Religion In The News
"Children Of God" Using Sex To Recruit
Marysville Journal Tribune/1979-12-07
NEW YORK (AP) - The latest summary of teachings circulated by the "Children of God" details its recommended use of sex to lure recruits. "Flirty fishing," it has been called by the leader of the widely dispersed group, David Berg, known to his followers as "Moses David," "Father David" or "Mo".
"People today are terrifically desirous of sex and in need of sex, therefore if you don't satisfy their sexual appetite they have a hard time believing that you really love them," he writes.
"So sometimes we have to satisfy that appetite to prove to them that we really care and we're concerned and that we love them."
The advice is part of a new compilation of Berg's "love letters" currently mailed to possible recruits, seeking to enlist them as members with pledges of a 10 percent tithe of income, a $10 monthly or other regular contribution.
The group, founded by Berg in California in 1968, is now scattered in 70 countries, according to a recent study by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, and currently claims 8,000 young people belong.
Alternatively called the "Children of God" or "Love Family," it is one of numerous new religions that sprung up in this country about the start of the 1970's, some fading out, others still growing, usually more slowly.
They've undergone a sharp decline, according to findings of a survey of religion writers across the country, made by the Rev. Martin E. Marty, a church historian of the University of Chicago Divinity School. "Ninety-three percent saw these groups sliding at the decade's end," he reports in the current ecumenical weekly, Christian Century.
But the "Children of God" or "Love Family," with units and mailing addresses in many countries, still is actively pursuing members, as indicated in the new mailings, advocating sex as an evangelistic technique
"Flesh can satisfy flesh but only spirit can satisfy spirit, and we soon found that we had to give of both to 'satisfy all their needs according to His riches in glory'," Berg writes, along with drawings of couples in close embrace.
The current mailings come from Zurich, Switzerland, where Berg now apparently resides.
The B'nai B'rith report says the group's materials are a mixture of biblical misquotations, sex, predictions ot earthly doom and "anti-Israel, pro-Arab propaganda steeped in crude anti-Semitism." It also regularly denounces all historically organized churches.