Moving On | Choose your lifeMoving On | Choose your life
Safe Passage Foundation - Support to youth raised in high demand organizations

Saturday, January 31, 2009    

Home | New Content | Statistics | Games | FAQs

Getting Out : Seeking Justice

Thoughts regarding reconciliation

from ErikMagnusLehnsher - Monday, January 31, 2005
accessed 1678 times

Random thoughts of questionable value regarding reconciliation...

[I have been reflecting the last couple of days and I just hammered this out. My time participating on this site is limited and I only started reading it about 1 year ago so if I am “over-participating” anyone is welcome to tell me to shut up.]

At a philosophical level I think people long for peace rather than conflict. Reading some of the reconciliations between FGA parents and SGA's has been encouraging and touching to observe. I personally don't harbor a great deal of hatred towards anyone in the TF and that includes leadership. Maybe I am an apologist but I think a lot of the mistakes that TF leadership made over the years were not done with evil intent. I think that hubris, stupidity and religious zealotry gone awry were the biggest factors. I think that their apocalyptic beliefs led them to think in the short-term and that even though they knew some things were illegal, "Jesus would come back" before a reckoning with legal authorities or former members would take place. They never planned on having to operate above ground and have their group subjected to such scrutiny. I am not happy that the group exists but I acknowledge that they do have the right to exist and individuals can make their own choices.

Up until now I have never been able to come up with a scenario for resolution that does not involve Maria and Peter resigning because of their association with publishing and advocating abuse. However, given the unlikelihood of that it might be time try to find a resolution that would avoid the "collateral damage" that many many of our brothers and sisters currently in TF experience and still serve to resolve issues in the past and prevent them in the future.

Daniel has in his last couple of posts extended what I perceive to be the equivalent of an olive branch to TF leadership. I have been thinking about practical ways in which reconciliation might be achieved between former members and Family leadership and particularly about the 3 steps he listed. I agree that consolidating and detailing what we are looking for TF leadership to do is an important step in terms of sharpening our message and clarifying our united stance. Daniel did this without “rhetorical flourishes” so I am merely expounding on his proposal. “Rhetorical flourishes” are my specialty.

Obviously some of these things are a hard sell for Family leadership because maintaining credibility with their flock is a factor. Endtime prophets are not bullied into negotiating with Vandari-driven former members. I obviously don't approve of many of the dynamics at work within TF but I do try to respect them because I think failure to do so results in instant dismissal of any overtures or attempts at reconciliation.

I think the following would be acceptable to me and I am curious to know if it would be acceptable to other SGA former members here on the site. It’s an attempt at providing flexibility to run the gamut for cases involving varying degrees of severity.

What follows might be described as a multi-faceted road to reconciliation:

What commitments would we have from TF Leadership?

Commitment 1: A 3rd party maintained system would be put in place whereby if an individual has a complaint of abuse against an individual currently or formerly in the group that occurred prior to 2005, an Internet-based file would be created. The complainant would remain anonymous or be referenced by their Family Name. The legal name and any other aliases of the accused would be public.

This case could cycle through different stages depending on the situation:

a) Accusation Made

b) Unable to locate alleged Abuser

c) Alleged abuser Located

d) Responsibility for abuse accepted

e) Responsibility for abuse denied

f) Attempt at reconciliation

g) Reconciliation achieved

h) Reconciliation unsuccessful

i) Court Case

j) Resolved via court case

This is in a sense equivalent to the registration of a sex offender that many states currently require. It would make all parties aware of the status of cases in such a way that would protect the privacy of the accuser, yet avoid someone vicariously raising a complaint against an individual after the issue has already been resolved. Hopefully some of these cases can be put to rest based on honest admissions; offers to make reparations (in some cases) and honest-to-goodness reconciliation and closure can be achieved.

It would bring some of the cases out from the shadows (where TF leadership might complain they start to develop into their own type of folklore) and address them case by case. If I had been abused, I might be reluctant to bring it up before the whole world but if there were a process that would insure my anonymity relative to my boss, co-workers, classmates or friends, etc. then I would be more inclined to participate if I felt it would prevent abuse in the future, document the instance and/or help me personally to deal with it. One frequent complaint posted at MyConclusion.Com or MovingOn.Org by SGAs currently in the Family (or "Loving Jesus"-defending-FGA's occasionally impersonating them) is that if we have proof we should stop harassing TF as a whole and take the abusers to court. We should "Put up or shut up" or put our money where or mouths are. If I were a current leader or member of TF I would resent being lumped together with abusers. My absence on this type of offender list would be an important and deserved vindication for me. I think the TF thinks there is too much exaggeration and I think participants here think that TF leadership goes to great lengths to underestimate the prevalence of abuse and discredit accusers. Once the cases are on record, this will no longer be a source of contention.

If an individual can not be located then the case would be remain at “Unable to locate alleged Accuser” status but there would be a permanent record of the incident in a way similar to Jules’ recent compilation of 175 cases mentioned on this site alone.

The decision to raise an issue would be with the individual that was abused. If Sally and Joey were JETTs together and Uncle Zebediah sexually molested Sally it would be Sally's decision if she wanted to raise the issue. Joey might be aware of it and could have been a witness but it's not his issue. The ultimate decision regarding whether a case is opened and at what point it is closed or resolved would rest with Sally.

Commitment 2: A comprehensive system would be put in place by TF leadership that would address abuse that occurs for 2005 forward. This process would require notification to Legal Authorities. I think we all agree that abuse in TF is far less prevalent now but the fact that someone could abuse a child and get off with a mere expulsion from the group is unacceptable. They could rejoin a year or so later and abuse again. I think increasing the punishment in such a fashion would only serve to offer children greater protection and help TF regain some respectability that they are really hurting for in a time like this.

Unresolved Questions:

1: Who is the intermediary 3rd party? My first thought was one of the academics like James D. Chancellor that TF feel would be unbiased. Of course, they have lives to lead. Any ideas on an appropriate 3rd party?

2: It is conceivably possible that someone could be falsely accused in these last days (where have I heard that line before?). Would it be libelous to have someone's legal name out there and associated with sex abuse if they deny that it occured? What say the lawyers among us?

What commitments would the TF Leadership have from us?

Commitment 1: Cease from pursuing legal action against TF and seeking Media publicity about the history of the TF which they perceive to be invariably negative and detrimental to their fund-raising, security and witnessing.

Commitment 2: Actively work together with law enforcement and Family representatives to avoid bloodshed or violence of any kind towards Family Members. If an SGA is breathing out violent threats, the threats would be taken seriously and a system for intervention would be in place before there's another Ricky/Angela tragedy.

Commitment 3: would continue to be a place where SGAs can recount stories, discuss issues, poke fun at TF but NOT a place where coordinated media attacks against the TF would be organized or encouraged or violent threats would be acceptable in any shape or form.

What think ye?

Reader's comments on this article

Add a new comment on this article

from SpiritBorn
Saturday, February 05, 2005 - 21:14

Jesus said, "come out from among them and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing." The Family is about as unclean as a sow wallowing in the mire. There is not a shred of Christianity in that group. From taking the name of the Lord in vain, to blaspheming the Holy Spirit, to adultery, fornication, pedophiles, idolatry, man worship and woman worship, and fornication with familiar spirits; they have become the habitation of every foul and evil spirit and you think there can be reconciliation with that? Better to be an orphan than reconcile with that!
(reply to this comment)
from hmm
Saturday, February 05, 2005 - 18:28

I think that the most important issue for me is that the leaders in place have made no efforts to attone for their past transgressions as it seems that most of these "isolated instances" can be attributed to them, other than to deny that they took place of course. If there is any ounce of christianity left in thier doctrines (which is arguable, they're a pretty good match to voodoo) the verse "a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit" should be reason enough for them to have a change in the leadership structures. Also operational transparancy and accountability to their "flock": It seems painfully obvious that there is an excess of corruption, ie. misappropriation of funds, questionable expenditures and just generally inappropriate uses of funds as far as a religious group, or non-profit is concerned. Since they are supported by their constituents; I find it incredible that there is no open audits of financials as far as where these millions of dollars they collect annualy go. Basically, if they want to be a religion act like it, if they want to be a foundation, or non-profit organization or whatever, just pick one and be it. Enough of the shadowy multiple layers and separation between the followers and the leaders.
(reply to this comment)
From ErikMagnusLehnsher
Saturday, February 05, 2005, 20:49


Excellent point. I agree 100%.(reply to this comment

from Jules
Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 07:55


About the "violent threats" on

I apologise that I have not yet had time to get into this whole accusation properly. I would like to address the many innaccuracies in Peter's statements ASAP, but perhaps I should address this one now.

Ricky DID NOT threaten his mother and Peter with violence on this web site. He was discussing his anger and ways he was trying to deal with it. On June 9, 2002, Ricky said:
"[a participant on this site] writes, "By the way Ricky, you have serious anger management problems." Jesus, where did this idiot come from!? I think I’m managing my anger very well! A little over a year ago, I thought about going back to the south of Portugal, finding my mother and queen Peter—and a few other people there—and cutting their throats. Instead, I made the decision against revenge, and rather, to begin the huge task of building a my life for myself and my wife.
I think I’ve done very well in managing and controlling my anger. I’m able to manage it in part by talking about it, and also putting it to constructive use. There are aspects of anger that can actually be helpful if it is channeled in the right direction and if its power can be harnessed to help you succeed."

In 'Mama's Explanation & Prayer Request Regarding Techi's Battles!' (Maria #123 DO 2630 6/90) Zerby stated that:
"40. When Peter [Steve Kelly] was at the Heavenly City School & asked for a show of hands of how many there had had suicide thoughts at one time or other, two-thirds of the people raised their hands! ...
41. Even at one of our Units recently, some of the people confessed that even though they were as yielded as they knew how to be, & even though they felt they were definitely within the Lord's Will, they'd had some terrible bad pictures & thoughts come to them. One of the girls said that every time she was caring for the baby, whenever she walked along the upsairs hallway, she had pictures of throwing the baby over the bannister."

No one has accused the Family of being pro-suicide or infanticide because of this.

As Ricky stated, one of the ways he was finding to cope with his rage was by talking openly about his experiences, which is something that many people here have also found therapeutic and helpful. Because Ricky's painful experiences involved his mother and Berg and their home, Zerby and Kelly took this very personally and put a great deal of pressure on Ricky to silence him and stop him from being, as they refer to it, "vocal".

Sarafina explained: "I put him in touch with a few others who knew he could be a better help to the cause by voicing what he had seen and knew as an eyewitness. He declined, telling me that one of the main reasons he stopped posting the truth on M.O was the threats he was getting in regards to his sister Techi. He did not want to make things worse for her, he said she was weak and needed his help to leave but that she was being advised by Zerby to not communicate or contact him."

The video that was circulated in 2003 was a result of "damage control" on the part of Zerby and Kelly to counteract what Ricky had said. Instead of showing any concern for the pain and anger of her own child, Zerby produced hours of footage denouncing her son and his attempts to discuss the many issues he was wrestling with. Parts of the transcript of this video were published in the Vandari publication (Pray, Obey and Prepare). All she cared about was that she was not embarrassed by him.
(reply to this comment)

From ErikMagnusLehnsher
Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 18:59

Jules, Thanks for putting all of this together. I personally understand that MovingOn is not a place where violence has been condoned. I listed it as a commitment because I think the perception TF leadership wants to create is that this site is frequented by violent, rabid and vitriolic ex-members. The thought the current members could be concerned about being KILLED by former members was disturbing and it was an effort to calm these unfounded fears and express that any such threats would be taken seriously in the future. I should have phrased it better, though. (reply to this comment
Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 19:54


Yeah I notice in the new GNs they equate anger and violence. This seems unhelpful and obfuscating, since anger is not best dealt with by stuffing it or ignoring it as far as I know, but then they are trying to get young people to think that if they allow themselves to feel anger they will become violent. Not all anger is expressed in violence! I honestly think that being forced to turn anger inwards will result in more suicides, a self-directed violence.

The following sentence riddled with non-sequiturs about the supposed recipe for murder makes me so glad I am not under their control anymore:

"He had weaknesses-such as his pride, resistance to counsel and shepherding, being analytical, listening to a lot of System music, and a fascination for evil, violence and martial arts." (reply to this comment

Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 07:17

Well I for one will continue to testify in a court(when the time comes again) of law and in the public arena, untill the day Karen Zerby and Chris Smith(Peter) Sarah Davidito, Alf, Paul Peloquin, and everyone on the creeps list is behind bars.

There has to be an end to them and their reign, only then can the members start a normal life IE getting a job, putting their kids in school, learning to handle to real world (maybe lots of counselling) only then will they ever be able to be free of the chains that bind them. It will also give them an understanding of what we went through, maybe they'll gain some understanding for their children and themselves.

It's a nice idea but for any part of your plan to work, they'd have to start with themselves. Do you really believe that they will give themselves up?

Current members might be tempted to stop following them and denouce them as their leaders and see through their lies, and may be able to deliver them to the police one day.

Or the police find them anyway, with enough public outcry and pressure. Which means our vocies are only just beginning to speak out and is paramount to our efforts for justice.

but hey you might surprise me, Zerby may at last do the right thing and hand herself and others over to the police where she can be charged and our case taken to court and some of us or all of us can be wittnessess. I won't hold my breath!

(reply to this comment)
From JohnnieWalker
Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 08:35


"There has to be an end to them and their reign, only then can the members start a normal life IE getting a job, putting their kids in school, learning to handle to real world (maybe lots of counseling) only then will they ever be able to be free of the chains that bind them."

I disagree.

In my opinion, current Family members can and should be allowed to live their life as they choose, provided they cause no one harm and be held accountable in the event that they do.

I strongly believe that I have no right to insist that Family members "get a job" or "put their kids in school" if they are adequately providing for their family, providing their children a good education through home schooling or a correspondence course and allowing them the option to advance in their education without feeling emotionally, psychologically or spiritually hindered in their choice to do so.

When those leaders in The Family who are found guilty of abuse and instigating abuse are brought to justice (or, as you say, their "reign" has ended), Family members have the right to assign themselves a new administration whose members have no record of abuse.

While I do not approve of the Family's current structure, I believe they are within their rights to continue to operate as an entity, provided they take the necessary measures to insure that past, current and future abusers are held accountable and the abuser's victims receive retribution.

If taking these measures results in members of The Family's current leadership being imprisoned, I do not feel obligated--rather, I feel it is the sole obligation of current Family members--to ensure that their organization is not dissolved due to a lack of administration.(reply to this comment

From SpiritBorn
Sunday, February 06, 2005, 06:31


Yeah, and satan also has the right to operate according as God will's until he also is locked up in a bottomless pit with them, but any one who thinks they are doing no harm doesn't know much of the gospel of Jesus Christ, doesn't believe the horror stories and is blind to the testimonies of the victims of abuse. Such people also think Hitler, Stalin Mao, and other such like dictators had a right to continue on in government without interference. Believing in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitustion and the ACLU won't get you past the gates of heaven.

Evil persist because good people do nothing.(reply to this comment

Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 09:52

I see your point. It's some hope however to think that after the present administration is held up to the light, (and imprisoned) which includes their doctrines, deceit, control, and the restrictions they put on their children and members, the fear of the Devil, God, Ghosts, the system, ex-members, Demons etc.. that members will denounce years of habits and indoctrination that they once held to be true.

It's gonna be a huge re-learning process for them.
The new leaders will have a heck of a job over-turning years of a definite belief in Berg and his teachings.

Will they even want a "Leader" after knowing the extent that they were conned for so long. How would they deal with issues of trust-if they were so succsesfully conned last time whats to stop the next leader introducing his own version of dictatorship? I guess for the christians it will make them turn back to the Bible and maybe back into mainstream churches. But for the week who have never really had to think for himself/herself, they may just follow blindly another person, never having learned the lesson how to question and choice wisely.

Just a few thoughts.

(reply to this comment
From JohnnieWalker
Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 10:19


"It's gonna be a huge re-learning process for them."

Again, I disagree. If a person chooses to remain in The Family, they will always maintain a belief that Berg and Maria and Peter were prophets of sorts. Just because, for example, Peter and Maria are imprisoned, does not guarantee that most Family members will accept that they were guilty of the crimes they committed. In all likelyhood, they will band together even more, as events like these would reinforce their apocalyptic beliefs.

"Will they even want a "Leader" after knowing the extent that they were conned for so long".

As I alluded to above, I do not foresee that they will even accept the notion that they have been conned. They do not view their administration as a dictatorship, so the likelyhood of a massive 'awakening' is higly doubtful.

It's easy to let wishful thinking cloud our view of the world, easier still to project our own realities onto others.

In the words of Jiminy Cricket: "It's a lovely thought, but not at all practical."(reply to this comment

Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 12:43

Yes as I said in my P.S part of the comment, there will be the "die hards". And of course it's just speculation but never the less, IMO, many will leave also, once Berg and Zerby are discredited. When they have their time in court, it will be a long case considering all the witnessess and writen evidence agaisnt them. Most members will want to follow it-if only out of curiosity.(reply to this comment
From JohnnieWalker
Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 13:09


But don't you see? They already have been discredited and what effect has it had on many of the current Family members? Next to none. The Family is full of die-hards and as such, its ideals will continue to be upheld by them regardless of adversity.

Remember, a person cannot be convinced against his or her will. The more that is done to discredit Zerby and Peter, the stronger their followers will adhere to the idea that they are innocent.

As far as the religious aspects of the Family are concerned, I am fully content with leaving them to their own devices. If the group lasts for another millenia or dissolves on its own account within the next decade, so be it. That is no concern of mine.

My primary concern is that the past, current and future abusers are brought to justice. What I hope for, is, on the other hand, entirely my prerogative.

I agree that this is all mere speculation. But I prefer not let my speculating be influenced by wishful thinking.(reply to this comment

Wednesday, February 02, 2005, 09:10

You say " Remember, a person can't be convinced of doing something against his or her will.."

I disagree. I have many examples But,

I have to run, very busy. I'll expound on that another time.

(reply to this comment
From JohnnieWalker
Wednesday, February 02, 2005, 09:29


I don't doubt that people can be made to do something against their will, but the keyword in what I said was "convinced".(reply to this comment

Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 13:25

But for the family to become a safe, half-decent place for children to grow up in, it has to "wake up" and denounce "The Law of Love" etc..Else the teachings that were in place when we were growing up will be no different to those in the future. So in that sense a third party will e needed, but how can they alow it? They still believe it's "just" to lie for their cause.

This is all hypothetical by the way. ;)

Many still in the group have not seen or read "the other side" yet, a court case will be too tempting to miss.
(reply to this comment
From JohnnieWalker
Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 14:29


Perhaps you don't realize that the Family already is a (generally) safe, half-decent environment for children to grow up in. Most of the young children in the Family who are at the age that is considered most at-risk are those of SGA parents who are quite averse to the concept of adult-child sexual contact.

That is not hypothetical.

In fact, if I recall correctly, Zerby once expressed concern in a GN that the SGAs were too conservative with their children when it came to the subjetcs of sex and nudity.

The "Law of Love" minus its sexual liberties is really just common sense and a moral code that should be expected of anyone who considers themselves a Christian.

While I agree that they would need to denounce and accept the potential harmful effect of the sexual aspects of the Law of Love, I do not see a need for them to have to denounce it in its entirety.

(Hmmmm......quick, somebody tell me I'm not beginning to sound like a cult apologist.)(reply to this comment

Wednesday, February 02, 2005, 09:04

I don't realise that, No, what I do understand is that sexual abuse does not make a cult. There are many dangerous cults that don't believe in free sex or sex with children, in fact in Jehovah's witnesses, it is on the opposite of the pendulum ( very strict), but all the criteria are present as is in TF today.

Theres an article up already about the definitions of a cult and the harm this does to the individual and their children.

The fact that this particular cult, TFI(COG), had sexual deviance as a practise is one of the main reasons it gets so much press/air time.
But for me to "realise" that children are safe in that (thankfuly minus the sexual excesses-due to this public attention) environment, I would have to consider the same for The Moonies, The church of Scientology, Jehovah's witnesses et al, which having extensively researched and met with ex-members off, I do not.

(reply to this comment
From ErikMagnusLehnsher
Wednesday, February 02, 2005, 17:33


I am surprised that your signature does not a contain a coupon: "50% off safe and secure deprogramming".(reply to this comment

From neez
Saturday, February 05, 2005, 17:48

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(

Deprogramming!? JETT Hearsay!? Nixon!?

Yeah I think xolox was bang on the money.(reply to this comment

From ErikMagnusLehnsher
Saturday, February 05, 2005, 20:54


In reply to JW this BLANK POSTER said:

"You say " Remember, a person can't be convinced of doing something against his or her will.."

I disagree. I have many examples But,

I have to run, very busy. I'll expound on that another time."

What else can this individual possibly be describing other deprogramming?(reply to this comment

Saturday, February 05, 2005, 23:08

Maybe they were talking about reverse deprogramming.(reply to this comment
From neez
Saturday, February 05, 2005, 21:34

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(
Save it for the courts magneto man.(reply to this comment
From ErikMagnusLehnsher
Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 19:22


I would hope that they would denounce the sexual aspects of the Law of Love. But legally that couldn't be compelled to. They could respect Maria and Peter as prophets even if imprisoned or on the run. As long as no laws are broken they could face Portugal three times a day and chant for all I care.

I guess what bothers me is the way TF Leadership attempts to dismiss issues and tries to minimize them. The purpose of quantifying the cases of abuse with a 3rd party such as Dr. Chancellor (who has been more than fair to TF) would be to essentially put the chips on the table. The issue of the degree and quantity of abuse would no longer be deniable and subject to spin. In some of the smaller cases where some flunkie was a Victor junior shepherd it might result in a reconcilliation between the parties. In cases where the abused does not want to persue the issue, they can at the very least document that it occured in order to make others aware of the individual.

I think having a publicly available document that compiles all these cases and is verified by an unbiased third party would make a very strong statement even if most of the cases were in a "Unable to locate accused" or "Accused refuses to present themself" status.
(reply to this comment

From ack
Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 14:41

"In fact, if I recall correctly, Zerby once expressed concern in a GN that the SGAs were too conservative with their children when it came to the subjetcs of sex and nudity. " - well she would.
(reply to this comment
Tuesday, February 01, 2005, 10:04

P.S Then of course there is bound to be some "die hards" who will never give up believing in Berg and Zerby and their teachings. Zery will be seen as some type of "Martyer" for their "faith". The group may even split into two or three fractions.(reply to this comment
Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - 06:50

Cool. Good idea, especially since there is a few of us who personally would like to press charges against Peter and Zerby for specific abuses against particular ones who lived with them. They can step up to the fore and set the example for everyone else.
(reply to this comment)

My Stuff

log in here
to post or update your articles


59 user/s currently online

Web Site User Directory
5047 registered users

log out of chatroom

Happy Birthday to demerit   Benz   tammysoprano  

Weekly Poll

What should the weekly poll be changed to?

 The every so often poll.

 The semi-anual poll.

 Whenever the editor gets to it poll.

 The poll you never heard about because you have never looked at previous polls which really means the polls that never got posted.

 The out dated poll.

 The who really gives a crap poll.

View Poll Results

Poll Submitted by cheeks,
September 16, 2008

See Previous Polls

Online Stores

I think, therefore I left

Check out the Official
Moving On Merchandise
. Send in your product ideas

Free Poster: 100 Reasons Why It's Great to be a Systemite

copyright © 2001 - 2009

[terms of use] [privacy policy] [disclaimer] [The Family / Children of God] [contact:] [free speech on the Internet blue ribbon] [About the Trailer Park] [Who Links Here]