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Yes, They Spent The Night With Us


  • Yes, They Spent The Night With Us

    One cold October Sunday night in the late 1970’s, we started home from church and remembered that we had to make a quick stop at the grocery store. A couple of our children went in with me and the other two chose to stay in the warm car with Bill. We hurried in and out with whatever few items we needed and as we were getting back into the car, Bill said, “Can you think of any good reason that a couple with a child would get into a church bus parked beside that church over there?” I turned and looked in the direction he was pointing and saw the bus parked in the church parking lot near the church. The church was dark and there were no cars parked there.

    “No, not unless they are breaking into the bus for some reason,” I replied.

    Bill thought for a moment before saying, “If they are planning on sleeping in that bus, they’re going to get cold before the night is over.” The next thing I knew, he was opening the door and sliding out from under the steering wheel and walking towards the church parking lot. The children and I watched as he knocked on the door of the bus. He waited briefly, then knocked again and we heard him say, “I know you’re in there. I saw you go in.” Then the door opened and a young man stuck his head out. We couldn’t hear what else was said, but then the man climbed down the steps of the bus followed by a young woman. She turned around and offered her hand to a little girl and helped her exit the bus. Bill and the three of them started walking to our car. All of us scooted over and some sat on each other’s lap to make room for the three extra passengers. Bill explained, “They were going to spend the night in that bus and I told them they couldn’t just sleep in a bus with the cold temperatures moving in. They just need somewhere to sleep for the night, so I told them we’d give them a warm place to sleep for that long. We can, can’t we?” Well yes, we could do that and we did.

    Once we got home, everyone started getting into their pajamas while waiting for me to get toasted cheese sandwiches ready. While we ate, we all chatted and told our ‘guests’ which bedroom they could have for the night. Then, as was our custom before bedtime, we had our brief family devotion time which included a short reading of scripture and prayer. The three people seemed happy to take part. Then, we all went to bed and slept soundly. The next morning, Bill and I drove the couple and their little four year old girl to a nearby town, where they had said they were heading. We sent them on their way with a bag containing a couple of home grown tomatoes, a couple of cucumbers, some egg salad and a half a loaf of bread. They hugged me goodbye and shook Bill’s hand and thanked us profusely and said, “God bless you” as we drove away.

    On the way back home, Bill said, “While you were gathering the tomatoes and stuff to give them, I asked if they were connected to any church group and they said they were with the Children of God. I’ve not heard of that church. Have you?”

    I said, “WHAT? Now you tell me…we invited cult members to stay overnight in our house!” He turned (while still driving) to look me in the eye and I saw a puzzled, shocked look on his face. He had not kept up on the many ‘movements’ that were popping up all over the place in the 1970’s, but I had been hearing about them and had researched them and even wondered how people could get drawn into those things. There were many strange, new things springing up all over the place back then, like the ‘hippies’, ‘the love children’, ‘Moonies’, communes and other such things, mostly counter-culture and sub-culture ‘movements’. I went on, telling him, “If I’d known that last night, I would have been afraid to go to sleep. I can’t believe I even gave them food to take with them!” I just could not believe we’d offered one of our bedrooms to cult people. And fed them! Children of God, to be exact.

    Bill stayed quiet while I went on and on telling him how bad the Children of God were and that I hoped we wouldn’t get some kind of disease from that bed they had slept in. Finally, once I quieted down some, he said, “Well, all I could see was this man, woman and that little child who were about to camp out in an empty church bus all night and I was afraid they’d really get cold in that thing.” I thought about it and finally agreed with him. I apologized for going out of my mind for a brief time. I was only sorry that we had not found out sooner and maybe, just maybe we could have said or done something to help them get out of that mess.

    To this day I wonder if we had known they were members of a very bad cult, would it have made any difference to us? I mean, before offering someone a warm place to sleep and some food, does anyone ever think to first question them about a church affiliation? We didn’t, but should we have? At first, I felt kind of deceived. But later, our whole family would look back at that time and those three people who we took home with us and laugh about it and even chalk it all up as just another time we had people spending the night under our roof. I don’t think the good Lord will be too angry at us. We’d most likely do the same thing again if a similar situation came our way.

    For any who never heard of this cult, let me tell you a little about them. Children of God (COG), later named Family of Love and the Family, was a religious cult group started in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California and most of the early converts were from the hippie movement of that time. The Children of God was one of the many movements that prompted the cult controversy of the 1970s & 1980s in the United States & Europe and they triggered the first organized anti-cult group called FREECOG.

    I thought the cult was pretty much extinct until I recently did some research recently and found they have only ‘changed with the times’, like this:
    The Children of God (1968-1977)
    The Family of Love (1978-1981)
    The Family (1995-2003)
    The Family International (2004-present)

    The Children of God, Now Called 'The Family International'

    The founder and prophetic leader, David Berg, was first called "Moses David" in the Texas papers. He took the titles of 'King,' 'Last Endtime Prophet,' 'Moses,' and 'David.' He communicated withhis followers by his Mo Letters—letters of instruction and counsel on all kinds of spiritual and practical subjects—until his death in late 1994. After his death, his widow Karen Zerby became the leader, wearing the title of 'Queen' and 'prophetess.' She married Steve Kelly, an assistant of David Berg who he had handpicked for her before his death. Steve Kelly took the title of 'King Peter' and became the public face of the cult and speaking in a more public capacity than either David Berg or Karen Zerby.

    But the fact that this cult is still alive, just renaming itself, should be of concern to all Christians everywhere. It has grown and expanded around the world and so did its message of salvation, apocalypticism, and spiritual "revolution" against the outside world, which the members refer to as "the System". This one message against the ‘outsiders’ resulted in much controversy in America and in Europe. In 1974, the cult began a method of evangelism called Flirty Fishing, using sex to "show God's love" and win new converts, especially converts with plenty of money. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

    Members of the Children of God founded and lived in communes, first called "colonies" but now referred to as "homes," in various cities. They mainly proselytize in the streets and distribute pamphlets. New converts memorized scripture, took Bible classes, and were expected to live like the early Christians while rejecting mainstream denominational Christianity.

    The founder was a former Christian Missionary Alliance pastor, David Brandt Berg (1919–1994), also known within the group as Moses David, Mo, Father David, and Dad to adult group members, and eventually as Grandpa to the group's youngest members. Berg communicated with his followers through more than 3,000 published letters written over 24 years, referred to as "Mo Letters”. By January 1972, Berg introduced through his letters that he was God's prophet for this time, further establishing his spiritual authority within the group.

    The Children of God ended as an organization in February 1978. Berg reorganized the movement amid reports of serious misconduct, financial mismanagement, and claimed established leaders had abused their positions (and others having opposed his ‘Flirty Fishing’. He dismissed more than 300 of the leaders and declared the dissolution of the COG. This shift was known as the "Reorganization Nationalization Revolution" (RNR). A third of the total membership left the movement, but those who remained became part of the newly reorganized movement, dubbed the Family of Love, and later the Family. Most of the group's beliefs, however, remained the same.

    The Family of Love era was characterized by expansion into more countries. Regular proselytizer methods included door-to-door distributing tracts and other gospel literature, and organized classes on various aspects of Christian life, with heavy use of their own composed music.

    In 1974, when David Berg introduced his new method of witnessing, called Flirty Fishing, which encouraged female members to show God's love by engaging in sexual activity with potential converts. Flirty Fishing was practiced by members of Berg's inner circle starting in 1973, and was later introduced to the general membership. By 1978, it was widely practiced by members of the group. In some areas, Flirty Fishers used escort agencies to meet people! According to them, as a result of Flirty Fishing, "over 100,000 received God's gift of salvation through Jesus, and some chose to live the life of a disciple and missionary. According to data provided by TFI to researcher Bill Bainbridge, from 1974 until 1987, members had sexual contact with 223,989 people while practicing Flirty Fishing. Flirty Fishing also resulted in the births of many children, who were referred to as "Jesus Babies.”

    Father David explained in his Mo Letters that the boundaries of expressing God's love to others could at times go beyond just showing kindness and doing good deeds. He suggested that for those who were in dire need of physical love and affection, even sex could be used as evidence to them of the Lord's love. ...The motivation, guiding principle, and reasoning behind this was that through this sacrificial proof of love, some would better accept and understand God's great love for them. The goal was that they would come to believe in and receive God's own loving gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus, who gave His life for them. By this unorthodox method David felt many would find the Lord's love and salvation, who never would have otherwise.

    Flirty Fishing was officially abandoned, though the principles retained, in 1987 in favor of other witnessing methods and also to avoid contracting HIV. In 1987, new rules were introduced that banned sexual contact with non-members. However, the new rules also stated that exceptions to the rule would be allowed in certain cases. For example, one publication stated: "All sex with outsiders is banned!--Unless they are already close and well-known friends!" Many of the Mo Letters also promoted sharing, the sharing of one’s physical body in love. Women and female children were led to believe that it was their duty to share with a man anytime he wanted.

    After complaints from people who had been abused as children by adults, a new rule, that sexual interactions should not occur between an adult and a minor, was encouraged and promoted, but not enforced. I n the 1990s, numerous allegations of child sexual abuse were brought against The Family around the world, in locations including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the USA, and Venezuela.

    The Family International teaches that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and sacred revelation. Group founder David Berg is regarded within the group as the most important prophet of the end times and as being specifically predicted in the Old and New Testament, offering as reference the"a prophet like Moses". If contradicted by or irreconcilable with Scripture, his words take precedence over the Bible. The group believes Berg's spiritual "mantle" passed to his wife, Karen Zerby, at his death. The officially published writings of both David Berg and Karen Zerbyare regarded as part of the "Word of God" which carries the same weight as the Bible since they are considered divine revelations.

    .......... They believe in the ‘great commission’. They believe that they are now living in the time period known in the Bible as the "Last Days" or the "Time of the End", which is the era immediately preceding the return of Jesus Christ. Before that event, they believe that the world will be ruled for seven years by the Antichrist, who will create a one-world government. At the half-way point in his rule he will become completely possessed by Satan, precipitating a time of troubles known as the Great Tribulation which will bring intense persecution of Christians as well as stupendous natural and unnatural disasters. At the end of this period, faithful Christians will be taken to heaven in an event known as the Rapture that is shortly followed by a battle between Jesus and the Antichrist commonly known as the "Battle of Armageddon", in which the Antichrist is defeated. Then, they say, Jesus Christ will reign on Earth for 1000 years, a period they call the Millennium.
    But..some of their more recently added ‘beliefs’ take them very far away from any ‘normal’ Christianity.

    To learn more about this worldwide cult, scroll down to their Beliefs in this link. (This is too shocking for any Christians to believe, but this cult, to my amazement, is still here and still growing worldwide! And we need to be informed NOW about them just as much as I needed to know about them those years ago, when 3 of them slept in one of our beds! What are their current beliefs? This is even more shocking than what you’ve already seen in this article! See for yourself.)

    My favorite scripture: Malachi 3:16

    "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name!" (Every time we speak of the Lord, or even THINK of him--its written down in a book of remembrance!)

    • carpentersdaughter
      carpentersdaughter commented
      Editing a comment
      Perhaps God was using you to give these people something more than a warm bed? You don't always know who you are helping or sacrificing for, but....just continue to spread the Gospel always. Every Christian was a former sinner, correct? You don't have to walk along with them, but somehow, maybe that act of kindness opened up a door for them. Just my 2 cents

    • BRAD C
      BRAD C commented
      Editing a comment
      Re: Article: Yes, They Spent The Night With Us

      I think you did the right thing. Paul, said I become all things.....meaning he humbled himself down and became in a sense what they were for the purpose of trying to further the gospel. I do not mean that you become a cult member, but humble yourself as you did and show the love of Jesus in hopes that it might make a big enough impact to change their lives. Once we do our part we allow the Holy Spirit do his part and work on their hearts. Great job! God Bless.............

    • Jeanne57
      Jeanne57 commented
      Editing a comment
      This group reminds me a lot of the Branch Davidians, who were led by David Koresh and massacred in Waco, Texas on April 19, 1995. They used Flirty Fishing, too, and all the females were expected to be there for their leader sexually. Yes, David Koresh was very wrong, but so was the response of the ATF and the National Guard. There were many other ways Koresh could have been dealt with other than burning them all alive inside their compound.

      There are still many dangerous cults around, and the number is growing steadily. Jesus said that in the last days there would be many false prophets who claim to come in His name, but who preach a different gospel, and there would be great apostasy within the church. That just means that we have to be on our guard all the more so that we aren't deceived by false teaching.

      Again, though, I believe you and your family were a blessing to another family in need, whether they were cult members or not, and the Lord will judge your heart in reaching out to those people. I agree with Shepherdsword about the analogy of the Good Samaritan. Bill made a good call, and it sounds like you were very blessed with a good, loving, kind husband who truly had the heart of God in him.
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