• Laura McConnell

Where did you come from?

There are layers of me that I never share. They are not 'secrets', rather places, people and faith I've chosen not to speak of for 20 years.

I haven't had the words or the strength to talk about where I came from.

I was raised a 4th generation member of a secret fundamentalist sect known as The Truth. I spent most of my childhood in remote far western NSW, in tumbledown houses with no TV, radio or telephone. My knowledge of life outside my tight knit, secretive fundamentalist community was limited.

I was forbidden from wearing trousers, make up or jewelry. I was raised to obey, to conform, to never ask questions. I was expected to wear long dresses, never cut my hair, marry young and produce a 5th generation of loyal followers.

In my teens, I watched my 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins dutifully follow this path.

In 2019 I am releasing my memoir, Angel Juice; Im ready to talk about my journey out of fundamentalism. The past 20 years have been painful, and the loss of identity, family and community often overwhelms me. However, I've reached a place of acceptance , and am ready to talk.

I'm ready to add a resource to the world about the difficulties faced by people leaving fundamentalist sects. There are more than you realise - Jehovahs Witness's, 7th Day Adventists, Mormons, The Brethren & The Truth. We've been lied to, undermined and thrown out of our community. We have no sense of 'self', no knowledge of the world outside our closeted communities. We usually leave with no family or friends, the people we love often never speak to us again.

For 20 years I've worked to build a life and identity outside The Truth. I concentrated on university and building a career. I would smile nicely when asked about my past or family, carefully avoiding conversation.

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