© March 1998 COUNTERCOG
P.O. Box 40242, Pasadena, CA 91114, USA.
By Sam Ajemian
March 1998

I Almost Didn't Make It

My name is Samuel Ajemian. I was a member of the Children of God cult AKA The Family from 1969 to 1979.

When I joined I was not told the whole truth about the group. For years the vast majority of the rank and file members of the Children of God were almost completely unaware of the fact that David Berg, the cult's founder, was practicing incest and that the inner circle around Berg were involved in free sex. Since the rest of us were not even allowed to date, there was no reason to doubt that Berg was a believer in the kind of moral purity that the Bible so clearly teaches.

If these well-hidden secrets were not withheld from us and we were informed of what was really going on, I am very certain that very few, if any at all, would have joined the group.

We had given up everything, including our sexual freedoms we were practicing before joining the group, to follow Berg because we were motivated by a burning desire to serve God.

It reminds me of a recent story on television where a family was suing a company, because this company sold the family a house without telling them that there was toxic contamination in the location of the house that was very dangerous for the health of those residing there. I remember the mother crying during the TV interview and saying, "How could they sell us the house and not tell us when they knew that my family and children were in danger."

I feel somewhat the same about Berg. If he was up front and honest from the beginning and had told us he is a Christian who believes in incest, child-adult sex and prostitution and I had then still joined, I would not be able now to accuse him of deception.

Berg of course knew that almost nobody would have joined if all the truth were out. He hoped that if he worked on us gradually, indoctrinating us to his views ever so slowly, eventually he would prepare many of us for his shocking and utterly unbiblical doctrines. I vividly remember the progression that we went through as a group down the sexual freedom path. First we were told we could masturbate. Later on, we were told to share sexually with everybody and anybody in the group. A letter came out pressuring husbands to allow their wives to have sex with anybody that asked. I remember that day like I remember the day Kennedy died. The home leader, who was reading us this letter, had to stop and tried to have someone else finish reading it to us. He was having a very hard time.

There was a young girl by the name of Rachel who was about 17 years old at the time when these sexual freedoms were first introduced on a large scale in the late seventies and free sex suddenly became a widespread practice in the group. Rachel complained to me at that time that she had become physically sick because she was having too much sex! A few days latter when I went to see the leader of a home in his room, I was shocked to see him in bed with his wife on his one side of the bed and Rachel on the other. Rachel had been an underage non-member who had been visiting our Christian community to learn about the Bible!

Eventually I came to totally believe in Berg's doctrine that whatever you do in love is OK, including free sex. In fact I had a hard time understanding why other people couldn't see this simple truth and were leaving the group as a result. We also got a number of letters, some of them containing sexually explicit language where it was demanded of the women to have sex with outsiders. We men were to play the role of the pimp. The women were pressured to receive payment for sexual services rendered. These young women who had joined the group to serve God, eventually started working as common prostitutes in escort services!

I remember reading a COG publication in which advice is given by one of the women about washing the customer's penis before sex. The group had in essence degenerated into a massive brothel and according to the cult's own statistics they have committed close to a quarter of a million acts of prostitution, not counting all the sex within the group itself.

Later on when literature came out promoting child-adult sex as well as incest, parents in the cult got involved sexually with their own children and child-adult sex became a common thing in the group. Children were sexually stimulated starting from the time they were babies, during diaper changes and according to a mother who was a member for many years "everybody was doing it."

As a result of all the sex VD became epidemic. Berg himself got an infection in his throat, which he said he believed he got from performing oral sex on a cult woman. Berg also performed oral sex on this particular woman's husband! Berg confessed to the entire group that he was an alcoholic.

The following description of Berg and his harem is not something that I just made up, but a composite of actual information passed on from eyewitness accounts and/or published in their own literature. Berg is in bed drunk and is kissing the breasts of a cult woman in bed with him. He is speaking in tongues, praying, laughing, singing, and crying. He is supposedly receiving revelations, giving prophecies, burping, asking for more wine.

Berg having deceived himself into believing that he is the greatest man that ever walked on the face of the earth after Jesus, brainwashed Maria and the rest of us that his words were the very words of God. She is next to him, holding the microphone and is tape-recording every word of the prophet, the raw material for new Mo letters to feed the flock with. While all this is going on Berg is busy masturbating the girls. Since he is old and impotent he can't have full intercourse, but one time he made one of his sexual partners reach orgasm 36 times in a single day by the use of his finger!

His favorite preoccupation and pastime seems to have been for cult women to perform oral sex on him for hours. His sexual partners through the years included his daughters, granddaughters and daughters-in-law. It was expected of them to have sex with him.

Merry (Mene), one of Berg's granddaughters has said in an interview with cult researcher professor Steve Kent that "she experienced dozens of intrusive sexual encounters with her grandfather" starting at age 11. It goes without saying that he could have sex with any woman in the cult. He would ask Maria to tell the girls he wanted to have sex with that night to come to his room.

They say the Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. Berg however screened the Bible from cover to cover to find ways to justify his sins. He was a false shepherd who abused our need and desire for a godly leader to look up to, to follow and to be led by.

I asked Zerby once back in the early days at TSC (NOTE: TSC stands for Texas Soul Clinic) if Berg ever made any mistakes. I believed he was almost perfect. I was 25 then, less than half as old as I am now. I didn't know that "christianoids" like Berg even existed. I was innocent and totally trusting. In fact I had thoughts and fantasies that if anybody ever shot at Berg, that I would jump in front of him to protect him and if need be get shot and die to save Berg. I was totally dedicated to him and his cult.

I remember one very hot summer day in Philadelphia passing out cult literature at a traffic light and asking for donations. The sun was so hot that I called in to tell my leaders that it was very hot. I had never done that before. Their answer was to try not to think of how hot it was.

Another time I remember I was witnessing in the snow until it got inside my shoes. My socks were all wet and I was cold. But I kept on passing out literature anyway. That is how dedicated we were. If you didn't make enough money you were not allowed to even return home sometimes until you did.

Meanwhile back at his secret home somewhere Berg drank wine that was purchased with money we had collected on the streets and was having his orgies. Words can't express how all that makes me feel now when I look back and realize how much thousands of others and myself were so used and abused.

Women were told by Berg to continue having sex with outsiders even though they were infected with VD. This is clearly documented in their writings. Yes, Berg refused to allow the women that were infected with sexually transmitted diseases not to have sex with outsiders! This is the kind of extreme insanity we are dealing with in this cult. Some poor cult prostitute had to actually die of AIDS before Berg got scared enough to finely cut back. But they continued having sex with a smaller number of select outsiders.

Let us now turn the camera again into the streets of hundreds of cities of the world where thousands of Berg's disciples including myself were out passing the prophet's revelations to the people and asking them for donations.

I saw a program on TV few days ago about people collecting donations at the main airport in Los Angeles under false pretenses. They showed these two men and if I remember correctly they were both wearing the collar of a catholic cleric. One of them claimed he was collecting for a particular Christian mission. When the reporters went to that mission to check, the people there told the reporter they did not have, nor did they know of anybody out at the airport collecting for their organization. They also showed one of them after he was finished for the day, stopping at a liquor store on his way to his hotel room, to pick up some alcohol to drink after a hard day's work at the airport.

This TV presentation was not suggesting that all those asking money at the airport were fakes. In fact they also showed some who where legitimate. When we weren't having sex or reading Berg's pornographic literature or doing house chores we would be out singing Christian songs in restaurants and other places of business, visiting old-folks homes, performing to young kids at schools but most of the time we were in the streets passing out our literature and asking for donations.

Every time I was out in the streets claiming that we help kids get off drugs, I was lying. I was giving them the false impression that we run some kind of rehabilitation program for kids on drugs, which of course was not the truth. I would tell people that I was collecting money for a school for kids.

If I was honest I would had told them that the money was going to an organization and that the mothers of these kids were out prostituting their bodies to make converts and money. I should had also told them that some of these school kids I was talking about were children born out of prostitution and free sex. This kind of wholesale, massive, ongoing deception of the public was part of daily life and part of our everyday routine in the cult and it is continuing to this very day.

In a recent English TV program, a reporter confronted some COG members in clown attire, asking them pointed questions. As usual the cult member answering the reporter was trying to give evasive and deceptive answers. We also went out asking businesses to help our missionary group with food and supplies. I remember reassuring these Greek businessmen that we were a legitimate missionary group that was solid, trustworthy and dedicated to spreading the gospel, knowing full well that if he knew the truth about us, he would have never helped us. If that poor man knew that few hours latter I would be in bed with somebody else's wife within the confines of our missionary Christian group, he would have probably ordered his employees to throw me out or he may even have called the police.

I went out to businesses to solicit food for our home with a cult member by the name of Abigail. She was Hosanna's mate who is the number three person in the group after Karen Zerby (Maria), and Peter Amsterdam. We were living at a secret location in an exclusive suburb of Athens, Greece. Abigail would fly to London for a few days of sex and fun with an Arab civil engineer "fish". A fish was an outsider that cult women were having sex with for money, favors or to make them a convert. Then when she would come back to Athens she would go out soliciting free food with me at the open-air fruit and vegetable market, posing as a regular Christian missionary. Again, this is the perpetual ongoing deception we inflicted on everybody we met.

I also got infected with the herpes virus during the time I was in the cult. You can imagine my absolute shame when a number of male and female doctors gathered around to examine me and pronounced that I had incurable genital herpes. I had joined to serve God and here I was ten years later with a bunch of doctors checking my genitals.

I had asked Abigail to have sex with me and it is possible that I got infected from her, but since I had sex with other girls in the group, I can't be sure. When I found out that I had herpes I told a girl at another home that I had sex with earlier, that I was infected and suggested it may be a good idea for her not to have sex with other members of the community for a while since I may had given her herpes, or maybe I got it from her. She responded that she could not stop helping her brothers sexually. She felt it was her duty.

There was another girl at that same home that had herpes sores running down her leg. Another one that I asked to have sex with me said she was infected but it was up to me, I could have sex with her if I wanted to, even though she was infected. Another woman had sex with her husband and me, all three of us together in bed, even though they knew I was infected.

The women were absolutely scared of refusing the men who asked them for sex. When one woman refused to have sex with me, the leader of the community expressed his strong displeasure and very quickly another woman was provided to service me sexually.

Many cult members have lived in this promiscuous lifestyle of free sex and free exchange of venereal diseases for more than twenty years. I honestly would not be surprised if there is even one COG member who has not been infected. If one was to compile all such stories and experiences of members for all the years until now, I suppose an entire library room would not be enough for a detailed description of all the horror stories of sexual infestation that have transpired.

Free sex among members is still going on to this day, with VD being passed from member to member like in a game of volleyball. I recently heard an account of children in this cult who had gotten red eyes from herpes virus that was floating in semen in the cult swimming pool where massive amount of sex was taking place.

You may ask why I just didn't leave, just walk out? Well, I finally did as did tens of thousands of others. But many thousands are still in, having been deceived that this horrible cult is God's highest and best for them. Many are afraid that God may strike them dead if they leave the group, or judge them severely in some other way.

Today the majority of their members are young people who were born or raised in the group. Their indoctrination and brainwashing in most cases is total and complete. It is important to point out that a lot of the indoctrination stays with you for years after you leave the group.

I know of ex-members who like myself after leaving the cult continued to have major problems with sexual promiscuity. A dramatic example of this is the fact that in London alone there are several young ex-member girls who are working as strippers in nightclubs, doing what they learned in the cult.

We want to do all we can to provide these confused and directionless young ex-members some form of stability and help them overcome deep psychological, emotional and spiritual problems that resulted from their time in the cult.

Just about a month before I finally left the group a publication came out promoting child-adult sex. I was so desensitized and my head was so clouded that it hardly shocked me at all. We were conditioned to open our mouths wide and accept anything that Berg said. It is fortunate that I left soon thereafter as I could have very easily ended up becoming a child-molester like so many others did.

There was a tremendous amount of bad publicity in the Greek media. I remember a large front-page spread in one of the daily papers in Athens showing several Orthodox priests condemning and anathematizing the cult. There was also that famous picture of Berg and his harem of cult prostitutes at Tenerife, Canary Island. My mother showed it to me in her desperate and frustrated attempt to convince me to leave the group. But nothing would change my mind. I had decided long before that I was going to spend the rest of my life in the COG.

Some visiting cult members had just moved in our home at this time. One of them was Faith Berg, David Berg's daughter. I need to get into some detail about the kind of people I was around the last few weeks before I left the group. Faith came to our home in Athens with her new mate Juan and Juan's other wife. They were a threesome.

With them also were Juan's two little girls of about 8 or 10 years old. I could clearly notice and was impressed by the fact that Juan's two little girls were acting different, more like women than children. Another cult member that came to our home was Simon Peter. Both Simon Peter and Faith were members of a special group within the cult that was involved in the production of a radio show called Music With Meaning or MWM for short. They also produced videos of naked dances of cult women. We have copies of these videos. There is one where a cult woman that was part of MWM is actually masturbating to Berg.

But the most shocking and disturbing are dances of little girls. These little preteen naked dancers were also sexually involved with adult members of MWM. One of the little girls subjected to all this was Celeste, Simon Peter's daughter. As I was sitting alone in the home one night, little Celeste came to me wearing a see-through gown and asked me if I could give her a massage! I could have ended up becoming a pedophile that night. This is the kind of environment I was in just before I left the group.

I have to live with the stigma of other things that I did or allowed in the cult, but I am fortunate that I did not get involved in child-adult sex.

A few days later I found myself in deep contemplation. I was walking around the Acropolis, holding a little piece of paper in my hand. On it I had made two lists. One of the lists was of the good things in the COG and the other of the bad. There was no doubt about the good things in the group, for example the Bible classes, the scripture memorization and witnessing about Jesus in many places.

But the list on the right hand of the bad things was just overwhelming. Free sex, prostitution, VD, lying, incest, and child-adult sex I left the group soon thereafter never to return. I am so glad that I did.

I had left the group once before over the false prophecy Berg had given about the comet Kohoutek being a sign of the destruction of America by God by January 31, 1974. But after being out of the group for about 6 months I felt so lonely and lost that I had returned back to the COG, giving Berg the benefit of the doubt and excusing the false prophecy as just a mistake he had made. But this time in 1979 it was final. Thank God! What a terrible ten-year long experience.

I am in this fight against this spiritual cancer called The Family in order to try to arrest its metastasis into many more thousands of lives.

(A former COG member asked me some time ago to announce in my newsletter that she would be interested in receiving testimonies of former members for her own personal edification and healing, and also because she would like to possibly compile some of these testimonies into a book. We think it is a great idea. If interested please send us your testimonies and we will pass them on to the ex-member that has requested them. We may also publish them in our newsletter as well.

*** Even though the above testimony was written with the outsiders who have never been members of the COG in mind, I believe that it contains material that would be beneficial and relevant to ex-members as well.) *****

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