Notice from Peter – April 19, 2005
(MO site announcement #13)
God bless you! These are certainly days of excitement and change, aren’t they? Each of you have completed your Feast days, have held your workshops‚ and are now in the period of the first Home review. You have elected your Home shepherds and Home managers. Home accountability has kicked in, and you are all working to build your winning teams.
Mama and I are so proud of you for bravely facing these challenges. You have been through a lot over the past 12 months, and you have risen to the occasion. You have continued to grow in spirit, and you are making steady progress.
Thank you so much for your prayers for the meeting Mama and I held with the International Board Chairpersons and some other folks from WS. As I explained in the last notice, the Lord showed us that we needed to meet together in order to pray about and plan for the coming years. The meetings were very fruitful. They gave us the opportunity to step back from our day-to-day work in order to seek the Lord about the big picture of the future. There was a lot of prayer, discussion, brainstorming, hearing from the Lord‚ praising, calling on the keys and our spirit helpers. And thanks to the Lord’s guidance and direction, which was in great part due to your prayers, we came away from this time together with clear instructions from the Lord about what to focus on the rest of this year and next.
While we came away with numerous projects to work on and a multitude of ideas, most everything fell under three main goals.
Consolidate the Gains of the Restructuring
Train and Strengthen the Family
Protect the Family
The main point the Lord emphasized was the need to follow through on the restructuring. A great deal has changed within the Family since the beginning of last year. In fact, we’re still in the midst of making those changes. Our first Home review is underway. The Steering Councils have been elected. The Home shepherds and Home managers‚ as well as the criteria monitors, are beginning their new roles‚ and everyone in the Home is playing their part. After the Home review, your Home will see what areas you need to progress in, and will begin working on them in order to improve before the October Home review. Potential coaches are being trained. All of this has been a tremendous amount of change put forth in a relatively short amount of time. We’ve all—FD, MM, and FM alike—been pretty busy with all of the changes we’ve undergone.
The Lord said that Family leadership must spend at least the next year making sure all of the changes implemented over the last 12 months take root and function the way they are meant to. We’ve never had Home reviews before, or Steering Councils, or criteria monitors, or coaches. All of this is new. So we‚ as leadership, need to do our part to ensure the new systems operate properly, that those who hold these new jobs are sufficiently trained, that your questions are answered, that anything that isn’t understood is explained, and that any glitches or problems are fixed.
The Lord cautioned us to not institute any further major worldwide change until all of the present changes have been absorbed into the fabric of the Family. As such, hopefully these changes you are now implementing will be the end of the major Family-wide restructuring-type changes for a while. There might be further "tweaks" as we discover ways that the current new structure can be improved, but hopefully they will be minor.
All of this change had to be made in a short amount of time in order to keep the “Titanic” of the Family from sinking into the oblivion of spiritual compromise and death. We were in a state of emergency, so we had to swiftly put these measures in place to keep us afloat. These changes have not been easy on anyone, but the result has been a restructured, refitted ship that is seaworthy. We are now faced with making sure that all of the repairs are solid, that every crew member knows his or her job, that everyone has the necessary training, and that we are all working together to make the ship the sleek, fast moving vessel it needs to be. This will be one of the major goals throughout this year and next.
Another goal which goes along with this is training and strengthening the Family. This, of course, coincides with the year of strengthening which we are presently in. Our goal is to move forward with training in all aspects of Family life.
One important focus has been more training for leadership‚ so that they can aid the Family in becoming the strong, tight knit, dedicated body of believers that the Lord has asked us to be. There have been several recent initiatives along these lines, many of which are nearing completion. The coach training is already underway. Nearly every region has completed their first Coach Training Seminar. Over the next few months the potential coaches will receive further training so that those who are appointed will be ready to start their new job on July 1st.
The Home Shepherd Training Program is being worked on now, and the beginnings of it will be posted online by the end of April. The CS IBCs (with help from the CS RBCs, the WS web team, and others in WS) have been working day in and day out to get this material ready on time. God bless them! Please keep them in your prayers, as it’s a huge job and there is still a large part of the program to finalize.
For your interest‚ there will be a page on the MO site, which is where the Home shepherds will be able to access the Home Shepherd Training Program material. Some portions of the program will be made available to the Home managers as well. Also, portions of the program will be made available to the whole Family via the new CS board page on the MO site. There will be a new installment of the program posted every few weeks, each one touching on a different topic.
Please keep me in your prayers as well, as I am just beginning the audio recording of a number of classes for the Home Shepherd Training Program (some of which will be available for the Home managers as well). We count on your prayers, as they are what keep us going. Thanks for praying.
All of the other boards also have training programs on their agendas as well—some are international initiatives, others are regional or by national area, but all are planning and progressing and working towards providing more training for every aspect of Family life. However, they are first working to complete their board handbooks, which will provide you with more insight and practical how-tos toward fulfilling the board criteria. It takes time and a lot of work to create such training programs, so please keep the boards in your prayers as well.
The third goal the Lord gave us is to protect the Family. As we all know, since the beginning of this year, with Angela’s murder and Ricky’s suicide, a number of apostate-type former members have stepped up their campaign to destroy the Family. Their first tactic was to try and stir up a media frenzy to turn public opinion against us. They went to the print and television media with the hopes that the news articles and TV shows would cause us major harm. It didn’t, and for most countries media attention has been short-lived.
While there have been some shows and a number of articles published, the overall effect has been minimal. Of course, these apostate-type folks tout these shows and articles as great victories, but on the ground they have had very little effect.
In Japan there have been a few articles over the past weeks‚ and there may be a few more. Australia had one article, as did Norway. There was also a newscast in San Diego (U.S.) that briefly touched on the Family. Please pray for the Family in these areas, and that these articles won’t negatively affect their witnessing ministries and work for the Lord.
As we mentioned in notice number 11 (posted March 16th), a former member from the San Diego area‚ who left the Family in 1975‚ has been petitioning the FBI to investigate the Family. Apparently this man, Jim LaMattery, has been pressuring people to file affidavits in support of his campaign. Here are a few excerpts of posts from some concerned former members:
“There have been a number of people now, whom Jim has pressured, bullied and attempted to manipulate.”
“…I am concerned that Mr. LaMattery has acted in an insensitive and intimidating manner where my daughter is concerned... she just called me up in a panic because she felt unduly pressured by Mr. LaMattery about providing him information about her FBI affidavit. She felt especially upset because Mr. L. wouldn’t explain his aims and objectives to her in a satisfactory manner.”
"I have been reading these posts for awhile and I don't think you have been totally clear and upfront with us. You could start a witchunt (sic) and there may be a really sad end, is that what you want?"
Recently, Jim LaMattery set up a web site, and on this site he makes several claims which would lead one to believe that he is representing the FBI, or working on their behalf to gather information and affidavits about the Family. It’s not possible to ascertain if an investigation is indeed underway, as despite his claims to the contrary, the FBI does not normally reveal to the public whether or not they are investigating any given individual or group, and will simply respond by saying they cannot confirm or deny such claims.
We wanted to explain this to you in case you hear reports from third party sources or your former member relatives‚ painting this current initiative as a full-fledged FBI investigation, which at this point is not necessarily the case. There is currently no credible evidence that the FBI is investigating the Family. If this changes, we will inform you. Otherwise, you can consider such rumors that an investigation is underway to be just that—rumors spread around by those who wish to damage and destroy the Family. Our suggestion is that you carry on with your missionary work, and don’t let their rumors cause you to fear, and pray for the Lord to have His way. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” "The keys of faith can give you My perspective, to help you see things as I see them, to understand why I have brought them to pass, and to know that it will work together for your good."
We have been informed that in the U.S., anyone can walk into an FBI office and say they have a complaint to file. The FBI is required to speak with them and listen to their complaints. The agent will take notes of the conversation, will accept and file any “evidence” or affidavits and will thank the person for coming in. They will not tell the person if they will investigate or not. Just because someone files a complaint doesn’t mean that the FBI is conducting an investigation. Family members have not been contacted and there is no sign that the filing of these affidavits has led to any sort of formal investigation.
We have heard that some Homes in the U.S. were wondering how to respond should the FBI come to their door. Of course‚ we have nothing to hide or worry about, as we are law-abiding citizens who in fact devote our lives to assisting others in the community, as governments in other nations have found when they have investigated our Homes. However‚ it’s always helpful to know what your rights are and how to conduct yourself in the event of any official enquiries. To this end, for the benefit of you Family members who are living in the U.S., we are enclosing excerpts at the end of this notice from a public brochure compiled by the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU. You may find the complete version of this brochure at www.nlg.orgresources/know_your_rights.htm.
As you will see from the information following, you are under no obligation to speak with the FBI. It is advised that if you do choose to speak with them that you have a lawyer present. However, we want to point out to you that if you tell others not to speak with the FBI then you will be guilty of obstruction of justice. So while you personally do not have to speak with them, you can not and should not tell others not to speak with them, as that’s against the law. We suggest that those of you in the U.S. take the time to familiarize yourselves with the material at the end of this notice.
As far as we can tell at this point, going to the FBI is the latest attempt to destroy the Family by those who have publicly stated their intent to do so. Having failed in the media, they are now trying to stir up law enforcement. They tried to interest local law enforcement in San Diego, but got nowhere. Now they are trying with the FBI. Having filed a complaint with the FBI, it seems they are stretching the truth by claiming the FBI has opened an official investigation, which from what we can tell is not true.
Of course, stretching the truth, and even outright lying, is not beyond some of our detractors. They can say anything they wish on the Internet, accusing people falsely, lying about them and slandering them. They do this about Mama and me all the time. Their latest target is the North American Family spokesperson, Claire, not surprisingly since she has been at the forefront of the media battles in North America since the Ricky/Angela incident. They have attempted to discredit her through false allegations on their web sites, none of which have any basis in fact.
Claire, you’ve been doing a great job. The fact that some apostate-type former members are attacking you with such lies only shows that you are doing a wonderful job, and they know it. Keep up the good work!—And Family, please keep Claire and all of our media spokespeople throughout the Family in your prayers.
As I explained earlier, one of the goals we have for the next period of time is to protect the Family. What we mean by this is that we need to make it a Family-wide goal to work towards further preparation for future persecution. The Lord has warned that persecution is coming, so we know that it is going to come sooner or later. As such it’s important that your Home is prepared for it. You prepare by being strengthened spiritually‚ by being a positive force in your local communities, by maintaining a good physical standard in your Home and outreach, by making sure your home-schooling standard is up to par and that your children are well educated, by fulfilling the board criteria, by building a solid missionary work, by having a lawyer who is up to speed on your local work and the Family in general‚ etc.
If you wait until persecution comes to take these steps, it will be too late. You need to give proper attention to these matters now; you can’t wait until later. Your Home review should help you to see if your Home is up to standard in these matters. If not, we recommend that you get on it right away, so that you will be better prepared for any eventuality in the future. If you have questions about this, please direct them to your regional PR board.
Throughout this month and into the middle of May, all FD Homes will be filling out their first Home review. By July 1st you will receive the results of your review from your regional desk. Each regional board chairperson will compile your score for their board and will send them to the regional desk. The desk will compile all six of your scores and send them to your Home, so you will know where you stand in your performance in each board.
As we’ve said before, this first Home review is basically a placement test. The results of the review are to help you see in which board criteria you need to improve. Therefore, it’s to your advantage to be as frank and candid as possible in filling out each board’s questionnaire. If you are overly generous with yourselves when filling it out, then your results will not be a true picture of your Home’s performance in that board’s criteria. It may look to you from the final results that your Home is doing great, whereas your score in truth should have been much lower. In such a case you may not focus on improving in some board’s criteria, only to find that come October’s review you will be found wanting.
On the other hand, don’t be so hard on yourselves that you fail everything. When you are filling out your reports, give an honest assessment in each of your Home’s answers—as you should not just in this review, but in every subsequent review as well. Then when you get the results it will be clear which criteria, and which specific points in the criteria, you need to work on before the next Home review.
There will be more encouragement and counsel coming in regards to what to do after you receive your score, via a GN which should reach you soon after you complete your Home review. But for now we just wanted to mention the importance of being frank, honest, and candid in your filling out the questionnaires. The point of this Home review is to see where your weak areas are as a Home, and the only way for you to truly determine that is to ask the Lord to help you to be honest and accurate as you evaluate your Home within each board pillar.
Mama and I are praying for you as you undergo your Home review, and as you Home managers, Home shepherds, and criteria monitors adjust to your new responsibilities. We’re continuing to pray for all of you, dear Family, as you adjust to the changes and challenges you are presently facing. We know the Lord will anoint and help you as you look to Him and depend on His powerful keys to assist you. Remember to call on Change, one of our new spirit helpers‚ as he will help you to adapt and flow with the changes you’re facing, even if they’re initially difficult.
If you haven’t done so already‚ it would be a good idea to lay hands on those within your Home who are accepting new positions and taking on new responsibilities, to pray for their anointing. Also, as a Home, please do all you can to cooperate with them, so that together you can build the winning team Homes the Lord is expecting of us all. May God bless and keep each of you. Mama and I love you, and are proud of you.
P.S. Here is the information regarding the FBI that I mentioned previously‚ published by the National Lawyers Guild and the ACLU. We’re making this available to you, our Family in the U.S., so if sometime in the future you have to speak with the authorities you know your rights and will be prepared. Please don’t allow the Enemy to attack you with fears or worries about something that’s not even fact. As I said earlier, we’ll let you know if we find out that an FBI investigation is underway. But for now, we’re simply including this information for you because it’s part of preparedness, knowing your rights, and being ready to give an answer or not give an answer to any man who asks you‚ as the situation warrants. God bless you!
What if police, FBI, or immigration agents contact me?
Q: Do I have to answer questions?
A: You have the constitutional right to remain silent. It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer before agreeing to answer questions. You do not have to talk to anyone, even if you have been arrested or are in jail. Only a judge can order you to answer questions. There is only one exception: in some states outside of California, it can be a crime to refuse to give your name if you have been detained. You do not have to show ID or give any other information such as your address or immigration status.
Q: Do I need a lawyer?
A: You have the right to talk to a lawyer before you decide whether to answer questions. And if you do agree to be interviewed, you have the right to have a lawyer present. The lawyer’s job is to protect your rights. Once you tell the agent that you want to talk to a lawyer, they should stop trying to question and should make any further contact through your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer‚ you can still tell the officer you want to speak to one before answering questions. Remember to get the name, agency and telephone number of any investigator who visits you, and give that information to your lawyer. The government does not have to provide you with a free lawyer unless you are charged with a crime, but the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) or another organization may be able to help you find a lawyer for free or a reduced rate.
Q: If I refuse to answer questions or say I want a lawyer, won’t it seem like I have something to hide?
A: Anything you say to law enforcement can be used against you and others. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information might be used to hurt you or someone else. That is why the right not to talk is a fundamental right under the Constitution. Keep in mind that although they are allowed to lie to you, lying to a government agent is a crime. Remaining silent is not. The safest things to say are “I am going to remain silent,” "I want to speak to my lawyer," and “I do not consent to a search.”
Q: Can agents search my home or office?
A: You do not have to let police or agents into your home or office unless they have a search warrant. A search warrant is a written court order that allows the police to conduct a specified search. Interfering with a warrantless search probably will not stop it and you might get arrested. But you should say “I do not consent to a search," and call a criminal lawyer or the NLG. Your roommate or guest can legally consent to a search of your house if the police believe that person has the authority to give consent, and your employer can consent to a search of your workspace without your permission.
Q: What if agents have a search warrant?
A: If you are present when agents come for the search, you can ask to see the warrant. The warrant must specify in detail the places to be searched and the people or things to be taken away. Tell the agents you do not consent to the search so that they cannot go beyond what the warrant authorizes. Ask if you are allowed to watch the search; if you are allowed to, you should. Take notes, including names, badge numbers, what agency each officer is from, where they searched and what they took. If others are present‚ have them act as witnesses to watch carefully what is happening. If the agents ask you to give them documents, your computer, or anything else, look to see if the item is listed in the warrant. If it is not, do not consent to them taking it without talking to a lawyer. You do not have to answer questions. Talk to a lawyer first.
Q: Do I have to answer questions if I have been arrested?
A: No. If you are arrested, you do not have to answer any questions. Ask for a lawyer right away. Repeat this request to every officer who tries to talk to or question you. You should always talk to a lawyer before you decide to answer any questions.
Q: What if I speak to government agents anyway?
A: Even if you have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other questions until you have a lawyer.
Q: What if the police or FBI threaten me with a grand jury subpoena if I don’t answer their questions?
A: A grand jury subpoena is a written order for you to go to court and testify about information you may have. It is common for the FBI to threaten you with a subpoena to get you to talk to them. If they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. Receiving a subpoena to testify before a grand jury doesn't mean that you are suspected of a crime. You may have legal grounds to stop the subpoena. If you do receive a subpoena, call the NLG or a criminal lawyer right away. Anything you say can usually be used against you.
What if I am under 18?
Q: Do I have to answer questions?
A: No. Minors too have the right to remain silent. You cannot be arrested for refusing to talk to the police, probation officers, or school officials‚ except in some states outside of California, you may have to give your name if you have been detained.
Q: What if I am detained?
A: If you are detained at a community detention facility or Juvenile Hall, you normally must be released to a parent or guardian. If charges are filed against you, you have the right to have a lawyer appointed to represent you at no cost.
This pamphlet was produced by the National Lawyers Guild, S.F. Bay Area Chapter, the ACLU of Northern California‚ and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC-SF), which are solely responsible for its content. Nothing herein is intended to interfere with any legitimate law enforcement investigation.