Lawrence Lilliston

From XFamily - Children of God
Lawrence Lilliston, 1994.

Lawrence G. Lilliston is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Oakland University, Michigan, and a licensed psychologist in Michigan State. He completed a dissertation on adult schizophrenia in 1969, and since then has published on undergraduate psychology education and religious coping.

In 1993, Lilliston began a Family-funded psychological evaluation of 52 children living in U.S. Family homes, together with colleague Gary Shepard (a professor of sociology who publishes on religion and culture). At the study's conclusion in 1994, Lilliston wrote of Rick Rodriguez that he: “recently administered a psychological evaluation to David, who is now nineteen, and found him to be a bright, well-adjusted, and emotionally strong young man.”

Ultimately, Rodriguez went on to murder former caretaker Angela Smith before taking his own life in January 2005.

Using measures of psychosocial adjustment, Lilliston also concluded from his study that “very few kids” in the cult were abused [1], though this was seen by some as beyond the scope of his methods and findings.

When Lilliston attempted to submit his conclusions as testimony in a child custody case involving The Family in the U.K., presiding judge Sir Alan Ward stated: “[Lilliston’s observations of another young man born in the Family] seem to me to be superficial and to lack academic credibility. Likewise his conclusion about Davidito. This was an opportunity to explore exactly what had taken place in Berg's household. He merely touched upon these matters and Davidito made it obvious he was not prepared to talk about it. Nor did they talk about the reasons which impelled that young man [Davidito] to make attempts on his life said by The Family to have been caused by Satanic influences. Because I conclude that Dr Lilliston was not too concerned critically to examine The Family's past, I cannot be sure I get an accurate picture from him.

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