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ICSA resources about psychological manipulation, cultic groups, sects, and new religious movements.

 

Psychological Manipulation and Society: cults, cult groups, new religious movements

Cultic Studies Journal
Psychological Manipulation and Society
Vol. 11, No. 2, 1994

Lustful Prophet: A Psychosexual Historical Study of the Children of God's Leader, David Berg

Stephen A. Kent, Ph.D.
University of Alberta
Alberta, Canada

Abstract
Religious figures have played a minor role in the psychohistorical tradition, despite Erik Erikson's studies of Luther and Gandhi and frequent psychological insights that are woven into religious biographies. This study, however, focuses specifically on a recently deceased religious leader, David Berg, who founded a worldwide religious organization in the late 1960s known as the Children of God (COG). Using both autobiographical material from Berg's letters to followers and interviews with former members who knew him personally, this essay argues that the group's controversial sexual practices are a direct reflection of early sexual trauma that Berg experienced within his sexually repressive and punitive family environment. After years of Berg's relative failure as a Christian minister, the death of his overbearing mother during the period in which he was successfully proselytizing California hippies allowed his repressed sexuality to appear in the form of innovative social mores for his group. In Berg's case, formerly repressed, then unbridled sexuality served as the basis for the group's ideology and deviant social behavior.

Order: Lustful Prophet: A Psychosexual Historical Study of the Children of God's Leader, David Berg

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