Getting Out : Media Reports
Abi Freeman lies about COG History saying 'no girls were sent out to do prostitution' on BBC 4 Dec 2004
from interested academic - Sunday, January 30, 2005
accessed 4504 times
Abi Freeman is challenged by Graham Baldwin in a brief interview on BBC4 radio on 3rd December 2004.
The interview profile on the site is as follows:
'Why are we so fascinated by cults? Abi Freeman from the group, The Family, and Graham Baldwin from Catalyst, a counselling service which deals with people who have been in cults.'
To hear the interview go to the link below and scroll down to 8.43 am
During this brief interview Graham Baldwin challenged Abi Freeman on the issue of prostitution and produced some GOG literature (Hookers for Jesus/ Christ) as evidence that prostitution was promoted by the group. He also claimed that numerous FGA's and SGA's contact his organisation for assistance in dealing with cult related issues.
Abi Freeman argued that the problems arising in her organisation are no more prevalent or serious than those we see in society as a whole.
Sites such as movingon contest that view. Although it is true that prostitution and abuse are something we witness in society as a whole, rarely do we come across a group who promoted it as an acceptable lifestyle to the extent that some SGA's are unaware of their biological history or have to deal with identity crises as a result.
It would be very useful for academics and the media if copies of the literature such as that produced by Graham Baldwin were made availble on the internet.
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Monday, January 14, 2008 - 06:09
Flirty Fishing in the Children of God:
The Sexual Body as a Site of Proselytization and Salvation
(reply to this comment)
|from info on Abi Freeman/|
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 05:06
she sits on a committee alongside Amanda van eck from INFORM
>14 Dec 2005 : Column 2064W—continued
>Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
>Affairs what assessment he has made of the UK's presidency of the European
>Union; and what representations he has received from foreign Governments
>about it. 
>Mr. Douglas Alexander: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary set out
>the work programme for the UK presidency in detail in White Paper Cmnd
>6611 presented to this House on 30 June. We have made progress in a number
>of areas, including the historic decision to open accession negotiations
>with Turkey and Croatia on 3 October. Last month, we achieved significant
>reform of the EU sugar regime and we continue to work on a range of issues
>from the fight against terrorism to the future financing of the EU. My
>right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I are, of course, in regular
>contact with our EU counterparts on the whole range of European and
>international issues relevant to us as EU presidency.
>Global Opportunities Fund
>Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
>Affairs if he will list the members of the panel of experts referred to in
>the Global Opportunities Fund report. 
>Mr. Douglas Alexander: As part of the Human Rights, Democracy and Good
>Governance programme of the Global Opportunities Fund, the Foreign and
>Commonwealth Office convened expert panels to advise on policy and
>projects relating to all the key themes within the programme (except
>discrimination—for which there is no expert panel) as follows:
>14 Dec 2005 : Column 2065W
> Mark Stephens
> Geoffrey Robertson QC
> Mark Thompson
> Jock Gallagher
> Teresa Gautrey
> David Goldberg
> Chris Cobb-Smith
> John Glendinning
> Damian Tambini
>Religious Freedom Forum
> Barney Leith
> Ian Naysmith
> Abi Freeman
> Wilfred Wong
> Michael Bartlett
> Ronald Maddox
> Charles Reed
> Dr. David Royle
> IMAM Dr. Abdul Sajid
> Iqbal Singh
> Assad Rehman
> Tina Lambert
> Sayeed Nadeem Kazmi
> Martyn Eden
> Paul Renshaw
> Andrew Clark
> Dennis Wrigley
> Raphael Walden
> Dr. Zaki Badawi
> Dr. Philip Walters
> Dr. Pasha
> Paul Cook
> Dr. Hany Elbanna
> Amanda Van Eck
> Camilla Carr
> Guy Calvert-Lee
> Dr. Agnes Callamard
> S. M. Abdul Qayum
> Neville Kyrke Smith
> Christine Allen
> Paul Gillies
> Urmi Shah
> Prof J. S. Nielsen
(reply to this comment)
| From FAIR news|
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 07:49
The London conference held on October 25
represented a step forward for FAIR: it gave us
the opportunity to raise our profile and deliver
a strong anti-cult message not only to members
and supporters, and also through the media
representatives present, to the public at large
continued on page 2
It represented the first
large scale gathering held
in Britain for many years
aimed at voicing unqualified
criticism in public of cults
and cultic abuse, recognising
the misery caused to victims
and their families, and
discussing ways to warn the
public and confront future
problems. In this respect
it contrasted sharply with
meetings of supposed anti-
cult bodies elsewhere, many
of which by encouraging cult
effectively act as apologists
for their behaviour.
Many of those present com-
mented favourably on the
moving accounts by family
members, especially Paul
Cooper, of their experiences
and the personal difficulties
resulting from cult involve-
ment. They were also en-
couraged by the supportive
remarks of the well-known
broadcaster & MP, Michael
Gove, who skilfully traced
techniques used by Scient-
ology and others to recruit
and retain members, and
those of extreme Islamists.
The fact that this conference
was truly international,
both in its audience and
speakers was generally
welcomed. It became clear
that the problems we face
in Britain are precisely
mirrored elsewhere, espec-
ially the growing use of the
apparently innocent front
cults seek respectability
Pamela Lichtenwalner gave
a powerful account of her
battle to prevent Scientology
California education system
through their surrogate drug
The fact that the Sai Baba
widely accused of being a
front for the paedophile
activities of their leader, has
recently sought spurious
respectability, by infiltrating
the Duke of Edinburgh's
Award Scheme, was raised in
questions. This has already
resulted in an investigation
published in the influential
More controversially, Prof-
essor Alexander Dvorkin
criticism of INFORM, the
UK government's principal
advisor on cults, alleging
that they had pursued a
distorted and intellectually
dishonest methodology in
their analysis of the role
of cults, which had exerted
a malign effect on academic
attitudes and government
policy here and elsewhere.
He also directly accused
INFORM's director Professor
Eileen Barker, who was present
in the audience, of accepting
travel expenses from cults in
order to testify on their behalf.
These allegations, and the
personal statement in her
defence which Professor
Barker was invited to make,
about the extent to which
the British government has
been improperly advised
and influenced by cults,
and attracted strong media interest.
One important issue came
to light as a result of the
conference. It is still possible,
in the free world, to suppress
the right of free speech. Many
will be surprised to learn how
that right, which most people
take for granted, does have
As the conference approached,
within a few days of 25
October, a message was
received from Eric Scheibeler
in the USA, to tell us that he
would be unable to keep his
promise to attend with the
intention of giving his paper
“THE RISE AND EXPANSION
OF COMMERCIAL CULTS”.
The shock of this was palpable
and those of us at the centre of
the conference tried very hard
to find a way to relay his talk
without him being present but
our efforts were fruitless.
The reason for this suppression
of free speech has not yet been
fully understood but I am sure
in time we will know all that
we need to know. Because
of investments in a company
which can be described as a
commercial cult, Eric Scheibeler
as a leading member lost all of
his money. His life and the life
of his family were destroyed.
Subsequently he gathered his
strength and decided to help
people in similar circumstances
by speaking out about the
company which had destroyed
him. Some time later he was
invited to speak at the FAIR
Questions connected to the
suppression of free speech
stimulate the memory and
other incidents of history where
this kind of clampdown had
been implemented are recalled.
There have been many and in
the midst of this particular
incident, I turn to William
Shirer’s remarkable book, The
Rise and Fall of the Third
Reich. “It is a true statement
to say that the basic purpose of
the Nazi press program was to
eliminate all the press which
was in opposition to the party”.
One thing leads to another
and remembering a conference
several years ago, when
a trusted and dear friend
giving a paper, ended with the
following memorable statement
which I have been able to use on
other occasions – HELL HATH
NO FURY LIKE A VESTED
AS A MORAL PRINCIPAL.
full news letter at
(reply to this comment)
|from UK channel five program today|
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 - 04:18
A Very British Apocalypse, August 21, 7.15pm, Channel 5.
It will feature an appearance by former Family spokesperson Abi
Freeman, described in a Daily Express article published today as a
"wild-haired and snaggletoothed veteran of The Family."
Professor Taylor also interviews Abi Freeman. She's a wild-haired and
snaggletoothed veteran of The Family, formerly a Californian sex cult
called The Children Of God.
The cult used to encourage free love in all its permutations,
especially with its founder, David Berg, who died in 1994. It has been
reinvented as a fundamentalist Christian organisation with 10,000
Sixtysomething Abi is looking forward to it all and says: "I would
like to think Christ will come in my lifetime." (I AM SURE SHE IS!)
As Professor Taylor says: "Again, she seemed completely rational and
reasonable until it seemed one part of her brain clicked in and out
came all this ludicrous nonsense, confusing technology and the Old
(reply to this comment)
| From . . .|
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 05:55
Laurie is surprised to find a devout Catholic talking gently, persuasively and with absolute certainty that the world is going to end. Therefore, he decides to go in search of a “stronger brew”. He meets Abi Freeman of ‘The Family’ –a group of fundamental Christians who believe in the literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Abi and her fellow believers do not thinkthe world is going to end soon, they know it.
Central to Abi’s beliefs is that a ‘beast’ bearing the number 666 will bring about the apocalypse. This beast, she thinks, may take the form of a technological system –such as electronic tagging for identification –and sees “the fact that people are reaching out for global governance” as a sign that the beast will soon be upon us.
While she is in no doubt that the world will be ending soon, Abi is coy about a specific date. But not all British prophets have been so reticent. One of the greatest scientists in history, Isaac Newton, specified a year that now seems worryingly close: 2060. A believer in numerology, Newton spent years interpreting the Bible in order to come up with his figure, and his ideas have never died. Today, a group of mathematicians still believe that the numerical decoding of sacred texts can provide clues about the end of the world. Laurie, however, is unconvinced and dismisses ‘geomatria’, as it is known, as “nonsense on stilts”. (reply to this comment)
| From ..........|
Tuesday, August 21, 2007, 07:28
n fact, there have been wars, famines, plagues for millennia. What about (to quote just a few) several Ice Ages and sudden deaths of dinosaurs? Massive earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes - such as Krakatoa? What about the Black Death? What about two world wars? Asian flu? The list is long. In fact, we have fewer diseases - if you ignore AIDS. And figures show that more people died from diphtheria, malaria, measles etc than do from AIDS. And soon there will be a cure for AIDS.(reply to this comment)
|from Rain Child|
Monday, January 01, 2007 - 02:17
It would have been SO much more helpful if someone had directed me to this article back when I was asking if prostitution had occured in The Family - rather than just attacking me for asking the question.
(reply to this comment)
Monday, September 25, 2006 - 16:21
An mp3 of the interview has been archived at
(reply to this comment)
Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 23:18
Here are some passages on the subject of prostitution and escort services from James Chancellor’s book Life in The Family: An oral history of The Children of God published in 2000.
On page 124: "Family leadership is particularly defensive regarding any negative assessment of Flirty Fishing. It is still viewed in a most positive light, and the principles underlying it are still strongly affirmed. Escort service work is downplayed as much as possible. This was one of the few areas where Peter Amsterdam struggled to be completely forthcoming."
On page 125 there is the following excerpt from Chancellor’s interview with Peter Amsterdam:
“Peter: Dad didn't promote that [ESing] and he didn't say to do that. It was something that some people tried out. People do that. They try something, and we kind of let it go for a while to see how it works. Then if it doesn't work, we put an end to it.
Chancellor: Did it work?
Peter: Not really. It probably helped the homes financially. It wasn't a lot, but it did happen. Some girls did that and they arranged it and they got paid. So, under the escort work I think people can say, "That was prostitution." And, I guess, in a sense it was. But that was rare and it was for a certain little time. And we established that it didn't work so good. It did not bear good fruit in the girls' lives. Spiritually, that wasn't good. So I guess, to be honest, I'd have to say yes. In some cases there was what could be labeled prostitution."
Chancellor then writes: "Peter's reluctance to discuss this topic is understandable. But, escort service work began early, had the official sanction of the leadership at the top from the beginning and continued down to the end of the Flirty Fishing era. The work even received its own Family code-name, "ESing". It was affirmed in 1983 by an official publication." The footnotes for this paragraph reveal that the 1978 Mo letter "Going Underground" recommends ESing as one of the safest fronts for FFers to use. In "The Book of Remembrance, 1983", ESing is presented by a photo of a young woman wearing a see-through French maid costume.
On one hand, Peter claims to be honest about this issue, yet on the other he attempts to absolve Berg of any complicity in organised prostitution. Chancellor easily reveals the lie here by showing that Berg, through official publications, promoted ESing as one of the safest methods of FFing. Peter also uses a familiar tactic of The Family to claim that ESing, and any problems associated with it, was the initiative of individual members, despite Berg promoting in “Going Underground.” The Family leadership uses this tactic to explain away all "mistakes" and "excesses" as being caused by individuals, and not by any systematic problems with The Family's official doctrine and practices.
Chancellor follows these passages with an interview excerpt that details the ESing that occurred in London. It was a highly organised effort, with women going out every night, often with two or three clients a night. There were so many ESers that they had to start coordinating who was working at which agency. Although Chancellor doesn’t discuss it, I know that something similar occurred in Hong Kong, where ESers would fly in from surrounding countries such as the Philippines to go ESing. This was not an isolated practice that only a few got into. Furthermore, these passages reveal that prostitution, as Peter admitted, was officially sanctioned.
Later, on pages 127 and 128, Chancellor provides more interview excerpts on the subject of ESing, some of which I include here. The interviewees' words are indicated by square brackets, Chancellor's by quotation marks:
[The ESing was to produce money to support the home.]
[ESing was all over the East. It was very, very common in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, all over. A lot of homes became very dependent on it.]
"I don't mean to be judgmental, but this sounds like prostitution."
[It was prostitution. That was what we were doing, lots of us. ... I was trying to FF, to follow the letters. But the financial pressures were very strong. Sometimes I would go out on two or three dates in one night. ... I have talked to other women who told of horrors, things they were forced to do by leaders to keep the money coming. I felt a lot of pressure, but I cannot say I was ever forced.]
[I know women who said they were forced to do things that they did not want to do. (Chancellor: She was most reluctant to go into specifics.) It is probably how they experienced it at the time. I cannot judge.]
"The Family continues to affirm the principles underlying Flirty Fishing, viewing it as appropriate and God ordained for the time." (end of interview excerpts)
It is beyond question that prostitution and ESing occurred in The Family. But Berg also had clearly predicted that FFing/ESing would be one of the few viable witnessing methods left to The Family in the endtime. Despite The Family’s claims that they no longer practice FFing, we all know how deceptive they are with their “deceivers yet true” doctrine. They speak out of both sides of their mouth, saying one thing to outsiders, including legal authorities, while believing and doing just the opposite. The Maria Monologues at xfamily.org demonstrate that very clearly in Zerby’s own words.
One point I should add about Chancellor's book, for those who haven't read it yet. Although the passages I've provided here give the impression that the book is an expose of TF, in fact, it is mostly a distorted view of what TF is really like. On most issues he continually comes across as an apologist for Berg and The Family, accepting their version of things and accepting their claim that they have changed for the better.
(reply to this comment)
|from Evening standard today|
Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 14:43
Evening Standard Wednesday 9 March 2005
West End Final Edition
The little girl seduced in the name of God
Abi Freeman is the smiling, public face of a once infamous cult she proclaims has cleaned up its act. But new evidence uncovered by the Standard tells a very different story.
by David Cohen
The moment of truth, when Abi Freeman's facade cracks, when she blurts out her secret and runs from the room, arrives at the end of our interview. For four hours, Freeman, 47, spokeswoman in Britain for the notorious free-love cult, the Children of God- now called the Family - has given me the official line. She assured me - with an infectious smile even, - that in her 30 years as a member, she had never personally encountered any sexual abuse of children.
Her mask begins to slip only when I get ready to leave her office in Luton and ask about her daughter. Until now, Freeman, a slim, articulate woman, with wild, hippy hair, has refused to answer questions about her daughter, who was once in the cult herself.
'Why did she leave? I ask. 'She has her issues,' Freeman says tersely. Are you still in touch with her? 'We're going through a bad patch.' She hesitates, 'Okay, so something happened' she snaps. And then it comes. ' My daughter was sexually abused in the Family when she was 12 by two 15 year old boys. Okay? And maybe she walked in a couple of times when I was having sex' She jumps up, angry and confused. 'Dont tell me that my daughter has mental health problems because I'm in the Family!'
That is why I set out to find Abi Freeman's daughter, to hear the truth from her own lips. Susan, now 24 , left the cult eight year ago. She and her mother haven't spoken for 14 months. But when I finally catch up with her, in a Midlands cafe where she sits and talks for two hours, I am struck by the fact that her first concern is for Abi.
Was her mother being truthful, I ask? She says, 'I dont remember the incident my mother described when I was 12.' But suddenly she is shaking violently, and lights a roll-up cigarette to steady her nerves. 'No, the incident, I remember happened when I was nine. I was sexually abused by a 15 year old boy. It happened again, on two occasions, when I was 16. But this time it was 40 year old men. Those men are still in the Family in the UK, even though they openly admitted what they did.'
She pauses. 'There is more' she says presently, speaking softly. 'So much more. This sexual abuse is not just in the past, as my mother tells journalists - as my mother made me tell journalists'
(WTS for complete article which will follow in next few days)
(reply to this comment)
|from disturbed memories|
Monday, January 31, 2005 - 01:13
although my childhood memories are somewhat blurry, and i can't recall the exact year, i remember perfectly clear my mom getting ready to go out FFing....i can't even recall how i knew what it meant (but i knew exactly what it meant), i guess it was plainly explained to me since it was so normal at the time....i even remember meeting some of my mom's fish, i especially remember an iraki fellow...think he had a ship or something and at that time we were trying to find our way to South America and i think that was linked......
anyhow, whoever says this didn't exist is just plain full of BS, i even remember what she would wear on those occasions: a satin like sexy long beige dress and beige shawl - and make up, thing she'd never wear otherwise
(reply to this comment)
| From Baxter|
Thursday, March 10, 2005, 03:30
I can correlate that memory! I remember seeing my mother go out and coming back. Thing is, I knew exactly what was going on because they talked about it in front of us. And then, just to make things even more complete, I had to MEET some of the 'fish'- with my brothers, no less. And hear my mom bragging about how rich this or that 'fish' was. The fact that I have brothers who look nothing like me is just a reminder.
And having to watch adults having sex was just something else I just had to live with.
So no, freud, 'disturbed memories' linger all round!(reply to this comment)
| From |
Wednesday, March 09, 2005, 16:26
Deeper compared to whom? What studies do you base that statement on?
It seems you've studied Freud, that much is apparent. What is also apparent is that you're somewhat out of touch with what the majority of people feel concerning their mothers having been whores. I think the sentiments this person describes do not necesarily run deeper than most. Most simply don't talk about it much.(reply to this comment)
Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 09:14
Such allegations need to be supported by evidence. I dare say that you dont have any evidence that she lied.
(reply to this comment)
| From thatsnotwhatthejudgesaid|
Sunday, January 30, 2005, 16:25
Sorry to burst your bubble but here are 3 extracts from the Lord Justice Ward
Judge Ward of the High Court of London, England, after investigating the Family for over three years came to the following firm conclusions. "I am totally satisfied that there was widespread sexual abuse of young children and teenagers by adult members of The Family, and that this abuse occurred to a significantly greater extend within The Family than occurred in society outside it." (Judgment p. 111). "I am furthermore satisfied that a significant number of children...had masturbation and even sexual intercourse forced upon them by adults." (Judgment p. 282). "There is overwhelming evidence that the high leadership within the Family has been guilty of child sexual abuse." (Judgment p. 120). "Berg bears responsibility for propagating the doctrine which so grievously misled his flock and injured the children within it." (Judgment p. 112). "Not all children were engaged in sexual activity but far too many were. That was directly the result of growing up within the 'sexy Family.' " (Judgment p. 78).
I am quite satisfied that most of the women who engaged in this activity and the subsequent refinement of ESing, (which was finding men through escort agencies), did so in the belief that they were spreading God's word. But I am also totally satisfied that that was not Berg's only purpose. He and his organisation had another and more sordid reason. They were procuring women to become common prostitutes. They were knowingly living in part on the earnings of prostitution. That was criminal activity. Their attempts to deny this must be dismissed as cant and hypocrisy.
4. I also find it disturbing that The Family cannot see that the practice of FFing was harmful to the children in The Family. Such harm arose from these matters:-
(a) The children were exposed to the explicit literature as I have set out above.
(b) I am perfectly satisfied that many, many children were full aware that their mothers were away FFing and were aware, therefore, that their mothers were engaged in sexual activity with strangers.
(c) I am satisfied that the "Jesus babies" suffer from the knowledge that their father is unknown to them and that they have had no contact with their father.
(d) I am satisfied that some Jesus babies will suffer future harm for some have not been told the truth about their paternity yet, and when the truth is revealed to them, they will suffer deep distress.
(e) I am satisfied, therefore, that this practice was inimical to the welfare of the children. In my judgment the end never could justify the means. (reply to this comment)
| From cheeks|
Sunday, January 30, 2005, 11:34
Well, Seeker the fact of the matter is, even adults who are in the Family now will admit to the fact that they FF'ed. This stood for Flirty Fishing, the objective was to win people to Jesus through sex. So while prostitution is an ugly word it is precisly what they did. I understand your hesitation to belive this but the Family and the people who are out have scores of literature that will support this allegation.(reply to this comment)