Home » Children of God Publications » --title not yet entered into database--

The Family / Children of God

Internal Publications and Secret Directives

DISCLAIMER: The sole purpose of this page is to document the existence of a publication produced by The Family International a.k.a. The Family, Family of Love, Children of God and various pseudonyms (hereon referred to as TFI). It is provided for the record, for educational and research purposes, with the principal aim of promoting accountability by the TFI for its teachings and statements, which have proven detrimental to the lives of many. By replicating this material, exFamily.org neither endorses the views expressed in this publication nor justifies the existence of this publication and its statements. Reader discretion is advised. The material on this page may be unsuitable for minors and may contain disturbing words of racism, hate mongering, directives to unhealthy lifestyles and/or criminal activity, and/or contain plagiarized works.
THIS PUBLICATION MAY HAVE BEEN "SANITIZED." This digital format of this publication was extracted from TFI's HomeARC 99, which was subjected to encryption and editing by TFI, who, in order to hide its controversial writings and thus escape moral and/or legal accountability for past/present core beliefs and directives, sanitized (edited) and purged (deleted, destroyed, burned) its texts—both printed and electronic. Where possible, exFamily.org has compared this digital material with the cult's original paper-printed versions to ensure that this publication accurately reflects the original, uncensored version. Locations where the text has obviously or potentially been sanitized is hilighted with bright-red [DELETED] or [EDITED] markers.

FSM 253 / FN 362  Special Issue!
Persecution Tips!--Part One of a Two-Part Series
Copyrighted April, 1994 by Family Services, Zurich, Switzerland
       "The path of the just is as a shining light which shineth more & more unto the perfect day" (Pro.4:18).  How wonderfully the Lord has fulfilled that promise for the Family, year by year!--And 1993 was perhaps the most remarkable fulfilment yet, in spite of worldwide persecution.  In fact, the hotter the fires of persecution, the brighter we shine & the stronger we grow!  We always come out stronger for it!  PTL!
       With each new wave of persecution, we learn a lot about the Devil's devices & how to counter them.  In the recent French persecution, we were able to draw from the Family's experiences in Australia, Barcelona & elsewhere.  When persecution struck in Argentina, we were able to apply many of the lessons learned in France.  As a result, even though each new incident of persecution seemed to be heavier & the Enemy's attacks more fierce, we have been better prepared to respond quickly & decisively & our counterattacks were much more effective.  TYJ!
       In this two-part series, we will pass on many of the lessons that were learned in France & Argentina in the hope that they will help you to be ready to "seize the day"*, rout the Enemy & take full advantage of the witnessing opportunities when the promised persecution visits your field. (See Mat.24:9,14.) (* Latin expression "carpe diem" which means to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.)
       These tips, gleaned from battlefield reports, are listed in abbreviated point form for your easy reference.  Please bear in mind that this compilation is not intended to provide pat answers for every situation you will face.  In fact, some points may appear to offer conflicting advice.  As always, you will need to counsel together, & ask for the Lord's specific guidance & leading to help you discern which points can best be applied to your situation.
       For further counsel on many of the topics covered in this FSM, please see "Media Strategies", CLTP 11.

Preventative Measures & Advance Preparations
        The Lord apparently allows some persecution to happen so that we will stand up & fight. He wants us to make ourselves known to the authorities & the media, & to noise our Message abroad in circles of influence & to the public.
        If our local leadership & media teams work hard at contacting authorities, media, lawyers, academics (such as sociologists) & others of influence before our enemies stir up trouble, the Lord may avert police raids in those areas.

        Every Home should prepare an album to present their local Work, complete with photos, newsclippings, letters of recommendation, thank-yous,  etc.  Presentation albums should be updated regularly.
        Keep an album or binder of positive materials about our worldwide Family, including summaries of favourable court rulings, positive evaluations by leading academics & prominent individuals, outstanding news clips, selected DFO testimony pubs, etc.

        It is imperative that the Homes in each country become familiar with the laws of the land. Your lawyers should be able to help you with this &/or explain how & where you can research further.
        Some countries have legal steps that you can take to forestall a raid or arrest by formally presenting yourself for questioning, etc.  If such laws exist in your country, whether or not such a move would be advantageous to take will be a matter for local desperate prayer & counsel.  In some Latin countries these laws are called "Recurso" or "Denuncia Preventiva".

        It is vital to have supporting documentation in your Home Schooling Kit which verifies that your children are well socialised. This could include photos of outings & performances & letters of recommendation or thank-yous from institutions where they have ministered.
        Know the local laws about Home Schooling & try to comply if possible.

        The first step in refuting the charges of our enemies is to clearly distinguish between (a) outright lies, (b) distortions or misrepresentations, & (c) charges which seek to capitalise on areas of the Work which are in fact weak.
        Hopefully, you will have already determined the weak spots in your local Work, found the Lord's solutions & are taking steps to correct them as a part of your persecution prep.
       But even if some situations have not been altogether corrected, you can cite your progress as evidence that you are aware of the problem & are taking action. You can sometimes also take advantage of the publicity to make an appeal for help in achieving your new goals.
       Example 1. Charge: "Your children are handicapped by a limited knowledge of the local language." Answer: "Our children are learning the local language. They have (so many) hours of language study per week as part of their Home Schooling & spend (about so many) hours developing conversational skills with outsiders (witnessing).
       Example 2. Charge: "You isolate yourselves from society." Answer: "To the contrary, one of our primary jobs is to help society overcome its ills, especially youth-related problems, & this work constantly brings us in contact with all levels of society. We invite civic leaders to contact us about possible programs."
        Outright lies should, of course, be emphatically denied. Give clear, concise, factual answers to false charges, & back them up with hard evidence (i.e., "None of our children are abused, as proven by thorough medical & psychological examinations of over 600 of our young people worldwide.")
        Rebut distortions & misrepresentations by clearly redefining the situation positively. If there is nothing wrong with the Family's stance on a particular issue, say so.
       Example 1. Charge: "You teach your kids to call the police `Romans' & society `the System'." Answer: "There's nothing wrong with either of those terms. We also teach our children to respect the police in accordance with Romans Chapter 13, which is where the term originated. `The System' is not necessarily a derogatory term. It is widely used & recognisable & simply easier to use in everyday conversation than `society at large' or other terms which could be found."
       Example 2. Charge: "You pack flee bags for your kids." Answer: "There's nothing sinister about flee bags." (Refer to the Letter by that name to explain where the term originated, & cite local examples of flooding, mudslides, fires, earthquakes, etc., where other residents would have been wise to have been likewise prepared.)
       Example 3. Charge: "Some adult men & women have admitted extramarital sex (`sharing')." Answer: "So what? By and large, our sexual practices are no more liberal than those of mainstream society; we're just more honest & responsible about it."
       Example 4. Charge: "Your teens do only housework & are trained to stay in the sect so that they can become your maids & domestics." Answer: "No, that's not true. Our teens (& younger children, for that matter) do some household chores, & in so doing learn important lessons about responsibility & community spirit. Most parents & communities wish their young people were as helpful. But that's not all they do; they also do such-&-such.... All adults also share in household chores."
       Example 5. Charge: "Schooling is not adequate & several kids are not up to par scholastically." Answer: "Our schooling is adequate, as attested to by the fact that many of our Family kids perform above the norms for their age groups. As far as the few that are behind scholastically, every school has its slow learners. Ours are getting far more remedial tutoring & personal attention than they would receive in public schools."
        Once all the CA charges are proven false, the persecuting authorities usually fall back on the nebulous charges that the children suffer from lack of socialisation & psychological isolation. To pre-empt such claims, you may want to consider having your children tested by a friendly or at least fair-minded sociologist or psychologist, who could then compare the test results with the "average" results amongst System children. Our children have always tested at least average, & often well above average. Keep a good socialisation portfolio & log, with photos, ticket stubs, brochures of places visited, etc. Include such items as shopping, travel on public transport, excursions, witnessing experiences, contact with neighbours, visits with other home schoolers, etc.
        Prepare to counter attacks from the anti-"cult" crowd, including testimonies from embittered backsliders, by amassing evidence of their own foul-play, which can serve to discredit them.

        Send introductory mailings to selected groups & individuals, then follow up with more information & personal letters to those who express interest. (Generally, smaller, more frequent mailings are best.  Big mailings are less likely to be read & take longer to prepare.)
        Appeals to prospective new defenders via mail take longer to reach the mark & are generally less effective than personal visits, so make personal contact with as many as you can.
        New contacts need to be convinced that we are a worthy cause before they can be expected to jump in & wholeheartedly get behind us.  Again, this can often best be accomplished during personal visits.
        New contacts must be followed-up on, cultivated & fed.  This is for their own sakes, first of all, but also that they will be prepared to stand up for the right when persecution arises.  Don't let them fall by the wayside.  It's important that they get to know the Family well, visit the Homes, & meet our children.  Such friends who have visited & are close, are much stronger & more knowledgeable & committed in their defence of us.
        Make contact with sociologists & other respected academics in your area. These folks are usually connected with colleges or universities.
        Make contact with open-minded theologians & respected members of other religions.
        Win new Christian friends by emphasising our similarities, rather than our differences, & prepare them for the religious persecution which they too will eventually face.
        Depending on your situation, you may wish to contact or fellowship with local churches. (See "Go to the Churches!", ML#2867.)
        Winning Catholic allies locally could be a big plus, especially in predominantly Catholic countries.  When persecution arises, they may be willing to speak to their superiors on our behalf.

        Written statements & videos explaining our Work & lifestyle carry more weight with the public & courts when done by impartial outsiders, rather than ourselves, so secure these in advance of persecution, if possible.
         Ask friends to write short "character reference" statements regarding their interactions with The Family.  These are especially effective when coming from doctors, psychiatrists, other professionals, government officials, & former  Members.  Such statements should include the attestant's credentials within the text. For example, "I am a judge who specialises in children's court & have judged children's cases for 22 years. I have known The Family since..." etc.  The statements should appear on letterhead if possible & be signed.  If possible, have these statements typed on a computer so that multiple original copies (perhaps as many as 10 or more) can be printed out.  Keep these originals on file to be used as needed.  If multiple originals are not possible, one will suffice as it can be photocopied.
        Encourage fair-minded sociologists to do academic studies of your Home & put their conclusions in writing.
        One aspect that authorities will probably inquire about is how we finance ourselves, as the Lord does provide very well for us.  To supplement "Our Support" Statement, ask some of your supporters & provisioning contacts to write a short letter stating why they give to our Work.
        Some of our friends are not able to write statements on our behalf because of their jobs.  For instance, one friend, a judge, explained he is not allowed to make official statements siding with anything, he is not even allowed to comment on his own court rulings in public, even when the press has given a distorted picture of them.  But as he explained, there are other things they can do such as standing up for us by visiting us & speaking well of us to others. These folks can be more of a help to us  in this way.  If they come out too strongly for us publicly, they may lose their effectiveness.

       ({\ul \i Note}: Please counsel with your CROs to formulate local policy before making initiatives on any of the points in this section.)
        Make pre-emptive contacts with the police, & Social Services, presenting your local Work & providing affirmative documentation about the Family. The outreach Video, "New Worlds to Discover", KVs & TAs may also help win them.
        When approaching police officials, invite them to come & visit us socially. Explain that we understand that if they receive orders, they will have to investigate us & that we will be happy to cooperate.  Tell them it won't be necessary to bring 200 armed policemen to our door & conduct a violent raid, like Australia, France & Argentina did.
        Having an influential third-party friend act as a character reference or even arrange your initial meeting with the police or other local authorities may inspire them to take a greater interest in your Work.
        One senior policeman told us that he greatly appreciated our openness.  Our obvious desire to communicate with the authorities speaks for itself.
        Interpol & other police agencies already have a lot of negative material on us in their files (usually negative newspaper articles & materials from anti-"cult" groups), so it is important to get our positive material into their hands.
        Provide the appropriate departments in the government with copies of our Statements & other materials to keep on file.
        Send our press releases concerning persecution situations elsewhere in the World to the law enforcement agencies in your area.  Pay them a friendly visit &/or invite them to your Home to see for themselves.
        Expect authorities to ask for legal names, nationalities, etc., of all Members. Laws vary greatly from country to country, of course, but generally there are limits as to how much information you are required by law to divulge. If you know & stick to your rights, you may be able to politely decline. On the other hand, they may just want to do a quick passport/visa check & be annoyed if you don't comply. If the mood changes from friendly inquiry to formal investigation, you should probably consult with your lawyer before divulging too much information.
        Homes could contact the local educational authorities to let them know that we are there & welcome inspection of our Home Schooling.
        Homes could also contact their local congressman or member of parliament & invite them to visit, depending on your situation.
        There may be a member of parliament or a congressman who has shown himself favourable to New Religious Movements (NRMs). If so, try to make contact with them.

       ({\ul \i Note}: Please counsel with your CROs before making any initiatives on the following point.)
        We have been told that a major reason why we do not have a good reputation with the U.S. State Department (& the same probably holds true for foreign ministries of other countries), is because the Family has not notified their embassies or consulates around the World of our presence & activities.  Where we haven't presented the Statements & other material about our Work, this information void has been filled by CAN & other anti-"cult" organisations who want to cut off that particular avenue of help that the embassy could give in times of persecution.  It may therefore be advisable for the Work in each country to have representatives meet your foreign members' embassy or consular officials, give them our Statements & other affirmative documents, & present our missionary Work. This does not need to involve any financial disclosures or other confidential information. It may also be wise to give them the address & phone number of a frontline Home.  Then, when persecution arises, some positive groundwork will have been laid & they will know who they are dealing with, & vice versa.

        It nearly always pays to be open with your landlord & neighbours. People fear the unknown.
        Most Homes should explain themselves to their neighbours & local communities, possibly even getting involved in local civic projects, if not too time-consuming.
        Organise a meeting with the leaders of your local community to inform them about yourselves. The local city council can give advice on how to go about this.
        Many communities hold annual fairs or festivals where different groups & organisations put up booths.  Join in, set up a booth displaying our tools, mix & mingle, get to know & win your neighbours.
        In order to win our local communities, our kids may need to mix & mingle a bit more with neighbour kids, but proceed prayerfully.  It's probably best to get the neighbour kids over to the Home, where activities can be more guided & better overseen. Document these with photos, personal correspondence, etc.
        An "Open the Door for the Children" ministry may help to further local community relations.

        Media Homes should be well-staffed with strong, single-minded, full-of-faith personnel, especially nationals & those who know the local language. Have good sample teens & YAs.
        Media teams & others involved directly with persecution situations come under a tremendous amount of stress, so they must learn to pace themselves, rest as much as they can, & above all stay close to the Lord & His Word.  Media teams are a bit like provisioners, who can get so used to being in the System & having to rush around, that they get addicted to it.  This will eat away at their spiritual strength unless they are abiding in the Lord & His Word & uplifting Family fellowship.

Responding to Persecution
        Once other governments see that we will use the media & every other possible means to loudly protest religious freedom & human rights violations against us, they will hopefully think twice before initiating any such raids.

        If your children are taken in a raid, one of the first things you should do after contacting your lawyer is gather & report all details to your area leadership by the quickest means available.
        Local Homes which are involved in police raids, or media teams who suddenly find themselves at the forefront of media battles, need to be encouraged to have the faith to step out, hear from the Lord & then act on those leadings, rather than wait for all levels of leadership to confer & tell them what to do. Though they risk making mistakes, the Lord can & will anoint those on the front lines who are seeking Him for desperately needed & timely leadings on what to do when media counsel from their overseers isn't possible.
        As the battle progresses, our frontliners need to have the faith to speak up to their leadership if they see that things aren't going right, & not simply carry on following the last counsel they were given. They also need to learn to push things through on their own initiative & faith.

        When the Social Services take any of our children, the sooner you appeal after children are taken in, the greater your chances of having them returned to you right away.  Otherwise, the process gets hung up in the legal system, & this can drag on for months.
        Especially in the case of children being seized by authorities, our reaction time is of the essence!  The Homes directly involved need to pray, & then act on what the Lord shows them to do, rather than waiting for their top leadership to make all the decisions for them, &/or to rely on the oftentimes flatlander counsel of their lawyers. In many cases, fear of making the wrong decision leads to nothing being done at all.

         When the Enemy draws us into battle, we need to keep ourselves stirred up, & continue to "raise Hell", get out the Message, pester our lawyers, friends, contacts & embassies, etc., & not give the authorities a moment's rest until our goals are achieved!  Lord help us all to be fighters!

        Write a formal letter to the Ministry of Justice, the judges, etc., emphasising the following points:
       Note any illegalities about the raids, warrants, procedures, etc., as well as "planted" evidence (dance videos, lit, dope, etc.).
       That you love your children very much & are heartbroken about what is happening to them.
       That your children were cruelly torn from their home(s), & were/are being neglected or abused by the police &/or Social Services, etc., if such was/is the case. Provide detailed accounts.
       That, as good parents, you have trained your children to be socially adjusted, kind, considerate, motivated & capable of making decisions.  Cite psychologists' reports & court rulings from previous persecutions to substantiate your claim.
       That you have done nothing wrong, are being unjustifiably charged, & that you & your children are suffering greatly as a result.
       That you will fight with every means possible to get your children back, just as any loving, caring parents would do if their children were subjected to such trauma.
       That you will not rest until your children have been returned to your loving care.
       That you have appealed to your co-workers worldwide to publicise detailed accounts of this grave injustice & bring international pressure to bear.  Explain that they will be contacting every government, every human rights organisation, the media, & anyone else who has any influence.  They will also hold formal protests, demonstrate, picket, organise boycotts, etc.
       That you will not hesitate to expose the religious bigotry, bias, & hidden agendas of those responsible for this attack, including collaboration with anti-religious groups, if such is the case.
       That you will go to every length to expose & seek retribution for any abuse--physical, psychological or otherwise--that your children suffer while in state "care", including the ridiculing or undermining of their religious beliefs.
       Quote from "The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child", "The Universal Declaration on Human Rights", etc., where applicable.
        Despite the numerous points to cover, this letter shouldn't be too long.  Keep it terse & to the point.  Be specific & definite.
        Have your lawyers check any such letter.  They will be able to determine if your demands, so worded, could be construed as blackmail, or some such thing.
        Send your formal complaint to the Ministry of Justice by registered mail.
        Fax or mail your formal letter of complaint to news agencies as a Media Advisory & quote from it in press releases, at press conferences, etc. Getting your story to the public & getting public opinion behind you is just as important as reaching justice officials.

         A "Request for Help" can be faxed or mailed to selected groups & individuals locally, nationally & worldwide. This could include a brief up-to-date summary of the situation & a desperate plea for help in the form of positive media coverage, legal counsel, material assistance, new contacts, ideas for new initiatives, etc.  Those contacted in this manner could be encouraged to pass on this information to others whom they think might also join with us.
         Approach activist groups & individuals who may share common interests or enemies. Seek support from all sides.  Even if they can't help, they may put you in touch with others who can.
        Send copies of your letters of protest to student & cultural exchanges.
        Contact diplomatic offices, & multi-national organisations & companies. Those of the same nationality as our persecuted Members, especially, may be able to bring pressure to bear on our behalf.
        Contact important religious figures & inform them of the situation. If sympathetic, they can sometimes exert significant influence on our behalf.
        A written report to the opposition party may be effective, as they are always looking for something to attack the government on.
         Some contacts have recommended that when Americans are involved we approach the American Forces Network News or local American military bases (there are American bases all around the World) & try to get them aroused about what is happening.
         Family Members, as well as friends, can mount a letter-writing or postcard petition campaign aimed at the authorities where persecution occurs. This would include the local officials who are actually taking care of the case, such as the local judge &/or policeman, as well as their supervisors all the way up to the top.
        A phone-in &/or fax-in campaign can also be a very effective means of protest. Distribute the phone &/or fax numbers of the judge, ombudsman (official appointed to investigate individuals' complaints against public authorities), elected representatives, human rights organisations, etc., to contacts & at demonstrations. International calls & faxes will be fewer, but often carry more weight.
        Include these phone &/or fax numbers & addresses with appropriate press releases.
        Place your press releases on computer networks, encouraging the recipients to call or write the judge, ombudsman or other officials.
        Prepare petitions.  Have your outreachers & follow-up teams solicit signatures.
        Solicit petition signatures at demonstrations.

         The media team from the area suffering persecution should make local-language press releases, Statements, etc., available to the worldwide Family.  These can be used to reach diplomats, travelling businessmen, & tourists, etc., from the country where the persecution is taking place. (Be sure to include English translations of all press releases or other materials originating in the local language, & clearly identify each item. This will help the Family to understand  just what they are passing out, & facilitate the translation of these materials into other languages.)

        Around the World, protest letters & information packages can be hand-delivered or sent to the following:
       The embassy of the persecuting country.
       Embassies of all countries whose nationals are involved.
       International civil rights organisations, U.N. organisations (the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, etc.), the World Council of Churches, etc.
       Foreign-based companies from the persecuting country, or their foreign offices, such as their national airline.
       Local companies that do business with the persecuting country.
       Friendship & cultural societies.
       Various churches such as the Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.
       Your own member of parliament.
       Press clubs & organisations, etc., etc.
       Foreign-based reporters from the country where the persecution is taking place.  (This could result in good press in their home country, which is often where it is most needed.)

        Get out the message of our innocence!  Harp on the unfair, cruel, biased, bigoted, lying actions of our persecutors.  Don't let up in the press!
        Find out who is involved & who is behind the persecution.  Are they important, reputable figures, or are they local "small fries" who have been bought by our enemies?  Go up a couple of steps on the ladder to their superiors with materials exposing CAN (if involved), our enemies, & any hidden agendas behind this incident.
        Decry the media smear campaign &/or action taken against you by authorities as religious persecution, which it invariably is.
        Publicise detention of minors as "government-sanctioned kidnappings", thus embarrassing the government & gaining attention & sympathy from civil rights groups & like-minded individuals.
        If a certain publication or broadcast network consistently reports falsely, refuses to publish your rebuttal &/or their accounts are believed & echoed by other media, you may need to issue a fact sheet to discredit them & their source.  Here's how:
       Assemble documented evidence which disproves utterly (not just denies) the one or two or three statements which are central to their false account, or which convincingly discredits their source.  (Don't try to answer every little detail that's not true.  Stick to the majors.)
       Send this expos to those who most need to hear the truth: other media sources, police & government officials, academics who have (or may) speak out either against or for you, activist groups & other "opinion leaders".
       In the case of the Japan media storm, such fact sheets both discredited the Shukan Bunshun, & won us important new friends.
         Discredit our enemies.  Publicise all the dirt from our backslidden enemies' sordid pasts which they would like to be forgotten.  Most anti-"cult" groups have lots of dirty laundry that ruins much of their credibility if publicised.  Feed friendly reporters information on our enemies which may inspire them to go after them.  Scandals sell papers.
         If raids are violent or brutal, photos or videos showing damage done or wounds incurred at the hands of the police (i.e., bruised wrists, cut knees, bruises from beating, broken doors, etc.) would be good to distribute worldwide if possible.  Such graphic evidence helps emphasise the brutality of the actual raids & supports the written affidavits of Family Members.
        Tape record conversations with hostile officials if possible & legal.  When dealing with the press &/or courts, documented proof is the name of the game.
        Parental consent laws exist in most countries. If children are subjected to medical examination, testing or treatment without their parents' knowledge or consent, consult your lawyer about lodging a formal complaint with the country's medical association.
        Request an independent panel of doctors to examine the children.  Don't accept as valid state examinations or evaluations  which you believe to be less than entirely accurate. Get reports from neutral professionals.
        The authorities might well have broken the rules in how they conducted the raids &/or ensuing procedures, so have your lawyers check out possible irregularities.  There may be sufficient grounds for having the case thrown out of court, or it may at least strengthen our case.
        If the judge is totally set against us, our lawyers should immediately work on getting the case taken out of that judge's hands.
        In several instances, social workers have left their dossiers in our Homes.  This could be their way of leaking information without jeopardising their job, or perhaps just carelessness.  Such material (or copies) might serve as evidence in your defence. Consult your lawyers about the legalities involved.

Fight for Our Children & Teach
to Fight
       (Maria: "We need to teach our children to fight if they're taken like that, to resist, to not be so obedient any more & yielded like they're taught to be all their lives. There is a difference between being yielded & obedient to their Godly parents, & being submissive to evil anti-Christ enemies who are trying to destroy them, destroy their faith, deprogram them & take them away from their families. They need to know that that's the time that they've got to switch & they've got to start {\ul \i fighting}. They've got a {\ul \i right} to stand up & protest & demand to be with their parents, to talk to their lawyers, etc. Nowadays the laws are all in favour of what do the {\ul \i children} want! And if they show enough that they want to be with their parents, that's what the law says they're legally supposed to have." [EDITED: "ML#2872: 45,46."])
        If our children are taken by the authorities, parents should not restrain themselves for fear of offending the police, but should kick up a fuss & holler & scream & cause a ruckus wherever they go, & with whoever opposes them!  In other words, our people need to know they should let out their emotions & anger, not just sit calmly by while their kids are hauled off to some ungodly institution!
        The kids themselves need to know to cause a ruckus & speak up for their rights, that even though they are taught all of their lives to be polite & accommodating, this is the time & place not to be! If they don't make a fuss, others will interpret this to mean that they weren't happy with their parents & don't mind being separated from them & taken elsewhere. "To everything there is a season..." (Ecc.3:1-8).
        If the parents don't kick up a fuss, then the judges & authorities think there's something wrong with our parents!--And if our kids don't kick up a fuss, it only seems to confirm our enemies' charges of "brainwashing" & so forth to them!
        Explain to the children that even though the parents don't want to upset them, in such a situation as a raid, parents have to do something to show the officials that they love their children & want to get them back. The rantings & ravings & crying & screaming of parents who are heartbroken to see their children being taken away are sometimes the only things that can get through to the officials.  It is not that the parents are not trusting the Lord that He will take care of the situation & free them, but the officials don't understand how we can be at all restrained at a time like this when System parents would be out of their minds with rage & anguish, etc.
        It's a sensitive subject, because you want to express the heartbreak & rage you feel, & you can, but the Lord does give you enough grace to not go crazy over it & go totally out of your mind, berserk.  But sometimes the authorities need to see you go to this extreme to know you're serious about getting the kids back & you're concerned enough about them that it's almost driving you out of your mind with sorrow.
        God bless our kids, who in time of emergency have enough gumption & guts to stand up & fight & do something.
        We've got to help our more obedient & yielded children to know the difference between when they should be obedient & yielded & when they should not.  It is very difficult to teach children, especially smaller children, where the distinction is, where the dividing line is, but we need to try.
        When being questioned by a judge, the children should be relaxed & open, but direct & firm about what they want.
        The following is an example of some of our teens who stood up to the Social Services while in custody: "They've been banding together, doing lots of singing & witnessing, & made posters saying `Give Us Back Our Parents'!  They are also openly protesting the sending away of the 2-year-old on holiday.  One teen was branded as the `ringleader' by the SS workers.  The kids are not allowed to phone out or talk to the other kids, but he sneaked off & made calls as he knew where some of the other children were, GBH!  He got caught a few times & was severely reprimanded, just short of being struck!  He was also able to call the Home & gave them the name of a reporter he met."

        Parents who were not at the Home when raids occurred, but whose children were taken, need to prayerfully consider the full implications before making any attempts to go & try to get their kids back.  They must realise that there is no guarantee that the judge will not also charge them as he did the other adults.  On the other hand, it could well be worth the risk, especially if there is a genuine possibility of the children being released to the parents.  Each case needs to be judged on its own merits & the parents need to pray about it to see where their faith & convictions lie.
        One possible way out of these situations is to have your local embassy or consulate request you & your children be repatriated. However, this needs to be carefully looked into as it could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire & you could end up in bondage to the Social Services in your home country.
        Both in France & Argentina, System grandparents were contacted by the authorities to see if they wanted to take custody of their grandchildren.  This is one possible way to get the kids out of the institutions quickly, but it must be approached with extreme caution, as it could mean losing the children permanently if the grandparents are (or become) antagonistic.  Although there have been some antagonistic grandparents who have tried to use these opportunities to get their grandchildren, there have also been many sympathetic grandparents who have stood up for us.  Each case will have to be judged on its own merits.
        Our lawyers must be prepared to move quickly to do whatever they can to block any unfavourable grandparents from getting our children, such as applying for injunctions*.  If these grandparents get even temporary custody of the children, then the case could be much more complicated. (*injunction: a court order prohibiting someone from doing some specific action)
        If a medical emergency arises with the children while in custody & the parents are not notified immediately, do all that you possibly can to see that those responsible are held accountable.  Of course, our main consideration is the health & welfare of the children & we do not want to jeopardise that, but the parents have the right to be informed.
        Look for symptoms of traumatisation in children who are returned from detention.   Such cases might include a 1-year-old who won't even look at his mommy or a 3-year-old who blames her mommy for not coming to get her sooner.  If any children show such signs, it might even be good to have them examined by a friendly psychiatrist.  If it is confirmed that the children have been traumatised, then this could be used against the authorities.
        If detained kids are allowed to leave the institution for some outside activity, try to have some Family Members there with dictaphones who can record their tales of what has been happening to them while in bonds.
        Once released, it would be very good to get our children, at least our older children, in the limelight to show people how sweet & happy & socialised & unabused they are. This could include not only singing, but also talking with people personally, etc.

         Our antagonists argue that the children are isolated & cut off from the World & receive an education that "programs" them & denies them choice.  To support this claim, they cite the fact that our children say they want to be missionaries.  The total contradiction to this argument is that a missionary is someone that goes out into the World meeting people, & is therefore not isolated. Therefore they are making a responsible choice based on personal experience.
        The following arguments were used by our defense lawyers in France:
       The children were extremely well socialised, having travelled all over the country & the World, speaking several languages & coming in contact with a variety of the World's peoples.
       The charge that some of the children were deficient in the French language was countered by the fact that it is the parents who choose what language the children will speak, not the government.
       A comment by one of the judges that one of the 14-year-old girls was "too mature", was countered with the question, "What kind of a perverted society do we have in France, that finally finds mature, well-adjusted teens & says there must be something wrong with them!"
       Another lawyer read quotes from the reports of the Social Services while the children were in care during the initial 48 hours after the raids, saying they usually get really messed-up kids, but these were polite, obedient, intelligent, & caring children.  The reports from the psychiatrist said that there was nothing wrong with the children, as explained by another one of the children's lawyers, & the fact that one family was away visiting the wife's sick mother during the raids proves that we do socialise & allow the kids to visit the grandparents.
       One lawyer broke down in tears as she recounted the events of the raid.
       When our main lawyer gave her plea, she described the terrible things that the children in Aix had been subjected to in detention & the effect it has had on them. Then she demanded that these children not be put back in the care of the Social Services.

Working with the Media
        Positive press can turn the tide of battle by winning us public support & attracting defenders.  If we can keep our protests alive in the media, eventually others will begin standing up in our favour.
        If we can get good coverage on the wire services (United Press International, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Kyodo, etc.), it will generate more good coverage. Take press releases to the offices of the wire services in your area & present them to those in charge.
        Describe actions taken against us as both religious persecution & violations of our human rights. This gives us a doubly effective weapon.
        Inform the press of the facts & the hidden objectives of those attacking us.
        Draw parallels or make reference to other groups which the public can relate to &/or sympathise with. For example, if our detractors spread the same lies about Jews, they'd be decried for being anti-Semitic.
        Point out that the authorities acted on false information, & that even if the information were true, which it's not, the authorities shouldn't have handled the situation as they did.
        The greatest testimony against our enemies' lies is our sample & children.  Opening our Homes to reporters so they can see for themselves has usually resulted in good press.
         Publicise the fact that an enormous sum of the taxpayers' money is being wasted on persecuting our small group when the country is in recession.
        Make copies of selected Family Videos such as the Outreach Video & "New Worlds to Discover" available to television stations who are featuring the Family in news or interviews.

         Pray for discernment to be able to distinguish between reporters who will be objective & those who are out to get us.
        Always treat media contacts professionally & courteously, whether they represent a bi-weekly community magazine or a national daily.
        Most journalists don't like to be pushed or told what to print.  They like to reach their own conclusions.
        Journalists often feel that everybody wants to use them to further their own agenda; to get their names, opinions or products publicised.  They don't like to be manipulated by sharks from the business or political world--or NRMs.
        Don't necessarily be put off by aggressive reporters who are openly antagonistic.  Remember that they have probably heard an awful lot of lies about us & need to be won.  Being patient but forthright in your dealings with them will be well worth it if they turn around or even adopt a more neutral position because of their time with you, as through their articles, they in turn could affect many to take a more positive approach to us.
        A very good article came out in the three major cities outside Copenhagen as a result of complaints from us about their reporting on the French raids. The brethren initially phoned the newspapers who published the bad articles, who said that they would send a journalist to their Home to do an article, although they "weren't going to make a PR brochure for us," as they put it. They sent a journalist & a photographer who report for three papers in three cities outside Copenhagen, & they said it did pretty much turn out to be a PR brochure on us, with beautiful colour pictures & a very favourable article!
        Give the press a phone number where they can contact your spokesperson &/or lawyer to confirm facts related to your story. All press releases & media advisories should also bear this contact number. If possible, make such a number available to the worldwide Family to give to the international press.
        Suggest to reporters that they contact respected scholars & academics, both locally & internationally, & have phone numbers of favourable ones available for them. If academics or other respected friends issue public statements on your behalf, include their contact address & phone number on related releases or media advisories, with their permission.

        Until we make the truth known, we can pretty much expect the media to present our enemies' horrendous lies in such a matter-of-fact way that the public will swallow them unquestioningly.  For example, initial reports on the Argentine raids made it sound as though the children taken away were orphans or abandoned children, whom we had abducted.  It came as a shock to some when they learned that the children the police had taken away were our own sons & daughters.  Clarify such points in no uncertain terms in rebuttals & press releases.
        Communication is education, so send news agencies positive information about us & negative material about our foes.  Keep hammering away until someone prints the good about us & bad things about them--the truth!
        State your case succinctly: There were no laws broken; there was no evidence against us in our case; we were being persecuted by anti-"cult" organisations such as ADFI, CAN, etc.; our case had nothing to do with child abuse, home schooling laws, etc.; it was religious persecution, plain & simple.
        It is often necessary to contact the media people personally to get them to do something with our press releases.
        Enlist the help of reporters who have taken a stand against similar false charges lodged against others.  They will probably already understand the inner workings of cases such as ours & be sympathetic.
        Events such as pickets outside embassies are newsworthy & could act as a springboard to get the rest of our Message publicised.
        Work on getting positive coverage in small local papers, as these stories are often then picked up by the wire services. This is where the bigger newspapers get most of their news from.  Once something has been printed in a small newspaper & distributed by one of the trusted news agencies, the big newspapers will often reprint this information.  Major newspapers are less likely to reprint material originating with another major paper (their main competitors), as they don't like to give them too much credit or advertising!
        Learn the legal technicalities involved in demanding that the press publish our side of the story. There are usually laws governing the "right of reply" & guidelines on how to word your rebuttal. Don't necessarily be bound by them, but conforming to them as much as possible should ensure that your rebuttals are published. (For more on this topic, see "Media Strategies," CLTP 11.)
        If you comply with the rules & still they don't print our side, then your lawyer should inform them that we are considering suing them. This should send a strong signal to all the errant media that they need to print our rebuttals.  Others will take note. Newspapers & journalists are often afraid to get into expensive court cases these days, because the newspapers don't have much money, & the journalist can easily lose his job.  So if someone prints something false about us & won't print our rebuttal, pray about the possibility of threatening to take them to court. Complain to the writers' guild or press associations.
         One way to break any news blockade that might be imposed on us is to go to the smaller alternative & underground type magazines, papers & broadcast stations.
        One good investigative reporter from a reputable magazine could help us break a media blockade, get the goods on our enemies, & expose what's going on.  Find that one good reporter.
        If a certain publication or broadcast network consistently reports falsely, refuses to publish your rebuttal, &/or their accounts are believed & echoed by other media, you may need to issue a "knowledge report" to discredit them & their source.  Here's how: Assemble documented evidence which disproves utterly (not just denies) the one or two or three statements which are central to their false account, or which convincingly discredits their source.  (Don't try to answer every little detail that's not true.  Stick to the majors.)  Then send this knowledge report to those who most need to hear the truth: other media sources, police & government officials, academics who have (or may) speak out either against or for you, activist groups & other "opinion leaders".  In the case of the Japan media storm, such knowledge reports discredited the Shukan Bunshun & won us important new friends.
        On occasions where we're really taking it on the chin in the media, it may pay to put out our own newspaper.  It's actually relatively cheap.  Just format the material with an appropriate masthead, calling it "The Free Times" or whatever.  Then publish our side of the story in that newspaper, including our press releases & reprints of any favourable articles which may have come out in other publications.  Then get this paper out by the thousands on the street.  Other groups have done this & it really helped to turn the tide in their situations by bringing the public to an awareness of what was really going on.

       ({\ul \i Note}: For more on Media Lists, see "Media Strategies", CLTP 11.)
        A media list is simply a mailing list of all media outlets through which you hope to gain positive news coverage.
        Your basic media list should include international wire services, & national & local publications (newspapers & magazines) & broadcast media (radio & television stations).
        Local magazines, community & alternative publications, college papers & specialty newsletters (i.e., those put out by churches, unions, political, professional & activist groups) can be a good way to win local support. Be careful, however, not to let involvement with small circulation publications distract from major publicity opportunities.
        Media lists should be maintained in a manner that makes it easy to make address changes & re-copy them.  Typing the list on copier label sheets or keeping the list on a computer database are two ways of accomplishing this.
        On your media list, distinguish between different types of journalists & media.  For example: distinguish between radio, newspaper, magazine & television reporters; also distinguish between editors, reporters & columnists; between reporters covering World news, state & local news, politics, human interest feature stories, religious topics, & so forth.  This can be done via label or data codes or by compiling separate lists.
        Other organisations may give you a copy of their list.  You may wish to request a copy of the media lists of several organisations, & combine them.
        Political party offices are another likely source of lists.
        If you need a basic list quickly, use a telephone book & call newspapers, radio stations & television news operations to ask for the name(s) of the editor(s) & journalist(s) who cover topics of this nature.
        Professional public relations firms, including some political consulting and paid advertising firms, keep excellent media lists.  Provision from them.  You can obtain the names of professional public relations firms in the yellow pages of the phone books of major cities.
        Most countries have an association for journalists, such as a National Press Club; contact them for a list of members.  If you can't get this list directly from them, try to get it through a friendly reporter or journalist who is a member.
        Keep your records updated. Make a note of all address changes, title changes, etc.  Nobody likes to receive a press release addressed to a predecessor.
        Public libraries may be a source for media list names & numbers. Inquire about publications such as "Who's Who in the Media."

       ({\ul \i Note}: For more on press releases, see "Media Strategies", CLTP 11.)
        Boil press releases down to the bare minimum--the actual facts & not more than three or four short paragraphs or about 300 words total.
        Stick to one or two key points (i.e., the government's brutal & unwarranted use of force, or anti-religious organisations' behind-the-scenes dirty work.)
        Headlines must grab people's attention & be tailored to the readership. For example, in the U.S., "Brutal Treatment of Americans in France" would be more effective than "Brutal Treatment of Foreigners in France". Then in the body of the report,  you could  list all the foreign nationalities involved.
        The first few words are as important as the headline.  Present the essential facts immediately, in the first paragraph.  Background information about the Family or the case can go toward the bottom of the report.
        Emphasise the drama of events rather than the emotional side of the story. Save your emotional appeals for interviews where you can convey your personal feelings more fully & clearly.
        Clarity is an absolute must.  Fancy, pretentious writing can only obscure your message.
        Don't give commentary or sermonize. For example, avoid phrases like, "relentless smear campaign" & "callous & unjustified raids."
       Don't say (or quote your spokesperson saying) such things as, "The authorities were impressed with the wonderful care we give our children." But if you can directly quote the authorities saying this, do so.
       Instead of saying, "This proves unmistakably that The Family is enduring a revival of the age-old phenomenon of religious persecution perpetrated against innocent minority groups by powerful established organisations...", simply quote your spokesman saying, "This is religious persecution."--Or better yet, quote an objective third party saying so.
        Use graphic terminology to hit our adversaries where it hurts.  "Gestapo-like tactics" & "dungeon-like conditions" were particularly effective in shocking the public & raising the ire of the guilty parties in France & Argentina respectively.
        Avoid the use of exclamation points.
        State the facts in clear, simple, terms:  We have broken no laws; there is no evidence in our case; we were being persecuted by anti-"cult" organisations such as CAN, etc.; we have suffered human rights violations; our civil liberties are being violated; our case has nothing to do with child abuse, home schooling laws, etc.; it is a matter of religious persecution, plain & simple.
        Use direct quotes from a spokesperson.
        Use quotes from lawyers, scholars, or other third parties stating their reactions to the incident.
        Some releases can be based on an event. This could be something major, but doesn't have to be. Any activity can be used as a platform for publishing our news. "A delegation from The Family staged a demonstration at the U.S. State Department to protest..." or "So-&-so representing The Family met with Congressman So-&-so to inform him of what is happening to our Family in...."
        Include a name, telephone &/or fax number, so that interested reporters can contact your media team for more information.
         A reporter once offered this advice: "Just write something that is three paragraphs. I might use them all, or drop one & publish two." A well-written release saves them work.  If it is written simply & concisely, it will be easy for them to change it a little so that it is not exactly the way that you wrote it, & then put their signature to it.  
        Format releases using a large font, plenty of margin, & double spacing if possible, for easy reading & editing.
        When offering photos to the press, a sample sheet showing photos available, with a request form, helps the editor and writer choose exactly what they want.  To make a sample sheet, simply arrange your photos on one or more sheets of standard sized paper, add captions & then make as many colour or black-&-white photocopies as you need. This saves you the considerable expense of sending lots of individual photos, 90 percent of which would never be used. (For more on press photos, see "Media Strategies", CLTP 11.)
        Do not label your press releases as "special", "personal", or "exclusive" unless they really are.  Writers or editors who have been led to believe that they have received an exclusive story will be angry when they discover that your promise is not true.
        As the battle progresses, supply reporters with very concise summaries of each significant victory which can be used in their article or TV news spot.  TV news clips are generally limited to just a few short sound bites, but if you can provide them with good sound bites, then there is a better chance that your side will be aired.
        Don't keep flooding editors who have published little or nothing of the releases you've sent them previously--it only irritates journalists & wastes time, energy & funds which can be better used elsewhere. (However, in some past situations, news blackouts have broken, & media outlets who hadn't previously published anything were suddenly interested & helpful, so be Spirit-led.)

        Don't just write or fax the media & ask them to print a rebuttal or to retract what they said.  People who do that usually don't get their rebuttals printed.  Go personally to their office & meet the reporter, whoever is in charge of writing about you, & commend them for at least considering you worthy of a story.  Then say, "However, some of your facts were wrong.  Let us give you the true facts.  When you write again about it, please include these."  Most of the time, this approach will be much more successful than hitting the press head on.

        Encourage outside friends to write letters to the editors of publications that run articles about us, whether to agree with a good article, or to refute a bad one.  Offer them some guidelines as to what to write, as they often lack experience in such matters & may not see the main issues clearly.  They could say, "I appreciate your objectivity in your recent article, & I would like to corroborate the latest disclosures about such-&-such anti-religious group.  They really should be exposed for their wrongdoing!" or, "It is nice to hear something positive for once about a small religious minority.  I congratulate you for your fair play.  From firsthand experience, I can confirm your conclusion that The Family is an asset to our community!", etc.
        Letters from our children outlining the cruelty & abuse they suffered at the hands of the authorities' actions could be sent as letters to the editor.

        Our spokespersons can use their Bible names in interviews, etc.  This is easily explained & has been accepted in past persecutions.
        Short, pointed statements can be especially effective in media interviews.  We live in a "minimum read world" where people like to get the instant picture with as much information packed in as few words as possible.  Sensational comments are about all that catch most people's attention, & those are about all they will remember. Here are a few examples, directed at CAN:
       Such-&-such anti-religious group are a bunch of mean-spirited, mercenary, "bash-for-cash" inquisitors for hire.
        Until more of these kidnappers like Galen Kelly are behind bars, our children will never be able to sleep in peace & safety.
       Recently, so-called anti-"cult" groups have mugged members of mainstream religions & the public is finally becoming alarmed.
       Such-&-such so-called anti-"cult" group is not a positive movement trying to stop the spread of a social evil, but a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde outfit--sinister, violent & subversive, bent on tearing down other groups & robbing people of their religious & civil liberties.
        CAN may have started out as "Cult Awareness Network", but it's now become the "Christian Annihilation Network"!
       So-called anti-"cult" groups operate total shams & scams; feeding people horror stories to whip up outrage, fear & panic, then looking concerned while offering their "services" & milking the innocent for millions in financial support.
       You should note that they don't rescue anyone from a NRM who is worth less than $50,000 to his relatives.
        Broad sweeping statements such as, "It's all lies, they're just lying," are completely ineffective & likely to antagonise the audience.
        Don't get upset at the interviewer, no matter how intimidating, biased or nasty he or she gets. Remember, the goal is to get our positive message across to the listening or viewing public, not attack the interviewer or panellists representing the other side.
        "Love the sinner, hate the sin." Make both points clear by expressing a wish for reconciliation with disaffected ex-members while decrying their perfidious attacks on the Family. For example, if a backslidden member of your personal family or Home is involved, you could say something like, "So-&-so is still my sister & I love her..." or, "So-&-so & I were once close friends..." Then add, "But I must speak out against the lies he/she is telling about us."
        Accusations & accounts by backslidden teens & YAs can often be best answered by one of their peers. Let a YA or teen spokesperson refute their lies & present your side, when possible.
        Tailor answers to the audience by presenting answers in terms which they can easily understand, relate to and agree with. Avoid "Family lingo" in your answers. For example, refer to "the System" as "society at large," "embittered backsliders" as "disgruntled former members," etc.

        Those who will be reading prepared statements should rehearse well beforehand.  Highlight the points that need to be emphasised & practise intonations & facial expressions.  It is helpful to rehearse before a Family audience who can critique the delivery.
        It is very helpful when doing a press conference if there is present at least one physical witness of any raids related to the situation you are speaking about.
        Present firsthand testimonies in terms that the reporters can relate to personally, if possible. For example, at the press conference following the French raids, a YA described her reactions step by step as the raid progressed.  When she came to the point where she was forced to change clothes in the presence of men & the embarrassment that she felt, it was very apparent that all of the women in the audience identified with her.
        After a press conference, single out the media who will be interested in giving us objective coverage.  Follow-up on favourable reporters, possibly inviting them to visit a Home.

        Use the term "ARM" (Anti-Religious Movement) rather than "ACM" (Anti-"cult" Movement), thus countering our enemies' constant reference to us as a "cult".
        Refer to yourselves, & the Family as a whole, as a "church".  This is a much more accurate term than any of the other terms others try to find for us.
        "Sect" has a somewhat less negative connotation than "cult", though it is also not an accurate term to apply to the Family.  (See ML#179.)

Tips for Media Interviews
        HAVE A MEDIA SPOKESPERSON.  Each Home should have at least one media spokesperson (a team of two or more is best, if possible).
       One of the main qualifications to consider when choosing your media spokespeople is that they should have a good knowledge of the Statements & Family beliefs & policies, & have the wisdom, experience & spiritual gifts to be able to apply the Statements when answering questions. It's also important that media spokespeople present themselves well before the public, & look attractive & well-groomed.  It's good if they can be quick thinkers & good speakers.  However, even if your spokespeople are not great speakers or real experienced, the Lord will still use them & work through them, if they really look to the Lord & do the best they can, as long as the rest of your Home puts a lot of prayer power behind them!
        KNOW THE FACTS. Study Family press releases on current persecution so you'll know the facts & latest developments.  The information in these press releases & rebuttals is ammunition that's been specifically designed for the battle at hand!
        STUDY THE STATEMENTS.  The media spokespeople (including all local & national teams) should take time to review the Statements regularly.  When persecution strikes, a thorough review should be a top priority!
       Study the Statement Summaries.  The summaries are a quick way to refresh your memory as to the main points of all the Statements.  Review these often.
       Study the most important Statements first, depending on what the main accusations against us are at the time.  For example, the main accusations during the latest Argentine persecution were child abuse, sex-related topics such as FFing, & that our children are isolated. So the Statements that needed to be read & studied first were: "Replies to Allegations of Child Abuse", "Our Position & Policy Statement Regarding Sex", "Socialisation", & "Our Family's Origins".
       If time allows, you can study the other Statements in full, but first make sure you study the ones that cover the controversial subjects that you will most likely be asked about.
       Someone in WS recently commented:  "If anyone is going to represent the Family in an important interview, that person will need to put top priority on studying & being prepared.  It's not enough any more to just be charismatic & to try to sort of `wing it' or answer with impromptu answers like many are used to doing when witnessing, but they need to prepare, study, memorize, have hard-hitting question-&-answer practice sessions, & do anything & everything to prepare until they can field even the most difficult questions without getting too frazzled.  The stakes are much higher now, the enemies much fiercer, & our people who are going to represent the Family are going to have to seriously & methodically prepare for the battle of the media by knuckling under & committing themselves to serious study of the Statements & any other tips that are available to them in the pubs.  They need to see it as one of their top priorities.
       "No matter how much charisma or personality you have, no matter what kind of history or reputation you have in the Family, no matter how many Bible verses you can quote or MO Letters you have memorized, when it gets down to addressing serious issues & heavy questions in media interviews, you've got to know the Statements & how to apply them. Natural reasoning & talents & the gift of gab is not enough for our media spokespeople.--They have to know the Statements & be able to recall them & apply them.  Of course, it's nice to have both--a knowledge of the Statements & also a sparkling, charming personality--but if that's not possible, then it seems a knowledge of the Statements, or at least a willingness to study them like crazy, would be a top prerequisite for our media spokespeople."
       On this subject, Mama recently commented:  "I think our people have sometimes gotten the idea that all they have to do is open their mouth & the Lord will fill it; & they forget the {\ul \i first} part of the process, that in order to rightly divide the Word of Truth, they're to {\ul \i study} to show themselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be {\ul \i ashamed}.  I think they have put so much emphasis on just opening their mouth by faith & God will get them through somehow, that they think they don't have to {\ul \i study}, they don't have to put much effort into {\ul \i preparing} for things or exerting themselves too much beforehand.  I believe many of our people really do think that they can just go on {\ul \i inspiration}, that they can just get up at the spur of the moment & the Lord will drop it all from the sky. But now we need to educate our people that they need to put more {\ul \i effort} into things & do some good {\ul \i preparation} beforehand if they want their efforts to be as fruitful & effective as possible."
        GIVE WORD-BASED ANSWERS. The idea in studying & preparing is not so that you can answer in a robotic fashion or by quoting an endless stream of verses or from the Statements verbatim.  There are many "right" ways to answer a question, depending on your personal speaking style & how the Lord leads you, but your answers should be Word-based & not just your personal interpretation.  This will help you avoid making mistakes & giving wrong answers, which are contrary or not in keeping with the Word, Statements & Family policy.
        QUOTE SCRIPTURES. Use the Word to back up your points.  This tip might seem so obvious & elementary that you may think it's almost an insult to your intelligence.  But it would probably surprise you to see how few Scriptures some of our Family spokespeople (& other Christian spokesmen) quote during media interviews.  Don't underestimate the power of the Word!
       On this point, Mama said:  "When listening to a video documentary of an interview with a Jehovah's Witness, one thing stood out to me & confirmed to me more than ever something we've been talking a lot about lately,  & that is that the Word is our only defense.  The Word is the only strength we have & the only weapon that can have any effectiveness in this battle of evil against good, of the Devil's forces against God's forces. But unfortunately, the Jehovah's Witness did not use any Scripture in his interview, as has been the case with other groups we've heard who were under attack.
       "So we should learn a lesson from this & be prepared to use the Word, the Word, the Word! Even if a lot of people argue with it, there are also many who will {\ul \i agree} with it & whose eyes will be opened.--And other Christians will follow our good sample in making sure that people know that what they are doing is based on the Word. Things are moving pretty fast & getting pretty bad, & the only thing that's going to make any dent in the Enemy's wall of lies is God's Word. So we had better be prepared to wield it."
       Of course, you would need to use & apply the Scriptures in such a way that people who are not familiar with the Bible will understand what you mean.  For example, if you were to quote the Scripture, "Come out from among them & be ye separate & touch not the unclean thing," without further explanation or application, it probably would not be very clear to a lot of people.  It's better to avoid verses that need long, complicated explanations.
       If you don't quote verses directly, but paraphrase them instead, so that they'll be more easily understood by the public & more readily aired by the media, they will still be very powerful!
       Of course, it's possible that even if our spokesmen do quote verses, they may not be aired, as they may be cut when the interview is edited. But it's still worthwhile to share the verses, even if only for the sake of trying to win the reporter who is doing the interview.
        PREPARE FOR THE WORST. When preparing for an interview or TV presentation, prepare for the worst.  Even if interviewed by a so-called friendly contact, don't expect that all the questions will be friendly or fair.  Media people can be very deceptive & will often try to catch you off guard.
        KNOW THE QUESTIONS IN ADVANCE, IF POSSIBLE. Try to get a list of the questions that will be asked before the interview.
        USE SOUND BITES. Answer questions with sound bites--short, concise, direct statements.  Then, if time allows, you can expound more, but answer the question directly & clearly right off the bat. Some experts say you have as little as 10 seconds to make your point.  This is especially true of radio & television interviews.  Sound bites are usually what get quoted when the interview is edited--especially if they're catchy & interesting.
       Here are some examples of sound bites:
       "All accusations of child abuse are false!  Examinations conducted on over 600 of our children worldwide have proven that there is no evidence of child abuse!"
       "Our children have been examined by eminent medical & psychological experts, & they report our children are normal, bright, happy & intelligent."
       "The charges of prostitution are malicious & false & we vigorously deny them!"
       "All our Members are in The Family entirely of their own free will. Charges of brainwashing are absolutely ridiculous & have been proven to be wrong!"
       "At times like this, I certainly feel like using much stronger language, but let me just say that those accusations are a load of rubbish!"
       "Pornographic videos of any kind are strictly forbidden in our communities.  If any such videos were indeed found in the Buenos Aires Homes, they were planted there as `evidence' to justify the raids."
        SPEAK IN TERMS WHICH YOUR AUDIENCE CAN EASILY UNDERSTAND & RELATE TO. Let's take this example:  It is sometimes hard for people to understand why some former Members can be so extremely vicious & out to get us.  One way to explain might be to ask them if they have ever seen a marriage break up.  What was once love turns to anger & hate as the divorce heats up.  Or remind them that there will always be people who betray their country & countrymen.  Spies & traitors & betrayers are as old as Cain, the brother killer.  What makes them turn like that?--Spiritual & personal problems, mainly.  In a World where even children can end up hating their parents, it is little wonder that friendships break up & alienation occurs.  (For more on this point, refer to "Watch Your Words!", by Mama, ML#2849.)
        TALK IN COMPLETE SENTENCES. Jumping from one thought to the next without completing your sentences is a very common mistake made by amateur speakers. Unfinished sentences waste time, weaken your presentation, & confuse your audience.
        STAY ON THE ATTACK. Don't get put on the defensive. Stay stirred up. Take the attacking initiative.  But remember, you don't have to answer every question within two seconds. Don't panic & give quick, unprayerful answers, just because you feel like you have to say something immediately. On the other hand, don't hesitate too much, as it may look like you're hiding something or being evasive.
       If you're asked a very difficult question, & you want to give yourself a chance to pray & formulate the right answer, you can say something such as, "Now, that's a good question!" or, "Those allegations are absurd!"  You can also ask the interviewer a question or ask him to define a term or explain his question, if you need to buy some time.
        SHOW EMOTION. Smile. Show anger, sadness or outrage, as the situation warrants. (But don't lose your temper!)  Under some circumstances, the public will expect you to be sober & serious, but at other times it may be appropriate to laugh or show a little humour.  Communicate warmth & sincerity. Be human!--Be an individual! Such natural show of emotion clearly demonstrates that you're a real person whom others can relate to--which will help dispel their idiotic accusations that you're a mindless, brainwashed zombie.
        AVOID SWEEPING GENERAL-ITIES. Don't speak in sweeping generalities, such as, "It's all lies, just lies."  That sounds very vague, it's not convincing, & if done frequently enough, it can make you look a little kooky.
        DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN FAMILY POLICY & PERSONAL OPINION.  Don't give your personal opinion as if it were Family policy. If you know the Family policy regarding an issue, then say so. But if you are simply giving your personal opinion, say something like, "My personal opinion is...."  This approach also shows that you're not a brainwashed individual.
        DON'T BRING UP NEGATIVE SUBJECTS IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO.  Don't bring up negative controversial subjects, such as Mene, accusations of brainwashing or prostitution, the RNR, etc.--unless you're very prepared to pursue the conversation & field further questions.  (It's usually wise to address negative issues only when they're brought up by the interviewer, rather than bringing them up yourself, because there's always the chance the interviewer might not bring them up.)
        UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION.  Ask the interviewer to rephrase the question if you don't understand or need more time to think & pray.
        AVOID ARGUING DOCTRINE.  YAs or teens, especially, should not feel obligated to answer deep, complicated questions about Family policy, or very controversial subjects.  If a YA feels he or she can give an answer, fine.  But if not, rather than just muddling through, they can simply say, "I think So-&-so could give you a clearer answer on that one."  (Thus passing the mike to the adult.)
       Showing the happiness, sincerity, maturity, intelligence, personal dedication, love & concern for others, & well-adjusted attitudes of our young people is more important than having them argue theological points.
        GIVE PERSONAL TESTIMONIES.  Share personal experiences, personal testimonies, speak on a personal level, when possible & applicable.  Do all you can to have the public relate to you as a real live person with emotions, aspirations, hopes, fears, etc., just like them. It's important to communicate that we are individuals!
        WITNESS ABOUT OUR TWO MAJOR MESSAGES.  Try to get in some Message during each interview, if possible, about our two major Messages:  One, presenting Salvation to the World, & two, warning of the dangers of the coming anti-Christ government.
        USE PLEASANT BODY LANGUAGE.  If you're appearing on television, remember your body language speaks loudly also.  Avoid fidgeting, slouching, etc. Also, if possible, try to avoid looking stiff, unnatural & very nervous. Such body language can be a big distraction for your audience.  Wear a comfortable hair style & clothes that look nice & don't require you to always be "adjusting" them with such actions as fiddling with your bangs, pulling down your skirt, fixing the neckline of your blouse, or tucking in your shirt, etc.
        HAVE DESPERATE PRAYER. Have desperate prayer & laying on of hands for the media spokespeople before each interview. Have a prayer vigil going during the interview. Pray afterwards for positive editing of the interviews.

Copyright 1996 The Family