Children of God Cult
The Children of God Cult, also called The Family, is a popular religious cult group loosely based on aspects of Christianity. The Children of God began in the 1960s during the hippie movement under the name The Jesus People. The group became popular with young adults who were seeking a simpler, communal way of life.
In 1967, David Berg, an evangelist, began working with a group of young adults in a group called Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge was a youth ministry that came out of the Assembly of God church. A year later, Berg split from Teen Challenge and started his own group. Teenaged hippies were attracted to the coffee house setting, rock music, and free food that Berg used to attract others to the group and promote evangelism. The group officially changed their name to the Children of God while they were wondering around the southwest to avoid an earthquake that Berg believed would destroy part of California.
Children of God believe that they are the one true Christian community. They believe that people can earn their way to heaven by accepting Jesus and repenting. They do not believe in Hell or punishment for people who do not believe in Jesus. They see the government, or the system, as being wicked and do not respect these institutions.
Within the group sexual expression is highly regarded and encouraged and supported with scriptural references. They also believe in openness within relationships and many participate in polygamy. Members are encouraged to leave behind their family ties to follow Jesus and live in community with other members.