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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).
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
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?
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!