The Children of God
by Deborah (Linda Berg) Davis with Bill Davis,
—to Mr. and Mrs. James P. Davis, and to the generation of parents who have suffered the painful tragedy of having children become cult members. Few will ever know the extent of their suffering;
—and to our children—Joyanne, John, Philip, Nina, Misty Dawn, Clare, David, Davida, and Barak Joseph. To the extent that each of the children has suffered for our sins, it is our prayer that they will learn by our mistakes, realizing that God's present blessing in our lives is but the result of His mercy upon a repentant spirit. May the truths presented in this book be the foundation for the establishment of many godly
We express our deepest appreciation to the following people, without whose support and help—we could not have written this book. There is one we have never met: Rev Richard Wurmbrand. It was through his books and tapes that God revealed to us the mystery of suffering, giving us a deeper understanding of life itself.
||Dr. and Mrs. Richard Price
Professor Donald Enroth
Rev. Richard Wurmbrand
We will forever be indebted to them all. May God bless them.
The famous missionary Oswald Chambers wrote, "The first thing to do in examing the power that dominates me is to take hold of the unwelcome fact that I am responsible for being thus dominated." It is on the bedrock of this truth that I write this book. Having been dominated for more than 30 years by the tyranny of religious hypocrisy and human weakness, I have made the choice to expose the sin of a family and of a man who have influenced tens of thousands of people in a very unrighteious and ungodly way. The family is the David Berg family, and the man is my father. For the past four years, I have examined the power that has dominated me, and I have accepted the responsibility to resist that power.
My resposibility entails self-examination, for neither my father nor his movement could have held any power over me at all unless I had yielded to them. It is said that in order to find a real solution, one must find a real problem. This book is an open and honest sharing of my life and heart, revealing the fetters that bound me and the turth that set me free. It was not easy to write this book. But difficulty does not diminish responsibility; I had to write it.
I can tell only my own story and write of my own involvement. This book is written from my perspective. There are close family members and friends who will be affected by my personal exposure. I am not telling their stories, for they may disagree with some things I say. Furthermore, this book is not meant to hurt or hurt them, but to share reality as I have seen it and lived through it.
The Children of God movement founded by my father, David Berg, in 1968 has been known as "Teens for Christ," the "Revolution for Jesus," the "Children of God," and now the "Family of Love." The movement also broadcasts under the name "Music With Meaning" and "Musica Con Vida." Through music it has lured thousands of youth into its clutches. In today's news media and periodicals the movement is commonly referred to as "The Sex Cult of the Eighties."
Many stories and books have been written about cults, yet few have dealt with the issues that spell life and death for so many thousands. Why do people join cults? Where does brainwashing begin and end? How does one free himself from the shackles of the cultic experience? Who bears the responsibility for involvement? How does the ex-member deal with guilt and condemnation?
Most of the people in this book are alive; many are still in the cult. The story is wild and bizarre, but it is true. I sometimes find it hard to believe that it really happened to me, yet daily I am surrounded by the living scars and wounds to assure me that it is true. In all sense this story has fulfilled the axiom, "Truth is stranger than fiction." By the mercy of God, I can share it with you.
When I first left the cult, I hid the truth of who I was and what I had done. The past was like a razor's edge on which I was forced to lie—and the consequences of that past pushed me slowly but heavily upon it. Could I ever be a whole person again?
But I came to see that hiding the truth of my life would only hurt my children and spell disaster for them someday down the road of the future. Through the actions of my oldest daughter I
saw that they could fall into the same trap as I. I realized I had to tell them the truth. And if it were important for my own children to know the truth, then what about the rest of society and the thousands who have been and are being affected?
I had to resolve tow issues in order to write this book. The first, my children's well-being, has been resolved. The second, my mother's well-being is deeply perplexing. In exposing myself I would affect my children: that is my duty. But in exposing my father, I affect my mother: that is painful. I have yet to resolve that pain; perhaps it will never be resolved. Consquently, I am suffering for this book.
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