My memoir, Misguided: My Jesus Freak Life In a Doomsday Cult by Perry Bulwer, published by New Star Books is now available. If it's an option for you, please consider supporting your local independent bookstore by purchasing it there. Photos of people I mention in my story are on this page: Misguided Photos.  All the endnotes in the book, with hyperlinks, are on this page: Misguided Endnotes    The full text of the 1972 newspaper reports about the Children of God in British Columbia that I cite in the book are on this page: Misguided - 1972 Newspaper reports.   On this page I have posted Misguided - reviews, media reports and podcast interviews.  On this page I've provided a series of Facebook videos of  Daniella Mestyanek Young reading excerpts from my memoir and adding her analysis and insights.  And this is my Facebook author page where I will eventually post stories that were in early drafts of the book that had to be cut from the final version: Misguided by Perry Bulwer

 Here is my publisher's description of the book:  
About Misguided
A unique first-hand account of a life spent in the Children of God, a/k/a The Family, a millenarian doomsday sex cult under the sway of a charismatic leader, David Berg.
In 1972, Perry Bulwer, a naive 16-year-old growing up in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, dropped out of high school to run away with the Children of God, one of a number of millennial Christian cults that sprang up in the 1960s and 1970s. Soon, Perry was preaching the cult's doomsday message on the streets of some of the largest cities in the world.

Bulwer takes the reader on an extraordinary trip through the world of biblical literalism, fundamentalist endtime fantasies, paranormal spirituality, evangelical extremism, ritual abuse, and liberally interpreted Biblical teachings that were used to justify licentious sexual doctrines, evangelical prostitution, and child sexual abuse.

Along the way, we learn about the inner workings of the CoG, a/k/a The Family, and the machinations of David Berg, a self-declared endtime prophet who claimed to be personally mentioned in the Bible, and that God spoke through him. Berg predicted the imminent destruction of America, the appearance of the Antichrist in 1985, and the Second Coming of Jesus in 1993. Berg died in 1994, before various law enforcement agencies around the world caught up with him.

Perry Bulwer escaped The Family in 1991, managing to escape the cult's tight control while living in Asia. Returning to Canada, he tried to pick up his life where he had left it off two decades earlier. Through education Bulwer lost his religion, turning from religious extremist to secular humanist lawyer, fighting for the rights of sex workers and drug users living on the streets of Vancouver. Haunted by his own past, Bulwer became an advocate for thousands of second-generation survivors of the cult's child abuse and psychological trauma scattered around the world.

About Perry Bulwer
Born in Port Alberni, BC, in 1955, Perry Bulwer joined the Children of God after dropping out of high school at age 16, and spent the next two decades living in CoG communes in Canada, the United States, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Macau, Hong Kong, and, undercover, in Beijing. In 1991, aged 36, he was able to escape the cult --- with no money or possessions, and little in the way of education or skills. He spent the next decade catching up on his studies, and in 2002, graduated from the University of British Columbia with a law degree.

After a 2004 diagnosis of PTSD and fibromyalgia, Bulwer retired from the practice of law (though he remains registered with the Law Society of BC). Back home in Port Alberni, Perry Bulwer advocates for second-generation cult survivors, continuing to shed light on the Children of God, a/k/a The Family.


The following three endorsements of my memoir will appear on the back or inside cover of the book.

"Misguided provides a detailed, heart-felt look inside the most notorious Christian sect to emerge from the spiritual counterculture of the 1970s. Perry Bulwer's memoir serves as damning indictment of the damage done when twisted prophesy meets blind faith". -- Don Lattin, the former religion writer at the San Francisco Chronicle and author of Jesus Freaks -- A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge.

"Perry Bulwer has given us a real treasure, especially given that so few cult memoirs are written from a male perspective. He takes us on a wild and conflicted journey as a member of the Children of God, starting at age 16, living here, there, and everywhere – from Canada to Japan, China, the Philippines, and more. Readers will gain a vivid picture of life in a cult with worldwide spread, led by a pedophiliac narcissist. Definitely a book you will want to read!" -- Janja Lalich, PhD, Author of Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships.

"Perry Bulwer has written a deeply personal and richly informative study that shows how a shy but smart (and rather religious) working class kid gets drawn into an emotionally and physically abusive cult, which was constructed around the often angry but always self-serving fantasies of a delusional but inspirational leader.

He weaves stories about his own psycho-emotional development within the cultural context of generational disillusionment about traditional politics and religion, both of which the cult leader prophesized would extinguish in an apocalyptic return of Jesus in 1993. That prophetic failure, plus Perry’s eyewitness account of severe physical and mental abuse of the leader’s granddaughter, contributed to his decision to leave, but twenty years of his own experiences of coercion, manipulation, and control haunt him long after he has renounced and debunked the cult’s doctrines.

His struggles reveal that a toxic cult still can live in a person long after that person no longer lives in a malign cult. This highly readable account, however, is an impressive achievement that reveals a toxicity that Perry hopes all other spiritual seekers can avoid." -- Stephen Kent, Emeritus Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta.


This site is used as my Blogger profile page rather than an actual blog. I have created separate pages for a few research papers and essays I've written. See the More About Me page to read a synopsis of how I came to be a secular humanist after being raised a Catholic and then, at the age of 16, was evangelized, manipulated, indoctrinated, exploited and abused in a fundamentalist Protestant cult.

 After losing my religion, I now describe myself as an agnostic atheist. I found the following quotation online, which succinctly describes my position:
Skepticism is my nature; FreeThought is my methodology; Agnosticism is my conclusion; Atheism is my opinion; Humanism is my motivation
As a secular humanist, I advocate the full range of human rights for all people of all ages, including religious freedom, which necessarily includes both the right to believe and the right to not believe. See my blog article regarding childrens' rights and their right to be free from religious indoctrination: "Respecting a Child's Point of View"

CONTACT ME AT: contact. perry. bulwer @ gmail. com

 Chain The Dogma  is a blog of my personal opinions and analysis on various issues, usually in relation to cults and religion, science, politics, and human rights.  I have not written new articles for this blog since December 2011.

Religion and Child Abuse News  is an archive of news articles on the subject of child abuse in a religious context. After four years I stopped blogging, for reasons I explain on the home page there, but it will remain open as a research source.  Although I won't be adding new articles as stand alone posts, I do continue to publish relevant news articles in the comment sections of related posts and then TWEET the link to those new articles.

A poem I wrote for a university course a couple years after I escaped a religious cult.

The Fence

I followed the fence to find its conclusion
but there was none, it was an illusion
that I was entrapped by this barrier,
encircled by the fence from which there
was no escape, no way out, or so I thought.
So many had died, so many had fought
against the fence makers,
against the dream breakers.

It was my turn now to scale its height
no phalanx of wood or block would block my sight.
No longer could I stay confined
in space too narrow for open mind.
So I charged the fence and reached its top
and all hell's fury poured forth to stop
me from breaking loose
and discovering the truth:

There are no fences, there are no walls
large enough to confine our souls.


A poem by Beth Belleisle that describes my Recovering From Religion:

It took me so long
to find my voice
It took me too long
to claim my life
as my own
and say no to
all others
who tried to
steal it away
and make it theirs
But I am awake now
and there is no
going back to sleep.

A poem by Derek Walcott that describes my life cycle:


The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.