Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.
|Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 5:29 pm Post subject: Children of God cult run by David Brandt Berg
|'Cult leaders forced me to sleep with married couple when I was 11': Survivor reveals secrets of twisted sect Children of God
Christina Babin witnessed prostitution, violence and exorcism during her years trapped in the infamous global cult which used and abused young girls, forcing them to have sex with adults and lure in new recruits
By Grace Macaskill 12 MAY 2018
A woman who was abused at the hands of Children of God followers during childhood has told her horrific story (Image: MEGA)
Eleven-year-old Christina Babin felt her stomach churn as she followed a married couple into their bedroom and the door closed behind them.
Christina knew exactly what was expected of her.
This was her grim introduction to sex in the twisted world of the Children of God cult, where brainwashed adults could sleep with kids and women would lure new male members.
The shuddering abuse was just a part of a warped world created in 1968 by founder David Brandt Berg.
The former pastor’s followers expressed their faith through intense religious chants.
One follower clutches a book and carries a cross as the group stages a march at Trafalgar Square in 1971 (Image: REX/Shutterstock)
But Christina says she was subjected to the sect’s sinister side and witnessed prostitution, violence and exorcisms.
She and her siblings would be sent out begging. Any talk of the outside world was banned. Kids were turned into robots, not allowed to cry and faced a beating if they failed to smile.
Stars like actress Rose McGowan, 44, Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer, 69, and the Phoenix family, including actors Joaquin, 43, and the late River, 23, managed to escape the cult.
But Christina was not so lucky.
David Brandt Berg was the leader of the cult
When the sexual assault was over she felt relief, but then an overwhelming guilt that she hadn’t enjoyed it.
“That’s how much control and coercion there was,” says Christina. “We were told that sex was a good thing and that we should enjoy it.
“Afterwards I heard the man say ‘that just felt so wrong’. I’m not diminishing what this couple did in any way, but they were clearly brainwashed too.
“I was so confused as to why I didn’t enjoy what happened. I couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been the amazing thing I was told it would be.”
It would be another 11 years – and two further rapes – before Christina finally left the cult, which held thousands in its grip around the world.
Today, mum-of-four Christina lifts the lid on life inside the Children of God and tells of the mental scars she bears after 20 years under its spell.
Members of the cult gather in Colorado during the peak of the group's popularity (Image: Denver Post)
And even at 42, Christina is playing catch-up on her lost childhood.
She says: “Now I enjoy walking through the grass in my bare feet and if I see a sprinkler going off in the local golf course I want to run through it.”
Christina was a baby and her brother was two when their mum was drawn to the cult’s lifestyle, with between three and 20 families in each commune.
But when Christina was eight Berg introduced his “Law of Love”, allowing men to sleep with anyone they wanted.
Women and girls over 10 lured men into the cult with sex in a technique called “flirty fishing”.
Christina and her seven siblings were sent out begging and her earliest memory is of life at a commune in Jamaica, where she was jealous of local kids “running and laughing and looking free”.
By contrast, her life was strict routine. Children were woken at 7am for prayers.
After begging for hours, she returned to the housework and often cared for the younger kids.
An hour a day was set aside for exercise but rough play was banned in case injury led to hospital visits and questions from outsiders.
Families were torn apart as children lived with other kids and were told all adults were their parents.
Christina and her family moved from commune to commune and witnessed terrifying violence from rogue cult members.
Bedtime stories were replaced by frightening tales of the “oncoming apocalypse” or the wrongly perceived threat from the outside world.
Christina says: “We were told people didn’t understand us, that the end of the world was coming or we’d die as martyrs, shot by outsiders. It wasn’t that the violence and sex attacks happened every day.
"Some communes were great warm places, but in others there would be men – and women – who were physically and sexually abusive.
"I’ve seen a boy beaten for simply frowning instead of smiling and a boy thrown through a paper window in Japan because he wouldn’t stop crying.
Followers in Canada gather to worship together (Image: Toronto Star)
“The only time we were allowed to shed a tear was when we were disciplined. We had to stop straight after.
“We were trained to be emotional robots, always happy, always smiling – no matter what. We weren’t allowed to play or read books and one of the only films we were allowed to watch was The Sound Of music because the Von Trapp kids were always happy.
“I was always fearful and wet the bed but I’d try to conceal it because it was considered demonic possession and could be beaten out of you.”
When Christina was 12 she and her elder brother were sent to Japan for a month-long camp – without their mum.
But they were gone for two years.
In Japan she was forced to read The Bible for hours, repeatedly pledge allegiance to the cult and put through punishing exercise regimes.
She was sent to several communes and was raped twice.
Christina recalls: “The cult attracted drop-outs, drug addicts and people with mental problems. People changed their names all the time to stay incognito.
The cult also had ties in Germany and across many other European countries (Image: ullstein bild)
“We were told not to draw attention to ourselves so were only allowed outside in the yard every so often and had to stay silent when we were.
"We were isolated from the wider world but told they were the ones living the wrong lives – that our way was the right way.”
Aged 15, Christina was moved on yet again, to a prison-like camp in Manila, in the Philippines.
It was surrounded by wire-topped fences and she says violence, solitary confinement and public exorcisms were commonplace.
She goes on: “The minute I got there I was taken into solitary confinement and asked about any worldly thoughts I’d had. I admitted that I’d listened to music when out begging and owned a leather jacket. They admonished me and burned the jacket.
“One of the guards, who called herself Mary Malaysia and later Aunty Joan, was vicious. If you so much as smiled she’d beat you. My brother disappeared into solitary for two months because he admitted he’d smoked and read books.”
Incredibly, it was 18 months before Christina was allowed to leave the camp and she and her elder brother were put on a plane to Guam, a US territory in the Western Pacific, then on to California – where her passport was burned.
She adds: “They burned my history – their way of keeping what they were doing secret.”
It was the mid-1980s and the cult changed its name to The Family after its practices fell under the spotlight of authorities. Berg was living in seclusion and dictating his teachings through letters and photos which depicted children having sex with adults.
He went on the run in 1993 and died a year later aged 74.
Christina now has her own family and says she feels 'pity' for her abusers
He had tried to trick investigators by telling followers to stop sleeping with minors.
But Christina says paedophile sex continued as cult members did not see it as a sin.
Arrests were made in 130-plus communes but many young victims could not name their abusers. Freedom came for Christina when she was 20 and met her future husband in a commune in Louisiana.
He encouraged her to visit his relatives, where she got a glimpse into normal family life.
When she fell pregnant the cult expected the couple to hand the tot over, but they refused – then finally found the courage to leave.
At first Christina struggled to acclimatise to life in Los Angeles. Incredibly, she doesn’t blame her mum and has managed to put the past behind her.
She adds: “I can’t hold the anger – what use would it be? All I feel for past cult members is a sense of pity.
“They have to live with what they did while I’ve moved on with my life. I have four beautiful children and I’m so grateful for every day I live in freedom.”
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
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