Founder: David Brandt Berg
Name: Children of God; Teens for Christ; COG; American Soul Clinic
Date Founded: Approximately 1968
Headquarters: London, England (possibly main headquarters)
Huntington Beach, California and Atlanta, Georgia in USA.
Major Source of Book: “MO” Letters
Early History: The children of God cult grew out of the Jesus Movement or Revolution which took place in the early to mid sixties. The Jesus people were those who gave up jobs, material goods, etc. to follow some leader or leaders in street evangelizing. They were living in communes, wearing strange clothing, and the preaching of love as the motivating message. In some cases they were examples of fundamental Christianity, but most were involved in money making, sex, and hate. The Children of God (COG), under the leadership of David Berg, was an outgrowth of that movement, though Berg claims to have started the Jesus Revolution. In 1971, NBC television gave the COG national coverage on one program, and the cult has grown in leaps and bounds ever since.
The Leader: David Berg, now called Moses David, is the cult leader at the age of 58. Of his new name, Moses is for his role as a latter day prophet and David for his role as King of Israel. Berg was formerly a Christian and Missionary Alliance Minister, who later left his pastorate in Arizona and teamed with Rev. Fred Jordan in Los Angeles, California. Jordan later gave Berg and the COG land in Mingus, Texas and in California, but evicted them for discipline reasons shortly after.
He now resides in England where he spends his time writing “MO” letters. He has a number of what he calls spiritual counselors that give him revelations from God. His main counselor is Abraham, a supposed gypsy king who has been dead 1,000 years. These counselors are Rasputin, Pied Piper, Joan of Arc, Oliver Cromwell, Merlin the Magician, etc. Many of these come after he has had much to drink, which Berg claims yields his mind to God's Spirit (“MO” letter of March, 1974). He uses palm reading and astrology, and he is a follower of Jean Dixon. His latest book, Free Sex, has a nude man and woman on the cover, and his “MO” letter, “Revolutionary Love Making”, is full of pictures of sex acts, lesbianism (which Berg advocates) and nudity. As you can see, David Berg has degenerated from Bible teachings to pornography, spiritism, and other garbage.
The Children of God: This group of controversial Jesus people has grown from a small number beginning in 1968, with David Berg as their coffeehouse leader, to some 5,000 full-time disciples. Throughout their history, the COG are notorious for their vulgar language, their hatred for the world system, their communes, and their forsaking all (parents, jobs, education, etc.) and turning all their possessions over to the System of Berg.
In 1969, with most members in California, Berg received a prophecy that California would fall into the ocean. The COG began to warn everyone by dressing in sackcloth, ashes, and carrying yokes, exhorting people to turn to Jesus. They disrupted church services, marched in streets, and employed other various activities to draw attention. Berg led the COG, Moses fashion, to other areas of the country and publicity began to follow.
All of the COG change their names to Biblical names, and each one has a specific tribe to which he belongs in a tightly structured Commune. For example, the tribe of Zebulon: farming; Levi: elders; Ephraim: laundry, etc. They do not own their own clothing, but are to salvage what they can from the laundry. Most COGs are in their late teens and early twenties.
At first the COG was extremely regimented group, but now many liberal changes have been made. Now you can date, even outside the organization. You can attend movies, and even consume alcohol moderately, but drugs and tobacco are still taboo.
Upon joining the group, one is put through three to five months of basic indoctrination. This involves scripture memorization (300 in the first two months), the study of Acts, the relation of the COG to the world, and then they are to sign the “revolutionary sheet” which commits him and his possessions to the COG. The people are kept continuously busy on the streets, in their tribe, at their jobs, and in class sessions, with songs, skits, chants, and hate sessions of parents and the system. All mail coming and going is censored, but each is admonished to write home (usually to ask for money). Most of the converts have come from drug areas, free sex, and those in some type of depression. The COG travel in buses or old cars, and dance to rock music for expression.
Children of God Doctrine:
1. They are Calvinists
2. They are Mid-Tribulationalists
3. They are Christ's remnant
4. They are Pentecostal in reference to the Holy Spirit (speaking in tongues, etc.)
5. They believe God breaks up families (Matthew 10:34-37)
6. They believe America, churches, and schools are the whore of Babylon.
7. They believe in Universalism
8. They believe in the return of Christ in 1993
Children of God Finances: They are financed by selling literature, the possessions of members and their families, and by the process of “procuring.” Procuring is when they go into businesses and tell the owner they are gaining support to help drug programs or to help hungry children overseas. They have no drug program or any type of program. They also say they give tax exemption when they can't.
Children of God Government: Colonies range from six to twelve full-time followers. The colony leader is called a shepherd. When a colony gets more them twelve members, it has to divide and create a new one. Three (sometimes two) colonies form a district, presided over by a regional shepherd. Three regions constitute a bishopric, presided over by a bishop, and three bishoprics constitute an archbishopric, headed by an archbishop. Three archbishoprics constitute a ministry, governed by a minister, and three ministries constitute a prime ministry, ruled over by a prime minister.
“MO” Letters: A “MO” letter is a revelation from Berg that is distributed to the COG at various times (approximately 500 since 1972). The “MO” letters come in various categories:
G.P. General public letters (sell on street)
D.F.O. Disciples and friends only
D.O. Disciples only
L.T.O. Leadership training only
L.O. Leaders only
R.F.O. Royal family only
The letters come to the leaders who print them up for the colonies and are then sold (G.P.). The “MO” letters are God's inspired word for today, the Bible was for yesterday. David Berg is God's prophet, and the 144,000 are the COG as Israel restored. The “MO” letter is the “New Wine,” the Bible the “Old Wine.”
Founder: David Brandt Berg