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Like Rick, many of them were raised in a bizarre Christian sect who practised free love. Like Rick, many of the mourners say they were abused in the cult. Originally called the Children of God, it followed a radical religious and sexual philosophy they named the Law of Love. Cult Killer, 2006
The Law of Love was the creation of David Berg the founder of the cult and promoted and encouraged through its publications. ibid.
The Children of God were founded in 1968 in Southern California by a charismatic Baptist minister David Berg. ibid.
Changing their name to The Family. ibid.
Rick was the result of a grand sexual experiment. ibid.
Incest was virtuous. ibid.
In 1986 he banned sex with children. ibid.
Wife-swapping remained the norm. ibid.
The Children of God believe they are living in the time period known in scripture as the Last Days. Noah Thomson, Children of God: Lost and Found, HBO 2007
In 1990 10 members of the Children of God are arrested in Spain under charges of child abuse. ibid.
In 1992 120 children are taken into protective custody in Australia. ibid.
In 1994 the group’s founder David Berg dies. His wife, Karen Zerby, assumes leadership. ibid.
In 1997 Karen Zerby’s son and David Berg’s heir apparent, Ricky, leaves the Children of God. ibid.
In 1968 the Children of God, later known as the Family, was founded in California by David Berg. ibid.
By 1977 the Children of God had grown to over 130 communes around the world. ibid.
Berg communicated with his followers through more than 3,000 published writings known as the Mo Letters. ibid.
In 1979 Flirty Fishing, a practice introduced by Berg, is widely adopted by his membership. ibid.
By 1981 hundreds of Jesus Babies had been born as a result of Flirty Fishing. ibid.
The goal is to bring down those sick fuckers, Mum and Peter. My own mother – what an evil little cunt. Goddamn. How can you do that to kids? How can you do that to kids and sleep at night? Rick’s video suicide note, viz: Cults: Family International
It’s a need for revenge. It’s a need for justice. Because I can’t go on like this. ibid.
I heard about a band of hardcore Christians called The Family founded 30 years ago as The Children of God. The Family live a Christian lifestyle so intensively they’ve often been accused of being a cult. Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends s1e1: Born Again Christians, BBC 1998
‘We were being groomed by a master paedophile David Berg.’ Cults & Extreme Belief s1e3: Children of God, Amy, A&E 2018
Murder and Suicide Reviving Claims of Child Abuse in Cult. ibid. The New York Times 15 January 2005
David Berg’s teachings soon give rise to 130 communes around the world. ibid. caption
The Children of God were formed in 1968 by a former evangelical pastor called David Berg … ‘I can’t say I remember many moments when I was happy.’ UK Cults, Taboos & Twisted Faith, victim, CI 2018
‘The Children of God have been known for the abuse of people from very early days.’ ibid. Ian Haworth, Cult Information Centre
‘In our family we are one body all the way.’ People Magazine Investigates: Children of God Cult, David Berg, ID 2019
‘Oh my God: now he’s going to advocate childhood sex?’ Yes. ibid. Berg
‘All of us were victims of Father David.’ ibid. survivor
In the late 1960s David Berg emerges as a visionary, offering salvation for the impending end of the world. David Berg was born into an evangelical home in 1919. He travelled with his mother, a devout preacher. ibid.
He developed his own religious ideology. ibid.
By the mid-1970s Children of God had nearly 3,000 followers working together to support the individual communes and Father David. ibid.
‘Become swingers. You should do this for God.’ ibid. victim
By 1986 Children of God has expanded to roughly 10,000 members. ibid.
Despite the fact that followers never see Father David, he still controls his vast network through his recordings, writings and local leadership. ibid.
David Berg is dead at the age of 75. ibid.
Who was River Phoenix? … the reluctant star. River grew up with four siblings … David Berg was the founder of a Christian sect known as the Children of God. John and Arlyn were sent by the sect to Venezuela. Too Young to Die s1e6: River Phoenix, Sky 2014
It was the law of love: love was sex and we should share in that joy with the adults. Children of the Cult: Welcome to the Family, victim, Quest Red 2022
David Berg was a paedophile who was a sexual predator, and he was the leader of a cult who was responsible for the abuse of thousands of children. ibid. woman
This is the story of three women born into the Children of God cult and of their escape and fight for justice. ibid. caption
The Children of God was evangelical, apocalyptic an end of the world cult. ibid. victim
In 1971 David Berg sent his daughter Faith to London to spread the word about the Children of God. ibid. caption
In 2014, Police Scotland begin investigating Hope’s claims of the abuse she suffered as a child in the Children of God. ibid.
From the late 1960s the secrecy surrounding the Children of God led to suspicions about its motives. ibid.
The Cult officially discontinued the practice of Flirty Fishing in 1987. By which time it’s estimated that over 233,000 ‘fish’ had been loved sexually. ibid.
It was a method of control … You were told who you had to have sex with. There was a sharing schedule that was made by the commune … ibid. victim
I was taught at a very early age to lie about my life. Children of the Cult II: For Grandpa, victim
By 1980 there were an estimated 25,000 members of the Children of God around the world. Over half of them were children. ibid. caption
Claiming persecution, Berg went on the run with his second wife Karen Zerby. ibid.
I virtually blew the whistle on the cult in Australia. Lists of names of everybody … I knew children were at risk. Children of the Cult III: Teen Rebels
Mene is detained for two years as a delinquent teen at Macau. After leaving the cult at 18, she suffers periods of mental illness. She died at 45. ibid.
As more members leave and speak out, the Cult – now renamed The Family – is coming under intense media scrutiny. Children of the Cult IV: Escaping the Family, caption
In the UK a grandmother is seeking custody of her grandson to protect him from being raised in the cult. As a civil case being heard in the British High Court there are reporting restrictions. ibid.
1994: Estimated cult members: 12,000. ibid.