CAUTION: This article contains explicit text that some may find offensive.
Cover of "Run to My Arms!
" (ML 3504)
— Art by Jan McRae
Loving Jesus is a term that members of the Children of God/Family International cult use to describe their sexual relationship with Jesus. This doctrine was introduced in 1995, and is taught to all members as young as 12, but more fully from the age of 14. The Family describes the Loving Jesus teachings as a radical form of "bridal theology." It is their understanding of the Bible that the followers of Christ are his bride, called to love and serve him with the fervor of a wife. They take bridal theology further than other Christians by encouraging members to imagine that Jesus is having sex with them during sexual intercourse and masturbation. Male members are told to visualize themselves as women, in order to avoid a homosexual relationship with Jesus (male homosexuality is an offense warranting excommunication). Additionally, members are instructed to say "love words," or talk dirty, to Jesus as they are having sex. Karen Zerby has published a list of sexually explicit expressions that her followers could use during sex with Jesus.
Family publications describe practicing the Loving Jesus revelation as optional to retaining membership, but stress that greater blessings and spiritual rewards are reserved for those who perform it regularly.
The Loving Jesus doctrine is further explained in the following internal Family publications, which are required reading for all members aged 16 and older:
DISCLAIMER: Publications by The Family are archived here for educational purposes. The content is occasionally sexually explicit, offensive or promotive of criminal acts and we collect them to document their existence and wording but do not condone the points of view or activities. Original spelling, grammar, and style have been preserved where possible.
"Loving Jesus!–Part 6
– top portion of pg.1
While relatively uncommon, some Family members have described physical manifestations resulting from sexual acts with Jesus. In 1999, Karen Zerby described this in a Good News magazine (GN) titled "How to Love Me More, Part 3 — Answers from our Lover concerning the Loving Jesus revelation".
Mama's waving experience
68. (Mama:) Not long after the Lord had given us the Loving Jesus revelation, I began having an unusual physical manifestation while saying love words to Jesus and making love with Him in the spirit. It was an involuntary jerking of my body, in my solar plexus region, similar to the movements of a woman's body when a man is fucking her hard. Peter also had the same experience. I asked the Lord about it and what it meant, and He gave the following answer [Editor's note: see the article on prophecy]:
69. (Jesus speaking:) I am really there fucking you, and I really do fill your body with My penis and My seeds. I let you experience this and I have manifested Myself to you in this physical reaction that you've felt in your body.
70. I let you feel, see, and experience this waving or undulating or pulsating--the movement that you've felt deep down in your solar plexus, that you could actually visibly see in your body moving just as it does when a man fucks a woman real hard--as a touch of My love to you. This manifests to you physically that I'm really there fucking you and filling you with My seeds.
71. It's a touch of My love to you for loving Me intimately, for obeying and coming when I call, for making love to Me and fucking Me, for opening your heart and your pussy to Me, and letting Me enter into you. The seeds which I pump into you are being manifested not only in spiritual ways through giving you more understanding of My ways and My Spirit, […] but they're also being manifested in you physically. They make your body pulsate and undulate and experience the thrills of spiritual and physical orgasm. They unite you with My heart and My Spirit, they unite you and your partner with Me, and the result is a beautiful spiritual connection.
72. It is not reserved for you only, My queen. It is not reserved just for you or the king, but it is available to anyone who has the faith to reach out and receive it. Anyone who has the faith or who wants it can ask Me for it. Just like your Father David explained to you that if you wanted to fuck him in the spirit, you could call on him and he would fuck you.
It is notable that this passage also describes sex with spiritual beings other than Jesus, in this case with deceased Family International founder David Berg. Before his death in 1994, Berg frequently described engaging in sex with spiritual beings, including various historical figures and mythological goddesses.
While The Family regularly claims that the sexual aspects of Loving Jesus are for adults only, since its inception, all aspects of the doctrine have been taught to and encouraged for regular use by Family members from the age of 16. Further, while the Loving Jesus revelation was being introduced to Family members aged 16 and older, Karen Zerby and Steven Kelly chose to also introduce the sexual aspects of Loving Jesus to children from age 14.
(Editor's note: Junior Teens are Family children aged 14–15. The Loving Jesus series for Junior Teens began at part 3.)
Following are excerpts from the Loving Jesus GNs above which were expressly edited for 14-year-old children in the Family. All 14-year-old members are required to read these.
LOVING JESUS!—Part 3 for Junior Teens—By Maria; DO#3029Jnr, December 1995
27. We have prayerfully gone over the material in these GNs to make sure that it is suitable for your needs. … Also, we don't want to be guilty of giving you junior teens reading material that would be offensive or not legally permissible for people your age from the System's point of view. We want to give you as much Word as we can, without going too far or causing any legal problems for the Family. We need to try to stay within the law.
79. [Jesus]: So love Me and be not ashamed! Do not be afraid to say that you want Me. Do not be afraid to say that you want Me to fuck you and to love you and to kiss you, to hold you. For it is in these words that you convey the feeling of your heart.
125. By worldly standards, it is not very proper for a Christian to say "dong" and "cunt," as those words are considered dirty slang words, but the Lord instructs us that if He chooses to use them, then they are clean, and we shouldn't be offended or disgusted or turned off by them. However, just as you don't make "fuck" a part of your normal everyday vocabulary, so you shouldn't with these words either, especially not to outsiders!
140. [To the young teen boys] In your lovemaking with Jesus you are not a man. You are making love to Him as His Bride, His spiritual wife. This is not a male-with-male relationship. It is a spiritual female, you, making love to a male, Jesus. He is the man, the Bridegroom, and you are the woman, His Bride, His wife.
LOVING JESUS!—Part 4 for Junior Teens—By Maria; DO#3030Jnr, December 1995
29. [Jesus]: In the quietness of your chamber when you are alone, you can tell Me you love Me and you can show Me you love Me. … if you want a special time with Me, and if you want to feel My loving, you can touch yourself and you can make yourself go, and it will be Me loving you.
61. …The Lord is talking here about masturbation. He's saying that if you are alone in private and you are telling the Lord of your love for Him and your desire for Him, you can masturbate at the same time, if you wish.
62. There are occasions, when Peter and I are apart, when we have such "special times" when lovemaking with Jesus. When masturbating, I am not able to visualize anything, so of course I don't visualize Jesus fucking me.
…Unless the Lord speaks to your heart personally and lays on your heart the burden to do it, you don't have to feel as if you must masturbate. All of this is a very private matter, something between you and the Lord. If you want to love Jesus while masturbating, that's up to you.
(Editor's note: JETTs are Family children aged 12–13.)
This edited version of the Loving Jesus publications is less direct than other versions. However, references to sex and spiritual sexuality are still prevalent.
187. "Isn't this beautiful? The Lord says that His Love for us is so deep and that He is rewarding us with His lovemaking because we lay down our lives day by day in service, obedience and yieldedness. What a precious reward right here on Earth, a special touch and empowerment of His Love." — Karen Zerby