Why I deliberately choose to remain a member of an ill-reputed religious group.
It's nice to have friends. One of the the biggest pains in life is connected with losing friends. While some of the friends I've lost in my life were probably shooed away by my quirks, temper or some other sin or fault I committed, there have also been those who simply chose not to associate with us anymore because we're part of the Family Intl.
Of course, it hurts, when someone chooses not to be acquainted with you anymore because of your religion, faith or belief, or group you belong to, and the question might arise, "how many more friendships are you willing to risk over your religion?" Or, "why can't you join a proper church or something?"
Or, once the decision has been made to remain in the group, one wonders whether it wouldn't be smarter to hide our association with such a highly controversial outfit, take the link off the website & lay low for a while...
So, what is it that makes me seemingly defy reason, or at least ignore the opinion of reasonable people who ought to have some good reasons for choosing not to associate with me anymore because of my membership of The Family?
The history of this stubbornness, as some would probably call it, goes back to when I was 13, or even a little earlier. I had declared war on God around the age of 10 due to the absence & total lack of love in the catholic church I had thus far attended, and henceforth became a stout atheist. Well, not all too stout, since the Jehovah's Witnesses managed to convince me of the existence of God about 2 years later, and I started becoming familiar with the Bible.
When I met the Family, I was directly introduced to the Author of that Book, and the New Testament I was given became my constant companion anywhere I went. I read it. I probably read it a few times. And what I read there, prepared me for what was going to happen later on in my life. I learned there that Jesus also lost friends. Not only that, but He taught His disciples that in His eyes, it was more fortunate to be persecuted, maligned and lied about than to be popular. Not only did He prepare them for the event of future persecution by letting them know the obvious, that if the religious establishment persecuted Him, they would also persecute His followers, but He even went on to say that people would think they were doing service to God by doing so.
Paul even went as far as to say that no one could live piously as a Christian, if they didn't ever suffer persecution... (2Tim.3:12)
I knew that everybody else believed that that was valid 2000 years ago, but didn't apply today. Everybody else, except the Family.
That's why, when I came home one afternoon and my stepmother waved a whole bunch of glossy magazines in my face, full of articles about the in-flagranti exposure of Moses David and his sex cult, the Children of God, and when the Police raided the local residence of the Family in my home town, detaining me for questioning, I wasn't all too shocked, really. It fit the picture of what I had been reading in the Gospels all along, perfectly.
I don't believe that Moses David, as he was called during the 70s, was perfect or infallible. I know he made mistakes. So do I. But the good he did, and the fruit of it that resulted in my life and the lives of others I have known excedes the bad he might have caused by his mistakes. Even though he was wrong about a few things, I still believe he was a genuine prophet of God. I understand there are folks who strongly differ with me on this point.
To most church Christians it's just about as presumptuous to call someone a prophet as it was for the Pharisees that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. And to most church Christians it was just as atrocious to hear about our sexual freedom as it was for the Pharisees to deal with the liberty Jesus and His disciples had...
If you have an unbiased look at where all that doctrine came from that gave sex, or even extra-marital sex the image of being something sinful ("fornication," "adultery," etc.), you might eventually grant me the right to my own belief concerning these matters, because you might be just as wrong about yours as you think that I am, if you weigh the Scriptures against each other.
The reason I prefer to believe the Family what they've got to say on these matters is because they also obey all the other parts of the Bible, that church Christians say don't apply anymore. And besides, I've always liked sex, and have always been comfortable with the idea of having sex with more than one single person in your life.
Recently I got in touch with a former member of the Family, who wants to get back in touch with us, because although he had his doubts about the Family, what he found out there in the great big world didn't seem to be all that hot, either. He argued, "somebody must have done something to all those people and angry ex-members (like Ricky Rodrigues, who killed another former member and committed suicide in order to draw attention to the alleged atrocities committed in the Family), to make them so mad, and to react so violently..." Something to that extent.
My reply to this reasoning was that they probably could have said the same thing about Jesus, too: What Jesus was doing wasn't exactly the "family-friendly" thing to do: he ripped at least 12 young men we know of from their families and jobs in order to pursue a highly questionable career as some kind of "Gospel bums," except that the word "Gospel" hadn't even been yet invented. They must have looked and sounded just as weird back then as we do nowadays. Someone could argue, "What made Judas react so vehemently, and caused him to betray Jesus and commit suicide? Someone must have done something to him in order for him to react that way..."
Personally, I believe that the Family cannot be blamed for Ricky Rodriguez' actions any more than Jesus could be blamed for Judas Iscariot's actions. What most people don't realize - because they refuse to & are often too scared to do so - is that there is a spiritual factor they overlook: that there is an evil force working quite feverishly against the forces of good, and in fact, according to Jesus, Paul and John, that force is the ruling force of the world right now, and it reacts in an extremely hostile manner to any attempts of good to infiltrate the kingdom it is usurping.
Those who choose to ignore that spiritual factor will never understand folks like me. They will always come up with legitimate reasons and excuses why it's better not to be associated with lunatics like us, because they purposely blind themselves to the fact that there is a spiritual force at work trying to make cowards out of a lot of people. They will refuse to ever try to see us objectively because they don't want to believe that they're being lied to as extensively as they are. What matters to them is not whether something is true or false, but whether it's what the majority believes. However, Jesus was and is the Leader of a minority (on Earth, that is).
I don't blame anyone for not having the guts to be associated with us. I know, I have chosen a path that's pretty hard to swallow, to cope with, and to understand. I'm only thankful for those who somehow seem to sense that if they will even just give us a cup of cold water because we're Jesus' disciples, that they will somehow, somewhere be richly rewarded for it. I'm looking forward to the day when those who may be ashamed of us right now, will be proud to have known us, when the truth will be revealed & the cards will all be laid on the table, and everything and everyone will be clearly seen for what it is and what they are and have been.
There'll be surprises. Probably for everyone.