Ben Farnsworth (date unknown)
In 1992, Ben Farnsworth, a teenaged boy raised in The Family International, jumped from a building to his death in Hong Kong. While his mother was not a member of The Family, his father, Tommy Farnsworth, was a longtime World Services staff member, working closely with David Berg and Karen Zerby.
In order to devote himself to his work, Tom Farnsworth gave foster care of Ben to another Family couple. This couple eventually separated, and Ben ended up in a Family retraining center in Macau for kids who would not fit into the Family mold (see: Victor Camp). Ben eventually left the center and The Family and went to Hong Kong, where he was allegedly involved in some criminal activity. Several months later, he committed suicide.
Letter From Karen Zerby to Tom Farnsworth
Shortly after hearing of Ben's death, Zerby sent the following personal letter to Ben's father Tom Farnsworth, who lived just a few miles from her.
Excerpts from Zerby's letter:
"...even in his death, Ben is going to have a very good effect on the Family. I think it's going to have wonderful repercussions with our Teens being very greatly strengthened by this."
"I'm sorry Ben had to be a dandy bad example, but the Lord allowed it. And maybe one had to be lost that many others could be saved. And of course we don't mean "lost" in the sense of going to Hell. I think we should feel very happy for Ben that he is now where the Lord can directly control him, & he'll have to do what he is supposed to do now. And he can get the training that he refused to get here."
"... we think this is going to have a tremendous powerful effect on our Teens worldwide. So even if Ben's life wasn't a very good example, maybe even his death wasn't either, the result of that is going to be tremendous. I'm sure that's probably one of the big reasons why the Lord allowed it--to help all of our other Teens worldwide be warned & be shaken & be in fear of ever going to the System & getting involved with its evil. I think you can really be relieved that now the Lord is really able to control him, & that he is in very good hands & well taken care of & you don't have to worry about him anymore."
"... I suppose you could conclude that it would be better to sin by taking your life & going to be with the Lord than sin by working against the Lord & in such a horrible hellhole of the System."
See also: take out of the way
- Ben's Demons — story of Ben's suicide by Cult Awareness and Information Library.