Kings and Queens of Cults
by Perry Bulwer
Recently, the leader of a small cult called One Mind Ministries, and two of her followers were found guilty of deliberately starving to death a 16-month old boy because he wouldn't say "Amen" to the leader's satisfaction. It's a tragic story of religiously motivated child abuse, murder, manipulation and indoctrination. It's also a sad story of a grandmother's two year attempt to get authorities to take her concerns and cult allegations seriously, to no avail. You can read the details of that case in this article: Grandmother tried 2 years to get authorities to protect her grandson from cult members, but no one listened until after his murder
In that article you will also read the curious fact that the cult leader, Toni Ellsberry, called herself Queen Antoinette.
Interviews with family and friends, along with court testimony, records and statements, reveal startling scenarios and a cover-up prosecutors described as "bizarre." They point to one woman as the mastermind: "Queen Antoinette," who has also gone by Toni Ellsberry, among other names.
She claimed God spoke through her, and her followers believed.
Ellsberry had called them all together one day and said God had renamed her Queen Antoinette. She handed out honorifics to others as well: Princess Trevia, Prince Marcus, Princess Marie.
She told the Smith sisters and Ria that their own mothers were "witches,"....
Ellsberry is not the first cult leader to use royal designations to accentuate their power and control over their followers. I'll highlight just two other cults here, but I'm certain there are others where the same manipulative tactic is used. First, a cult leader in Australia now serving jail time for rape:
William Kamm, known to his followers as the "Little Pebble", was jailed in 2005 for at least three-and-a-half years for raping and assaulting the teenager in 1993.
Kamm, 57, claims he can communicate with the Virgin Mary, and established a commune for his believers, called the Order of St Charbel, at Cambewarra, on the NSW south coast.
He says he is the messiah of a new holy era, and will choose 12 queens and 72 princesses to help propagate an "immaculate race".
His victim was selected for "mystical marriage" as one of his dozen queens, and over a four-month period he sexually abused her. [see: Cult rapist loses appeal]
According to Webber, Kamm has fathered more than 20 children and duped dozens of women and girls into sexual relations by convincing them to join his so-called Royal House as “queens and princesses” to “re-populate the Earth after God’s judgement day.”
“I believe my three years of research has pierced the barrier of silence and secrecy surrounding Kamm’s financial dealings, as well as his sexual relations with Royal House members,” Webber said.
In July, 2005, Kamm was jailed for five years.
His second trial in May, 2007 saw him convicted again, with a combined sentence for both trials of 10 years jail.
Webber claims William Kamm is “a pariah, not a prophet.”
“The personal devastation that he has inflicted over the past decades is almost beyond belief,” he said.
[see: New book exposes Little Pebble cult leader]
At least 'Queen' Antoinette and 'King' Kamm are behind bars where hopefully they can no longer harm others with their lies and manipulations. There is, however, another cult 'Queen' still on the loose who is even more dangerous and deceptive. I've written about this cult leader before; see [ This Is What Wolves In Sheep's Clothing Look Like and A RESPONSE TO JAMES D. CHANCELLOR'S LIFE IN THE FAMILY: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD ] The cult in question is The Family International, formerly known as the Children of God, and the current leader is Karen Zerby, who believes and teaches the children in her cult that she is an actual queen.
Before getting to that queen stuff, though, I want to point out another similarity, which is that both Zerby and Ellsberry use numerous aliases. Zerby is most commonly known in the cult as Maria, but she legally changed her name in 1997 to Katherine Rianna Smith. She also uses the pseudonyms Maria David, Maria Berg, Maria Fontaine, Mama Maria, and, of course, Queen Maria. It begs the question as to what she is hiding that she needs to use so many different names, since that practice is most common among spies and criminals. She is not a spy. Along with the now deceased David Berg, founder of the cult, she remained in hiding from legal authorities for decades, making it next to impossible for abuse survivors with legitimate legal complaints to find justice.
Here is what 'Queen' Maria teaches the children in the cult, in a publication dated March 2001, entitled "Our Queen Maria". This publication, designated MLK which stands for Mo Letters for Kids, is intended specifically for children too young to read the original publications by David Berg (Moses David, or Mo) on which it is based. On each page is a suggested reading list of other cult publications that reinforce the royalty claim. References to "Dad" are to David Berg, and "Peter" is Berg's replacement as 'king' of the cult.
(Mama:) Our precious Jesus has said that I am a queen, so that makes me a queen.
I'm as much a queen as any queen in the world, because we're a nation of real physical people!
We don't have set physical borders for our country, because we're everywhere. We can't put our nation on a map and teach its geography, but our nation does exist.
You exist as its members, and I exist as your queen. Dad existed as your king before, and still exists, helping to run the Family from the Heavenlies. The Lord often called Dad a king, and He’s also given that title to Peter.
The Family is not only a spiritual nation, with spiritual wealth and power, but we're a real physical nation, too, with strength of people.
The world isn't willing to honor or recognize our nation. But they don't have to in order for us to exist, do they?
1 Peter 2:9-10 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar* people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
The Lord has given me the anointing and role of a queen and has spoken about its spiritual meaning.
I also have a very active role in the physical realm of ruling the Family and running the kingdom.
I don't wear a physical crown or carry a scepter, because it’s not necessary.
But if we're going to believe in our spiritual nation with spiritual wealth and power and strength, then we should also believe in our physical nation with the physical wealth and power that the Lord has promised we will see oneday. And that makes me a real physical queen!
Pray for King Peter and Queen Maria
[This publication, with illustrations can be viewed at: http://media.xfamily.org/docs/fam/mlk/mlk_124.pdf
That is typical of the kinds of lies that The Family International indoctrinates their children with. Recently, that cult has attempted to change tactics and create a new public relations image. Do not be fooled. They are liars, relying on their well-entrenched doctrine of Deceviers Yet True, with a long history of deceiving everyone they come into contact with, including legal authorities. Nothing has truly changed and it never will as long as they hold on to the demented doctrines of their perverted founder, David Berg. I provide links to more articles on this cult below, but first some excerpts from an article I wrote about it.
“after the necessity to win souls for Jesus, Father David's claim as Prophet and King is the most consistent theme in Family literature."
After Berg’s death in 1994, Maria and her Berg-appointed partner, Steven Kelly, a.k.a. Peter, took absolute control of The Family. Berg had been grooming Maria since at least 1978 to take over The Family when he died, and he had handpicked Peter to help her with that task. Members were conditioned through Berg’s letters to accept that plan as divinely inspired, and so there was no succession struggle. In fact, Maria was already running things during the last few years of Berg’s life, and upon his death members merely acquiesced to Maria and Peter’s control. They exert that control through World Services (WS), the highly secretive executive branch of the organization whose main function is to provide spiritual direction and international administration. Many prophecies, purportedly from Jesus and Berg, published after Berg’s death, conveniently portray Maria as the end-time prophetess, Queen of the End, and Peter as her king. In a 1998 letter titled “Heavenly Birthdays,” 61 both Maria and Peter are portrayed as pre-existing in Heaven and engaged in conversation with Jesus before he sent them on their earthly end-time mission. The dialogue is very precise, and Maria, already full of hubris from years of glorification by Berg, is told that her earthly birth will be the turning point in world history. It is their claimed special status and direct link to God, through Jesus and Berg, that enables Maria and Peter to manipulate their followers’ beliefs and that presents the greatest danger to gullible members and their innocent children, notwithstanding any Charter rights they appear to possess.
A primary prerequisite of membership is not only to believe that Berg was God’s final end-time prophet, but that Maria inherited his spiritual authority as God’s mouthpiece on Earth. God’s will is reputedly revealed, through either Jesus or Berg, to Maria and Peter, who then instruct Family members on the latest revelations from Heaven. Members are required to accept those revelations as God’s will for themselves, and they must not question, doubt, or criticize any aspect of The Family’s dogma.
... The Family’s Charter, which puts members’ responsibilities to the group first, ahead of their individual rights—rights that are not guaranteed, but can be revoked or amended at the whim of Queen Maria and King Peter. Whatever limited rights members might have, they exist precariously within The Family’s dubious theology. Although the advent of the Charter might appear to have turned The Family into a benign, constitutional monarchy, the organization remains, in practice, an absolute monarchy because The Family’s adherence to the theocratic doctrine of divine right is antithetical to democracy.
The foregoing analogy to temporal governments is not overstating the matter. Family publications are replete with regal and militaristic language and imagery, and The Family and its members refer to themselves, among other things, as the Lord’s army, end-time soldiers, and a new nation. An early Family publication was called The New Nation News. In 1972 Berg orchestrated an elaborate coronation ceremony, and in 1996 Maria and Peter did the same. They do not consider these activities mere fantasy role-playing.73 As Chancellor points out, Prophet of the End Time was not [Berg’s] only title; he was also King of God’s New Nation. He claimed not only absolute spiritual authority over his disciples, but also political authority and the homage due their rightful king. Old Testament passages referring to King David were appropriated for God’s new King David. 74
The Family has always envisioned itself as a spiritual nation, but one that possesses real, divinely ordained powers of conquest and government, which they will wield over all the peoples of the earth as God’s elite during the Millennium.
see: A RESPONSE TO JAMES D. CHANCELLOR'S LIFE IN THE FAMILY: AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD
RELATED LINKS AND ARTICLES:
Karen Zerby at: http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Karen_Zerby
Family International a.k.a. Children of God: Once dismissed as 'sex cult,' tiny church launches image makeover
Young man's suicide blamed on mother's cult
The Tragic Legacy of the Children of God
Underside of cult life emerges
The Making of a Twisted Sexual Theology: Q+A on "Jesus Freaks"
The offspring of 'Jesus Freaks'
Former cult member assesses damage in 'Children of God'
Former Members Of Children Of God Speak Out
Child-Custody Deal Favors Escapee of Notorious Cult 'The Family' a.k.a. The Children of God
Children of God: Haunted By a Dark Past
Irish TV exposes cults in Ireland, interviews survivor of abuse in Children of God, now The Family International
What do Pat Robertson and The Family International cult have in common?
Miss World 2009 contestant, Miss Indonesia, is a member of evangelical cult with history of child abuse
Cambodian NGO exposed as a charity front for The Family International cult
Child sacrifice: a review of the documentary All God's Children - the ultimate sacrifice
Self-proclaimed prophets: Phillip Garrido, David Berg and Joseph Smith