Lord Justice Ward


When Wantage closed down, the school moved to Burnt Farm in
Hertfordshire. The same team were in charge. The P children
did not rejoin the school and I do not have as much evidence
about its activities. I have no reason to believe that life
did not continue much as it had done at Wantage. The most
important incident relates to a boy SM. He was a most
unhappy teenager 14 years old. He was thought by many to
have the failing of being "self righteous" and to have
"spiritual problems." He was made particularly unhappy in
March 1990 by his mother being sent away to Eastern Europe
on missionary work. His father was in Russia. He was not the
only child who was separated from his parents. Many of the
parents were working in Eastern Europe. In September 1990 SM
was in trouble of some kind. His privileges were withdrawn
and he was not allowed to watch television. He ran away and
was apprehended by the police at Ramsgate trying to catch
the ferry to see his mother in Switzerland or wheresoever
she was. He could give no address for her. He was reluctant
to reveal much about his personal circumstances. The
following day his mother arrived. SM did not seem surprised
or express any emotion upon seeing her despite her absence
for more than 7 months. She would not reveal her address.
She was equivocal about her involvement in "missionary
work". The minutes of the Social Services Department have
been produced to me and they recorded that:

"SM ... presents physically as being tired, pale, drawn,
slightly anaemic in appearance and psychologically as
emotionally flat, .... acting inappropriately when reuniting
with mother or examining reasons for leaving Burnt Farm,
presents as bland, blank, programmed, (guarded, inhibited
responses to questions, reluctant to communicate, reluctant
to disagree with mother.)

Enquiries were made at Burnt Farm. RM allowed the Social
Services Department into a room which was described in the
minutes as:-

"Cold and comfortless. The furniture was very shabby and the
room was dominated by a huge high-tech TV and video. RM
denied any knowledge of an organisation called Heavens Magic
or the Children of God but they did say they were
missionaries. No evidence of crucifixes or other religious
artifacts and no evidence of the presence of children other
than some child size wellington boots in the hallway. No
toys, comics, bicycles etc."

The local authority made enquiries which led them to the
anti-cult organisations and VJ was introduced to SM. SM
denied recognizing any Mo letters etc. but he made obviously
knowledgeable references to the material to prove the point
he sought to make that the cult was being persecuted by the
Social Services Department. SM was allowed to leave on 29th
September 1990.

Several features of this episode cause me real concern:-

1. This boy was made unhappy for reasons among others
that he missed his parents. No sufficient awareness of this
fact, still less contrition was shown by those in charge.

2. He lied about his knowledge and involvement with The
Children of God/The Family. He was clearly troubled about

3. More importantly RM lied to the authorities.

4. This boy ran away at about 5.30 am. He was known to be
missing. The Family's own efforts to find him were
unsuccessful. Alarmingly, they did not report him missing to
the police.

I am driven to conclude that this incident shows the
practice of "Deceivers yet True" in action. The Family
clearly had their "flee-bags" packed and they disappeared.
It does not instil confidence and it requires me to
scrutinise carefully the evidence of real, genuine and
lasting change.


The period I am now concerned with is the end of 1991. The
adults in charge seem to have been MM, Caleb, to some extent
RM, Paul and Mary Malaysia. KA and AM were the teen

I am quite satisfied that a Victor Programme was run from
this home. Mary Malaysia was in charge but she was acting
under the control of the National Child Care Shepherdess
Heidi, SPM's wife. MM knew what was happening although she
was more concerned with the ordinary running of the
household. MM was an unreliable witness. In her Affidavit
she dealt with discipline in the teen schools, as being:-

"Administered by the teachers and where parents were present
(as they occasionally were) by the parents. Corporal
punishment occasionally was used but very rarely and always
with the basic premise of The Family that punishment must
never be administered in anger: its purpose is for the
person punished to understand what they had done wrong and
why it was wrong."

That was a far cry from what was happening at Tewkesbury.
There the children were regularly beaten and at times beaten
by AM, himself a teenager. KA, a Family witness, told me
that branches were cut from trees and used until they broke.
That caused them to look for another implement. They found a
riding crop. AM sought Mary Malaysia's permission to use it.
Mary Malaysia sought Heidi's permission according to KA and
it was granted. AM then beat S4, the son of a home shepherd,
for too many demerits. He broke the skin on his backside.
The boy bled from it and was bruised by it. It was a vicious
attack. It was authorised from the very top of The Family in
this country. It was known that it took place. The stoutest
efforts have been made by The Family to cover it up. This
particular incident cried out for full explanation. The
obvious person to explain what had happened and what had
gone wrong was Heidi. No reason was given to me why she
should not have been called. I draw adverse conclusions from
the failure to call her.


There was also a home for a number of children at Rugby
where RB and VB and MA and LA were in charge. They gave
evidence to me and I can accept that in many respects this
was a happy home. It was a pity, perhaps, that they did not
allow the visiting Australians to film their home but rather
chose to maximise the physical attractiveness of Tewkesbury
by engaging in the pretence to which I referred much
earlier. I can, however, readily understand that teenagers
would have responded warmly to this adult team. Although
strident in their defence of The Family they nonetheless
made a good impression on me in many respects. VB's
mediterranean temperament led her to some emotional
exchanges with me but that same energy was well harnessed in
her interactions with the young people with whom she had to
deal. I cannot recall a bad word said against her and she
seems to have been a most respected figure. Dare I say it in
this case, but it would seem that she "loved" the children
and they may well have loved her. Her husband RB, though
possessed of British phlegm which made him more reserved
than his wife, was nonetheless an enthusiastic member of the
team. He got on well with the teenagers, and I have little
doubt that they had exciting times with him. There was a lot
to do in their ministry and the children had a lot of fun
doing it. MA and LA were also impressive witnesses. MA had
all the savoir faire that one would expect of The Family's
public relations officer. He deployed his charm quite
effortlessly and although there is a tough side to his
character, I would imagine he earned not only the respect
but also the affection of the children he was looking after.
His wife LA seemed prepared to go much further than any
other witness in her willingness to see The Family move much
further towards acceptance. Enlightened though this couple
appeared to be, their son KA had a vicious streak in him and
in the exercise of his duties as teen shepherd, he wielded
the stick with more enthusiasm than judgment, and his storm
trooper-mentality alarmed me.

I am satisfied that generally and comparatively speaking
life at Rugby was happy for the children living there. It
was not all entirely acceptable. KA admits that he was on
silence restriction in about February 1991 for some six
weeks. He must have found the punishment effective because
he made large silence restriction signs to hang about the
neck of M1 and MS. He put M1 on silence after he had, as
teen shepherd, tried to deal with M1's "spiritual problems"
which he sought to cure by intensive shepherding, the Word,
and counselling. It was a contemporary and rival, N1 who
complained via LA to VB about MS whose punishment was then
to be placed on silence restriction. I have no doubt that in
the early stages MS would have tried to ignore the
restriction as much as she thought she could get away with
it. Not to report in the Open Heart Reports anything which
"needed work on" showed self righteousness which became
punishable. There were also some paddlings which cause
concern. J4 paddled JA without even consulting the boy's
father before doing it. It was a bad beating which caused
some bleeding and bruising. Life at Rugby was, therefore,
not all sweetness and light.

Then Mary Malaysia descended on the instruction of Heidi to
run another Victor Programme. This was brutally conducted.
The demerit system led to regular and frequent paddlings.
The paddle was made by J4 and kept in his room. KA, S5, S6
and J2 were beaten and according to CA, J2 and S6 were
bruised. KA in turn beat M1 and KA gave evidence that he
reported the matter to VB and RB and that M1's parents
agreed that the boy needed the hiding. He got it. LA seemed
unwilling to admit this. I am in no doubt that CA was
paddled three times and in her case the implement was a cane
and what she described as "an elastic switch". EM conceded
that she had been beaten.

I have been sorely troubled by the punishments meted out to
MS. She is a pert young lady with a certain steely
determination. I have no doubt that she caused The Family
great concern. She had her sexual relationship with the 19
year old C1 and was defiant in her allegation that C1 was
having an affair with her mother. Then she had a sexual
relationship with a fellow teen DM. In The Family's eyes,
she was a troublemaker with enormous spiritual problems of
lying, self-righteousness, worldliness and every other sin
in the calendar. In other circles this might have amounted
to no more than a high degree of adolescent rebellion. Mary
Malaysia punished her among for other things her sexual
promiscuity knowing full well from information confided by
the girl herself how cruelly abused she had been throughout
her childhood. It was appallingly insensitive retribution.
On one occasion Mary Malaysia paddled her as VB
corroborated. On another occasion VB, who has I suspect even
now, real affection for this characterful girl, beat her
with a "bendy twig" and administered the stipulated
punishment of "ten swats". MS would not yield and VB felt
compelled to beat her again though I am sure a part of her
was revolted by the ferocity of the attack which frustration
at MS's stubbornness provoked. They both ended up in tears.
VB asserts that it was done with a loving heart and that the
punishment was accepted to have been administered in love. I
dare say it was viewed in that way by both VB and MS. In my
judgment, however, love cannot excuse twenty strokes which
cause bruising. On another occasion VB could not bring
herself to administer the punishment and delegated that task
to N1 who was a rival of MS's for DM's affections. Because
MS wished to continue her sexual relationship with DM, he
was chosen to cut the branch from the tree which was used to
beat her. She gave a graphic account of one of these
occasions. She refused to agree to be beaten by Mary. Mary
sent VB to call for RB, her husband. Mary threatened that RB
would have to hold her down. To his credit he refused to
have any part in anything of that kind. Instead he began to
counsel her to accept the punishment which was due to her
for her rebellious attitude. The threat was uttered that if
she did not accept that punishment it would be a mark of
such serious rebellion against the group that they would be
compelled to expel her and send her to her grandparents with
whom she had lost all contact. MS had grown up on the
Traumatic Testimonies and had a fear of the system whose
frightening ways had been emphasised in the literature.
"God's Vomit" was a letter found in her little suitcase of
Family literature and I was in no doubt at all that she
entertained some deeply ingrained fear that God killed
backsliders. One can but imagine how this young lady must
have been struck with terrifying foreboding some months ago
when she learnt that her friend and fellow backslider, who
left The Family as she did, had recently been murdered. At
Rugby the fear of the unknown system was greater than the
pain of a beating, so MS submitted to Mary. She beat her so
hard with the stick cut by DM that MS's buttocks were cut
and her knickers covered with blood.

This was an utterly disgraceful incident. The injustice to a
victim of sex abuse being harshly punished for lesser sexual
misconduct, the humiliation of having her partner in that
escapade having to cut the stick that was used to wound her,
the duress used to extract consent to the beating and the
self- deluding justification that all was done in love, all
that excites my total condemnation.

That was not the end of it. MS was put into isolation. Every
morning she was sent to a caravan in the grounds of the home
where she was left alone apart from visits by some of the
adults, especially VB. She was expected to read the Word. In
fact she spent a good deal of the time filing her
fingernails and brushing her hair which must have served
only to confirm the impression of her inordinate vanity and
sinfulness. She took exercise by walking the fields by
herself or by digging in the garden. This was originally set
as a form of physical punishment but MS preferred it to the
caravan and so she did it. Her meals were brought to her,
but not always. She was allowed to return to the house in
time only to bathe or wash before lights out. She was by now
in such disgrace and was so conscious of the fact that N1
would get her into serious trouble that now she did not dare
to break the silence restriction which had been imposed upon
her. This regime lasted for about 7 weeks. It was

Others were put in isolation. CA was sent to her room for 3
months "intensive care" and M2 was likewise punished for 3
weeks. Silence restriction imposed on those in intensive
care was much more rigorously enforced than the silence
restriction under which MS had been placed for months on end
or the silence restrictions imposed on CA, J2, J3 and M1.


I have little evidence from The Family upon which I can rely
and their failure to deal with these matters leads me to
conclude that Mary Malaysia was running Victor Programmes
probably in Newcastle, and in Scotland. JL told me that the
National Shepherds were receiving calls from different homes
about children whom Mary had put on silence restriction and
she said, contrary to his assertion that he was without
knowledge, that SPM dealt with at least one of these calls.
EM's report did not allay my concern that Victor Programmes
had been run in other locations. The information is sketchy.
CA spoke of corporal punishment being administered in the
Oxford home and she spoke of Oxford S paddling A2 with a
broom handle which broke so that she then continued with an
elastic switch. Oxford S paddled M3 for listening to
inappropriate music. In London CA had been beaten for
pulling a face on her passport photograph and when sent to
Rugby beaten again. In the NAS home at Essex, which I assume
is Coggeshall at the end of 1990/91 NT herself was present
when a 7 year old child was beaten with a switch cut from a
tree. I am driven to conclude that corporal punishment was
endemic within the homes in the United Kingdom and that it
was excessively and at times brutally applied. Silence
restriction was also widely adopted for excessive length of
time. Recourse to isolation was exceptional but its
implementation was severe and damaging.


Mary Malaysia has been held out to be the scapegoat. She
certainly deserves to be roundly condemned and the practices
she brought from the Philippines are indeed indefensible. An
apology from her has been produced. It was a curious
document in that it was not an original and seemed almost to
be part of a series. Though dated September 1992 it is
apparently a document written in September 1993. It was
addressed to the JETTS and Teens and Mary apologised "as one
who laid heavy burdens on you and made life unpleasant for
(you) during the times you were with me." She acknowledged
"a big problem with partiality shown to some of the
teenagers". She apologised:

"For implementing the five demerits policy for little
mistakes you would make and enforcing such a strict silence
restriction rule on you all which was not the standard for
Victor Programmes. ... I am very sorry for laying on you
burdens that were not the Lord's and I would like to ask you
to please forgive me for hurting you in this way. ... I pray
that you will continue to go on for the Lord in spite of
things that you have found confusing and hurt by."

Mary was not called to give evidence before me. I know not
why not. Her conduct was totally inexcusable.

The attempt to shift the whole blame onto Mary is
disingenuous. JD and ED introduced practices from the
Philippines into Wantage which I have already deprecated.
Corporal punishment was administered at times other than
during the course of Victor Programmes. The Victor
Programmes were excessively abusive but the responsibility
for that lies with the National Shepherds. Heidi is
responsible. The Family is responsible. The Family knew
perfectly well that things had gone wrong and they sent EM
on a fact finding mission. I found her to be a totally
unsatisfactory witness. She was not frank with me. She
attempted to deceive me. She gave evidence to me on three
occasions and I still did not get near the truth from her.
If, which I do not accept, she believes even a part of what
she presented to me in her report, which is a report which I
understood to be remitted to World Services, then I am even
more concerned for the children who remain in The Family.
She must know that what she there reports is a travesty of
the truth. How can she believe the following?

"From the accounts of the teens that we talked to, there was
little over discipline. From all accounts one boy seemed to
have been very difficult and the fact that he was in the
programme at a young age was because of the insistence of
his exasperated mother who just didn't know what to do with
him. In one sense it was commendable for them to consider
taking him on given his history, but on the other hand they
clearly did not have sufficient experience to cope with

I ask rhetorically whether the beatings indiscriminately
handed out to innumerable children, many of whom were
bruised, can possibly be described as constituting "little
over discipline". The sympathy she seems to require to be
extended to an exasperated mother and the commendable carers
at Tewkesbury seems to pay scant regard to a 10 year old boy
who was horse cropped by another teenager till he his
buttocks were cut and bruised. This wholly lamentable
failure to face the truth and to acknowledge the full extent
of their deficiencies gives rise to unallayed concern. If,
which I doubt, the report presented to me was in fact the
report being made to World Services, then how can one expect
World Services to correct excesses when fed such anodyne
information as EM presented to them? If, as I suspect, there
are other internal documents which come closer to setting
out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
unpalatable truth, then why have I not been made privy to
those disclosures? This case, being no different from all
the others in this Division, is ultimately about trust. This
young mother expects me to continue to trust her as she
knows - and as The Family know - I have trusted her hitherto
despite The Family's infamous history. Trust does not travel
down a one way street. Trust must be earned. Trust must be
mutual. I shall express my conclusions about this later.

It is, therefore, important to make certain preliminary
findings in this regard. I deal with EM's evidence in more
detail. She swore an Affidavit in these proceedings in
February 1994. She referred to the Victor Programmes which
she and her husband had been running. She made reference to
corporal punishment with a paddle "that is a ladle used for
cooking rice", "between 4-6 stokes over a covered bottom".
She asserted, "I do not believe it was administered harshly
or cruelly." She referred to the Discipleship Training
Revolution as having introduced "uniform minimum standards
for all children." She acknowledged that Victor Programmes
had been copied throughout the World, but, and
significantly, she did not refer to the programmes conducted
in this country even though she must have known that it was
an issue in the case. She explained that silence restriction
was intended to be that half hour period of silence in the
morning after getting up, the one hour rest period during
the day, and half an hour in the evening, it never being
intended as a method of punishment. She acknowledged, "I
have heard instances where some teenagers were placed on
silence restriction for up to 4 weeks." She did not go
further and admit that they were instances which had
occurred in this country when again she must have known that
was an issue in the case. Her Affidavit was wholly silent
about the difficulties that the teenagers had been
encountering in this country and which she had been sent to
investigate. Is this not a perfect example of "Deceivers Yet
True"? Indeed, when cross examined, EM asserted that it was
permissible to lie to the system where the life and well
being of the children was at stake, for example as it was in
Argentina. She might have added "and in the United Kingdom!"
In my note of her evidence in chief she explained that she
had come to Europe because of the concern of World Services
about the number of teenagers that were leaving the
movement. She said that she had never seen so many teens
leaving and so she thought The Family must be doing
something wrong and she therefore visited all the homes in
Europe. She also admitted that she had visited four homes in
this country and that she had held a meeting for the teens
to attend; that seventy did so in Nottingham; that it was
acknowledged that there were problems and that they had an
open forum session but that there were still problems in
this country. She explained that the reason for the
difficulties were that the children were subject to "diverse
worldliness" in that they dabbled with heavy rock music,
drink and violence and so the solution perceived to be
necessary was "to bring back the standards we would expect
in Family homes." She acknowledged the Victor Programme in
Wales (Tewkesbury) and that Heidi, David, JL and SPM thought
it better to set up training in individual homes. She was
firmly cross examined on behalf of the Official Solicitor.
It was interesting to read again comments I wrote in the
margin of my notebook about the manner in which she gave
evidence. Among the several things I noted were, for
example, "nice lady but blind to the consequence of her
acts"; "nervous, clenching and unclenching her fists and
very tense"; "she is being defensive and is lying", "evading
the truth" (when she sought to deny the authenticity of the
picture in the Child Discipline letter where the adult holds
a stick as I have already described). Thereafter my notes
become variations on the theme of "evasive", "very evasive",
"lies!", "not frank", "clear evidence of cover up". She was,
therefore, an exasperating witness because she is an
essentially sincere lady who simply cannot believe that her
genuine actions taken with the best will in the world for
the benefit of the teens with whom she has been so involved
have nonetheless had wholly harmful consequences. Of the UK
Victor Programme she said this:-

"The person asked to carry out the programme here didn't
know enough to practice it effectively, so the leadership
terminated it. People made mistakes and so it was thought
better not to have another."

On the issue of separating parents from children she said

"NT must therefore understand that if ever she were
persistently to murmur against the leadership, then I, after
anxious prayer and as a last resort, would feel constrained
temporarily to remove S from her to gain the victory."

Further cross examined about the Victor Programmes here she
admitted that possibly she was wrong because she knew of a
"new model programme" being run by Mary Malaysia at Rugby.
She spoke of Tony, Zack Attack, and said of him:-

"He did get a beautiful victory. If you could see him you
would see the miracle of the way the Lord worked in his
life. It took extreme measures but if you read the tale of
murmurers in the Sinai Desert who were destroyed, the Lord
had mercy on Tony. You could see the victory in his

On hearing that I made the comment, "Frightening evidence,"
because her complacency had robbed her of insight into why
his spirit had been broken.

She gave evidence for 3 to 4 days and at the end of which
she identified mistakes she found had been made as follows:
That Mary Malaysia had little experience with teenagers and
had not any realisation of the sobering responsibilities she
carried. Her feeling was that she was "partial" in her
association with the teens. The treatment might have been
harsh in some case, in that possibly MS had been beaten,
that F1 (16) no longer had animosity from a few unfair
paddlings and that CA who had left The Family, was partial
but had not herself been paddled. Some of the teens F1, CA
and M2 had said that silence restriction had been unfair and
extreme. She knew much more than she was willing to
disclose. Even now I doubt whether I heard the whole truth
from her.

[ CLICK ME! ] Go To Part 15 . . .

[ CLICK ME! ] Go To Part 17 . . .