Reverend Olamina is a Baptist preacher, college professor, and community leader who has a very close relationship with his daughter Lauren. He wields much influence over Lauren, teaching and guiding her through her formative years. He’s also fiercely protective of his family and his community and isn’t shy about exacting discipline when necessary, sometimes to a fault. He once beat Lauren who later remarked to Keith that she was “glad he didn’t quite kill me.” Reverend Olamina’s beating of Keith, however, drives a wedge in his relationship with Cory, his second wife. She loves Keith very much, but the headstrong and stubborn reverend feels no remorse for the beating. Egotistical and reckless behavior has no place in his world. When Keith is tortured and killed, Reverend Olamina doesn’t shed a tear for Keith. Lauren fears his reaction after talking to Joanne about an imminent attack on their community but, surprisingly, he appears sympathetic. He doesn’t deny that an attack will happen, yet he also chooses to live in a state of denial, hoping for a return to the good old days. The irony is that his own life is mired in tragedy; his parents were murdered and his first wife, Lauren’s mother, died during childbirth. 

His state of denial doesn’t stop him from giving firearms training to the community as well as setting up security measures and devising a strategy with Lauren on disaster preparedness. The sermon he gives on Noah proves ominous, but he emphasizes the importance of looking out for one another, of prioritizing the betterment of the community over the individual. It’s an ethic that Lauren will hold dear to her heart when forced to leave their compound, and while establishing Earthseed. The reverend seems to augur a day when the family will have to defend itself, and possibly kill. He cites a scriptural verse from Jeremiah as justification, a clear sign that he’s preparing his family for the possibility of attack. His disappearance (and presumed death) marks a turning point for the family, and allows Lauren to grow out of her father’s shadow.