Children of God Sect: Is Theirs the Way?
By Jane Perlez, New York Post
March 2, 1973, North America
On the third floor of a dilapidated shingle house on Staten Island, where the veranda floor boards are falling in & a “for sale” sign hangs forlornly by the front door, the Children of God are seated around the dining room table studying & reciting the Bible.
Today’s session, led by 22 year-old Lehabim (real name Ian Gillis) is aimed at two new converts, both 18 year-old dropouts from city schools. If they remain in the sect after their two-week introductory course on Knowing Your Bible, they’ll give up their personal possessions, assume a Biblical name & join the 12 member “family” at 25 Henderson Av., as dedicated disciples for spreading the Gospel.
These 18-to-28- year-old devotees of the fundamentalist sect founded in California five years ago by preacher David Berg live in apparent communal happiness planning their Jesus takeover of the world. They believe their God-directed existence, based literally on “Bible truth,” can solve everything from drug addiction to the evils of the capitalist world.
At the seven room, $165-a-month apartment the food is bought with gifts of money or is donated by sympathetic store owners, the rent is paid by the sale of worldly possessions & the daily schedule of reading, speaking & singing the Bible is set into rigorous time zones.
Each day, six children leave the house for the Staten Island ferry, riding back & forth asking commuters to open their hearts to God. Sometimes they venture into the Village or the East Village where they used to maintain a house on Av. A. Still “To Save Souls.”
They are all white, from middle to lower middle class families across the country. Many were brought us as regular & devout Protestant or Catholic churchgoers, several were not. Most described a teenage life of heavy drug use, disenchantment with college in the late 60’s & a general malaise of not knowing what to do. The beautiful thing about the Children of God, says Linda Perkins, a 22 year-old blond from North Hollywood, is that God has saved her, now she has a purpose & can travel overseas with a mission in life: to save souls.
“I dropped out of Los Angeles Junior College, used to get drunk every day on a bottle of wine with friends & get high on marijuana. After I got out of jail I visited a colony in the mountains to see an old friend. I’d never read the Bible & hated the thought of it.
There were all young people there, smiling & happy & concerned. They told me to pray & ever since that day it is as though the Lord saved me. I know it’s a miracle of God,” she says, smiling.
Her new name
She’s now known as Bileam (the name of a city mentioned in Chronicles), since married that “friend”- Larry Perkins (known as Huram) & visited her parents several times during her two year stint as a Child.
Her daily reading material is now the Bible and New Nation News (a monthly newsletter attesting to the gifts of God and the worldwide scores of soul saving: 142,503; and witnessing: 444 million). She goes witnessing—telling people of God—and says she’s lost count of the number of souls she’s saved.
With members of the family, she went to see Man of La Mancha , several weeks ago, courtesy of a friendly theater owner, who allowed the group free tickets, She has no money of her own, but when she goes overseas, her parents will be expected to pay the fare.
This week, the State Attorney General’s Charity Bureau reopened an investigation into the activities of the Children of God. According to Attorney General Lefkowitz, parents of children in the organization have charged in sworn testimony that the Children of God preach “hat of parents, schools and government.”
Herbert J. Wallenstein, an assistant attorney general ...
Ultima Hora: El diario de mayor circulación en todo el Perú (The Latest: The highest circulation newspaper in Peru)
January 8, 1973, Latin America
Ellenville’s Children of God
All That Believed Were Together
By Steve Rago, The Union-Gazette
August 2, 1972, North America
ELLENVILLE – The light after noon rain flittered down to the floor of the forest in little drips. As the droplets gently touched down on a bed of browned pine needles, a Child of God opened her Bible to read from the Book of Acts.
“And all that believed were together and had all things in common…” (Acts 44). This simple statement from the Bible, is the basis for an organization called the Children of God. It is part of a religiously oriented drug rehabilitation “family” in Ellenville with members throughout America and parts of Europe.
But it is more than that. It offers spiritual sanctuary and solace to those in desperation, be it from drug abuse or personal dissatisfaction with the world and its hypocrisy.
The family feeds the hungry. Those who hunger for love and brotherhood find it here by basing their lives on the Bible.
“We are a ...