Monday, January 17, 2005

Fringe Group at Center of Deaths

From an L.A. Times Article (must register to access story) dated January 17, 2005 - Last week, Richard P. Rodriguez, 29, the disaffected son of Karen Zerby, current leader of the communal Christian ministry known as the Family, allegedly killed longtime group member Angela M. Smith, 51, in his Tucson, Ariz., apartment. Then, after driving to Blythe, he apparently took his own life.

The thing that makes this news sad to me is that members of this group, also known as "The Children of God" frequently hung out in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles... As a young 'Jesus Freak' I would encounter them on occasion, receive their literature, listen to their preaching and decline their invitations to join their group. I knew something was wrong. I guess what really turned me off was their insistence that their group was the only way to God. I'd heard that before from so many groups. Yet God had found me without any 'groups' help. I knew he would keep me without any 'groups' help.

(quote from article) In a videotape recorded a day before the deaths, Rodriguez described his desire to exact revenge for an isolated childhood in which he was routinely sexually abused...(end quote)

Rumors did abound even in the '70's as to the nature of the group. Reading the above linked article showed me how wrong the rumors I heard were. It was much worse than word on the street. At least worse than the words I heard concerning it. Child molestation, incest and orgies were not mixed in the rumors back then. The free sex they offered came with a price. For Richard Rodriguez the price was all the Living God truly offered. Peace, Joy, Hope and Love...

(quote from article) - Now the Family, which claims a membership of nearly 8,000 living communally and ministries in 100 countries, is scrambling to shore up its reputation as a worldwide Christian evangelical ministry in the wake of a police investigation, national media interest and accusations from former group members who say that a childhood of sexual abuse growing up in the commune drove Rodriguez to murder and suicide.

The group has issued statements disavowing any responsibility for Rodriguez's actions, saying he was responsible for his choices in life. It also has gone on the attack, warning detractors that "the enemy will rue the day," in a message they said came from Jesus Christ, and calling them "vitriolic apostates."
- (end quote)

What is it they are trying to save as far as this 'organization' called the 'Family' goes? How decieved must they be to try to carry on this charade of a religion. Right thinking people would have disbanded it decades ago. Thank God some have gotten out. The emotions and feelings I have for those holding on to this ungodly group might be considered un-Christian but this is one of those times I find it difficult to pray for perpetrators of such evil in spite of Jesus' injunction to pray for enemies...

May God have mercy on Richard P. Rodriguez's soul - May others once connected with and hurt by the organization find peace in their souls.

San Francisco Chronicle article on the same topic