There have been some pretty scary cults over the years. Cults that murder and cults that end up being terrorist organizations. Then, of course, we have the cults that hide sexual and physical abuse, and it’s scary to think that a lot of these cults have children involved in them. When you think of the messed up cults in our history, you can’t imagine that these cult leaders actually have children of their own. But they do and we wonder how those kids manage to function in society.
Cult leaders have a lot of power and they use that power to manipulate their members to do anything they want. Some of them have multiple partners and there seems to be a lot of promiscuity in cults. Charles Manson had women all around him during his reign and you have to wonder how many of them he slept with. This is how children of cult leaders come to be. You might be surprised which cult leaders had children that were raised outside of the cult.
It would be difficult going through life with a notorious cult leader as your father. Just imagine what Charles Manson’s son must have gone through, with his father in jail and everyone knowing he was a crazed man. Many people may assume that his son was exactly the same way. Or what if you were the child of the man who orchestrated the biggest mass suicide in history? Now that stuff is just hard to live down. Check out these 15 children of cult leaders and find out where they are now.
15 Stephan Gandhi Jones
Stephen Gandhi Jones was 19 at the time and happened to be away at a baseball game in Georgetown. Whether that was convenient for his father or just coincidence is hard to say. The compound where the cult was located was called Jonestown and at the time the order of mass suicide seemed like a random thing. At the time there were reports of false imprisonment of children, so it was investigated by California Congressman, Leo Ryan. Out of fear of what would happen to his church and members, Jim Jones ordered the mass suicide. Stephan dealt with a lot of survivors guilt because of what his father did and it must have made him feel very alone. He’s actually lucky to be alive. He dealt with alcohol and substance abuse before he got his life together. "I don’t care what you think of my father," Jones wrote in 2015. "I don’t care what you think of his ancestor or progeny. I am no apologist."
14 The Manson Boys
Well, we can certainly see a resemblance. Matthew Roberts seems to be the only confirmed son and he was adopted out by his mother who claims that Charles Manson assaulted her. Roberts went in search of his biological parents and that was when he discovered who his father was. “She said she was part of a very infamous hippie group in the '60s that involved Charles Manson. I asked, ‘Did you have sleep with him?’ and she said ‘I don’t know.’ Well, when I looked in the mirror, I looked like his twin.” There are three other alleged children of Manson’s. Charles Manson Jr. was an alleged child born to Rosalie Willis and he committed suicide in 1993. Charles Luther Manson, born to Leona Rae Stevens, was another, and no one knows where he ended up. It’s odd that they were all named after their father. Michael Brunner was born to Marry Brunner and he lives somewhere as an anonymous citizen. Talk about bizarre.
13 Ronald DeWolf
You may recognize the name L. Ron Hubbard; he was a science fiction writer as well as the founder of Scientology. He passed in 1986 and left a son behind who wanted nothing to do with his legacy. Ronald DeWolf was born Lafayette Ronald Hubbard Jr., after his father, but he later changed his name because he rejected his father and Scientology. He was interviewed by Penthouse in 1983 and he criticized everything that his father stood for. He was known as one of Hubbard’s “most notable detractors.” DeWolf had no problem discussing the private life that he had within the Scientology community and how it was all just a sham. There has been much debate about what goes on behind the doors of the Scientology centers around the world. DeWolf passed in 1991 at the age of 57.
12 Rika Matsumoto
If you remember the 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, the man responsible for that was cult leader Shoko Asahara. The attack injured thousands of people and killed 13 of them. At the time he was put on death row, but he acted as if he wasn’t all there, unable to recognize any of his family members. Asahara actually fathered 15 children during his lifetime and one of them was Rika Matsumoto, and she was only 13 at the time that her father was arrested. Many people believed that Matsumoto was a key figure in the cults and she actually had the nerve to publish a book about her life and released it on the 20th anniversary of the attacks. She found life without her dad and the cult difficult. She claimed she could not find work and that no one at her school would spend time with her.
11 Roy Jeffs
We could probably write a whole article on just Warren Jeffs’ children since he had 53 of them. Roy was also abused by his father and in an interview with CNN in 2015, he told them his father started abusing him when he was four or five. Considering he had 78 wives, it was a wonder that the man needed to go after his children as well. One time, Roy was punished and sent to a construction detail, that was when he decided to walk away from his father and the cult. He finally learned to swim at the age of 20 and watched his very first movie. They weren’t allowed to swim in the cult because Jeffs’ stated that the devil controlled the water. These days, he lives in peace in Salt Lake City.
10 Hyung Jin Moon
Reverend Sun Myung Moon lead the Unification Church and the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary. It was a cult like any other and there were many claims of abuse within the church. They were known for their cleansing ceremonies. Hyung Jin Moon is the youngest child of all the surviving children and he’s never had an issue with his father’s cult. After his father passed away, he took the reins of the organization to continue his father’s work. He has a mission and that’s to "preserve and share the teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon." In 2015, he was questioned about the allegations against his father for having assaulting six women known as “Mary” in a cleansing ceremony and by all accounts, Hyung Jin Moon acknowledged that these things happened. He supports his father in everything that he did.
9 Sky Okimoto
David Koresh broke away from the Seventh-Day Adventist and started up his own cult called the House of David. He told his members that the end of the world was coming and that he needed to have sleep with as all his female followers to ensure that the House of David grew. Some of these members had husbands, but the husbands were not allowed to have sleep with their wives, only David was. Authorities got wind that the compound had a stockpile of weapons and so they appeared at the compound and a standoff began. It went on for 51 days, and 17 children were killed and so were 75 adults. Sky Okimoto was 12 when it happened and was just one of many children he had. "Being the son of David Koresh, yes it was pretty hard. I felt like something was wrong with me because so many people hated my father." He also added, "I'm pretty much at peace with the fact that he existed. Sometimes I look up to him because of his charisma. Other times I think he was crazy."
8 Rachel Jeffs
Warren Jeffs was the cult leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints compound in Utah. He was a polygamist that had 78 wives, and Rachel was just one of 53 children that were born from those wives. The cult is totally isolated from the world and actually has six-foot concrete walls around it. Rachel escaped the cult in 2015 and she suffered abuse in the cult before she got away. Rachel claimed that teens were often married to more than one man and they were twice their age. Warren Jeffs is now serving a life sentence in prison plus 20 years and actually continues to run his cult from prison. That’s how powerfully manipulative these leaders are. “I told him I hated him for what he did to me when he abused me. Surprisingly, he was defeated. He said he was sorry. That shocked me. I never saw that side of him.” Jeffs is now married and has five children of her own.
7 Merry Berg
Merry Berg is actually the granddaughter of David “Moses” Berg, the cult leader for the Children of God. After his death in 1994, the cult name was changed to Family International. He preached against many things including moral decay, laws, Jewish people, and mainstream religion to name a few. His granddaughter Merry, who seems to be one of the only ones willing to speak about the cult, told stories of the isolation, beatings and even exorcisms that she experienced when she started to go against her grandfather’s teachings at the age of 14. He sent her away to an uncle’s place until she repented and then eventually to a mental institution. When she would still not make the cult her home, Moses eventually sent her to live with her mother who had also left the cult.
6 Linda Berg
Linda Berg was another child of the notorious David “Moses” Berg from the Children of God church. The man slept with so many women that it’s hard to pinpoint how many children he did have. He was known as a womanizer in the cult, sleeping with plenty of women and abusing his children. He created “flirty fishing” which was a method for his female followers to seduce males to join the cult. Linda left the cult and actually wrote a book about her experiences living with David. She exposed many things such as how he told his followers that his birth mother Virginia had healing powers and how he made advances toward Linda and abused another sister of hers. The sick things that are going on in these cults, it’s surprising how anyone can have a normal life once they leave.
5 Katy Morgan-Davies
Katy Morgan-Davies was the daughter of Maoist cult leader Aravindan Balakrishnan. He convinced his followers that there was a supernatural being called “Jackie” who would destroy everything in its path if Balakrishnan were disobeyed. People believed it for some reason and he made his goal in the cult to create a “cadre of women soldiers,” and he would create these soldiers through violence and degradation. His daughter wasn’t treated any better and he actually had her imprisoned for 30 years. She finally escaped in 2005, but the outside world came as quite a shock to the girl. When she went to the police for help, they actually returned her back to her father. She was punished severely for leaving which meant she had to endure brutal beatings. It wasn’t until another eight years later that she had another chance to escape because another cult member helped her through a window.
4 Jeff Bent
In 2000, Wayne Bent received a message from God stating that he was now the Messiah. He took that message from God seriously and left the Seventh-Day Adventist and started up his own cult called Lord Our Righteousness Church. It seems as if a lot of whack jobs come out of the Seventh-Day Adventist churches. There was a lot of abuse against children in the cult and Wayne eventually went to jail for it, though oddly enough he was released in 2016 because he had cancer. Unfortunately, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree and his son Jeff was just as bad as his father was. He defended his father in the press saying, "This wasn't his natural desire to be involved in any of this. This was what God had him do. These circumstances are the same as when the ministry of Jesus ended. Jesus was betrayed by a former disciple."
3 Caleb Lundgren
Jeffrey Lundgren started his own cult after leaving the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and began preaching out of his own home. He managed to get twelve people to follow his teachings and the bunch of them headed to Kirtland, Ohio, to live because they believed that would be where the second coming of Christ would happen. While living there, he decided to kill a family of five and him and his cult following was brought down by the ATF and the FBI. His son Caleb didn’t take the arrest of his father very well and his own life started to decline. He too went to jail in 2010 after he threw his 3-month-old baby against the wall while he was high on meth.
2 Jacqueline LeBaron
Ervil is close to evil, right? Ervil LeBaron was the Mormon cult leader that believed in polygamy. He founded the Church of the First Born of the Lamb of God. Where on Earth did he come up with that name? If his followers tried to leave the cult, he would order to have them killed. Not only that but he didn’t like having rivals in the cult leader community, so he ordered to have them killed as well. His children, however, seemed to follow in his footsteps and Jacqueline, as well as Aaron, Herbert and a few other siblings, went to prison for 45 years. They were involved in the 1988 killings of one woman, three men, and one child who had been former members of the church. Wow, unbelievable, this whole family is out of their minds.
1 Francois Thériault
In the '70s and '80s, Roch Thériault was a cult leader with about 30 followers and he called the cult Ant Hill Kids and it was located in Burnt River, Ontario. Just like the Seventh Day Adventists this cult was also waiting for the world to end. Roch however wasn’t wasting any time impregnating the female followers that he had. He went much further than that and also mutilated their bodies. Word got out about this bizarre behavior and Roch was arrested and sent to prison. Not surprisingly he was murdered in his cell in 2011. His son Francois Thériault was interviewed by the Canadian media about his father’s death and he told them that he was surprised that his father wasn’t murdered sooner than that. Francois and his brother had what they call a “hellish childhood” with their father and in 2009 they published a book about their experience.