Friday, September 9, 2016

Chillingly Similar: Berg's "Family" and Manson's "Family"

I recently finished reading the excellent account of the Manson Family and the gruesome Tate-LaBianca murders, Helter Skelter, written by the prosecutor in the case. The parallels were chilling. So chilling, in fact, that one may wonder if Berg actually borrowed some of his ideas from Charles Manson.

The Manson Family:
  • Delusional, charismatic leader with his own theory of an apocalypse where blacks destroy the whites, then step aside to allow the reincarnation of Jesus himself, Charles Manson, to come out of his refuge in the desert and rule the world along with his loyal followers.
  • Using his female followers to flirt and entice men to join the group, with sex as their bait. Women's purpose was to take care of men.
  • So-called "freedom" with unashamed nudity and unbridled sex and orgies.
  • Delusional followers who would do whatever their leader told them, even brutally killing innocents to "set them free," while bringing "death to pigs." A bit of a conflicted message.
  • They called themselves "The Family," a united, "loving" brotherhood.
  • Jargon and anonymity - Members took new names, police were referred to as "Romans," outsiders were other-ized.
  • No shame or guilt for their crimes.
The Family of Love:
  • Delusional, charismatic leader who taught that the world was evil and would be destroyed in the apocalypse, before which God's children would be raptured to heaven and saved, soon to return to rule the world during the Millennium.
  • Using female followers to entice men to join and/or support the group financially. "FFing [Flirty Fishing] is going out witnessing the love of Jesus with the serious intent to use sex or sex appeal as the bait." (From FF Report Questions & Answers!) Women were taught that their role in life was to care for men, specifically, the men's "physical needs." 
  • Free sex - yes.
  • Delusional followers who were to obey unquestioningly. "You must obey implicitly, quickly and without question your officers in the Lord, without murmuring [complaining]..."  (From The Revolutionary Rules, 1972) The disciples' job was to set the "Systemites" free, while overall condemning them for following "mammon" [material goods, i.e. working for money].
  • The Family, a united brotherhood - yes.
  • Jargon and anonymity - Members took new names when joining and after "breakthroughs in their spiritual lives." Indeed, police were referred to as "Romans," as in praying, "Lord, hide us from the eyes of the Romans," before distributing literature on the street, etc. (Truly, that was a common prayer back in the day.) The othering of "them and us" was elemental.
  • No shame or guilt, absolutely. They do not feel their doctrines were wrong.
Berg, with his delusions and charisma set up a fool's paradise that became his followers' "normal," with a whole different set of mores from society at large. Most egregiously, he proclaimed that adult sex with kids was "godly." Bear with me through these loathsome quotes in which I have added bold type for emphasis:

"THE ONLY WAY TO GET FREE OF [Satan] AND HIS LIES AND HIS PROHIBITIONS AND GUILT COMPLEXES ABOUT SEX is to get rid of his lies and his lying propaganda, his anti-sex propaganda, and believe the Lord and His Word and His Creation and God's Love and His freedom! That there's nothing in the world at all wrong with sex as long as it's practiced in love, whatever it is or whoever it's with, no matter who or what age or what relative or what manner!

"I'M TALKING ABOUT NATURAL NORMAL GODLY LOVE AS MANIFESTED IN SEX, as far as I'm concerned for whomever! There are no relationship restrictions or age limitations in His law of love. But system laws make it all against the law, and if I'd tell you what I think, I'd probably break the law publishing it! Whew! Wow! The system really stinks! It is a pit of lies and deceit and fiendish propaganda against the laws of God and the love of God and the sex of God! It's almost totally against nature!" (From The Devil Hates Sex!—But God Loves It!, 5/20/1980)

What was satisfying about the Manson murder trials, was that the prosecution succeeded in convincing the jury that without Manson's role, influence, and philosophy, and of course, his orders, the murders would not have been committed. He was given the death penalty, which was changed to life imprisonment when California abolished capital punishment. At the time of this writing, he is still in prison, living at taxpayer expense, even making some money from the licensing of his songs and name. But, at least, a measure of justice was served.

Too few TFI members that followed through with Berg's advice that “unto the pure all things are pure,” including sex with kids, landed in jail. It is a shame that Berg and Zerby did not. Even though Charles Manson did not personally kill the victims of the Tate-LaBianca murders, he was judged to be the one that instigated his followers to do them, and because of that and other crimes, he has spent his life in prison. Berg and Zerby not only created the atmosphere where their followers thought such behavior was “of God,” they themselves set the standard for this child-abuse. If anyone should have been jailed, it was Berg, and the current leader of the TFI, Zerby. 

No justice has been served.

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