From XFamily - Children of God

FREECOG or Free the Children of God, originally named The Parents Committee to Free Our Sons and Daughters from the Children of God, was an anti-cult group founded in 1971. It was the first organized anti-cult group, formed as a response to the total commitment and alleged mind control techniques used by the Children of God. Founders included Ian Haworth, William Rambur, John Moody and Ted Patrick, one of the pioneers of so-called deprogramming.

In 1972, the Children of God filed a $1.1 million libel and slander suit against several founding members of FREECOG. In July 1973 they dropped the case shortly after the defendants were granted a discovery order requiring the organization to make its leaders, including David Berg, available for depositions and to turn over its membership and financial records. In a January 1985 Mo Letter, Berg disclosed that the suit was filed in bad faith and that the Children of God never had any intention of trying the case in court and proving their claims because they knew they could not possibly win:

115. BUT THAT IS JUST A SMEAR TACTIC, SEE, JUST TO SMEAR US! We used it ourselves when we sued the FreeCOGers for a million dollars! We never were able to carry it through, we never expected to collect, we were never going to let it go to court for the plain & simple reason we knew we could never possibly win! But we got the publicity out of it! People think if you're willing to sue somebody, then you must have some evidence, you must have some right, you must have maybe some real good reason! Maybe it was a lie they lied about you, or you certainly wouldn't go to court & sue'm for a million dollars! So we were smearin' FreeCOG!--And we got a lot of publicity, article after article about our suit & how it was going, blah blah.
116. BUT WHEN THEY CAME AROUND LOOKING FOR ME & WANTED ME TO APPEAR IN COURT & FURNISH TESTIMONY & ALL KINDS OF THINGS, I DISAPPEARED! That's when I went to Europe. That was far enough because I knew we could never win! ...

By the mid 1970s, publicity about the negative practices of cults had led to a wider anti-cult movement in North America, Western Europe, and elsewhere. In the early 1980s most of the parent groups merged into what became known as the Cult Awareness Network.


  • Kay Rambur (aka Consuelo), daughter of FREECOG founder William Rambur, discusses FREECOG, her relationship with her parents and other matters during an interview in an internal Family video made for David Berg.

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