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The Family International

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The Family International, also known as the Children of God, Family of Love, and simply The Family, was a cult founded by David Berg in 1968. He would later take the name Moses Berg and would write letters to his followers which contained his teachings. The 3,000 letters would be published in a collected text called the Mo Letters.

Followers of the Children of God had to adopt new Biblical names, memorize scriptures, and live lifestyles emulating the lives of early Christians. Followers would also distribute pamphlets and copies of letters in the streets to attract followers. They also began a practice called 'flirty fishing', where women would work as prostitutes to attract new followers.The first anti-cult moverment, known as FREECOG (FREE Children Of God), was created in response to the cult. Berg fired hundreds of the movements leaders and the group lost a third of its following. They had what Berg called a "Reorganization Nationalization Revolution", and renamed the group "Family of Love".

The Family of Love maintained its activities, including 'flirty fishing'. The cult's use of prostitution resulted in the birth of three hundred children, reffered to as 'Jesus Babies'. The practice of 'flirty fishing' ended in 1987. The Family also expanded into other countries such as the United Kingdom and the Philipines. Berg however still came under suspicion when his daughters claimed he sexually abused them.

After Berg died in 1994, Karen Zerby took charge of the group and in 1995 she made a doctrine stating children as young as 12 should be engaging in sexual relationships. In 2004 the group took up a new practice of membership rankings going as follows (greatest to least) : Family Disciple, Missionary Members, Fellow Members, Active Members, and General Members. According to The Family international's statistics, they have a total of 10,202 members worldwide.

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