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The Children of God (COG), later known as the "Family of Love" and "The Family" and now "The Family International", is a new religious movement that started in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California, USA. It sprung from the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
===The Children of God (1968-1978)===
The founder of the movement was a former Christian Missionary Alliance pastor, David Brandt Berg (1919-1994), also known as Moses David, Mo, Father David, King David, and Dad to adult group members and eventually as Grandpa to the group's youngest members.
Members of the Children of God founded communes, which they called "colonies", in various cities around the world. They would proselytize in the streets, and distribute literature. New converts who joined the movement had to memorize scripture verses and were expected to emulate the lives of early Christians and reject mainstream denominational Christianity. Berg communicated with his followers in his more than 3,000 published letters written over 24 years and called "Mo Letters" by members of the group.
The Children of God was technically disbanded in January of 1978 after Berg fired all 300 of his top leaders for failing to implement FFing (see below) and abusing their authority. This period was called the "Re-organisation Nationalisation Revolution" (RNR) by Berg. Most members of the Children of God were absorbed into the new Family of Love, which amounted to little more than a name change and new local leadership. Most of the group's beliefs remained the same.
"There has been much semantic posturing, much muddying the waters, and much waste of time over the issue of whether or not the Children of God still exist. These diversionary tactics were deployed to obfuscate the real issue which is whether or not the current leadership are responsible for what happened during the period up to the RNR ... I am totally satisfied that there was a continuous line of top leadership with David Berg and [Karen Zerby] at the helm regulating the affairs of the group which despite changes of name and shape, remained one and the same. The Mo letters relevant in the early days of the Children of God remained as relevant after the RNR and they continue to be relevant today. The name may have changed; various echelons of the leadership chain may have altered; but the command remained with Berg, [Karen Zerby], and his inner cabinet. I find that it was a disingenuous attempt to distance them from their responsibility both for what is and for what was." -- The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Ward
===The Family of Love (1978-1987)===
As time passed Berg became more authoritarian and the literature distributed by the group began to be characterized by sexual innuendo. Around 1978, a technique of proselytizing called Flirty Fishing was developed in which members were encouraged to initiate sexual relations with non-members in order to win converts, supporters, and influential friends. Many female members began working for escort agencies. These and other practices caused many members who considered them questionable to leave the movement.
The practice of Flirty Fishing or "FFing" was later officially abandoned around 1987 because of the AIDS epidemic. There is at least one known case of a female member of the group contracting HIV from a blood transfusion and eventually dying of AIDS.
The Family describes the practice of Flirty Fishing as follows:
"''In the latter part of the '70s and early '80s, [David Berg], responding in part to the sexual liberality of that time period, presented the possibility of trying out a more personal and intimate form of witnessing which became known as 'Flirty Fishing' or 'FFing'. In his Letters at that time, he offered the challenging proposal that since 'God is Love' (1 John 4:8), and [what some believe to be] His Son, Jesus, is the physical manifestation and embodiment of God's Love for humanity, then we as Christian recipients of that Love are in turn responsible to be living samples to others of God's great all-encompassing Love. Taking the Apostle Paul's writings literally, that saved Christians are 'dead to the Law [of Moses]' (Romans 7:4), through faith in Jesus, [Berg] arrived at the rather shocking conclusion that Christians were therefore free through God's grace to go to great lengths to show the Love of God to others, even as far as meeting their sexual needs.''"
In his judgment of a child custody court case in England in 1994, after extensive research of Family publications and the testimony of many witnesses, The Lord Justice Ward said this about FFing:
''"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 organization 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. To deny that the girls were acting as prostitutes because "we are not charging but we expect people to show their thanks and their appreciation and they ought to give more for love than if we charged them" is an unacceptable form of special pleading. The "FFers handbook" told the girls that fishing could be fun but fun did not pay the bills. "You've got to catch a few to make the fun pay for itself. So don't do it for nothing."''
===The Family (1987-1994)===
In the 1990s numerous allegations of pedophilia and sexual abuse were laid against The Family in different locations worldwide, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela (see links below). The Family leadership have maintained that they did not sanction or condone the sexual abuse of children. Some claim that government-led investigations and court cases did not convict Family members nor communities, and that no evidence of abuse was found in the 750 plus children examined by state authorities. An outline of each court case and excerpts of rulings of the courts can be found at [http://www.cesnur.org/testi/TheFamily/se_thefamily.htm].
Berg's writings, however, display an interest in, and lack of concern regarding, sexual contact with children. In "The Devil Hates Sex -- But God Loves It!", Berg wrote:
The only way to get free of (the devil) and his lies and his prohibitions and guilt complexes about sex is to get rid of his lies and his lying propaganda, his anti-sex propaganda, and believe the Lord and his word and his creation and God's love and his freedom! - that there is nothing in the world at all wrong with sex as long as it's practised in love, whatever it is or whoever it's with, no matter who or what age or what relative or what manner -- and you don't hardly dare even say these words in private. If the law ever got a hold of this, they would try to string me up! They would probably lynch me before I got to the jail! When Paul said "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient" (1 COR 6: 12), he was as good as saying, "I can indulge in any kind of sex I want to, but I've got to watch out for the System because it's against the law!" (Maria/Zerby: At least not let'em find out if you do it!)... We are free in privacy, and that's about all, and we mightn't be free if they discovered what we do in private!... There are no relationship restrictions or age limitations in his law of love.... If you hate sex you are one of the devil's crowd! If you think it's evil, then God and love are evil, for he created it! Come on, let's love and enjoy it like God does! He loves it.!
Berg would later describe his dreams of having sex with pre-pubescent girls (The Little Girl Dream) as well as his fantasies of having sex with his own mother. It should be noted that the Family has removed these publications from circulation in what they claim was an official renouncement of these teachings.
In addition, a childcare manual published by the group in January of 1982 vividly describes, with photographs, the sexual activity that took place between the son of Karen Zerby and his governesses, particularly Sara (also known as Sara Davidito, Sara Kelley, or Prisca Kelley; she later became a top leader in the organization). This 700-page manual, and all other publications that seem to approve of pedophilia or incest have since been removed from circulation, but copies still exist, mainly in the private collections of former members.
The boy mentioned above (the natural son of Karen Zerby and a Spanish hotel employee whom she "FFed"), was called Davidito (little David) within the group. His real name was Richard Peter Rodriguez (also Richard Peter Smith and David Moses Zerby). He was considered to be the adopted son of David Berg although no official adoption ever took place. As Davidito grew up he developed a deep seated resentment towards Berg and Zerby because of the sexual abuse he had suffered as a child due to their policies and because of the unnatural way in which he was raised. He would later state that he and his sister were never allowed to be "just children". They always had to perform and demonstrate their supposed natural superiority to other children in the group.
When Davidito grew to adulthood he left the group entirely, married and tried to live a normal life outside this group. In October 2004, he moved to Tucson,Arizona and worked as an electrician for a business owned by a former member. According to accounts by his friends and relatives, he moved there because he heard his mother had visited and he wanted to find her. In January 2005, he arranged a meeting with a close associate of his mothers and one of his former abusers, Angela Smith (formerly Susan Joy Kauten) and stabbed her to death in his apartment. He then drove to Blythe, Arizona where he shot himself in the head. He released a video to be distributed to friends, family and former members explaining his actions. According to an article in the New York Times, in the video, "he said he saw himself as a vigilante avenging children like him and his sisters who had been subject to rapes and beatings. "There's this need that I have," he said. "It's not a want. It's a need for revenge. It's a need for justice, because I can't go on like this." [http://www.religionnewsblog.com/9922 "Murder and Suicide Reviving Claims of Child Abuse in Cult, Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, January 15, 2005. pg. A-1].
The group's current policy (as of 1995) forbids, under penalty of full excommunication, sexual contact with minors, and the group has not accepted any responsibility for abuses that occurred during the more permissive period created by Berg's writings. It maintains, rather, that any abuses were the work of individual members. According to Eileen Barker's book ''An Introduction to New Religious Movements'', the group has been acquitted of all charges of sexual abuse of children. The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Ward ruled in a 1995 court case that the group, including its top leadership had engaged in abusive sexual practices involving minors, that they had also engaged in severe corporal punishment and sequestration of minor children. However, in a last minute turn around, he said that The Family had abandoned these former practices and that they were a safe environment for children, with some reservations: he required that the group cease all corporal punishment of children in the United Kingdom, improve the education of members' children, denounce Berg's writings, and "acknowledge that through his writings Berg was personally responsible for children in The Family having been subjected to sexually inappropriate behaviour" (see links below).
Although the group has publicly renounced former policies and doctrines that condoned or encouraged sex between adults and minors, in their internal publications there has been no such renunciation. Evidence of this is represented by the following quote from Family leader Karen Zerby:
"''This [sexual contact between adults and minors] is about the only subject where we're really going along with the System, we're playing along with them, we're acting like we believe what we did was wrong, because we have changed, and stopped doing it . . . We need to somehow explain to our [teenagers] that love and loving affection is not wrong. As it says in [Berg's writings], if it's not hurtful, if it's loving, then it's okay. Of course, having actual intercourse with a child wouldn't be okay as it wouldn't be loving, but a little fondling and sweet affection is not wrong in the eyes of God, and if they have experienced the same in the past they weren't 'abused.' . . . We need to explain to our [children] that any experience they may have had along these lines, if it was loving and if it was desired, was not wrong. We need to show them that even if in some case the experience for them wasn't so great, that by comparison to what goes on in the System, it still wasn't 'abuse.'''" --[Karen Zerby], Summit '93, Mama Jewels #2, 1992. p.19. [http://www.geocities.com/magicgreenshirt/downloads/sj_pg19.gif]
===The Family International (1994-present)===
After Berg's death in October of 1994, Karen Zerby, from Tucson, Arizona in the USA, known in the group as Mama, Maria Fontaine, or Queen Maria, took over leadership of the group. She then married her longtime lover, Steven Douglas Kelly, an American also known as Christopher Smith, Peter Amsterdam, or King Peter. He became her traveling representative due to Zerby's hermitic separation from her followers.
In February of 1995, the group introduced a ''Charter of Rights and Responsibilities''. As its title implies, it set forth a new way of living within the organization. The rights referred to were what a member could expect to receive from the group and how members were to be treated by leadership and fellow members. The responsibilities referred to were what a member was expected to give to the group if he or she wished to remain a full-time member, including tithing of up to fourteen percent of his or her income (ten percent to World Services, three percent for regional services and projects, and one percent typically to regional literature publishing). It provided that any of the rights could be revoked at any time by Zerby and Kelly, and more responsibilities could be added.
Of the more unusual teachings Zerby has propagated, her encouragement to followers to engage in a spiritual sexual relationship with Jesus stands out as the most unusual. Male members of the group are encouraged to visualize themselves as women "in the spirit" during masturbation or intercourse in order to accommodate this practice.
The Family also believes in channeling spiritual beings through prophecy. Members are encouraged to hear from Christ and other spiritual beings multiple times during each day and to make both large and small decisions in consultation with the spirit world. They do this individually and in prayer groups with all members typically expected to contribute at will. It is not uncommon for members to believe they are channeling well-known people from history who are communicating from the afterlife.
Prior to the 1990s this sort of prophecy was not as common among members and was more typical among leadership and prominent members. David Berg himself clearly drew many teachings from external secular and religious references and sources, usually without attribution, and he also frequently channeled people from the afterlife. But it was after his death that the process became more democratized and Zerby has strongly preferred to call on spiritual beings for instructions and advice. It is possible this was prompted in part by clinical blindness that she developed during the 1990s.
As a fundamentalist Christian group, The Family's doctrines tend to be progressive, with a few exceptions. For example, while they view male homosexuality as sin, they are generally accepting of lesbianism, or at least female bisexuality. This was not always the case and more acceptance spread throughout leadership during the 1990s, influenced partly by Karen Zerby's discussions of her own same-sex encounters.
The Family has also slowly moved away from traditional protestant doctrines of Salvation as a requirement before death to one of Universal Reconciliation. This has partly come about in order to reconcile their belief in hell with other strongly held beliefs in god's absolute love for mankind and forgiveness for human weakness.
The Family continues to stress the imminent Second Coming of Christ, and the rise of a worldwide government and Antichrist figure preceding that. These doctrines regarding the "End time" influence virtually all long-term decision making.
Zerby's practices and teachings have alienated many of the second-generation members of the group, who have left in large numbers to pursue secular careers. There is a great deal of anti-Family sentiment among many of those who have left, including threats to legally pursue alleged physical and sexual abusers, whom, it is thought, may have been shielded from prosecution by the group's leadership.
As former missionary kids, these second-generation of former members have now become adults. Many have returned to the country of their citizenship and have, thus, become Third Culture Kids (TCKs).
Many of these former second-generation members have kept in communication with each other. A notable example of this is their use of the site, [http://www.movingon.org MovingOn.org]. Generally, many of them have left the religious discipline of their parents. The Family International prefers to call these former members apostates. The former members resent this label, as most of them never chose to join this group in the first place (they were born into it) and, thus, can not rightly be called "apostates".
A consistent trait throughout the history of The Family has been their aversion to government oversight and extreme secrecy surrounding leadership and finances. World Services (WS), the central administrative wing of The Family, continues to operate in complete secrecy, with very few members of The Family actually knowing their whereabouts or the identities of the members of those offices, most of whom operate under psuedonyms instead of their more commonly known "Bible names". Many of them have also legally changed their names and some sources have indicated that they have used fake passports in the past.
Senior leadership also typically still attempt to keep their legal names from common circulation, although this has became more difficult through the second half of the 1990s, due to legal action in many countries. In particular, a major court case in England brought to light many formerly guarded names of senior members.
In The Family's publications printed photographs of WS members were typically "censored" by means of a rudimentary pencil drawing pasted over the persons face. It was not uncommon in Family-produced art for Berg's head to be replaced with that of a hand-drawn lion.
Following the death of David Berg in 1994, all members of The Family were finally allowed to see up-to-date photographs of the organization's late founder. For many members this was the first time they had ever seen a photograph of his face. In recent years, Steven Kelly has carried pictures of Karen Zerby with him on travels to show members, since most have never seen a picture of their spiritual leader prior to this.
Although, by now, most of the group's members will have seen photographs or video footage of Karen Zerby and Steven Kelly, their identities and location are still heavily guarded by those members working closest to them. Recent photographs or video footage of Karen Zerby, Steven Kelly, and most WS members are not readily available even to fulltime members of The Family.
Family finances are based on a system of tithing. Ten percent of all income for all members is required to be donated to World Services. A further three percent, typical in every region, is to be donated to the regional offices for locally administered projects and a community lending program. A further one percent is given for regional literature publishing.
A study of how The Family channels funds around the world is very interesting from a sociological angle since it depends largely on trust of carefully placed non-senior members who typically manage bank accounts in their own names that contain organization funds. Surprisingly very little graft has been experienced, and the notable cases involved insubstantial amounts of money.
Organization literature includes many discussions of impending world financial doom. The Family as a result has gone to considerable lengths to avoid investments and actions that it deems unstable in the event of a world financial crash. Typically they store any large amounts of funds in Japanese Yen and Swiss Francs, with other large reserves transferred into gold bullion.
The Family has consistently avoided property investments and stocks or bonds, believing them to be too high risk and too subject to government oversight.
The group has often and heavily been criticized by the press, the anti-cult movement, and the Christian countercult movement. In 1972, an organization called FREECOG was founded by concerned family members of followers to "free" them from their involvement in the group.
Actors River Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Summer Phoenix, Rain Phoenix, and Rose McGowan were members of the group during their childhood. Jeremy Spencer, a former member of Fleetwood Mac, is currently a member of the group.
According to the Children of God, there were 130 communes or "colonies" in 15 countries in 1972. In 1993, 7,000 of the 10,000 members were under 18 years of age. Recent statistics by The Family International puts full-time and fellow members at just over 11,200 in over 100 countries (around 4,000 adult full-time members and 4,000 children). Some estimates have placed the total number of people that have passed through the group at 35,000.
==Programs, projects, and productions==
The Family International (as the group calls itself today) or The Family International Fellowship has various programs through which it operates. The main ones include Family Care Foundation (FCF), Aurora Productions AG, and Activated Ministries. However, the group has many other local foundations and projects in various countries throughout the world, for example (note: Some of the following may no longer be active):
* World Services (WS; location a closely guarded secret; they can be contacted through a Post Office box in [[Zurich, Switzerland]] that has been open for over two decades with the mail handled by the European regional office (EURCRO)
* Family Missions Foundation in Zug, Switzerland
* Heaven's Magic
* Fellowship of Independent Christian Churches
* Donate Car for Charity Spring Valley, California, USA
* Teaching, Education and More (TEAM) Foundation in Dallas, Texas, USA (EIN 75-2790783)
* East European Christian Correspondence Center in Hungary (previously the "MM Home")
* Asia Vision in Thailand
* Los Angeles Missionary Base (LAMB)
* Bluebird Family Foundation in Hungary
* Golden Sunrise Productions Co., Ltd. in Taiwan
* The Spiritual Retreat and Missionary Training Program in USA
* Mission Support & Humanitarian Services Program
* Immediate Disaster Relief in India
* New Horizons - Student Interchange in India
* Helping Hands
* Milk for Many/Mexcity Mission
* KidzVids International, based in Humble, Texas, USA
* [http://www.theextramile.org/ The Extra Mile]
* The Family Singers (they usually perform at the White House every Christmas)
===Aurora Production AG===
Aurora Production AG, based in Zug, Switzerland, is the copyright holder and owner of all of The Family International's revenue-producing productions. These include publications, music, and videos (i.e. ''Countdown to Armageddon'' and ''Treasure Attic''). Although ultimate control over this company is in Steven Kelly's hands, on paper the following people are listed as running this company [http://www.hrazg.ch/]:
* Claes Furusjö (Director; Johanneshov, Sweden; former WS finance manager)
* Richard Müller
* Barbara-Maria Buzzi
* Ernst Steiner (Hünibach, Switzerland)
* Michael Andrew Darley (Houston, Texas)
* Alconsa Finanz AG (Auditor)
===Family Missions Foundation===
Family Missions Foundation, based in Zug, Switzerland [http://www.zug-branchenbuch.com/soc175499/sozialwesen-page1.htm], receives and processes the tithes of members. The board has many of the same names as for Aurora Production AG. The two key people are:
* Chris Smith (aka Steven Kelly; registered in Luzern, Switzerland)
* Thomas Mestyanek (registered in Los Angeles, USA; also Finance Manager of The Family International)
A Family International–operated charitable foundation in Escondido, California (EIN 33-0857142). All the Directors are Family International members. Thomas Hack, a high-ranking Family International officer and former director of FCF, is the President. Activated Ministries is a licensed distributor of Aurora products worldwide, including the magazines ''Activated'' and ''The Wine Press'', both of which promote Family International beliefs and practices. It is The Family International's largest outreach operation. Activated Ministries openly acknowledges its support of The Family International and links to The Family International website. Activated Ministries has also made at least one cash donation to FCF. [http://www.activated.org] [http://www.activatedministries.org]
* ''The Wine Press''
* ''Treasure Attic''
* ''Kiddie Viddie''
* ''Cherub Wings''
* ''Countdown to Armageddon''
Areas where The Family International have remained active for many years and are generally active today include:
* Tateyama, Japan
* Budapest, Hungary
* Lima, Peru
* Bangkok, Thailand
* Washington, D.C., USA
==Leadership, Regional Offices, and Management==
The leadership of The Family International is headed by:
* Karen Elva Zerby
: - spiritual leader of The Family International
: - American
: - legally changed her name ''to'' Katherine Rianna Smith, 4-Nov-1997
: - Aliases: Maria, Mama, Maria Fontaine, Maria David, Maria Berg, or Queen Maria
* Steven Douglas Kelly
: - head-leader of The Family International
: - American
: - legally changed his name ''to'' Chris Smith
: - Aliases: Peter Amsterdam or King Peter
* Kevin Anthony Brown
: - senior leader under Karen Zerby and Steven Kelly (less officially Grant Montgomery)
: - American
: - legally changed his name ''from'' Samuel Charles Perfilio, 29-Sep-1993
: - Aliases: Matthew or John PI
Under them, management is divided into ''World Services'', ''Creations'', and ''Family Care Foundation''. The following is a sample of The Family International's current and former leadership or high-profile members (note: Many of them have legally changed their names and have adopted either "Brown" or "Smith" as their surnames):
===World Services (WS)===
* Thomas Mestyanek
: - Finance Manager of The Family International
: - Aliases: Shemariah Books or Elliot
* Sean Michael Mullen
: - senior leader under Kevin Brown
: - American
: - Aliases: Francis Fisherman
* Gayle Kelly
: - member of North American leadership (NACRO) and Director of the ''TEAM Foundation''; former wife of Steven Kelly
: - American
: - Aliases: Abi, Abigail or Damaris
* David Forsberg
: - member of North American leadership (NACRO)
: - Aliases: Simon
* Thomas Hack
: - member of North American leadership (NACRO) and President of ''Activated Ministries''; former FCF Director
: - American
: - Aliases: Abner
* Barbara Ann Emerson
: - Executive Secretary to Karen Zerby
: - American
: - Aliases: Misty
* John Francis
: - spokesman for The Family International
* Claire Borowik/Borowitz
: - an official representative of The Family International
* Christina Healey
* Jacqueline Sue Scott
* Micheal Timothy Brown
: - head of Creations
: - American
: - legally changed his name ''from'' Terry Lee Martin
: - Aliases: Gabe, Jeremy Woods, or John
* Donna Kinnikin
: - head of Creations
: - Canadian
: - Aliases: Vicky or Amy
* Thomas Leonard
: - part of Creations
: - Aliases: Will
* Carol Lloyd
: - part of Creations; former wife of Philip (EURCRO)
: - American
: - Aliases: Palestina
* Cheryl Anne Brown
: - part of Creations
: - American
: - legally changed her name ''from'' Kathleen Mary Fowler, 17-Jun-1993
: - Aliases: Bonnie
===Family Care Foundation (FCF)===
* Grant Cameron Montgomery
: - President of FCF; former Prime Minister of The Family International
: - Canadian/American
: - legally changed his name ''to'' Lee Ronald Smith, 21-Dec-1992
: - legally changed his name ''back to'' Grant Cameron Montgomery, 29-Oct-1996
: - Aliases: Gary, Hosanna, or Paul Papers
* Lawrence Corley
: - Executive Director of FCF
* Ken Kelly
: - an FCF Director; brother of Steven Kelly
: - American
: - Aliases: Steve Tall
* Dr. Christine Mlot
: - Treasurer of FCF; wife of Ken Kelly
: - American
* Arthur Lindfield and Becky Lindfield
: - FCF India
: - Aliases: King Arthur
* Thomas B. Bergstrom
: - FCF Indonesia
* Mike Edwards
: - FCF Mexico; former member of North American leadership team (NACRO)
: - American
: - Aliases: Dust
* Sara Kelley
: - former leader and nanny of Davidito
: - American
: - Aliases: Prisca Kelley or Sara Davidito
* Alfred Strickland Kelley
: - former leader
: - American
: - Aliases: Alf or Ready
* Victor Landivar Trigoso
: - former leader and current member in Russia
: - Peruvian
: - Aliases: Francis or Peruvian Manuel
* Arnold Dietrich
: - not a member for many years, former leader and son-in-law of David Berg
: - American
: - Aliases: Arny or Big Josh
* Angela Marilyn Smith
: - deceased (Jan-2005); part of Karen Zerby's staff for over 30 years, former FCF director, and former member of the board of directors of a retirement home (Elderhaven, Inc.) run by Zerby's parents in Arizona
: - American
: - legally changed her name ''from'' Susan Joy Kauten, 14-May-1993
: - Aliases: Ceder, Joy, Trust, Hope, or Sue
The Family International divides regional management into zones that have changed very rarely and typically in very small ways over its history. They are:
* ASCRO (Asian Central Reporting Office): Southeast Asia and Indian Subcontinent; administered in Bangkok, Thailand
* EURCRO (European Central Reporting Office): Europe, Africa, most of Russia; administered near Zurich, Switzerland by:
** Lisa (Norwegian)
** Philip or Zadock Lloyd (American)
* NACRO (North American Central Reporting Office): United States, Canada, Mexico, Carribean and some countries of Central America; administered in Dallas, TX by:
** Gayle Kelly (American)
** Thomas Hack (American)
** David Forsberg
* PACRO (Pacific Area Central Reporting Office): Japan, China, Korea, Australia, Far East Russia and other countries of the Pacific; administered in Tokyo, Japan and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Also known as FENRO (Far East National Reporting Office) when it was located in Hong Kong prior to the 1990s
* SACRO (South American Central Reporting Office): South America; administered in Santiago, Chile
** Juan Rosas (Peruvian)
Each region is managed by a team of Continental Officers (COs), each team typically having five to seven members. The management structures beneath the CO team are more variable and their members are changed frequently.
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* Melton, J. Gordon (2004). "The Children of God, 'The Family' (Studies in Contemporary Religion vol. 7)". Signature Books. ISBN 1-5608-5180-5.
* Melton, J. Gordon and Robert L. Moore (1982). "The Cult Experience: Responding to the New Religious Pluralism". ''The Pilgrim Press'', New York, USA.
* Palmer, Susan J. (1994). [http://www.thefamily.org/dossier/books/book1/chapter1.htm "Heaven's Children: The Children of God's Second Generation"] in Lewis JR and Melton JG (eds.) (1994) [http://www.thefamily.org/dossier/books/book1/toc.htm ''Sex, Slander, and Salvation: Investigating The Family/Children of God''] Stanford, California: Center for Academic Publication. ISBN 0-9639501-2-6. (Note: This book was funded by The Family International)
* Palmer, Susan J., and Charlotte Hardman eds. (1999). ''Children in New Religions'' (3rd ed.). Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2620-5.
* Shepherd, Gary, and Lawrence Lilliston (1994). [http://www.thefamily.org/dossier/books/book1/chapter5.htm "Field Observations of Young People's Experience and Role in The Family"] in ''Sex, Slander, and Salvation'', ''op. cit.''
* Wilson, Bryan and Jamie Cresswell, eds. (1999). "New Religious Movements: Challenge and Response". ''Routledge'', London, UK.
* Wright, Stuart (1987). "Leaving Cults: The Dynamics of Defection". ''Society for the Scientific Study of Religion''. Washington, D.C., USA.
* Van Zandt, David (1991). "Living in the Children of God". ''Princeton University Press'', Princeton, New Jersy.
===Journalistic and popular===
* Bainbridge, William Sims (1996). "The Sociology of Religious Movements". ''Routledge''. ISBN 0-4159-1202-4.
* Barrett, David V. (1989). "New Religious Movements, A Practical Introduction". ''Her Majesty's Stationery Office''. ISBN 0-1134-0927-3.
* Barrett, DV (1996). "Sects, Cults and Alternative Religions". ''Blandford A. Cassell''. ISBN 0-7137-2567-2.
* Chancellor, James D. (2000). "Life in the Family: An Oral History of the Children of God". ''Syracuse University Press''. ISBN 0-8156-0645-1.
* Davis, Deborah (1984). [http://www.exfamily.org/art/exmem/debdavis/the_cog.html "The Children of God: The Inside Story".] ''Zondervan''. ISBN 0-3102-7840-6. (Davis is one of David Berg's daughters.)
* Palmer, Susan and Hardman, Charlotte (edited) (1999). "Children in New Religions". ''Rutgers University Press''. ISBN 0-8135-2619-1.
* Williams, Miriam (1999). "Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years As a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God Cult". ''Quill''. ISBN 0-6881-7012-9.
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/cult/children_of_god/main.htm "30 Members of Children of God arrested"] ([[September 2]], []). ''Washington Post'', pp. A05
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/cult/children_of_god/child1.htm "The Family" and Final Harvest"] ([[June 2]], []). ''Washington Post'', pp. A01
*McManus, Una (1980). "Not for a Million Dollars". Impact Books. ISBN 0-9148-5054-7.
* [http://www.thefamily.org Official Family web site in English]
* [http://www.lafamilia.org/ Official Family web site in Spanish]
* [http://www.thefamily.dp.ua/ Official Family web site in Russian]
* [http://www.afamilia.org/ Official Family web site in Portuguese]
* [http://www.greekfamily.org/ Official Family web site in Greek]
* [http://www.family.gr.jp/ Official Family web site in Japanese]
* [http://www.thaifamily.org/ Thai Family]
===Primary sources: Businesses related to the COG/The Family===
* [http://www.auroraproductions.com Aurora Production AG] - Copyright holder of many publications and productions of The Family International, based in [[Zug, Switzerland]].
* [http://www.countdown.org/ Countdown to Armageddon]
* [http://www.sunny-sideup.com/ Sunny-Side Up Entertainment]
* [http://www.cherubwings.com Cherub Wings]
* [http://www.beart.com/ Beart Communications]
* [http://www.kidzvids.com/ KidzVids]
===Primary sources: Non-profit organizations related to the COG/The Family===
* [http://www.familycare.org Family Care Foundation (EIN 33- 0734917)] - [[Dulzura, California]] non-profit, public corporation for funding of Family ventures and missions.
* [http://www.activated.org Activated Ministries (EIN 33-0857142)] - Family magazines and publications for non-members and prospective members, based in [[Escondido]], California; a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
* [http://www.teamfoundation.com TEAM Foundation]
* [http://www.brooksidefarm.net Brookside Farm]
* [http://www.cheerupmissions.org/ Cheer Up Missions]
* [http://ton-a-month.tripod.com/ Ton-A-Month Club]
* [http://www.donate-car-for-charity.com/ Donate Car For Charity]
* [http://www.donateacar2charity.com Donate a Car 2 Charity]
* [http://www.nyfm.org New York Family Mission]
* [http://www.theextramile.org/ The Extra Mile Ministries]
* [http://www.changetheworld.org.au/ Change The World] - Based in Australia
* [http://bluebirdfoundation.org/ Bluebird Family Foundation] - Based in Central and Eastern Europe
===Primary sources: Individual members sites===
* [http://www.theendtime.com/ The Endtime]
* [http://www.deeptruths.com/ Deep Truths]
* [http://www.anzwers.org/free/beyondstars/index.html The Endtime News]
* [http://www.myconclusion.com/ My Conclusion] opinions, responses and views by current and former members of the Family International.
*[http://www.xfamily.org xFamily] - A wiki site about The Family.
* [http://www.movingon.org MovingOn] - Community site for former ''second'' generation members of The Family.
* [http://www.exfamily.org ExFamily.org] - Community site for former ''first'' generation members of the Children of God/The Family. Includes articles, documentation and message boards.
* [http://www.movingon.org/documents/FamilyCareFoundation-TheFamilyCOG.pdf Family Care Foundation and The Family / Children of God: Exploring the Connections] - (PDF document).
* [http://www.geocities.com/magicgreenshirt/ No Regrets: Why I Left The Family] - Articles from James Penn, (former high-level Family member) and others.
* [http://www.newdaynews.com/ New Day News] - Site for former members of the Children of God/The Family. Includes message boards and large collection of photos.
* [http://countercog.excult.org/ CounterCOG]
* [http://www.geocities.com/excog/ ExCOG]
* [http://www.voy.com/26994/ Let's Talk Cafe]
* [http://iam.homewithgod.com/xcog/tabittest.htm Tabitha Dan's Story]
* [http://www.geocities.com/familyartcorner/ Family Art] - Flash presentation addressing plagiarism of art used in internal publications of the Children of God/The Family.
* [http://www.excult.org/ Sword of the Lord Ministries] Ex-Member site includes some video interviews.
* [http://www.apologeticsindex.org/f07.html Family of Love] Apologetics Index entry
* [http://www.exfamily.org/art/misc/justward_master.shtml Judgment of the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Ward] - 1995 custody case in the UK involving The Family.
* [http://www.exfamily.org/art/misc/cult_justice.shtml Cult Justice - France]
* [http://www.cesnur.org/testi/TheFamily/argentina.htm The Children of God/The Family Court Cases in Argentina, 1987-1995: A Documentary History]
* [http://www.cesnur.org/testi/TheFamily/france.htm The Children of God/The Family Court Cases in France, 1991-2000]
* Barron, Amy (2003). [http://science.gcc.edu/reli/kemeny/new_page_201.htm Children of God Bibliography] - Comprehensive list of primary and secondary sources of information regarding The Children of God/The Family, compiled by a student in a religion course.
* BBC Radio 4, [http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/beyond_belief/index.shtml ''Beyond Belief''], 9-August2004: [http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/realmedia/beyond_belief/beyond_20040809.ram "Cults"] - One of the participants is a member of The Family.
* [http://www.ishiver.com/welcomep.html Video made by Richard Rodriguez before he murdered Angela Smith and took his own life (in Real Audio Format)]
David Brandt Berg (18 February 1919 - October 1994) was born in Oakland, California, USA to Hjalmer Emmanuel Berg and Rev. Virginia Lee Brandt (a Christian evangelist; she died in 1968). David was the youngest of three children, with a brother, Hjalmer, born in 1911, and a sister, Virginia, born in September, 1915. Virginia Brandt is the daughter of Rev. John Lincoln Brandt, preacher, author, and lecturer of Muskogee, Oklahoma, Oklahoma.
==Early years (1919 - 1948)==
David Berg graduated from Monterey High School (in California) in 1935 and later attended Elliott School of Business Administration.
==Christian and Missionary Alliance minister (1948 - 1954)==
Berg, like his father, became a minister in the Christian and Missionary Alliance and was placed at Valley Farms, Arizona, USA. Berg was eventually expelled from the organization for differences in teachings and for alleged sexual misconduct with a church employee.
==Soul Clinic with Fred Jordan (1954 - 1968)==
Fred Jordan, Berg's friend and boss, allowed Berg and his personal family to open a branch of his Soul Clinic in Miami, Florida, USA as a missionary training school. After running into trouble with local authorities for his aggresive methods of proselytizing, Berg moved his family to Fred Jordan's "Texas Soul Clinic".
==The Children of God/The Family (1968 - 1994)==
David Berg (also known as King David, Mo, Moses David, Father David, Dad, or Grandpa to members of the Children of God), in 1968, founded the new religious movement/cult/missionary organization known as the Children of God, later known as "The Family of Love" or "The Family" and currently "The Family International".
Berg and his entourage have lived in the following countries (among others) over the years:
* United Kingdom
* South Africa
* Japan (near Tateyama)
* Canada (near Vancouver, B.C.)
He lived in total seclusion and secrecy from his followers and, along with Karen Zerby, is thought to have used a fake Australian passport when traveling.
Berg died in 1994 and was buried in Costa de Caparica, Portugal (his remains have since been cremated). His organization is currently led by his widow Karen Zerby (whom he took as a soi-disant "second-wife" in August of 1969; known as Mama Maria or Queen Maria in the Children of God) and Steven Douglas Kelly (an American also known as Christopher Smith, Peter Amsterdam, or King Peter in the Children of God).
David Berg married his first wife, Jane Miller (known as "Mother Eve" in the Children of God), on 22 July 1944 in Glendale, California. They had four children together:
* Linda (b. 10 September 1945, known as "Deborah" in the Children of God);
** m#1. John/Jethro
*** Joyanne (b. ~1964)
** m#2. Bill Davis (known as "Isaiah" in the Children of God)
*** Alexander David (b. August 1975)
* Paul Brandt (b. 21 June 1947, known as "Aaron" in the Children of God and very likely committed suicide in April 1973 near Geneva, Switzerland);
*** Merry Berg (b. 1972, known as "Mene" in the Children of God)
* Jonathan Emanuel (b. January 1949, known as "Hosea" in the Children of God); and
** m. Luranna Nolind (known as "Esther" in the Children of God)
* Faithy (b. February 1951)
** m. Arnold Dietrich (also known as "Archbishop Joshua" in the Children of God)
* [http://www.thefamily.org/about/davidberg.php Biography of David Berg] - Written by The Family
* Jones, Paul (1998). [http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/Family.html "The Family (The Children of God)"] ''New Religious Movements''