Two women who were forced to marry the deranged leader of an apocalyptic Christian cult have broken their silence after their abuser died in prison.
Pebbles Rodriguez and Amy Eddy were just 12 and 14-years-old when they were forced to marry Tony Alamo, the founder of the Alamo Christian Foundation, News.com.au reports.
Convicted sex-offender Alamo was 40 years older than the girls when he married them, but got away with his crimes because the girl’s mothers were convinced Alamo was a prophet of God.
In a new tell-all documentary, both Ms Rodriguez and Ms Eddy reveal how they grew up in Alamo’s cult and how the manic preacher would rant puberty was consent as God intended menstruation as a sign a girl was old enough to marry.
In the documentary Alamo can be heard ranting:
When a woman reaches puberty, she, according to God, is able to be married.
They should be able to be married at 13, 14 and 15-years-old. And in some cases, if they’ve menstruated already, 12-years-old.
Ms Rodriguez also reveals how she doesn’t know why Alamo chose her as a child bride, but presumes it’s because she looked so young.
Alamo, who was at that point 62-years-old, forced Ms Rodriguez to marry him in 1998 when he was released from prison.
It was at this point she discovered Ms Eddy was also a bride of Alamo.
Ms Rodriguez recalled:
My friend Amy said: ‘I’m a wife too. I couldn’t tell you this whole time because you weren’t one but now that you are going to be one, I can tell you’.
I was just kind of in shock. All this was just too overwhelming to even try to process.
Eddy meanwhile explained how her own mother prepped her for marrying Alamo, telling her when she was just 11 or 12 Tommy would be the only man she’d ever marry.
Both women now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and say normal activities can trigger panic attacks and flashbacks of the abuse they (and others experienced) at the hands of Alamo.
Alamo, born Bernie Lazar Hoffman, formed his cult with his wife Susan in 1969 after working as a street preacher in Hollywood for a number of years.
He was widely criticised for his over the top evangelisation but despite this, he managed to attract hundreds of followers, eventually creating the Alamo Christian Foundation.
Eventually, Alamo established churches in Nashville, Chicago, Brooklyn, and Miami Beach and attracted more followers who believed him when he said the pope was secretly the anti-christ.
Over the following years, Alamo spent time in and out of prison for various offences, but it wasn’t until 2009, when he was convicted of child sex offences and ten counts of transporting minors across state lines for sex.
Alamo died on May 2, 2017, at 82-years old while in custody at the Federal Medical Center in North Carolina.
People Magazine Investigates: Cults premieres on June 4 on Investigation Discovery.
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More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.