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A TikTok user has gained thousands of followers online by sharing stories about being born into a polygamous cult run by her father.
Nicole Mafi, who describes herself online as being 'ex cult', is the daughter of Paul Kingston; the head of a cult known as 'The Order' or the 'Kingston Group' which has sprouted off from the mainstream Mormon church.
The group was founded in the 1930s and has long maintained a powerful presence in Utah, where Mafi grew up.
Mafi has repeatedly told her followers that she doesn't know exactly how many children her dad has, but estimated at one point it was 'between 200 and 300 kids'. She also claimed that he has 27 wives, of which her mum was 'wife number five' and had '11 of her own kids'.
The TikToker left the cult more than 10 years ago, and has since got married and started a family of her own.
"I lived in Utah for most of my adulthood and recently moved out to Missouri to start my own life and do my own thing," she explained.
Mafi has said she now doesn't have a relationship with her father, and though she didn't have a strong relationship with him before she left she believes they were closer 'than a lot of his kids just because [she is] one of the older ones'.
"I was around when the family was a lot smaller. I left about 11, 12 years ago and I’ve probably seen him twice," Mafi explained.
In 2018, Mafi led an Ask Me Anything Reddit thread in which she said she first began to question her experiences after sneaking out to take martial arts classes, news.com.au reports.
“My sensei would listen to my crazy ideas and then debate with me about them. He would research my questions and help me see things from an outside perspective. The more I questioned my belief system, the more I realised the religion was abusive and wrong," Mafi said.
The TikToker revealed she suffered sexual abuse as a child, and when she was 16 years old her dad told her she had to get married.
"I had a choice between a first cousin and a second cousin... Getting married is a business transaction. You are given to a man as payment for something else (money, a business, strengthen family ties, etc.)," Mafi said.
She decided to escape the cult and lived without a home for a month before finding a friend who would let her stay, however when she got in touch with her family they 'brainwashed' her into coming back.
“When I was 18, I left again. I stayed with a boyfriend’s parents while I waited tables and struggled through college," she said.
As well as sharing her story on TikTok, Mafi discussed her experiences in a self-published book in which she revealed her 'first-hand account of being born in this famous cult, and the traumas that plagued her childhood'.
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