Published in the Bangkok Post, Mar 29, 1988
minor grammatical errors corrected by the author for use on exFamily.org
The COG is also known as The Family of Love, The Family and The Family International)
The recent articles concerning the COG and their activities have not included some important facts, and in my opinion, were too favourable. Much sensationalisation has been given to the usual sexual issues. The sex-cum-religion issues and publicity not only expose the COG but serve to attract those who identify with the COG's viewpoints. As an ex-member and eye-witness, I would like to furnish some neglected information.
The fact remains that there will always be the odd handful that will receive the ideals of the COG. Their recruitment campaigns are aimed at those who are disillusioned with the failures of society and religion (the "system"), and those who long for an alternative lifestyle and association. Groups such as the COG seem to offer the sincerity, friendship and idealism (the "Truth") otherwise seemingly unavailable to these searching individuals. Adults in the COG are in fact composed of such people trying to live out their ideals through the group, as this is what they desire and have chosen for their own lives.
However, it should be brought out that recruits joining the COG are in for much more than the group claims to represent, endorse and live for. Their warmth and "love" mask the intense manipulation techniques they practise. Literature is available for use in pushing members in any direction desired by their leaders. Members are taught strict obedience to leaders wielding such literature, which they call the "Word of God". Depending on the sentiment of the time, "the Word" is used to force underlings into entirely different paths or decisions. In marriage for eg., unhappily wed couples may be pressured into staying together, while happily married couples may be seperated at their leaders "suggestions" - all backed by "the Word".
Members are taught to blame themselves for anything wrong and are plagued with guilt should they disagree with their leaders. If a member is targeted, the leadership will do anything and everything, (seek out weaknesses) to utterly humiliate and break the member to make him/her maleable. Members are taught that this is "yieldedness" - an integral part of their growing process.
Policies are changed from time to time ("revoluting") with all underlings subjected to intense hardship and pressures, caught in the tide of their leaders' fanatacisms or current trend/sentiments. Any form of security or stability is completely removed from the lives of members, so they have no choice but to "trust the Lord", live day by day, and be vulnerable to further manipulation.
The COG's chief manipualtor is "Moses" David himself, who is full of complexes, and unfulfilled desires to make something of himself. Anyone that doesn't feed his ego quickly discovers his wrathful vindictive side. Popular leaders (competition) who seem to be accomplishing much and doing fine, come before his presence only to be knocked about, demoted and "publicly" (within the COG) humiliated.
"Moses" David operates by living in hiding, surrounded by a small team of dedicated zombified maleable staff upholding anything good about him, while ignoring his criminal actions, faults, schisms or failures. He is free to yell at them or force them to be an attentive audience, even for 8-hour non-stop lectures - a much needed buffer to escape [...] the truth about himself. He delves into unspeakable matters others are ashamed to discuss, almost always takes the exact opposite stance to popular public opinion, and tries to impress his followers by coming up with the most radical and unlikely viewpoints. In short, he uses a form of reverse psychology in order to be convincing. ["Hitler always said If you're going to tell a lie, make it a big lie in order to be convincing"Moses David]
In practice, his opinions are held as absolute truths and adhered to completely even though he constantly fluctuates radically, [sometimes] going back on his [...] past teachings. His excuse? "New revelations". His example flows right down the chain of dedicated leadership. He pushes them to carry out his methods and plans, [...] only to later admonish or severly rebuke them for failures, or for having been the ones to be too extreme. One set of leaders is demoted and replaced by another, and members informed that there have been great changes and improvements and therefore no more chances for similar mistakes. But according to their track record, members continually suffer from M.D.'s instabilty.
Members find themselves fed by [an incessant] flow of reading material which at times covers a wide range of educational subjects. M.D. uses this to keep their attention. This is how they can appear to be smart and well informed. However, their freedom of thought is allowed only up to a point, when the group's labelling methods allow them to think no further. Any questions of leadership or policies are labelled "doubts" and "murmuring", the "sins" the COG abhor and fear the most. A pattern is created where members dissatisfied with the group are trapped into blaming only themselves, and upholding the status quo. The rule for solving problems is to "turn to the Word", which literally means sitting for hours reading their literature until your will breaks down and you give in. To leave would be "backsliding" which leaves you wide open for "God's judgements" or "Satan's destruction", and "eternal shame"
The COG would like to think of themselves as an elite group of volunteers carrying out tasks and sacrifices reserved only for the toughest, and that they have the answers to people's lives. In actual fact, they are overly simplistic, out of touch with people's needs, and have only helped very few. Although they see themselves as elite, their [ultimate] solution is for all to join them, solving their problems by glorious self-deceptions such as "forsaking all" (running away) to "serve God" (become a member and live off society), "trust God" (bury your head), or through [distractions] such as "stop thinking about your problems, get out and go witnessing".
Although they have not admitted to this, and have pretend to be passive - not "forcing people to join" them, their main [...] motive for "witnessing" is their [...] drive to win new members! No matter what they insist to the contrary, M.D. is scared to death of losing numbers and every effort is given to pulling in recruits, using the deception of "winning disciples for Jesus". Over the years, I have participated in their activities and seen countless "potentials" lose interest and turn away from the COG after discovering how out of touch it is. The COG has gone to [...] wasteful lengths to bring converts into their core but failed.
Once in their circle, there is immediate pressure to progress or "grow" (to agree with them) and unless you do, you can guarantee lots of gossip and a united approach towards you that amounts to peer pressure or a feeling of condemnation. They will not hesitate to draw a circle to shut you out and you will feel that you have lost some much needed friends.
The COG have no qualms about leeching off of the society they reject, and have imposed on the hospitality of the Thais and often overstayed their welcome. Restaurants and other establishments have wisely closed their doors to their "tapenessing" (selling tapes) one by one. Nothing productive is offered in return as you donate to them, and their "social services" are insincere and unreal. Free foods collected at markets are claimed to be for orphans or the poor, but are really only for themselves. They have and will continue to deceive the public in order to support themselves economically, only resorting to work to simplify visa or legal matters.
The happy children they claim to have are the main sufferers. Although at times they do receive genuine and amazing attention to their scholastic abilities, depending on the current sentiment, they go through patches of utter neglect and are herded around, or used to open doors and calm suspicions. The children are used for activities which amount to working to support their parents and the COG, through singing and selling literature and tapes. Before any trip out of the house, they are prep talked and conditioned into believing that they are going out to the evil world to reach unhappy sinners that need them. Any unreceptive folk are labelled "goats".
They are taught to believe that it is good to live in such a controlled environment and sheltered away from the world, since Jesus is supposedly coming soon [to end the world], in 1993.
As a result, the children grow up within the COG completely deprived of opportunities in life, unable to advance in their scholastic interests, without access to facilities, and unable to relate to people as people, without some kind of goat/sheep label attached. Freedoms are taken away from them for the sake of the group's paranoic need for "security". Many of them have serious emotional problems and lack mental stimulation. They will not grow up with any skills or interact with society in any way other than life a la Moses David. Moses David proudly boasts that his Mo Letters are all the education they need. Without birth control, their numbers are swelling and approaching two thirds of the COG population. Some women are on their 12th or 13th pregnancies. Something must be done for these children who have never been genuinely offered any alternative viewpoints, nor allowed proper judgement and decision making for their own lives - they did not choose a life of idealism for themselves, nor a sycophantic lifestyle, nor to be slave labour in a cult.
Questioning teenagers are threatened with excommunication which amounts to being thrown out into a world they cannot face, and without their parents who will remain in the COG. Smart children in their ranks are not helped to develop their potential. They are told to wash dishes, watch babies and raise funds. Whenever there is a crackdown and the COG go underground, it is the children that suffer, as the funds and economic support die down.
The COG's list of crimes and offenses is endless, but I would like to finish by saying that the COG are a collection of sincere albeit misguided people, who are doing untold damage to many lives through their good intentions. They are being used and manipulated by an attentionstarved Moses David. The allegiance they claim to have to Jesus Christ is in practice first given to Moses David and the COG before Jesus. No matter how they claim to be otherwise or different and better than the world they are trying to put down, they are no better, and self-deceiving hypocrites to believe it. They have wrecked many lives including my own. To put it mildly, I have been badly hurt by my involvement with the COG. I have seen them at what I thought was their worst, but each year it gets worse. There is so much more than meets the eye.
P/S: The above allegations are based on first hand experience, common collective knowlege within the COG, and information documented in their own literature.