Stephen Bruce Ferguson
Stephen Bruce Ferguson (aka Stephen David; born 1950-06-15), a US citizen, was a longtime member of the Children of God/Family International. He joined in 1969, the year after the group first formed. In the 1998 documentary The Love Prophet and the Children of God by DLI Productions, the narrator describes Ferguson thus: “In 1969, Stephen Ferguson is an acid-head going nowhere. Then Berg and his entourage, who now call themselves Children of God, come to town.” Ferguson converted and joined.
Within two years, Ferguson married into the family of David Berg, the leader and "prophet" of the cult. Berg had taken Karen Zerby on as a second wife, and not long after, Berg and his first wife, Jane Miller (aka Mother Eve), separated. Ferguson soon became mated to Jane Miller, and though it was an at-times odd relationship, marrying into the Royal Family entitled Ferguson to use "David" (from Berg's pseudonym Moses David) as his Biblical surname and afforded him special privileges.
In the early 70’s, Berg put a team together known as the "Fearsome Foursome", consisting of Ferguson, Jane Miller, Paul Berg (aka Aaron) and Judy Helmstetler (aka Shulamite Prophet). Together they travelled visiting the group's various colonies. Paul Berg and Ferguson were both musicians/inspirational leaders, and after Paul Berg died in 1973, Ferguson came more into his own as a charismatic leader and "prophet." His devotion to the "music of the Spirit", led Ferguson to declare himself a guardian of the Family’s musical heritage.
Stephen Ferguson professed great love and loyalty for Berg, who in turn trusted him as a faithful messenger. After Karen Zerby’s son, Davidito, was born, Berg summoned his ex-wife, Jane Miller, to Tenerife to help with childcare, with Ferguson accompanying her. It was there, however, that he first ran afoul of Berg.
With The New Revolution (beginning February 18, 1975), Berg instituted a leadership structure called the Chain of Cooperation, commonly called The Chain. Jane Miller and Stephen Ferguson, however, used their Royal Family status to keep out of the chain of command and begin a group called "Mother’s Team." By this time, both Miller and Ferguson had mated other group members, though they maintained a sexual relationship.
Later, Ferguson received prophecies to do a sackcloth vigil against regular Family members at the group’s Poorboy Club in Rome, Italy, so he and a group of followers protested against Family band "Uncle Dave’s Fish Camp" and the "worldly" music they played to attract disciples. Ferguson’s vigil caused a major division between him and the leaders of The Family in Italy at the time, Silas and Timothy Concerned.
By 1976, Ferguson, Jane Miller and their team had begun to pioneer Tunisia. Ferguson began his own news magazine called "The Land of Not Too Much." He published and preached to Family members to drop out of the Chain in order to be free to pioneer new countries, especially in North Africa. Because of their special status, at the time there were no Mo Letters from Berg to Family members warning about them. As a result, many followers were recruited and border base homes were established in Malta, Italy, Switzerland and France. These communities were free from the lit quotas that existed in other Family Homes.
By this time Jane Miller began telling of prophecies that Ferguson would become Berg’s successor. He even began to imitate Berg, wearing a cape and carrying a cane like he had seen Berg do in Tenerife. In the group's early days, Berg had considered Ferguson a prophet (stating in 1973, "I know that Stephen's a prophet"), but now Berg declared that Ferguson was a deceived false prophet and that Miller had him wrapped around her finger. Berg began to refer to him as "Stephen Eve" instead of "Stephen David."
Mother’s Team had operated in Malta, Tunisia and Libya. Then, against Berg’s orders, and against the wishes of colonel Muammar Qaddafi, Ferguson and Miller insisted on having a permanent base in Tripoli. Berg complained, "Stephen even had the nerve to ask Godahfi if he could live in his house with him so he could go to the University and study Arabic!"
Berg later published a Mo Letter titled "The Division", in which he claimed that Ferguson and Miller were part of a prophesied division in The Family’s ranks. Berg stated: "Stephen has had such a hard self-righteous attitude toward some people that he’s even gotten into actual physical violence with some and threatened it with others ... threatening to break into homes to demand housing." Berg also complained about "Stephen’s wild sexual forays on other people’s wives without the consent of the people’s mates, without agreement and unity, and insisting that he share, or even take away wives of others or their mates!"
As time went on, Ferguson and Miller's followers began to defect and rejoin regular Family homes. Some time later, the two drifted away from the Family. Berg claimed, "Stephen only grew worse, until both he and Eve departed from us!—May God help you to be warned by their horrible disobedient example!" It’s unclear, however, whether this meant they had in fact left The Family altogether at that time.
Shortly thereafter, Miller and Ferguson returned to the United States. Though no longer members of The Family today, they have remained generally positive toward the group.
Stephen Ferguson currently resides in Texas, together with his wife Adria. They and their children are known as the Star Family in their Bible-based television show.
- Ferguson discusses the early days of the Children of God, from The Love Prophet and the Children of God documentary, 1998.
- see: Bible name
- as defined by Berg in Sock It To Me!–That's the Spirit! (GP 32)
- as defined by Berg in Inspired and Uninspired Songs (ML 92)
- see: Category:Family Music and Audio
- Rebuke to Stephen! (DO 1448, 1975-04-12)
- the "New Revolution" series (ML 328A – 332B)
- False Prophets (ML 1552:26-27, 27, 67, 106; 1979-01-25)