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 On : All My Politics

The Demographic Connection

from Big Sister - Saturday, March 20, 2004
accessed 1325 times

What is the demographic breakdown of children currently in TF? How is the Family leadership reacting to the social and economic changes occurring as the children become adolescents? The article suggests that an understanding of the numbers and ages of Family children can predict or help explain some Family leadership behavior over the next few years.

A few days ago I talked at length with my sister in TF. She and her husband and their current batch of 5 kids have lived all over the US in the past few years. She told me she would like to move out of the US to a third world country like India or China "for our children". She's worried about the influence of "average American values" like video games, TV, computer games, the internet plus her more basic problem of what to do all day with her 5 school age children whom she has to home school when she herself barely made it out of high school.

My sister is worried about her children hitting their teenage years under the spell of these "addictions", as she calls them. She figures if she can get them into a third world country while they're still young she can remain in control of them longer. My sister went thru difficult times with her first three children (now twentysomethings, 2 out, one still in TF). Her current husband seems ineffective, letting the kids watch TV and play video games all day when she's not around. She feels he won't be any use when they are teenagers since he still seems to be one himself. But, hey, that's why they're called Children of God, right?

My sister says her 12 year old will soon leave to go to work in another home. The 12 year old says she doesn't want to go but mom says she 'has to". When I press for more details I can't get any. Is this how it works now, that kids are 'adult' at 12 and move out of their parents home and begin some sort of work? If they are out of the US there might not be any mandatory education?

This discussion got me thinking about the demographics of the current crop of school age children (ages 5 to 12) remaining in TF. I wonder how many there are and how soon there will be another mini baby boom of TF kids hitting puberty and starting to actually think and ask questions? How many are teens right now? Is there anyone in a position to make a good guess about these numbers?

I ask this because I think Family leadership is responding, in part, to Family demographic trends. As TF kids grow up and more babies come along, as FGAs get older, as members leave and aren't easily replaced, the Family leadership faces changing problems of how to control their economic system and the belief system (which in turn keeps the economic system going). When the TF leadership understands they are going to be hit with another population boom of "rebellious" teens they react in certain ways to try to maintain control of the dwindling membership and to support the aging FGAs as they raise this next round of kids into adolescence. As has been so eloquently reported here, TF leadership and many or most FGA parents pretty much wrote the book on how to do everything wrong. They are correct to think that if they use the same approach with another generation of teens they (The Family) will not survive the experience. Too many people are watching now.

So, it might be possible to predict some leadership moves based on their demographics.

Reader's comments on this article

Add a new comment on this article

from Shaka
Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 22:27

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(Agree/Disagree?)
If you know for sure that they're leaving to India or China, the best thing to do is sic every Child Protective Service and lawyer you can call on them. India is a nightmare for young Family members. I'm not sure about China but I do know that some of the homes in India are still comparable to the ones of 10-20 years ago in the way of severe mental and phyisical abuse. Not to mention the horrible living conditions. Wish you luck.
(reply to this comment)
from Jules
Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - 20:49

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(Agree/Disagree?)

The issue of parents moving abroad with their children is personally one of my most serious concerns. In the Family’s history, most of the more serious institutionalized abuse took place in Asia and South America. Individual perverts have always thrived all over in the group, but when they tried to take the Asian models and set up “a Victor Program in every home” in Europe they faced a court case and a full-scale mutiny from the young people. There are things you can get away with in a completely foreign country than you cannot in your country of origin. While the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified document in the world, in practice, human rights are generally respected much more in western society. Human life is cheap in a country full of poverty and when seven year olds outside your door are being sold by their parents into prostitution, the average monthly wage is a few dollars and a bribe can buy you anything, it’s hard to get law enforcement to care too much about foreigners who might be abusing their own children.

Children being raised in the Family also have a much greater chance of some exposure to the outside world in a country where they speak the language and understand the culture than one in which they do not. In Asia or Africa, simply being Caucasian entitles you to special treatment among the people there. It is easy to think of the Family as being so much better than the real world if you as a missionary are treated with respect and open arms everywhere you go. In their native country, children are much more likely to see a more realistic picture of the social status of the Family, and understand how many more opportunities are open to them as a citizen than the few they have been confined to.

If children really want to get away from their parents, they have many more opportunities to do so in their native country. There are safeguards all over (doctors, teachers, relatives, people they meet proselytizing, even the woman in the grocery store). Running away as a child or teenager is always dangerous, but especially so in some of these countries.

My own parents (who live in Canada) were planning to move to Thailand some years back. As soon as I found out I let my brothers and sisters know that if they ever saw any signs of this actually happening, they should call me immediately. I also let my parents know I would fight them on this every step of the way and would try to get custody of their children myself if they tried to move out to Asia. I don’t know how I would or could have managed the seven children my parents still have at home, but for me this did work and they did not move.
(reply to this comment)

from anovagrrl
Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 12:34


Your question about demographics is something I've wondered about for some time. I agree with Spat's analysis about the aging FGAs and the burden their inevitable physical decline will place on the younger, healthier, more energetic members. IMO, this is a major factor that will drive much of what happens in the years to come.

If it is true that the SGAs who remain in TF are producing fewer offspring--a natural demographic trend that may stem in part from more stable relationships between married partners--I think even the most loyal SGAs will feel like an oppressed and increasingly disenfranchized minority, particularly when top leadership (all FGAs)continues to call the shots that affect their live and fortunes of ordinary rank and file membership. I cannot imagine an SGA moving into a top position of leadership as long as Zerby is still alive. If it were to happen, it's likely to be something like King Kelly with an SG trophy wife.

Your sister's dream of escaping the materialistic snares of America by moving to a developing country overlooks a major demographic & economic trend known as "globalization." Multinational corporations, mass transportation, and mass communication capabilities are creating a global village, such that people living in Kathmandu, Buenes Aires, Singapore, and St. Petersburg, may all enjoy eating Big Macs, watching the Olympics on CNN, or surfing the internet. Furthmore, the UN stats show an unprecedented level of immigration & global displacement of people for socioeconomic reasons.

She would have to go to a fourth world country--a place like Haiti or Malawi--to escape the "corrupting" tentacles of globalization. The Islamic Republic of Iran also might work. Question is, could she and her family endure the hardships of living in such desperately poor places or in countries where Christian missionaries are imprisoned or shot? The Family largely supports itself on the surplus of a local economy and the goodwill of locals, so there's a limit as to how far and how long any particular Family missionary can get from the System.

Old Order Amish might be looking for new blood. But even THEY have problems with retaining youth. Too many young folk have been joining up with those liberal, car-driving Mennonites. However, groups like the Amish been able to hold the line with an 8th grade education, so they continue retain a fair number of their young adults. They farm and learn skilled trades like carpentry. Amish young adults can actually aspire to something besides begging for a living & waiting for Jesus to return.

(reply to this comment)

from cassy
Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 05:20

Maybe our insider can give us a break down of the population if he has access to it? Would help.
(reply to this comment)
from Spat
Monday, March 22, 2004 - 13:31

Hmmm, interesting assessment, I think the child population in the Fam has dwindled
2nd generation adults have not been as productive as the 1st generation another key fact is the lack of new blood (disciples) of a young age this coupled with the number of 2nd generation adults that have left has caused growing decrease in the Fam’s child population.

The Kid’s presently entering teenhood in the Fam are currently the residue of the original 2nd generation batch with a few 2nd generation offsprings.

I believe the family leadership realized long time ago that their only shot of maintaining a decent proportion of the 2nd generation population was to place policies making marriage a viable and probable occurrence before the age of 21. This paired up with their birth control policies would turn out young adults with 1-2 kids by the age of 24 making any attempts to start off a new life and leave the group more difficult.

The policy seemed to work at first with some, mostly people around the age of 30 or so now, but the majority of the Fam’s 2nd generation rejected this quick marriage strat and have since then moved out, I would dare say that at least a 65% of the people I grew up with have since left.

This being said I think the challenges the family faces as a group right now are 2:

1.- Bettering their retention percentage of 2nd and 3rd generation youth once they reach adolescence, this has become a more difficult task due to the fact that the family has now implemented an education policy that requires high school level education (one of the few good new things they have done, making would be exmembers a little better prepared for adjustment to life outside the group) and the fact that most have now heard or seen exFam youth member/s that are actually making a new life for themselves outside the confimments of the cult, this has made the least adventurous more optimistic of their chances outside the group.

2.- Dealing with the inevitable aging/dying (yeah might sound cold but it’s a cold fact) of the 1st generation, this is becoming more and more of a problem. The fam’s long standing doctrine of Jesus’ return is not happening, and our parents are aging. The Fam’s economical doctrines have never been adequate for the conservation or production of wealth, and no matter how many windfalls, inheritances large donations have come their way, the hand to mouth mentality has systematically eliminated considerable amount of wealth some of its members possessed and left them in a precarious position. At this time most 1st generation members find themselves in a dilemma, they must face their financial responsibilities and prepare for the eventual inability (due to sickness, old age) of some members to pull their own weight while at the same time reconciling this reality with their beliefs of “Jesus is coming” and “God will Provide”.

Bottom line I feel their biggest problem in the future will be when the 1st generation is unable to pull their own weight, and the 35% of the 2nd and 3rd generation they are currently keeping is unable to sustain their increased financial responsibility, so at the end Esops fable of the little ant and the grasshopper will not have a happy ending.
(reply to this comment)
From exister
Monday, March 22, 2004, 16:36

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(Agree/Disagree?)
The good news is that Burger King doesn't seem to be averse to hiring senior citizens. Wal Mart seems to find them handy for handing out shopping carts at the door too.(reply to this comment
From cheeks
Monday, March 22, 2004, 15:55

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(Agree/Disagree?)

I agree with you Spat. I was in the Family when Go for the Gold came out, and knew it was the Family's best effort to keep us bare foot and pregnant so to speak. What better way to keep someone dependant on you than to let them have kids and not let them have an education so they cannot go out and provide for those kids.

As far as the teens leaving at twelve I think when the parent are not able to "control" their kids anymore they send them off to someone else so thay don't have to handle it. In the days of larger homes most of the parents did not even know their own kids and their likes and dislikes. We were the primary care givers and knew their kids better than they did. So when they had family day the parents could hardly get through it. It is so sad that so many kids lost out on the basics of their childhood and as a result never really bonded with their parents.(reply to this comment

From KD
Tuesday, March 23, 2004, 10:52

TF leadership has also placed an incredible amount of time in getting the young girls knock up with the FGA's. I don't know how it is in other countries but in Brazil this is quite common, some of them "wed" these FGA's but most are single moms. A lot of these girls got pregnant when the leadership went around visiting the homes, since TF wants to create a bigger and stronger bond with their young ones what better way then to make them have babies and leave them handicapped and dependant on the "one wife" vision.
What's interesting is that you don't usually see FGA women bonding and "bridging the gap" with the younger boys.
(reply to this comment

My Stuff

log in here
to post or update your articles


75 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]