Note: This site is not proNRM or anticult,
the content and links below are for informational purposes
only. See disclaimer for more
Family is a new religious movement/cult/missionary organization.
It was founded in 1969 by David
Berg (Mo), and since his death in 1994, has been led by
his widow Karen Zerby (Maria). Self described "endtime
soldiers for Christ", the group has embraced controversy
from the very beginning. Berg's teachings proclaimed the new
era of the Christian faith, and the rule of the "law
of love". This doctrine teaches that nothing could
be judged good or bad by the action alone, but only by the
motivation behind it. If it was done in love, then it was
acceptable to God. (This was later revised to exclude male
homosexuality, sunbathing and criticism
Going on this basic principle, Berg launched a method of
evangelism through sex he termed "flirty
fishing". A variation on an ancient profession, this
outreach method consisted of female members dressing provocatively
and going out to engage men. They were then use their feminine
wiles to attract them to God, the group and to persuade the
men to compensate them for their time. Since birth control
in any form was forbidden by Berg, this practice stopped in
1988 due to the fear of AIDS.
Other unconventional practices adopted by the Family include
"sharing" of husbands and wives with other members
of the group, explicit videotapes of female members of all
ages recorded for Berg and circulated throughout the group,
common-law marriages with more than one partner, invocation
of the dead, internal detention centers for wayward members
and the donation of all property to the group upon gaining
The Family is currently active around the world and engages
in a number of humanitarian
aid projects. Members are committed to the cause of evangelization
and have attracted many supporters.
Due to the restrictions on family planning and the open
sexual atmosphere within the group, many thousands of
children were born and raised in the Family. For many decades,
above a 6th level was deemed unnecessary, vaccinations and
medical treatment were denounced as a lack of faith, children
reached "adulthood" at 12, and strict corporal
punishment was administered by any adult in the group.
Despite the unorthodox upbringing Family children received,
many are moving on to healthy adulthood, whether they choose
to associate with the Family or not. The purpose of this website
is to provide a dialogue on issues unique to exfamily youth.
Publications Regarding the Family
and Cults, from Recovery from Cults, Michael D. Langone,
Ph.D., & Gary Eisenberg, M.A.
Scholars Know Sin: Alternative Religions and Their Academic
Supporters by Dr. Stephen A. Kent and Theresa Krebs
Children": The Children of God's Second Generation,
Susan Palmer Ph.D (From Sex, Slander and Salvation, 1994,
funded by the Family)
Observations of Young People's Experience and Role in The
Family. Gary Shepherd and Lawrence Lilliston (From Sex,
Slander and Salvation, 1994, funded by the Family)
in New Religions, edited by Susan Palmer and Charlotte
Prophet: A Psychosexual Historical Study of the Children
of God's Leader, David Berg, Stephen A. Kent, Ph.D.
and Re-Indoctrination Programs in the Children of God/The
Family, Stephen A. Kent, Ph.D., Deana Hall, M.A.
and Social Control in the Children of God, Stephen A.
Kent , Ph.D.
From Journalists and Researchers
Page last updated: October 18, 2002
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