Father Ramon Anglés (center) and Rose Anderson (back left) on the Saint Marys Campus in September 1991.

I emerged from a cult and into the real world at the age of 23, a destitute mother of three children. I was 14 years old when I went into the cult, but my childhood years before that had been anything but normal.

My mother’s mission to ensure my salvation…


“Dave Chappelle” by JiBs. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I wonder what it’s like to be Dave Chappelle right now.

You’ve spent years honing your craft, and you roar out onto the Detroit stage to deliver a pièce de résistance.

Two white women in the second row express their solidarity as loudly as they can. They’re here to buck…


My marriage in the cult, June 1991.

Before we could be married in the cult, Man and I would have to have a counseling session with one of the Fathers.

The counseling was not to make sure that I loved this man and was not being somehow coerced into what — in our world — was a…


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I have been subscribing to Christopher Rufo for months for know-thine-enemy reasons.

He sends these long messages that you can read all the way through, right in your email inbox. The story he wants you to read and how he wants you to interpret it is right in front of…


Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

It was one of the most terrifying things to ever happen to me. How I got into that situation is a tale in itself.

When I left the cult my family joined when I was 14, the new millennium had just begun and I was about 23 years old. Having…


Photo by Viviana Rishe on Unsplash

I love my reader comments. All of them. Most of all, I love the ones that argue with me or try to discredit me because they keep the conversation going even better than the positive ones.

I am very grateful to Jim for leaving the one below on my article…


Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

How I went from an ultra-conservative cult to the urban environment of York, Pennsylvania is a long story for another time. But I will say that renting a suspiciously cheap apartment site unseen isn’t one of the smarter things I did during that time.

It was now 2003, and I…


Above: Hampton Mansion on what used to be a plantation owned by the Ridgely family of Baltimore County. The stately example of Georgian architecture looms high above the slave quarters at the bottom of the hill. Photo by Rose Anderson.

The speech I made as an eighteen-year-old, in which I extolled the virtues of old-fashioned European women and condemned all others as “modern Gorgons”, didn’t come out of nowhere. Neither did Donald Trump’s executive order proclaiming a Classical standard of beauty for Federal buildings.

When my family moved to St…


Photo by Joseph Allen on Unsplash

I can think of a couple of possible reasons why Richard and I might have started leaving letters in that coffee can in the woods. I just don’t remember which one was actually the deciding factor.

I met Richard F. Keyes III when I was about thirteen years old, in…


Two Birds on an Abandoned Building. Photo by Rose Anderson.

Driving alone in my car listening to the radio, I heard something that made me cringe and exclaim out loud, “Ohhhh nooooo…”

Apparently, the broadcasting company, the radio show producers, and probably dozens of other people involved didn’t think the moment was objectionable at all because they had chosen to…

Rose Anderson

Artist, storyteller. My childhood in an ultra-conservative cult is a lens on constructs of race and patriarchy in America.

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