Arlyn Sharon Dunetz

From XFamily - Children of God

Arlyn Sharon Phoenix (American; born 1944-12-31), commonly known as Heart Phoenix, is the mother of acclaimed performers River Phoenix, Rain Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Liberty Phoenix, and Summer Phoenix. She is currently the president of The Peace Alliance, an organization which supports the creation of a United States Department of Peace.[1]

She was born Arlyn Sharon Dunetz in the Bronx, New York. Her parents were Jewish immigrants; her mother, Margaret, from Hungary, and her father, Mayer, from Russia. She has two sisters, Rhoda and Merle.[2] By the time Arlyn was born, the Dunetz family had become more 'culturally Jewish'; they celebrated Jewish holidays, but did not attend synagogue.[3] Once out of school, she married a computer programmer, moved to Manhattan, and began working as a secretary. She eventually grew tired of this lifestyle:

"At eighteen, I was just a clone, totally unconscious. I didn't know that the air was polluted and I didn't care. I just went to work and thought that everything the Government told me was right and true. It took some time before I awakened. I became aware. It was difficult because my parents weren't seeing the same things, but I knew I had to change my life".[4]

Wanting to seek new horizons, she left New York in 1968 and headed west towards California. While hitch-hiking she met John Lee Bottom. John (born 1947-06-14) is from Fontana, California and is of Spanish and Irish descent. They got married on September 13, 1969 in California.[5]

Soon after their first son River was born in 1970, they joined the religious cult, The Children of God, touring Mexico and South America as Christian missionaries for several years. Arlyn and John renamed themselves for a brief period, taking the Bible names Jochebed and Amram Livingwaters, respectively.[6]

They eventually grew disillusioned with the Children of God and left in 1977. Arlyn would later state that she and her husband were opposed to the cult's increasingly distorted rules of the sect, particularly the practice of Flirty Fishing:

"The group was being distorted by a leader David Berg who was getting very full of power and wealthy," she explained. "He sought to attract rich disciples through sex. No way".[7]

They returned to the U.S. in 1978 and landed in Winter Park, Florida, where Arlyn gave birth to her last child, Summer. In order to mark their new beginning, they legally adopted the surname "Phoenix" (Arlyn later changed her name to "Heart" in 1988) and began to embrace veganism as their new diet and lifestyle.[8] The parents next took their brood of five children and headed back towards California, where Arlyn got a job as a secretary for NBC. She was able to hire an agent, Iris Burton, who eventually got all of her children acting work.

John and Arlyn divorced in 1997. She is now re-married to Jeffrey Weisberg, treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Peace Alliance Foundation.[9]