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Getting Through : In Remembrance

Ricky's Video, and last few Months before his death

from sarafina - Saturday, January 15, 2005
accessed 5236 times

RIP Rick (1975-01-25 – 2005-01-09)

I am writing this to all of you as my best recollection of I remember the last few months of Ricky’s life with us. Maybe it will answer some questions.

I was a close friend of Rick and he lived with me here in San Diego before he moved to Tucson a few months ago. I first got in touch with Ricky while he was still in Seattle. I would talk to him on the phone every now and then. He was there for me a lot when my brother died last year.

Eventually we began talking about life and his past, which he seemed very upset about, especially his MOM. He also seemed unhappy with his life in Seattle, he didn’t have many friends to hang out with there except a few that he worked with. He also didn’t do much else besides work. I had offered him to come for a visit to San Diego and told him there was lots to do here and many friends in common out here. He also knew my roommate at the time Amy who he lived with previously. She had been living with me for some time. I had invited Ricky a few times telling him it might be good for him to take some time off and have some fun. He declined at the time saying that he was possibly going to join the union there and get his electricians license.

After about a year he finally called one day asking if he could come out and that he would like to move here. I said yes of course; it would be nice to see him. I asked him when he wanted to move and he said “this weekend” I was a bit taken by surprise at the short notice and at the time there were already three of us living in my two-bedroom house. It seemed important though so I said that wasn’t a problem; he arrived three days later with all his stuff in his car.

I can’t begin to tell you of all the fun we all shared during his stay. We spent time going to the restaurants, beaches, sailing and jet skiing (which he had done for the first time and was his favorite water activity.) His wife Elexis also was came down to visit while he was here in which time I got to know here as a friend as well. She was happy that he was meeting old and new friends and hope that he would maybe be able to heal himself over time.

Ricky was one of the best friends you could have he was so caring, so concerned of others and their well being. He would always do thoughtful things. One day I remember he showed up at my work with an elaborate salad he’d made all decorated and laid out upon hearing how busy I was and hadn’t had lunch that day. Another day he woke up early on our day off to replace my broken speakers with new ones in my car as a surprise, while I was sleeping. He was always fixing things around the house as well. He was one of the best roommates I ever had. He said he felt like part of our family.

Things seemed to be going good and he seemed to be doing better. Amy had talked to two FGA’s (Ron & Anneke) who were good friends of hers and had helped her out for a while when she had fist left the family moved to SD. They have helped many people who have left “TF” Amy asked about the possibility of Ricky working for them as Ron had his own business. They were both happy to employ him. Ricky then began working with their son everyday. He really enjoyed his work and spoke very highly of them & their son. He would come home every night telling us about his day and how nice it is to finally have a job and work with people you enjoy being around. He also found a man who taught marshal arts out of his home and began continuing his classes there twice a week. He was very focused and every spare moment he would be researching techniques and practicing what he had learned that week in class.

After I think he got to know us better and felt comfortable with us, he began sharing different experiences he had had while living with Zerby. It was then I learned of his hatred towered his Mom and mainly how he felt it was his responsibility to put an end to Her abusive rein of terror. He did talk of wishing her dead, but then would also talk of wanting to hand her over to the courts.

He also spoke a lot of suicide, saying he was tired and felt frustrated. I listened many times I would stay up with him for hrs as he explained many of his feelings and thoughts. I tried to console him and explain that he should not take on the whole responsibility of what happened to us his peers, it was not his fault and he was a victim as well. It didn’t matter what I said he would not change his mind. I then thought maybe if I got him in touch with those that were legally working with the courts to investigate and put together proper cases against the family, that maybe he would see there was another way and that there was still hope in the legal system. Maybe if he worked along with them he would feel a part of something. So 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. He wanted to get his sister out and away from the family and it’s brainwashing & scare tactics.

He said he knew then that he would have to “play along” and appear friendly and favorable in order to get close enough to obtain any possible information as to where his Mom and sister were. He felt that if word would get back that he was “favorable toward the family” he might be allowed contact with his sister Techi. Also then maybe they might speak to him more freely and be more willing to disclose information. I remember him saying later how sick it made him having to be so nice to people who were so evil.

He then began a “PR Blitz” as he called it. Starting with multiple visits to the Family Care Foundation, which was near here. He met with Gary Montgomery who he has known for years while in the family and a few others that were there as well. He also called up his grandparents and Aunt who lived out in Tuscan it was through talking to them where he learned that him Mom Karen Zerby had visited his Grandparents the year before. So he decided to take a little trip up there to see what else they knew.

He called me from Tuscan explaining that he learned that Angela Smith (Sue/Joy) was on the board of directors of his Grandparents retirement home (which Zerby had bought for them) and that Angela made occasional visits there. He was in no ways friends with her as the “family” is claming but he said that she had been witness to much of the sexual and physical abuse that happened to him and others who had lived in Bergs house and chose to remain silent. She was also participated in some of the inappropriate sexual experiences involving him. He decided she was to be the target of his source of information.

When he got back he told me he thought he should move up there for a while to connect back with his family to see if he could learn anything about his Mom. We tried to talk him out of going and urged him to stay here. As much as he said he wanted to, he said his was his obligation and promise to himself and to us to do all he could to find and put a stop to Zerby & Peter and their lies.

After he moved we kept in contact by phone, He had gotten a new job, which he really liked. He also found a new marshal arts school. He had bought a gun and said he was going to shooting classes. He was also spending time with his family and helping his aunt with fixing things in the house, basically he was keeping busy.

He was planning on coming down here to Abe’s Memorial. I got a call Friday night at 1am from him. I was sleeping and didn’t hear the phone but saw his number on my caller ID the next morning. I called him back and spoke with him for about 20 min. It was then he told me he was sorry but would not be able to make it down for Abe’s memorial that something important had come up. It was then he mentioned he had sent me a Video he had made and asked me to do him a favor and send it to a few people as well as make sure that all of you were able to see it as well. I asked him what the video was about and he said it was just answering questions people had and getting a few things off his chest. He then changed the subject and thanked me for including him as part of my family. We then talked about a few things and I said I had to go soon to bring my cat to the vet but that I would call him later that evening. That was the last I heard from him.

Up until now it has been easy to write as I can mechanically recall events and conversations but when it comes to speaking of what happened and how I feel about it I find I find a lost for words. Death and lost is a difficult thing to understand. I still find I do not fully understand the death of my brother last year. I cannot comment on what happened as anything I say will only be speculation, who will ever really know exactly what one is thinking at the moment of death. Last year my 8yrs old nephew was hit by a car and died, three months later my brother shot himself. I wish every day I knew what my brother was thinking. I now wish I knew Ricky’s last thoughts. The only thing I find that we can be certain of is no one will ever really know. I loved Ricky as a brother so now I have lost two. That is two more then anyone should lose this way. How much loss can one person take? . I (like many others) now look back at it all, and wonder what we could have done differently, what more we would have liked to have said. I would like to end this with a song. It was one of his favorites that he listened to often.


Send away for a priceless gift
One not subtle, one not on the list
Send away for a perfect world
One not simply, so absurd
In these times of doing what you're told
You keep these feelings, no one knows
What ever happened to the young man's heart
Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart

And I'm staring down the barrel of a 45,
Swimming through the ashes of another life
No real reason to accept the way things have changed
Staring down the barrel of a 45

Send a message to the unborn child
Keep your eyes open for a while
In a box high up on the shelf, left for you, no one else
There's a piece of a puzzle known as life
Wrapped in guilt, sealed up tight

What ever happened to the young man's heart
Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart


Everyone's pointing their fingers
Always condemning me
And nobody knows what I believe

Reader's comments on this article

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from estee
Monday, September 15, 2008 - 08:28


hi sarafina,

I sent you an email but in case you didn't get it, I'm wondering if you could give me permission to use portions of this in an article i'm writing, I'll attribute the quotes I use to you, of course. I would mean a lot. thanks, hope to hear from you soon.
(reply to this comment)

from sarafina
Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 10:27

Time does not bring relief

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go - so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, 'There is no memory of him here!'
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

Edna St Vincent Millay

RIP Rick (1975-01-25 – 2005-01-09)

I miss you buddy,
Your friend Sarafina

(reply to this comment)
from C.D.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 15:52

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 was just wondering if anyone knows if there will be a memorial service or burial. It would be nice if as many of us who could can be there to show our support for a lost brother.
(reply to this comment)
From sarafina
Tuesday, January 18, 2005, 16:27

Yes, there will be one. We are trying to plan it enough in advance so that as many as possible can have enough time to make arangements to come. We are still unsure where would be the best location and details will need to be worked out. We are also setting up an PO Box in Elexia's Name (Ricky's wife)for those who were asking about wanting to make a donation toward his memorial event. This will be made available shortly.(reply to this comment
From C.D.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005, 18:15


That would be great. Anything that we can do just let us know. I for one will be there come hell or high water. (reply to this comment

from justagirl
Monday, January 17, 2005 - 07:24

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 only TF would at least take responsibility for SOMETHING. It seems they blame everyone else but themselves. He was such a tormented soul. You read this article & just want to hug him & tell him everything will be okay. But it wasn't. I'm sorry that he is lost to us. He may have been a key instrument for justice.
(reply to this comment)

from Regi
Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 17:52

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?)

Sarafina, Thank you for posting this. I cried as I read it. As deeply as this tragedy affects me, I know it cannot compare to your loss. Like Vicky said, words seem trite at a time like this, but I want you to know how much I feel for you and all who knew and loved Ricky, your brother, and others tragically lost as a result of the cult. Please know you can count on me to stand with you, cry with you, and fight with you.
(reply to this comment)

from moon beam
Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 12:47

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?)
That was beautifully writen sara. My best wishes for you and those that were close to him, at this distressing time. He was lucky to have had a friend in you.
We exchanged emails for a brief period of time and I too tryed to encourage him to see justice as coming through the courts. In his last email to a friend of mine he wrote;

It might take awhile, but eventually I truly believe one of us or many of us
will make the cult leaders see some kind of justice. God knows they deserve

Well, take care!


(reply to this comment)
from lotstoforget
Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 11:16


Thank you for posting this, Sara. Very touching!

Do you actually have any proof for Zerby financing her parents nursing home? That would be super damaging and could fish quite a few folks out of TF. If there is such proof, or something on good authority, please publish it. This would be very hard to explain for her, using TF tithe for ventures like this.
(reply to this comment)

Sunday, January 16, 2005, 12:19

Especialy as she is responsible for making the first generation "forsake" their own system parents, causing great and ireversable damage. (reply to this comment
from Vicky
Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 06:51

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?)

Thank you, Sara, for posting this. It must be very difficult for you to have to go through the experience of losing someone dear to you again, and I am truly sorry for your loss. There isn't much I can say that wouldn't sound hopelessly trite, so I'll just end here by saying I feel, to a degree at least, your pain, and his.

P.S. If you haven't yet read my email sent last night, please check your box.
(reply to this comment)

From Beth_Honey
Monday, January 17, 2005, 03:06


i just got sent this URL its so horrid how they can blame us for rickys death and not see how its their fault.(reply to this comment

From banal_commentator
Tuesday, January 18, 2005, 22:05


LOL, my god. If I didnt know a cult person made that whole site, (james..whoever he is) I would think it was some practical joke. Did he actually say that christians see the American effort to bring democracy to Iraq was just an example of "Anti chirst globalization."

Run that by me again?????!!!!! Iraq is a fucking muslim country. Sorry, i cant even finish this thought right now...........(reply to this comment

From xolox
Wednesday, January 19, 2005, 08:19


Well havent you heard? Pope Pius II was the antichrist, and every cruzade since then is a manifestation of... of... Aw shit never mind!

Oil is your God! (reply to this comment

From M&M
Wednesday, January 19, 2005, 00:30



I've met this guy before. In my book he was pretty whack. . . Could bore me to death. . .

He's one of the many foreign guys that work as "priests" in Japan where the people are not religious and can't tell. Wedding priests get paid good money, and that's how a lot of homes sustain themselves. They can claim it's part of their witnessing, and that they are not working in the "system". Lots of these types around.(reply to this comment

From Fish
Wednesday, January 19, 2005, 08:14

Yeah, he worked for me on occasion. He’s definately at the very bottom of the food chain. (reply to this comment

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