Children of God's Sex Revolution
"I do not think you have included in your book the recent developments (since the beginning of this year and more) of the "flirty fishing" (sleeping with potential - usually rich - disciples for Jesus). This has frightened us as parents. It is a very bad development, even if I believe that still nearly all Children of God sincerely want to serve God."
This letter, dated Nov. 11th, 1977, refers to my book "Nyandligt" ("New Spirituality", printed in Stockholm at Verbum - Håkan Ohlssons in 1977 with a summary in English). When I interviewed two ex-Children of God while preparing my book, they told me that during the summer of 1973 Moses David - the founder and still the prophet and leader of the movement - started to prepare them for the sex-revolution which was soon to come. In a confusing. letter of June 28th 1977, No. 251 - D O, i.e. for Disciples Only and not for General Public, Moses talks about old bottles and new bottles:
"We are soon going to find out from the new sex book who are old bottles and who are new bottles. - - - Lord, we thank Thee for the new wine you're giving day by day by Thy Spirit, for the new message and childish illustrations and even the shocking poetry - such new wine some of our own old bottles are offended by it, not to even speak of the church peop1e! Our own bottles are going to be shocked. - - - Some of these old bottles aren't going to be able to take what's coming."
A sex-handbook of 30 pages on "Revolutionary Love Making" appeared already during the summer 1970. In October 1972 "One Wife" was published: "Marriage is not the supreme thing. The churches have made marriage a god above God, because they are putting their private families before God and his Work. - - - But love of God and his Family is far more important to him than these little private interpersonal relationships, including marriage." Two other letters appeared in March and April 1973.
"Thank God for the sexual liberation movement", says Moses David in "Revolutionary Sex", but "Of course, many of these liberationists are going to the opposite extreme of total promiscuity." The only forms of sex which God "prohibits or limits or frowns upon are fornications, adultery, incest and sodomy."
"Sodomy" is male homosexuality. Lesbianism, or homosexual activity between women, does not seem to be prohibited specifically in Gods word... Contrary to popular belief.
Onanism was not and is not masturbation, but the selfish refusal of Onan to marry his brother's wife and to give her children to share in the family inheritance! So, although he had intercourse with her, he indulged in the selfish practice of sudden withdrawal at the moment of his orgasm... so God slew him! God is obviously diametrically opposed to any form of birth control whatsoever... (it's) almost as bad as abortion!
The Bible apparently has absolutely nothing to say about masturbation, and evidently nothing against it, as far as I can see."
"Flirty fishing" - the term used by a parent in the letter at the beginning of this article - is mentioned in a Moses David (MO-)Letter dated January 3, 1974 and marked DFO, i.e. for Disciples and Friends Only. The full title is "The Flirty Little Fishy! Are you willing to be bait?"
Early one morning when Moses David came home after having spent the night with friends a prophecy came to him:
"To whom shall we go? - Thou alone hast the spirit of eternal life! - - -Listen! Hear ye the words I have given thy father David. - - - Help Maria to catch this fish. Give her, Lord, Thy web. In Jesus name! Make the lure so attractive he cannot resist it ! He's hypnotized! He's fascinated in that which he dreams of, the materialization of a dream of love, this spirit embodied in her flesh for which he hungers. - - Help her, 0 God, to catch men! - - Hook them through her flesh! Crucify her flesh, Lord, on the barb of Thy Spirit! - - They shall come, many great fishes, many great and strong and honorable and important fishes shall surround thee..." The drawing on the backside of the letter shows a woman catching a man and the text is: "Hooker for Jesus!"
In April the same year a very widespread MO-Letter No. 304 was published. It was called: "Look of Love - Another "Flirty Fish" Adventure!" and ended with the invitation: "If you need love, why not visit our nearest colony where you'll receive lots of loving looks and more! Or attend one of our night club dancing parties with live bands, lively skits and entertainment - and even livelier loving girls and boys! We have the love you've been looking for! Come get some love for a look! - If you like the "look of love!" –- We've got lots of it for you! - Come and get it!"
During the summer 1977 appeared what was said to be the very last MO-Letter. It was titled "God Bless You - And: Good-Bye!" In the letter a person called Moses David confesses that he has been a false prophet. In Time Magazine, August 22, Barbara Canevaro also called Queen Rachel - she is the No. 2 leader and Berg's designated successor - claimed that she could prove that the farewell-letter was false. Asked about the magazines' reports on the happy hookers for Jesus she said: "There is nothing wrong with a sexy conversion. We believe sex is a human necessity, and in certain cases we may go to bed with someone to show people God's love." But "This is exception rather than the rule." And "No one has ever charged one penny for this and never will."
The father quoted in the beginning of this article saw the "flirty fishing" as a very serious development in Children of God. Roy Wallis - a former lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science and to-day professor of sociology in Belfast and known as an expert on new religious movements - reacted as follows to an article on CoG in "Der Stern", the German magazine:
"Your article also deals with a practice known as "flirty fishing" within the Children of God, and I should like to conclude with a few observations on this practice. This group believes that God is prepared to go to great lengths to win someone to him, and that they, as God's emissaries must also be prepared to do the same.
They see, in the Old Testament, that the Israelites on admittedly rare and special occasions, used the sexual attractions of their womenfolk to win allies or to bring down enemies. Abraham is reported in Genesis 12 and 20 to have twice passed off Sarah his wife as his Sister and made her available sexually to win favour with potential enemies.
They believe that sex should be freed from some of the man-made taboos which surround it, that it was created for the glory of God, and can be used to fulfil His purpose of winning souls, in special cases. By and large, the Children of God lead sexual lives no more unusual than the majority of people in their age-group.However, not only do they have Old Testament precedents for their views on sex and marriage. it has perhaps escaped your notice that in 1541, Martin Luther attended and gave his blessing to the bigamous marriage of Philip Landgrave of Hessen."