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ABOUT "THE FAMILY"

Their beliefs and practices

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Beliefs:

bulletIn common with other Fundamentalist Protestant groups, The Family believes:
bulletThat a person can be saved and spend eternity in heaven only if they first repent of their sins and then trust Christ as Lord and Savior. Once saved, one's salvation cannot be lost.
bulletThat God inspired the authors of the Bible.
bulletIn the Trinity composed of three persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
bulletIn the literal truth of the creation story of Genesis. This includes the rejection of the theory of evolution and belief that God created the Earth, the first humans, the rest of the life forms and the rest of the universe in six days.
bulletThat Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, causing the fall of humanity.
bulletSatan a living entity who is totally committed to thwarting evangelizing.
bullet"Divine healing is a privilege available to all who believe. "
bulletThe primary purpose in life for every believer is to "win others into God's heavenly kingdom."
bulletThey expect that the end of the world as we know it is imminent. 1
bulletMajor differences between their beliefs and those of other Evangelical Christians are:
bulletThe Holy Spirit is viewed as "the personification of the feminine and material element of the Trinity..." The Holy Spirit is referred to as a "Dream Queen" or "Holy Queen of Love" 3
bulletThey believe that consensual heterosexual sexual behavior between adult members of The Family is quite acceptable. Sexual enjoyment, from masturbation to intercourse is considered a gift of God. It is an activity that is to be thoroughly enjoyed as a major focus of one's life. Lesbianism is acceptable but gay sex is forbidden.
bulletThey believe in universalism: that all will eventually be saved and attain heaven. Other conservative Protestant faith groups generally teach restrictivist salvation -- the concept that God will torture almost all humans for all eternity in Hell after their death.
bulletTheir religion is based on their unique interpretation of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. A secondary source is the writings of their founder. Two sources state that Berg's writings are considered to override scripture in cases of conflict; another says the opposite.
bulletThey believe that Jesus had sexual relations with Martha and Mary.
bulletSome members believed in "the Gabriel doctrine" that the angel Gabriel engaged in sexual intercourse with Mary at the time of Jesus' conception.
bulletMoses Berg is regarded as the end-time prophet sent by God.
bulletThe Family represents, in their view, "a return to the roots of the true [Christian] church." All other Christian faith groups are in error to some degree.
bulletThey condemn "The System", which includes governments and the rest of society. The System is regarded as evil; society generally is seen as near collapse.
bulletDavid Berg originally prophesied that the "End of the Time of the Gentiles" would occur in 1968. The War of Armageddon would occur in the mid 1980's, when a coalition of Israel and the United States would be defeated by the USSR. A great socialist leader would arise from Egypt and become dictator of the world in 1986. 2 About 1989, the leader would reveal himself as the Antichrist and require that everyone worship him. Jesus Christ would return in 1993. All of the saved will then take part in the rapture and ascend to heaven. Satan would be overcome, and Christ will rule over the earth for 1000 years, with the assistance of COG members. It didn't happen. The timing of his subsequent predictions were more vague.
bulletThey believe that people can sometimes be adversely affected by deceased people from the spirit world. Exorcisms are occasionally performed to rid people of evil spirits.

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Practices:

The Family is a high demand faith group that maintains strict control over almost all aspects of members' lives.

bulletIn the early years of the group, strict controls were maintained the membership. Dating, kissing, holding hands were not allowed. Pre-marital sex was forbidden. There are allegations that Berg was exempt from these rules. In later years, sexual restrictions were lowered among the membership, and free love became the norm.
bulletIn a major deviation from other conservative Christian denominations, they view

"....heterosexual relations, when practiced as God ordained, designed, and intended—between consenting adults of legal age—is a pure and natural wonder of God's creation, and permissible according to Scripture. Members of the Family, if they choose, may privately and with discretion, according to Family Charter guidelines, interact sexually with other adults within the Family, as long as all parties concerned are in agreement and no one is offended by it." 1

bulletDavid Berg communicated to the membership through "Mo Letters." ("Mo" was an abbreviation for "Moses")
bulletBerg downplayed the restrictive regulations on members' behavior. "If what we do is in love, against such thing there is no law. All things are lawful unto me and to the pure all things are pure."
bulletAfter Berg's death in 1994, the leaders prepared The Love Charter which defines group procedures and members' responsibilities.
bulletA Mo letter distributed in 1979, titled "In Deceivers Yet True" David Berg stated that "...the Lord allowed His people to deceive their enemies." The implication is that members could ethically spread misinformation about the group in some instances.
bulletAll adults are expected to be full time proselytizers.
bulletThey are expected to love others, "....regardless of race, gender, color, creed, nationality, religious affiliation, or social status." Sexual orientation is notably absent.
bulletBoth suicide and physician assisted suicide are unacceptable.
bulletMembers are required to obey the law except in those situations where that would violate the laws of God.
bulletWhen a convert joins the group, they give all of their possessions to the organization.
bulletAll of the adults in each commune participate in the rearing of the children. Local compulsory schooling laws are followed.
bulletMany family units within a commune consist of 3 or 4 adults. 4 Communes typically consist of 8 to 10 adults and up to 25 children.
bulletBirth control was originally discouraged. According to recent material on The Family's web site, it is now optional.
bulletTobacco, alcohol and other drugs are not permitted.
bulletYoung teens are sent through a Teen Training Camp (TTC) for six months. Afterwards, the teens are considered to be fully adults. They are sent to a new Home to live.
bullet

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Anti-semitism:

There is ample evidence that Berg was profoundly anti-semitic. xFamily.org has collected a group of almost 100 quotations of Berg's writing in which he:

bulletCondemns all Jews as worthy of death because they hate Jesus.
bulletSaid that the world would have been a lot better off without Jews.
bulletWrote "I am an anti-Semite, because God is! Yes, I'm a racist because God is!"
bulletWrote: "The earliest supporters of the Nazis were evangelicals & Fundamentalists, some of the staunchest supporters of Hitler!"
bulletDenied that more only a few thousand Jews died in the Nazi Holocaust -- not the approximately six million who actually died. "That was no holocaust! They're exaggerating the whole thing, blowing it up far out of proportion to what really happened." 6

According to exFamily.org and xFamily.org, Literature circulated by The Family for internal use only still contains material about an alleged "Antichrist International Jewish Conspiracy against Gentile Christendom." 6,7

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

Unfortunately, many of the references to the Family on the Internet are written by anti-cult and counter-cult groups and are somewhat lacking in objectivity. Others are prepared by individuals who seem to have left the Family with a major grudge.

  1. "The Family's Statement of Faith," at: http://www.thefamily.org/
  2. Mandate Ministries, a counter-cult group, describes the COG at: http://www.pnc.com.au/
  3. David Berg, "Mo Letters", ML #224, ML #259; ML #1304; cited by Reference 5 below
  4. Maria Berg, "Maria Letters", Maria #2023, Maria #60; cited by Reference 5 below
  5. The Watchman Fellowship, a counter-cult group, has what appears to be a very  biased essay by Ruth Gordon on the COG at: http://www.watchman.org/
  6. f
  7. "Does The Family endorse anti-Semitism," exFamily, at: http://www.exfamily.org/

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Copyright 1998 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Updated: 2005-
OCT-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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