Screenwriter Guinevere Turner talks about growing up in a cult



  • Tuner is a screenwriter and actress known for her multiple collaborations with director Mary Harron and wrote or co-wrote the scripts for I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho, and Charlie Says, among other films

  • Until she was 11 she grew up in a "commune"

  • The group was known as The Lyman Family consisting of slightly more than 100 followers who followed the teachings of Mel Lyman who moved around the U.S., communicated with spirits and believed that they would be raptured up to the planet Venus

  • Admits that a lot of people call it a cult but she has difficulty calling it one

  • She was abruptly kicked out at the age of 11 when her mother chose to leave the cult. Part of the Lyman Family teachings were seperating children from their parents so she didn't know her mother well when she was forced to go live with her

  • Returned to visit the Family when she was 18 and they tried to persuade her to return instead of going to college

  • Turner eventually chose to go to college because she realized an integral part of the community was forcing women to be subservient to men


  • She has idyllic memories of the commune in part because she left before she could be sexually groomed

  • Girls began to be groomed by older men at the ages of 13 or 14 . One of her friends was personally chosen as a companion by Mel Lyman who groomed her by forcing her to sleep in the same bedroom as him until she was old enough for sex. The young girl later told Turner she was terrified of being forced to have sex with Lyman

  • Says there are a ton of cults in the U.S. and around the world but most people are unaware of them because they are relatively peaceful

  • The Lyman Family is still active



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ONTD did you have an unconvential childhood?