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September 27, 2021

Controversial cult members live off public funding in Timisoara

One of the most controversial international sects, Family International, has a growing community in Romania, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ informs in a feature story.

In Timisoara, the group has a 21 people community living out of public money and supported by local administration with money for charity projects. Overall, there are 47 foreign citizens, missionaries belonging to the former Children of God community who live in Romania. ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ tells the story of the 21 US, Spanish, Bulgarian and Germany nationals residing in a luxury house in the very centre of Timisoara. The seven men, seven women and their seven children have been here for more than four years, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ informs. They live after the sect’s norms, deeming free sex exchange between members of the group and engaging in sexual intercourse with under-aged. They are all unemployed and are living out of financial support from both the Youth Organization in Timisoara and the local transport company.

According to the data disclosed by the daily, the association Contact, Counselling and Care which is the official company name used as by the sect, has in August 2009 received a donation from the Regional Transport Company worth RON 3042, 30. According to the regional company, sponsorship was in the form of a bus used for transporting youth to a summer camp in Cheveresu Mare. The newspaper goes on to say behind Contact, Counselling and Care’s name hide all of the sect’s activities in Romania. The cult law in Romania is permissive enough not to ask them about their beliefs.

The Children of God, later known as the Family of Love, the Family, and now The Family International is a new religious movement, referred to as a cult, started in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California, United States. It was an offshoot of the Jesus movement of the late 1960s, with many of its early converts drawn from the hippie movement.

Members of the Children of God founded communes, first called “colonies” but now referred to as “homes,” in various cities. They would proselytize in the streets and distribute pamphlets.

The founder of the movement was a former Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor, David Brandt Berg (1919–1994), also known within the group as Moses David, Mo, Father David, and Dad to adult group members. After Berg’s death, the name was changed. The Family of Love era was characterized by expansion into more countries. Regular proselytization methods included “door to door”, distributing tracts and other gospel literature. In 1974, David Berg introduced a new proselytization method called Flirty Fishing which encouraged female members to show God’s love by engaging in sexual activity with potential converts. Children born as result of Flirty Fishing were referred to as “Jesus Babies.” By the end of 1981, more than 300 “Jesus Babies” had been born.

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