Home International News TikTok: Nicole Mafi Talks Leaving Polygamist Cult The Order

TikTok: Nicole Mafi Talks Leaving Polygamist Cult The Order

A popular TikTok star has racked up thousands of views online about her experiences escaping a polygamist cult as a child.

A popular TikTok star has racked up thousands of views online about her experiences escaping a polygamist cult as a child.

Nicole Mafi is the daughter of Paul Kingston, head of the infamous polygamous sect known as The Order, or the Kingston Group, an offshoot of the mainstream Mormon church in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“I grew up in a polygamous sect in Utah,” she says in a TikTok video.

“My father had 27 wives, I don’t know how many children. My mother was wife number five and she had eleven of her own children, and I am the oldest.”

In another video, Mafi estimates that her father has “between 200 and 300 children”.

“I don’t know the number exactly,” she says.

“When I counted when I left 10 years ago, it was about 200, and he’s had quite a few in the last 10 years. Like I said, I left about 10 years ago, I got married, I started a family. I have lived in Utah most of my adulthood and recently moved to Missouri to start my own life and do my own thing.”

She also reveals that she is not in a relationship with her father and “I never really did when I was in the cult”.

“And I probably did more than a lot of his kids just because I’m one of the older ones and I was there when the family was a lot smaller,” she said. “I left about 11, 12 years ago and I’ve probably seen him twice.”

Mafi, who has more than 76,000 followers on TikTok, has spoken out about her experiences in the group over the past four years.

In 2018 she self-published a book, The Leader’s Daughterand reveals her “firsthand about being born into this famous cult and the traumas that plagued her childhood”.

Mafi escaped at age 17 to avoid an arranged marriage with her first cousin.

Writing in a popular Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit in 2018, she said she first started questioning her family environment after secretly attending martial arts classes.

“My sensei listened to my crazy ideas and then debated them with me,” she wrote.

“He would examine my questions and help me see things from the outside. The more I questioned my belief system, the more I realized the religion was offensive and wrong.”

She revealed that she had been sexually abused in the cult as a child, starting at age six. The last straw came when she was 16.

“My father sat me down on my 16th birthday and told me to get married,” she said. “I knew I was going to leave at that moment, even if I couldn’t admit it to anyone yet.”

She described her eventual escape, writing: “One night, when I was 17, I packed my photo album, diaries and some clothes in the back of my car and disappeared. I was homeless for a month before I found a friend who allowed me to stay with him. to stay.”

But after she contacted her family, “they brainwashed me into coming back”.

“When I was 18, I left again,” she said. “I stayed with a friend’s parents while I waited for tables and struggled my way through college.”

The Kingston Group, formally known as the Latter Day Church of Christ or the Davis County Cooperative Society, was founded in the 1930s by Elden Kingston.

The powerful cult has thousands of members and manages a fortune worth an estimated $300 million, according to a rolling stone report in 2011, showing a sprawling empire of businesses and landholdings.

Estimates of the group’s size vary, but author Andrea Moore-Emmett put the number at 3,500 in her 2004 book God’s brothel on Mormon fundamentalism.

People who have left The Order claim that the cult “exploits its members as virtual slave labor and hides profits from tax collectors.” rolling stonethe report said.

“Children born in the clan make up a large part of the workforce,” the outlet wrote.

Girls, many of them teenage brides, answer the phone at The Order’s law firm, run errands at the grocery store or babysit the clan’s many children. Boys work in the coal mine and pile up boxes at Standard Restaurant Supply, a huge discount store. They are not paid in cash, but in scrips, a mysterious form of credit used by the Mormon pioneers that can only be redeemed in company stores.”

Several members of the group have been accused of incest in the past, but officially The Order says it does not condone marriages to minors.

“The DCCS has spoken out publicly against fraud and abuse for decades,” its website reads.

“We reaffirm to our members that this type of behavior is completely against our beliefs and principles and we cannot support anyone involved in this type of behavior. Any person involved in or becoming aware of any unlawful activity is encouraged to promptly correct any impropriety.”

According to the Associated Press, an estimated 30,000 people live in Utah’s approximately 11 polygamous communities, or religious groups, whose adherents believe plural marriage brings exaltation to heaven—a legacy of the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints. To dawn.

The mainstream Mormon church abandoned the practice in 1890, but survived in numerous splinter groups, despite plural marriage being a crime in the state for most of a century.

In 2020, the Utah legislature passed a law that decriminalizes polygamy, reducing it from a third-degree felony to an offense similar to a speeding ticket.

“Bigamy had been a crime in Utah since 1935, and it clearly didn’t do what the law, I think, or the people who made that law intended for it,” Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson told the AP.

“It didn’t stop people from practicing polygamy. Eventually it drove people underground, created a wall of secrecy around some communities.”

Popular interest in the topic has been sparked by the reality TV series sister women and more recently the Netflix documentary stay sweetwhich investigates another Mormon polygamist sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), and the widespread underage sexual abuse of its members.

Warren Jeffs, the president of the FLDS, is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of child sexual abuse in 2011.

Mafi watches the Netflix show and shares her thoughts with her TikTok followers.

Commenting on Jeffs’ claim to members that “questioning me makes you question God,” Mafi said this was a big part of Mormon religion.

“Here they keep a lot of control,” she said.

“So you must not question – if your prophet tells you to do something, you do it. This is how marriages are arranged and everyone tolerates it, this is how daughters are sold, this is how people lose their homes, their businesses, because they must not doubt that the prophet is telling them to do something.”

Originally published as TikTok star Nicole Mafi talks about escaping the polygamous Mormon cult

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