Children of God / The Family International

The Children of God (CoG), later known as The Family International (TFI), was an evangelical organization founded in the late 1960s in California by David Brandt Berg (1919–94).

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It had a focus on missionary activity and reaching out to others for Christ, largely through street witnessing and its own music and literature.

The movement has undergone numerous changes over its fifty-year history, moving from a tight-knit, world-rejecting movement focused around the charismatic figure of Berg to one with differing levels of membership in the 1990s then on to a ‘Reboot’ in 2010, which effectively dissolved most of the movement’s key practices, and more recently to a mostly virtual, online network of around 1,600 members by 2020. These changes were brought about both by external factors, including investigations of child abuse, and by internal ones, including the coming of age of a large cohort of second-generation members who were resistant to the restrictions and limitations of the belief system and wanted to see change and modernization in the movement, or wanted a different life altogether. There was also a realization that the Endtime was not happening as imminently as had been expected, resulting in an unanticipated ageing membership.