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The Children of God Lori Gabert Brendan Keats Heather Rickmers.

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1 The Children of God Lori Gabert Brendan Keats Heather Rickmers

2 Biography of David Berg Born February 18, 1919 in California –Died in 1994 Third-generation evangelist Conscientious objector drafted into WWII –First communications with God Returned to CA to do full-time evangelic work Married Jane Miller in 1944 –Four children: Linda(Deborah), Paul(Aaron), Jonathan(Hosea), and Faithy(Faith) Between 1948 and 1954: Became minister in Christian Missionary Alliance in Valley Farms, Arizona –Expelled from organization

3 Pleaded with God – Key of David (1954) –Went to Fred Jordan’s clinic Second Prophecy – Call of David –Relocated to Miami, Florida Opened branch of Jordan’s Soul Clinic –1957 – ran into trouble; moved to Mingus, Texas Third Prophecy – Message of Jeremiah –Instructed him to: announce that the established churches were doomed for forsaking God and rejecting His message 1965 – Warning Prophecy received by Berg’s mother –Spoke of endtime and coming of the Antichrist –Basis for millennial beliefs 1966 – Understanding of David received by Berg’s mother –Interpreted as sign that Berg could predict millennial events

4 Emergence of Children of God In 1969, Berg and 50 teen supporters began revolt against the traditional church regulations –The “system” was corrupt “Uncle Dave’s Teen for Christ” Founded in 1968, Huntington Beach, CA –Children of God (COG) Sexual expression attracted teenagers to the group Deborah Davis and Karen Zerby (Maria) –Queen of the Children of God The Inner Circle –Berg involved himself with many sexual partners FREECOG (Free Children of God)

5 Parents revolted against Children of God –Deprogramming Group spreads throughout the world –South America, Europe, Asia Teen Training Camps At the peak the group acquired 25,000 members Group still exists today –Extremely secretive –Run by Berg’s second wife

6 Doctrine of COG Protestant Christianity influence Forsake all and follow God –Preach God’s word to others Denounce “the system” Gain salvation through faith in Jesus as the Savior Law of Love –Group sex, child sex, prostitution and adultery God’s gift is God’s work –Welfare of children main priority Mo Letters –Prophecies from spirit entities, including God –Sometimes apocalyptic, warnings of doom “Flirty Fishing” End Time vision –Devoted lives to faith

7 Ultimate Concern: Members were to be fulltime missionaries in service to Jesus; a combination of salvation through Jesus Christ, disagreement with established church system, rejection of government and society, aberrance and rebellion toward parental values and authority, and call for dedication to the revolution of Jesus Group believed that it was not their responsibility to punish those who did not follow the word of God Any Possibility for Violence?

8 Analysis Charismatic Leadership –Ability to attract members to group through persuasion and appeal to members concerns –Kept distance for all but most loyal followers –Saw himself as God’s last prophet and his vessel Social Encapsulation –Lived in communal homes, located in different countries –Quit jobs and cut themselves off from non members –Children were different –Did communicate with public to provision goods and keep recruitment Apocalyptic Beliefs –Predictions of End Time prophecy –Message from God –Spread warning through vigils –Felt America turned its back on God and hoped to instill God’s message back into society

9 Where is COG now? Better known as The Family; Karen (Maria) Zerby leader New constitution: The Love Charter –Adopted as Berg’s parting gift Has 8,048 full-time disciples residing in 718 communal homes throughout over 100 countries No longer practices flirty fishing –Because of sexual transmitted diseases which spread through the group Still commends “sexual sharing” among consenting members

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