Talk:The Family International/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5


The article should describe where it started. Where in the UK? Andries 00:09, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Court Cases

The pro-COG editors have tried to claim that the group has never been successfully charged with anything. Various sources have stated that this is anything but the case. In fact, a reading of the ruling by Justice Ward would appear to be more of a condemnation of their past than a vindication [1]. Thorwald

  • Can you please provide the links to the Court cases you list? You say "(see links below)" but I can only find links to UK, Argentina, and France. Can you add the links to Brazil, Italy, Japan, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden, USA, and Venezuela? --Audiofree
    • Audiofree (please sign your posts): Firstly, I assume you meant me here. Secondly, I wasn't the one who added this list. Finally, you can find this list from the group's official web site: Of course, I shouldn't need to suggest that any information about the outcomes of these court cases described by them would necessarily be biased. PS: A similar list can be found at: (note: this site has Dr. J. Gordon Melton as one of its primary editors). Thorwald 02:44, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)
  • On June 21, 1979 William T. Gillie, a Judge in Franklin County, Ohio awarded $1,000,000.00 to a plantiff against the THE CHILDREN OF GOD, DAVID BRANDT, AKA DAVID BERG, AKA MOSES DAVID, et al. A copy of the judgement is available here: [2]. Indian Joe 18:27, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Leadership, Regional Offices, and Management

A stub intended for discussion on the title. Thorwald 18:05, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • I'm wondering about the general make up of this entry, listing all of this in an encyclopedia seams a bit odd, I’ve gone through quite a few other religious groups in this wiki and have not found many of these long lists. It would seam like if this info was somewhere and linked, that would be one thing, but to list all these names? Where does it stop? We may end up with hundreds of names if we keep going down this line. Audiofree
    • (Note from Gcom, I'm sorry I broke the paragraph above, which is from Audiofree, and below this paragraph and the next which are mine, it makes it look like the above note was from me but it was from him/her) I also have questions in particular when it comes to people who are not particularly interesting who are no longer affiliated with the group. However, I believe that current leadership of The Family is interesting, in particular when their role can be expanded upon. A simple listing of "famous" family members is pretty useless, but the people who guide and run The Family and their role does seem interesting and relevant. gcom 20:48, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)
    • I would also conjecture that some listings of names, unless they are relevant in some way to general interest in the group, such as current leadership, or past leadership that has some particularly interesting role, are simply a vindictive backlash due to the group's own secrecy and lack of transparency, which perhaps places it subtly in the POV camp, so I would suggest a purging by a non-member who can perhaps parse the interesting and relevant from the irrelevant. I'd rather not take this role. gcom 20:48, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)
  • I would like to see this removed down to a link to an external website where this info can be listed. I also find the same true of the two new entries by Gcom, listing Finances and such, again I think this wiki entry should be dedicated to the history of the COG and present beliefs and such, not a listing of every internal working of the group which would be of no interest to most that read this article, again I think the info could easily be gone into in depth on an external website, with a single link from here. Audiofree
    • Audiofree: How do you know Wikipedians would find information on the group's current and former leadership to be "of no interest"? As a Wikipedian myself, I find this information especially interesting. While reading through sources (i.e. Justice Ward's ruling), I found it difficult to keep track of all the names thrown about. As part of this group's history and current make-up, I find these names essential to understanding this group and following all of the who-said-what/who-did-what dialogue. This is an encyclopedic article and it is meant to be exhaustive on the subject. Thorwald 02:21, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Audiofree: About the names in the Leadership section vs. the names in the References: There are various formatting standards and none are required. However, the important thing is to be consistent with the citation formats. It is common to write names as, "Doe J and Brown D" where the first name can be easily obtained from the reference cited. This is not true, however, with the names of Leadership in this group as no reference is listed and their first names are, thereby, not easily obtained. Do you understand the difference? It was for the above reasons that I applied a standard and consistent format to the names in the References section but not in the Leadership section. I am still in favour of reverting the names in the References section to how I formatted them (i.e. "Doe J and Brown D") but not in the Leadership section. I will, however, wait for discussion on this before reverting. Thorwald 20:08, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

  • Thorwald: Try googling for “Melton GJ” vs “Melton Gordon” I think full names should stay.Audiofree
    • Audiofree: True. However, you don't have to Google for anything; the full reference is listed there. All a user/reader has to do is either click on the link(s) provided or go to the source. My vote is still for my format. However this is resolved, as long as we are consistent within the References section it is fine with me. Thorwald 23:19, 4 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Audiofree: You really want those names in the article, don't you? I do, however, think it is fair that they are listed under your new section (as long as it doesn't grow into hundreds of names). The idea behind these sections, in my opinion, is to allow the user to understand who these people were or are when reading through documents such as Lord Justice Ward's ruling, etc. Thorwald 22:28, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Programs and Projects

The original text stated that the list in this section would include those programs or projects which were affiliated with the group. This list was compiled from sources and many of them state their affiliation with the group on their web sites or 990 Forms ([3]-pages 19-23, [4], [5], [6]-pages 24-46, [7]-pages 18-28, and [8]-pages 19-31). The sources indicate that some of them are no longer active. The sources also suggest that this list is by no means complete. Thorwald

The pro-COG editors claim that, "those listed are not Family-sponsored. Some are operated by Family members in conjunction [with] non-Family members; some are personal initiatives, etc". Since this article is not attempting to list only those "Family-sponsored" initiatives, this argument is irrelevant. The purpose of this list is to provide information on all those programs and projects which are somehow affiliated with this group. For a much larger list (though not complete), please visit [9]. Thorwald


The pro-COG editors claim that "this continues to include a fictitious list of current Family leadership. If this encyclopedia deems itself a serious one, be accurate." Since this list was added by me, I assume by "fictitious" they mean to suggest that I invented these names. Thorwald

Allow me to explain where I got this list: This list originally contained 19 names. These names were taken from the sources. Of these 19, four were listed as "former leader". Of the remaining 15, eight are listed as associated with the Family Care Fundation (FCF-EIN: 33-0734917, [10]-page 4, [11], and [12]). These names were taken directly from the FCF web site. The final seven were also taken from the sources and were said to be not only current leaders but leaders at a rather high level. Thorwald

I would ask the pro-COG editors to point out the specific names on this list that are fictitious and back up their claims with sources. If they can show that any of these names do not belong on this list, I will concede that I am wrong. The idea of this list is to show not only current leadership but also former leadership. Thorwald

  • My sense is that any lists currently on there now are not presenting themselves as definitive, so they don't seem to be a problem...I filled in some gaps in what some people do gcom 04:44, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)


I added a new section on finances. It's meant to be a starting point since I'm sure there's lots more interesting info. gcom 04:44, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)

Can someone doublecheck my notes on tithing because I'm not certain I broke it down right (memory fails) gcom 04:44, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)

  • Update: I actually think the last 1% of tithe goes to the Family Aid Fund (FAF), however I won't edit this again until I have it confirmed gcom 07:28, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)

Audiofree tried to delete these two sections, which was, IMHO, out of line. I have restored the two sections. See discussion at bottom of page. Samboy 02:02, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)


I added a new section on secrecy since it's such a strong trait of the group, it's mean to be a stub to start people off. gcom 04:44, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)

  • I think the new additions to Recent Teachings, Secrecy, and Finances are great and make for interesting reading. The only problem I see is a half-paragraph at the end of "Secrecy" saying "people have conjectured that there is widespread corruption". This is double wuss-speak: not only did these unnamed "people" claim corruption, they weren't even bold enough to allege it, they merely "conjectured" it. It's also unclear what the term 'corruption' refers to in this context. Can we please clarify, or remove this bit? ThePedanticPrick 19:48, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • Point taken, and removed for want of something better to clarify. It seems like there's something here to be said, but I don't have any clarity on what it should be so deleted for now. gcom 22:24, 2004 Dec 17 (UTC)
  • I don't think this adds much, I think this info should be on an external site and maybe linked. This article is getting very long and hard to navigate. I think we should in general be finding ways to make it more concise and readable. I don’t think this topic would be of much interest to many as well as the other one you added. Not that it can’t be posted in some other form or linked, but I just think that adding large entries when there is conflict on entries that are already posted is not the best. Lets get the other entries worked out and finalized before adding more. Audiofree
    • It is my opinion that Audiofree is attempting to avoid addition of NPOV material that he/she deems too much information, there's no other practical purpose for deleting something as relevant to their history as their finances and the secrecy they shroud their leadership in. Let's just be clear about this: most members *never* saw a picture that was less thatn 20 years old of David Berg or Karen Zerby until the mid and late 90s respectively. If that isn't relevant then I don't know what is. I will abstain from reinstating my own material, and allow a third party (who is *not* a member of the group) to reinstate it in an attempt to validate my opinion on this issue. Thanks for any feedback. gcom 20:31, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)
    • I will also comment to Audiofree that *this is an encyclopedia*. I'm not quite sure which part of that does not imply exhaustive material on a subject. This is not a place to summarise, it is a place to expand. Please who come to this article are obviously trying to find compiled information that is interesting and relevant on this group. If you wish to have NPOV material removed in the future I suggest you follow the advice on this page (and your own commitment) and discuss the removals first. gcom 20:37, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)
    • I have restored the sections deleted. It is not OK to delete sections from a page without serious discussion. Samboy 02:09, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
      • But you can just add? This was posted without any discussion at all.Audiofree
        • That's a fair question. It seems to me that adding NPOV material is fundamentally different than deleting NPOV detail, and so my answer would be yes it is okay to add NPOV material at will. I think that the action of deleting NPOV material in itself could be construed as a POV action or suppression of information at least in a case like this. There's no way I can prove intent though, so that's why I didn't revert my own changes back, since of course I have to ask myself what if my NPOV material was crap and truly of no value to the encyclopedia. I'm not an expert on this topic, so it would be interesting to know what the Wikipedia community says about this. gcom 17:00, 2004 Dec 17 (UTC)
  • I have clarified the first sentences in this section, and added a new section immediately before it on relations with governmental authorities, which seems necessary in order to get a properly well rounded picture of this groups relationship with outside authorities. --Details2 30 June 2005 16:43 (UTC)


The pro-COG editors argue that this section should include only "recent statistics". I assume by "recent" they mean within the last few years. The original purpose of this section was to give a history of their membership. That is from the beginning (c. 1970s) through to today. The statistics were, once again, taken from the sources. The sources generally agree on the early statistics. However, they all suggest that the recent statistics released by the group (via their website [13]) are to be taken as suspect. It is only natural for an organization to portray strength in numbers and exaggerate them. Since I am unaware of a way to independently confirm the number of members in this group, I would suggest any statistics given by the group be taken as suspect and if they are to be included in this article that some sort of disclaimer be attached. Thorwald

  • Merged the statistics from the IP, with the statistics that were posted already, don’t see why both can’t be there. And as far as finding exact numbers or independently confirming them. I would think that saying “Recent statistics by The Family International” would show that these are internal statistics claimed by the group. I don’t know how else you could come up with a current number, and having a recent count is relevant to the article. Audiofree

Contributions by

It looks like has made a number of contributions which are more sympathetic to the Family than the general consensus of the article. I have reverted most of this IP's changes (as has Thorwald before me). However, this contributer has offered some information I felt worth keeping, so I have incorporated their contributions in to the page while retaining information wants deleted from the page. If anyone has anything to say on these edits, please bring up the issues here. Samboy 23:25, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • The pro-COG editor ( seems to want to turn this article into a propaganda piece for the COG/Family. This is _not_ the place for this kind of stuff. I believe we, pre-, editors maintained a good NPOV. His/Her contributions do not follow that guideline. The stuff we wrote was taken from many credited sources. Thorwald 03:15, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)
    • It's tough to keep one's patience when trying to hold the line while dealing courteously and inclusively with obvious POVs and agenda'ed editors. Yet, the chance to include all views and tell a more complete story is (we hope) worth it. Hang in there. --Gary D 04:31, Dec 1, 2004 (UTC)
      • I suggest we ask for protection on this page until these pro-COG editors cease in their efforts. I am all for various POVs but not when it is so strongly biased in favour of one opinion. They are not just adding other POV, they are erasing _all_ those POV which might have the slightest non-supporting views. Anyone else agree. I am trying to be patient, Gary D :). Thorwald 01:09, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)
      • You Thorwald seam to have stronger POVs then, just because you got to write your one-sided edits first doesn’t make them right.
        • Dear Nameless, why not let your contributions stand on their own merit? Can you back them up with some supporting material? The problem with deleting information you disagree with is that it effectively silences those who disagree with you. That's not really fair, is it? Castro and Kim Il Jong silence those who disagree with them. I'm not trying to compare you to a dictator, I'm just making a point. Plus, it just leads to revert wars. When you don't cite your source, you amount to little more than an unknown voice crying in the wilderness saying "This is the way it is!" Only an moron would give that voice credibility based solely on the Wikipedia logo on the top of the screen. The reality of Wikipedia is that it is a democracy, and we all know that the "truth" doesn't always prevail in a democracy; rather, everyone has the right to voice their opinion, no matter how wrong they are. ThePedanticPrick 19:33, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)
        • Audiofree: Firstly, this article wasn't written by me alone. It is the work of many editors over many months. We did not make up the material we wrote, we have taken it from many sources (see References, Links, etc.). Secondly, I am curious which parts of the article (pre- and pre-Audiofree) you find to be "one-sided" or strongly POV? Since this is an encyclopedic article and the idea is to have NPOV, we editors have gone to great lengths to do just that. For an example, not all readers/editors are Christian. Thus, they wouldn't want to read something like, "...and Jesus, who is the son of God..." because they don't believe that to be the case. It would be better to write sometime like, "...and Jesus, who Christians believe to be the son of God..." instead. Another point is that it is very difficult to represent all POVs equally without turning this article into a book. The POV we have tried to do is a NPOV and reflecting the generally accepted information. Finally, everyone, in my opinion, is entitled to their POV but that does not mean is has to be expressed here. Some people may believe the world is flat, but do we have to include that by writing "...many scientific observations have shown the world to be spherical. However, some people believe it to be flat..." (a poor example, I know and I certainly don't think that you are in that camp). I understand the COG/TF believes all criticism of their beliefs to be mere persecution and wrong . . . but isn't that obvious? Should an article contain something like, " was convicted of something. However, so-and-so believes he/she is innocent..." (another poor example)? PS: It is "than" not "then" ;) Thorwald 05:20, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
        • I suspect there are some difficulties with going out to the wider WP community and asking for page protection: 1) they will likely say to come back and tough it out; 2) they will likely ask what has been done to attempt to negotiate with the pro-COG editors, and say to try again; 3) they are likely to ask what makes this version so much better than the other version that page protection is in order, and they are unlikely to take discussions specific to COG history or source disputes as sufficient; 4) they will warn that page protection is a very short-term thing and not any sort of a permanent answer; and 5) there is a good likelihood they will freeze the page on the pro-COG version, as I believe it may even be a sort of informal policy to freeze the page on the version the requestor does not like. I really think there is room here for my suggestion above that the article be reformatted to include attributions to both critics and supporters. I propose reverting the article to your latest version, then basically taking each block of text the pro-COG editor(s) has/have added, preface it with, "Supporters say...", and add it back in. That way, if it is necessary to go out to the community for drastic measures like page protection, eminent balance and reasonableness can be shown, which is an absolute minimum requirement for such a thing. Plus, if your version has balance and attribution and their version doesn't, it's more likely that your version will be the one chosen to freeze on. I've walked the tightrope on Uri Geller and been through the Prem Rawat wars, and I've learned that in the long run you simply have to deal with the opposing editors, no matter how strong the POV on either side, because unless they're simply blanking the page and writing FUK FUK FUK across it, WP will hold them on an equal footing with you. There is nothing I have seen the pro-COG editors write or do on this page that will get them banned, so unless they voluntarily go away, coexistence strategies are probably a necessity. --Gary D 07:10, Dec 2, 2004 (UTC)


From now on before I make edits I will generally discuss them here first. --Audiofree

I want to alphabetize all sub-sections under the Reference section of the article, ie “Academic”, “Journalistic and popular” etc.. I find it odd that the editors would seam to have an agenda by putting 3 “Kent, Stephen” links at the top of “Academic”. It seams to me that alphabetizing all the lists would make it most fair. If no one has a problem with that I will start making those changes. --Audiofree

I will also go through and make sure all the links under references from both the IP and Thorwald's show; I don't see why any external link to an academic or popular site shouldn't be listed. --Audiofree

  • Audiofree: To sign your posts add four tildes '~' (i.e. "Thorwald 02:44, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)"). Let me explain again that not everything in the main article nor all of the "References" and "External links" was written by me. There are many people submitting content to this article almost daily, if not weekly, over the past year. I agree that all authors in the "References" section should be alphabetized (so long as they are not edited or deleted without discussing them first). This seems normal and customary. I am not sure who you were referring to when you wrote of an "agenda" opposing this practice? Thorwald 02:44, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Audiofree removed two sections; I restored them

Audiofree tried to remove two sections of this page, "Secrecy" and "Finances" in this edit; I put the sections back. I don't see anything from Audiofree about removing two entire sections on the talk page. Samboy 02:00, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Recent Teachings

The original paragraphs in Recent Teachings that I wrote way back in March 04 were getting pretty old in the tooth. I have left the majority of the content but filled it out with what I hope is more varied information. In particular I added more detail on prophecy since it's probably the single most influential change to come about after Berg's death. gcom 16:52, 2004 Dec 17 (UTC)

Universal Reconciliation was also a huge altering of fundamental beliefs, although one that's perhaps not as widely understood in a wider historical or religious context. And the easing up of restrictions on same-sex activity among females is notable partly because it was so cracked down on during the 80s and among religious groups The Family is fairly uncommon in it's acceptance today of female bisexuality, so the purpose was not an attempt to draw attention to salacious details, but an honest attempt to remember details of when it again became "okay" gcom 16:52, 2004 Dec 17 (UTC)


  • Is 'Prisca Kelley' a typo? Did the author mean to type 'Priscilla'?
    • No. 'Prisca' is really her name. That is, she spells it that way. Thorwald 05:07, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • The words "legal action" sound pretty vague to me (in the sentence "no legal action has successfully been brought against the Family") Should we change it to something more specific?
  • Is the Family Care Foundation really non-religious? Or have they a Christian bent?
    • They very much have a 'Christian bent' to their organization. See their "About Us" section. Thorwald 05:07, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Huntington Beach, California

It started in Huntington Beach, California.

Maybe it's time to go bi-coastal?

There's now a pro-COG anon editor online, currently contributing a substantial amount of material differing with the existing account. Maybe it's time to move the article into a, "critics say X, supporters say Y" NPOV mode? --Gary D 20:02, Nov 30, 2004 (UTC)