Talk:The Family International/Archive 6

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Archive 1 Archive 4 Archive 5 Archive 6 Archive 7

Meaningless Edits

Monger, you're making an awful lot of quite meaningless changes, and in some cases, meaningful ones of questionable motivation. I don't have time to catalog them all, but besides the many ones essentially doing nothing to improve the text, you have added a POV change when replacing "Despite this" with "Surprisingly". Additionally removing the reference to Jesus Movement is quite problematic. If you're making changes: please add value, don't just shift the sand around. It's weakening the article more than anything. Also you made a change using relative font size (90%), always a mistake. gcom 02:49, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Gcom, I will address your complaints in point form below. For the record, I have largely avoided making significant changes to this article in the past, but after several recent accusations of the article being POV both for and against the group, I decided to review the entire article and, where appropriate, improve it as best as I am able. I am largley done with this process, and do not expect to update the article as frequently in the future.
  • Regarding "meaningless changes", I think this is a disingenuous accusation. While I have made many relatively small changes (most in attempts to improve the flow of the article, remove POV, reduce redundancy and unnessesary wordiness, etc.), it is not clear to me whether you are simply worried about the frequency and number of edits, or if in fact you think these changes have negatively impacted the article. If the latter is the case, I'd like to ask that you support this claim with examples. As time permits, I will try to address any concerns and explain the reasoning behind changes you disagree with.
    • I still don't have time to do this. However I stand by my claim that you're "fixing" what isn't broken (for the most part). If you were a better editor I'd be thankful, I'm a very critical reader, and appreciate a good editor more than anything, but I think you need to slow down since your'e not necessarily showing value added. It's not a personal attack, it's just that if someone is going to shuffle everything as an editor would, on a large scale, I'd sure hope they had some base qualifications that were more apparent. (gcom)
      • I don't take it as a personal attack, but it is subjective, and it probably comes as no surprise that I disagree. Also, I have no idea which edits you disagree with. The one example of POV you cited has proven to be false, and the one example of formatting you disagreed with (relative font sizing) was an implementation in place for less than 5 minutes. Supporting your nebulous complaints would make it easier for other editors (including myself) to judge them on their merits, and address any real concerns. --Monger 00:20, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
  • You also questioned my motivations and POV behind edits. However, it appears you are confused about the example you cite (that of supposedly replacing "Despite this" with "Surprisingly"). In reality, the opposite is true, which can be seen in this edit comparison.
    • Apologies for getting that backwards, mea culpa (gcom)
  • As for removing a link to the Jesus Movement article, there is still a link to Jesus Movement in the very first paragraph of this article. I removed the "See also" section, which consisted entirely of two links (Jesus Movement and Hippie), since both articles are already linked to in the first paragraph of the intro. However, I would definitely be in favor of reintroducing a more substantial "See also" section. Even one link to a related page not already linked to in the article would justify it for me.
    • I'd prefer the see also, for links of major referential interest, but I can see how its subjective. However, you're doing deleting, so I'd argue the favor is on the side of the existing text rather than the subjective deletionist (gcom)
  • Finally, you mentioned reducing the font size of the "References" and "Sources" sections. While your opinion that doing this is "always a mistake" is obviously subjective, if you feel strongly about it, feel free to undo the change. While I think it looks much cleaner this way, it's not a big deal to me. However, note that the majority of recently featured Wikipedia articles with more than a few links in their References or Notes sections also reduce the font size of those sections. See also the relevant style recommendations from the Wikipedia help pages.
    • My complain was not about reducing the size. It was about using fixed reductions such as 90%, rather than abstract reductions such as "small" (which you have appeared to use elsewhere, if I'm not mistaken) (gcom)
      • I am using <div class="references-small">, which is the recommended implementation (see the style recommendations I linked to above). I had <div style="font-size:90%"> in place for only about 5 minutes. Note that the official "references-small" class simply sets the font size to 92%. Also note that the <small> tag is a deprecated HTML element. --Monger 00:20, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Input from other editors regarding the value, or lack thereof, of recent changes to the article is welcome. Regards, Monger 05:13, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Just ignore the picking of nits, your edits are fine and gcom's ambiguous criticisms of lacking "base qualifications" are themselves lacking "base qualifications". Be bold and if gcom does not have time to substantiate his criticisms he should not allege them in the first place. - Robert Gentel

Explanation for my changes to the section "The Family (1982-1994)"

Firstly, I think this section of the article was too long and somewhat repetitive.

Secondly, Before my edit this section of the article zig-zagged unnecessarily through time, starting in the early 1980s, then skipping to the early 1990s, then mentioning an event from 1988, then going back to 1982, then skipping forward to 2004, then back to 1989. This makes for very dizzying reading, IMO. I arranged all of this section’s content in chronological order.

Put differently, I feel there was previously little natural “flow” in this section from one paragraph to the next, and too many “flashbacks” and “flash-forwards”. My edit is an attempt to fix that.

Thirdly, Some of the information regarding Davidito (Ricky Rodriguez) doesn’t belong in the section “The Family (1982-1994)”, because it happened after 1994. Additionally, much of this information is available in a separate article about Ricky Rodriguez, and I think a link to that article is sufficient. IMO Ricky Rodriguez should only be mentioned in the history section in the context that he affected the Family’s overall history.Jered1975 08:24, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Explanation for my changes to section “The second generation” is a public web site, and over one hundred specific individuals with their full name and / or photograph attached to their profile have complained of negative experiences in the group on that site. Add to this the number of former second generation members who have complained in court cases and on TV or in newspapers (at least 50 individuals), and there are definitely over one hundred substantial complaints about negative treatment in the group, made by former second-generation members. I will proceed to count the exact number, but in any case, posting the exact number on Wikipedia would not be a good idea because the number is constantly increasing.

I can find less than 20 accounts of positive experiences in the group written by former second-generation members, and there were at but I wrote “less than fifty” to account for possible error.

I changed “Most former second-generation members have chosen to remain publicly silent about their experiences” to “The Family International has asserted that most former second-generation members have chosen to remain publicly silent about their experiences” because, given the number of former second-generation members who have spoken out publicly against the Family, the Family would have to publish statistics of how many second generation members left to prove that “most” of them really have remained silent. Otherwise “many” would be a more accurate word.Jered1975 17:59, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Jered, I think your changes to this section are without merit, and that your annecdotal evidence proves nothing about the accuracy of the numbers. I do agree that it is worthwhile to mention that though "most/many former second-generation members have chosen to remain publicly silent about their experiences", many have indeed spoken out against it, but IMO trying to establish the ratio of those who claim positive v. negative experiences is, for one, irrelevant, and likely impossible to know accurately anyway. --Monger 00:31, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Monger, I see your point, and you are probably correct because the ratio may well change in the future anyway. I reverted my edit somewhat to make it more similar to the previous text. However, I stand by the fact that it is only an assertion that “most” former second-generation members have chosen to remain publicly silent. The actual number that have spoken out publicly (including on public web sites) is constantly growing and may well be more than half of the former second-generation members by now. --Jered1975 03:27, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Feldstein I don't think that this extract is very accurate:

“The Family International has claimed that anecdotal evidence suggests most former second-generation members have chosen to remain publicly silent about their experiences in the group, and that this public silence suggests they have cordial relations with those still in the group.”

This seems to suggest that for the most part that those SGA's still working with the family have generally received some kind of abuse or "situations" wherewith they "choose" to remain "silent"??? Hardly, representative of the SGA's currently in the family. There are countless SGA's who have not been subjected to any harmful experiences and thus have nothing to remain "silent" about. Most probably this was written by a second generation member not with the family anymore, maybe trying to represent those still in the family. Seems a little bit patronizing don't you think? No, offense intended, just hope that we can represent all sides.

I added this to represent those who have not had any harmful experiences. “Though there are also many others who have not experienced any such actions of physical or sexual abuse while in the Family both current and former members.” Feldstein 12:39, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Feldstein, the article does not state or imply that a majority of children who grew up in the group were exposed to abusive situations. Also, I believe you are reading things into the mention of being "publicly silent" that do not exist, when the section is read in context. --Monger 23:33, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Widespread allegation!

Jared1975 "Widespread adult-child sexual contact" is not supported by factual evidence. Not one case of abuse was found in the 700 children of Family members examined psychologically and medically by often hostile investigators in the early '90s. Undoubtedly you will point to testimony in the case in the UK as "proof." That case was a wardship case in which there were hardly any rules for what was allowed as admissible testimony. The presiding judge told those giving testimony of "abuse" at the time that they were free to pursue the matter legally by presenting their cases to the authorities. Not one of the witnesses did which speaks volumes as to the viability of their charges. It also speaks volumes that the judge decided that there was nothing that justified him taking the ward involved in the case from his mother who was/is a Family member. Factual evidence along with the interviews/interrogations conducted with those 700 children I mentioned earlier did not elicit evidence or allegations of abuse. It is not NPOV on your part, as you claim, to state something as fact that hasn't been substantiated as fact.--Cognomen2 15:44, 25 October 2005 (UTC)

Cognomen2: Why should I bring up the British court case? There is video evidence, photographic evidence, and written evidence, most of it filmed, photographed and published by the group itself. Did you see the video clip aired on the Australian 60 minutes show in which a family member relates how he just shared his new wife with his 5 year old son? Then he said "So the Lord is really setting us freer and freer to obey and to be free." The only possible conclusion is that sharing his wife with his son was obeying family policy. Add to that the testimony of hundreds of former members (many of whom risked their reputations to appear on television), and you've got very strong evidence of widespread sexual contact between adults and minors in the early 1980s.
Let me briefly detail my issues with the previous version of the sentence I edited:
First of all, even current members know that what they are being hounded for is the group's past policies about sex between adults and children. Why use the very general term "child abuse?" True, there was some harsh discipline, but that did not define the group as being different from other elements of society such as boarding schools. Furthermore, some people (including, it seems, Karen Zerby) think adult / child sex is not child abuse, which makes using the word "child abuse" a POV.
Second, "allegations" of adult / child sexual contact were made by current members as well, not just former members. In fact, they were much more than allegations, they were direct references to events.
Which brings me to my third point, there is so much evidence of sexual contact between adults and minors in the group that "allegations" is not the correct word to describe this evidence.--Jered1975
700 children is not a majority of Family children, and since very few forms of sexual abuse leave lasting physical evidence, and anyone who has studied the Family knows that its children are well trained to lie to police and psychological investigators, I do not consider this to validate the Family's claims that abuses were isolated incidents. Justice Ward wrote: "I am totally satisfied that a high proportion of children were exposed to the sight or sound of adult sexual activity. I am satisfied that many children and teenagers engaged in sexual activity with other children or teenagers. I am furthermore satisfied that 'a significant number of children, more within The Family than outside it, had masturbation and even sexual intercourse forced upon them by adults'." He did not decide that "there was nothing that justified him taking the ward from his mother". If you read the judgement, you will see that he struggled for months with the decision and only allowed the mother custody after Zerby and Kelly made considerable policy changes and renunciation of past doctrine. The attempt to discredit the witnesses who testified in the case because they did not press charges is absurd -- How could they hope to press charges against the leaders of your group, who change their legal names and move frequently to avoid prosecution?
Having said that, I do acknowledge that it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine to what extent the sexual contact (notice I say "contact", since much of the Family's lifestyle in the late 70s and early 80s would be considered sexually abusive even if no contact had ever taken place -- see [1]) was "widespread", so the introduction should be worded more neutrally. However, I do wish to see these viewpoints discussed in another part of the article. Cheers ThePedanticPrick 16:32, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
The only "widespread" abuse was during the early '90s when 700 COG children on several continents were forcibly ripped off from their parents by government agents (often accompanied by the usual media circus) at the behest of apostates spouting atrocity stories. They were then incarerated in abusive institutions with abusive forced sexual examinations until the facts reluctantly came out that they were not sexually abused in the group, and therefore they were ALL released with no charges pressed against any adult member. To infer that these 700 kidnappings weren't enough is more than callous. (What, "We have to destroy these children in order to save them"?) Then to call these children trained liars is over the top. Shame!--Kibbitzer 18:12, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Kibbitzer: my edit did not say "widespread abuse". I wrote "widespread adult-child sexual contact". Since then I changed it to "sexual contact between adults and minors"-- Jered1975
Oh, Kibbitzer. Just stop it. You know very well that the children were trained to be "Deceivers Yet True". Essentially, yes, the children were "trained liars" and no matter how you try to explain it or whitewash it, we all know what went on. These "government agents" were not kidnapping anyone. You know very well the definition of "kidnapping" and statements like that show your true POV. Also, can you prove that there were 700 children? Yes. I am back! --Thorwald 19:11, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
"Just stop it"? Oh, absolutely (depending on what "it" is) ... if and when leaders ("editors") and followers of your anti-cult cult (who congregate on your the website that FEATURES and HIGHLIGHTS a murderer's homemade video discussing his plans to kill a defenseless woman) stop trying to bully their (POV) way into every sentence of Wikipedia articles like this one and stop persisting in calling the COG children (or any religious group's children you don't agree with) Nazi- and Hitlerian-trained liars. Belittling and mocking groups/religions you don't agree with is bigotry and shameful.--Kibbitzer 00:11, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Thorwald you know better. It is impossible to train every one of those 700 children to act in such a way. If it were people would be knocking down our door for the secret. If kids are lying trained investigators can spot that. Are you saying that the authorities on three continents where raids took place are that incompetent? Also, I see you like to point Deceivers Yet True out but you do not put anything in about the many parts of our publications that talk about Openess and Honesty. Yes we can do the stats if need be about the number of children caught up in raids or investigations. Yes we all know what went wrong but it is you that is trying to paint the phony picture. And don't you think saying that the children were trained liars is POV. I wonder who is doing the lying here?--Cognomen2 22:38, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Cognomen and Kibbutzer: I am a new person to add to this article. I am not communicating with any one from either pro or ex COG/Family associations here other than the Fact that I am an ex-member of the COG/The Family of Love/The Family now called The Family International. I felt a need to write something here because I remember from COG's earliest times that not only children but young adults were trained on how to speak to media and outsiders. There were frequent classes on the subject and one time at TSC (speaking earliest training here) the person in charge of security disguised himself as a reporter and we were told by a top COG leader at the time that we were to be interviewed and to feel free to answer the questions of the reporter however we wished to. The disguised family member posing as a reporter entered and asked questions that a reporter may ask to find out about the COG. When enough information was leaked in a way that would not be approved he took off his disguise and proceeded to strongly "rebuke" us all for the "wrong" answers that were given. I was glad that I asked nothing as those people that asked the "wrong" things were shamed to death. Likewise, as the years progressed I was around children and remember how common it was to teach children how to behave and to respond to outsiders. I have to agree with Thorwald that there was systematic training on how to discredit ex-members and how to respond to the "system". It is not unlike the Hitler Youth Camps. It is a good comparison and one you are probably unable to process right now because as you write you are likely responding from the very training that is being discussed here.FactsNotFiction 17:58, 26 December 2005 (UTC)FactsNotFiction
Cognomen/NTL: "Thorwald you know better". That is right. I do. And that is why I wrote what I wrote before your comment. It is not impossible to train 700 children to "act in such a way" (i.e. lie). All one must do to see my point is read up on Hitler and the Nazis (and we are talking about millions here, not a few hundred). So, one minute you and Kibbitzer are calling the government agents (really just social workers) "kidnappers" and "abusers" and the next you are saying they are really "trained to spot liars" and "competent" in what they do. Which is it? About "Deceivers Yet True": Sorry. That publication was written for a specific purpose. I know that and you know that. All of your publications about "openness" (sic) and "honesty" (which I challenge you to reference) were all about being open and honest to your leaders not the "Romans" (that is, the Systemites or non-members). Your group has a history of having zero problem deceiving non-members and Berg et al. wrote quite a lot about it (feel free to call me out on this one . . . believe me, I have access to all of your publications). You know all of this very well, Cognomen, and this Wikipedia article will not represent questionable ethics as if they were facts, at least not while I am around. Yes. Let us "do the stats" on how many children were "kidnapped". "it is you that is trying to paint the phony picture" Come on. We are all adults here. Don't stoop to such low-level attacks. Don't even try to imply that I am somehow lying about any of this. That is silly and you know it. I have nothing to hide. As we say, "I have little to gain from the truth but you have much to lose from it". Give me specifics. What exactly am I supposedly "lying" about? I challenge you to it! --Thorwald 16:06, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Thorwald stop talking nonsense. What authority can you cite to give credence to the claims that all the children can be trained that way besides making some wild allusion to Nazi Germany. The investigators were competent at what they did except it seems in Argentina where some falsified some data, and that came out in the court case. However, the raids were inexcusable and the people who perpetrated them were wrong as proven by the outcome of each of those cases. And if you want to be petty about a typo then that shows how vacuous your arguments are. So you have access to all our publications. Quite frankly, so what! I hope they do you some good reading them. The listing of the various court cases can be found under Case Histories at [2]. Approximately 450 children were taken in the raids in Australia, Spain, France and Argentina and the other 250 children were examined by authorities in Brazil, Peru, Sweden, the US, and the UK, while quite a number were also interviewed and psychologically tested by a private clinic in the US. Now as to whether we are all adults here I have my doubts. I am not trying to paint a phony picture and yes when the truth has come out as it did in all those court cases it did vindicate the Family. I am not saying there weren't things that happened in the past that should not have happened. That is brought out in the article. As to you having something to hide, I don't know if you do or not. You don't tell us anything about yourself so how am I to know. I didn't say you were lying, I just said I wondered who was. Perhaps it is the hit dog that howls. I don't know. I do think your claims that somehow each one of those children could be trained to somehow lie and also hide evidence of abuse from trained investigators is ridiculous. But what you do here is throw out allegations, even wild ones, as though they were facts and I am left to try and put things in a realistic and factual light. I tended to think at one time we had the ability to work together on this even though we were coming from different sides of the issue. But that doesn't seem the case. --Cognomen2 00:08, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Cognomen2 and Kibbitzer: Legally taking children into protective custody following the issuance of court orders determining that there is reasonable cause to do so is not "kidnapping." You say all these children were returned to their parents. Can you say the same for all the children who were actually kidnapped by The Family? Instead of a few months, many parents whose children were abducted by The Family spent years waiting for The Family to return their children. They desparately searched for their children and, despite court orders, international arrest warrants and raids on Family homes in search of abducted children, The Family refused to obey the law and return the children. In at least one case, a mother died while waiting for the Family to return her children and by then it was, of course, too late. Yet in this same case, The Family waited more than two years after her death to return only two of her four abducted children to their father. While their mother was dying of cancer and, as she wrote to Judge Julio Campora of the Tribunal de Menores de Mercedes (Argentina), desperately hoping for one last chance to hug her children before she died, The Family and Susan Claire Borowik helped a vicious, violent and sadistic child abuser named Stuart Harris Baylin to abduct them. During their abduction, they suffered horrific physical abuse (including beatings that resulted in bleeding, black eyes, bruises and unconsciousness). Their medical needs were neglected to the point that one of them lost partial sight in one eye (because The Family refused to pay a few hundred dollars for the surgery and medical treatment reccomended by a doctor in Mexico) and another one nearly died after The Family decided that more than a week of prayer and exorcism was an effective treatment for acute apendicitis. Can you tell me if anything like this happened to the children who were legally taken into protective custody? Did any of the Family parents whose children were lawfully taken into protective custody die before their children were returned to them? Did any of these parents have to wait 5 or 10 or 20 years to see their children again? Were any of the children beaten until they were bloody and bruised while they were in protective custody? These are serious questions and I expect you to think about them and answer them honestly if you are going to equate legally placing children in protective custody to actual cases of child abduction. The Family's claim that 700 children were examined and that no signs of abuse were found in a single one of them is absolutely false. The constant repetition of this claim (with various numbers given as to the number of children examined) does not make it true. It would, however, be accurate to say that signs of abuse were only found in a very small minority of the children examined. For example, in one case in Argentina, experts examined 157 children and only detected signs of abuse in less than a dozen children. The Family disputed these findings and two judges chose to partially disregard the reports and findings of a team of highly qualified and experienced social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and medical doctors. Nevertheless, the thousands of pages of court documents in this case clearly indicate, in exhaustive detail, that some of the examined children were abused. Not suprisingly, The Family's woefully incomplete, out of date and inaccurate "Dossier" on some of the the court cases it has been involved in does not include a single complete court document. The Family does not want anyone to read the complete versions of the court rulings and opinions it publishes tiny (and in some cases mistranslated) excerpts of because they clearly demonstrate that The Family is lying when it repeatedly claims that 700 (or 500 or 600) children were examined and that no signs of abuse were detected in a single one of them. Ironically, their position would be stronger if they simply reported the fact that abuse was only detected in a small minority of the children examined. If they told the truth, they could make a persuasive argument that the incidence of abuse in their orgaznization is much lower than the rate in the rest of society (their conclusion and position would still be absolutely wrong but at least it would be more credible). Instead, they choose to repeat the lie that no signs of abuse were found in a single one of the children examined. I assume they include Ricky Rodriguez as one of the 700 children who was examined. In that case, Lilliston actually concluded that Rick had been sexually abused at a very young age. Yet, despite Lilliston's report, the graphic evidence in The Story of Davidito documenting adult women performing oral sodomy on Davidito and sexually fondling him, adults exposing their genitals to him and having sex in front of him, inducing him to perform simulated sexual intercourse, sexually exploiting him and inducing him to perform in child pornography, and Ricky's own account (corroborated by other witnesses) that his own mother sexually abused him again in 1987, the Family's official position (as repeated many times this year in media reports and official statements issued by the Family International's spokesperson) is that Ricky was never sexually abused as a child. Obviously, The Family still has a very different definition of child sexual abuse than the rest of the world. Another problem with the Family's claim that 700 children were examined is that the number is very likely inaccurate. As far as I can tell, The Family has simply added up the number of children taken into protective custody and/or examined to detect signs of abuse (since 1983, when Canada took Family children into protective custody as part of a child abuse investigation). This method is guaranteed to produce an inaccurate number because, in the case of children taken into protective custody more than once in separate cases, it counts children more than once. Please correct me if I'm wrong about this and the Family has indeed carefully made sure that it is not overcounting children who were examined in separate cases) Many of the children who were examined and found not to have been abused were actually sexually and physically abused in the Family. It was a tragic failure of the systems that civil societies have put in place to protect children. These experts were not merely incomptetent but rather ill-prepared to deal with consequences of the Family's system of intensive indoctrination and preparation of the children to prevent abuse from being detected. Besides the "Deceivers yet True" indoctrination which others have mentioned, The Family also intensively trained and prepared children for the examinations. This preparation included indoctrination, drills, rehearsals, mock interviews, and even having the children practice drawing the pictures that psychologists and psychiatrists would use as diagnostic tools. Regardless of how professionally qualified the experts appointed by the courts were, none of them were adequately prepared for the lengths to which the Family was prepared to go to protect their organization. Professionals investigating suspected child abuse rarely encounter cases in which virtually every single person who is aware of the abuse or whom the child has told about it will never report it and will lie about it. Most child molesters don't intensively train their victims on how to answer questions by social workers and psychologists and have them practice diagnostic tests until they are skilled enough to produce results which will fool a professional. Thus, it is not surprising that in many cases they failed to detect signs of abuse. In the cases where they did find signs of abuse, there were problems with jurisdiction, missing witnesses and defendants, not being able to determine who the perpetrator was or when and where the abuse took place, the children denying any abuse took place as they had been trained, and the adults, who were responsible for their care and well-being and aware of the abuse, lying to protect a corrupt criminal enterprise masquerading as a legitimate new religious movement. In regards to how or whether the sexual abuse of children in the COG/TF was widespread or rampant, I think the article should clearly state that this is disputed. The article also needs more information on the Family's statements regarding child abuse in its organization and the various years it claimed to have discovered that child abuse was occurring and the stringent policies it claims to have put in place to protect children. I think it is very important to note the Family's official consistent, clear and unequivocal position(s) that it banned the sexual abuse of children and declared it to be an excommicable offense in 1985, that it banned the sexual abuse of children in 1986 but didn't make it an excommunicable offense until 1988, that it both banned and made the sexual abuse of children an excommucicable offense in 1986, and that it banned and made the sexual abuse of children an excommunicable offense in 1988 . These statements (only a few are listed here, there are others such as spokesperson Daniel Alexander's statement to NBC NOW in 1993 that The Family banned the sexual abuse of children in 1987) clearly demonstrate the Family's level of committment to logic, honesty, integrity and child abuse prevention.

When rumours began to surface that some members were possibly having sexual contact with adolescents, action was taken to clearly explain to all members that not only was such conduct not condoned, but strictly forbidden. In 1985, an internal memorandum was sent out to all members, emphasizing that any sexual contact between adults and underage minors was completely unacceptable in any of our fellowships.

From that point on (1985), any adult member found guilty of having any kind of sexual contact with a minor was excommunicated from our fellowships.

Source: "OUR REPLIES TO ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE Issued by World Services on the Collective Behalf of the Fellowship of Independent Missionary Communities Commonly Referred to as The Family. June 1992" [3]

"92. We’ve been accused of flip-flopping in our stance on adult/minor sex. We haven’t. It is clear that 14 years ago, in 1986, Dad and I put a ban on any adult/minor sexual activity. In 1988, 12 years ago, we made it excommunicable and it has remained so since then. We made it quite clear that any such activity was wrong and not allowed within our communities. While the theological discussion may have continued, the fact is that any adult/minor sex was excommunicable." Source: None of These Things Move Me! — By Maria and Peter, CM/FM#3307, July 2000[4]

"Our strict policy disallowing sexual interaction between adults and underage minors was not always clearly stated in our literature. It was with great dismay that we came to realize that during a transitional stage of our movement, from 1978 until approximately 1985, there were cases when minors were subject to sexually inappropriate advances. In hindsight, we realize we should have anticipated potential problems arising from our liberal stance toward sexuality and established more stringent rules. This was corrected officially in 1986, when any contact between an adult and minor (any person under 21 years of age) was rendered an excommunicable offense. This was revised in March 2003 to 18 years of age." Source: Beliefs and Conduct Regarding Relationships and Sexuality Copyright © 2004 by The Family International. Last modified: 01/28/2005 01:53:59 PM [5]

"Due to the fact that our current zero tolerance policy regarding sexual interaction between adults and underage minors was not clearly stated in our literature published before 1986, we came to the realization that during a transitional stage of our movement, from 1978 until 1986, there were cases when some minors were subject to sexually inappropriate advances. This should not have happened. In hindsight, it became clear that potential problems arising from our liberal stance towards sexuality should have been anticipated and stringent rules established earlier on. This was corrected officially in 1986, when any contact between an adult and minor (any person under 21 years of age) was declared an excommunicable offense. All previous literature underwent careful scrutiny to ensure that it was in line with this position and questionable publications were expunged. The policy that has been in place since 1986 has remained unchanged and infractions result in excommunication from the group."

Source: Statement From Family International 'International Christian Fellowship' Issues Statement — Briefing from Claire Borowik for The Family International, 18 January 2005 [6]

"The Family has a zero-tolerance policy toward abusive treatment of minors, punishable by excommunication, a policy which has been in place since 1988.

In the late '70s the Family's founder, David Berg, and others published some articles in regards to sex being a God-created natural activity, which could be engaged in without inhibition or sin. This opened the door for sexual experimentation between adults and adults, and minors with minors. However, unfortunately in some cases the lines blurred. In 1986, David Berg and Maria David, realizing that stringent safeguards hadn't been put in place to protect minors, banned such conduct involving minors and put those safeguards in place. In 1988, David Berg renounced all literature, including his own, that indicated in any way that sexual activity with minors was permissible. All such literature was expunged from our communities. He clearly stated that any sexual activity between an adult and a minor was not to be tolerated. It was from that time forward that the Family made this grounds for immediate excommunication from our fellowship. "

Source: A Statement on the Deaths of Angela Smith and Ricky Rodriguez. By The Family International. January 23, 2005. [7]PDF

Manicmoe 23:53, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Manicmoe I am sorry that this happened to you but why don't you make it clear that it is your own story and not write as though it is someone else's. I am not aware of all the facts but I am sure there is another side to your story. However, that doesn't mean I don't sympathize with the hardships you encountered. But you will also have to admit that there were as many or not more people who spirited away children from Family members. I know of several instances where a spouse left the Family clandestinely with their kids while the other spouse was out for the day. However, I will dispute the account you have given that the children were trained like you say. Yes there were publications that said how to answer standard questions about the Family and about their schooling and perhaps some homes had some practice sessions. But to the extent you claim where they even practiced drawing the standard psychological pictures I personally have never heard of nor experienced. The question and answer sessions that I remember were along the lines of who their dad and mom were, their legal names and address and so on. And I don't think anything can really prepare kids, many as young as toddlers, for the terror they experienced in those raids where the cops came in like storm troopers and woke kids up by sticking automatic weapons in their faces. As for the dates, yes there have been discrepancies but the actual dates are that in 1986 it was banned and in 1988 it was made excommunicable. Regrettably, it should have been excommunicable at the same time as the banning but we can't go back and change things now. But I don't understand why it is such an issue with you whether it happened 19 or 17 years ago.--Cognomen2 02:05, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Cognomen says: "I don't understand why it is such an issue with you whether it happened 19 or 17 years ago." I'll tell you why it's such an issue. It's because for a child, it means 2 years of abuse. Your group should look into what experts say about child abuse. 2 years can ruin a life. No, the victims are not at fault for suffering this damage. I rootin' tootin sure hope you don't have any authority in that group with so many kids when you are capable of saying something like "I don't understand why it is such an issue with you whether it happened 19 or 17 years ago." And you consider your group a loving, Christian, compassionate environment! Two years is a long, long, long time when you're an abused child. 04:15, 17 November 2005 (UTC)seal Look, what I was pointing out here is that any sexual activity with minors was banned in 1986. And in 1986, minors meant anyone under 18. It was subsequently made excommunicable in 1988. So there was not "2 years of abuse." Besides, I was there. I didn't see the abuse that you are inferring. Judicial, social service, and other investigations didn't turn it up in the 700 or so children examined. I am not saying that there wasn't any abuse going on in the Family, but I am saying reports of it are grossly exaggerated. If you talk to the critics it is nearly always "I know someone who was," or "I know someone who knows someone who was." Besides, the fact that we as a group realized that safeguards needed to be put in place 19 years ago and stiffened those safeguards two years later I think put us ahead of the pack in taking action. --Cognomen2 02:05, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
Cognomen2: I have no idea what you are referring to when you write "I am sorry this happened to you." What do you think happened to me that you are sorry about and why should you be sorry about it? In my most recent post to the discussion page, I did not write about anything that happened to me. It is not "my story." I am not one of the four abducted children in the case I mentioned nor am I the parent of any of those children. I was never taken into protective custody after raids on Family homes in any country. I may or may not be a close friend or relative of the victims in the child abduction and abuse cases I have mentioned but I don't see how that is at all relevant. I am a former second generation member of the COG/TF and I have taken a clear position against child abuse. I do not believe, as some members of the Family seem to, that child abduction and abuse are religious freedoms. Regardless of religious convictions, I don't believe anyone has the right to abduct, sexually abuse and torture children. I don't have to have any personal connection or relation to a victim or perpetrator to condemn the abduction, sexual abuse and torture of children as evil acts that should not be tolerated in a civil society and to be outraged about it. Any personal connection or relationship I may or may not have to the victims does not change the facts and is irrelevant. You have admitted here to being a current member of the Family and some contributors have even speculated as to your identity. I have refrained from such speculations because I believe it is irrelevant and counterproductive to the goal of creating an accurate and NPOV article. I have not asked you or anyone else here to disclose your name and identity, your personal history with the Family or even asked you whether you have been personally involved in any Family-related legal dispute or child custody case. You have made it clear that you are a member of the Family and, as far as I can tell, you have consistently used the same or a similar username when editing this wikipedia article. As a member of the Family, you obviously have a clear personal and financial interest in making sure that the Family is portrayed in as positive a light as possible and I evaluate the factual accuracy of your edits and comments with that in mind.
What I wrote is based on publically available records such as court documents, newspaper, magazine and television reports, web pages and other less publically available sources such as medical records provided by the victims.
Yes, there may be "another side" but please tell me where I can find it. The Family claims that they won every single court case and that they were completely vindicated but for many cases, there is not a shred of evidence to back up that false claim. Please tell me where I can find the Family's position on the Eckhardt, Frouman, Pickus, Richert and Riddell child abduction cases (to name just a few). Did the Family win the Eckhardt, Frouman, Pickus, Richert and Riddell child abduction cases? Were they completely vindicated? I have exhaustively searched the Family's "Dossier" and other sources and I have yet to see any explanation at all of the Family's position on these court cases or any evidence that the Family "won" them and was completely vindicated. I suppose they have a different definition of winning. Perhaps, The Family believes they win when the victims or witnesses die, the statute of limitations expires or no trial is ever held because the defendant is an international fugitive from justice despite arrest warrants and extradition orders.
Regarding your claim to know of "several instances where a spouse left the Family clandestinely with their kids while the other spouse was out for the day," please explain whether these were actually cases of child abduction. Are you alleging that these people did not have joint or sole legal custody of their children and that they did not go to court to obtain sole legal custody if they felt that was necessary to protect their children? I challenge you to list one verifiable and specific case where someone left the Family and abducted the children of a mother and father who remained in the Family. Please tell me how many ex-members have international arrest warrants for child abduction. How many ex-members have abducted children and refused to comply with court orders in multiple countries and jurisdictions to return them to their parents? I don't think you have any evidence whatsoever to back up your claim that ex-members have abducted more children than Family members. But even if you did, so what? Does that justify the abduction, abuse and torture of children by anyone? It's a very poor defense to argue that you are justified in committing crimes because other people have committed crimes.
Regarding your comments about the training and preparation of children in anticipation of raids and examinations by professionals appointed by law enforcement and child welfare agencies, there is clearly a lot you don't know or are pretending not to know. Nevertheless, it is still amazing that you admit the children had to be coached and prepared to answer very basic questions like their address, their legal names, who their parents are, where they went to school, etc. Perhaps toddlers would have some difficulty with these questions (then again, they might not be asked most of them) but any slightly normal child who is not being abused and whose physical, emotional and educational needs are being met should not need any coaching. Are you suggesting that some of the older children did not know their legal names and those of their parents, who and where their parents were and what school they attended? Are you admitting that these children were so isolated from society that they would need special coaching and training to answer such basic questions that any 4 or 5-year-old "Systemite" child would be able to easily answer?
Yes, children were required to read and memorize the Family's policy statements. Children over 7 years old were required to read Family publications such as the "Victory in Babylon" series. There were drills and practice sessions and, in some (not every single one), children practiced completing the drawing exercises that professionals would use as a psychological diagnostic tool. Just because you are not personally aware of all these practices does not mean they did not exist.
I am not claiming the intensive preparation and training happened everywhere and in every single case. Clearly, there were some cases where it did not. For example, I don't believe that the 40 or so Family children who were taken into protective custody in 1983 by child welfare agencies in Canada investigating reports of child sexual abuse in the Family were specially prepared in any way except for the normal indoctrination regarding the System and the authorities that every Family child received.
Perhaps you are so used to it that you don't see the enormous credibility problem created by all the "discrepancies" (I prefer the term "lies) in Family statements and publications. This year alone, your spokesperson, has appeared on national television in the United States 3 times and unequivocally stated that the Family banned and made the sexual abuse of children an excommunicable offense in 1986 and that, in 1986, it enacted "stringent policies" to prevent child abuse in TF. In January, she issued two contradictory written statements regarding this within days of each other (one on January 18 and the other on January 23). The Family International still has both of these contradictory statements on its website. Those who have examined the Family's publications and practices have discovered that the "stringent policies" that Borowik claims were put in place in 1986 actually consisted of a 4-page memorandum that Family members were required to burn immediately after reading. Furthermore, many Family members did not receive or even hear about this memo until 1987. The children who were being sexually abused were certainly not even informed of the existence of these "stringent policies" until much later. A memorandum that must be burned immediately after reading is not evidence of a "stringent policy." Depending on which Family statement or publication one chooses to believe and have faith in, The Family did not make the sexual abuse of minors an excommunicable offense until the end of 1988 or early 1989. At the same time that the sexual abuse of children was allgedly "banned" but not an excommunicable offense, there were other "crimes" that were excommunicable offenses. Perhaps you can explain why "looking like a hippie" was an excommunicable offense in 1982 but sexually abusing children was not:

24. AND I DON'T WANT TO SEE ANOTHER HIPPIE IN THIS OUTFIT! I don't want to see another hippie-looking person on video! I don't want to see another scraggly-looking beard that's not well-cut & well-trimmed, another long-hair idiot with hair hanging clear down below his shoulders, or another slovenly sloppy dirty-dressed dirty beggar, I just don't want to see it! Period! We're gonna excommunicate'm!

25. THEY'RE GONNA GET ONE WARNING & THAT'S IT! I don't think they deserve two. I've given them warnings before. They're gonna get one warning from their local Official to get dressed & cut their hair & trim that beard & look decent like the other normal tourists, or out they go! Out of the country as far as we're concerned. We're gonna have nothing to do with'm, we're gonna excommunicate'm, no more Mags, no more communication or fellowship with the Family, put'm out if they won't obey! Put'm out of the Church, as the New Testament calls it, which is the fellowship of the Saints, the assembly of the Saints. God's Word says after the first & second admonition, "him that is an heretic" reject!--If he won't obey & do the right thing! (Tit.3:10)

Source: FACE UP, DRESS UP, TRIM UP, STRAIGHTEN UP!--OR OUT YOU GO!--By Father David DO 1202 3/82 The Mo Letters, Vol. XII, pages 22-23. Copyright 1982 by World Services. PRINTED IN SPAIN. Closas-Orcoyen, S.L. ISBN: 84-499-5734-6. Deposito legal: M. 25.579-1982.

In any case, even if the Family had a consistently enforced policy to excommunicate every single person in its organization who has ever sexually or physically abused a child (and not just those who abused children after December 1988 or January 1989), that would not be enough to qualify as a stringent policy designed to prevent child abuse. It would be much better than their current policy, but nowhere near enough. They need to start complying with the law and report every single case of reasonably suspected child abuse to law enforcement and child welfare agencies and provide restitution and a sincere apology to the victims. And for the record, saying they are sorry to anyone who "may have been hurt" while at the same time stating that the individual victims who have publically come forward are all lying, exagerating and have been brainwashed into believeing they were abused is not a sincere apology. How they can they apologize for what they say never happened? Manicmoe 06:30, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Manicmoe: You have told Peter Frouman's story repeatedly and have inserted numerous hotlinks to his web site so it is to be expected that people might begin to wonder why. But if you are not Peter Frouman then I guess I don't feel sorry for you. Hope that makes you feel better.
Sure the kids who were old enough studied most of the Family's policy and doctrinal statements that were appropriate for them. What is insidious about that? That is not coaching children to lie. You made the claim they practiced drawing standard pictures. Do you know for sure if any of the children picked up in the raids practiced drawing those pictures beforehand? If not, then it is irrelevant to the argument. And yes, of course I was referring to young children when I said they made sure they knew their name and address, not older ones who already knew. Your accusations at every turn are often tedious and ridiculous. You ask why child abuse was not excommunicable earlier. It is kind of like saying why weren't all the crimes listed in the penal code of every country in the world made excommunicable. That CA was made excommunicable shows that the issue was taken seriously. And by the way, can you give me a list of churches that made CA excommunicable and when? Perhaps a little comparative study would be enlightening. Oh, and when and where was mandatory reporting made law that you want us to comply with? Do you have any proof that CA has taken place in the Family where and since a mandatory reporting law is or was in effect?
I am close friends with someone who had her children ripped off when she was away, by her husband who did not have sole custody of the children. It is called child abduction and it is a crime. He and the kids disappeared off the radar for years and when she did finally find them many years later, she found out that he told them she had abandoned them. So I have first-hand knowledge of a situation, which you so lightly dismiss. And when we refer to the Family winning the court cases we are referring to when it was the Family who was directly attacked as a group, not individuals who were involved in custody and abduction disputes. You list five cases and you say there are more. Maybe so! But I tend to think that when put into the overall picture they are pretty minor cases compared to the ones we have been referring to. I know they are your pet hobby horse but I think most people will see it for a pretty small horse in the overall.--Cognomen2 00:51, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Cognomen2: The children were trained to lie to protect the organization and your denials will not change that well-documented fact. Yes, I know for a fact that children taken into protective custody in Argentina (and other countries) practiced drawing pictures used as a psychological diagnostic tool. You imply that only "younger" children participated in the question and answer practice sessions and drills. This is false and you know it. But, just of of curiosity, what exactly do you mean when you refer to "younger" and "older" children? That is very vague so I think you should tell us the specific age ranges you are referring to.
Excommunicating a full-time member of the Family is not the same as excommunicating a member (whose involvement in the religious organization may be limited to attending a service once a week or less) of a church. The Family is not a church by any stretch of the imagination, but if we are going to compare The Family to the churches, full-time Family members are similar to the ministers, clergy, missionaries and employees of a church. Virtually all churches have rules that don't allow those found to have sexually abused and tortured children to serve as ministers, clergy, members or employees of the church. Members of most churches do not have to be told that sexually abusing children is wrong and should not be tolerated and promoted. It should also be noted that, unlike the Family, none of these churches developed a theology justifying and promoting the sexual abuse and torture of children. For example, the Vatican never published anything like the Davidito book, documenting (with photographic evidence) and advocating the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Unlike David Berg, the Pope never had members of his church send him video cassettes of children dancing nude and engaging in sexual activity with adults. The priests who abused children did it behind closed doors and in secret. In contrast, the sexual abuse of children in the Family was openly practiced and not a secret. Thousands of members who received the Davidito letters and later the Davidito book documenting in graphic detail the sexual abuse and exploitation of children accepted it and most of them did nothing about it except to use these publications as an example and manual to abuse their own children. They failed to immediately (or ever) report the production, publication and distribution of child pornography by the Family to law enforcement agencies. The Catholic Church did cover up the sexual abuse of children by priests and did not do enough to protect children. For this, they will end up paying billions of dollars in restitution to victims and some priests have been sent to prison. They have also enacted strong policies to protect children that make the Family's policies seem like a cruel joke on child abuse victims. What has the Family done about child abuse that demonstrates it takes the issue seriously? Virtually nothing. According to their own publications, they waited 11 years (since 1977 when the top leaders of the group started sexually abusing their own children and publishing photographs and accounts of the abuse as an ideal example to follow and were thus fully aware that children were being abused) to put in place a policy that allowed hundreds of child abusers to remain in TF and be responsible for the care and welfare of children and served only to protect child abusers rather than children.
Mandatory child abuse reporting laws exist in the United States and many other countries. In the United States, mandatory child abuse reporting has been in federal law since 1963 and by 1968, every state had a mandatory child abuse reporting law. I don't know all the specific details of every single mandatory child abuse law in other countries but many countries have had these laws since the 1950s and 1960s. In a few countries, mandatory child abuse reporting laws were not enacted or strengthened until the late 1980s and early 1990s. And yes, there are a few countries that don't have any such laws. These laws differ in who the mandatory reporters are. In some states, mandatory reporters are professionals (doctors, teachers, child care providers, clergy, etc.) who come in contact with children and in other states, any person is required to report suspected child abuse. Failing to do so is a crime punishable by jail time and fines. The general standard is reasonably suspected child abuse and not having absolute proof as you seem to believe. The mandatory reporter is not required to investigate and prove the child abuse; that is the job of law enforcement and child welfare agencies. What triggers the mandatory repiorting requirement is simply a reasonable suspicion. I would think that actually witnessing a child being abused, seeing photographs and video tapes of child being abused, reading a report about the child abuse or hearing the child descibe being abused would enough for any rational person to reasonably suspect child abuse. The Family does not and never has reported cases of suspected child abuse to law enforcement agencies regardless of their obligations under the law. Thus, in every single case of suspected child abuse in a jurisdiction where there was an applicable mandatory reporting law in effect, Family members and leaders violated the mandatory reporting law. Furthermore, the Family's policies (most recently stated in the June 2003 amendments to the Rights of Children and Right of Redress sections of their Charter) require those who decide to comply with mandatory child abuse reporting laws to leave the organiazation entirely (if their report is about a current member) or to move to a lower comittment membership status (if the report is about a former member). Thus, one of the the committment standards for FD/CM membership is that you must be willing to violate the law. Those who comply with the law must leave the organziation or move to a lower committment membership status. The Family does not have smilar policies for reporting other crimes like theft, robbery and murder. It has created a special exception for child abuse to protect child abusers.
All the court cases (except for a few civil cases) the Family has been involved in have been against individuals and not the organization itself. For example, the defendants in one of the cases in Argentina were Juan Carlos Cavazza, Eduardo Jose Blanco Diaz, Lorenzo Montes Garcia, Jesse Jude Mara, Joel Steven Martin, Daniel Martial Charrie, Jurgan Heinz Grotnaus, Kay Susanne Rambur, Daniel Armando Moreno, Mark Steven Jacobs, Robert Eldrich Robb, Roberto Martinetto, Rafael Martinez Gonzalez, Susana Clara Borowik, Alejandro Emilio Trevisan, Nilson Alcides Gomez, Jackeline Reddic, John Kevin Roberts, Flor Bojorquez, Mario Roberto Torres and Alice Sophia Dow. As you can see, these are all individuals. The investigations that resulted in the 1989 and 1993 raids on Family homes in Argentina were directly related to two child abduction cases. The raids and investigations in Argentina would have proceeded very differently if the Family had returned these children to their parents, told the truth about where the children were, expelled the kidnappers and criminal fugitives from their organziation and stopped giving them support and financial assistance. These cases were about the Family's practice and policy of conspiring to abduct children and providing logistical and financial support for the abduction of children. They are damning evidence of the Family's crimogenic culture. If you still believe these are "minor" cases and not about the Family than I suggest you read the court documents and study the evidence. Manicmoe 08:18, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Cogmen2, allow me to present a very brief description of "accessory after the fact" laws, which I contend that a large number of Children of God members have broken. This is taken from

"An accomplice is someone who knowingly, voluntarily, and with common interest, participates in the commission of a crime, and can be charged with the same crime(s) for which the accused will be tried; complicity means association in a wrongful act; principal means anyone involved in committing a crime; an accessory before the fact aids, incites, or abets but is not physically present; an accessory after the fact receives, comforts, relieves, or assists a felon to avoid apprehension and conviction."

Children of God members were complicit in wrongful acts if they read the Davidito book and / or "the Last State" and did not immediately send a letter of protest and / or disassociate themselves from the group.

Children of God members were accessories after the fact when they helped abusers to avoid justice by covering for them and helping them move to locations beyond the reach of local jurisdiction.

I have personal knowledge of such criminal behaviour, because my parents were "complicit in wrongful acts" when the read the above mentioned publications and did not leave the group, and they were "accessories after the fact" because they knew some members of our home were having sex with minors but they took precautions to keep our location secret from authorities.

Jered1975 08:59, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

More on the Revert Wars

Cognomen, you're going to have to drop your rv war. There is nothing POV about the text you're trying to change, and you've ben reverted now by three separate parties. gcom 23:49, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

  • By three people with an anti-TFI agenda. But I can live with how it is now. Odd place to put your comment. --Cognomen2 18:55, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
    • Cognomen/NTL: Hello again. It has been a while. So, what is your proof that these three people have an "anti-TFI agenda"? Couldn't it be said, using similar logic, that you have a "pro-TFI agenda"? --Thorwald 19:16, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
      • Thorwald: Well hello! How's Czeck? I think their comments as do yours betray their/your agenda. I have made no secret of my membership as you well know. However, I believe I have stuck to the facts in my contributions.Cognomen2 22:23, 25 October 2005 (UTC)--
      • Cognomen/NTL: Who is "Czeck"? How do my comments "betray [my] agenda"? What is my agenda? You have stuck to the "facts"? If that were true . . . I don't think we would be debating anything, would we? I don't think any of us know all the facts to this story/group. --Thorwald 16:06, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
        • Thorwald that's funny I thought you would understand that it was in reference to you posting on a certain web site claiming that you were working on getting the Family kicked out of the Czech Republic. But I guess once again my spelling left you a little bewildered. Or are you just acting coy? I guess those comments portray your agenda!--Cognomen2 00:13, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
          • Cognomen2: From briefly reading your comments from the last few months I can see what your agenda is -- covering up the truth so nobody will bother you and your wife and kids. If you're really concerned about your wife and kids why don't you get out of the group? Jered1975 15:13, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
          • Cognomen/NTL: Uh, no dude! You have it all wrong. Re-read that post (from Someone was asking me how they could get TFI kicked out of the Czech Rep. I never answered them because I don't believe that is the way to do things. Get it right before you accuse. That is common sense, a simple courtesy, and mature. Okay? And stop with all the labels already (i.e. "coy"). --Thorwald 10:01, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
          • Thorwald since that is the case then I sincerely apologize. --Cognomen2 15:20, 27 October 2005 (UTC)


If the Family members who edit this page truly believe that Berg's (and Maria's) teachings regarding sexual sharing are valid, that is, that members should freely give sex to any member in need (within age-restrictions, of course), then why are they trying to cover up this fact? I'm willing to cede some ground on whether or not teenagers are also being encouraged (if not persuaded, pressured, and coerced) to share sexually with those "in need", but the fact that adult members are encouraged to do so is not disputable and can easily be backed up by quotes from the Mo-letters and other sources. Besides, "sharing", when done by consenting adults, is really not illegal or even that despicable. People do it in "The System", too, they just call it "pity sex" or "a mercy fuck". So why the whitewash? ThePedanticPrick 16:42, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

It wasn't whitewashed at all, just straightened out. The old edit stated: "Members are expected to have sex freely and willingly with any member who is in need, a practice known as sharing." Sharing is actually having sexual relations with others within the agreed parameters of the Charter. It is not just sharing with those in need. So that's what the new edit states. However, having sex is a personal choice and no one is coerced into having it. Perhaps at one time there was a degree of pressure to share but not now. It is up to the individual to decide. And certainly it has been repeated a number of times over recent years that although teenagers over 16 are permitted to have sex within their peer group none ot them are to be coerced or feel any pressure at all to share. It is just that it is not against our rules, not that it is promoted.--Cognomen2 01:05, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Well I'm going to need to see this policy statement that 16 year-old girls are not being pressured to have "sacrificial dates" because what I've heard greatly contradicts this. In any case, I'm sure I can find many "letters", even recent ones, that encourage members to engage in pity sex, so I'm going to use that word and not "expected", although I do think the past policies bear mentioning. The much-hoped-for (by the aging male members) "Marriage of the Generations" would also be interesting to wikipedia readers. I'll add that, too, if it's not already in there. ThePedanticPrick 18:54, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Also, a question of semantics: does "sharing" really apply to ALL sexual relations? Do you say "I shared with my wife last night"? I don't think so. I think there are definite undertones of giving and sacrifice in that word. Don't Family members just say "making-love" when they're talking about having sex with someone they actually like? Obviously, there's no dictionary of TFI-jargon, as interesting as that would be to read (seriously, no sarcasm here), and usage may have changed since my time. Perhaps some of the other Family wikipedians could give their opinions? ThePedanticPrick 19:00, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
From my personal experience, "sharing", when used by first generation members of The Family, generally refers to sex with anyone aside from a spouse (in other words, not only "sacrificial" sharing, and singles use the term as well). When the term is used by second generation members, however, it is much more likely in reference to pity sex. However, if a Family member indeed said "my wife and I shared last night", I think it would be generally understood to other members that this means they had sex with each other, rather than that they were both "sharing" with others.
As for recent Family publications strongly encouraging pity sex among those 16 and up, being a 20 year old former member who was in the group as recently as 3 years ago I can attest to the factuality of this. Regarding the "Marriage of the Generations" you mention (in which young adults are strongly encouraged to have sex with older members of their homes for the sake of "unity"), one thing I've noticed is that WS centers often apply particularily strong pressure in this regard, in order to ensure that they're setting a "sample" (example) for other Family members. --Monger 20:22, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


one of the biggest articles i ever seen with no pics anywhere,makes the article ugly...

Many issues as brushed over

The issues sections isnt even called a critism section . I mean how npov can you get. The child sex issues are clearly brushed over and the whole articial singings the prases of this Religion and most negivitive issues are barely discussed (Gnevin 21:11, 21 August 2006 (UTC))

It's an extremely biased article, as anyone who saw the recent Channel 4 documentary or has read more than a few lines about it will be able to attest to. Any anti-Family sentiment is brushed under the carpet, and it's articles like this that show why Wikipedia is criticised in some circles. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by IP144.87.143.3 05:05, 24 August 2006.
For reference, the recent Channel 4 documentary the anonymous user above is referring to can be seen at the following link: [8]

Request for Comment... comment.

This article does seem to be POV. However, on cursory inspection, I thought it was actually biased against the Children of God, not for as Gnevin claims above: I can only assume therefore that the article IS POV, but unnecessarily on both sides of NPOV. This article needs a lot of work. Dev920 22:33, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

It would be more helpful if you would provide specific examples of what you mean. Where, exactly, do you find the text to be "biased against" to COG?--Thorwald 23:44, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I felt that the lead and the beliefs section were slightly snarky (as well as unreferenced): no need to be uptight about it. Dev920 16:36, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Dev920, I've just removed a couple words from and added a bit to the Beliefs section. I have also given the section a cursory reviewed, and while it is far from a comprehensive overview of their beliefs, I do not see any glaring issues. Is there anything in particular you are refering to as "snarky"? I would be happy to review such passages and improve them as best as I am able. Note that current members of the cult have played a major role in that section, as well as the article as a whole. I agree that the article could certainly benefit from more references, but adding references to every passage for which it's appropriate would be a huge undertaking. If you are able to help with this task, some good places to refer to might be the press archive at (which currently contains nearly 350 articles about the cult from newspapers and magazines around the world) and the internal publications archive at (more here). --Monger 01:41, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
This in my opinion is one of the major problems with this articial its has a number of editiors who refuse to listen to other users issues and seem to rv what they wont like (Gnevin 19:39, 25 August 2006 (UTC))
Gnevin, the NPOV template has been added to this article numerous times in the past (usually by Wikipedia editors who are also members of the cult), typically to be removed shorly afterwards when related issues were resolved. Given that the article has been relatively stable recently, I'd like to request that you please provide further information about the parts of the article you consider to be "singing the praises" of the cult (so that others can try to remedy any problems) or attempt to improve the article yourself, rather than simply adding the NPOV template (which at least in my personal experience is more frequently used to imply that an article treats its subject in an overly harsh or negative manner, which seems to be the opposite of your viewpoint in regards to this article). --Monger 01:41, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Gnevin and Dev920: Hi. I didn't mean to come across as "uptight". I apologise for that. I agree with you that this article needs a lot of work. I have been editing this article for nearly three years and have had some major "Revert Wars" with editors I call "ProCOG" (see the discussion archives to see what I mean). Over the years, every time I (or anyone else) would post content these ProCOGers deemed to be "biased against" this group, they would immediately delete it. This went on for many months. Finally, both "sides" (really a misnomer, as I am not "anti-COG"; I just seriously disagree with their beliefs) agreed to debate just about every sentence of this article until everyone was happy with it. Supposedly, this led to a NPOV article. As this is an entirely subjective exercise, I have since given up trying to maintain any POV, as reflected in my edits. I am now concerned primarily that we don't lose any ground towards a strongly biased article (either for or against). That is why I removed your POV-tag. I it not enough, IMHO, to say that this article is biased without giving specific examples of what you mean. These example can and should be discussed here. I understand that not every angle can, nor should, be presented. This would be rather like adding "According to some, the earth is really flat" to an article on the earth. Some of this group's beliefs, no matter how NPOV you wish to be about it, are simply bizarre by any mainstream estimate (see: Loving Jesus). Stating, "Among the group's more controversial beliefs, Loving Jesus stands out" (or something) would not, IMO, be POV. It is a most bizarre belief.--Thorwald 01:51, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Of course, Children of God was originally a phrase for followers of God. --Yancyfry jr 02:39, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Just another opinion

I would like to know where to join the "anti-cult cult" as referred. As someone who has indeed been through the trama of sexual child abuse, I would like to help prevent it. Brainwashing a child is easy, and it's not easy to overcome and not easy to come out and discuss what happens. Esp. not to government officials, much less other family members, i.e. the people not doing the abuse.

Though society, nature, and religion all contradict one another (Proof of this: Nature says women should be having children, society says you can not have children until your of legal age, & religion says you should not have children until you are married. Which by most countries "legal age" is 18.)children should not be "raped" of their childhood. Despite any beliefs an innocence is lost when you encounter sexual activities of any sort. Any type of religions, cults, non cults, or anything else you want to classify should not take away a childhood from anyone. Despite the obvious mentality that the persons are still mentally stable, nightmares are to follow, a haunting overshadow that you can not shake despite how many years is put between you and the "attack." Children are curious, but that does not give ANYONE the right to give the go ahead with sexual experiences at ANY age. In my opinion this "family" per say is not indeed a family. Jesus would disapprove of all of this going on... "obey thy father and mother." Children would believe it a sin if they did not do as they say, and since in the name of Jesus all of this is being done they are NOT going to have that option, whether they want it or not.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 15:29, 30 August 2006.

Don Quixote--a spirit helper?

Feldstein The reason I changed this edit regarding “Don Quixote”:

Spirit Helpers - : These include angels, departed humans, and even famous fictional characters, e.g. Don Quixote, who are sent to give instruction and to fight in the spiritual warfare taking place in the spiritual dimension that Family members believe is coexistent with the physical world that surrounds them.

Is that it does not accurately portray “The Family’s” belief on spirit helpers. I researched this in archives of all the old letters from David Berg and all the current periodicals from The Family leadership and have found no support for the belief that Don Quixote is a “spirit helper” who gives instruction and helps fight in the spirit world. I might add, though, whoever put that text in can’t be blamed for coming to that conclusion because of the numerous references to “Don Quixote” in the “Mo letters” and possibly if they grew up in the family heard many references to the “spirit of Don Quioxte”. But a careful study on the topic of “Don Quixote” in family publications will reveal that generally the fictional character is used in reference to his crazy, happy, wild and free character, personage, and spirit (as in: a pervading animating principle, essential or characteristic quality, or prevailing tendency or attitude; frame of mind; disposition) these qualities from the character of Cervantes Don Quixote are greatly espoused and mimicked by many family members. Sometimes you will hear or read of different terms or phrases, used by members of the family such as: “having Don Quixote faith” “they were kind of a Don Quixote type” “more of a "Don Quixote" spirit” “kind of crazy “Don Quixote” type faith” “have lost the spirit of Don Quixote”

But this usage of “Don Quixote” is a type of family lingo which generally refers to the qualities, characteristics, attitudes and frame of mind that come from the fictional person of “Don Quixote”. And as far as I know there are neither current Family members nor recent periodicals which have communicated and/or received messages from “Don Quixote” in the spirit world.

Here are some extracts I found that refer to Don Quixote with the “Mo Letter” title they come from:

5. WE WERE USING DON QUIXOTE AT THAT TIME AS A CONCEPTION OF ME, because at that time they were forbidden to make me look like a Prophet. It was sort of a toss-up between Don Quixote & the Old Lion, & I think the Old Lion finally won out. But then when we began to allow them to show me as the bearded Prophet, they got into a more realistic conception that fit better than the Old Lion. The kids liked the Old Lion, but just the same, it's better that they get a little more realistic conception.VISIONS OF THE TRUTH! DO 1872

22. I SAW LOTS OF MOVIES OF THE LIVES OF GREAT CHARACTERS, & whether they were missionaries or just great men or women, they were always a great inspiration. I think that a number of those can be counted as having been an inspiration to me, such as "Don Quixote," "Joan of Arc," particularly the ones who were sort of non-conformists, anti-System & iconoclast, even "Henry the Eighth."--The guys who had the guts to defy the traditions & the System, the rebels who changed the World, usually for the better, like St. Francis, etc. INFLUENCES!--In My Life!DFO 1357

40. WHEREAS OUR CENTER IS JESUS CHRIST, HE IS THE CENTER! He is what should be normal & right, & anything that's outside of that charmed circle of the Spirit of God, that's what's eccentric! We're the ones who are sane! All those people out there are the ones who are crazy. That was the whole theme of the little poem the Lord gave me about "Don Quixote." (See No.198.) If this is insanity I'd rather have it! If that is sanity, God deliver us from it! WEE WORDS OF WISDOM! DFO 1239

35. AND DEAR MARIA, SHE HAS A LOT OF FAITH IN ME! No matter how crazy I am, her dear old Don Quixote, she is my little Sancho Panza & she trots right along behind me on her little donkey, her poor little donkey Peter who has to go whichever way she goes!--And with our dear Dulcineas & our whole retinue of knights in armour & ladies! THE LANDS OF THE RISING SUN! DFO 1283


He lived in a world of fantasy Where all were mad but he. He lived in a world of madness Where he alone was free!

He lived in a world of madness Where only he was sane He brought them joy and gladness They only brought him pain!

He lived in a world of madness Where only he was wise. They lived in a world of sadness 'Twas folly in disguise!

How crazy are the words of David!-- They'll say he has gone insane! But I'd rather be mad and be saved Than lost in their darkness and sane!

They live in a world full of madness It was he that was really sane! For our Don Quixote had gladness In spite of their sorrow and pain.

This world full of violence and madness So violent and mad and insane! Would you rather my joy, or their sadness? Would you rather my bliss, or their pain?

I'd rather be old Don Quixote Than the pompous wise sane King of Spain! For though he's a little bit dotey Quixote was happy, 'tis plain!

For he lived in his mind on a rancho A great knight was he in his brain! He had his old faithful dear Sancho And thus he was freed from the strain.

So give me this Man of La Mancha! And sing me his happy refrain! Oh can you all see it, or can'tcha? That he was the one who was sane!

They call me Pied Piper of Hamelin: "He's old Don Quixote again!" They say that on Heaven I'm gamblin' While they wreak their Hell amongst men!

So let's sing a song for Quixote! Let's sing a song for the free! Let's sing a song though we're dotey For we're bound for Eternity!

So let's sing a song for Pied Piper And a song for his Children so free! For I'd rather be mad than a sniper Who only brings sad misery.

Let's sing for the Mad Monk Rasputin Who loved, drank, healed and swayed kings! For while they were madly disputin', He made off with all of their things!

So here's to dear Alice's Mad Hatter! And the Walrus's cabbage and kings! So what if it's mad, does it matter If to children it happiness brings?

So here's to the "Light in the Plaza"! So here's to the madness that sings! Would you rather have shooting in Gaza Than a girl who is happy with rings?

So give us the mad Don Quixotes! Pied Pipers that make us to sing! And let us be madness devotees With the joy our insanity brings!

Your world may be sane but temporal-- While mine is unseen but more real! You call me insane and immoral In this madness of gladness I feel.

For only in realms of the spirit Can you enjoy Heavenly scenes That Heavenly sound, can you hear it? Do you know what such ecstasy means?

It's you who are living in madness! It's you who are really insane! It's we who have Jesus and gladness, And we'll have it again and again!

So here's to our dear Don Quixote, Pied Piper, Rasputin and MO! I'd rather be their blest devotee Than have your insane world of woe!

I'd rather have dear Simple Simon Who tasted the Pieman's wares Or the "Idiot" who dared to defy men With the love, truth and mercy he bears!

Give me Alices and Don Quixotes Pied Pipers, Rasputins and MOs! I'd rather have all of these doties Than all of your world full of woes!

So here's to our dear Don Quixote And all of our Heavenly tours! I'd rather have rice in my roti Than bats in my belfry like yours!

(Shortened for everyones sake :D) Feldstein

Feldstein, Don Quixote is directly implied to be a spirit helper through his listing in Many are the Helpers of David [Berg], among other publications. Don Quixote is widely thought to be a spirit helper within the Family, and many Family children are not aware that Don Quixote is a fictional character. --Monger 23:15, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Monger thanks for pointing that out. I forgot to include that in my initial post, but I am aware that there are a few pictures here and there with Don Quixote drawn in some of the old TK’s and other such children’s stories. If something is “implied” even if it is directly—though that might be personal opinion--it isn’t completely sure or a fact and definitely not a mainstream belief. It’s a bit of a stretch to add that as a belief. And how do you know “many Family children are not aware that Don Quixote is a fictional character”? Possibly when you were younger but this notion as with the belief of Don Quixote spiritual status is a bit redundant. I think whoever drew that TK comic might have helped spread that idea of Don Quixote’s spiritual status. Again I want to point out that nowhere in the Mo letters (the actually authority on beliefs in TF) have I found anything the clearly states “Don Quixote as an actual figure in the spirit world or any messages from beyond given by “Don Quixote”. I’m changing it again. Remember I don’t know how objective you are as an editor but I hope you don’t put it back unless you have some compelling current reason to. It isn’t very accurate, esp. to put something like that under “recent teachings”. I feel it isn’t helpful to artificially graft distant recollections of the past on the present.--Feldstein 04:19, 1 October 2006 (UTC)
Feldstein, while I do not think the meaning behind listing Don Quixote as one of David Berg's spirit helpers is all that subjective (and contrary to what you seem to be trying to imply, that list was not decided upon by the artist, but rather by WS and possibly Berg himself), I'll admit that most references to Don Quixote in Family publications do not describe him as a spirit helper. Hence, I'll go ahead and substitute Don Quixote with Aphrodite. Although I doubt you'll disagree with the fact that the Greek goddess is believed to be a spirit helper within The Family, I'll note for reference that she is described as a spirit helper as recently as June 2005 in GN 1145, December 2003 in GN 1062, and more prominently in locations such as GN 1032 (where she is described as a personal spirit helper for Karen Zerby) and ML 1412, among numerous other publications. --Monger 17:44, 1 October 2006 (UTC)