I grew up in a cult. It was heaven -- and hell. | Lilia Tarawa | TEDxChristchurch

  • Lilia Tarawa was brought up in the Gloriavale Christian Community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, where she was constantly surrounded by everyone she loved. But over time, she began to see the dark side of her community, and ultimately realised that she had to get out. In this raw and emotional talk, Lilia shares the reality of life in a cult, and her heart-wrenching journey to break free.
    Lilia Tarawa is a New Zealand writer, speaker, holistic health consultant and business coach. She is a member of the Māori Ngāi Tahu tribe. Lilia was born into New Zealand's infamous religious cult, Gloriavale, and fled with her eleven family members at eighteen years of age. Her extraordinary life experience compelled her to pursue a career promoting human rights, welfare and empowerment.
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at www.ted.com/tedx

Comments • 91

  • Rashid Bhat
    Rashid Bhat 5 hours ago

    Respect u lady

  • XENON F1
    XENON F1 13 hours ago

    I come back to this video often to watch and listen, inspiring and interesting recalling I love this video

  • sF
    sF 18 hours ago

    speed it up to 1.25 or 1.5 and you can hear how much she smacks her lips EW

  • Arene Armstead
    Arene Armstead 19 hours ago

    Wow! The thing I take away from your story is the experience was actually a teaching 1 for your gifts to take to the masses! Love was taught from God, awareness and wisdom. God was using you and kept you the whole time for these very days u are living out. Hardships and pain comes with transition! God bless you my sister I love you! Welcome to the rest of us! We love your testimony.

  • John King
    John King Day ago

    This is how ALL religions work.

  • EliteLegos
    EliteLegos 2 days ago

    The scariest thing is how shiny her cheeks are.

  • Jimithy Fox
    Jimithy Fox 2 days ago

    3:15 aw yes a deck of cards

  • jim smith
    jim smith 2 days ago


  • jalamela Ki
    jalamela Ki 3 days ago

    People instead of these stupidities should study the history of religions ! Especially the Christian!🤔 You will be surprised

  • XTC NHシ
    XTC NHシ 4 days ago


  • Mehul Panchasara
    Mehul Panchasara 4 days ago


  • Blunt Conversations With Me

    I know what you mean, Local T.V. try to do the same thing to us. I feel for ya.

  • Adam Bankhead
    Adam Bankhead 6 days ago

    who are these assholes not standing up after that

  • Anime Demon
    Anime Demon 6 days ago

    You go don't stop keep sharing your message

  • Miracle Thicklen
    Miracle Thicklen 6 days ago

    I don't want to sound rude or anything but that wet mouth noise she keeps making is REALLY getting on my nerves

  • Michelle Abner
    Michelle Abner 7 days ago

    1:44 anyone

  • Mase
    Mase 7 days ago

    Is this asmr? Jk

  • Mereanna Ranui
    Mereanna Ranui 8 days ago

    Well you a still in a cult when they teach you to do the angel walk. We much remember that God created the heavens for His throne and the earth for man not for angels That we do not walk like angels, that why God says that the whole human became fallen because the hyman race want to act like angels, walk like angels, worships angels and that why there is alot of sickness, alot mental abuse, physical abuse, because of wanting to do the angel walk. If you want to transform peoples life and stop mental abuse physical abuse, and children from being abuse, then start living and acting like a human being by taking Christ as our pattern. That Christ Jesus who is the Son of God came through incarnation, and lived a human life, crucified in the flesh of sin and resurrected to become the life-giving Spirit to impart into us to regenerated our human spirit that we may live a human life in His uplifted humanity mingled with His divine life. So if you keep on wanting to do angel walk nothing is going to go away because God aren't going help us if we want to act like angels when He has given Himself to us in Christ Jesus that we may lived out humanity and to expressed Himself humanity. That is Christ was resurrected ascended to the heavens and sat down on right hand side of the throne of God as the Son of Man with the effulgence and glory of God. That is God can't be glorified through angel, God can only be glorified through and in man that was the purpose of why He created man in His image, that is man was a vessel for God to live in man human spirit, because is Spirit and that God put the human spirit Inman which was for His dwelling place for Him and man to live and be mingled together as one and this was the purpose of why Christ came to do away with angel worship and to restore man back to God's original purpose. So when we learn to live Christ and take Christ and to have Christ in us as our life and person then God will act within us. But as long as we think we can walk like angels and act like angels God won't have nothing to do with us. That a fact

    • chris sonofpear1
      chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

      Also, why was Satan OWED anything? Including access to this world?

  • chris sonofpear1
    chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

    Also, why was Satan OWED anything? Including access to this world?

  • Rayanne Norton
    Rayanne Norton 8 days ago

    This isn't truth Christianity.

  • chris sonofpear1
    chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

    It does vary a lot, yes?

  • larry derkach
    larry derkach 8 days ago

    You inspire!

  • iAmCoded
    iAmCoded 8 days ago

    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt lol

    РСК ⰓⰔⰍ 8 days ago

    To be honest, I think that what she calls ,,Christian" is actually Chatolic and they're everything but Christian, but have a bit of Christianity, so I hope that after she left that satanistic cults she kept following what was truly Christian. God bless and hello from Serbia 🇷🇸!

    • РСК ⰓⰔⰍ
      РСК ⰓⰔⰍ 5 days ago

      @chris sonofpear1 Explain a bit better

    • chris sonofpear1
      chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

      You know - I cannot keep up anymore.
      House divided against itself, and all that.
      Do enjoy rant.

    РСК ⰓⰔⰍ 5 days ago

    @chris sonofpear1 Explain a bit better

  • chris sonofpear1
    chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

    You know - I cannot keep up anymore.
    House divided against itself, and all that.
    Do enjoy rant.

  • AnimePabu
    AnimePabu 9 days ago

    It’s sad that these kids had to grow up believe it this stuff was normal

  • Arpine Manukyan
    Arpine Manukyan 9 days ago

    I did not watch the video till the end, because I found some of the parts where she described abuse to be disturbing, but know that this is not what a Christian church is like at all, and that is never how the Bible describes what Love should be. Jesus Christ is a gentle, merciful and loving God who teaches us to be the same. I feel sorry for this woman's experience and hope her story does not give the wrong impression of how a follower of Christ is like.

  • chris sonofpear1
    chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

    So, will some gaps be filled, Arpine?

  • Dylan Rogers
    Dylan Rogers 9 days ago

    I like how most of us thought the title ended with “it was heaven” and that’s it

  • Yashas rao kuthnikar
    Yashas rao kuthnikar 10 days ago

    Indoctrination of small children should be a crime!!

  • Maya Hyung
    Maya Hyung 10 days ago

    Um...I got spanked as a kid...i didn’t grow up in a cult either...i think i grew up fine?

  • jeongguksthighs_ 97
    jeongguksthighs_ 97 10 days ago

    Not all Christians are like this, but hearing this really breaks my heart. Makes me question whether we're serving the same God.

    • chris sonofpear1
      chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

      The thought had occurred to me...
      And what DID Jesus mean by the parable of rotten meat?

  • chris sonofpear1
    chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

    The thought had occurred to me...
    And what DID Jesus mean by the parable of rotten meat?

  • Oliver Lauth
    Oliver Lauth 10 days ago

    she weird

  • Sandra Arita
    Sandra Arita 11 days ago

    That’s not true Christianity. That’s not what being a follow of Jesus is about some people abuse of christianty and turn it in to something else

    • chris sonofpear1
      chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

      You mean... again? As some Spanish Jews could attest?

  • chris sonofpear1
    chris sonofpear1 5 days ago

    You mean... again? As some Spanish Jews could attest?

  • Star Painter
    Star Painter 11 days ago

    I have 11 brothers and sisters 😂🤦

  • I ShogunRonin
    I ShogunRonin 12 days ago

    This is kind of like how muslims beat their wives with sticks. no one bats an eyelid lol

  • Julia Haddon
    Julia Haddon 12 days ago

    what an incredible woman. so incredibly strong, so incredibly intelligent.

  • hee hee
    hee hee 12 days ago

    Off topic but her legs are beautiful

  • Nathan Lewis
    Nathan Lewis 12 days ago

    Ted talks have an intelligent comment section I can only compare to reddit

  • Babie Pink
    Babie Pink 13 days ago

    Nuke the whole village with the abusers all in it

  • dentonet2
    dentonet2 13 days ago

    Wow. That was crazy. Glad she got out.

  • Andrew Lee
    Andrew Lee 13 days ago

    I love America

  • Andrew Lee
    Andrew Lee 13 days ago

    I support you

  • Nom Cee
    Nom Cee 13 days ago

    I was lured into a christian cult thinking it was a normal church. The pastor, who later became my husband, was coming from a good church, good family and generally well liked in the community. I don't know if he changed or if he finally got the opportunity to show his true colors when he was finally released to start his own church which was really a cult. Eventually the people close to him caught on that something was wrong with him and they distanced themselves from him.. He started making bold statements such as, he was the greatest prophet on the earth and all other men of God would come to him for wisdom and insight. He hated being challenged on his doctrines.. If anyone asked a legit question his answer was, "ask God". He didn't want to submit to higher authority because he believed everyone was beneath him and would just say, "God is my father" although he wanted to be a spiritual father to everyone else. I never truly believed any of it but I was so worn out by the abuse I did or said anything just to keep the peace. I know all about the guilt trips, the psychological manipulation is so real. I lost everything except my family because of this cult and could write a book on the narcissistic abuse I have suffered.. 5 years and 2 children later I had the courage to leave and not look back. I'm starting my life over and it is terrifying... I'm trying to create healthy relationships but still struggle with opening up about my experience because I dont know who to trust, on top of being humiliated that it happened to me.

  • Madison
    Madison 14 days ago

    The sad thing about this story is that it hasn’t been shut down.. All of this abuse is still happening, but to other children, woman.. They NEED to shut this place dow.

  • Charlotte Fitton
    Charlotte Fitton 14 days ago

    God would never want this.

  • Albert Nave
    Albert Nave 15 days ago

    The concept of cults are terrifying.

  • Madam Pickle
    Madam Pickle 15 days ago

    Me at the beginning of the vid: Maybe I should join a cult? 😼

  • LayLee Anderson
    LayLee Anderson 16 days ago

    She should never give a speech again.

  • Alexa Cardente
    Alexa Cardente 17 days ago


  • Peppa Breitinger
    Peppa Breitinger 17 days ago

    this is one of the many reasons i am an atheist

  • Ralph Bernhard
    Ralph Bernhard 17 days ago

    So she basically explained Communism.
    These sects are communists.

  • Jjf
    Jjf 18 days ago

    god is a lie in all beliefs

  • Anthony Salas
    Anthony Salas 18 days ago

    lol, sorry the over dramatization of a belt whipping started making it seem silly couldn't finish

  • Simon Smith
    Simon Smith 19 days ago

    ironic that this talk is in Christchurch

  • Ron Brewer
    Ron Brewer 19 days ago

    I love it thanks .

  • Renieronron shi
    Renieronron shi 19 days ago

    why did the grandfather say they don't want women like her if she could be a leader ?

  • Renieronron shi
    Renieronron shi 15 days ago

    @MewWolf5 oh

  • MewWolf5
    MewWolf5 15 days ago

    They didn't want women in leadership roles.

  • Mr. Tuffty
    Mr. Tuffty 21 day ago

    this is beautiful, but the lip smacking is uncomfortable

  • V D
    V D 21 day ago

    Does anyone know if this religious cult got reported for child abuse?

    OWEN VEITH 21 day ago

    What an absolute queen

  • Angela
    Angela 21 day ago

    14:20 "You want a tissue? No? Oh... ok."

  • Fred Robley
    Fred Robley 21 day ago

    This is horrible. Also don’t confuse this with Mormons we would NEVER do this

  • もしもし
    もしもし 21 day ago

    How can any parent treat their child that way!?
    Entire country of Mexico: *im bout to end this mans whole career*

  • Sydney Gail
    Sydney Gail 22 days ago

    16:41 although it’s true that everyone actually is a sinner (Romans 3:23) they failed to tell her that it’s through Christ Jesus, whom died on the cross to save you of your sins, that you don’t have to worry about feeling worthless. Yes, we sin, but we have a living God who forgives us of it. Whenever they never told her about the love and mercy of God and how she doesn’t have to scold herself but just ask God for forgiveness, which He will give every time, that’s where that community was in the wrong (and pretty much everything they did was wrong tbh)

  • Supe063
    Supe063 22 days ago

    The psychological punishment from region has far greater negative affects than the physical. It's true of any religion or belief that is imposed.

  • Arno Luyendijk
    Arno Luyendijk 23 days ago

    And while the world worries about the influence of conservative muslim imams, these "christian" cults get away with their outrageous brainwashing. Tell me, who are the real impostors on human values of equality and civil rights?

  • Arno Luyendijk
    Arno Luyendijk 23 days ago

    What a powerful woman. Truly an inspiration to me.

  • ibervang
    ibervang 23 days ago

    Maybe she should go into acting, with they way she can just switch between emotions on a whim

  • keira sport
    keira sport 24 days ago

    Bro i get that this is kinda off topic but shes full on what i image the Disney version of Pocahontas looked like irl

  • Sany0
    Sany0 25 days ago

    The cheek bones on this lady are awesome!!

  • Some random person
    Some random person 25 days ago


  • Tim Abdiukov
    Tim Abdiukov 26 days ago

    wow good on ya escaping

  • Zhixuan Zong
    Zhixuan Zong 26 days ago

    sorry if this offends anyone for being irrelevant, but as a BTS follower, that message of "love myself" struck twice as hard when she uttered it.

    • That one pianist
      That one pianist 16 days ago

      Zhixuan Zong this is one of the relevant places to bring up bts under a video. Loving yourself is so important

  • That one pianist
    That one pianist 16 days ago

    Zhixuan Zong this is one of the relevant places to bring up bts under a video. Loving yourself is so important

  • Samuel Henrique
    Samuel Henrique 26 days ago

    is this a audtion for theather or something? great actress

  • Toad
    Toad 26 days ago

    mini communism

  • The Flying Dolphin
    The Flying Dolphin 26 days ago

    Still think humans are good beings?

  • Papa Broly
    Papa Broly 27 days ago

    1:58 *_Sign me up_*

  • Rebecca Collier
    Rebecca Collier 27 days ago

    Dang, I just passed and my parents would throw a party. This is awful. :(

  • danceu is lifeu
    danceu is lifeu 28 days ago

    okay but her SKIN THOOOOO

  • Aidan Nel
    Aidan Nel 28 days ago

    What a moving story! So moving apparently that 7.5k people decided to turn their devices upside down and like it again!

  • Maria Vaz
    Maria Vaz 29 days ago

    To the people who's commenting that this looks fake, the only parts that sounded too acted for me were when she was describing how she loved her life there.
    I think that she probably wanted to show to people her feelings of when she loved it, making them feel connected so that after it they understood how polarizing is emotional abuse and brainwash, but she probably can't think of that place as a happy one anymore, so it sounded fake everytime. Everytime she started crying and describing bad things, it just looked really genuine.

  • Jessy and the Birbs


  • chris sonofpear1
    chris sonofpear1 27 days ago

    And why could any reach this world?

  • Eden Loves Bangtan
    Eden Loves Bangtan Month ago

    the dislikes on this video are from the cult **Probably**

  • Avery Reid
    Avery Reid Month ago

    I too grew up in a cult:
    It was a Non-Denominational sect of Christianity led by a crack addict.