From XFamily - Children of God
The Gospel according to Mo
Press » Macau Closer Look » 2008-05-05
The Children of God was formed in 1968 by Californian preacher
David Berg, later known as Moses David or just Mo. His teachings are
paramount in the sect and his spoken and written words regarded as
sacred. Berg died in 1994. Berg - whose sect for many years promoted
indiscriminate sex among its members, including its children - was a
fugitive since September 1993, when Argentine officials asked Interpol
to track him down and detain him for inciting child abuse and other
crimes. He died in 1994 and was buried in Costa de Caparica, Portugal.
When Berg died his longtime partner Karen Zerby, also known as
Maria and Queen Maria, took control of the group which is now know
as The Family. According to the groups’ website there are now 10,000
full-time and associate adult volunteer members working from 1100
centers or communities, situated in over 100 countries.
Despite several departures from this policy over the years, the sect
primarily believes in communal living and that those outside the group
are in need of help. People not part of The Family are known as “Systemites” and the outside world is known as “The System”. The group
believes it must live in isolation and protect itself and its children from
the outside world. Many of its members home-school their children,
while others who live in larger communities have established their own
small schools. The group has used many names, including The Children
of God, The Family, The Family of Love and the Family International.
It tried to distance itself from the name Children of God around
1978 due to bad publicity liked to promiscuous sex and child abuse.
The group believes wholly in the teachings of Berg and structures its
everyday life on the volumes of literature prepared by leaders of the
group. During his life Berg wrote more than 3000 booklets known as
The group sees itself as the chosen people, as the children of God.
It believes itself superior to the “System” and those in “the System”,
and that the main purpose of its members is to reproduce to ensure
the continuation of the cult. It describes itself as a Christian fellowship
designed to share God’s word and love. The Children of God has
been outlawed in some countries such as the Philippines for extreme
practices, including allegations of sexual, physical and psychological
abuse of children. It claimed a victory in the 1991 Mount Pinatubo
volcanic eruption in the Philippines, saying the Lord sent the disaster
because the country had rejected the group.
Members are answerable only to sect leadership and must abide by
the rules and regulations of the group. Punishment is meted out to the
children by sect leaders. The sect does not consider itself answerable to
the laws of “the System” but usually abides by them to avoid drawing
publicity to itself. Facing problems in the 1980s with teenagers born
into the group questioning its teaching and operations, the group set
up a host of “re-education” centres, including two in Macau, designed
to assist these “wayward” youths to conform. Many youths who spent
time in these Teen Detention Centres have spoken publicly of being
sexually, physically and mentally abused.
The Children of God was started by Berg in the late 1960s and many
young hippies flocked to its promise of free love and communal living.
But its doctrines became more bizarre in the 1970s, particularly with
the practice of “flirty fishing”, trying to bring new members to the sect
by sleeping with them, thus allowing them to share the love of Jesus.
Many female members worked in brothels and were regarded as
spreading God’s word to their clients and were encouraged to give
their takings to the group.