My Father's House is the memoir of what we today would call an "ex-cult member." Pierrepont's father was the prophet founder of this nineteenth century commune that believed it was possible to achieve a sinless state, have perfect health, and gain immortality through an unselfish life. A practice that included a kind of "free love" they called "Complex Marriage."
Pierrepont was the result of an eugenics experiment and kept a distance from his biological parents since the group had a horror of "idolatry" and "stickiness."
Paradoxically, in this lively, entertaining, and well-written book, the author describes a deliriously happy childhood. He comes across as a mischievous, curious, rebellious, adventurous child with passionate friendships - quite unlike the brainwashed cult zombies we are used to hearing about in the media and anticult lit. When the group fell apart, there was a relatively smooth transition from being a religion to becoming a business, and Pierrepont became one of its leaders, a CEO, a local politician, and a family man.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly, it is a testament to the power of children who are able to overcome adult's religious obstacles and thrive in the strangest of circumstances! It provides a new window into the Oneida Community, one of America's great communal experiments.
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