Christina Arnold

Growing up Absurd

This short interactive documentary is an attempt to explain to my daughter what it was like being born and raised in the Children of God cult until I left at age 20.


Recently, I told my teenage daughter the truth of my childhood – that I was born in the Children of God (CoG) cult. It was founded in 1968 by David Berg, a delusional Prophet of the “Endtime”. Thousands of hippies, like my parents, were its devoted first members. My daughter found the cult’s beliefs to be as absurd and insane as I did when I was the same age. Her reactions made me explore more deeply my own, unanswered questions. My father, who left the cult after 30 years – agreed to an interview about topics we had never discussed. The result is an intergenerational perspective on the CoG cult. Finally, I explain how comedians like George Carlin, Bill Mahr, Tim Minchin, Louis C.K. and others such as Christopher Hitchens, helped me reshape my worldview and influenced how I raise my daughter.

The general public above the age of 16.

User Scenario
The user will enter a curtained booth where they will fine a set of headphones to wear. Then they will enter the interactive website:

A short explanation of the project will be provided. and the user will be guided to enter the site.

This is an interactive documentary about my experiences growing up in the Children of God cult. I am using this format to answer questions my daughter has asked about my childhood.

Each video clip answers a question. After each clip, the user will be presented with choices.

The users choices will create a unique journey through this story.

This project is the result of dozens of original and edits from other relevant videos, They are cut into clips and arranged by themes, which are accessible as the user travels through the many levels of the site.

I learned a great deal about myself, my own unresolved questions and the critical importance of documenting my answers to my teenage daughter's questions in a format/medium that she will most appreciate.