Author: Michael
Known in COG/FOL/Family as: Gibeon

I was attending a rock concert in 1971 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Outside there were several people handing out little pamphlets about the “End Time”. These people were called the Children of God. I found them interesting in that they were very fervent in what they believed…..

I came from a rather poor family. I grew in a very dysfunctional household---my mother had mental health issues and my stepfather was physically abusive. I spent most of my childhood playing sports, listening to music and socializing in the local Christian and Missionary Alliance Church. I taught Bible classes and worked summers as a Church Counselor. During the late 1960’s I organized demonstrations at my University (Cal Poly Pomona) and had a break with the Church at that time. Since they were supportive of the war I told them in no uncertain terms “Jesus would not join the military and kill people”. They didn’t like the commentary !!

Fast forward to 1971 again …… I decided I would “Forsake all” and join the “Jesus Revolution”. I did so in May of 1971 and that is where the “experience” begins !!

I spent the first 2 months at the Commune at 5th and Towne (in L.A.) and was introduced to David Berg’s children, Hosea, Faith, Deborah, and Aaron----a very charismatic group---and of course there was the famous Jeremy Spencer (from the band Fleetwood Mac) and his wife Fiona. I was sent to the Coachella Valley where Fred Jordan (the early supporter of the COG) had a ranch. New recruits were sent there for 40 days to become elite “soldiers” for the “revolution”. I got to experience days of 130 degrees and learned a lot about irrigating date trees. We also got numerous Bible classed from teachers such as Joel and Benjamin (NY).

After 40 days I was sent to the Commune in Hayward California where I was groomed for a job as a provisioner (one who finds food and supplies for the Family). From day one I was given a lot of responsibility (I believe this was due to my education and maturity level and biblical knowledge) and freedom to handle the business of the Family.

I spent time in numerous Communes in the early 70’s(Sacramento, Fresno, Monterey, King City) and eventually was sent to Albany New York, a transition for my eventual relocation to San Juan Puerto Rico, Where I eventually was made a teacher for the new Puerto Rican disciples (I gave classes and had them translated while I taught), this was around 1973. After spending almost a year in Puerto Rico I left the family and went out on my own. I flew back to the States and spent time in the mid 70’s both on my own and rejoining the Family in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and Vancouver.

After leaving the family I spent time studying many different eastern and western religions (I have joined many churches over the years, both eastern and western). I eventually went back to school and got my Master Degree in Education/Counseling. I have worked in Washington State since 1980 as a therapist, vocational counselor, social worker, and guitar teacher, as well as musician.

I don’t regret my experiences with the Children of God---to me it was another interesting experience that allowed me to learn something about myself (and others!) --- perhaps I would have a different insight If I had spent a longer time inside the Group. Maybe the most valuable thing I learned was that you can’t go looking for Spirit in the “Religious World”---be it eastern or western Religion---true heavenly spirit comes to those of a cleansed heart and soul, and that Spirit has no official name. I have learned this through my associations with people (some you would classify as “good” and some as “bad”) because in the end no one can change and mold you accept YOU !!

Gibeon (michael)

Post Script:
Why I left the family ????? A lot of reasons. I think I got tired of the manipulations----one day your a leader--the next your a 'babe" etc--gets old. Also, I got wise to all of the "heavy" leaders and their personal agendas. From the beginning I was kind of a middle management person the Family could rely on to conduct business and PR, teach,etc---they gave me a lot of power and autonomy (or I probably would have left sooner) --- I will be telling some very entertaining stories in my future writings !!.

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