Lord Justice Ward

The oral evidence

MB gave evidence of her relationship with her grandfather.
Her evidence is plainly of importance. She is a disaffected
former member. Her aunt Deborah (Berg's daughter), has led a
campaign whose object is that The Family be destroyed. MB
has been subjected to the influence of Deborah. She is in
close contact with all those intent on The Family's
downfall. Her evidence, more than anyone's, had to be
subjected to the most careful scrutiny. She is moreover a
young woman with an uncertain psychiatric history. I shall
set out in detail how her health broke when she was in The
Family, when, beyond question, she suffered psychotic
episodes. She had treatment in the United States after her
repatriation there. I have no medical reports giving me any
accurate picture of her mental condition. I had no help in
judging whether or not her undoubted breakdown had impaired
her ability to remember the events taking place before and
even during these psychotic episodes. I asked Dr Cameron for
his opinion. He told me that in the light of MB's pre-morbid
personality which all described as conscientious, dutiful
and good, she can be relied on to give an accurate account
of what had happened. I shall treat that opinion cautiously.
It does not justify my immediate acceptance of what she said
but there is no evidence that her illness makes her
unreliable. It remains for me to judge whether he hostility
undermines her credibility. I became more and more convinced
by her evidence the longer she gave it. She did not seem to
me to paint the picture blacker than it was. She said at one
point that she only wished to say what was necessary and
there were several instances where it would have been
perfectly possible for her to gild the lily had that been
her purpose. By way of one example, she spoke of her time in
the Philippines and of Simon Peter's involvement with the
young. She said that she and her friend A1 had been taking a
nap and when she awoke, A1 told her that Simon Peter had had
sex with her. She said she did not see it and when offered
the opportunity to say that he had misconducted himself with
her, she unhesitatingly said that he had not. I had to
consider the extent to which she was prone to exaggeration.
I had listened aghast to her account of her exorcism and I
began to think it could not possibly all be true. Much later
in the case I read The Family's own account, which appeared
to be a transcript of a tape recording of the events as they
happened and that showed that MB had been moderate in her
complaint of the indignities heaped upon her. It was
suggested to her that because she had been billed for
stardom within The Family as the leader's granddaughter and
had so enjoyed the spotlight of adulation during her time
with Music with Meaning, she now could not survive without
being the centre of attention and so in order to appear on
television "Chat Shows", she needed to say more and more
outrageous and untrue things. I totally reject that
criticism of her. That is not at all how she struck me.
Because I believe her, I find that Berg and Maria came down
to her bedroom and whilst Maria and Sarah were talking, Berg
got into her bed in their presence and fondled her. This
happened on a number of occasions. She was called to his
quarters. He was invariably impotent and they did not have
sexual intercourse though he once tried to penetrate her, so
there is no evidence of incest strictly defined. He did
rupture her hymen with his finger. They had oral sex. That
was oral sex by him on her, not so far as she could
recollect by her on him. At one point they went through a
mock celebration of marriage. Maria was fully aware of what
was happening.

There is some very slight corroboration for what she says.
In the letter "The Last State" Berg berated her in these

"What have you against me? What have I ever done to you but
shower attention on you, even favour you, even tried to be
good to you, help you, let you live in our home for 3 years,
support you, lavish every kind of good and love on you that
we possibly could, invited you into our own quarters right
here to live right next door to us and to sleep with my
children and into our own bedroom and into our own bed."

There were other strange pieces of evidence, though I do not
need them to complete the jigsaw. In "The Dangers of
Demonism" the complaint is that MB:

"considered herself to actually be Heaven's Girl, thinking
herself to be so perfect, wonderful and spiritual, and would
go out and criticise Dad and Mama thinking she, MB, would be
the new teen Maria."

It was also written:

"She began to believe that Grandpa loved her more than
anyone else, even more than Mama. She confessed to thinking
she should take Mama's place because she considered herself
to be Heaven's Girl."

Although it is far fetched, I bear in mind the curious tale
of the Heaven's Girl's sexual encounter with Grandpa.

One of the matters about which The Family are particularly
sensitive, so sensitive in fact that in the document
"Contending for the Faith" they school the members in how to
deal with this matter, is the question of Berg's sexual
relationship with his own daughter. It seems to me that Berg
stands condemned of this by Faithy's published reaction to
"Childhood Sex" and her reference to "front rubbin" which
made her feel good all over and which she did not think
perverted her at all. It is a clear admission of
masturbation by father on daughter.

I am not alone in concluding that sexual abuse took place in
David Berg's household. The Family's own expert Dr Millikan
is of the same opinion.


The evidence is sparse and the conclusions are incomplete
and imperfect. The most - or I suspect more accurately, the
least - I can confidently find is this:-

1. David Berg

I am completely satisfied that he was obsessed with sex and
that he became a perverted man who recklessly corrupted his
flock and did many of them serious damage which he made no
attempt to redress and for which he never admitted any
personal responsibility. Hypocritically he did not practice
what he preached, that confession and repentance are good
for the soul. Now he is dead. May the Lord have mercy on his
soul. There will be many who will not mourn his passing. KJ
is no doubt among that large number. He did not live long
enough to read her indictment of him as she gave evidence.
Those of us who heard it, those of us whose hearts are not
frozen by prejudice, whose ears are not deaf to things they
do not wish to hear and whose eyes are not blind to genuine
tears, we will remember that young woman breaking down in
the witness box and through her sobs crying out:-

"If it's changed so much, how can it have changed? This all
started with David Berg. He's the one who decided it all.
It's all his prophecy, so how can he suddenly change it all.
Is he saying it's all wrong, saying that he made a mistake?
WhereÕs all this counselling being given to the victims he's
made? Has he done anything to help to stop the suffering
that has happened and is just going to keep going on because
you suffer it all your life. How can it have changed? It's
changed on the outside so that we don't persecute them. It
hasn't changed his heart. It hasn't changed his mind. It's
just made things more covered up, more secretive, that's
all. He hasn't said sorry for any of the things he started
in the first place. He hasn't done anything to correct them
to make them right. How can you say it's changed? People are
still suffering for what he's done to us. It'll be with me
for the rest of my life, I know that. Every decision I make,
everything I do. I still have phobias, phobias about men.
Where's all the help. If you do wrong to someone or
thousands of people, you should help if you really believe
in your heart that you've done wrong and I don't believe he

I make no apology for repeating and adopting this passionate

2. Maria

She has been at Berg's side throughout all of this. She did
not initiate it but for a long time participated in the
excesses and saw her own son abused and harmed. I believe
that she in her heart of hearts knows just how wrong the
propagation of these freedoms were. MB fairly observed that
Maria was not likely to have been able to have stopped the
sexual relationship Berg was promoting between MB and
Davidito and MB also said she felt that Maria was not happy
with what Grandpa was doing to her. I am also satisfied that
Maria does lead the determined effort that has been made to
stop these practices. I believe that her expressions of
regret are genuine, though belated and insufficient.

3. Sara Davidito

She stands condemned by her upbringing of Davidito and Techi
and her own daughter Davida and she was a party to the
abuses which took place within the Berg household. She
remains notwithstanding all of that, a highly respected and
influential childcare officer. I have no confidence in her.

4. Peter Amsterdam

I find he was corrupted by the sexual freedoms his revered
leader offered him. MB spoke of Amsterdam being in bed with
Maria while she was in bed with Grandpa. I had no reason to
doubt it. Sated with sex, the ordinary inhibitions and the
social taboos broke down, as Dr Cameron explained they
would, and there is evidence that Amsterdam "shared" with MB
and A1.

5. Gary

MB did not complain about him and I have therefore no
evidence as to his involvement.

6. CJ - (Simon Peter)

There is hearsay evidence from MB that A1 said she had had
sex with him. It is insufficient for me to find that against

7. Michael G. - Apollos

I cannot recall evidence against him.

8. Jeremy S.

His own daughter with understandable reluctance complained
that he abused her as I find he did. He also abused MB.
Music with Meaning was a particularly corrupt and corrupting
organisation. He played a central part in it.

9. Paul P. - Josiah

He Was another member of the Music with Meaning team. He
corrupted and abused the young girls who were part of the
singing and dancing troupe. What troubles me gravely is that
he is now the European Shepherd and S is subject to his
controlling influences - or the lack of them.

10. EM

She is another childcare expert who was prepared to
encourage the teenagers in her charge in Japan to have
sexual intercourse, some of them for the first time. It was
she who belatedly woke up to the fact that she was promoting
promiscuity. She did not appear to grasp the irony of
contrast between that behaviour and her proudly proclaiming
that she had brought up her own daughter to be a chaste
young woman.

There is, therefore, overwhelming evidence that the high
leadership within The Family has been guilty of child sexual
abuse. That must concern this Court.

It would be wrong, however, not to record, with equal
emphasis, that there is no evidence whatever that there is
anyone in authority at the Ward's home or nationally has
himself or herself been guilty of sexual abuse. I find that
they were not party to any of those excesses. They had read
My Little Fish but could not believe that such sexual
contact was appropriate. In the MAs case, they robustly
rejected the invitation for their child to share with
another. There never has been even a suggestion that NT
herself has committed any indecency. The acquittal of this
young mother and those close to her occupies this lonely
paragraph in a very long judgment, but the acquittal will
remain prominent in my mind when I come to balance the risks
of harm to S.

With a sigh of relief, I turn from sex abuse to the other no
less important and perhaps more important issues in the


The Plaintiff's case was that The Family so strongly believe
in the healing power of prayer, that they are neglectful of
the need for proper medical treatment; that because they too
frequently believe that illness is a punishment for
sinfulness, they are intolerant of those who suffer physical
or mental disability.

The Family do not deny their belief in healing by faith.
They assert it. They are fully justified in doing so. It is
an established tenet of Christian belief. I am much less
certain of the theological justification for the apparent
correlation between illness and sin, nor do I intend to
enter into that debate. For the purpose of this judgment it
is sufficient for me to express my concern about the effect
on children of such passages as I find in "True Comix"
clearly designed to be read by young children which told

"But sometimes if we're really being bad or foolish and
doing things we know are wrong, the Lord may take away His
protection and let us get hurt or sick as punishment for
being so naughty. Sometimes that's why we get sick, because
the Lord is spanking us for being naughty. When we're sick
we should pray and ask the Lord why. If we have been bad or
naughty, if we are really sorry, he forgives us and heals
us.... Sometimes maybe you'll be sick even when you weren't
bad and did nothing wrong. Maybe God let you get sick to
show you he can heal you like he did with the blind man in
the Bible."

The drawings showed a young girl in bed with measles or
chicken pox apparently thinking she had been naughty because
the picture showed that God had her over his knee, her
trousers but not her panties down and He was spanking her on
the bottom. The Family seemed oblivious of the dangers in
such messages. The danger was that the messages were taken
literally and to extremes. In an organisation where strong
faith and unquestioning obedience were drummed into all,
young and old, extreme reactions were inevitably likely to
follow. This is seen in the sad story of Shuly.

This girl was a deeply committed member of the group. Some
of her letters to the leadership have been published and are
before me, others are not. She contracted Lupus, a
debilitating disease. She wrote to Berg asking for
permission to read "System" books against which Berg had so
vehemently railed in such letters as "You are What you
Read." I am told by the girl's mother SP, that the letter
was published with the footnote from Berg hoping Shuly would
be healed but suggesting that perhaps Lupus provided the
answer for her. What did that mean? SPM provided this
explanation in his Affidavit:-

"Having diagnosed the problem, I have no doubt that the
disciple would be encouraged to pray for healing and to try
to discover through prayer the cause of what it is, what the
meaning is. Sometimes illness can lead people to greater
faith and to examine their heart to see what, if any,
message there is in their situation. We believe that illness
can have a spiritual dimension to it."

In the result this seriously ill child was led to the belief
that God was spanking her and inflicting a terminal disease
upon her as a punishment for her reading the sort of books
which, if her rights as an intelligent young person enjoyed
any respect at all, would have been freely and
unquestioningly available to her. As she faced death, she
lived with the terror that her faith was so weak that she
had lost God's protection, was unworthy of healing and
rightly condemned to eternal damnation. This was emotional
abuse to an intolerable degree. Her mother on one occasion
found her in a state of shock because she had been reading a
Mo letter not placed before me, "When the Incurable become
Unbearable" which suggested that those with incurable
disease should be placed in homes so that the missionaries
could go on unimpeded by such a handicap. Of the same tenor
was the "Rotten Apples":-

"We must remember that if there is a retarded or deformed,
chronically sick or handicapped child, a queer child or baby
born in a family, there is usually something wrong with the
mother or father that God is chastening them for and either
trying to teach them a lesson or simply punish them for
their past or present sins. It's certainly not the child's
fault. ... We cannot allow one handicapped soldier to drag
down the whole army, nor one rotten apple to spoil the whole
barrel full. The problem has either to be cured or The
Family delivered from it. ... (The mother) should confess
and repent of her sins which caused it, acknowledge it and
ask for deliverance, and then the whole Family should pray
desperately for the deliverance of the child so that at
least its spirit changes from a bad spirit to a good one; or
I would suggest that perhaps both should be separated from
The Family and certainly from a family with other children
in which the retarded child could be a bad influence or even
a danger. ... Let's lay aside every weight and these fruits
of sin that do so easily beset us and let us run the race
and not sit down spending our full time taking care of a
bunch of handicapped who will never be able to truly serve
the Lord as well as we! Don't let the devil deceive and side
track you into something less than the best."

I well understand that that is not the whole story. Not all
cases received that extreme treatment. In 1991, which is 10
years after Rotten Apples, letters were published by a
mother, Marianne, concerning her Downes Syndrome baby whose
two years of life in her mother's care touched and inspired

Other contradictions abound. When Flirty Fishing was most
enthusiastically pursued, it had as its consequence,
inevitably, that many of the women contracted venereal
disease. It was almost enough to persuade Berg to cry a halt
to that profitable enterprise. He did not. Instead he wrote
the scurrilous paper suggesting that Christ might have
contracted a venereal disease from Mary Magdalene, who had
been a known prostitute, and that just as He suffered for
our sins, so the FFing girls were similarly afflicted
because of the sins of the men they were trying to save.
Venereal disease was, accordingly, a part of the continuing
sacrifice they had to make. Maria "had something three times
just in the space of about three months". Their solution

"We pray immediately of course, but we also go to the doctor
to get him to do whatever he can to help clear it up."

There was, therefore, no embargo on seeking medical help but
there was often some reluctance to do seek it to the
detriment of the patient. There were examples of that in the
evidence before me. JG in Romania in about 1992, had a boil
on his face which became so badly infected that he became
seriously ill. His requests for a doctor to attend or for
his being taken to hospital were refused. Prayer was the
only cure offered. He was told that he must have some
serious spiritual problem for God to be so harshly dealing
with him. He was not healed. He was taken to hospital
eventually, but not before time. For this young man, that
did not sustain his faith: it destroyed it.

AB was in Argentina in 1990, and fell acutely ill. The
letters she had been assigned to read did not gain for her
the requisite "victory". For the shepherds who cared for her
that was an indication that she needed a sharp warning and
needed to confess whatever terrible sin she was hiding. She
was regarded as "rebellious" because she did not wish to
eat. She was told Oplexicon, one of Satan's archangels, was
living in her. She was barely 17 years old at the time and
she was terrified. After many days of high fever and
delirium she was finally taken to hospital and received
emergency surgery which saved her life, but did not save her
fallopian tubes. She was the victim of cruel neglect and
those who had charge of her in the absence of her parents
treated her with callous disregard for her welfare.

How did that happen? The answer is one which sends a shiver
of apprehension down my spine. The answer is that her
shepherds were conforming with the standards set by the
leadership and were following their example. For them, AB
was another MB. AB was ill in January 1990. In December
1989, the first issue of the new "Teen Specials" featuring a
"Traumatic Testimony" was published as a warning to
teenagers who like AB were:

"Wilfully yielding to the same spiritual sins that she (MB)
yielded to such as extreme pride, self- righteousness,
self-exultation and harsh criticism of others ... You can
wind up in a living hell on earth like MB has experienced
even within The Family if you yield to the Devil and his
doubtful destructive and damning devices".

That letter was accompanied by "The last State" describing,
as I shall do in a moment, how The Family dealt with MB and
how her grandfather told her:

"You think .... you can invite these little devils to play
around and cause trouble and all the rest but you can't
stop, I want to tell you right now, not without suffering
for it, not without paying for it! ... Those little dirty
demons you've been inviting in to play around with and talk
to you are not going to get away with it any more. Because
they're going to lose their happy home in you, one way or
the other."

What so concerns me is that here is another example of the
letters influencing the conduct of the members and causing
irreparable damage.

The treatment meted out to MB is so appalling that no one
except perhaps DR had the gall to tempt to defend it. Mr
Barton, labouring under the tremendous difficulty of coming
so late into the case, did his best to cross examine MB and
challenge her account of what had happened to her. The
documents produced very much later in the case confirmed her
evidence - indeed satisfied me that her evidence was
restrained and understated rather than exaggerated. The
letters are "The Last State" and the "Dangers of Demonism"
published in March and July 1987. MB, born in June 1972, was
invited to her grandfather's compound in December 1983, aged
11, left there in August 1987, aged 15 and left The Family
for the United States in November 1990 aged 18. Sara wrote
in "The Last State" letters:-

"How unbelievably good MB was in her overall behaviour,
attitudes and even in spirit. There is no more extreme
example we could use as an almost, nearly "perfect" child -
the "best" we'd ever seen! We hardly could find any fault
with her at all as MB was outwardly so very sweet, well
behaved, submissive, yielded, very wise, very spiritual,
mature and responsible and cooperative, just a real angel.
Usually, when having to use such severe disciplinary
measures as mentioned in the above letter, you're dealing
with some incorrigible, defiant and rebellious teen terror
or criminal, but this is not so in MB's case. She was always
known and considered to be a very sweet and good girl."

Apparently her problem was being "seemingly too good". Sara
recounted that it was not until they began to require a
written daily report from the teens that they noted in MB's
"Lesson and Trials" section that she repeatedly wrote "I
need more love so I won't criticise others," or "I'm praying
for more respect for my leadership."

Who could blame the girl for lacking respect for a man so
revered by others when she knew from her personal knowledge
that he was foul mouthed, drank too much and sexually abused
her. For this she was brutally punished. Her crime was to
have yielded to Satan. That led to a time of two months when
she had five major exorcisms performed over her. She was
subjected to total immersion in the Word, full-time, with
top leadership "reading aloud along with her to keep her
mind and mouth and eyes and ears occupied and for a constant
infilling of the Holy Spirit." They prayed over her, even
fifty times a day. She was 14 years old! She told me in her
evidence that nearly ever word uttered by Berg was tape
recorded. I thought at the time that it seemed rather
fanciful. "The Last State" letter GN278 written in August
1987, seems to be a transcript of recorded conversations and
it constitutes a verbatim account of one of the exchanges
between this vulnerable teenage girl and her grandfather. I
am not surprised that the letter describes it as "the
heaviest "strong meat" ever to be (published) and shared
with our entire Family". The verbatim account was set out on
19 closely typed pages of which the following give the

"Dad had been counselling some of The Family for several
hours about being merciful and not being too hard on MB, and
he called her in to gently try to talk to her and try to
help her. But the Lord himself was obviously very upset with
her as we were all soon to see!"

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