The Family International Records document more than six decades of church and personal activity and include newspaper clippings, photos, audio and video recordings,
personal papers, organizational documents, federal agency records, and related anti-cult and scholarly documents. During this
time, The Family faced many controversies based on their sexual practices and accusations of abuse. The majority of this collection
features “witnessing” activities through photographs, church publications such as brochures and A/V materials, as well as
news, government, and academic coverage of their religious movement. This collection has some personal documents from the
earlier life of founder, David Berg.
The Family International was founded in Huntington Beach, California in 1968 by David Berg. The group has gone by several
names including Children of God, The Family of Love, and Teens for Christ. Berg was also know by several other names; Father
David, Moses David, Mo, Grandfather, and King David. The group focused on spreading the Christian gospel through the counterculture
of the 1960s and into the 1970s. Berg disagreed with mainstream Christianity and used his particular brand of Christianity
to convert unchurched people, first in Southern California and eventually in many countries around the world. The first twenty
or so years of the organization’s history was fraught with controversy including child sexual abuse, practices such as “flirty
fishing” and “sharing,” as well as racism and anti-Semitism. After Berg’s death in 1994, his second wife Karen Zerby took over
leadership of the Family. Many of those controversial positions have since been disavowed by the current church leadership. This
collection includes correspondence with federal agencies, news articles, Anti-Cult documents, scholarly statements on The
Family International, official statements and publications from the Family International, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, and photographs,
as well as information on related religious groups from the organization’s early years.
The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with
the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections
is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Requests for permission to publish must be
submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission
is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission
of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available
for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including
but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
SDSU may grant permission for selective use of photographic and audio/visual material for academic purposes only in research-based
papers, studies, books, or publications. Requests for permission to use materials in this collection must be submitted to
the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access.