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Andrew, May 7, 2002, 11:00
Calling a spade a spade
"The Family has been under investigation internationally for sex abuse against children, but had been acquitted."

This is not the case! The judgement of lord... on the final page (pg 259), which is the actual judgement portion of the document, states:

My judgment is that the risks of harm as matters presently stand are significant enough to dictate in his interests that he be removed from his mother.
I emphasise that that decision is reached on the matters as they presently stand. I am impressed by the winds of change that have blown and continue to blow through The Family. Although sullied by their participation in the sexual excesses, Maria and Peter Amsterdam have demonstrated convincingly a willingness to change.
I intend, therefore, and subject to argument from Counsel, to impose a Stay upon this Order...if I were given certain assurances. Again these may be the subject of argument.
she must invite World Services to satisfy me of their willingness to take the following steps:-

4. The last step will be the hardest. They must denounce David Berg. They must acknowledge that through his writings he was personally responsible for children in The Family having been subjected to sexually inappropriate behaviour; that it is now recognized that it was not just a mistake to have written as he did but wrong to have done so; and that as a result children have been harmed by their experiences...The Family must be encouraged honestly to face up to this shameful period in their history so that those harmed by it, victims and perpetrators alike, can seek to come to terms with it. For an honest memorial to be given to David Berg, this dark side to his character must be revealed. By all means, let thanks be given also for the good he did - as I accept he did for many -and for the inspiration he has been to those who through him have devoted their lives to the service of the Lord.
With time to reflect, all concerned will come to understand that 10 years ago, possibly even 5 years ago I would not have permitted any child whose welfare was in my hands, to remain with any parent who was a member of The Family...But times have changed and so have The Family. They have come in from the cold. They carry some mud from the past on their coat but if they choose, they can wash it off. Then they can sit at society's supper table, eccentric guests perhaps, but welcome for all that.

The lord's statment: "They must acknowledge that through his writings he was personally responsible for children in The Family having been subjected to sexually inappropriate behaviour," is tantamount to saying that abuse did occur within The Family and that the leader was directly resposable for this.
It is discouraging for second generation x-members when they read statements put forth by The Family's leadership trying to portray the monvment as an innocent Christian missionary organization, and when we see that the "experts" are so easily fooled by the facade that is herby portrayed. I want to include an examle here from a paper on The Family by "Human Rights Without Frontiers" where they state:
Over the years, due to some authorities being grossly misinformed by disgruntled former members and detractors...The Family... has been the target of police raids...The Family communities have always been found innocent of any wrongdoing.
This looks like a statment taken out of one of The Families own publications and not an objective report on the situation by a researcher in the field. It seems to me that whoever wrote this has not read the Judgment of Lord Ward or talked to a single second generation x-member. What seems to be the case is that the majority of the information has been gathered from The Family itself which is by no means the sole reprasentative of the parties concerned.
The facts are to the contrary. The Family has had to change in order to survive and its doing so in no way deminishes or counteracts the wrongdoings of the past nor does it count as retrobution.
The problem for second generation x-members when trying to deal with their past and find some way to either correct the mistakes or gain recognition that abuse took place, is that The Family has been working for ten years or more on its public image. The Family has had teams of experts working with their own teams on courtcases in a number of countries. They have restructured the laws of The Family (hence the Charter) and written statments that are well developed and pre-planned to debunk any form of complaint or acusation. The abused party in this situation, the second generation x-member, stands more or less alone. If she is lucky she has a loosly connected network of other second generation x-members who have experienced simmilar abuse. However, that is hardly what is needed to combat a well organized organization.
I would like to point out some of the tactics that have been used by The Family to deminish the appearance of any wrongdoing and to nutralize negative media.
The Primary tactic is to blame whatever wrongoing has occured on individuals and say that such action are against the laws of the Charter. This is fine when dealing with wrongdoings that have occured after 1995 when the charter was establish, but it in no way counts for The Family's actions before that time. It does not nullify the actions that where done by individuals who were acting in accourdance with David Berg's "Revolutionary Laws" which is when, and by whom, most of the abuses occured. To say that these were just isolated insidents is absurd and blatantly false.
Furthermore The Family tries to put the blame on the parents. Here I would like to show what I mean by quoting David Lykins' and Abi Freeman's "Viewpoints from The Family on: The Role of Go-On and Similar Organizations in Helping Youth Who Leave Religious Communities".
We feel that no matter what has happened in the past, it is in the best interest of young adults to forgive their parents for what they preceive where their mistakes, and to learn to tolerate their parents' views, religious and otherwise, even if their own views are different.
I totally agree, and expect the same from my parents. In most cases however, it is not the parents that we have had our main grievneces with, but rather The Family and The Family's leadership. It was when we were away from our parents and under the supervision of The Family and treated by Her "One Wife" principles that things started to go wrong.
To put the blame on the parents is irresponsibility on the part of The family's leadership and points to their cowardly behaviour in their relation to second generation x-members.
The most obviouse tactic is the one I've already gone into detail to explain. Flat out denial that there is any proff of abuse. Here the use of "Experts" and the findings that none of the 500+ children who were taken into custody have been shown to have been abused.
Interestingly enough The Family has gone through considerable mesures to train their children in answering the questions of authorities. (For more on this see the Judgement of Lord ward and the Family's publication for kids "Decevers yet True") That the findings show no signs of abuse is false. It may be true that none of the children taken into custody were proven to be abuse victims, however, the Judgment of Lord ward goes into some detail to show what kind of abuse exactly went on and by whom.
In conclusion I want to bring to attention the bluring of the lines and continuouse appeal to The Charter as The Family's tactic of evading responsibility and blame. It's important to keep in mind who we are dealing with when we confront with the question of wrongdoing. Furthermore, it is important to be aware of The Family's time line, when what kind of actions were accepted/ordered practice, and The Family's attitude to the outside world at that time.

  (reply to this post)

re.gifsar, July 27, 2002, 10:18
Which court case was this from?

(reply to this post)


Andrew, May 1, 2002, 14:02
Your Chance to be heard

To X-Family second generation in general.

Please read this and reply before the 9th May.

In ten days time Iím headed to a conference in Europe on New Religious
Movements (NRMís). They want me to talk about the project weíve had here in
Norway called GoOn which was a two year pilot project designed to help kids
who have/are left/leaving NRMs. They also want me to talk about second
generation points of view, so Iíve got ten days to find out what that is. I
have a good idea what to say, however I am looking for more actual quotes
which I can use, anonymously of course. If anyone has any fresh info in that
regard I would be most grateful. What I say will be translated into
Spanish, French and German.

Regarding the organizers of the conference: Fecris is a European cult watching group based in France. I believe they have applied for NGO status with the EU.
It should be an interesting conference, as its mostly about children raised in sects. Any help you could give me on what to say during the conference would be much appreciated. Any personal feelings or ideas anyone wants to get across they can send to me. They want me to talk specifically about the Family second generation.

In case you want to know more about me,I'm also including an article that the Daily Telegraph in London ran back in February. It gives a picture of what I've been up to since I left and what my plans are for the future.

When Andrew McMillion and his friend Sarah Jacobs were
young, they believed that they were just about to
develop the power to walk through walls and zap their
enemies with fire from their fingertips. From time to
time Sarah would thrust her finger at people to see if
- whoosh! - the magic moment had arrived. But it never

The odd thing is that Andrew and Sarah were teenagers
at the time, not five year-olds. And they had been
told about their supernatural abilities by adults:
members of the Children of God, the religious sect to
which their parents belonged. According to the groupís
doctrines, as the end of the world approached, a
generation of adolescent super-heroes would rise up to
do battle with Satan. These Junior End Time Teens
(Jetts) would be able to perform some extremely cool
tricks: lifting boulders with one hand, flying through
the air, sending swarms of flying insects to torment
their enemies. (The Children of God were big on

But there was a catch. "They told us we might have to
die for the faith," says Sarah. "I liked the idea of
all those freaky powers, but the martyr stuff gave me

The Children of God, now renamed the Family, is
perhaps the strangest religious group thrown up by the
hippie culture of the 1960s: a bizarre and unstable
fusion of Christian fundamentalism and free love. Its
adherents talk about the coming Apocalypse with the
grim relish of Jehovahís Witnesses - but, unlike the
Witnesses, they also have sex with multiple partners.
In the words of their late founder, David "Mo" Berg,
"the Devil hates sex - but God loves it Ö There is
nothing wrong with sex as long as itís practised in
love, whatever it is or whoever itís with, no matter
who or what age or what relative or what manner." A
recent edict, supposedly dictated by Berg from beyond
the grave, suggests that members masturbate while

The Familyís opponents call it a "sex cult". It is the
sort of group that parents dread their children
joining, perhaps after being approached by one of the
street musicians who act as recruiting sergeants for
the movement. But what about children who have never
known anything else? In the heyday of the Children of
God in the 1970s, 5,000 babies were born into or
raised by the group; they included the actor River
Phoenix, who at five years old was a missionary
singing hymns in the main plaza of Caracas, Venezuela,
and at 23 died from drug-induced seizures outside a
West Hollywood night club.

The role of children in the group remains highly
controversial. On the one hand, youngsters are
burdened with the knowledge that they will one day
rebuild a world blasted into the stone age after the
Apocalypse; on the other, they have in the past been
drilled like soldiers and, more rarely, sexually
abused. In the 1990s, Family communes in Britain,
France, Argentina, the United States and Australia
were raided by police after allegations of
paedophilia. The results were inconclusive - some of
the charges were patently false - but there is no
doubt that the experience of being raised in the
paranoid atmosphere of the sect produced some
extremely troubled teenagers.

This is what has brought Andrew and Sarah to a coffee
bar in Notting Hill on a drizzly February afternoon.
Now 25, they have both left the group - in Andrewís
case, after being kept in isolation in a caravan while
his father tried to talk him out of leaving. Their aim
is to provide an organisation for young people who
walk out of the Family (or any other intense
religious movement, such as the Moonies) and find
themselves struggling to survive in a world that they
have been taught to regard as the province of the

"In the first year outside, I cried myself to sleep
night after night," says Andrew. "Other kids leave
home, but we left our entire lives. Some people canít
handle it. They stick together, drag each other down
with their stories of what happened to them, get into
drugs. They desperately need help to integrate into

"Some of them donít even know how to open a bank
account," adds Sarah (not her real name). "When I left
two years ago, going into any sort of office was so
scary, because Iíd been told that social workers,
doctors and psychologists were all evil. Girlfriends
of mine who left became strippers. What else were they
going to do? They had no education, but they knew how
to dance, to wiggle for strangers."

Sarah has dark eyes and slender fingers that dart
around her face as she talks. She has a half-American
accent and the self-composure of an actress; it is
hard to believe that she works in an off-licence in
south London. Andrew, son of an American father and
Norwegian mother, is a round-faced boy in a woolly
sweater and Scandinavian hiking boots; he is studying
anthropology at university in Oslo. He calls people
"dude" and keeps fidgeting because he has given up

It seems appropriate to meet in a coffee bar. The
Children of God was founded in 1968 in a radical cafť
in Huntington Beach, California, where teenage hippies
gathered to hear the white-bearded "Father David" Berg
rage against the established Churches. Later he sent
them out dressed in red sackcloth, smeared with ashes
to proclaim the coming of Doomsday.

"My mom and dad were both surfers, and dad had been
into the hippie drug scene, " says Sarah. "He met
these guys out with their guitars who stopped him to
chat on the beach. Dad and mom were very idealistic
people, and they thought they had discovered the group
that was going to save the world."

The Children of God became notorious for the practice
of "flirty fishing", in which young woman missionaries
would be sent out to bars to seduce lonely
businessmen. Berg also moved his disciples around the
world like chess pieces, bombarding them with new
doctrines and breaking up family units. Sarah spent
her first few years travelling round South America in
a caravan. Like Andrew, she spent her adolescence
moving from country to country, often without her
parents: the two became friends when they were
schooled together in Austria and Hungary.

Andrew was 11 when he was separated from his parents
and sent with his brother to a "teen training camp" in
the Philippines. "There were 30 of us in one room with
military-style bunk beds," he recalls. "We would
march to class, march to work. Many of the lessons
were about the end of the world. They taught us about
Nostradamus, and showed us these clips from CNN of
global disasters, all signs of the End Time.

"The compound was surrounded by walls five metres
high, and there were armed guards with bullet proof
vests. I only left it three times in eight months. I
got sick with malaria, so they put me to work in this
secret room in the basement destroying literature and
taping over videos that might prove embarrassing."

Sarah had a similar experience: at the height of the
campaign against the Family, she was asked to censor
comic books which showed teenage girls sleeping with
men of all ages. "There was all this spooky art with a
high sexual content, and when the trials began, they
wanted us draw over it," she says. "Anyone with any
artistic talent was asked to put little bikinis on the
women and underwear on the boys - their idea of
security was so ridiculous."

Neither Andrew nor Sarah was sexually assaulted, but
they knew that other children were being drawn into
sexual conversations and activity. "Most girls that I
knew had something happen to them," says Sarah. "There
were older men having full sex with girls of 10, 11,
12. It happens in the outside world, too, but people
in the group were using the theology to justify their
own little perversions, saying ĎLet me share Godís
love with youí when actually they just wanted to go to
bed with you. But we were trained to say that it just
didnít happen.

"My father is a wonderful man who never laid a finger
on me, but Iíve asked him why he didnít do something,
knowing that this stuff was happening to other kids.
And he doesnít know what to say."

Andrew remembers that, when he was in the Philippines,
"it wasnít unusual for a 30 year-old woman to come up
to you and deep-kiss you. One guy was 6 years old when
a woman took him. And there was this 10-year-old boy
who just wanted to play with his Lego, but his mother
said he wasnít being Ďlovingí and wanted him to do
sexual stuff. There were men who encouraged their sons
to have sex with their own stepmothers."

Yet, perhaps surprisingly, Andrew and Sarah do not
believe that sex lay at the core of the group, and
they do not accept the anti-cult movementís claim that
the Children of God was effectively a conspiracy to
abuse children. Their most vivid recollections of
their time together in the Family school in Budapest
are of boredom and petty regulations.

"Our joys were extremely simple, you could put it that
way," grins Sarah, sipping her herbal tea. "We got
excited about all the things we werenít allowed to do,
like listening to music that didnít come from the

"Oh, man", says Andrew. "Their music was so bad. We
would listen to the radio with the volume turned right
down, or sneak out and buy tapes and make copies of
copies of copies. We were into anything we could get
our hands on: Chris Rea, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers
- it was sad stuff for us to be into when we were so
young. River Phoenix was a hero to us because his
family had left the group and he was doing so well."

"Yes, but after he died the leadership started getting
these wacky messages from him," adds Sarah. "They told
us River was sorry for what he did and, jeez, if he
had had what we had, he never would have taken those
drugs. They get messages from everybody - Marilyn
Monroe, Tupac Shakur [the murdered rap artist], even
Richard Nixon. Heís working in the nursery in heaven
now, as a penance for Watergate."

Andrew was 14 when he decided to leave the Family, but
waited until he was 16. "When my brother and I first
wanted to go, they put us in this caravan with my
father, and all the European leaders came and tried to
persuade us to stay. In April 1993, we contacted our
relatives in the States and bought tickets, all
secretly. Then we just split. I was looked after by
parents of a friend of mine, a Jewish couple in
Michigan who sent me to high school there. I was
lucky, but it was a very difficult time."

Sarah, meanwhile, was still a believer. "I was a good
girl," she says, looking apologetically at Andrew. "In
a period of a few months, all my young friends walked
out, and I just felt so sorry for them. Thatís how my
little 10 year-old brother feels about me now - sad
that Iíve left the Family." She still finds it
painful to talk about her departure, which happened
more quietly and gradually than Andrewís. She is still
a Christian, but has no time for organised religion;
Andrew describes himself as "an agnostic tending
towards atheism", and says that most children who have
left the Family have found it impossible to sustain a
religious faith.

Sarahís parents, like Andrewís, are divorced; her
father has left the movement, but her mother is a
Family missionary in China, teaching English to
schoolchildren. "I talk to mom through email," she
says. "She tells us she really misses us, but even
when we were in the group we never saw much of her
anyway - I once went three years without seeing her.
People ask how old I was when I stopped living with my
parents, and I say, 12 and a half."

Back in Norway, Andrew has become involved in an
organisation called Go On, which helps the
disorientated children of new religious movements find
jobs, accommodation and moral support; it is supported
by the Norwegian government and Save The Children.
"But the need is so much greater in London, because
you have so many different religious sects here," he
says. One possibility is that a similar venture could
come under the umbrella of Inform, an information
service based at the London School of Economics, which
already offers objective advice on new religious
movements to parents, scholars and former members.

As for those children currently growing up in the
Family, it is difficult to assess the degree of risk
they face. The leadership, now dominated by Bergís
widow Maria, has taken decisive steps to ensure that
there is no sexual contact between adults and minors.
"I can honestly say that physical abuse does not occur
any more, and in my last years in the group I was not
pressurised to have sex," says Sarah.

That said, the strange theology remains: it was Maria
who received the message about masturbation, and the
children in the group still believe that, one day
soon, they will sail through the air and rule over a
post-apocalyptic utopia as kings and queens. The
question is whether these teachings themselves
constitute an insidious form of child abuse, filling
young heads with exotic ideas that are impossible to
reconcile with entry into the adult world.

"The Family always like to quote that line from the
Bible, ĎBy their fruits you shall know themí ", says
Sarah, a note of sarcasm creeping into her voice. "And
I reply, well, look at your fruit - all those young
people messed up in the head after they leave. No
wonder so many of them become atheists. Another line
they like to quote is the saying of Jesus that if you
offend one of these little ones, it would be better
that a millstone be tied round your neck. But I turn
it round and say: How many little ones did you

* Anyone with questions about children in religious
movements can telephone Inform on 020 7955 7654 or
consult its website,

Please email any helpful information to">>. Thank you for your time,
Andrew  (reply to this post)

re.gifsar, July 27, 2002, 10:36
BI case
I'd be interested to know what your views are regaring the BI court case. between Pearl and her mom regarding Sam.
(reply to this post)

re.gifAndrew, May 2, 2002, 08:32
RE: Your Chance to be heard
If doesn't work try
(reply to this post)

re.gifSunny James, May 1, 2002, 19:38
RE: Your Chance to be heard
Andrew, the e-mail posted at the end of your article doesn't work. I send something and it was returned. Please advise.
(reply to this post)

re.gifAndrew, May 2, 2002, 08:29
RE: Your Chance to be heard
Instead of try
(reply to this post)

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