Twisted Minds - Underground Reviews

måndag 2 april 2018

THE LOVE PROPHET & THE CHILDREN OF GOD (1998)

Directed by: Abby Jack Neidik
Written by: Paul Cowan
Stars: David Berg, Faith Berg, Jane Berg... read more

Country: Canada
Style: Documentary
Runtime: 52 min
DATE: 2018-04-02 | WRITER: CHRISTOPHER BOUCHIE SCREENSHOTS:

Well, I guess I got a little carried away with this one. So this one was made before the events that led to the making of CULT KILLER seven years later. Granted the murder/suicide was huge, there was no lack of controversy here.

The main focus here is David Berg and his little rise and fall. And let me tell you, this dude really couldn’t keep his nose clean. He treated religion like he was a jilted ex lover. He was rejected from the “mainstream” church, so he packed his shit and fled to the west where he redesigned himself as a radical and focused on the hippy youth of the 60’s. With the kids who hated everything about the establishment and anything established, he begins traveling the country with these recruits who call themselves Revolutionaries For Jesus, in a bus with Children Of God scrawled across it.

They were serious about their religion, Picketing other churches and preaching about the end time everywhere they went. Aggressively. A lot of the footage of the kids singing and hanging out is very reminiscent of the Manson Family.

Eventually the kids and Berg start feeling bad about themselves and the idea that they don’t have a home base, they’re struggling around the country. Suffering it out for God, or whatever. And Berg ends up finding them a 400 acre farm to hang out on.

In the meantime, Berg sets an end time date that passes. So he sets another, and another, and another. With no end time in sight, some people get jaded, but, being shitty hippies, they stick around for the free home and meals.

Berg gets more and more ridiculous as far as his claims of being a prophet go. He gets into speaking tongues and putting on bizarre shows for his followers. He has an epiphany about how Jesus wants him to have several wives and free love and free sex.

He begins calling himself Moses David. He starts to have all sorts of strange theories and ideas about sex. The hippies must’ve gotten to him with their hippy bullshit or something, man.

Parents started to go looking for their kids. Protesting. Berg fleas the country with his favorite wife. The people who remained faithful put on a Camp Nowhere-esque show to try and convince the parents that nothing was weird about their hippy religion. The parents didn’t buy it and started demanding the land owners evict them. Old Berg over in England pretty much tells them that “it is what it is, it’s meant to be. Go colonize the world.” So they start spreading out. I sort of took this as Berg trying to maintain his little power erection from a distance.

He begins to preach about what he calls the Flirty Fish, which is something that God told him about. Basically, he was telling the girls in his cult to start flirting with people to get them to join the club. And flirting in this case really just means prostituting. He starts publishing zines about his beliefs. Instructional books about how to indoctrinate new people into the club. They were really kind of cool looking as far as DIY zines and outsider comix go.

Every woman in the cult is all of the sudden a preaching prostitute. They travel around preaching to the youth and at night time hooking. For the first time ever families are weirded out by their children getting into religion and anti-cult movements start forming. Berg finds himself in trouble with he law again. This time for running a prostitution ring. So again, he goes into hiding.

Realizing the extreme success of his zines and paperwork and seeing the video boom going on, Berg gets himself a camera and starts producing video tapes as companion pieces to his zines. He sends them weekly to over 700 colonies around the world. Which is insane. That’s so many people. So by the mid 80’s this cult that started as a way to make Berg feel better about himself for getting outcasted from mainstream religion has turned into a prostitution ring. There’s videos of members of the cult Flirty Fishing all over the world. Schmoozing the Vice Presidents of major international businesses. It’s bizarre.

Berg is still on the run though, Interpol is after him for running a prostitution ring. He’s starting to get ultra paranoid. He won’t let people take photographs with him unless his face is obscured. He starts to worry about people hurting him. Because people are threatening to hurt him. Someone put a hit out on him.

Towards the late 80’s, Berg gets really into drinking. His zines become more and more about conspiracy theories, specifically about “the Jews and the blacks” he starts insisting that mothers should masturbate their children, he talks a lot about his own sexual romps, and complains a lot about how he regrets never having sex with his mother. Some people are weirded out by this. But most people are sort of in it to win it and are fine with riding the ship down to its watery grave with Berg at the helm. Anyone who speaks out against him is “dealt with” and treated like they’re committing treason. People start getting excommunicated.

Berg starts to have his girls record themselves doing stripteases and send them to him. Which slowly turns into them sending videos of themselves masturbating. This eventually turns into the children doing the same, I guess. There’s weird footage in there of that. It’s not very graphic though.

Berg decides to take in his granddaughter. Or have someone else take in his granddaughter. This part is confusing. But she accuses him of molesting her. So I’m assuming it was him that took her in. She has a series of mental breakdowns. I’m assuming because of the sexual abuse. And these fuckers obviously don’t believe in medical help for situations like this, so what do they do? Give her a series of exorcisms... this is when I decided that any weird, fucked up thing in the world wasn’t off of their radar. I know that all of the sexual abuse and prostitution is bottom of the barrel. But the exorcism stuff is like insult to injury here.

Fast forward to the 90’s. Berg’s health is declining. So, of course he gets into end time shit again. Conveniently around now, all over the world, Children Of God communes are getting their doors booted in by the feds. Hundreds of children are getting taken into protective custody, dozens of parents are going to jail. The end time is here. Especially for Berg, because he kicks the bucket due to natural causes.

RIP to Berg, but his followers didn’t wait very long to renounce him and his beliefs and move on without him. They get away with all of the legal shit that they were in because of Berg (RIP) and get their children back.

They’ve turned more into a Mormon group (Sorry Mormons). No more prostitution or videos of girls masturbating. It’s all just door to door preaching now.

They went from several hundred thousand to just nine thousand. They said that most of his followers had never seen his face before because of how strict he was about having his picture taken. They’re all overly wholesome now too. Having cookouts and singalongs like the good old days.

I’m convinced that after reading 5000 verses, word for word from the Bible, and after reading and studying them constantly for all those seven years, that you can justify almost anything if you know enough scripture verses.” - It ended with that quote, and I think it’s badass.

They didn’t touch on any of the Davidito/Ricky Rodriguez stuff at all. Which was surprising because it was definitely going on and a big thing at the time. But I get that it came out seven years before all of the heavy stuff really went down. So it might’ve just been a footnote as far as messed up stuff goes with these guys before the revenge murder from Cult Killer took place.

I’ve now officially been immersed in Children Of God related stuff for over 24 hours. Time to sign out.






















MORE DETAILS:

Produced by: Kate Kung, Irene Lilienheim Angelico, Abby Jack Neidik, Susan Palmer, Amy Webb
Cinematography by: Nash Read
Editing by: Rudy Buttignol, Abby Jack Neidik, Torben Schioler
Special Effects by: None
Music by: Denis L. Chartrand, Normand Roger
Language: English
Color: Color

DistributorFilms Transit International



CHRISTOPHER BOUCHIE:

Writer for Twisted Minds. Crazy American guy, collaborates together with his homebro Crack Sizzlack and Four Twenty Film Reviews. Have a great knowledge about movies and music and has been on the track as long as he can remember. He has a huge VHS-collection and is responsible owner of the underground movie distribution label King of the Witches and has written and directed the feature film In Furs (2016).
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