaust. It is engrossing and well-crafted; it is shocking and at times, salacious; it is also seriously important.
Jones not only shined a marvelous light on the criminally destructive nature of religious cults and how the effects of abuse and mind control permeated every aspect of the followers’ lives. Sex Cult Nun also provides a narrative of triumph that one could escape an egregious cult and create an authentic life free from abuse. As Faith Jones has done for herself, may her life story be a testament to the power of determination and the quest for freedom at all costs.