Controversial Issues

Sexual Messages

Berg preached sexual promiscuity and free love. Some believe he was obsessed with incest and pedophilia. In the 1970's Berg promoted a practice known as "flirty fishing", where the devout were sent on pick-up missions to bars, using sex to recruit followers. In a "Mo letter" to his common-law wife, Berg explained, "Sex was a need and good members were supposed to supply people's needs, which in turn would strengthen the COG family." In another "Mo letter" written to his flock in 1978, Berg approved the use of fellatio to put toddlers and young boys to sleep, "if it feels good at that age, the Lord intended for kids to get used to feeling good with sex." In a "Mo letter" sent to a concerned mother whose daughter had joined the COG, the guru described heaven as a place to enjoy "a wild orgy" with a "sexy naked God," and he continued, "you'll certainly never be able to take what is coming, and we're very sorry for you. kids need and want to know about sex and that God created sexual parts of their bodies and their God-given uses, which the System tries to hide and deny them! . We have a sexy God and a sexy religion with a very sexy leader with an extremely sexy young following. So if you don't like sex, you'd better get out while you still can. Be liberated tonight--Hallelujah! Love, Mo."

Allegations of Controversial Issues

In 1978, after the Jim Jones massacre in Guyana sparked much anti-cult sentiment around the world, Berg changed the name of the movement from COG to Family of Love in order to avoid harassment. In 1987, Berg banned flirty-fishing and child-adult sex by way of an internal order. In September of 1993, police in Argentina seized 268 children aged 4 months to 17 years and arrested 30 adult residents of seven Family houses in Buenos Aires due to wire taps and sexually provocative video tapes involving children found by authorities. The charges included prostitution, holding members against their will and sexually abusing children. Similar raids were also made in Australia, Peru, and Paraguay throughout the next few years. The Family claims no convictions arose from these or any other police raids.

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