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Home arrow Bible Based Cults & Isms arrow Children of God - AKA The Family arrow DAVID BERG’S SPIRIT WORLD - Dementia Or Demons?



written by David Hiebert & Edward Priebe, former long-time COG members

The spirit world was ours to explore and even revel in, promised David Berg, with him as our guide.  The churches, he said, were afraid of the mysterious, exciting spiritual realm and were missing a whole wonderful world.  But for us there were experiences and ecstasies we had only dreamed of awaiting us.

One of the first of the new spirit guests and guides to visit David Berg was Abrahim, that venerable old gypsy "king" from the 1200's with his dancing, singing and roaming band.Drawing of David Berg and spirit helpers

But before we expound on David Berg's spirit guides and helpers, goddesses and playmates, let's look back at David's childhood.  He told us he was a lonely child with few friends, spending long hours by himself.  He'd prefer to be in his tree house or building a radio Instead of playing with other children.  This loner child grew into an awkward, gangling, loner teenager who was always looking for affirmation on who he was.  People, he said, thought he was a "nobody", but he really was "somebody".

Unappreciated, unaccepted.

As his childhood was lonely, so his childhood sexuality was unsettling.  filled with anxiety and at times fun of fear.  From the earliest experience with his Mexican nanny and her subsequent firing over her naptime fellatio, to being caught masturbating and threatened by his mother that she would "cut it off" If he didn't stop -- but no matter how he tried, he couldn't stop playing with the "vile thing".  So began a "love-hate" relationship with his mother, which lasted a lifetime (and even into "heaven" when he "visited" her there and in sex with her all was forgiven and she finally accepted him like he always needed).

He was always trying to "prove himself to his mother, God and other ...  but never reaching the desired level of recognition and acceptance.  To make it worse, his mother -- whom he idolized -- was always being mistreated by the churches.  He also personally felt this alienation, standing on the outside, unheard, unheeded, end not needed.

Then there was always the question of God's position on sex.  Berg's reasoning was: how could something that God created and that felt so good, be wrong? Could this line of argument have been a combination of his sexual activity that contradicted his strict moral upbringing, driving him to secrecy, and the fear of being found out? (This might explain some of his irrational fear of authority figures and obsessive security measures.) Sexually he became out of control --having an Incestuous relationship with one of his daughters from when she was very young, which continued even after she was an adult.  He also regularly availed himself of the services of prostitutes when he was at the same time "putting gospel TV on the air across the United States".

This mixture of insecurity, fear and alienation culminated in the later 1960s in California.  Going through "midlife crisis", he was looking at his life and thinking that here he was middle-aged with no ministry for God, no church and no following except for his own little family (and he said sometimes he wasn't so sure of them).

But finally what he'd been waiting for all his life happened! His iconoclastic rantings against the evils of church and state had an audience.  The hippies of Huntington Beach heard him gladly.  Here was someone who spoke their language -- rebellion.  He saw his opportunity: He would be their shepherd.  God told him -- so he said -- that he must, that they were like sheep without a shepherd, they needed him.  He resisted in true prophet’s humility, but finally gave in to, "God's divine plan".  Then, the "Revolution" was born.  He had his ministry, maybe not as grand as he had hoped but he'd make it so.  He had his church, the "new church", no old bottles we, and he had his, radical young following.

The youth were not the only ones who reacted to the message.  The church and authorities heard it too, but not "gladly".  To escape the wrath his rantings received, David Berg and his growing band hit the road.  Traveling across the United Slates, they converged on a campground in Laurentide, Quebec, Canada.  It was there a prophecy was given that was to be the "unshakable" foundation that David Berg would build his kingdom on.

By then, Karen Zerby (whom Berg renamed Maria had moved in with him and became his new wife.  The prophecy, which became the first "Mo Letter", stated by inference that Maria was the "new church" while David's first wife became the "old church".  So this "word from God" not only sanctioned but also spiritualized David's union with Zerby and also his leaving his first wife plus gave God's blessing on all his future sexual deviations.

At this point, Berg sealed his authority as God's voice for today.  We, his followers, were "blessed" to be part of God's endtime movement.  So, after the Laurentide Prophecy and "Old Church New Church (ML#A), everything that followed was being myth-odically put in place on top of Berg's "firm" foundation.  His kingdom and "new nation" were being built brick by brick.

In the heat of the birthing of the "new nation" there was fire.  David Berg had what he always wanted, and we also thought we had found what we were looking for -- a purpose, a cause, and best of all we ware pleasing God with our service.  Then began the odyssey into David Berg's "spirit world" that lasted decades for some.  Early on it must have become obvious to David Berg that between his true beliefs and the truth of God's Word was an ever widening gulf, and the Bible that was bridging it could only be stretched so far.  The solution was almost too simple -- get new revelations -- "God's Word for today", "the Word old and new".  The New Revolution was revving up and the prophet was raring to go.  Many were coming for the ride in our "Revolutionary Racer" -- Abrahim, Pied Piper, Don Quixote, Pandita Ramabai, (1) and even a Playboy centrefold became "the goddess of America" pleading for his love.  Even those pesky "Chinese spirits" jumped on board.

One sees the logic behind it.  All these "spirit helpers" were fictitious characters or, if they were real, history was ignored or "changed" to accommodate how David saw them.  So where could you go to converse with them or challenge them? It was perfect! Either you believed in them and what they said or you didn't.  And they all said the same thing -- "David Berg is that prophet, hear ye him", "Kiss his words", "suck his paps".

Abrahim was now a constant companion, standing behind him just over his right shoulder.  So Abrahim and an entourage of other "spirit helpers" were always there to encourage, inspire and direct.  With their help, David Berg was getting many "prophecies" -- about the Children of God, about world events and even how much juice Maria mixed into his wine.  But alongside the list of prophecies began another list: unfulfilled prophecies.  From the immediate destruction of America to the Great Queen Prophecy to the beginning of the Great Tribulation in the late 1980s.  Something had to he done.  Well, beginning with the Kohoutek debacle, we wore the "comet's tail (tale)" and later came the "What If" series.  Our faith was intact.  Barely.

Another pattern seemed in be emerging: Whenever there was opposition or persecution or strange new truths or doctrines wore introduced, existing "spirit helpers" became very vocal or new ones arrived to strengthen our faith.  One example of this was Taurug and Otano, the mighty warriors who lived In the volcano in Tenerife.  (2) More and more spirit helpers and goddesses started arriving.  These "ladies in waiting" lingered outside his door eager to experience his power and prowess.  When making love to the multitude or privileged women, he would fantasize about beautiful, insatiable queens and goddesses.  They were all there -- goddesses of this world, past and present, and goddesses from the spirit world.  Even Mocumba, he said, wanted him to jump through the fire to have her.  These wild, perfect goddesses wanted him.  He was so blessed to be so accepted and loved and, best of all, God saw all this and said it was good.

With his spirit helpers, we were taken on trips around the world, through the universe, even to heaven.  In heaven he was warmly welcomed by the Holy Family and made love to the "goddess of love", the Holy Spirit herself.  Journeying off the sure road of Biblical truth, David was with sobbings, curses, and prayers releasing and setting souls free from hell in such Letters as "Treasure Ship" and later the Spirit House series.

David Berg's spirit world was by now developing a noticeable pattern: It played heavily on his sexual fantasies, his need for affirmation and acceptance, both from people and from God, his fears and drinking problem (when we lived close to him in the late '70s and early '80s, it would bother me when "call to prayer" notices came out when I knew he was suffering from excessive drinking, and we all remember how when in London he said he "prophesied" better after a prophet's portion of Cyprus sherry!).  One could also ask, knowing his background, how would David Berg react when he wasn’t accepted, was attacked or even just questioned? That has been answered in a number of letters beginning years ago including "The Girl Who Wouldn’t", "The Boy Who Wouldn't", "If The Truth Kills, Let It Kill", "Bearing False Witness", etc.  etc.  -- those who questioned were always severely rebuked and often labeled as "devil" or "demon-possessed".

It seems much of David Berg's spirit world was just a "working out" of years of extreme emotional turmoil and possible mental neuroses.  So is it dementia or demons? The line between the mental end the spiritual is sometimes so fine that it is hard to distinguish where one ends and the other starts.  In fact, they overlap to quite an extent.  So, while imaging, visualizing and conjuring up of visions are processes that begin is the mind, they can literally open the door to the "spirit world".

The picture was clear years ago: The demon was being releases in the Mo Letter "Demonography" and holding the terrorized "Family" couple captive and the coffin-shaped forms which he said were his Letters.  We should have been warned! Truly the "strange truths" of the spirit were being shown to us even then!


Those who indulge in unrestrained sexual promiscuity such as Berg did can become addicted to pleasure to the point where normal sex becomes boring.  They have "eyes full of adultery and cannot cease from sin" and to gratify their lusts, begin going after "strange flesh" (2 Peter 2:14; Jude 7)

It in significant that one of the first "goddesses" Berg visualized having sex with was the Playboy centerfold, Miss February 1973.  His intense lust for her was little short of worship and transformed her, in his mind, into a "goddess".  the "goddess of America", begging him (how he wished!) to have sex with her, pleading with him not to leave her.  (3)

Is his frustrated desire for sexual conquests and lust for power he was soon visualizing many other "goddess" lovers.  Berg had convinced himself that he was no mere man; he was David the king, and the women he conquered sexually could be nothing less than "queens" of the spirit world, the goddesses of entire nations.  Thus, an act that began in Berg's imagination crossed the line into the spirit world, with him literally summoning and conjuring up pagan goddesses.  Despite Berg's claims that visualizing sex with "goddesses" was a holy act that symbolized penetrating them with the power of the Gospel, it was really nothing more than the age-old pagan practice of showing one's worship of a god or goddess by having sex with a priest or priestess possessed by that spirit.  Instead of Berg sexually conquering the goddesses, it was they who were conquering, empowering and bringing him into bondage! How many of Berg's bed partners were literally overshadowed by these spirits, yielded to them and how much of this was simply happening in Berg’s mind is open to speculation.  Let's not forget his charming experience, as recounted in his Letter "Strange Encounters", with a female vampire who chased him and sank her fangs into his neck.  Berg declared it felt so good, "just like sex".

The Bible strictly warns God's people not to "go whoring alter their gods" because "their gods shall be a snare unto you" (Exodus 34:15,16; Judges 2:3b) and Leviticus 17:7 calls them "devils", after whom they have gone a-whoring".  (See also Leviticus 20:5, Deut.  13:1-4; Deut.  31:16,17; I Chronicles 5:25 and Hosea 4:12b).

And what about Berg's statement that the goddesses were receptive to the Gospel? Berg claimed to have had sex with the Greek goddess Diana/Artemis, yet we read in Acts 19 that the followers of Diana-/Artemis, far from being "receptive", actively fought the Gospel.  As Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 10:20, these Roman gods and goddesses were devils.

Berg knows that Mocumba "the "naked black goddess of Africa" who descended on top of him and copulated wildly with him" (ML 0554) is an evil spirit.  In 1982 he reprinted a news article confirming that Mocumba was an actual spiritual entity, only an evil African spirit that witch doctors in Brazil invoke when placing voodoo curses on people.  Oblivious to this shocking fact, Berg happily included the newspaper clipping as a "confirmation" that Mocumba does, indeed, exist.

1 Timothy 4:1 says, "Now, the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." If Berg's "goddesses" aren’t seducing spirits, what are they? Jude speaks of the sexual fantasies of "filthy dreamers", saying, "For there were certain men crept in ...  filthy dreamers ...  turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness ...  giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh."

Having opened his soul and body wide to an entire pantheon of demon-goddesses, it didn't take long before Berg began to be troubled and oppressed by them, saying they often assembled in the hallway outside his room and he was bothered by their constant whispering.  The oppression became more severe as the years went by.  By the time "Terror By Night" (#875) was published, he confessed that demons were closing in on him, swarming all over his walls, their faces leering at him out of the darkness, and he was so terrified that he could almost scream!


COG members' introduction to "spirit helpers" began early in the movement, on a very believable and innocent note.  When Abner, chief of security at the TSC ranch, died; Berg said that Abner had been "promoted" to be our chief of security in the spirit world, that he now had powers that the flesh couldn't stand, that he was like an archangel of God.  Berg went on in "The Pied Piper Prophecy" to describe other Christian saints who had "come back to help us".  The Pied Piper, Berg told us, was helping us in our pioneer push into Europe; Grandmother Berg, William Jennings Bryan, Martin Luther, Tyndale, Calvin, Knox and many of the greatest reformers that had ever lived were all helping cousel Berg.  And of course, among the spiritual groupies huddling around Berg awaiting the privilege to counsel him, was that ancient legendary Druid warlock Merlin the magician -- not that Berg really needed him though -- after all, hadn't "Madam M" told him that he had more power than Merlin?!

We accepted all this because, after all, weren't all these "spirit helpers" good men of God, dedicated Christians? Some years later, Berg refined his doctrine of "spirit helpers" by explaining to "Holy Ghosts" series that we a11 had "guiding spirits", saints of God who had been in Heaven and were now coming back to earth to help us.  This he explained, was how we received the gift of tongues.  Contradicting the Bible's teaching that the Holy Spirit to the giver of tongues, Berg announced that tongues were given by "spirit helpers", departed saints of the past who literally enter our physical bodies and take over our tongues and speak their ancient language through us.  Indeed, Berg's long-awaited gift of tongues was his spirit helper Abrahim speaking the ancient Romani gypsy language through him.

Rejoicing with Berg at how much sense these revelations made, we all began trying to find out what languages we were speaking and who our spirit helpers were.  On and on the "revelations" went, and deeper and deeper into the abyss of darkness we groped.  In "More Holy Ghosts" Berg said, "You may have to sort of do like the yogi mentalists do -- make your mind a blank and just yield your members, yield your tongue and just let go of it so that the spirits can get a hold of your tongue and mind." (ML#621 :26) Many members did precisely that.

One cannot help but compare this to what is found in "the New Age movement" (Hinduism end ancient spiritism dressed in the garb of Western intellectualism).  Neo-Pagan New Agers not only claim to be reincarnations of those long dead, but many claim to be receiving spiritual messages and new truths and revelations from their "spirit guides" and "ascended masters".  The parallel is too close, too striking to be coincidental.  How could the COG, as Christians, have been led into doctrines that embrace Hinduism and spiritism?

The answer was right there in the Letters.  Berg recounted that at certain points in his travels he attended spiritist meetings and had gone into a spiritist church.  He told how, in one spiritist church he attended, a women stood up and prophesied loudly in a man's voice announcing that she was "Ponderosa".  Frightened but impressed, Berg concluded that maybe spiritist churches aren't so bad after all (ML#622 "The Spirit World") - despite the Biblical injunctions against spirits and necromancy (Lev.  19:31, 20:6,27).


Was Abrahim a deceased Christian gypsy, as Berg claimed? Even judging his character at face value, it is obvious that Abrahim was entremely lewd, lascivious and talked very little about Christ.  Moreover, Abrahim had led his gypsy band in orgies, adultery, and fornication.  And despite the fact that the Rechabites -- the supposed ancestors of the gypsies -- refused to drink wine (Jeremiah 35:5,6, 8), Abrahim and his gypsies were virtual alcoholics.  It was Abrahim, Berg claimed, who bad led him into his drinking binges.  So, the question is not whether Abrahim was a departed Christian saint, but whether he even existed!

Almost every major detail Berg gave about Abrahim and his gypsy band contradicts historical fact.  For example, Berg claimed they were the ones to convert the Russians to Christianity in the 1200s.  According to history, however, two Greek Orthodox monks had already done that centuries earlier, in the 900s.  Berg claimed the gypsies ruled Bulgaria at one point, which Bulgarian history refutes.(4)

The fact that Abrahim gave false, confused prophecies such as "40 Days", shows that, to a large degree, Abrahim was "a false vision, a thing of nought, and a deceit of (Berg's) own heart" (Jeremiah 14:14).  There was a startling connection between Abrahim and Berg's "goddesses".  Berg claimed that as he sat enthroned as a king, it was Abrahim who brought in the goddess of Central Asia to him.  In "Houris Of Heaven", Berg again claimed it was Abrahim who was introducing the Arabic "goddesses" to him.  What a chilling fulfillment of Luke 11:26: "Then goeth he and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that men is worse than the first."

We can only conclude that Abrahim was either (a) a schizophrenic fragment of Berg's troubled mind, (b) a fiction created by disjointed bits of information Berg had heard down through the years, or else (c) a powerful demon, skilled in the art of deception, masquerading in the role.  -- Or very likely, a combination of all three.


David Berg's sexy "trinity" of Father, Mother and Son is not new.  In early Egypt, they revered the goddess Isis and her brother/lover Osiris and their son Herus, Other cultures have had their triad.  Early Rome records the family trinity of Juno, Minerva, and Jupiter who "ruled ever Rome".

From the Egyptian goddess Isis, later cultures derived their own goddesses.  To the ancient Sumerian peoples it was Inanna and later to the Babylonians it was Ishtar.  Inanna and Ishtar were both known as "queen of heaven", the name Berg also gave the Holy Spirit.  These goddesses all have a striking similarity to Berg's conception of the Holy Spirit as the female "goddess of love" in that they promoted sexuality with the purpose being the worship of these deities in the excesses of temple prostitution (5)(a practice Berg mentioned to support his FF'ing doctrine).

But in regards to the Holy Spirit as portrayed is the Bible, it always has and always will lead us into all truth, not goddess worship, (temple) prostitution and so-called sexual freedom.  The Holy Spirit always directs us to Jesus.  As Jesus said, "He shall testify of me" (John 15:26).  And no matter how you bend it, twist it, or stretch it, the Holy Spirit doesn’t translate into the female gender.  Going back in the Greek manuscripts, it just doesn't translate "she".  Sorry, Mr.  Berg, where did you say you studied Greek?


So it seems that the "spirit world" or any "truth" whether "great" or "strange" was just a vehicle to affirm who David Berg was.  Even Berg's supposed trips to heaven were not to show us God's goodness and greatness, but his own "greatness" as he is whisked to the very apex of heaven to personally meet the "Holy Family" -- father, mother and son.  Our personal growth or personal intimacy with God was not fostered; but the group and its dynamics and control were foremost or in turn used to bolster and reassure the insecure and fearful leader.

The light we have shown on David Berg's spirit world has only exposed the surface and only some of his "spirit beings" living there.  We have not travelled down into the labyrinth of the darkness of his "dark kingdom".  Sufficient is what we’ve seen to show us the difference between light and darkness and why being guided the wrong way, the end was so dark.  As Jesus said in Matthew 6:23b: "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness."

Thank God that no "prophet", "spirit guide" or group can take the place of God and what he has for us.  When we believe and receive the sufficiency of Christ is our lives, we're totally loved, totally forgiven, and totally accepted.  We're free to love God and others in His true spiritual realm and enjoy "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places is Christ" (Eph.  1:3).  No longer bound by the decrees of false prophets, "goddesses" and "demons".  No longer co-dependent or supportive of megalomaniac whims and delusions.  Thank God we're free!!


1)  Sorry, Mr.  Berg, your anecdote of Pandita Ramabai does not jive with her own published autobiography.  This great Christian reformer of India whose selfless work and mission to women and orphans still goes on today seventy years after her death, didn’t "go over the mountains to bring my message to her people" never to be heard from again.  To get the true story, some good books are: A Testimony of Our Inexhaustible Treasure by Pandita Ramabai, published by the Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission, Kedgaon, Pune Disrtrict, Maharashtra 412203 India, or Bungalows in Heaven by Jessie H.  Mair.

2)  When we were in Spain we would see spray-painted graffiti everywhere saying "OTAN NO".  We found out it was radicals who were against NATO (in Spanish the initials are OTAN).  David Berg had obviously seen it also.  Could it be that this is how he later got the name "Otano" while "in the spirit"? Interestingly enough, the name of a bedouin-type tribe in North Africa is the "Taureg", a very similar word to David Berg's spirit world character "Taurug".

3)  I remember Eman Artist showing me the Playboy Magazine that David Berg had sent him, containing the centerfold of the first "goddess", which be used to draw the cover art for the original "Goddesses" Mo Letter.

4)  It is doubtful that the gypsies, on their wanderings westward from India, had arrived in Bulgaria at the time David Berg indicated they were there.  As to gypsy "kings", this is something they tell "gorgios" or "gazo" (non-gypsies) for various reasons -- in reality there is no such thing.  Interesting reading: Gypsy Wanderers of the World published by the National Geographic Society, The Gypsies by Werner Cohn published by Addison-Wesley Publ.  Co., and Gypsies of the World, a large book full of color photos with text by Nebojsa Bato Tomasevic and Dr.  Rajko Djurie, published by Flint River Press Ltd., London.

5)  Information from Whence The Goddesses - A Source Book by Miriam Robbins Dexter (Pergamon Press) and The Book of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan Llewellyn Publications).

David Hiebert (aka Zebedee Rabbit) left the COG in 1986 after 15 years involvement including 8 years as NNN and FN co-editor.  Together with his wife Mary Lou, he publishes No Longer Children Support Group Newsletter.

Edward Priebe (aka Hart Inkletter ) left the COG in 1990 after 19 years involvement, including several years as a top writer/editor.  It was his years of delving deeply into the Mo Letters and months of living and working with Mo and Maria that helped him to decide to leave the group.  Ed is the hitherto unnamed author of "Why David Berg is Not God’s Endtime Prophet" edited and published by No Longer Children in 1992.