Overcoming a Sex Cult, Kristina – SOZO EP0011

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Kristina is not just a survivor but an overcomer! She was born and raised in the infamous sex cult Children of God (aka The Family International) and suffered all kinds of terrible abuse from those claiming to be missionaries for Jesus. Kristina, along with her sisters Celeste and Julianna, have written a best-selling book called Not Without My Sister about their experience in the Children of God cult.

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Available on Amazon – $3.00 for Kindle!

Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.”

The book Not Without My Sister reminded me of the Holocaust museum; as if to say, “Never Forget”. May we all learn from the past and never repeat these mistakes. I believe this book is important for humanity.

A few episodes ago I interviewed Kristina’s sister Celeste. It was this interview that made me start taking my role here on Sozo Talk Radio more seriously. I realized how precious each of our lives and stories are. Each of us play a role in this “play” of life and are threads contributing to the tapestry of the story of humanity.

What kind of story are you telling with your life?

David Berg chose to tell the worst kind of story. He abused the innocent and sexually tortured little girls. Berg encouraged sexual relations between adults and children and even taught the adults to sexualize their children as toddlers. Countless families were torn apart by this cult. People were brainwashed, manipulated, and controlled through fear and harsh discipline.

Berg maintained and profited from one of the largest prostitution and human trafficking rings. He implemented a practice called flirty fishing which quickly turned into prostitution for the group.

Many in the cult, mostly the children, suffered greatly while he was living like a king. He believed himself to be the reincarnated David of Ezekiel 37 and his family was called the royal family. He took the title “Moses David” and wrote “Mo letters”. These Mo letters were sometimes pornographic, contained antisemitic hate speech (calling Hitler a hero), and were filled with fearful end times rhetoric. (I wrote more at Celeste’s interview here).

David Berg was truly an enemy of Christ  and is an example what happens when we embrace and implement the sexual revolution of the late 60’s into Christianity. Sexual immorality is the real problem. Sex is only meant to be enjoyed between a husband and wife. We have seen over and over and over again the pain and problems that occur when this gift from God is taken out of the context of marriage and misused and abused.

What God Wants For You

God is a loving Father who wants the best for his children. It is always best to remain in the care of our Good Shepherd where we are so richly provided for. We cheat ourselves and harm others when we fail to trust our Good Shepherd and choose sin instead. Of course there is forgiveness and grace and healing so we can once again learn to live the way he designed.

We are here to learn love. We are meant to learn how to be fully present and alive – to enjoy the abundant life Jesus gives us!

I look at Kristina and Celeste and see that they are examples that anyone can learn to forgive and heal – as Kristina puts it, “to forgive is to absorb the pain and bring it to an end”.

My Hell on Earth (Story of Verity Carter)

In this interview we discuss and read a portion of the Sunday Times article of how Verity, a dear friend of Kristina, bravely came forward to expose the abuse she suffered while in the cult.

Click Here to read more of the story of Verity Carter who just won a court case against her father who had raised Verity in this sex cult, The Children of God.

Excerpt (Discretion is advised):

“A sex cult survivor has spoken for the first time about the abuse she suffered while growing up in the notorious Children of God sect.

Verity Carter was repeatedly raped and abused, forced on to the streets to trick people into donating money and taught how to conceal her torment from social workers and teachers.

Verity, now a 38-year-old Edinburgh mum, said: “My earliest memories are from the age of four, being abused by my own father.

“He would touch me and kiss me in a way that made me feel so uncomfortable. I would cry and beg him not to.

“If I complained, I was told that I must have a demon inside me because sex was love, and love was what God wanted us to show each other…”

(Read more here: https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/my-hell-on-earth/)

Kristina’s Faith Journey

What I find so remarkable is that even though she was abused in the name of Christ, Kristina has maintained her faith in Christ. She talked about how she actually believed the Word of God (as we all should) that she was forced to memorize and how it led her to bravely speak the truth no matter the cost. Christ has been her source of comfort and strength through it all.

Of course she says that her faith journey wasn’t without those seasons of confusion and setbacks that we all face. We are all on a journey and she speaks in this interview about respecting where other people are currently at in their journey and loving them as they are.

I was greatly inspired and encouraged that she kept her faith when I have heard stories of so many other second generation COG members losing their faith and hope and ended up committing suicide. I just want to say to any other xfamily members:

There is hope and healing through forgiveness and in relationship with the real Jesus. I know there are likely a load of lies that still keep you from enjoying life to the full.  Sorting it out and coming through that darkness will take time and perseverance. Please know there are people who care and I am one of them. We must learn to forgive in order to heal from the past.

Jesus is our hope, strength, and comfort and will see us through whatever trauma or tragedy life has to offer. Lean on him!

Other questions I ask Kristina:

What was it like growing up in a cult The Children Of God?

One of my favorite quotes you share:

“Evil can only prevail when good people do nothing.”

“What you are fed in a cult is a lie sandwich. It takes some time to sort out truth from error.”

“The truth will set you free.”

“To forgive is to absorb the pain and bring it to an end”

What it was like growing up in a broken home?

Talk about what was it like being such a public figure in the fight to expose this sex cult?

How can we help people trapped in cults?

What would you tell someone who just came out of the TFI cult?

How do we find forgiveness?

Escaping a Sex Cult, Interview with Celeste – SOZO EP0006

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Celeste is the author (along with sisters Juliana and Kristina) of the bestselling book, Not Without My Sister, which details their experience and trauma of being born and raised in the infamous religious sex cult, The Children of God, now known as The Family International (TFI).

not-without-my-sister-sex-cult-survivors
Available on Amazon for $3.00 for Kindle

Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.”

This is what Celeste and her sisters have done with their book. They are bringing the truth to light and exposing the abuse (sexual and otherwise) of what they experienced in the Children of God (COG) cult.

Of course it was an extremely difficult thing for them to write out their stories in this book. It was difficult for my wife Catherine and I to read it! Setting the stage in the beginning of this episode by just reading the description of their book was even hard for me!

But the Truth sets us free. The Truth brings salvation and healing.

“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” John 8:31-32 NLT

celeste as a child in sex cult Children of God
Celeste as a child

Catherine and I discuss with our new friend Celeste in this interview what it was like for her to grow up in The Children of God cult and the sexual abuse they suffered – all because of the narcissism and delusions and sexual perversity of one man, David Berg.

“What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.” Isaiah 5:20

This is precisely what David Berg did.

Somehow he twisted pedophilia and ritual sexual abuse and wife swapping and a whole litany of other sexual perversity into being an expression of God’s love! (A future episode will further explore David Berg and the MO letters so stay tuned!)

As I have been studying what the Scriptures have to say about love – and how it ought to be expressed – I was struck by a verse in the Bible talking about how there is NO law against love! AND, since there are plenty of laws against pedophilia and sexual abuse this defeats the argument that David Berg put forward that “sharing love” with minors and wife swapping and servicing all the sexual desires of their members is not God’s way! In fact the Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4 that to live sexually immoral is equivalent to rejecting God!:

“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.  Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—  not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.  Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.  God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.  Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

Other questions we address:

We discuss the Hippie era with its rampant sexual immorality and drug use.

What attracted her parents to join this cult?

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Celeste’s parents

Why do you think your father (aka “Simon Peter” – one of Bergs right hand men) along with so many others fall prey to David Berg introducing the morality of the hippie culture’s “Free Love” into Christianity? How did they justify this?

The Bible says there are many Antichrists – Could it be that one of these Antichrists the Bible warns us of the version of Jesus that David Berg preached?

Lets talk about David Berg. What were all of his false prophecies? What was Berg’s version of the law of love? His introduction of flirty fishing – aka prostitution – to bring in money for the group?

What were the MO letters, and what are your thoughts about them?

What was it like growing up in this cult during the 80’s?

I can remember growing up in the 80’s myself and being terrified of “the end times” and watching movies about Christians being hunted down and beheaded. What was that like for you?

Isn’t this how David Berg maintained control? Through instilling fear of the outside world (the system) and the fatalism of the end times?

You talk about seeing your dad as a victim – I actually see this is a true sign of forgiveness. He’s human. Just like you and me. The frog that got boiled because the heat was turned up so gradually. It happens to so many.

You say that you “let that go” regarding the pains from the past – isn’t this the essence of forgiveness?

I love how you talk about being present in the moment! The past can’t hurt you when you just decide to live in (and Enjoy!) the now! I love that!

HEALING! How can the healing happen for the victims of sexual abuse?

Lets talk about Ricky Rodriguez. He chose to take matters of what he saw as justice into his own hands with the murder suicide. Rick (aka Davidito) was the foster child of David Berg himself and was a witness and a victim of SO much ritualistic sexual abuse and torture. He could not overcome the torment of all he had witnessed. What was it like, Celeste, to be one of the last people to talk with him?

Anne Lammot once said, “to not forgive is like drinking rat poison and expecting the rat to die”. We need to be free from the poison of bitterness. But how do we forgive?

How can we be free from the torments of the past? Free from Depression?

Please listen to this very important interview to discover some of these answers!

To those reading this and listening: You are loved! Don’t give up! There is a light at the end of this suffering! The real Jesus is here to be your friend and lift you right out of all your suffering!