P.O.box 23, P.O.box 69, P.O.box 231, P.O.box 506, P.O.box 208, P.O.box 1261 ... the Children of God, Christian Familiy Ministries, International Missionary Service, Heavenly Magic, World Services, Kiddie Viddie, The singing Arrows and News Link are names hidden behind the many P.O.box addresses. But although there seems to be many different names, there is no doubt that hidden behind these names is an old aquantaince on the religious market, namely The Children of God, - also known as the Family of Love. The movement was founded in the late 1960’s by the American David Berg - also known as Moses David.
Reference to P.O.box
It is obvious that the Children of God are responsible, when one compares the many very rich coloured posters handed out in the streets of the big cities by dancing and smiling small children. The style of drawing and printing is the same in all cases. Although the names of the senders are different the drawing up of the posters and messages have the same style, just as they all refer to a P.O.box for further contact.
Always ready for flight
The fact is that it is not possible to get an address! Trying to follow the members of the sect requires a bit of a James Bond.
For they change clothes, rapidly change cars and trains, just as they go into and out of large department stores. However, much points to the fact that the members live in colonies, which are often situated in isolated farms in the country. A former member tells that you always have a ready suitcase, a socalled ‹flee-bag“, and in this way you are always ready for flight, if the authorities should come too close. Therefore it is very difficult to locate the Children of God.
What are they hiding?
But what do they fear and why is it so difficult to enter into a dialogue with them? Well, of course we are unable to answer this question, as we have not yet succeeded in getting into close contact with them. Since we have freedom of religion in Denmark there is no reason for mystery, unless something illegal is going on. And something suggests that the sect does not have a clear conscience. Within the last few months the Norwegean press, among others, have dealt with the Children of God. Former members have told in public about sexual abuse of minors. Their accounts are also supported by the Spanish police in Barcelona who investigates the sect for incest and other kind of sexual abuse of its members.
Sex for Christ
Suppositions about sex with and among minors is also supported by the Children of God themselves. In 1987 the Children of God under the name of World Sevices, which is the administrating elite group with its head centre in Zürich, published a book called ‹Basic Training Handbook“. The book clearly states that minors are encouraged to use ‹sex for Christ“. For instance on page 293 it says:
"...we´ve set a rule for our girls that they can´t fuck a seminating male after starting their period till they´re 15. Yes, now you´re making the qualification, as I said, I think there is no reason to discourage them from having sex with each other until the girls begin to menstruate & the boys begin to seminate. Not because there is any danger in it as far as our Family is concerned, & our ideals & mores & standards & rules, but in order not to horrify the System... So we have to be very careful at early teen ages that the girls don´t start having babies so young that they´re shocking the doctors & authorities... Man´s laws are in violation of God´s laws, & because of this, we just have to be careful with our revolutionary living & our radical ideas & our liberties & freedoms, which the System doesn´t have & sometimes doesn´t tolerate.
...So boys & girls, you can have all the sex you want within the guidelines of counselling with your shepherds or parents, but boys, once you start having semen, you should not fuck any girls who have started their periods & are under the age of 15 years old. Once a teen girl starts her periods she must refrain from actual fucking with any boys who have semen, because then you could produce a baby. Getting your period, of course, happens at different times with different girls, so no particular age can actually be assigned as to when you should stop fucking. But say if a girl has been having love-up with other teens or pre-teens, & then her period begins when she´s 13-1/2, then from that point on until she is 15 - - a total of 1-1/2 years - - she should not fuck any boys who are producing semen, or she should not get pregnant. It is okay to fuck boys who do not yet have semen, & girls, once you´ve reached your 15th birthday, you can go ahead & fuck."
The book is recommended to all members over 10 years old, but at the same time it says that the book is especially to be recommended to ‹pre-teens“ as well as ‹teens & New disciples“.
Incest among the Children of God
The wording leaves no doubt about sex being practized among the minors of the sect. In an appaling and disclosing article in ‹Christian Research Journal“, summer 1990, ‹Inside the Heavenly Elite“, a former female member tells about the position of the Children of God on sex between children and adults. All the time these activities are supported by Bible quotations and they are explained as a completion of Gods law about loving each other. Only then you are seen as a true Child of God.
The Children of God believe themselves to be a ‹heavenly elite“ who belong to the inner circle around Jesus Christ. This self definition among other things is, according to the former member, a contributing reason for many former members lack of courage to appear in public, for they live in the faith, that they are among the especially chosen of the inner circle. But there are also other reasons for their silence, and that is the fear of totally loosing contact with their children and their partner who are still actively involved.
To an outsider the children look happy and smiling. But - according to the former member - behind the beautiful appearance a life with sex, prohibitions (e.g. against holidays) and lies is hidden, just as a child only in rare cases has a father and mother living together and seldom the child is living together with them.
Minors live together on a ‹Babe’s Ranch“, where in full accordance with the rules they use sex as a mean to fulfill the love of God. They learn to dress and behave sexually provocative just as they are instructed in how to satisfy each other sexually. The small girls are taught to striptease and to dance naked before adult men. Fathers are free to ‹play“ with their small daughters, just as mothers are allowed to have sexual connections with their small male-children, the former member tells in the article.
Overweight girls are corporally punished
From the age of 12 some of the children live on special ‹Teen Ranches“, which according to the article are psychical recreational centres and indoctrination centres. A special problem is girls not living up to the beauty ideals of the Children of God, e.g. because they are overweight. These girls are pushed outside the community, and the parents blame them for being the domicile of bad spirits and therefore they punish them corporally.
A keyword in the article is ‹sharing time“. The concept refers to the two or three evenings a week where children between 8-18 years old participate in arranged sex-meetings under the motto, ‹who will have sex with whom“. This also takes place among the adult members.
Fairy-tales about sex
According to the author of the article Moses David has made attempts to reduce the sexual practice, but without much success, because the members see it as part of their special understanding of salvation and life. One way has been to marry the children in order to legalize the relationship. But nevertheless much teaching material from the Children of God still deals with sex. Books with fairy-tales also tell about sexual activities.
Children with veneral diseases
According to the article Moses David’s wife and partner Maria has tried to subdue the sexual dimension of the movement, too. She has e.g. participated in building special homes for children with venereal diseases, just as she has introduced the use of condoms, although it is against the very understanding of salvation in the movement to use prevention. And the whole Flirty Fishing programme, which is the special prostitution-programme to lure new members into the sect has come under closer control. Furthermore an AIDS test has been introduced to all members every six months.
Flirty FishingNevertheless, in spite of this new trend we have evidence at the Dialogcentret that the Flirty-Fishing programme is used as an introduction to the movement today in the same way as it was practised in the 1970’s, namely that members of the Children of God are luring new disciples into the movement with sex. It is only towards the press that they try to create a better image.