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“THE GIRL WHO WOULDN’T!”
Introduction and Background
In 1978, Berg had assigned a female Family member Toni, to be a partner for a high profile lesbian leader called Lori (a.k.a. Keda Sky). To the disappointment of Berg, Toni was not inclined towards a lesbian relationship. Toni and Lori wrote to Berg, and this Mo letter was published in response.
Like several Mo letters in the same theme, this one had a broad impactit was used in tandem with other Mo letters to promote promiscuity and swinging in the name of "unity" and the "Law of Love." It was a warning message to all female members that they should submit to whatever sexual demands were placed upon them by fellow members in "need." Opening the door for widespread coercion, women who resisted sexual advances were branded "The Girl Who Wouldn't" by sexual predators within the group. Even young teenagersmembers were considered adults by age 12were made to read and submit to this Mo letter, which left them open to sexual advances and abuse.
To date, the Mo letter has not been retractedthe coercive sex and sexual "needs" doctrine remains intact, it is still a part of the belief system of The COG/FOL/Family.
Although this Mo letter is one of the foundation letters of the group's coercive sex doctrine, Berg went back and forth on the issue of homosexualitythis is an important distinction.
Originally, Berg had left the issue of homosexuality wide open to interpretation. Favoring lesbianism somewhat more than male-and-male homosexual relationships, he idealized and condoned it in "Women in Love" (ML 292): "I don't see anything wrong with female lesbianism... I don't see a thing in the world wrong with it." (par. 36,44) Apart from male anal sex and cross-dressing, he declared any other type of sexual act within homosexual relationships open to interpretation according to "needs," "all things" and the "law of love" doctrines. His primary reasoning for men "being driven" to homosexuality, was the failure of selfish women to supply their "needs." ("Homos! A question of Sodomy?" ML 719 DO, written June 9, 1978) 
However, in 1984, when Berg moved his entourage to Asia, he claimed that Lori (then known as Keda Sky, and a leader in that area at that time), posed a challenge to his leadership and was competing with him. Subsequently he called Keda to his household and proceeded to break her down. In Mo letter 1747, Berg pinpointed “Keda’s Problem” as lesbianism. 
No longer the object of his praise, Berg called Lori/Keda "Satan himself attacking us through her." He felt that Keda wanted to be a man and rule over other men. He then threatened her with physical violence  if she did not comply with his wishes that she stop being a lesbian, while his common law wife Maria (a.k.a. Karen Zerby, the current leader of The Family) encouraged him to carry out his threats on several occasions:
Our use of present tense
In many places where we describe Berg's actions, we do so using the present tense, not because we believe Berg is alive, but because his words are still being read and followed today. His legacy lives on.
Consultants engaged for this commentary
The COG/FOL/Family published at least 2 different editions of this Mo letter—a full version and a condensed version. For our commentary, we enlisted the help of 2 experts/consultants, passing them the condensed version for their reactions:
Some mind control mechanisms used
There were several strong techniques of mind-control/coercion at play:
Confounding the issues
Berg, author of confusion and opportunist
Paradoxically, Berg used faulty generalization and confusion to press his absolute opinions and the clarity of his strict directives onto his adherents.
Whether confused himself, or intentionally confusing, Berg as an author of confusion, was able to create and utilize the nebulous areas in the psyche of his readers/followers to his advantage.
In the course of a single Mo letter, after throwing them off balance and inducing in his followers/readers a confused and suggestive mental state, Berg presses his own clarity of expectations on them. After breaking down their own conscience and clarity, he promotes his own form of black-and-white logic, and presses his subjects into following him without question.
The following are some examples observed.
Confusing "need" with "desire"
Unlike food and water, humans will not die if they do not have sex. Without touching & affection, infants will fail to thrive and sometimes die, but adults can function well for very long stretches without sex or affectionate touch. Genital stimulation and orgasmic release are not physical “needs” like hydration and nutrition. They are physical desires and drives that are moderated by psychological and social conditions.
Using the manipulative word: "Love"
"Love" is the most ambiguous word in the English language.
If Berg was referring to agape love (unconditional acceptance), then we have to recognize that such "love" cannot be coerced as a matter of duty—it is freely given. If one is made to feel guilty or “less than” a perfect disciple, then the acceptance is not unconditional. Unconditional love for others flows out of unconditional self-acceptance. A Christian might argue that unconditional love is a consequence of grace, which flows into and through a person to others to the extent that the individual acknowledges the self as unconditionally loved by God.
(A good source book on this topic is Eric Fromm’s The Art of Loving)
Using the ambiguous"you"
While Berg starts off discussing 3rd persons (Toni and Lori) entering his readers into the picture as voyeurs, at the right place and time, he breaks off into addressing the ambiguous "you," which could either be Toni and Lori, or his audience. An example of this is par. 31 of the full version, or par. 12 of the condensed version:
Berg masking his manipulative and coercive designs
Berg's use of positive words and phrases such as: "love," "affection," "sharing," "mutual supplying of each other's needs," were in actual fact used to camouflage his designs on his followers—being in authority to decide who should be together with whom, in heterosexual or homosexual relationships; judging them according to their willingness to be in the relationship and "give" sex "unselfishly"; relegating them to uselessness should they refuse to comply.
Berg, who was steeped in patriarchal thinking, was also either confused or being deliberately confusing to his readers/followers about many mental-emotional-physical issues such as affective and genital sexuality. Whether the resulting confusion was deliberate or unintentional, Berg was obviously able to skillfully utilize the confusion he created to his advantage. As ex-members will testify, he successfully portrayed himself as a sacrificial and caring figure to his followers, while masking his self-serving and predatory sexual nature.
Confounding affective and genital sexuality
Self-love vs. selfishness
Berg deliberately or unintentionally confused “selfishness” with “self love” (a healthy mental attribute) the same way he confused “need” with “desire.” It is possible that Berg lacked the mental-emotional development or suffered from a mental disorder, which did not give him the capacity to understand these differences. Many factors however, point to the fact that he was deliberately confusing, calculating and manipulative.
The disturbed "self" Berg bestowed
Berg's sex creed
According to Berg, "My desires, preferences, feelings and needs are irrelevant. It only matters what the other person feels, wants, needs or prefers. It’s all about taking care of others at my expense." Personal feelings, needs, desires, and preferences are anathema—Berg left no room for the "self" to exist.
What Berg taught as self-sacrifice, is actually known as “neurotic pride”—a creed of self-hatred. People who suffer from this disorder and hate themselves to the point they place no value on taking care of their own psychological and emotional needs, are actually quite centered on the very self they are trying so hard to reject and deny. Berg was projecting his own neurotic shadow onto his followers.
Berg's paradox of the sacrificial self
There is a paradox in Berg’s doctrine of the sacrificial self: pride and self-hate are actually two sides of the same coin.
Before you can sacrifice yourself, psychologically, you have to claim ownership of a psychological self—there has to be a "self" that you are sacrificing, a "self" that you value enough to claim as your own.
By denying and removing that "self" and/or self-worth, Berg is actually creating a boundless ego—a black hole that sucks everything in and allows nothing to escape. By creating this boundless ego condition in his followers, Berg is able to use them to do whatever he desires.
Berg’s ego was so rigidly guarded by an irrational belief about personal responsibility for others’ welfare, that he concluded no one has the right to “independently” choose for themselves how they wish respond to a request for services.
Disclaiming ownership of the self—Berg's mind-body split
What Berg asked of his followers was to disclaim personal ownership of their own minds, bodies, needs, feelings, and preferences. By compelling them to respond to the sexual needs of others as a duty, Berg was asking them to do violence to their “self”, to act as though their bodies are dissociated from their minds.
The mind-body split that Berg promotes is an illusion—the body and mind are in fact incorporated. The very same body that is aroused by a certain look, touch or smell is the same body that recoils at a certain look, touch or smell as a consequence of mental processes.
One definition of codependency is: "To justify my existence, I need to be needed."
Berg’s basic assumption was that the disciple has a duty to take care of everyone else’s needs, and that s/he is “selfish” if s/he chooses to take care of her own needs (for safety, respect, autonomy) at the expense of satisfying another’s desires.
The fact is, people who don’t take care of their own psychological and emotional needs will use taking care of others as a way to take care of themselves—other people become a means unto an end rather than an end in themselves.
While Berg tried to show himself as generous, he displayed a clear lack of empathy—it is clear he was motivated by self-interest—he was disappointed that his assigned gift, a partner for a high profile lesbian leader, did not work out the way he intended, that she did not comply with the demands he placed on her, that she go against her own sexuality and sexual preferences.
Berg's black-and-white, all-or-nothing thought processes are irrational and are symptomatic in people with personality disorders. For him, there was simply no middle ground—he could not imagine Toni was motivated by anything other than selfishness and cruelty.
Simply saying “no” to a request for sexual contact—a basic human right—does not automatically make someone selfish, self-righteous, hard, cold and cruel. However, Berg did not consider his followers entitled to this or many other basic human rights.
Taking disobeying members off the pedestal
As the admonition progresses, a major shift begins when Berg refers to people who don't obey him as being worse than "honest sinners." This implies that members of the group should know better, and if they don't it is worse than an "honest sinner" who does not know any better.
Members of The COG/FOL/Family, as a group, are hitherto indoctrinated to believe they are the best of the best, far above average Christians or people in general. Berg takes Toni off that pedestal and threatens the same to anyone with similar reservations—disobey, and they are useless to God, no longer worthy of the group. Ergo... "Obey completely or else you are worth nothing to God/Berg/the group. Anyone who does not follow Berg 100% is out of the will of God, and not worthy of God."
Ostracism and fear—the ultimate tools of control
Everybody wants to be loved and accepted. Berg knowing how his followers want to please him, ties something everybody wants—love and acceptance, to something he wants—obedience to his every whim, and threatens them with ostracism if they do no comply. Nobody wants all these bad things to happen to him/her.
It is important to recognize that his followers had already surrendered all their possessions, "burned their bridges" and cut ties with the outside world to live in a closed society. They uprooted frequently, moving from country to country. They were made to be completely dependent on the group for survival. It is in this state of vulnerability that Berg uses his most powerful tool, and hits them with the worst possible scenario—he tells his followers their greatest fear—rejection by God. He presses their conditioned fear of losing everything they have held in high esteem.
After equating his will with the will of God, Berg casts out his followers who do not obey him. He tells them God has rejected them because they rejected God by not following Berg.
Berg sets the stage, and gives the answer of how to not be like Toni (rejected, failure, alone, etc.) using himself as an example, right after referring to God and Jesus.
Threats and veiled threats
After using negative words and negative erroneous applications of scripture, he underscores further shame for those who disobey him. "SO I DONT KNOW WHERE THE LORD CAN USE HER NOW." It is no different from saying, "who possibly would want you after we reject you?"
Toni is used as the martyr, the example to all. Ergo, "Now she has failed everybody. Now she is totally alone, completely and utterly rejected." "This could just as easily be you!" "Don't let this be you."
The Mo letter is laced with many such veiled, but very potent threats.
Patriarchal and andro-centric ideals
In patriarchal social hierarchies, competition is a basic fact of human relationships—everyone is the real or potential competitor of everyone else. The competition is for access to resources, including the reproductive and nurturing capacities of females. This competition results in basic hostility. Basic hostility can lead to intense needs for affection, inasmuch as affection mediates the threat posed by basic hostility. The need for affection can result in the overvaluing of "love."
The neuroticism Berg displayed is common to individuals who strive for love and affection to the exclusion of things such as accomplishment, mastery, maturity, wisdom, respect for the rights of others, etc.
Healthy people change their attitudes with the situation—if someone they are attracted to doesn’t want to bond sexually, they choose a less sexualized way to connect and communicate with that person.
Unhealthy individuals primarily exhibit only one neurotic trend across all relationships and situations: e.g., “You have to give me what I want regardless of what you want.” Human behavior becomes a compulsion, rather than a choice.
Berg misunderstanding basic lesbian sexuality
Berg's butch/femme roles have their roots in the working class bar culture of the 1950s, and by no means describe the diverse social-sexual realities of lesbian life. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that sexual coupling—regardless of the gender mix—is unique to the individuals involved. What Berg condones is an andro-centric model of lesbian coupling.
While there are some women who behave like some men in terms of relieving the “need” for orgasmic release, womynist coupling is typically more focused around intense, prolonged sensual arousal. This type of sensuality is impossible to achieve if one partner is gritting her teeth to bare it. (Berg: “she should have gritted her teeth & borne it’; “She should have done it just for your sake”)
Berg, in asking Toni to "grit her teeth and bear it" would have reduced the coupling to a "mercy f__k," which would not appeal to anyone with their self-esteem intact. Such a suggestion could only be made to someone like Lori, if she had a damaged mental-emotional state, or she would have taken offense to it.
Berg projected his own unacknowledged shadow self onto Lori—the stereotypical adolescent male role of someone who “desperately” needs sex. He casted her into the myth of the bull-dyke who acts “just like a man”—it is unlikely Lori could fit this "desperate" stereotype unless she was either shooting up testosterone or pathologically insecure.
Toni on the other hand, is demonized as the repressed "ki-ki" girl who’s too uptight to cut loose.
Maria as a female role model—an illusionist's prop
The use of Maria as a female role model is a very powerful tool of suggestion, used for convincing Berg's followers that he should be obeyed and agreed with, just like Maria does.
Maria, as a female role model pipes in here and there, seemingly to offer another opinion and perspective, but is actually of the same persuasion as Berg. The fact that a woman agrees with this further underscores expectations of women. This is nothing short of a commonly used mind-trick.
The use of props as a tool for suggestion is so powerful that it has been used by professional magicians, illusionists and hypnotists around the world for centuries, to lead audiences into whatever they want them to see, hear, believe and/or experience. Props are routinely planted in the audience to elicit and direct the response of large audiences.
Abuse of spiritual authority
In several places, Berg refers to himself immediately after referring to God and Jesus. This is purposeful and connects him and his will to being God's will. In fact, Berg said he represents God.
On the cover of the Mo letter is an illustration by "Eman Artist" depicting Toni with a proud, selfish, belligerent and aloof expression on her face. Whether or not this accurately depicts Toni, her true character will be ignored, and this is the way she will be remembered within the group; and this would be the way she would come to see herself in order to remain in the group, since there was no room for dissenting thoughts.
Berg states that Toni is "Devilish"—her innate feelings about the issue are "of the devil." This implies to all of the followers of Berg, that they cannot trust their own instincts about others, that they cannot think independently.
He asserts that those who do not "forsake all", who withhold even one "small" thing, will end up "backsliding" "all the way" back into the "system" and become enemies.
No independent thought, no voice of conscience allowed
Berg states clearly that he does not allow people of different opinions in his immediate vicinity (par 88 full version). He wants people to do exactly as he says. Independent thought is equated with the devil. Yet setting himself up as a mouthpiece of God, Berg's thoughts are God's very own—according to Berg, Toni in rejecting a lesbian relationship left "GOD’S HIGHEST PERFECT WILL." (Par 78 full version)
Berg's disciples are conditioned to doubt themselves for any resistance—he creates a total dependence on him. There is no room for disagreement, dissent, or other thoughts that don't go along with his, and he effectively sets himself up as the God he projects.
In short, self = devil, Berg = God.
Misuse of scriptures
In the closed spiritual environment of uncritical fundamentalism which Berg has taught his followers to live in, he is able to freely misuse biblical scriptures for his own designs. He ignores the social, historical and cultural contexts in which sacred scriptures were originally written and extrapolates meaning to situations that have nothing to do with the intent of the text.
An example of this is Mt. 25:45, which applies to a specific context and set of conditions that say nothing about the current case of a woman who doesn’t want to engage sexually with another woman.
Favoring the privileged upper leadership
The diatribe boils down to the issue of domination, control and subjugation. There is an unspoken issue that has to do with power dynamics in the relationship: Keda is a leader and Toni is a rank and file disciple. If the situation were to be reversed and Toni had been the one to pressure Keda, and Keda had refused, a good question to ask is if Berg would have responded in kind:
Berg's chocolate-coated poison
In conclusion, Berg leaves us with the thought of what will happen and implies you are being watched. He/God will know if you disobey. In the last two paragraphs (condensed version) he issues the final threat, concluding his abusive barrage with a flowery "bless you and help you" ...OR ELSE.
"THE LORD... did say regarding this, that "Nothing that is done in love is wrong". It doesn't seem that it should be any worse than being s__ked by a woman...
"I GUESS IT MIGHT COME UNDER 'ALL THINGS', AND THE 'LAW OF LOVE'... I just don't like to take a personal stand on it until I know. I guess we'll just have to say, 'according to your faith, be it done unto you', and according to your love, and according to the necessity or need. (see above notes about "needs")
"... I'm now willing to admit that there's a possibility that it could be within the limits of the love of God, that two men could love each other that much..."
( par. 21,22,25,26 or "Homos!" A question of Sodomy?" ML 719 DO, June 9, 1978)
2. Berg later said that Keda (a.k.a. "Lori" in this Mo letter "The Girl Who Wouldn't") posed a challenge to his leadership:
(Kedas Problem, ML 1747, par. 28)
When Keda, then the CRO of the Pacific area, was summoned to Bergs home in March 1984, Berg repeatedly said he felt like getting violent with Keda, who was now like Satan himself to him.
He gloated that the Devil really got put down when he (Berg) had slapped Kedas face (par. 30). He did that in response to a simple enthusiastic question from Keda (Lori).
Contrary to his praises in this Mo letter "The Girl Who Wouldn't", Berg claimed that he had always been disgusted with Lori:
4. Berg threatened Lori/Keda with physical violence:
With this abrupt turn-around, Lori became an object of Berg's hate and he threatened her. Maria (a.k.a. Karen Zerby, current leader of The Family) encouraged him to carry out his threats:
If I go in there & have to deal with her Im probably going to have to beat her up! (Maria: Well, maybe thats what she needs.) I tell you, if you guys cant do it, is going to be a furor! I dont think I ever beat up a woman before, but I am apt to! (Maria: Maybe that is exactly what she needs, but Id hate to have you have to do it) This is her chance to yield without violence! Its no minor devil, it is Satan himself attacking us through her. Either she is going to get the victory or God is going to have a knockdown, drag-out fight with the Devil, & she is going to be the sufferer! Maybe you ought to warn her, If you dont want to have Dad come in & knock you flat, you better get rid of this God-damned Satan in a hurry! (paras. 26, 41,42,43)
5. Berg pinpointed Kedas problem as lesbianism.
In In Kedas Problem! (ML 1747) Berg stated that there was nothing in the Bible against women in relationships with women, but that the abomination came when women desired only women, and were so masculine that they no longer desired men. Also, he felt that Keda wanted to be a man and rule over other men. In par. 32, Maria said: