I ALMOST DIDN'T MAKE IT.
NEWSLETTER #13 (CP119) Copyright March 1998 COUNTERCOG, P.O. Box
40242, Pasadena, CA 91114, USA
Editorial rights reserved.
Warning: This newsletter contains sexually explicit language.
My name is Samuel Ajemian. I was a member of the Children of God cult aka The Family from 1969 to 1979.
DECEPTION FROM DAY ONE.
When I joined I was not told the whole truth about the group. For years the vast majority of the rank and file members of the Children of God were almost completely unaware of the fact that David Berg, the cult's founder, was practicing incest and that the inner circle around Berg were involved in free sex. Since the rest of us were not even allowed to date, there was no reason to doubt that Berg was a believer in the kind of moral purity that the Bible so clearly teaches.
If these well hidden secrets were not withheld from us and we were informed of what was really going on, I am very certain that very few, if any at all, would had joined the group.
We had given up everything, including our sexual freedoms we were practicing before joining the group, to follow Berg because we were motivated by a burning desire to serve God.
It reminds me of a recent story on television where a family was suing a company, because this company sold the family a house without telling them that there was toxic contamination in the location of the house that was very dangerous for the health of those residing there. I remember the mother crying during the TV interview and saying, "How could they sell us the house and not tell us when they knew that my family and children were in danger."
I feel somewhat the same about Berg. If he was up front and honest from the beginning and had told us he is a Christian who believes in incest, child-adult sex and prostitution and I had then still joined, I would not be able now to accuse him of deception.
BOILING THE FROG SLOWELY.
Berg of course knew that almost nobody would had joined if all the truth was out. He hoped that if he worked on us gradually, indoctrinating us to his views ever so slowly, eventually he would prepare many of us for his shocking and utterly unbiblical doctrines. I vividly remember the progression that we went through as a group down the sexual freedom path.
First we were told we could masturbate. Latter on, we were told to share sexually with everybody and anybody in the group. A letter came out pressuring husbands to allow their wives to have sex with anybody that asked. I remember that day like I remember the day Kennedy died. The home leader who was reading us this letter, had to stop and tried to have someone else finish reading it to us. He was having a very hard time.
There was a young girl by the name of Rachel who was about 17 years old at the time when these sexual freedoms were first introduced on a large scale in the late seventies and free sex suddenly became a widespread practice in the group. Rachel complained to me at that time that she had become physically sick because she was having too much sex! A few days latter when I went to see the leader of a home in his room, I was shocked to see him in bed with his wife on his one side of the bed and Rachel on the other. Rachel had been an underage non-member who had been visiting our Christian community to learn about the Bible!
Eventually I came to totally believe in Berg's doctrine that whatever you do in love is OK, including free sex. In fact I had a hard time understanding why other people couldn't see this simple truth and were leaving the group as a result. We also got a number of letters, some of them containing sexually explicit language where it was demanded of the women to have sex with outsiders. We men were to play the role of the pimp. The women were pressured to receive payment for sexual services rendered. These young women who had joined the group to serve God, eventually started working as common prostitutes in escort services!
I remember reading a COG publication in which advice is given by one of the women about washing the customer's penis before sex. The group had in essence degenerated into a massive brothel and according to the cult's own statistics they have committed close to a quarter of a million acts of prostitution, not counting all the sex within the group itself.
Later on when literature came out promoting child-adult sex as well as incest, parents in the cult got involved sexually with their own children and child-adult sex became a common thing in the group. Children were sexually stimulated starting from the time they were babies, during diaper changes and according to a mother who was a member for many years "everybody was doing it."
VENERIAL DISEASES WIDESPREAD IN CULT.
As a result of all the sex VD became epidemic. Berg himself got an infection in his throat, which he said he believed he got from performing oral sex on a cult women. Berg also performed oral sex on this particular woman's husband! Berg confessed to the entire group that he was an alcoholic.
The following description of Berg and his harem is not something that I just made up, but a composite of actual information passed on from eyewitness accounts and/or published in their own literature. Berg is in bed drunk and is kissing the breasts of a cult woman in bed with him. He is speaking in tongues, praying, laughing, singing, crying. He is supposedly receiving revelations, giving prophecies, burping, asking for more wine.
Berg having deceived himself into believing that he is the greatest man that ever walked on the face of the earth after Jesus, brainwashed Maria and the rest of us that his words were the very words of God. She is next to him, holding the microphone and is tape-recording every word of the prophet, the raw material for new Mo letters to feed the flock with. While all this is going on Berg is busy masturbating the girls. Since he is old and impotent he can't have full intercourse, but one time he made one of his sexual partners reach orgasm 36 times in a single day by the use of his finger!
His favorite preoccupation and pastime seems to have been for cult women to perform oral sex on him for hours. His sexual partners through the years included his daughters, granddaughters and daughters-in-law. It was expected of them to have sex with their father-in-law.
Merry or Mene one of Berg's granddaughters has said in an interview with cult researcher professor Steve Kent that "she experienced dozens of intrusive sexual encounters with her grandfather" starting at age 11. It goes without saying that he could have sex with any woman in the cult. He would ask Maria to tell the girls he wanted to have sex with that night to come to his room.
They say the Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. Berg however screened the Bible from cover to cover to find ways to justify his sins. He was a false shepherd who abused our need and desire for a godly leader to look up to, to follow and to be led by.
I asked Zerby once back in the early days at TSC if Berg ever made any mistakes. I believed he was almost perfect. I was 25 then, less than half as old as I am now. I didn't know that christianoids like Berg even existed. I was innocent and totally trusting. In fact I had thoughts and fantasies that if anybody ever shot Berg, that I would jump in front of him to protect him and if need be get shot and die to save Berg. I was totally dedicated to him and his cult.
I remember one very hot summer day in Philadelphia passing out cult literature at a traffic light and asking for donations. The sun was so hot that I called in to tell my leaders that it was very hot. I had never done that before. Their answer was to try not to think of how hot it was.
Another time I remember I was witnessing in the snow until it got inside my shoes. My socks were all wet and I was cold. But I kept on passing out literature anyway. That is how dedicated we were. If you didn't make enough money you were not allowed to even return home sometimes until you did.
Meanwhile back at his secret home somewhere Berg drunk with wine that was purchased with money we had collected on the streets, was having his orgies. Words can't express how all that makes me feel now when I look back and realize how much myself and thousands of others were so used and abused.
Women were told by Berg to continue having sex with outsiders even though they were infected with VD. This is clearly documented in their writings. Yes, Berg refused to allow the women that were infected with sexually transmitted diseases not to have sex with outsiders! This is the kind of extreme insanity we are dealing with in this cult. Some poor cult prostitute had to actually die of AIDS before Berg got scared enough to finely cut back. But they continued having sex with a smaller number of select outsiders.
DECEIVING THE PUBLIC.
Let us now turn the camera again into the streets of hundreds of cities of the world where thousands of Berg's disciples including myself were out passing the prophet's revelations to the people and asking them for donations.
I saw a program on TV few days ago about people collecting donations at the main airport in Los Angeles under false pretenses. They showed these two men and if I remember correctly they were both wearing the collar of a catholic cleric. One of them claimed he was collecting for a particular Christian mission. When the reporters went to that mission to check, the people there told the reporter they did not have, nor did they know of anybody out at the airport collecting for their organization. They also showed one of them after he was finished for the day, stopping at a liquor store on his way to his
hotel room, to pick up some alcohol to drink after a hard day's work at the airport.
This TV presentation was not suggesting that all those asking money at the airport were fakes. In fact they also showed some who where legitimate. When we weren't having sex or reading Berg's pornographic literature or doing house chores we would be out singing Christian songs in restaurants and other places of business, visiting old-folks homes, performing to young kids at schools but most of the time we were in the streets passing out our literature and asking for donations.
Every time Iwas out in the streets claiming that we help kids get off drugs, I was lying. I was giving them the false impression that we run some kind of rehabilitation program for kids on drugs which of course was not the truth. I would tell people that I was collecting money for a school for kids.
If I was honest I would had told them that the money was going to an organization and that the mothers of these kids were out prostituting their bodies to make converts and money. I should had also told them that some of these school kids I was talking about were children born out of prostitution and free sex. This kind of wholesale, massive, ongoing deception of the public was part of daily life and part of our everyday routine in the cult and it is continuing to this very day.
In a recent English TV program, a reporter confronted some COG members in clown attire, asking them pointed questions. As usual the cult member answering the reporter was trying to give evasive and deceptive answers. We also went out asking businesses to help our missionary group with food and supplies. I remember reassuring this Greek businessmen that we are a very legitimate missionary group that is solid, trustworthy and dedicated to spreading the gospel, knowing full well that if he knew the truth about us, he would had never helped us. If that poor man knew that few hours latter I would be in bed with somebody else's wife within the confines of our missionary Christian group, he would had probably ordered his employees to throw me out or he may even had called the police.
I went out to businesses to solicit food for our home with a cult member by the name of Abigail. She was Hosanna's mate who is the number three person in the group after Karen Zerby (Maria), and Peter Amsterdam. We were living at a secret location at an exclusive superb of Athens, Greece. Abigail would fly to London for a few days of sex and fun with an Arab civil engineer fish. A fish was an outsider that cult women were having sex with for money, favors or to make them a convert. Then when she would come back to Athens she would go out soliciting free food with me at the open air fruit and vegetable market, posing as a regular Christian missionary. Again, this is the perpetual ongoing deception we inflicted on everybody we met.
I GOT VD IN THE FAMILY.
I also got infected with the herpes virus during the time I was in the cult. You can imagine my absolute shame when a number of male and female doctors gathered around to examine me and pronounced that I had incurable genital herpes. I had joined to serve God and here I was ten years later with a bunch of doctors checking my genitals.
I had asked Abigail to have sex with me and it is possible that I got infected from her, but since I had sex with other girls in the group, I can't be sure. When I found out that I had herpes I told a girl at another home that I had sex with earlier, that I was infected and suggested it may be a good idea for her not to have sex with other members of the community for a while since I may had given her herpes or maybe I got it from her. She responded that she could not stop helping her brothers sexually, she felt it was her duty.
There was another girl at that same home that had herpes sores running down her leg. Another one that I asked to have sex with me said she was infected but it was up to me, I could had sex with her if I wanted to, even though she was infected. Another woman had sex with me and her husband, all three of us together in bed, even though they knew I was infected.
The women were absolutely scared of refusing a men asking for sex. When one woman refused to have sex with me, the leader of the community expressed his strong displeasure and very quickly another woman was provided to service me sexually.
INFECTING THE WORLD FOR JESUS.
Many cult members have lived in this promiscuous lifestyle of free sex and free exchange of venereal diseases for more than twenty years. I honestly would be a little surprised if there is even one COG member who has not been infected. If one was to compile all such stories and experiences of members for all the years until now, I suppose an entire library room would not be enough for a detailed description of all the horror stories of sexual infestation that have transpired.
Free sex among members is still going on to this day, VD been passed from member to member like in a game of volley ball. I recently heard an account of children in this cult who had gotten red eyes from herpes virus that was floating in semen in the cult swimming pool where massive amount of sex was taking place.
WHY IT IS HARD TO LEAVE THE GROUP.
Why you may ask, didn't I just leave, just walk out? Well, I finally did as did tens of thousands of others. But many thousands are still in, having been deceived that this horrible cult is God's highest and best for them. Many are afraid that God may strike them dead if they leave the group or judge them severely in some other way.
Today the majority of its member are young people who were born or raised in the group. Their indoctrination and brainwashing in most cases is total and complete. It is important to point out that a lot of the indoctrination stays with you for years after you leave the group.
I know of ex-members who like myself after leaving the cult continued to have major problems with sexual promiscuity. A dramatic example of this is the fact that in London alone there are several young ex-member girls who are working as strippers in nightclubs, doing what they learned in the cult.
We want to do all we can to provide these confused and directionless young ex-members some form of stability and help them overcome deep psychological, emotional and spiritual problems that resulted
from their time in the cult.
I ALMOST DIDN'T MAKE IT.
Just about a month before I finally left the group a publication came out promoting child-adult sex. I was so desensitized and my head was so clouded that it didn't shock me almost at all. We were conditioned to open our mouths wide open and accept just about anything that Berg said. It is fortunate that I left soon thereafter as I could had very easily ended up becoming a child-molester like so many others did.
There was a tremendous amount of bad publicity in the Greek media. I remember a large front page spread in one of the daily papers in Athens showing several Orthodox priests condemning and anathematizing the cult. There was also that famous picture of Berg and his harem of cult prostitutes at Tenerife, Canary Island. My mother showed it to me in her desperate and frustrated attempt to convince me to leave the group. But nothing would change my mind. I had decided long before that I was going to spend the rest of my life in the COG.
A DEN OF PEDOPHILES.
Some visiting cult members had just moved in our home at this time. One of them was Faith Berg, David Berg's daughter. I need to get into some detail about the kind of people I was around the last few weeks before I left the group. Faith came to our home in Athens with her new mate Juan and Juan's other wife. They were a threesome.
With them also were Juan's two little girls of about 8 or 10 years old. I could clearly notice and was impressed by the fact that Juan's two little girls were acting different, more like women than children. Another cult member that came to our home was Simon Peter. Both Simon Peter and Faith were members of a special group within the cult that was involved in the production of a radio show called Music With Meaning or MWM for short. They also produced videos of naked dances of cult women. We have copies of these videos. There is one where a cult woman that was part of MWM is actually masturbating to Berg. But the most shocking and disturbing are dances of little girls.
These little preteen naked dancers were also sexually involved with adult members of
MWM. One of the little girls subjected to all this was Seleste, Simon Peter's daughter. As I was sitting alone in the home one night little Seleste came to me wearing a see through gown and asked me if I can give her a massage! I could had ended up becoming a poedophile that night. This is the kind of environment I was in just before I left the group.
I have to live with the stigma of other things that I did or allowed in the cult, but I am fortunate that I did not get involved in child-adult sex.
HOW I LEFT THE CULT.
Few days later I found myself in deep contemplation. I was walking around the Acropolis, holding a little piece of paper in my hand. On it I had made two lists. One of the lists was of the good things in the COG and the other of the bad. There were no doubt good things in the group like for example all the Bible classes, all the scripture memorization, witnessing about Jesus in many places.
But the list on the right hand of the bad things was just overwhelming. Free sex, prostitution, VD, lying, and mind you, I didn't even know about incest, homosexuality or about child-adult sex at the time. I left the group soon thereafter never to return. I am so glad that I did.
I had left the group once before over the false prophecy Berg had given about the comet Kohoutek being a sign of the destruction of America by God by January 31, 1974. But after being out of the group for about 6 months I felt so lonely and lost that I had returned back to the COG, giving Berg the benefit of the doubt and excusing the false prophecy as just a mistake he had made. But this time in 1979 it was final. Thank God! What a terrible ten year long experience.
I am in this fight against this spiritual cancer called The Family in order to try to arrest its metastasis into more thousands of lives it may still potentially infect with its poisonous doctrines and practices.
(A former COG member asked me some time ago to announce in my newsletter that she would be interested in receive testimonies of former members for her own personal edification and healing and also because she would like to possibly compile some of these testimonies into a book. We think it is a great idea. If interested please send us your testimonies and we will pass them on to the ex-member that has requested them. We may also publish them in our newsletter as well. *** Even though the above testimony was written with the outsiders who have never been members of the COG in mind, I believe that it contains material that would be beneficial and relevant to ex-members as well.) *****
CULTS, NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS, AND YOUR FAMILY by Richard Abanes. Crossway Books. Wheaton, Illinois, 1998.
Chapter 8 of this new book about various cults deals with the COG. Titled "All in `The Family'" the chapter begins with four pages of the author's interview with Sylvia Padilla. She is a high profile ex-member who has been in the media a lot and there has been a major documentary done in England on her story. A Bible school student in 1972, Sylvia thought she was joining a very strong Christian group but like the rest of us ended up living a life of unbridled sexual promiscuity instead. In 1991 a former COG member invited her to a church where she had an extraordinary sensation and was flooded by God's love. She broke down and cried for two and a half hours. She broke all ties with the group soon thereafter.
Abanes hits the nail on the head when he says that this group is "arguably one of the most spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically destructive religious belief systems in existence" and "one of the most doctrinally heretical and socially perverse religious groups in contemporary society."
His research covers a lot of territory. He quotes Berg claiming that his Mo letters are God's "words for today and it supersedes anything else that has ever been given, if it is
different." (Grace vs. Law, 635:70). He points out that COG literature shows that the reason the group purged the Book of Davidito and other controversial cult material is because they were used against the group and not because there is anything wrong with them.
"To our ungodly enemies and vengeful false accusers, some of our perfectly pure doctrines and views regarding God's Own natural and beautiful sinless creation are very `defiled' and `impure' in their soiled minds!...[T]hey're so offended by some of our views...and publications and pictures, that they seem bent on using (misusing) them to try to substantiate their very false and malicious accusations against us that we abuse our own dear children! So for this reason, we are now initiating an extensive `purge' of our publications." (Pubs Purge! 1991).
It is clear to see that Berg did not consider child-adult sex child abuse. It seems that Abanes really understands that child-adult sex is not a peripheral or parenthetical type of practice but that "Berg's writings clearly established [child-adult sexual activities] as expressions of their central, distinctive doctrine: The Law of Love." I personally would not be surprised at all if it is discovered that child-adult sex is still going on. On the other hand I would go as far as saying that I would be a little surprised if it turned out that child-adult sex never happens in the group any more. There is no question at all that group members believe there is nothing wrong with child-adult sex.
Abanes continues that "uninhibited sexual expression is the foundation upon which the group is built" and that it comes "from Berg's self-confessed inability to control his own sexual urges." This perverted cult leader incessantly talked about sex. (See quotes on top of page 171.)
Abanes uses a lot of interesting quotes from Berg's writings. The following is about the group's pornographic videos. "Be sure not to foolishly label any of the tapes themselves inside with such curiosity-arousing investigation-inspiring and perhaps even illegal titles such as `Love Tape' or `So and so strips' or any other sexy titles." (Mugshots!: ML 979, March 1981.)
Some interesting quotes on the Gabriel doctrine can be found on footnote number 4, page 293. According to this doctrine Gabriel had sex with Mary, thus making him the father of Jesus. The cult's doctrine of the Holy Spirit is downright blasphemous. They believe that the Holy Spirit is a promiscuous love goddess, God the Father's wife.
Berg claimed he had sex with the Holy Spirit. He also claimed to having sex with other spirits and he encouraged his followers to yield and get possessed by these spirits and just give over their bodies to them and to have sex with these spirits. Berg talking about his own spirit guide said. He "is with me all the time, virtually incarnated in me....I never go any place without him. He travels with me....I'm his vehicle now just like his body was before." Wow! (ML794).
Abanes also touches upon the cult's sacrilegious claims concerning supposed sexual encounters of Jesus Christ while on earth during which time Berg thinks Jesus may had gotten VD from Mary Magdalene. Berg however is sure that Jesus had sex with Mary and Martha because he saw that in a vision he had. (See footnote number 5, page 293).
Abanes correctly points out that after Berg's death, Berg's lover and top zombie Zerby has "introduced even more debased practices into the group such as masturbating while praying to Jesus." That by the way starts at age 14 at which time members are encouraged to imagine that they are having sexual intercourse with Jesus, the men visualizing that they have vaginas. The police and child services all over the world should be alerted about this. Children younger that 14 know about these activities. He points out that the group presents an "extremely `Christian' image" and "on the surface it appears thoroughly evangelical." Visit their web page if you want to see what he means. The group's web site address http://web.archive.org/web/20010401031307/http://www.thefamily.org/family has been changed. The Family's new web site address is http://web.archive.org/web/20010401031307/http://www.thefamily.org/family.
The cult leads unsuspecting young people with little or no biblical training "on the long road of sin and deception from which they may never return" says Abanes and warns this cult will "bring great spiritual, emotional, and psychological harm to persons who participate in its deeds of darkness and depravity."
Overall Abanes' chapter on the Family is good material for the arsenal against this cult. There are some mistakes or shortcomings in his research however some of which are minor and the following are some suggestions for improvement and clarification or correction of some of those points.
On page 167, line 2 I think the word "gap" is missing after the word "generation." I am pretty sure it should say "The kids understood him; he spoke their heart; there was no generation gap."
- Berg did not resign from the church he pastored in Arizona but was politely thrown out, because of an alleged affair with a women in the church which Berg denied in a letter to his mother. The following is a quote from Berg, "They simply threw me out, along with my little family and my pregnant wife! They just gave us a week's notice and told us to be out before the next Sunday when the new preacher would be there." ("My Testimony!" ML1177, TK, July 84.)
- Although it is true that ffing on a large scale started in 1976 it may be important to point out that it was going on for years prior to that, Berg experimenting with Maria in Tenerife for example, where her son Davidito was born out of a sexual union with one of the waiters in the hotel they were staying at. Berg the pimp was having Maria have sex with all the waiters.
- FFing did not stop completely in 1987. Abanes says "exceptions are routinely made" implying that the rule is no ffing. But it is not so much a case of exception being made. They were not to stop ffing completely after 1987, they were to continue doing it after 1987, but only with a much smaller and select group of outsider "friends."
- For the sake of clarity and to avoid confusion it might be better to use the name Deborah instead of Linda. Linda is Berg's oldest daughter's real name. Her bible name in the group was Deborah. After leaving the group she has legally changed her name to Deborah, and that is the name everybody knows her by now.
- Group members were arrested in California as Abanes says and fled the State in 1969 but there is a little more to that story that I think is important to bring out. After their arrest they appeared in court and were found guilty and were to appear again before the Judge for sentencing. Instead they left the State.
- This is a minor point, but since I was there I remember very clearly that we were 100 or 120 members strong at the most, not 200, when we moved into TSC in 1970.
- I don't know if there is any actual documentation that the Family have been performing every single year since 1992 at the White House. If they are still performing there I think it is high time that someone or someones should take the initiative and contact the White House and let them know who they really are.
- The International Federation of Religions and Philosophical Minorities does not exist. They had one meeting and then dissolved.
- Abanes says that the group maintains that they are innocent of charges of poedophilia, child pornography, adult-child and child with child sex. But in the London custody court case, after being pressured by Judge Ward, they did admit that there had been child sexual abuse in the group and that Berg himself was personally responsible for teaching his followers to do so. It was impossible to deny that there had been child-adult sex in the group after the overwhelming evidence presented during the court case, including many personal accounts of young people who testified during the trial who had been sexually abused as children in The Family. So there has been an admission of guilt. But there really is no merit to such an admission, as the cult does not believe there is anything wrong with sex between adults and children.
- Footnote 37 states "Sodomy/homosexuality is about the only Christian taboo that the group does not break." This statement is not really true. Male homosexuality as well as lesbianism was practiced in the Family and a certain degree of lesbianism is still allowed in the group to this day.
- In footnote 14, page 294 it says that the "No Longer Children" ministry to former COG members may be reached by writing to: No Longer Children, Box 415-8155 Park
Rd., Richmond, B.C. Canada V6Y3C9. This ministry does not exist any more and the above mentioned P.O. Box has been closed.
- I do not want to come on as some kind of an expert because there is still a lot that I don't know and I am trying to learn about this cult, but may I humbly suggest that those who write about the COG/Family, be it a school paper or an entire book, that they should double and triple check their manuscript with ex-members and others. The COG is not an easy cult to write about. There is so much lying and denying and so many statements are given that are evasive and slippery like fish sliding through your fingers and there is such a labyrinth of secretive developments and never-ending changes, some of them real, some of them not real and there is such a huge amount of material to go through equaling in volume to about a dozen Bibles or more, a lot of it material that is recycled over and over again, that it really is a monumental task to keep up with it all, and to present a very accurate picture. That is why it is so very important that we all try to work together, cooperating and helping each other out in this very difficult task.
- For those interested in acquiring a copy of Deborah Davis' book, they can get it by writing to the following address. Ian & Marie Christine Haworth, Cult Information Centre, BCM Cults, London, WCIN 3XX. The price is 10 English pounds plus postage, prepaid.
- CACITCOGC#13 (Child Abuse Cases in the Children of God Cult. Case 13.) (We have the name of this girl, the name of her father and an e-mail address of someone who has been in touch with her in the past. We would be willing to pass this information to the proper legal authorities for further investigation and possible legal action.) She was born and raised in the Family and is now about 20 years old. Her first sex experience was when an older COG member masturbated and ejaculated on her chest when she was 7 or 8 years old. She also experienced seeing her father having sex with 3 women. At age 8 she had sex with a 9 year old. She also had bisexual experiences in the group. She hates and despised a particular youth leader, a cult member in his forties who raped untold numbers of 11, 12 & 13 year old children in Italy. She considers him the biggest pervert, calls him a bastard and she says she would like to kill him! She has been raped several times in the group. She was analy raped in Italy against her will by four cult members in their thirties. She left the cult in Oct. 1996.
- On a related topic, I just read about a seven year old boy in The Family who complained to some other little boys in the group that his then nine years old half sister was not nice to him. The seven year old boy complaining about his sister said: "She is being mean, she doesn't want to suck my penis."
- THERE IS A LOT GOING ON ON THE INTERNET and a lot of the breakthroughs are due to the efforts of ex-COG member Marlene Jones-Skurtu in Texas and her computer expert brother Ron Jones.
Here is Marlene. "Let me just say that we're all in this together, with a common background, and as [ex-member] Karen said, `No one really understands unless they've been there.' No one has all the answers nor a corner on the truth completely, so we really need each other. As you come out of the closet, you can be a `wounded healer' of maybe someone who I could not really help but you could. I am also helping Sam Ajemian with his site, CounterCOG, an anti-cult (anti-COG) ministry and have spent many hours (days, weeks, months?) scanning and editing the 300 page Justice Ward's Judgment, from the big lawsuit the Family had in London a couple years ago. I think this is a very significant piece of work to be on the Internet in order to help refute the garbage which appears on the Family's web site where they have written page after page in tribute to David Berg (Moses David). My brother Ron has been working his fingers to the bone to scan and edit and put the Judgment on the Web. It is on Sam's CounterCog site, which you can get to by clicking through on my web page (on front page). Heavy, but very informative reading--somewhat PG13 rated--as the judge let it all hang out. Pray that Ron finds the time, energy, and stamina to get all 300 pages on. And thank you, Sam, for allowing that to get published on the Internet!!"
180 pages of the Judgment are already on the Internet as of today, March 12, 1998. The CounterCOG web site address is http://web.archive.org/web/20010401031307/http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/countercogi.
The Family tried hard to stop the Judge from making the Judgment public. Now, thanks to Ron and Marlene everybody in the world can read it on the Internet. As Marlene said you can also access the Judgment through her Sword of the Lord Ministries websites, http://www.post1.com/~azusa and http://web.archive.org/web/20010401031307/http://www.post1.com/~sword. You should also check their web board [private web address] for ex-cogers only and visit their chat room. [Email email@example.com to them to learn more about it.] Ron and Marlene also have real audio online vocal interviews of several former COG members speaking about their involvement in the cult!
- FROM YOUR LETTERS AND E-MAILS.
Hi, Sam & Aza! I'm so glad you finally got your things put on a web site. What an eye opener to the world. I hope you won't mind but I started a message board to look for former members so we can all be a help to them in healing old wounds and heartaches, and I did a little advertising for your site. I think it's essential for everyone to read it, it's what completely changed our lives around and helped us to see the Family with the Lord's eyes for the first time. I'm just checking with you to be sure you don't mind because I can have it taken off my profile. Everyone is coming our of the closet these days, even us. God bless. Love, Karen http://web.archive.org/web/20010401031307/http://boards.excite.com/go.webx?14@-d^138162@.ef2e4a1/0
[Hi Karen. It's great that you started a web board. Marlene has one also, so now there are two of you. The more the better. I enjoyed reading the messages. No, I don't mind at all. In fact I want to thank you for advertising CounterCOG.]
- To CounterCOG. We were members of The Family for 25 years. Thank God, we left recently and are still adjusting, but thanking the Lord for deliverance! As you know it's very difficult to leave and all that we have been going through has been very hard. We have visited your site daily for the last couple of months (since we discovered it). We want to have more contact, but are still going through so much. We talked to Sam "Scrape-your-plate" about a month ago.
[I am Sam "Scrape-your-plate", real name Sam Ajemian - CounterCOG. You are confusing me with Ron Jones and Marlene Jones-Skurtu, Sword of the Lord in Texas. Ron's e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and Marlene's email@example.com. My e-mail is Countercogi@compuserve.com and I am in California].
He sent us a mailing that we have read and underlined and highlighted. Thanks for all you do. We understand why and back you in prayer! We worked with Watchman for years and loved him dearly. We know Katrina, Solomon, Romeo, Susie, Rosita and all very well. We will always love dear Rick! We are so sorry for what happened! Your account of what dear Rick went through was very accurate! We could have added some details to it. We would love to hear back from you. [I can feel that your heart is heavy. I can just imagine how hard it must be. I remember how difficult the first two years out of the COG were for me. With time things will got better. I am praying you.]
- Dear Sam please publish the enclosed letter requesting depositions. I'm trying to have custody of my 2 youngest girls restored to me. The next pretrial conference is 3/26/98. Do you know anyone who'd send a deposition to my lawyer and CFS workers stating that my ex's even being a marginal member (TSer as far as I know) of The Family, formerly the Children of God influences his behavior? My 3 girls, 2 of whom have been living with him for over 7 years & an older girl mentioned his lewd touches and comments. The oldest one recently gave a statement to the police. I've heard that his lawyer wants the documentation and affidavit I supplied considered prejudicial and inadmissible. In other words, he hopes to have this case thrown out of court on religious grounds. My argument is that I'm not challenging me ex's religious beliefs except that they provide a cloak for his poedophilia/incest!
My ex is Gilles Paul Dubuk aka Simon, resident of Winnipeg.
My lawyer's address is: Anne McGarry, 500-294 Portage Ave. Wpg., MB R3C OB9 Canada. Phone: 1-204-985-8582 Fax: 1-204-985-5222.
CFS workers: Lisa Crandall, 203-1100 Concordia Ave. Wpg. MB. P2K 4B8, Canada. Phone: 1-204-944-4028 and Robert Walder 222 Provencher Blvd. Wpg. MB. R24 0G5 Canada. Phone:1-204-944-4288 Fax:1-204-944-4503.
Please, whoever responds, write your deposition in your regular handwriting, addressed to my lawyer in the matter of Angela Mary Bedolfe vs. Gilles Paul Dubuc, for custody of [VAD] and [CED]. Include a copy of your ID. Above all, pray that God completely delivers my girls from this pervert! [VAD] is 12 and [CED] 10. Thanks! Angela Bedolfe, 739 Martin Ave. E. Wpg., MB R2L OZ9. Please send a copy of your deposition to me.
[In an earlier letter Angela wrote me that Simon told the girls to say to the court "Daddy doesn't kiss us on the mouth." One suggestion about depositions. Keep them short and concentrate on unlawful activities. This is not the place to give your testimony as interesting as it may be.]
- Enclosed please find money order enclosed for cost of materials on "Jerking to Jesus." Once again I express my sincere thanks for your consideration in this regard. It has proved difficult to locate a good source of reference material. My second request is that you find and send me copies of any of the "Heaven's Girl" series. Once again allow me to express my thanks.
[Making copies of individual Mo letters and sending them out to those requesting them is one of the hardest and most time consuming tasks. Are there any of you out there who have Mo letters and would be willing to help by making and sending out copies? Please let me know.]
- Hello friends, Finally I have found CounterCOG in the Web. I appreciated your Home Page. In 1985 until 1989 me and a friend called Amitava Dutta Roy worked on researches against COG. At that time he had some information about CounterCOG and he gave me one fax "Counter-Demonstrating Against The COG". I'm a Brazilian researcher on cults since 1975. In 1983 me and other people organized the CRI-Brazil a branch of CRI-USA. I worked there until the death of Walter Martin in 1989. Now, I keep on working on counter-cults Ministry. I organized the Mission Apologia - Religious Researches and Informations. An evangelical non-profit organization. Rev. Caleb Castellani APOLOGIA Caixa Postal 121 - Agencia Central 01059-970 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil Tel/Fax: 55(11) 4790-5039 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- To CounterCog @compuserve.com and email@example.com. Thank you so much for the work you are doing. You have opened my eyes to the bizarre practices of the COG. We are with you in any way we can help. God bless you.
- Mr. Ajemian. Thanks for your recent mailing. I am actively writing on The Family and have a project on ffing specifically. I therefore found the material you sent very interesting. Keep me on your mailing list.
- Dear CounterCOG, I appreciate the information. Can I get a copy of the "Mo" Letters themselves? I know COG offers the letters in a "zip" file on their site, but upon looking at them they do not look like the ones a former friend of mine had at U of M.
- I've just received your newsletter number 12. It is very good - I am quite shocked to see how low the COG have gone. You are certainly doing a very good work. Please find
attached US$10 for the subscription to the newsletters. I'm glad I came across your site on the web. I was in COG from May till Sept. 1972. Although it's 25 years since I left the COG I still feel such an urgency to tell the truth to those who need to hear and I'll pass the address on to other interested friends. I'm now putting up my own web site - so I've linked to your site. If you want to read my story you will find my site at http://web.archive.org/web/20010401031307/http://members.aol.com/oily2000 then follow the links "Looking for the Truth" - then "My Story" - My COG involvement is at the bottom of the page. My link to your site is on my cults page - and can be found by following the link to "What about the cults?" God Bless. Paul Hoyle, London, England.
- From an e-mail from the Laurel TS home with the following reaction of someone who got one of my newsletters. "I just wanted to say that with the NDN [the Laurel TS home newsletter] at the post office came a letter from someone in Pasadena, CA, P.O.Box 40242. It's possible that they got my address from the NDN. It was an anti-Family/anti-Mama letter with a horrible title that upset me so much that after 3 lines of it I tore it up. I said, `This is what I think of your s--t sheet!' So if you have those folks on your mailing list, well, I can't tell you what to do, but I certainly wouldn't want to waste my time and postage money on them, not with the attitude they have, unless they change. I mean, to be critical is one thing, but this was just too much." There was a ps at the end of this e-mail from John of Laurel home saying "Thought I'd pass it on to let you see the reaction of those receiving your pub."
The title of the newsletter he most probably got from me is "More Madness from Mama Maria" which I admit must be quite shocking to a brainwashed cult member who thinks of her as some great queen and end time prophetess. If this is the newsletter he got, then the three first lines past which he couldn't read were, "This is a continuation or part two of newsletter #10, `Sex, Sin and Sacrilege!' (CP115). The purpose of this newsletter is to expose the heretical beliefs and practices of the Children of God cult aka The Family and of its present leader Karen Zerby aka Maria aka Mama. In newsletter #10 we presented excerpts from a series of new..."
I really am not trying to offend the group members. I am just very, very concerned about those still in the group and am trying to reach them with the truth but also with love and respect. On the other hand I have no problem exposing the ridiculousness and insanity and perversion of the leaders of the cult, especially Mama's. TSers of Tithe Supporters are cult members that support the group financially with ten percent of their income. The difference between them and the rest of the group is that they don't follow all the cult rules. They are nevertheless a real part of the COG/Family cult and they should be considered as such in my opinion.
- Dear CounterCOG. I am currently working on a scholastic project focusing in "cult-like" organizations, especially the Children of God. I have recently read the articles concerning COG's drastic and damaging effects on former members, and I was hoping to learn more about them. Any information concerning FFing and about the Victor Programs would be of great help. My focus is to produce an in-depth expose on COG based on former members, and those who oppose The Family. Also, any directions and suggestions would be of great importance.
[Ffing or prostitution started in the early 70's and became a full scale group practice in the mid-seventies. If you can imagine it, hundreds of thousands of outsiders were serviced sexually by the group's "hookers for Jesus" as Berg, the group's founder called them. Because one or two of these poor girls died of AIDS Berg cut back but did not stop the practice in 1987. They still do it on a limited base, and they are still very proud of their massive, wholesale ffing days of before 1987. There are thousands of pages of material published by the cult dealing with FFing. One of my newsletters is about the suicide of former member Rick Dupui. He went through a victor program kind of experience. I think that the best material for an in-depth study of the group is a 300 page court document called the Judgment of Lord Justice Ward. It will give you an excellent background of what the group really is all about and what their basic beliefs are. In addition to reading the Judgment and even more important is a package that I put together of 224 pages of recent COG literature dealing with their new so-called revelation of how they are now supposed to masturbate to Jesus and love Him sexually. I have written two newsletters on this subject, newsletters 10 & 11. My last newsletter called "No Real Changes in the `Children of God' Cult" shows behind peradventure of a doubt that the COG is still a dangerous and heretical cult.]
- For a printed copy of the Judgment please send US$30.00 cash or check payable to Sam Ajemian. For the 224 page "Loving Jesus" package send $22.40. To receive our newsletters please send a donation of $10.00 for the next 5 issues. You can send your $10.00 subscription fee anytime during the year and you shall receive the next 5 newsletters. We do not guarantee a specific number but will try to send out about five newsletters per year. Older newsletters are available for $2.00 each. Please feel free to e-mail this newsletter to others as is or post it on your web site or photocopy and distribute it to as many people as you like. For more information or if we can be of any service to you feel free to contact us my mail, e-mail or phone. My immediate aim is to do research on the COG on a full time basis. For this we need and depend upon your pledge of regular monthly financial support. Thanks.
P.O. Box 40242
Pasadena, CA 91114
Tel. (626) 794-1408