I grew up in an incest cult – kids were missing ears but it was normal to us

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    A young woman who managed to escape from a bizarre religious cult where children would often be born “missing an ear” due to inbreeding says teachers would rip out pages of science books that warned about the dangers of incest.

    Amanda Rae was brought up in the Davis County Cooperative Society, a polygamist sect also known as the Kingston Group or The Order. She says her dad’s third wife is also his half-sister and if she had stayed in the community she would have been forced to marry a relative.

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    The Kingston cult split from the mainstream Mormon religion in the 1920s after it abandoned polygamy. Through its hundred-year history the church has been plagued by scandals about incest and underaged marriage as well as numerous financial irregularities.

    One of the cult's ruling family, John Daniel Kingston was sentenced to prison in 1999, after forcing his then 16-year-old daughter to marry his brother, and then beating her with a belt when she escaped the polygamist marriage

    “We've only have have had three leaders so far,” Amanda explained to podcaster Andrew Gold. All of them have been men from the Kingston family. The second – John Ortell Kingston – was Amanda’s grandfather.

    “For some reason as the second leader he decided that he was going to marry his nieces,” she said. “So he married multiple nieces, but actually he could only have kids with I believe one of them. The rest of them for some reason they they would be like carrying them to full term and the baby would be like very weak and they would either die like within hours of being born or they would be stillborn.

    She says that it’s really obvious when a child was born of incest: “When I was at the church I was a teacher at the school … I saw kids with missing ears and there was a lot of internal issues too with the kids.

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    “And mental issues,” she added “I hate saying that because like it's like saying that they're dumb but there was a clear difference in when you would see like a seven-year-old that came from a family of no inbreeding and then a seven-year-old that came from a family from the same dad but he decided to marry his half sister there was a clear difference in the mental capacity.”

    She says that a friend of her that worked at the school was made to tear pages out of science e textbooks “because they talked about what happens when you're in breeding.”

    “They didn't want us to believe that marrying siblings is bad. I've been in an argument with an order member who thinks the government is trying to make us think that marrying your siblings does does things genetically but he says it doesn’t.

    “I said can’t you see that this kid over here? he was born without an ear. Can't you see that this kid with internal defects? …when you're surrounded by that your whole life you think that that's normal.”

    Polygamy leads to huge extended families, Amanda says: "technically I have 32 total siblings.”

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