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What’s in a Name? (Children of God)

Articles in the LOOKOUT section of this website span a number of decades and are re-published on behalf of Adrian van Leen for research purposes. Original dates are being added to articles so as to place them in their correct historical setting(s). Adrian has endeavoured to be as fair and accurate as possible at the time of the original writing, but please note that the original article information may no longer reflect the subsequent or current actions, values, beliefs, positions, opinions, teachings or policies held by individuals, groups and/or organisations referred to in the original published article at the time of writing. As people change and move on, the same often applies to related Internet links; some links referred to in articles may have been changed or may no longer be available online.

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Be Aware of 'The Children of God/The Family'

We received some appreciated Christmas Greetings, along with a beautifully presented Power Point slideshow based on the song: ‘Mary Did You Know?’ The PPT slideshow is one of some 360+ well produced slideshow presentations available for free down loading and sharing. They are put together from texts/content and images from a wide variety of sources by Brian and Martha at Tommy’s Window website.

Who are Brian and Martha? The website ‘About Us’ section actually explains very little. On it Brian and Martha don’t give their surname; they state that they have been ‘laboring in cooperation with a worldwide network of missionaries’ but don’t reveal their name or anything about them; they don’t name any church or missionary organisation for whom they have worked, other than the International Hospital for Children; they mention, numerous times, that they are independent volunteer missionaries and are not supported or funded by any group, church or organisation - but you can send them your donations. Their online newsletter has even stronger and more frequent appeals for donations.

The wording and style of presentation are clues linking them with a notorious cultic group that became infamous in the 1970s through to the 1990’s. A group that presented its members as ‘independent Christian missionaries’: the Children of God! However, there is more hard evidence than just wording and style of presentation. The website is focused on the ‘story of Tommy’ - and particularly its retelling by: David Brandt Berg! Their website also promotes products by Maria Fontaine - one of the aliases for the recent leader of the Children of God/The Family! Music with Meaning; Endtime Insights; Feed My Lambs -Bible verses for Kids - are all Children of God/The Family products, and the Children of God/The Family production/media arm, Aurora Production, is clearly identified with some of these products on the Tommy’s Window website.

The evidence is clear - Brain and Martha and their Tommy’s Window websites (and all their ‘free’ PPT slideshow presentations) are part of the ‘new look’ (and ‘hook’- old deceptive ways) of the Children of God/Family, started by David Berg, then run by his former secretary/‘wife’: Karen Zerby, alias Maria, Mama Maria, Maria David, Maria Berg, Maria Fontaine, Queen Maria, etc.

Since its early years this devious cultic group has changed names more often than a chameleon changes colours.

In October/November 1992 we published a special extra length double issue of TAKE A CLOSER LOOK giving an in-depth presentation on the deceptive and distorted teachings and practices of the Children of God – who changed their name to: Family of Love, and then later to: The Family. That is the official name for this cultic aberration of Christianity.

We revealed, from their own official documentation, their dependence on founder, David Berg, as a latter-day prophet of God – whose writings replaced the Bible. That dependence continues today. Berg, also variously known as ‘Our Earthly Shepherd’, as well as: David Brandt Berg, Moses David, King David, MO, Father David, Dad – is being republished under the name: David Brandt Berg.

In the early 1970’s, Berg ousted his wife, Jane, and replaced her (in the bedroom and elsewhere) with his secretary Karen Zerby – supposedly as an enactment or fulfillment of Jesus parable of the Old and New Wine Skins. He claimed to begin receiving special and new revelations (to replace the Bible). These ‘revelations’ were supposedly direct from God, and also through Jesus ‘and God’s many ministering spirits’. Over the years, Berg and his followers became more and more involved with ‘spirits’, ‘spirit guides’, possession by ‘spirits’ from the ‘spirit word’. Berg even went further and claimed to have had sexual intercourse with various spirits – proudly naming a number of them in his writings.

Berg described the Holy Spirit as a sexy, voluptuous female – the Goddess of Love; the Queen of Love; the Wild Wind; the Elixir of Love; the Dream Queen; the Queen of Heaven. He named the Trinity as: Father, Mother and Son.

He distorted basic Biblical teachings about the love of God into sexual perversions, introducing his infamous ‘Flirty Fishing’ which turned female members into ‘whores for Jesus’ – using sex and prostitution as a means of gaining members; allowing – and encouraging – children to be involved in sexual activities as ‘doing what comes naturally’; having men and women sharing their partners with others – at first including non-members, now more limited to within the membership.

Occult activities and dabbling; end-times predictions; racism and hatred – as well as multiple sexual perversions – have all been presented by Berg as revelations and directions from God – mostly through the spirit world.

Leaders and members of the Family/Children of God STILL believe in revelations from the spirit world. Since Berg died in 1994, Karen Zerby/Maria claimed to have received revelations from the dead Berg, as well as other ‘spirits’. Justification for their spirit world involvement is given on their official website:

In recent years they have regrouped, rebranded, polished their image and are working hard to gain new members – using a wide range of alternative names, denying they are a continuation of the Children of God and using the media, especially the Internet, as well as a new range of materials and publications to push their propaganda. However, evidence reveals that they still use much of their sexually explicit (pornographic) materials once they get people into their fold, and continue sexual ‘swapping’ or ‘loaning’ of partners amongst each other.

As part of their ‘new’ image and approach they came up with a new publication – unlike anything they have produced before – their ACTIVATED magazine. In appearance similar to some Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower and Awake magazines; in content similar to some Christian publications – this magazine has been a marketing success for the cult.

They use variously named Internet websites to extensively promote there ideas, products and propaganda – including: Tommy’s Window; Activated Magazine; Aurora Production; ComicTrax; Countdown to Armageddon; NuBeat Music.

They have produced a ‘Bible’ study programme with DVDs under the name: 12 Foundation Stones - they claim: The concepts in this course are based on the Bible and on contemporary Christian writings, in particular those of David Brandt Berg, founder of our movement The Family, and the Get Activated! series by Aurora Production.

Amongst the numerous names they use are: The Family; Family Care Foundation; Aurora Publications; Activated Ministries; World Service, and many, many, many more. In our Oct-Nov 1992 special edition TACL on the Family/Children of God we listed some 45+ alternative names used by these ‘independent missionaries’, plus the names of numerous publications and products they produced. In Australia the Family/COG cult has registered as a charity, using the name: Change the World.

Literature, music, movies (videos, DVDs, YOUTube and more), PPT slideshows, drama and the like, have all been used effectively to gain access to unwary Christians, Sunday Schools, schools and teachers - and gain generous donations. They have always used available technology for both propaganda and production. Fundraising and church infiltration have been sophisticated and successful over the years, and has increased enormously since the advent of the Internet.

Make no mistake about it – this cultic group has become more sophisticated in its propaganda and publications; they are becoming more active than ever; they are reaching young Christians – deceiving uninformed Christians – impressing the general community and effectively using the media. This cultic group is NOT Christian, historically orthodox or Biblically sound in its beliefs and practices. This cultic group did NOT die out when its’ founder/leader died. Neither the group and its leadership, nor its members, have EVER publicly renounced David Berg as unchristian, a false prophet, sexual pervert, an abuser, an occultist, a racist or hatemonger – although the documentary evidence from his own official writings clearly reveal him to be all of these, and more. This cultic group has worked hard, through clever lawyers and friendly academics, and continues, through their own propaganda machine, to whitewash the reality of their past and present true nature.

They could be active in your area or in a place near to you. Alert your family and friends, your church leaders, and others, about this group and its disastrous and dangerous track record.

Check out the following websites for additional information and/or write to us for our special 1992 exposé double, extra length, TACL on the Children of God/The Family.

(TACL Nov-Dec 2010, Vol. 31 No. 5)