Life with Grandpa - the Mene Story

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Editor's note: Life with Grandpa is a series of internal publications for children in The Family. This series consists of comic-style books featuring David Berg (called Grandpa by children in the Family), Karen Zerby, Angela Smith, Ricky Rodriguez, Techi and other children and adults who lived with The Family's leaders. In this article, Ricky tells what life growing up with Berg and Zerby in his own words. Mene is David Berg's grandaughter, Merry Berg.


Ricky Rodriguez

[edit] Life with Grandpa—the Mene Story

From Ricky — Tuesday, June 04, 2002. Originally published on MovingOn.


"What Mene Berg went through was a form of torture…Maria and Peter stood by and watched it happen and approved of what was happening. They showed little more sensitivity and insight than their at times demented leader. They [The Family] must acknowledge that what David Berg did to his granddaughter was wrong, not just a mistake, but inexcusably wrong. [The Family] must atone for their treatment of her which I find to have been barbaric and cruel".

The Judgment of Lord Justice Ward.


Mene came to live with us when she was 11 years old. It was explained to myself, Davida and Techi that Berg felt sorry for Mene as she had a difficult childhood. We were told that since her father had died and her mother was crazy, she wasn’t getting the care she deserved.

After she arrived, things started changing for us. Because she was a few years older than I was (being the oldest), and 7 or 8 years older than Techi (the youngest in our "group"), it raised the standard considerably for us, and made it harder to keep up.

Maria and Sara were obsessed with their image and the reflection we cast on it. We not only had to be "good kids", but we had to be the best! After all, we were "Grandpa and Maria’s kids". We were supposed to be super-kids, commissioned with taking over the Family when Berg died, and leading God’s Endtime Army through the Great Tribulation!

If we were going to be able to do that, then why on earth shouldn’t they expect Techi to keep up with someone like Mene who was only 7 or 8 years older than she was, and certainly hadn’t had "as good training"?

We still were kids, and we wanted to play with our toys and just have fun, instead of worrying about watching all our actions and making a good impression on our teachers etc.

Mene didn’t seem to be interested in playing games and playing with toys. She didn’t seem to view school and "Word Time" as something to "endure", as we did. She was always held up as the example for us to follow, and we started resenting her for being smarter, more liked, and the center of attention, mainly from Berg.

After a few other pre-teen and teen girls joined our home and "Teen Training" began, just having fun and being a kid was not an option. Our days were scheduled to the minute and there were demerits to be had for even being slightly late for the next class or activity. If ever we tried to explain why we were late, we often got slapped with another demerit for "justifying ourselves".

Berg had already been fondling and sexually abusing Mene, so when these other young girls came, they, of course, had to go through the same thing. But Mene was Berg’s favorite. It seems he found his perverted, incestuous relationships with his daughters and granddaughter, and fucked-up fantasies about banging his own mother to be more exciting than anything else.

Deborah writes that a few days after her "coronation" in the early days of the Family, that Berg woke her up in the middle of the night quoting "all things" and "law of love" verses at her to try to get her to have sex with him. It seems that was his ulterior motive behind the whole crowning. Luckily, she was able to fend him off and pretend to fall asleep so he left her alone.

Her rejection of his sexual advances was not to go unpunished, however, and a few weeks later she was blasted in a long, public, traumatic session. Here’s an excerpt of what she wrote about it:

"Because I had refused my father’s desire for an incestuous relationship, I had in effect refused to accept him as God’s Prophet. The prophet did not act selfishly or for his own personal design or pleasure—it was always under the direct inspiration of the Almighty. I had rejected the counsel of the Lord. I was no longer worthy to be called Queen.
"It was, indeed, my little sister, Faithy, who was the rightful Queen—she had never rejected my father. It was revealed in front of all present, for the first time, that from her early childhood, she and my father had practiced incest. It was she who reverenced him as a true Prophet. I was rebellious and selfish—I had always rejected him.
"Consequently, the newly crowned Queen Deborah lost not only her title, but figuratively her head as well. I was demoted, removed from all power and authority, ordered to be subservient to all present, and stripped of my right to the throne."

End of excerpt from Deb.

So he used to bang Faithy, tried to get it on with Deb, and then started on his granddaughter, Mene.

Excerpt from Lord Justice Ward’s Judgment:

"…Berg and Maria came down to her [Mene] 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."

Even though it seems Berg preferred incestuous sex to sex with unrelated women, he couldn’t be seen to be partial. After all, "Variety is the spice of life", as he would say. He certainly practiced what he preached in that respect.

Every morning Berg would read the reports Maria would give him that came from the different Family leaders, henchmen, and tattle-tales around the world (she would censor and sanitize them first so Berg wouldn’t flip out or drink himself to death after reading anything too "negative"). He would also spend hours on the toilet smoking his cigars and reading the newspapers. Then around mid-day, he would be ready to go out on "inspection", as he called it. Gabe (a.k.a. Terry/John) would usually be the one to accompany him.

They would walk around the property and Berg would point out different things that needed to be done. Faithful Gabe would have his notebook ready to write everything down including other little "sayings" and "Grandpa jewels" that spewed like shit from the prophet’s mouth.

Gabe was notorious with Berg and Maria for having a poor memory, but he seems to have remembered his version of the "Grandpa Stories" quite well, and uses them on people to make them feel closer to or better about Berg when needed.

After that, Berg would take his daily swim. After he was done doing laps, Gabe would bring him one of the girls and they would have sex in the pool.

This had been going on for a long time, even before "Teen Training" started. Some of the girls had exceptionally loud orgasms, especially Sara. In fact, they were so loud, that someone hearing them for the first time would no-doubt believe that she was faking it. But because we were all used to hearing them at that insane volume for many years, the thought never crossed my mind.

I know some girls did fake it because they just weren’t turned on in the least. But they knew that if they didn’t appear to "go" as Berg liked to call it, he would keep at it until they did. He used to always boast about how much stamina he had, and how he worked on one girl once for 2 hours before she finally came. Holy Mother of God! If she had any sense at all she would have just faked it and gotten it over with a lot sooner! Berg said it was because she was "frigid", but if she wasn’t before, she most likely was after he rubbed her raw for 2 fucking hours!

I think Joy (a.k.a. Sue; Trust; Angela) holds the record for the most times to have an orgasm at one time with Berg. I think it was in the upper 20s. But nobody could even come close to beating the volume of Sara’s orgasms.

One house we lived in was right on a golf course separated by a 10 foot wall. Berg was in the pool working on Sara one afternoon, and as her orgasmic exclamations gained volume and intensity, Berg saw a little brown head pop up over the wall. It turned out that 2 golf-course workers were walking nearby, and hearing the shouts, one climbed on the other’s shoulders to look over the wall at what was happening. Berg shouted for some of the boys, and they came running out to chase them away. By the time they got out there, the workers were no where to be found. They left in such a hurry that they even dropped their shoes and shirt. Life was very cheap in the Philippines, and they probably thought they were going to be shot!

Many adults really liked that pool because the at the end of the deep-end of the pool, there was a 3 or 4 foot wide shelf about 4 feet under the water that was right against the side of the house. There was a thick glass picture window looking into the pool right onto that shelf right where the office was. So when you went into the office basement, you could walk right up to the pool picture window and see anything going on in the pool. When people stood on the shelf, their head stuck out above the water, so you only saw them from the neck down.

Often I'd walk in, and people would be fucking on the pool shelf. A crowd would be gathered around in the office, watching them. There were certain favorites, like some occasional lessie-action between Sue and Amy, or certain other couples who could put on a good show. Word would spread quickly through the house, and a crowd would gather, like on the street, when somebody yells "Fight"--except in this case, it would have been "Fuck!"

Anyway, it was Gabe’s job to put together Berg’s "sharing schedule" or "scaring schedule" as some people called it. He would notify the poor victim early in the morning, and then they would have some time to mentally prepare for the coming gross-out.

Even as young as Davida was, she was still put on Berg’s "scaring schedule". She wasn’t very happy about it, but because of her mother’s prodding, pushing, and threatening, she consented. The fucker was just totally obsessed with sex! Thinking about it now, it’s almost unreal!

An interesting perspective on this subject can be found at http://www.exfamily.org/art/ext/lustfulprophet.shtml It’s a psycho-sexual historical study of David Berg, written by Steve Kent. I found it quite interesting.

Berg sometimes used the teen girls he had sex with to keep Maria on her toes and get her to do what he wanted. For example, he would drink himself totally plastered at night, and because Maria wanted to get some sleep and because she knew it was bad for him, she would try to ration the wine and get him to stop and go to sleep. It was a loosing battle, but night after night, year after year, she kept on fighting with him about it.

At different times during those years, Techi and I would sleep in bunk-beds or walk-in closets adjacent to Berg’s room with beds built into them. Berg liked having us there, but often he would be so loud that we would all be awake for hours listening to his drunken rantings and off-key singing.

One night when Berg was drunk, after arguing with Maria for hours about why she needed to get him some more wine, he gave her an ultimatum that unless she got it right now, he would kick her out and get one of the teen girls to be his new wife. He called Maria the "Old Church" and of course, the teen girls were the "New Church". We all figured Berg was just drunk and probably wouldn’t remember it in the morning. But on the other hand, Berg dumped one wife because she didn’t do everything he wanted, so really, what was to stop him from doing it again?

As you might guess, Maria brought him more wine that night.

Berg also came up with the bright idea that the teen girls and I should have regular sex together on a rotating schedule. Our house was built to resemble a castle, and there was a tower with winding stairs that led up to a room that was previously used by the owner to showcase jewelry. There was a big walk-in vault at the end of the room. The main room was used as an office, and the vault was made into a sex-room.

So every "nap" time, one of the teen girls and I would traipse up to the vault and have sex. Of course, I didn’t have to have my arm twisted for that, but I must say, it was a little awkward—especially since I was much younger than most of them were, and I could tell that a couple of them were uncomfortable with it.

I hoped that after some of the teen girls left, and we moved to a new compound christened the "Hilltop", that Teen Training would end, and things would be a little easier. How wrong I was! Round one of Teen Training looked like a Sunday School Picnic compared to round two, and we were miserable!

Later on, some adults joined our teen training group. They were called the "older teens", and because of their need for "retraining", were treated in much the same humiliating way as we were. One of them was named Mark/Johnny, and he was by far the smartest of all of them. I don’t remember much else about him, but I glanced at one of his OHRs once, and thought "Damn! If only I could write that well I’d have smooth sailing from now on!"

Finally, I think he had all the shit he could handle, and I remember Peter saying later that in one of his dealings with Mark, he told Peter that Berg and Maria were "full of shit". Peter said he jumped up and was about to sucker-punch him, but decided not to. Good choice, considering if he got into a fight with little Mark who’s half his size, he probably would have got his big fat ass kicked. He’s a big sucker, but a weak coward at heart. I guess that marked the end of Mark’s "retraining".

Demerits became rare, having been replaced by double-demerits. Sometimes double-double-demerits were given. It was fucking insane! You could get a double-demerit practically for looking at an adult the wrong way. "Go chalk up a double-demerit" for a host of weird shit was an often-heard and feared phrase. If we got 2 demerits in one day, we would miss afternoon snack and also miss get-out. If we got 5 demerits in one week, we would miss our Saturday night movie. Saturday night movies were one of the things that we looked forward to the way a minimum-wage-shit-job worker looks forward to the weekend. It was not a laughing matter!

Poor Techi was so much younger--only about 6 or 7--so she almost always got more than 5 demerits and missed her movies and often, snacks and get-outs as well. It almost makes me feeling like crying when I remember how much my sister had to suffer—not only during Teen Training, but later when my mother started her sick, perverted witch-hunts in the form of the "Techi Series"—and later still with her kid Trevor.

Berg would freak out if Techi would ever get physically hurt, whether it was a skinned knee, or a bump on her head etc. There were many normal games or activities that we were not allowed to do because of the fact that Techi would get a scratch and then Berg would scream at Sara. Because of that Techi often felt condemned and guilty and that we didn’t like her because of that.

Techi has a lot of bitterness against Sara for the things she suffered under her tyrannical hand, and rightfully so! It’s sad, though, that she doesn’t realize that Berg and Maria are the real cause of all that suffering.

During that time, Berg lived in his own little world for the most part. As long as he was able to do his little handyman jobs, rant and rave about the "Damn Blacks and Jews", abuse little girls, and not have any challenges to his authority, or hear of any thing that could be remotely construed as a "doubt", he was pretty content.

With Maria, it was a much different story. She was as involved as she could be with every little insignificant gossipy detail of life at the Hilltop. If something wasn’t going just right, Sara would get the heat for it, as she was not only our caretaker, but much of the weight of shepherding a home of 40-50 people fell on her shoulders as well.

Every day brought a new challenge! If James handyman wasn’t doing his weekly OHR; Amy and Barry were getting carried away in their relationship and having too much sex; none of the women wanted to share with so and so because he wasn’t good in bed; some girl didn’t want to have to run around in only panties because she was self-conscious about her breasts, and therefore was being "un-revolutionary"; some fool used bovine flea-powder on the cats and accidentally killed most of them, Sara was the one to have to go and work it out.

In addition to all that idiotic shit, she also had the impossible job of making sure that Techi never fell down; that we never had a cold (because that would mean the devil was punishing us or our parents for something); that we never said or did the wrong thing; that we always had the "right attitude", as well as giving us a grade-school education and trying to make us "scholars of the Word".

Sweet and loving Mama Maria wanted Sara to slap us silly and grind us into the ground if we did anything wrong. Berg was absolutely horrified if he ever heard of Techi getting spanked more than just a few little "love-pats". Berg was undisputedly the boss, but Maria really held the power, so Sara was stuck in the middle.

She became increasingly violent to where she would just loose it, and start hitting and kicking us for minor infractions. One of the rules was that during meals us kids always had to pick up the water pitchers with two hands (as well as only eat with spoons and only use half a napkin). At the end of one meal, I reached over and picked up the mostly empty pitcher with one hand. She slapped me full swing with the back of her hand which knocked the pitcher out of mine, and almost knocked me off my chair. Her hand hit my eye, which I couldn’t fully open it till the next morning.

Another time I "justified myself" for something. She threw me against the wall and kicked me repeatedly.

I was helping the handymen once, by painting a new gate that had just been erected. I lost track of the time and was about 20 minutes late for lunch. I came timidly into the lunch room, hoping to avoid her. I sat down as far away from her as possible, but I noticed her glaring at me. After lunch, when most people were in the kitchen going through the dish line, she grabbed me and started slapping me with both hands back and forth. She threw me to the ground, and then half dragged me back to our room.

During Techi’s long hours spent writing how very sorry she was for her sins each week, while we were having "get-outs" and watching movies, she developed this habit of writing under her nails with her pencil. Sara was totally horrified when she saw it, and, screaming at Techi, threatened to "jam the pencil under her fingers" if she didn’t stop it. At first I just thought she was just bluffing to try to scare Techi into breaking the habit. After seeing the look in Sara's eyes, though, as she was screaming and yelling, I wasn't so sure. Poor Techi was in tears.

Those are only a few examples of Sara’s violent tendencies and physically abusive behavior. I don’t want to excuse Sara in any way for all the evil and perverted physical, mental, and sexual abuse she is guilty of, but it’s important to realize that for the most part, she was only doing what Berg and Maria were telling her to. By far, the worst blame for what she did has to be laid at the feet of Berg and Maria.

In my opinion, Mene was a very kind, gentle girl who really wanted to please God, and please the adults around her. She pissed us off sometimes, but not because she was mean to us—rather, because she was so nice, and too good! It seemed like she really was trying her best to keep the rules and jump through all the stupid, inane little hoops they forced us through, while we were trying our best to get out of as much as we could, and away with as much as possible. However, because she was so idealistic, it wasn’t long before the glaring contradictions between what Berg’s supposed ideals were, and his actions, became too much for her to dismiss.

How her questions first surfaced was through an OHR. She wrote a small one liner at the end of an OHR that dealt primarily with other subjects, that said something like "I’m learning not to be critical", or "I’m working on not being self-righteous". Anything having to do in the least with "self-righteousness" or "doubts" or "critical thoughts" sent up immediate red flags with Maria, Peter and Sara.

After further probing, prodding, leading etc., they came up with these horrible accusations against Mene, and proceeded to torture her for the next six months. We would often see multiple, large black and purple bruises on her body as she was escorted from room to room like a scared, demoralized, little prisoner of war. Any resentment that any of us ever had against her for "raising the standard", was certainly gone. I remember thinking that no matter what she could have done, she certainly didn’t deserve that kind of treatment! I also believed that at any time, if I said the wrong thing on my OHR, I could be next!

Whenever Berg would be around, they tried to keep Mene away from him as much as possible. He would ask where she was, and they would make up something. At the times when they didn’t have any excuse to keep her away, they forced her to look her best, and like nothing was going on. They also tried to keep Mene away from us, explaining that she was violent, and had visions of cutting people up with knives. Well, let me tell you, when I think of those sick, fuckin’ perverts, thoughts about edged weapons are never far from my mind either! God damn them!

Mene's account of "Life with Grandpa." Given in court in London during Pearl's case. Excerpts from the Judgment of Lord Justice Ward:

"I upset them when [I was] 13/14 [years of age] because I began to realize grandfather was a hypocrite who made rules for people which were not necessary for him. He would write one thing one day the opposite the next because God was changing. He was very contradictory. He was a chronic alcoholic. It was very confusing. When he was sick he would drink and call different women in for sexual relations or sexual comfort. It was very difficult to respect this man when he was so drunk. I now look back at his writings as the ravings of a drunk madman.
"Another thing that upset me at 14 was that I was losing my faith in the group and in the prophet - all the things I believed in. I had violent pictures and images and they said that showed I was listening to Satan. They would say that Satan and demons were attacking me. I do not know if it was my imagination but I was seeing demons. In bed I would get out terrified because I thought the spirits would attack me sexually. I would try to cover myself up. I would confess to Sara, Faithy, and others because I was afraid of Satan and wanted to be right with God and wanted the group's approval.
"They would slap me. Later they gathered the leadership together, pulled my pants down and spanked me publicly which was humiliating because these people were important to me. Six months later when my grandfather was told, he commanded them to beat me with his rod whenever I had violent thoughts or saw monsters.... Many times they would beat me, they took my head and beat it against the wall and bruised me. I was helpless and knew nothing else. It all felt like torture and once I fainted, throwing up. They said I was throwing up demons. The exorcising terrified me."

End of excerpt from Mene’s account.

Finally, they did tell Berg, when they realized that they weren’t making any "progress" with her. Berg proceeded to yell at her, slap her repeatedly, beat her with a cane, insult her mother and father, and sentence her to more beatings, restraints, psychological abuse, and utter humiliation.

Excerpts from the Judgment of Lord Justice Ward concerning Mene:

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.
…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.
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.
…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.
…[At age] 9 she joined Music with Meaning in Greece. As I have already set out, it was there that she was filmed and abused. Berg must have known it for he would have seen the videos. In the history before 1980 it is acknowledged that 'these unique circumstances (in MWM) fostered a unique liberal sexual climate as well.' Berg must have known about that as well. In the last state Sara records:
"At only 9 and 10 years old she freely watched adult videos, plus she was showered with attention by many of the men there which caused her to have an extremely high opinion of herself and this became of major importance to her."
Then, at the age of about 11 1/2 she was sent to her Grandfather's compound in the Philippines. She met him in December 1983. She was completely overwhelmed by him. He looked like the prophet of God for the End-Time which she truly believed him to be. She told me in evidence that she had 'utter respect, fear and terror, love and adoration for him and because he was my grandfather, I also had more sentimental feelings for him.' That state of veneration did not last. As the months and years went by, his feet of clay were revealed.
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!
…I regard this as vicious treatment of a vulnerable child. She was physically ill-treated; and she was emotionally ill-treated; she was put in fear; she was humiliated; her self-esteem was denigrated. Maria and Peter stood by and watched it happen and approved of what was happening. They showed little more sensitivity and insight than their at times demented leader. I cannot accept that this was, in any sense at all, a cure for the emotional problems from which the child was undoubtedly suffering.
The Traumatic Testimony letter gave The Family's diagnosis of her problem:
"You're going to go completely nuts. In fact they say you've already gone completely nuts, you're already insane, totally non compos mentis! Totally incapacitated and mentally not sane at all."
…Doctor Cameron, a Consultant Child Psychiatrist, gave evidence to me. He told me, and I accept, that the treatment meted out to MB was totally unacceptable. This was a child caught in the conflict between what she saw and what had happened to her, which she knew to be wrong but which she had been taught to accept as right. Disillusioned and depressed, she doubted. If, as happened to MB, a significant cause of a mental or nervous breakdown is the feeling that one is lacking in trust or faith, and the treatment prescribed is to hammer home what a worthless sinner one is, then the treatment enhances the self- doubt, and the very treatment itself becomes damaging and psychologically disabling.
I have perhaps dealt with MB at inordinate length. I do so because of the central role she plays not only in The Family's past but in its present. For The Family to gain the respectability which they now appear to seek, they must acknowledge that what David Berg did to his granddaughter was wrong, not just a mistake, but inexcusably wrong. They must atone for their treatment of her which I find to have been barbaric and cruel.
…In my judgment what MB went through was a form of torture. To describe her ordeal, as it is portrayed to The Family in the 'False Accusers in the Last Days' letter published in January 1993, as being no more than a 'stiff stern talk with a little spank and a shaking' is, I find, a travesty of the truth.

End of excerpt from Lord Justice Ward.

Maria and Peter wrote about Mene in None of These Things Move Me:

Now I want to talk about Mene for a moment. But before I do I want to say that I'm very sorry, Mene, for any and all harm and hurt you experienced when you lived in our Home or any other Home. Some years back I asked Sara to try to contact you so I could express my apology to you. The response we received was that you didn't want to have any contact with Family members. I respected your wish and didn't push the issue any further.

End of BS paragraph from M&P.

James Penn wrote about the horrible treatment of Mene. Here are excerpts from his articles:

For many reasons I found this anemic apology to be much too little and 13 years too late. To anyone with an understanding of the situation, it is irrelevant and a mockery. I'll explain.
Maria has only belatedly offered this apology because she had to. If I had never written No Regrets, Maria never would have apologized. She's not genuinely sorry; she's sorry that she was exposed and had to give some explanation to her followers, if for no other reason than to do damage control. That's often the only thing she understands; the 2 x 4 treatment.
Maria wrote, "I'm very sorry, Mene, for any and all harm and hurt you experienced when you lived in our Home or any other Home." If, as Maria says, everyone was loving and kind, then who was inflicting this harm? The usual suspects; weak and immature leaders? Why don't Maria and Peter act like real leaders and take responsibility for their actions and say, "We are truly sorry that we inflicted so much harm and hurt on you"? Why doesn't Peter say, "Mene, I'm sorry that I publicly humiliated you when you were a young teen by making you lift your skirt as I spanked you in front of two dozen Family leaders."
Maria's weak excuse for the delay in apologizing is, in the words of Eeyore (of "Winnie the Pooh"), "Paaathetic." Maria says, "I respected [Mene's] wishes." Maria is not known for respecting anyone's wishes. Did Maria respect Mene's wishes when she published hundreds of pages demonizing Mene in two long GNs, some FSMs, Traumatic Testimonies, as well as Letters written in her own hand? And as I mentioned in No Regrets, Maria was only planning to apologize for not getting medical help for Mene sooner. When Mene refused to meet with Sara, Maria was probably quite relieved.
The issue of an apology and explanation does not only concern Mene. If Mo, Maria, and Peter had "privately" abused Mene, with no mention made in Family publications, then perhaps a "private" apology would be adequate. But Mo, Maria, and Peter deliberately demonized Mene in a myriad of Family publications.
They did this for two reasons. First; to destroy her credibility in the eyes of Family Members, in case she ever decided to tell what Grandpa and Mama Maria really did to her. Second; to scare the hell out of any young people who were thinking of doubting the Wonder Working Words of the Prophet David. In the GNs The Last State and Its Up to You, Mo, Maria, and Peter were giving Family adults a blueprint; a Raise'm Right manual for how to deal with problem teenagers. Follow the Prophet's good example and your child can be saved from the Devil's grasp.
These publications spawned a wave of abuse and set the stage for the so-called Victor Camps. Who knows how many children throughout the Family were beaten, exorcised, and publicly humiliated as a direct result of these "Mene" publications? Former Family Members, who lived in Peru at the time, testify of Juan returning from Mo's house and initiating similar exorcisms and beatings. Why not? After all, Juan's "eyes had seen the glory" of Mo, Maria, and Peter's personal example.
If Maria is really sorry for publishing material about Mene, why is False Accusers in the Last Days still in circulation? Why did Maria have the nerve to put it on the suggested reading list in None of These Things Move Me? (See above.) What does this tell Mene? "We deleted your name, but the lessons are so valuable that we continue to recommend the Letter to Family Members 13 years later." Maria's not sorry, Maria is sorry that she got caught and exposed and had to make some sort of apology.
…even if Maria and Peter did give some fuller explanation and apology, it would be in vain if they did not address the sexual abuse that Mene suffered at the hands of Mo. And so far, they have refused to do so. In nearly 180,000 words of published rebuttal to No Regrets, they refused to acknowledge one of the fundamental causes of Mene's problems. Mene's supposed pride, exaltation, or demon possession are simply convenient smoke-screens that Maria and Peter use to this day in order to conceal a much deeper problem: Mo's repeated sexual abuse of Mene over a long period of time.
If they confirm the obvious, that Mo sexually abused Mene and other girls, and that yes, Maria knowingly covered it up, there would be an uproar in the Family, and many would leave. How many Family Members, especially the second generation, want to follow their fearless leader, now a friendly ghost, once they know that he regularly sexually abused children of their generation? And how many Family Members want to unquestioningly pledge allegiance to Queen Maria and King Peter and believe everything they write and prophesy, knowing that they participated in the beating and sexual abuse of Mene and others, and then lied about it to the Family and covered it up all these years?
Maria and Peter can't tell the truth, as their credibility would be destroyed, and it is on their credibility that the foundation of the present-day Family rests. Destroy that credibility and the Family, as we know it, will cease to exist.
On the other hand, Maria and Peter cannot lie and say the accusations are false, as it would be too easy to expose their lie. Too many people, both in and out of the Family, were there and witnessed these events. They know that what Mene said was true. What about the other young girls that Mo had sex with? Maybe they would speak up.
As well, to deny the accusations is to call Mene, and more importantly Lord Justice Ward, a liar. He believed Mene, and for Maria to call him a liar would possibly jeopardize Pearl's custody of her son, who remains a ward of the court until he reaches 18 years of age. Not a good choice.
And so Maria and Peter say nothing, in the vain hope that their cover-up can somehow, as tattered as it is, remain in place. And their silence screams. And their silence, like a cancer, grows.
I question Maria and Peter's claim that they were genuinely concerned about Mene's welfare. Mo, Maria, and Peter were much more concerned with doing damage control and saving their own skins. There was never any question of Mene receiving medical care. How could they risk it, when Mene would undoubtedly mention that her grandfather had been sexually abusing her?
They had little genuine concern for Mene, but rather saw her as a child who knew too much and was a threat to the Family that had to be contained. Members of WS who were there heard Maria joking about how she would like to throw Mene off the high wall of their Hilltop compound and then bury her. Another told of Mo shouting at Mene, "If I had a gun, I'd shoot you!"
Maria piously claims that Mene received nothing but tender and loving care. Staff members, she wrote:
"…spent months of their time caring for a young teen who needed full-time care, talking with her, reading with her, praying with her, answering her questions, making sure she wasn't doing physical damage to herself or others, etc. These people gave themselves in love to care for a loved one who was under­going some serious problems. They were not harsh but rather were tender and loving."
Does this include Peter's public spanking of Mene? Does it include the horrendous beatings that she received at the hands of other staff members? In The Last State, Peter is recorded as boasting that he beat Mene "real hard."
(48) Has anybody ever punished you like that before? (MB: Yes) Who? (MB: "Uncle Peter".) (Peter Amsterdam: I spanked her once real hard.)
The public spanking that Peter gave Mene took place in the living room of the nipa hut at the Hilltop compound. About 25 Family leaders and WS staff members were present, including Juan and Abi.
According to eyewitnesses, Peter told Mene to lift her garment, after which he spanked her almost bare buttocks (she kept her panties on) with his belt. This is "tender and loving?" This is the "Servant King" Peter, who has the hot-line to God? Why doesn't he apologize?
And this was nothing compared to the terrible beatings she received by her WS "shepherds" in the room to which she was confined (and tied to her bed during the night). All this at the Hilltop compound, under the direct supervision of Maria and Peter. Mene was literally black and blue after these beatings, which caused her to vomit and faint. A WS staff member who overheard these beatings and later saw the purple welts covering Mene’s thighs said it was the most horrific thing he’d ever seen in the Family. Is this part of the "tender and loving" care that Maria refers to? Or part of the "tender, gentle, compassionate treatment" that Maria mentions in False Accusers of the Last Days?
A former member of WS recently shared some thoughts with me concerning Mene. I feel they summarize the issue very well:
"David Berg’s place among God’s true shepherds and prophets must be seriously called into question by anyone who takes an honest look at his life and fruit. One word says it all: Mene. If that’s how the leader of God’s endtime army conducts his personal affairs, having the kind of relationship he did with his 12-year-old granddaughter (who, after she was gone, was immediately replaced with another very young teen girl who was selected for regular cuddle time with Grandpa), then that particular endtime army is seriously out to lunch. Such draconian treatment of anyone, much less one’s own granddaughter, the child of one’s own deceased son, is abhorrent and an abomination to anyone sincerely seeking the way of God. And bear in mind, Mene was not an aberration, as he had been pulling that same kind of stuff from Day One, with Faithy and Deb."
Abner is Mene's brother. A few years ago he left the Family. But while he was still in WS, he asked Peter if an apology would ever be forthcoming. Peter sent back a strongly worded message which amounted to a rebuke. Peter cautioned Abner that that on account of his (Abner's) request both he and Maria were "very concerned" about him. Peter went on to write that their advice was that Abner not talk with his sister at all about any of the treatment she received in the Family or express his sympathies in this respect during an upcoming visit he was to have with her. Peter warned, "If you do we feel it will only serve to further pervert your opinion of the situation, that she was somehow badly mistreated."
In GN 653, while shedding crocodile tears, Maria wrote about the abuse that many young people claimed to have suffered while in the Family:
"It hurts me deeply, though, to hear about what some of these kids claim to have gone through. If any of it is true, it is a reproach to the Family, and a reproach to the cause of Christ!"
How could she be so pious, when she directly participated in the torture and abuse of Mene?

End of excerpts from James Penn’s articles.

In closing, I’d like to say that I don’t believe Mene will ever fully recover from the deep emotional, physical, sexual and mental torture she suffered at Berg, Maria, Peter, and Sara’s hands. But at least, from what I’ve heard, she was able to find some semblance of a normal life. Last I heard she was studying, had a boyfriend, and was doing ok, relatively speaking.

If I were a Christian, I would pray for her. However, even the concept of "prayer", after what she went through in the Family, could sound like such a mockery and slap in the face.

I’m writing this article in a very beautiful park down at the waterfront. It’s a picture perfect day; the sky is deep blue; there are white puffy clouds in the sky. I can see Mt. Rainier in the distance, and its majestic beauty is stunning.

There’s a young couple nearby, walking with their twins. The twins are dressed the same--no shirts, with cover-alls, and baseball hats.

Seeing kids with normal, loving parents who really seem to care about them is a bitter-sweet experience for me. On one hand it hurts because I’m reminded of the stark contrast between parents who most likely want what’s best for their kids, and the kind of parents I had, who were really only concerned about my welfare as far as they could use me for a favorable political commodity.

On the other hand it brings me such joy to see kids like these little twins running around, because I am so thankful that they have a good shot at happiness and success in life. They have a loving, caring family to stand behind them, and don’t have to struggle with the horrible memories and abuse that many of us who grew up in the Family do.

It gives me hope that one day Berg and Maria’s evil legacy with die with the Family, and it will be only a distant or, better yet, forgotten bad memory.

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