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Topic : 08/24 The Family Cult

Number of Replies: 262
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Created on : Friday, September 30, 2005, 03:30:22 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1

(Original Air Date: 10/03/05) Imagine growing up in a cult where you are forced to have sex with strangers -- when you’re as young as 5. Dr. Phil talks to people who escaped the group known as the Children of God, and need help moving on. Meet a daughter who says she can’t forgive her father for the years of painful abuse she suffered at the hands of this cult. How can she reconnect with her dad and start trusting again? Plus, China and her husband, John, are building a new life after leaving the group, where they were forced to have sex with strangers when they were both underage. They’ve had a difficult time adjusting to the outside world, and China wonders if she should prosecute her parents for abuse. What does Dr. Phil think? Talk about the show here.

 

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October 3, 2005, 1:46 pm CDT

To Dr. Phil and co from Richards

I’m Lorie Richards, a second generation member of the Family International. I’m writing to comment on today’s Dr. Phil show, which I have not yet seen, but after reading the brief on your web site, I have a few things to say. 

I’m 30 years old and have been in the Family all my life. I currently reside within World Services, helping manage the creation of Family outreach publications.  

Jim LaMattery and his daughter obviously have issues, as do their relatives John and China. I’m no psychiatrist, and have no desire to get involved in family squabbles, or give opinions or advice on how they should live their lives, but I’d like to share a few things about The Family International--referred to by these former members as a “cult” and described as a frightening and abusive one no less—and my experience in it. 

My life in the Family has been a happy one. It wasn’t “normal,” in the sense that I wasn’t born and raised in my home country of the USA, neither did I receive formal schooling from a public institution, neither did I always live in a house with only my nuclear family, neither did I end up with a “normal”’ salaried job as a grown adult. It was however much better than “normal” in so many ways, some of them being: 

--I experienced a variety of cultures from a young age, learned several languages while growing up and traveling from country to country with my missionary parents, and feel that largely because of that I’m quite comfortable interacting with people from any culture and at any level of society. 

--I was schooled at home, giving me the chance to learn at my own pace, which was generally a lot faster than that offered at public schools. I was taught by my own parents, which gave me a lot more time to bond and connect with them than had I been sent off to school.—And by the way, my “early education” went to a high school level, and I could have chosen to take it further and attend college, and would have easily had the qualifications to do so, but I didn’t and don’t feel it necessary. I’m sufficiently educated and qualified for what I’ve chosen to do with my life. I also believe that if I chose at this point to change my lifestyle and become part of “normal society” that I’d cope just fine with the life skills training and experience that I’ve had as a part of growing up in the Family. I find it sad that the comments from these former members have given the impression that as a member of the Family “all of your contemporaries, all of your peers, are learning life skills and you’re not.” That’s not the case for me.  

--My upbringing has led me to choose a life of voluntary service toward my fellowman, through participation in the Family’s missionary work. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do or be happier doing. I would venture to say the world needs a lot more people doing the kind of Christian counseling and relief work that our missionaries participate in, in over 100 countries around the world.  

--I have lived and continue to live in a loving, caring, supportive environment within our communal Homes. And no, I’ve never witnessed nor experienced sexual abuse, or abuse of any kind. “A cult where you’re forced to have sex with strangers” is not the Family I know! I was happy to see the word “alleged” in the blurb about today’s show, as in acknowledging that the “sexual molestation, prostitution and extreme physical abuse” that has been reported by certain individuals is just that—alleged.  

The only abuse that my personal family has ever experienced was when authorities in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were incited by some vindictive former Family members to “intervene” and “rescue” some of our children, and my younger sister was roughly dragged from home and forced to spend weeks in a dirty institution, away from her family, while being subjected to highly unpleasant physical and psychological examinations. Examinations which in the end concluded and proved that she and all of the other Family children that were taken in along with her were fine, healthy, mentally sound, and were living and growing up in a nourishing and safe environment. The same has been the case when Family communities in France, Australia, and Brazil, among other countries, were investigated and Family children evaluated.  

I can’t agree more that these folks appearing on your show obviously need help and need to move on with their lives. I hope they can find creative ways to do that, rather than continuing to malign the Family, or incite action against us, in hopes it will make them feel better somehow. It won’t help anything or anyone at all. 

Please help those who need help, but please don’t let a few messed up, sad, bitter people lead you to believe that our unique and beautiful way of life should be changed or terminated. I love it, and I’d like to keep it, thank you very much. 

Sincerely,
Lorie Richards  

 
October 3, 2005, 2:04 pm CDT

10/03 The Family Cult

  

 

I’ve been living in West Africa for the last year. I’ve been back in the US for five days now.  Wow! A lot has changed, but I guess some things haven’t, like sensational TV shows. We will always have those because that’s what we want to watch. We want the nitty-gritty, juicy tales of horror and abuse that make our eyes sting and ears cringe.  

I can tell you a lot about abuse. I’ve seen it first-hand and had to deal with the repercussions of abuse and neglect. It’s everywhere in the world but never so evident and in your face than those places that the modern world calls the third world.  

I’ve seen teenage girls staked to the ground to keep them from running away. They’re never freed even to use the toilet, the smell makes you reel. I’ve seen families marry off their twelve-year old daughters to fifty-year old men. Children that are forced to work on the street as laborers, they don’t go to school, and they’re beaten if they don’t make enough money. Parents who place their children on the street to beg, women who still have their placenta inside them months after giving birth because their husband refused to let them get medical help, not to mention the human trafficking that exists.  

All that to say, I know abuse does exist, I’ve seen it and been sickened by it and I’m truly sorry for anyone it’s happened to.  

I would like to say though, that I’ve never in my whole life been abused. I grew up in the group that you’re talking about, and in fact I’m still in it. I’ve been doing missionary and humanitarian work my whole life and I love it. I love the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment you get from helping others. I think about all the places I’ve been and different countries I’ve lived in, amazing people I’ve met and I have to say that I love my life. I have The Family International to thank for that. I don’t want to prosecute my parents for raising me in The Family, I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to live the most amazing life. So thanks, Mom and Dad.  

 
October 3, 2005, 2:09 pm CDT

did you not her of your "brother's" suicide

Quote From: jayrich75

I’m Lorie Richards, a second generation member of the Family International. I’m writing to comment on today’s Dr. Phil show, which I have not yet seen, but after reading the brief on your web site, I have a few things to say. 

I’m 30 years old and have been in the Family all my life. I currently reside within World Services, helping manage the creation of Family outreach publications.  

Jim LaMattery and his daughter obviously have issues, as do their relatives John and China. I’m no psychiatrist, and have no desire to get involved in family squabbles, or give opinions or advice on how they should live their lives, but I’d like to share a few things about The Family International--referred to by these former members as a “cult” and described as a frightening and abusive one no less—and my experience in it. 

My life in the Family has been a happy one. It wasn’t “normal,” in the sense that I wasn’t born and raised in my home country of the USA, neither did I receive formal schooling from a public institution, neither did I always live in a house with only my nuclear family, neither did I end up with a “normal”’ salaried job as a grown adult. It was however much better than “normal” in so many ways, some of them being: 

--I experienced a variety of cultures from a young age, learned several languages while growing up and traveling from country to country with my missionary parents, and feel that largely because of that I’m quite comfortable interacting with people from any culture and at any level of society. 

--I was schooled at home, giving me the chance to learn at my own pace, which was generally a lot faster than that offered at public schools. I was taught by my own parents, which gave me a lot more time to bond and connect with them than had I been sent off to school.—And by the way, my “early education” went to a high school level, and I could have chosen to take it further and attend college, and would have easily had the qualifications to do so, but I didn’t and don’t feel it necessary. I’m sufficiently educated and qualified for what I’ve chosen to do with my life. I also believe that if I chose at this point to change my lifestyle and become part of “normal society” that I’d cope just fine with the life skills training and experience that I’ve had as a part of growing up in the Family. I find it sad that the comments from these former members have given the impression that as a member of the Family “all of your contemporaries, all of your peers, are learning life skills and you’re not.” That’s not the case for me.  

--My upbringing has led me to choose a life of voluntary service toward my fellowman, through participation in the Family’s missionary work. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do or be happier doing. I would venture to say the world needs a lot more people doing the kind of Christian counseling and relief work that our missionaries participate in, in over 100 countries around the world.  

--I have lived and continue to live in a loving, caring, supportive environment within our communal Homes. And no, I’ve never witnessed nor experienced sexual abuse, or abuse of any kind. “A cult where you’re forced to have sex with strangers” is not the Family I know! I was happy to see the word “alleged” in the blurb about today’s show, as in acknowledging that the “sexual molestation, prostitution and extreme physical abuse” that has been reported by certain individuals is just that—alleged.  

The only abuse that my personal family has ever experienced was when authorities in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were incited by some vindictive former Family members to “intervene” and “rescue” some of our children, and my younger sister was roughly dragged from home and forced to spend weeks in a dirty institution, away from her family, while being subjected to highly unpleasant physical and psychological examinations. Examinations which in the end concluded and proved that she and all of the other Family children that were taken in along with her were fine, healthy, mentally sound, and were living and growing up in a nourishing and safe environment. The same has been the case when Family communities in France, Australia, and Brazil, among other countries, were investigated and Family children evaluated.  

I can’t agree more that these folks appearing on your show obviously need help and need to move on with their lives. I hope they can find creative ways to do that, rather than continuing to malign the Family, or incite action against us, in hopes it will make them feel better somehow. It won’t help anything or anyone at all. 

Please help those who need help, but please don’t let a few messed up, sad, bitter people lead you to believe that our unique and beautiful way of life should be changed or terminated. I love it, and I’d like to keep it, thank you very much. 

Sincerely,
Lorie Richards  

If the family is great for you fine,but why wouldn't you acknowledge the many suicides in the Family? One which can not be denied asthe reason was recorded on tape. Maybe you should help your "family's" bretheren.
 
October 3, 2005, 2:16 pm CDT

Amen

Quote From: kodonnell

Okay, I had to post again because the more I watch this stuff the more it rips my heart apart.    I just want anyone who is watching this show, and anyone, to know that the "Christian" people portrayed in these cults and the "Jesus & God" they talk about, they aren't the real God and Jesus and they are NOT Christians.   They aren't doing God's will at ALL with the choices they make and the web of lies they try to brain wash into the heads of people.   It's just so heart wrenching to watch this and wonder what people think when they see those things about God... 
I too hope they see that satan has found a path through these people to perverse Jesus Christ's teaching. As christians we should pray for the fall of this religion and the uplifting of it's people.
 
October 3, 2005, 2:25 pm CDT

To April in Mexico

April, 

 When was the last time you talked to or "helped" an orphan? Or a delinquent? You aren't doing anything of the sort in Monterrey Mexico, you just sell stuff & get money for it.  

Don't you presently live in a big house in one of the better parts of the city, and you pay the rent with money that you ask for, for work that you don't even do? 

 I don't know how you can have the guts to post this stuff here when your husband is someone that has repeatedly slept with other young women of the group in the name of the "law of love".  

Your RESCATE home is a fraud, you say you do stuff for the unfortunate mexicans in order to pay for your fine living & in the mean time living a highly promiscuous life behing closed doors.  

Maybe you weren't abused & I am not someone to say that you were, but there are lots of others that were & that could see the lies behind all the work they made them do for the group.  

Don't try to sell the idea of living in Mexico & helping the poor unfortunates as a means to make people think that a group that does that can't be that bad. There are too many people speaking up now & finally the world is starting to listen. 

 
October 3, 2005, 2:32 pm CDT

you won your bet Vandari

It looks like the Family International is sending it's members to post their praises of TFI.  So predictable. Meanwhile, they continue to ignore their very own offspring that they damaged, some almost beyond repair, and blame the victim for what they themselves did to them.  It only infuriates me more.  As a mother of 8 children born in that group I am continuously incensed as to their constant denials and praises of their "wonderful" group while they downplay what they have done.   My children have suffered, some more than others and it is no light matter. 

  

Well I have something to say too all those members hiding out and then popping up whenever bad press hits - there is nothing hid that shall not be revealed.  You can run from your past, but you cannot hide from it.  You may think you are better now, but the control is still there - and that's good for since you extract a 15 percent tighe from them - have no idea how to function outside of the bubble you have created for them.   

  

In any event, until you own up to your past, we like the hounds of hell, will be at your heels until you admit to the abuses and take proper redress.  It is the right thing to do.  Dr. Phil was spot on. Good for him.  Finally, someone is sitting up and listening.  It would behoove TFI to sit up and do some listening too instead of making all their excuses as we witness here today. 

 
October 3, 2005, 2:32 pm CDT

Thankyou Kristi and John and China you are Brave people

Quote From: bindi_kwan

  

 

I’ve been living in West Africa for the last year. I’ve been back in the US for five days now.  Wow! A lot has changed, but I guess some things haven’t, like sensational TV shows. We will always have those because that’s what we want to watch. We want the nitty-gritty, juicy tales of horror and abuse that make our eyes sting and ears cringe.  

I can tell you a lot about abuse. I’ve seen it first-hand and had to deal with the repercussions of abuse and neglect. It’s everywhere in the world but never so evident and in your face than those places that the modern world calls the third world.  

I’ve seen teenage girls staked to the ground to keep them from running away. They’re never freed even to use the toilet, the smell makes you reel. I’ve seen families marry off their twelve-year old daughters to fifty-year old men. Children that are forced to work on the street as laborers, they don’t go to school, and they’re beaten if they don’t make enough money. Parents who place their children on the street to beg, women who still have their placenta inside them months after giving birth because their husband refused to let them get medical help, not to mention the human trafficking that exists.  

All that to say, I know abuse does exist, I’ve seen it and been sickened by it and I’m truly sorry for anyone it’s happened to.  

I would like to say though, that I’ve never in my whole life been abused. I grew up in the group that you’re talking about, and in fact I’m still in it. I’ve been doing missionary and humanitarian work my whole life and I love it. I love the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment you get from helping others. I think about all the places I’ve been and different countries I’ve lived in, amazing people I’ve met and I have to say that I love my life. I have The Family International to thank for that. I don’t want to prosecute my parents for raising me in The Family, I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to live the most amazing life. So thanks, Mom and Dad.  

I grew up in the Family too. Their spokeswoman says that "some children were subjected to inappropriate sexual advances." That is the understatement of the century. I was trafficked as a child sex slave for the benefit of Family leadership.  Of course you members would't call it that, because it was "all in the loving Family," right?  I would be called out of my bed or from my "JJT" mopping the communal floor. Do you know how hard it is to try to then go, after he's done his thing with you, and you're a kid, and you are trying to switch back from dissociation into functioning mode but it feels like your whole self is slipping out through the breach in your being.  I was denied schooling and medical care. Between what the top leaders in the cult did to Merry Berg and my own childhood in the Family, your examples of abuse have nothing on the Family's abuse. 

  

Even if I could magically forget what was done to me, I could not forget the suffering of my friends and siblings. The spokeswoman says to Phil that she's sorry, but we need personal specific apologies. Some action would demonstrate good faith. If they continue to get away with it like they have, it will happen again. If you don't think that's a danger, there is already a splinter cult that wants to go back to the era before their PR changes.  Dr. Phil, please challenge them to show the extent of their "apologies." They can't write a general blanket abstract hypothetical form letter and claim it was enough. I was not raped in the abstract! When it comes to individual stories, the will just continue to call us liars, downplay it, or attack the victims, because they have never fessed up to the actual incidents.  

 
October 3, 2005, 2:42 pm CDT

less commercials

I know they have to pay for the show,,,but it seems so insensitive to keep cutting these people off for commercial breaks!  Dr. Phil,,,can't u do less commercials to give these people extra honor and respect? 

  

Rachel G. 

 
October 3, 2005, 2:47 pm CDT

Time for the Churches to Step up Again. like Katrina

The churches need to step up to the plate and provide homes for these abandoned women and children in Utah.  It was amazing to see the response of the church to the victims of Katrina.  The people of the churchs of America need to open up their buildings and homes and provide safe places of refuge for these lost people.  Dr. Phil...how can you get this process started???  The real church of God needs to take these people in PERIOD.  Don't count on any government to do what is best for the people.
 
October 3, 2005, 2:50 pm CDT

I agree! User Vandari was right!

Quote From: indiana77

I too hope they see that satan has found a path through these people to perverse Jesus Christ's teaching. As christians we should pray for the fall of this religion and the uplifting of it's people.

Here come the group's members, with their programmed, brainwashed, devoid-of-emotion statements of how "wonderful" their lives are. What a bunch of sadly misled people! And then one of them says that only a "few bitter people" are ruining their reputation? Doesn't sound like this "Family" really cares much about what happens to their supposed "brothers & sisters," does it?

Don't the ones of you who DO have some sense & aren't brainwashed think that these members sound weirdly absent of emotion? They sound flat & unfeeling...& their only agenda is to the "Family" as a whole. I don't see any real sympathy or caring for what these poor kids have gone through! And there have obviously been MANY suicides & rapes & lots of sexual abuse. And their "founder" Berg hates Jews! Jesus was born as a Jew on earth! I have a feeling Berg did one too many drugs. Burnt up too many brain cells. What a weird sicko! How dare they use the name of God in their original organization! God has nothing to do with the things these people have done! Jesus said that it would be better for a person that "offends" (hurts, abuses) ANY child if a stone was tied around his/her neck & that person be drowned in the sea! And Jesus preached love, but not to people who used "religion" & God as an excuse for their perverted actions!  

  

I also pray that somehow God will bring this "religion" to its knees literally...that as many members as possible can find TRUE salvation & get out of this hideous cult! "Family" members, your statements actually sound very disturbing & show that you have indeed been programmed. You'll say whatever you think you have to so your "Family" will be protected. Pathetic. User Vandari was right--here you are, telling us how wonderful your family is. So pitiful. And how in the world does ONE woman have 8 children age 5 & under? Obviously they aren't all hers...hmm, makes me think there really is too much sex going on...& obviously inappropriate sex. The people on the show are simply representative of how many people were abused in this cult. You can be sure there are many others.

"Family" members, just know that God is watching what is happening. He loves you, but you can't get away with abuse in His name. At some point, either here on earth or after you die, you will be judged by God. He LOVES children...I just pray that you can wake up & ask forgiveness & the people who have been abusers go to the police & turn themselves in. You're all so pathetic. I'm so glad I didn't get caught up in anything like that! So blessed that I had wonderful & true Christian parents. I never wanted to travel the world; I never wanted to be parted from my parents...I loved them too much to not live with them (until I got married). Sorry, but your comments just don't ring true or genuine. If any of you hates Jews, then you're not in God's will, because He loves Jews & every people group! I have a suspicion that none of you know the Bible well at all. Sad. Berg was a sicko! Karen doesn't sound much better. Hurricane Katrina is judgment against people who have put the "Family" down? Give me a break. That's a horrible thing to say! You poor misled people. I pray you get help.  


Joy  

 
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