For those who are not interested in who I am but more in what I have to say then I would say go to the beginning. I respect your time and the following introduction is quite long.
Fact is it’s not really that important who I am, but I hope what I have to say is. For those who are interested in who I am, the word of introduction might help.
Why the name Voice in the Wilderness?
After the sudden and unexpected death of my beautiful and much loved 13 year old daughter Joanna 4 years ago, the Wilderness is where I very much feel myself to have been at least spiritually, hence the title.
Why did I write it?
Good question, firstly it’s not because of any vitriolic feelings towards the Family, I am not a great believer in knocking things for the sake of it. I know if I never said anything the Family would die out any way, as it is at the moment.
I do though believe in giving a warning, in the hopes that there maybe a change and that as believers God expects us to deliver our souls. [Eze.3:17-19]
Also I wish this to be a testimony to my surviving children, in particular my two oldest Simon and Christina who spent their early life in the Family, and now are no longer members.
WORD OF INTRODUCTION
Before you read this discourse or attempt to do so, I thought it might be a good idea to introduce myself. I am writing this in the name I was born with Stephen Matheson; those in the Family who know me will know me better by my Family name, David of Dove.
I write this in my name only as my wife Dove is still in every way an unquestioning adherent to Family beliefs and doctrine.
I lay no claim to being some one of major importance in the Family, through out my 27 years in the Family my main ministry and work has been that of out reach.
I would like to say witnessing, but that would not be entirely truthful as in all honesty I have been a salesman of Family tools, albeit a reasonably good one.
For the record I was the first one to pioneer the selling of Family tapes in India, in fact I believe I was the first to do this any where in the world.
I began by selling duped Music with Meaning Tapes door to door in India and progressed from there to going Office to Office, Factory to Factory, etc.
It was my endeavours and persistence in doing this that slowly but surely heped convince ‘Family’ leadership that this was a viable and profitable way of raising finances, and supporting homes.
As a result the Family started producing music tapes designed specifically for selling to the G.P., adults and children’s, the beginnings of Family tools. This was at the same time the ‘Family’ had to stop FFing due to the threat of Aids and so it presented a timely alternative way of raising finances and supporting homes.
I guess if you were to be generous you might call me some kind of leader and pioneer at least in my own field, that of being a salesman.
In fact if you have access to some of the latest Family material you will find my name appeared on the world wide ‘Family’ stats for Christmas 2004, as one of the world shiners for the distribution of C.D.s, selling over 2000 Christmas C.D.s in the month of December.
It was in 1994 when we were unceremonially asked to go on T.S. now known as F.M. [Fellow Members] For myself I must confess this came as a very welcome relief.
I had through out my time in the D.O. ‘Family’ often found myself in conflict with leadership being somewhat outspoken and opinionated, in Family terminology this would probably be termed as rebellious and UN yielded. I guess it would all depend upon which side of the fence you were coming from as to what your opinion on that might be, perhaps a bit of both.
Any way lets say I didn’t always tow the party line which often got me in trouble, I found myself on Babes status three times, culminating in a six month stint at one of the now infamous R.T.C.s Re. Training Centres. 
By the skin of my teeth I made it through the R.T.C. and managed to survive another three years in full time Family service.
For what it’s worth I did speak out against what in my opinion was the appalling way J.E.T.S were being treated at the time, being weighed down with de merits, silence restrictions and harsh discipline. [I was often on J.E.T.S]
I wrote a nine page letter to David Berg and Maria outlining this and how I thought it was having a detrimental effect on these young people’s lives.
As I was saying being asked to go on F.M. status was good news to me, maybe the Family viewed it as some kind of punishment but for me it was more like liberation, though for my dear wife this was not the case.
For the next ten years I simply used my talents, the selling talents I had cultivated and used in the family, to better our own standard of living.
Instead of practically supporting some ‘Family’ homes I now sold ‘Family’ materials to support my own little family, the result was materially we were quite comfortable, and had a good quality of life.
We were able to move into a nice detached 4 bed roomed house in a good area and were able to put our children through school; things weren’t perfect they never are, but I would say we were happy. By this time we had 5 children, Simon, Christina, Joanna, Andrew and Robert.
We even took up tennis and joined a tennis club, a game that I have since really enjoyed and which to a certain degree has really helped me both physically and mentally, especially over the past 4 years.
It may not sound very spiritual, but I have often found strength and encouragement from playing a good competitive game of tennis.
On F.M. status, not only was I able to provide a better standard of living for my family, but it also allowed me the liberty to disagree with many of the latest ‘Family’ doctrines, an attitude shared by some others on F.M.
The pressure to conform just wasn’t there; consequently I had more freedom to make up my own mind about what I chose to believe, and not to believe.
I gave up trying to read the G.N.s, and the only publications I did read and find edifying were Reflections and some W.N.D.s.
Like I say I was content to stay on F.M. even though I had become more and more disenfranchised with the ‘Family’ as an organisation, and in particular with Maria and Peters leadership, or shall I say lack of it.
It was plain to me that the Family as an organisation was going down hill fast, and loosing many of its young people in the process.
Where was my conviction you might ask, in truth I had little it was a compromise on my part, perhaps I hoped things would eventually change.
As long as I was left alone I was happy to put my tithe in at the end of the month, happy also to observe happenings in the D.O. / C.M. ‘Family’, from what I thought to be a safe and secure distance.
All this changed on the night of 12th September 2003; all it took was one little 13yr old girl to literally blow my whole world apart.
You see it was on this date that we lost our beautiful daughter, and as a result our lives, my life has been changed irrevocably ever since.
It is to my beautiful daughter Joanna that I would like to dedicate this writing.
A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS 1
[ISAIH CHAPTER 40]
From Steve Matheson [David of Dove]
Some of what I am about to say is going to be quite condemnatory of the Family, particularly some of the Family Doctrines, Beliefs and Practices instigated first of all by David Berg and then later by Maria and Peter. But I would ask any who read this to read it with an open mind and not take it as a personal affront on their faith or religious convictions.
Before I go any further though, I would like to offer my sincere sympathy and condolences to Maria, Rick’s Mom, and to Techi his sister, also to those close to Angela.
No matter what my own personal views, opinions and conclusions are on these matters, grief and loss have a distinctly human side common to all humanity, one of which I myself am only too aware of.
It’s four years ago now since we lost our own beautiful 13 year old daughter Joanna. There are no words in any language that can sufficiently express what the pain of loosing one of your children is like.
I can truly say that if were not for the death of my own beautiful daughter then I certainly would not have asked the kinds of questions & as a result reached the conclusions that I have over the past two years.
I most certainly would not have had the courage and conviction to step out of my own personal comfort zone and be writing this to you now.
Would to God there was some other way of bringing this about, and if I could put life on rewind then for sure I would.
I can only hope that through the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of her own son, Maria herself may be forced do some heart searching of her own.
If she were to do so, it is my opinion that she might wake up and become aware of how seriously wrong and harmful many of the family doctrines, beliefs and practices have been and still are.
– And of just how much damage they have done, to so many.
DOCTRINES OF DEVILS
The Bible talks about Doctrines of Devils and I am afraid that’s exactly what many of the Family doctrines are, just that.
Starting with the sexual ones, prophesising falsely, through to necromancy and dealing with familiar spirits i.e. talking with the dead, and on up to the present-day doctrine of the so called power of the keys – which has virtually succeeded in eliminating the name of Jesus.
(One look at current family bulletins, prayer requests & testimonies makes this plainly evident)
God only knows what other weird and wonderful things are yet to be served up and presented as the revealed will of God.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils”. [1st Tim.4.1]
(I know some brave people have spoken out on these things already, such as James Penn, Ed Prieb and others, so I won’t dwell on ground that, to all intents & purposes has already been well covered.)
ON THE SUBJECT OF CURSES
I did want to speak though, on the subject of curses. Quite a deep topic and one I only became more aware of myself when I started looking at some Christian Webb sites that dealt specifically with this subject.
You may wander what prompted me to do this, after all the bible does warn us against dwelling too much on evil, of course the other side to that is that we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices.
[2Cor.2.11] Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devises.
For an example of how curses do in fact exist look up [2nd Sam.Chapter 21:1-14].
See how King David dealt with an ethnic group of people whose curses were having a bad effect on the Nation of Israel and of how he broke the curse. Quite interesting!
See also how Joshua cursed Jericho. [Joshua 6:26]
And for the fulfilment of his curse see. [1 Kings 16:34]
We see Jesus cursing the fig tree representing barren Israel and the result of the curse. [Mat.21:19]
These are just a few examples.
There are in fact over 200 curses pronounced in the Bible.
Of course there are many blessings as well, a good example is the blessing of Israel [Gen 27:27-29]
For a clear and concise picture of Gods blessings and curses see the whole of [Deuteronomy chapter 28]
It is plainly evident from the examples given in the bible that these pronouncements either good or bad are very real, and not to be ignored.
David Berg believed in curses and often spoke of the curse of the Kennedy Family due to blood money. The sins of the Fathers being visited on the sons [Numbers 14:18]
So what made me look up this subject?
OUT OF FIVE FAMILIES LIVING IN ONE HOUSE FOUR HAVE SINCE LOST ONE OR MORE OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY – AND THE 5TH FAMILY?
Back in 1994 my wife and I, along with our family were put on T.S. – what today would be called F.M.
After a few months on our own we moved in with a couple by the name of Andrew and Joy, a lovely family. Living together with them was another couple Martin and Mary. [This was in 1995]
We lived and worked there with them for over 6 months before moving out to our own place.
Andrew and Joy rented this house for just over two years and, along with Martin and Mary, were the mainstay of the home.
During and through out this two year rental period 3 other families lived and worked from this home at different times, including ourselves.
To put it simply 5 families lived and worked from this home throughout its two year tenure.
Out of these 5 families 4 have since lost one or more members of their immediate families,
In the 5th family the mother was diagnosed last year with cancer of the womb.
The first family to lose a loved one was a single mom Almond, who moved out of the house shortly before we moved in.
She moved to a nearby town called Ross on Wye.
It was there, her 14 yr. old son was drowned in the nearby river Wye. He actually died of hypothermia after being pulled out of the river alive.
(Sadly, we have just heard that Almonds second son, aged 19, has recently committed suicide, meaning Almond has now lost two sons)
Some years later Mary of Martin, in her 30s, died tragically and unexpectedly of an asthma attack, leaving her husband and 5 children.
[In 2006 we received a message, informing us that Martin, Mary’s husband, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.] [Sadly Martin passed away on 3rd of August 2006].
Two years after Mary’s death Joy, the wife of Andrew, died after battling cancer of the cervix for some time, leaving Andrew her husband with 9 children, the last of which being a young downs syndrome girl.
On 12 September 2003 our own sweet 13 year old daughter, Joanna died 3 weeks after a bout of tonsillitis, in what has since been attributed to a hospital blunder.
She was in fact given twice the amount of anaesthetic that she should have been given, and as a result died of a cardiac arrest whilst under the anaesthetic.
The 5th. Family have not as yet lost a loved one, thank God, but as I said the wife and mother, Miracle, was last year diagnosed with cancer of the womb. [This couple are no longer in the ‘Family’]
I think it can be stated that three of these five deaths were definitely preventable; this is not counting the recent suicide of Almonds 19 year old son.
A coincidence? Maybe.
ARE CURSES REAL?
I e-mailed a Christian site that dealt with the subject of curses and presented this story to her telling her of these 5 Christian families, though I did not say we were all part of a group called the Family.
I asked her if it were possible that we all fell under some kind of curse, I myself finding it hard to understand how a curse could affect Christians who, according to my understanding, should be under Gods protection.
Her answer was very clear and stated that the house could indeed have been cursed in some way and asked if I knew anything of its history. It’s a very old house.
She said that it’s possible that witchcraft could have been practiced at the house and it was possible that a murder could also have been committed there at some time, thereby bringing a curse upon the house.
[Shortly after my daughters death I had a strange and vivid dream about this house.
In the dream I was bicycling on the road past this house and some invisible force would not let me get past the point where the house was on the road.
As I was struggling and wrestling with this invisible force I woke up.]
This was long before I even thought of or considered the possibility of a curse.
To get back to what this lady said, she then went on to ask if I or my wife had at any time been involved in the occult or séances, or did we know if perhaps our parents or grand parents were involved in such things?
Or were we involved with any organisations that alluded to such things?
One thing that comes up time and time again on these sites is that curses can only affect a Christian if he or she is involved with or practicing some evil things – in other words, if they are operating on some serious & dangerously unprotected territory.
That dangerous territory would include some of the following conducts.-
SEXUAL INDISCRETIONS SUCH AS –
[Adultery, Prostitution, Incest, Fornication, Homosexuality, Bestiality and the like.]
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses blaspheme: [Mat.15:19]
For from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders. [Mark7:21]
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongerers and adulterers God will judge. [Heb 13:4]
Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness. [Leviticus 19:21]
The nakedness of thy son’s daughter thou shalt not uncover. [Leviticus 18:10]
Cursed be he who lays with his sister, the daughter of his Father or the daughter of his mother. [Deuteronomy 27:20-23]
See also [1Cor.6:9] [Leviticus 18:6-16] [Heb 13:4] [Rev. 22:15]
PARTICIPATION IN THE OCCULTAND WITCHCRAFT.
This would include [Divination, Dealing with Familiar spirits, Mediums, Séances and calling up the dead.]
[Leviticus 20:16] The person who turns after mediums and familiar spirits, God says He would set his face against that person and cut him off from his people.
[Leviticus19:31] Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits, do not seek after them to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead. [Isaiah 8.19]
A Man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit shall surely be put to death. [Leviticus 20:27]
See also [Deuteronomy 18.10-12] [Lev.19:31] [2 Kings 23:24]
Serious crimes such as Murder, Fraudulent activities, stealing, etc. [Deuteronomy chapter 28]
INVOLVEMENT IN SECRET SOCIETIES WITH RITUALS AND VOWS FOR EXAMPLE, FREE MASONRY.
PROPHESISING FALSELY OR PREACHING A FALSE OR ERRONEOUS GOSPEL.
[Gal 1:8-9]. ‘But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed’
I hasten to add that these conducts become accentuated and even more serious when practiced by Gods children, who should know better.
Does any of the above conduct and practices sound familiar?
Could it be that we weren’t under Gods protection because we were part of a Christian organisation (The Family) that, with the exception of homosexuality, murder, theft, fraud and perhaps secret societies believed in, and practiced those very things and more?
David Berg even believed in and practiced incest, and encouraged the Family to do so.
[Leviticus 18:10] The nakedness of thy son’s daughter thou shalt not uncover.
Was David Berg himself cursed, was his family cursed?
[Proverbs 26:2] So the curse causeless shall not come.
In his justification for sexual freedoms such as incest, David Berg’s main verse for backing this doctrine up was.
[1Cor.6:12] All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful unto me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
In the same chapter three verses earlier Paul says this to the Corinthians.
[1Cor 6:9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of them selves with mankind.
What David Berg succeeded in doing with [1Cor.6:12] and other verses is summed up well by the Apostle Peter. [See my article ‘Wresting the Scriptures’]
[2nd Peter 3:15 ] And account that the long suffering of our Lord is Salvation; even as our beloved Paul also according to the wisdom given him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; hard to be understood which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures to their own destruction. You therefore beloved knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your stability.
THOUGH WE OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN
Three days after my daughter’s death we were informed that due to the nature of her death they had to perform an autopsy.
The morning it was about to take place I phoned and asked that before they went ahead with this procedure, could the doctors please, please check for any signs of life.
I had heard some accounts of people coming back to life, even waking up in the morgue.
Couldn’t God still do a miracle and bring back the life of our little girl? Didn’t he raise Jairus’ daughter? And what about Lazarus?
The morning the autopsy was to take place I went up to my room and prayed like I had never prayed before that God in his mercy would send the spirit of our little girl back to us.
When I had finished praying a verse came to me so clearly I could almost touch it.
It was [Galatians 1:8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
In case we don’t get the point Paul repeats this warning in the very next verse.
[Galatians 1:9] As we said before so say I again. If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
At the time I couldn’t understand how this applied to what I was praying about, I wanted my little girl back, what did this verse have to do with it?
I had never even memorised this verse yet it came so strongly and clearly, I could almost touch it.
I think now though I have some idea how this applies – In particular to many of the false doctrines and beliefs that David Berg preached and presented to us as the Gospel and the revealed will of God, a trend that Maria and Peter have since carried on.
Perhaps it was at this moment of desperation that God was trying to get through to me with a very simple basic truth right out of the scriptures.
To get back to the subject
Whether or not we all fell under some curse, I cannot be absolutely sure of, but one thing is for sure.
The Bible does clearly state that as believers if we are guilty of such things as those mentioned, then we leave ourselves open and cannot claim Gods full protection from the devils curses.
In fact in some cases it appears we can even bring on Gods own curses [or judgements] through disobedience.
1 Peter 4:17 Judgement must begin at the house of God.
I did want to make one thing clear here, this writing is in no way an attempt to make those who read this look for demons and curses behind every tree.
That in itself would be as foolish as denying their existence altogether.
At the very least though, I would say these statements and accounts are food for thought and worth considering.
The following is an account of the events that led up to our daughter’s death; some may find it distressing, some may find it hard to read.
If this is the case then I would encourage you to move on to the sub title ‘Messages from heaven’.
A NIGHT FROM HELL
It may or may not be the case that there was some kind of a curse, but let me tell you the night my dear daughter died I did not feel the Lord was in control, or that we were under his protection, on the contrary.
A few hours before she died I was driving back with my two young boys from the tennis club when the police pulled me over and even breathalysed me and kept me waiting for some time.
Of course I wasn’t drunk, but the incident disquieted me somehow. My daughter had been admitted into hospital only a few hours earlier and I was expecting a phone call from my wife, who was with her in the hospital. At the time the police stopped me I was trying to get home to receive this call.
Looking back on this incident, it was as if I could feel the devil laughing at me.
I was exhausted because I had had to be up most of the previous night with Joanna so that my wife could get some rest.
She had now gone into the hospital with Joanna whilst I stayed back with the boys, had I not been so mentally and physically tired I probably would have gone in with her myself.
Joanna died that night of a cardiac arrest whilst under anaesthetic, undergoing a procedure that was later found out to be hastily conceived, and totally unnecessary.
She was also mistakenly given double the dose of anaesthetic that she should have been given, by an incompetent anaesthetist.
[A Hospital blunder]
Let me tell you, at no time did I feel the Lords presence, or his protection.
When I finally got to the Hospital that night and had to stand there with my two young sons and their older sister looking at the lifeless body of their sister with tubes still down her throat, I didn’t believe that this was the Lords doing or His will – and I still don’t.
In fact looking back in retrospect if I were to describe now how I felt that night, then I would have to say it felt like I had just missed the Devil, and his stench was still in the air.
This may not fit into some people’s doctrines, it certainly didn’t fit into Maria and Peters who sent me back a mild rebuke for even suggesting such a thought.
All I can say to them is was it Gods highest will for Almond to lose her two her two sons, one to drowning the other to suicide? Was what Ricky did Gods will?
Don’t get me wrong, I know and believe my daughter is with the Lord, but it is also my belief that Satan for some reason had been given free reign to work that night, and that it was not necessarily Gods highest will for her to die.
Satan in the Bible is referred to as the destroyer [Job 1:12]
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;that through death he might destroy him that had the power over death, that is even the devil [Hebrews 2:14]
Referring to Satan Jesus said of him
‘He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth’. [John 8.44]
‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal and to kill’ [John 10:10]
I think those who know me well would not describe me as the kind of person to over spiritualise things, perhaps even the opposite.
I am just trying to call this as I saw it and felt it that night.
For me there was the distinct sense of evil and, for the want of a better word, a sense of things being out of my hands and away from my control.
Thinking about it, I’m sure if Job was asked to give an account of the time he lost his Family, then he would probably have described it in a similar way.
Of course in Jobs case we definitely know Satan was responsible for the destruction not only of his family, but of every thing he had.
See [Job chapters 1 and 2].
One month after our dear daughter’s death our home was burgled whilst we were away and thieves got away with our P.C. and C.D. player.
The next day I had to give a statement to the police officer, who was dealing with the case, he was kindly trying to help me express the way I felt and he said
“You feel like you have been violated”.
I looked at him and nodded, this was truly the way I felt, but it wasn’t over the mere theft of a few belongings.
I felt Satan had literally broken into my home [My life and that of my family]
And had stolen something very precious, the life of my little girl, and that this break-in was a mere picture and illustration of that fact.
‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal and to kill’ [John 10:10]
MESSEGES FROM HEAVEN
After Joanna’s death we received the usual communications from Maria and Peter’s household that get sent out to all those who lose loved ones.
Namely our daughter speaking to us from heaven telling us all was well, and not to worry, that this was all Gods will etc.
Well, I’m sorry to say it but at the time I didn’t take much comfort from this. Whilst I knew and had full confidence that my daughter was safe and with the Lord, in my heart I did not believe that this was her speaking to me. Neither did I believe it was necessarily Gods highest will for her to die.
Sad to say I’m sure that Maria and Techi are now getting similar words of comfort and encouragement passed onto them from Davidito and Angela, now in heaven, through Various Channels or perhaps it would be more accurate to say – Various Mediums.
What I do wander though, is if in her present state of mind Maria truly and genuinely believes that it is her son Ricky speaking to her.
Incidentally the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, forbids and speaks strongly against deliberate attempts to contact the dead and refers to such acts as Sorcery, Necromancy, Consultation with Familiar Spirits and Witchcraft. [Punishable by death in the Old Testament]
A Man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit shall surely be put to death. [Leviticus 20:27]
At the best it’s deemed unnecessary, and at the worst is condemned as dangerous.
‘And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead’. [Isaiah 8.19]
‘Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God’. [Leviticus 19:31]
See also [Leviticus 20:6] [Deuteronomy 18.11-14] [2Kings 23:24] [Revelation 21:8]
The Bible is not the only book to speak against this, for those interested the Moslem Holy book the Koran refers to this as contacting Gins i.e. demons, which is no doubt what these familiar spirits are.
Quoting from Debs book chapter 7, [Were these words Prophetic?]
‘When the practice of spiritism, necromancy, and other communication with the “world of the dead” begins to take hold among the disciples as did the sex doctrines, we will see far more demonic activities in the COG than previously dreamed possible. I believe this demonic influence will be most active among the children born into the movement’.
RE. RICKY AND ANGELAS DEATHS
Recently we received a communication from Maria and Peter blaming ex. Members, Apostates so called, for influencing Ricky to do what he did.
The actual quote is.
[Prayer against ‘That the small handful of vengeful and vitriolic apostates will be exposed for the part they played in poisoning Ricky’s mind and provoking him to do what he did’.]
To me this is a very sad statement.
Firstly, what Ricky did was a crazy, insane and evil thing; this cannot be attributed to any one person or any group of people.
It is plainly evident that evil was somehow involved, so the question is where did this evil originate, and what was the root cause of it?
This is perhaps where some curse or judgement of God comes in. [Godly curse]
Maria, my message to you is this:
David Bergs own son, Aaron, killed himself.
Now your own son and David Bergs step son Ricky, becomes a murderer, and then kills him self.
Maria, it is clear and self evident that yours and David Bergs house is
Not the house of the Blessed.
Please wake up and, as the saying goes ‘Smell the coffee’
Or, as an even older saying goes ‘See the writing on the wall’.
You, and David Berg before you, have bought this evil upon your own house, not apostates, or anyone else for that matter.
By the very doctrines you promote, believe in and practice you have bought these things on yourself.
God has to abide by His own rules, and is bound by them.
You certainly cannot blame apostates, so called, for the fact that you are now not only a bereaved Mother, but also the Mother of a murderer.
Many of these so called Apostates and young ex members, that you are now trying to blame for this tragedy, don’t even believe in God any more.
Did it ever occur to you, that you, and David Berg before you, might have had something to do with that?
Jesus himself said “It were better for him that a mill stone were hanged around his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”[Luke 17:2]
If you are going to appropriate any blame whatsoever, then blame some of the perverse beliefs, doctrines and practices that you and David Berg have placed on the Christian group called the Family. And I might add, upon your own children. [1st Tim 4-1 Gal 1.8&9 Luke 17:2]
How true the quote ‘Gods wheels of Justice Grind exceeding slow but exceeding fine’. Things do catch up with us eventually.
Maria, many of these young people seek a genuine apology, and an acknowledgement of accountability from you.
My message to you Maria and Peter is, if you ever read this:
Forsake these doctrines of devils. [1st Tim 4:1]
Turn away from them; call the whole Family to Fast and Pray.
The greatest and most genuine form of apology you could offer to these young people and others also, would be a complete renouncement of all false teachings.
Beginning with the sexual perversions of David Berg onwards; & return to the simplicity that is in Christ.
[2nd Cor. 11:3] ‘But I fear, lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.’
God knows the scriptures in themselves are radical enough if followed.
I believe that most, if not all members of The ‘Family’ are dedicated, sincere Christians and they would gladly follow such a lead;
It might even come as a welcome relief to many of them to get back to a simpler and more basic form of Christianity.
I am also sure that many people who became disillusioned with the direction the Family was going and left, would consider rejoining.
Most of what James Penn wrote I agree with. But I don’t necessarily agree with him when he says the Family can’t change, and is rotten to the core.
I believe the Family still has many dedicated sincere people, and could still make a difference, and be a force for good.
As leaders of the Family, you and Peter could still change things for the better. With Gods help you could help turn the Family into a good and growing missionary movement again, with good doctrines, sound principles, and accountability and transparency in government.
FAMILY POPULATION COUNT
Sad to say at the moment this is not the case.
It is self evident that, as of today the Family as an organisation is in serious decline, and for reasons that are plainly obvious.
I have just been going over the stats for [2004 to 2005] and [2005 to 2006] put out by Peter Amsterdam.
It’s all very heavily disguised (understandably so) but after going back and forth and doing some calculating I was finally able to figure out approximately how many 2nd generation adults there were in the Family at the end of 2004 into 2005.
In 2004 to 2005 of the 4,429 adults left in the M.M. F.D and F.M family, 18 years and over [Yes only4, 429] Less than 622 of these are 2nd generation adults, the rest, 3,807 are 1st generation adults.
Literally speaking, this means that of the Family’s total 2004/2005 M.M. F.D. and F.M. Adult population, 18 yrs. and over.
Only14%, were 2nd Generation adults.
And 76% were first generation adults.
C.M. [Charter Members] is now F.D. and M.M. conbined F.M. remains the same.
The above stats have since been revised by Peter but they were definitely presented as such in the stats given for [2004 to 2005].
In the stats given for last year [2005 to 2006 it] showed that 690 F.G.A.s alone left the ‘Family’ no doubt the fall out due to the tragic circumstances surounding the deaths of Ricky and Angela.
In 2006 the Family population stood somewhere betwen 9,400 and 9,700 depending on which part of Peters rather confusing way of presenting the stats is correct. The year 2003 to 2004 population stood at 10,653, with approximately 800 babies born into the ‘Family’ in the last 4 years this means around 1,800 people have left the Family in those 4 years, maybe more.
The stats presented by Peter could have been presented clearly and concisely but they weren’t – and for obvious reasons.
Now taking the stats from previous years – and drawing things to their natural conclusions, one does not need to be a rocket scientist to project that in five, maybe ten years time the family either, won’t exist or, if it does will be made up almost entirely of old people in their fifties and sixties. [Yes and dare I say it, seventies]
Do stats lie? And for how long does one continue to use the term Gideon’s band?
Judging by these stats, it’s going to be a rather old and geriatric Gideon’s band that’s for sure.
[For those interested in such things I have a copy of the above G.N.s and a stats analysis of them put together that some might find interesting.]
‘LEAD ME TO THE ROCK THAT IS HIGHER THAN I’ [PSALM 61:2]
Maria, my hope and prayer for you is that through this tragic loss you can somehow find the courage and the strength to reach down into the depths of your soul and desire the truth.
King David said
‘Thou desirest truth in the inward parts and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom’.
He also said ‘Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean wash me and I shall be whiter than snow, make me to hear Joy and gladness that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice’. [Psalms 51 verses 6 – 8]
King David also said-
‘When my heart is overwhelmed with in me: lead me to the rock that is higher than I’. [Psalms 61.2]
In other words the Psalmist is saying take me to a place of greater understanding, take me to a higher level where I can see things more clearly.
My dear Maria the above psalms combined would be my prayer for you.
Jesus said. ‘And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’. [John 8.32]
Note here, Jesus said make you free, not set you free there’s a difference,
The word make would seem to imply either,
Some kind of force being used. Or
Perhaps more likely, some on going process of freeing us as we yield to what ever truth God is showing us, or both of these things working together.
Certainly situations such as grief and loss can be used to make us face the truth, or desire the truth. I hope and pray Maria this is the case with you.
A MESSEGE TO CURRENT FAMILY MEMBERS
To any other Family members who may read this I would have to say – Take care!
You may not be as protected and under the shadow of the Almighty as you think you are. Particularly if you continue to embrace some of the false doctrines of David Berg, and now the equally screwed up ones of Maria and Peter.
Did you ever wonder, when looking at the prayer lists just why there are so many serious sicknesses and deaths in the Family?
A brother apparently did some stats on this and discovered that the stats for sickness and death in the Family are slightly higher than those in the outside world with a similar standard of living, i.e. those in the Western World such as America and Europe.
In other words, if these findings are correct, the ‘Family’ stats for health and life expectancy are below average. Taking into account also the facts that Family members don’t smoke at all or as a rule drink heavily, then these stats become even worse.
This is not a game any more, perhaps there was a time when God winked at our ignorance but is now holding us accountable.
Proverbs 26:2 So the curse causeless shall not come.
Acts.17.30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now comandeth all men every where to repent.
1 Peter 4:17 Judgement must begin at the house of God.
Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
TO ALL YOUNG EX. MEMBERS
My message to any young people and ex-members, who may read this is:
I wouldn’t worry too much about getting some kind of retribution or revenge on the ‘Family’ or ‘Family’ members if I were you.
As it stands now the Family is a dying movement and will continue to die unless they choose to change, as their own stats prove.
[Acts 5:38] If this council or work be of men it will come to nought.
Jesus said about false teachers.
They are blind leaders of the blind. Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch? [Luke 6.39] Most certainly if you can bring any one to justice for genuine things such as child abuse, then I would say why not?
I think though, the main person responsible for any abuses you suffered has already gone on to meet his Judge, a greater Judge than any Judge here on earth.
Most people who committed abuses in the family [And I would say that would include most adults in the Family at some time or another] were just dumb sheep who followed the general trend of so called obedience to leadership and the letters of David Berg [Pretty Blind Obedience].
I personally don’t believe they would have done such weird things under different and, for the want of a better word, more normal circumstances.
This certainly would apply to sexual indiscretions with children which by the way most adult members did not participate in; that I know for sure.
I might be wrong but it is also my belief that many of those who did participate in such things with children, felt very uncomfortable with it.
As for the harsh discipline many of you received (which was of course another form of abuse) then I would say:
We were all guilty of this in one way or another, even if only by silence.
Like I say the main person responsible for these abuses and many others has now gone on to meet his Maker, as we all must some day.
I think you will find that any real genuine paedophiles, sadists and abusers [Perverts] that did exist [And there were some] were in fact few and far between, even as they are in the world at large today.
Of course if you can and are able to bring these perverts to justice, more power to you. As for the other dumb sheep that just followed blindly, even as they do now, pity them. And if you still believe in God, Pray for them
As for Maria I certainly hope and pray she is able through her own personal tragedy to desire the truth, and change.
‘Where there is life there is hope’ as the saying goes.
But if she does not, I wouldn’t worry too much about any punishment or retribution being meted out to her personally.
Let me tell you she has already received it.
No matter what kind of a brave face Maria puts on for the world, or for her followers, inwardly she is probably in great turmoil and suffering terribly.
She’s already been handed a life sentence, believe me it doesn’t get much worse.
Like I say though, my prayer for her would be that she is able to have genuine grief and remorse. If she does have this then I believe there’s hope that God will be able to get through to her with the light of his truth.
The truth shall make you free [John 8.32]
OF CHANGES AND SURVIVAL
For my own part, I would very much like to see the Family change and become the thriving Christian organization that I believe it still has the potential to become.
I have given a good deal of my life to this movement; I certainly don’t believe it’s all been in vain, or all bad for that matter.
Many of us started out with the belief and idealism that we could change the world and we saw the ‘Family’ as a means to achieving that goal.
Like I said I do believe there are many good and sincere people left in the ‘Family’, good missionary minded people who genuinely want to serve God and make a difference.
For the ‘Family’ to survive though, in my opinion, it would have to make what for it would be some radical changes.
Namely and most importantly a complete renouncement of all
FALSE DOCTRINES, FALSE TEACHINGS AND PRACTICES.
Starting with the ‘All Things’ ‘Law of Love’ doctrine, Prophesying Falsely, Communicating with the Dead, ‘The Loving Jesus Revolution’, the ‘Power of the Keys’ etc.
And any other weird and wonderful imaginations not mentioned.
Without this major repentance and change, any other changes would be of no use and irrelevant, the equivalent of putting a band aid on a cancer.
As an interesting little aside here, I decided to deceive my wife not because I enjoyed doing so, or found it entertaining, but in an effort to show her how ridiculous such doctrines as the ‘Power of the Keys’ are.
I presented an email as if it had come from Maria and Peter, all about the ‘Creative Power of the Crystals’ complete and absolute fiction.
I also changed a few prayer requests that came from the ‘Family’ substituting keys for crystals etc.
My wife who is an intelligent woman swallowed this new Doctrine hook line and sinker, and is now a firm believer in Creative Crystal Power and in praying in the Power of the Crystals. [I have since informed her of my deception]
The sad part about this is not only does it show what power and influence Maria and Peter have over people’s lives, but also how gullible most ‘Family’ members are.
It’s also a good example of how if we forsake the true yard stick the Bible, then we no longer have anything with witch to measure the truth with.
Result, we can believe almost anything that’s sent our way.
MY OPINION ON OTHER CHANGES
I underline my opinion because that’s exactly what the following thoughts are, I lay no claim to being an expert in these matters, but these are just a few of my own ideas and thoughts for some positive changes.
I believe there would have to be a complete change in the Leadership Structure and method of Leadership, with more
Democracy, more Transparency, and more Accountability.
It’s dangerous when you have a situation like we have now in the ‘Family’ with one or two people at the top with a lot of control over people’s minds and lives and answerable to no one supposedly, but God.
When Jesus started the first church he chose 12 leaders who I’m sure were some what equals, it certainly wasn’t a dictatorship that’s for sure.
I see no evidence in the New Testament Church of a dictatorship, but I do see much evidence of counselling and agreeing together in prayer. The saying ‘It seemed good to all’ Seems to stands out a lot.
Of course another big change would have to entail leaders themselves getting out witnessing and leading by example, as the apostle Paul and other leaders of the early church did. [As Jesus did]
Unfortunately most of the top ‘Family’ leadership today resembles more the Scribes and the Pharisees than leaders of the early church.
[Mat.23:4] “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers”. [Jesus speaking of the Scribes and Pharisees]
Just think what a great inspiration it would have been to their flock if instead of spending all those endless hours working on the G.N.s, Maria and Peter had spent even half that time out witnessing their faith to others?
To be honest they might even then have had something worth while and edifying to actually write about, instead of all the other false doctrines, false prophesies and drivel that has poured fourth in great volume.
[Maria that may sound a little harsh, but as a ‘Family’ member I can honestly say to you that I stopped attempting to read the G.N.s years ago.]
The sad thing also about the top leaders in the ‘Family’ today is that I’m sure many probably agree whole heartedly with most of what James Penn had to say.
They simply don’t have the courage or the conviction to come out with it. For them the ‘Family’ has become a career and a lifestyle, not a calling. After all, what would most of them do if they left or were fired? This is certainly not the kind of leaders anyone would want.
I believe also that young people growing up in the Family should be allowed to pursue secular carriers and have the opportunity to become Doctors, Lawyers, Businessmen Etc. if they so desire; as do the Mormons for example. [As long as they hold on to, and maintain their Faith]
Perhaps if the ‘Family’ had had this policy from the beginning they wouldn’t now have to spend so much time selling things just to survive, including balloons.
THE POWER OF THE KEY
Maria and Peter are very keen on the word key; well if they want some real Key Power, then here is one key to use that might actually work.
The Key to the Survival of the Family equals a complete renouncement of all, FALSE DOCTRINES, TEACHINGS AND PRACTICES.
This is without doubt the one and only ‘Key to Survival’ a key that by Gods grace would open the door to many other needed changes.
If Maria and Peter don’t do this then I would like to think that such changes could be bought about by some kind of coo within, that all the ‘Family’ or most would suddenly one day wake up, stop tithing and demand change.
Nice dream but I don’t see it happening, David Berg was right when he said revolutions and change usually come from the top not the bottom.
I doubt if there is any one in top Leadership capable of instigating a coo, Maria and Peter have managed to maintain the dictatorship that David Berg founded, and have surrounded themselves with yes men and women. Or as was already mentioned career people, interested only in preserving their own status in the ‘Family’ with little or no real conviction.
I’m sure any who have shown major dissent or disagreement in the past were quickly put down and removed, or have since left the ‘Family’.
My prayer and hope is that Maria would through this personal tragedy turn to the Lord with her whole heart and desire the truth. [John 8:32]
OF DAVID BERGS MINISTRY
‘The worst of madmen is a Saint gone mad’. [Alexander Pope]
In my opinion not everything about David Berg’s ministry has been bad. Most certainly I wouldn’t have become a Christian if it were not for his ministry and countless others as well. Perhaps his particular style and brand of Christianity brought the Gospel to a lot of young radicals who would never have gone near a church or gotten saved other wise. I’m sure also his ministry, especially in the begining as the C.O.G. convicted many other Christians to do more for the Lord. Much of what he taught and preached was good, inspirational and thought provoking, and I for one would like to see some positive legacy to his ministry remain, i.e. a good Christian movement, with good doctrines, good government and sound principles. [David Berg and the ‘Family’ certainly started off well.]
This does not mean I would advocate a return to the rather stuffy formal type of Christianity that many churches and denominations have today.
The ‘Family’ has a very unique freedom of interaction and fellowship with each other that has, I am sure, come about as a result of living and working together communally, unselfishly and sacrificially over the years. Not just that, but the fact that the ‘Family’ in spite of being made up of many different Nationalities and Cultures, has somehow come together in one Culture, is in itself quite an accomplishment.
I for one would very much like to see such positives and many others such as its music and arts kept and preserved. [Scripture memorisation]
Perhaps some of these positives have come about in spite of, and not because of David Berg’s ministry, I don’t really know.
To me David Berg’s ministry could well be compared to, and summed up in the parable of the wheat and the tares.
[Mat.13:24 through to 30]
The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them an enemy hath done this. The servants then said unto him, wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay;
Lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let them both grow together and in the time of harvest gather up the tares and burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Maybe now would be a good time to come clean, and gather up the tares and burn them, get rid of them. [All the harmful false doctrines and teachings]
Whilst keeping the good – And there is in my opinion a lot of good to keep, and positives to work with.
SOME OTHER THOUGHTS
In an attempt to take this positive thinking a little further!
I think it’s fair to say that most of you young people born into the family owe your very existence on the planet to the Family’s existence, for the simple reason that your biological parents would probably never have met under any other circumstances. This is certainly true of my own Family.
I know many of you young people might disagree with this statement and say that’s a pretty lame reason to be positive, or to justify the existence of an organization like the Family.
After all, the same reasoning could be attributed to a leaky condom, or to countless other circumstances.
Perhaps you would be right in this, but at least it is an irrefutable fact to go forward with in a positive way. It’s a plus to start with don’t you think?
Perhaps what I am trying to say is: Take any positives that you can from your own experience of growing up in the family. [And life in general]
There are bound to be some if you look even if it’s the simple reason that you are here at all [“I think, therefore I am” — Descartes]
I would certainly encourage you not to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ as far as your faith and belief in God goes.
I can well understand why many of you have done this, and I can’t honestly blame or judge you for reaching the conclusions you have.
I have come pretty close myself at times in the past months to throwing out my faith, and denying the very existence of a loving God.
What I would say to you though is that it might be worth re-examining your faith again, taking some of the more negative things you have both witnessed and experienced in the Family out of the equation.
Enough said on that.
The exfamily web sites have been a great help to many in presenting an alternative view on the Family.
I am sure it has taken a lot of courage and hard work on behalf of all those involved to set them up, and keep them going.
Such sites have also proven to be a thorn in the side of Maria and Peter. One I am sure they would very much like to pull out if they could.
I would personally like to encourage those operating them to keep going with them, as I am sure they will.
OF THE HUMAN SIDE OF GRIEF
Finally, I wanted to say something about the human side of grief.
I have as much as possible in this writing tried to avoid speaking of it.
Grief is of course a very private thing, but I believe there is also a time and place to express it publicly.
Perhaps there are those who would say that, as believers, we shouldn’t show this emotional side; we should always speak faith, so called.
I don’t entirely agree with this.
It was said of Jesus, he was ‘A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.’ [Isaiah 53.3]
We see Jesus weeping over the death of Lazarus. [John 11.35]
His last statement on the cross always seemed to me to be quite a human statement: ‘My God my God why hast thou forsaken me.’ [Mat 27.46]
I have often related to these words myself in the past years and drawn some comfort from them.
It is often the way one feels after losing a child – or I’m sure anyone you really love for that matter – When God is silent and nothing makes sense any more.
If you look at the story of Job he obviously had great faith, but throughout his dialogue he also manifests a very human side both emotionally, and in his reasoning’s with God. [Job Chapter 29]
We see Jacob weeping for days over what he thought was the loss of his beloved son Joseph refusing to be comforted. [Gen 37:35]
King David even said of his errant son Absalom: ‘Oh my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom would to God I had died for thee oh Absalom, my son, my son.’ [2 Sam.18.33]
We see no glorious victory in this statement, just the words of a heart broken man who had lost a son, as I’m sure many men had that day.
Do we think any the worse of David for expressing his grief in this way?
I don’t think so, if anything I think it probably endears us more to him.
Who knows, perhaps this human side is in itself God like and reflects a part of Gods own nature. After all, we were made in his image.
So what is the human side to our grief, to my grief?
For myself I could probably write a book, as some have. But to give just a few insights:
It’s going into my daughter’s room that still holds her smell, not a bad smell just a certain smell that reminds me of her – a beautiful smell.
It’s seeing the clothes she wore, her shoes, her hat, her pufalump pillow that I gave to her when she was little,
It’s plucking up courage to view photographs of her life.
It’s sitting as a family in conversation together and coming across a certain silence. A silence that exists because the little voice that would normally have spoken up at that time and said something, is no longer there to say it.
It’s getting up in the morning hoping you can somehow make it through the day and remain some what sane at the end of it.
It’s all these things and much, much, much more.
I could go on but like I said there are no words in any language to fully express this pain, and better poets and writers than I have tried.
My thanks to all those who have had the patience to read this rather long writing, I hope and pray it’s been a help to some one.
Much Love, Steve Matheson. [David of Dove].
A poem in remembrance of our beautiful daughter Joanna Matheson who died 12th September 2003 aged 13 years.
Our little girl from kingdom come
Our little girl from kingdom come,
She blessed our life with so much good, I cannot say it all.
She became a part of us and us with her as families do and are.
And so we grew together and were blessed and hedged about, or so it seemed.
We thought no evil could come, and so protected by Gods own hand we grew and prospered.
Yet as quickly as she came she left, the light went out and there we were, our world shattered and in darkness, hearts broken asking God why?