KEYWORDS: family, maria, have, people, faith

Questions from the Field--Part 1

David Berg

16 December 1978DO 792

1. WELL, PTL! I SEE ALL THESE NOTEBOOKS COMING OUT—what are you going to teach me? (Maria: I have a question:) (Everyone laughs!) Okay, you guys get ready with the answers. (Maria: There are a few big problems in the Family that everybody is writing about.

2. (A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE STATES, & SOME IN INDIA & ALL AROUND THE WORLD ARE WRITING IN‚ "IT DIDN'T USED TO BE OUR POLICY TO SMOKE MARIJUANA, but now we're wondering if Dad has something new to say on it because we think the policy might have changed.") It is against the law!—Next question? (Maria: No, what if it isn't. In some places it isn't.) Where? (Maria: India‚ & some in the States.)

3. IT'S AGAINST THE LAW. Dope is plentiful in India, but it's still against the law. (Maria: What about some of the States?) It's still against the law in most.

4. IT USED TO BE A FELONY BUT NOW THEY HAVE LIGHTENED IT SOME & IT'S A MISDEMEANOUR. Some of the States even say that you can have up to something like one-half ounce in your possession without it being a crime. The whole idea is to keep people from pushing it. (Maria: But if there were a good reason for breaking the law, like witnessing or something, there might be some exception?)

5. WHAT GOOD REASON WOULD YOU HAVE FOR SMOKING POT AS A WITNESS? (Maria: So there's no good reason for smoking marijuana? There's not a good enough reason for it to warrant breaking the law at all. But you'd be surprised, because a lot of kids write in & ask if they can.)

6. THE ANSWER IS, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW! Even in the places where it's not against the law, it's against our rules. Haven't you heard about us!—We don't smoke! Period. Next question.

7. (MARIA: A LOT OF THE GUYS ARE FFing WOMEN NOW, & THE WOMEN ARE GETTING PREGNANT.) All they have to do is join the Family‚ then their problems are over. (Maria: It can get some of the men in real trouble if the women don't want to join the Family, because then they can demand child support.)

8. WELL, I THINK EACH CASE HAS TO BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES & THE WOMAN & everything. (Maria: In a lot of cases the women definitely want to get the men away from the Family‚ & once they are pregnant they have a pretty good hold on a man.)

9. I WENT OVER THIS WHOLE THING ONCE BEFORE ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEN & WOMEN in "Male or Female" (No.529). I warned you that the women will want the whole works: Hook‚ line, sinker, fishing rod, the boat & the captain! (Maria: So it is considerably more dangerous for the men to FF than the women.)

10. THE SIMPLE SOLUTION, OF COURSE‚ IS FOR HER TO JOIN THE FAMILY. But if she doesn't want to join the Family, he might as well forget it. … (Maria: Most of the time the men are already married & the woman doesn't exactly want to be part of a threesome.) And sometimes the women are already married too.

11. THAT'S ONE PROBLEM YOU HAVE WITH WOMEN, THEY'RE A BIT POSSESSIVE. Well, they can have it all if they join, but they may still have to do a little sharing.

12. IF THE WOMAN GETS PREGNANT & DOESN'T WANT TO JOIN THE FAMILY, BUT SHE'S NOT CAUSING ANY TROUBLE & she is willing to have the baby & care for it herself or whatever she wants to do with it‚ that's up to her. It's not our responsibility, if she doesn't want to join the Family. She must have known we were that kind of Family from the beginning.

13. (MARIA: SHOULD MEN TRY TO PERSUADE THE WOMEN THEY ARE FFing NOT TO TAKE BIRTH CONTROL?) Absolutely not! (Maria: That's a crazy question, but some of the boys really try to convince the women it's unscriptural.) Where do they get that damn doctrine? We don't believe in it, but—

14. WE HAVE NEVER EVEN FORBIDDEN OUR OWN GIRLS TO USE CONTRACEPTIVES! I don't believe in it, I don't agree with it, I preach against it, but I have never once forbidden any of our girls to use contraceptives if they want to. If they want to use them‚ that's up to them.

15. I DON'T BELIEVE IN IT, I think it's a violation of natural laws. But if they don't have the faith for it & they're selfish & don't want children or think they can't have them or whatever, that's entirely up to them.

16. IF I WILL NOT EVEN INSIST OR FORBID IT TO A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY, I'M CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO FORCE OUR BELIEFS ON SOMEBODY WHO IS ON THE OUTSIDE! That is absolutely insanity, to try to force that on somebody. Any stupid idiot that tries to force that doctrine on a girl outside the Family, who then becomes pregnant when she doesn't want to be, almost ought to have to marry her!! He insisted on having the child against her wishes & her desires & her will!

17. IF HE FORCES THE CHILD ON HER, THEN I THINK SHE'D HAVE A PERFECT RIGHT TO FORCE HIM TO TAKE CARE OF IT, or try to! I think that is what he would deserve, frankly. That's the way I feel about it. In an occasion like that, it would be real desertion if he'd run off. It was his fault, he's to blame. She didn't want it, she wanted to use contraceptives & he refused, Well then, it's his funeral! Absolutely!

18. YOU CANNOT FORCE YOUR DOCTRINE‚ MUCH LESS YOUR PRACTISES, ON PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE FAMILY. We have a hard enough time trying to get Family members to believe it, & practise it. Trying to force them on people on the outside is ridiculous!

19. (MARIA: SOME OF THE GIRLS INSIST THAT THE MEN THEY MAKE LOVE TO WHEN FFing DON'T USE CONDOMS & things, too.) That's crazy! (Maria: Just because of the spiritual principle that you shouldn't forbid birth.) Some guys use condoms because they are afraid of disease.

20. ANY GIRL WHO INSISTS THAT HE DOESN'T IS ABSOLUTELY IDIOTIC! (Maria: They do.) Idiotic! That's his affair. That's his business. That's his penis, let him take care of it anyway he wants to!

21. (MARIA: WHAT ABOUT PULLING OUT? THEY DO THAT TOO SOMETIMES.) That's their business, too. You can tell them, but once you have told them, that's it! Sometimes I wonder about some of our Family! Sometimes I think they are almost as bad as they say in the newspapers! (Maria: Some almost act like the main purpose of FFing is to make babies!)

22. IT'S BAD ENOUGH TO TRY TO PREACH THINGS THAT ARE HARD FOR OUTSIDERS TO ACCEPT without insisting they practise them, when they don't even believe in it & haven't got the faith for it. You can't make people practise things which they haven't got the faith for! It's ridiculous!

23. I'M NOT EVEN GOING TO INSIST ON NO CONTRACEPTIVES FOR OUR OWN GIRLS if they haven't got the faith for it. If they don't want to trust the Lord—well, that's up to them. I don't believe in it‚ but they have got to operate according to their own faith, not mine.

24. ANYBODY FFing SOMEBODY ON THE OUTSIDE IS GOING TO HAVE TO LET THAT PERSON OPERATE ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN FAITH. Once you've told them how you believe, well, that's that! They can take it or leave it. If they leave it & don't want it, & don't accept it & don't want to practise it, then you cannot force them to!

25. IT'S JUST ABSOLUTE IDIOCY TO TRY TO FORCE A WOMAN NOT TO USE CONTRACEPTIVES if she is on the outside & doesn't agree with the doctrine, doesn't believe in it, & doesn't have faith to act on it. She doesn't want babies, & you force it on her.

26. IF YOU FORCE IT ON HER AGAINST HER WILL, AGAINST HER WISHES, THEN IT IS UP TO YOU TO TAKE CARE OF HER & THE BABY. That's entirely up to the individual. You cannot operate on somebody else's faith, not very well. I have certain faith for certain things & there are things that I don't have faith for. I have to operate according to my faith. Next question? (Maria: Anybody else want a turn?)

27. (QUESTION: WHEN A MARRIED WOMAN HAS A FISH & SHE BECOMES PREGNANT WITH THE FISH'S BABY, what if he wants to adopt that baby, even letting her keep it, because he is proud of the baby or he wants to call that baby his & see it grow up with his name?) I think it's very commendable of him & I think it is entirely up to the woman & the situation.

28. IF YOU LET HIM LEGALLY ADOPT THE CHILD THOUGH, & HE DOESN'T JOIN THE FAMILY, HE CAN TAKE THE CHILD out of the Family.—It could be dangerous. So normally, I don't think I'd advise it. Even husbands we have had in the Family wanted to take off & backslide & take the kids with them, but we've recommended against it.

29. WE SAY IF ONE PARENT WANTS TO STAY IN THE FAMILY & KEEP THE CHILDREN in the Family & one of them wants to go home, they go without the kids‚ if we can help it. Sometimes they get a court order & kidnap them anyhow. We can't help that.

30. BUT I CERTAINLY DON'T CARE TO HAVE BACKSLIDERS OR WORLDINGS TAKE THE LORD'S CHILDREN OUT OF THE FAMILY & rear them in an ungodly, worldly backslider's home. And I feel the same with a fish. If a fish doesn't want to join the Family & live in the Family or virtually in the Family, I don't think he has any right to the child. It's her child, our child & the Lord's‚ & he has no right to it.

31. SO I THINK AS A GENERAL RULE, I'D BE AGAINST IT. It would have to be some very special case or something. I think it could be very dangerous. She could lose the child. It's as much hers as it is his‚ more so in fact, if she's in the Family & he's not. Even most worldly judges declare in favour of the mother & will normally give her the children or most of them or at least the young ones—except to us!

32. A MORE DIFFICULT QUESTION IS WHERE A COUPLE WITH CHILDREN WANT TO SPLIT UP & STAY IN THE FAMILY but go to different Homes, different places. That is becoming too common, & I am against it.

33. I HAVE TALKED AGAINST IT, WRITTEN AGAINST IT, PREACHED AGAINST IT FOR YEARS & GIVEN THEM MY EXAMPLE, I waited until my children were grown, even married & had kids of their own‚ before I split up with Eve, or she split herself.—I didn't leave her, she left me!—Even before I let her split, our kids were full grown.

34. HOW COME THESE COUPLES THINK THEY HAVE ANY RIGHT TO SPLIT UP WHEN THEY HAVE SMALL CHILDREN? I am against it! Now, there are a few exceptional cases, as there often are. But if you're going to insist on splitting with your mate, you've got to remember they're his or her children too, & you will have to agree on some kind of a fair share split of the kids. But you'd better have a mighty good reason for splitting! I can hardly think of any, except in a few rare cases.

35. I BELIEVE IN HUSBANDS & WIVES!—I BELIEVE IN MATES‚ mothers & fathers. And when they have small children, I don't think they ought to split! I think it's a very poor example of Christian love in our Family, that the mothers & fathers of small children would want to break up the home. It's bad enough in the world.

36. EVEN THE WORLD DOESN'T AGREE WITH IT & judges do everything they can to discourage it for the sake of the children. It tears kids apart, tears the family apart, it's terrible! I just don't agree with it.

37. I DON'T THINK MOTHERS & FATHERS OF SMALL CHILDREN SHOULD BE SPLIT.—PERIOD! They have to stick together for the kids' sake, as long as they can. They must have had some reason why they got together in the first place, it must have been love or something.

38. ONE GIRL SAID, "I DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS SUCH A ROTTER before I married him." Well‚ she should have found out!—That's why we recommend living & working together for awhile before you get hitched.

39. WE USED TO HAVE A RULE: YOU COULDN'T BE BETROTHED UNTIL YOU HAD LIVED & WORKED TOGETHER or even slept together if you wanted to, in the same Home for at least six months.—In other words, until you knew each other real well. You live in the same house with the woman or the man for six months & you will know them very well! You'll have no excuse for saying, "I didn't know he was such a rotter." Right?

40. SOMETIMES PEOPLE HAVE TO BE AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES like I was for years because of my job, but you don't have to split up & break up your family. If the father has to move around a lot‚ it's better for the kids to be with the mother in a little more stable stationary situation in school & all that.

41. BUT HE SHOULD GET BACK TO SEE THEM QUITE OFTEN so they know they still have a father & they still love him, & they know that he still loves them. So, there are a few rare cases where they may even have to be away, but they are not breaking up the family. Amen? Next question?

42. WELL, I'LL TELL YOU ONE COMPLAINT WE HAVE: ONE GUY WROTE IN COMPLAINING ABOUT "ALL THE ASS & TIT" ON THE LETTERS! Well, in the first place, there's something wrong with anybody that speaks that crudely & coarsely of feminine beauty. That sounds extremely low & coarse, crudely speaking of the beauties of womanhood. Obviously he must not like women.

43. HE SAID IT WAS HARD TO PEDDLE LETTERS LIKE THAT ON THE STREETS. How many times have you received advisories saying not to publish Letters for the streets that you don't have the faith for or are not suitable for your particular area—whether it's political, economical, sexual or whatever?

44. DON'T TAKE ANYTHING ON THE STREETS YOU HAVEN'T GOT THE FAITH FOR! That's not my fault, that's your fault! If you don't like "tits & ass" & you don't think the public where you're distributing likes it either, & it's apt to get you in trouble‚ for God's sake, don't use it! You don't have to publish those for the street. You don't have to reprint them.

45. I'VE SET YOU INDIVIDUAL HOMES COMPLETELY FREE & you are not bound to publish those anywhere that it's not suitable & won't be accepted & might even cause you trouble. How many times have I said that? You're never supposed to publish any Letter in an area where it is not going to be acceptable or is going to cause trouble. If you haven't got the faith for it, you don't have to reprint it.

46. GOOD NIGHT, WE'VE GOT OODLES OF SUBJECTS! IF THEY DON'T LIKE SEX, WE'VE GOT POLITICS. If they don't like that, we've got economics. If they don't like any of that & that's all taboo, then we've got Letters on spiritual things. You've got your choice. You can publish any kind of Letters you want, on any subject you want with any kind of pictures you want. You can draw clothes on them if you want. That's what I said in the Letter "Liberty," "You won't be required, but we will expect you to republish these comics, & when you see them you are going to want to!" (No.696:22.) Well‚ for God's sake‚ that's as plain as day! Sometimes I think our kids can't think for themselves. (Maria: Well, they've been trained that way.) I didn't train them that way! The God-damned Chain is what did it!

47. SOMETIMES I WONDER ABOUT SOME OF OUR KIDS.—THEY MUST NOT READ THE LETTERS! I suppose some of the people took it to mean that since there are no more lit quotas, they don't have to peddle lit anymore. No more disciple quotas‚ you don't have to win souls anymore. No more checklist quotas, let the house go to pot! (Maria: To pot!) No minimum FFing‚ don't FF. No ban on blobs, so let's start having blobs.

48. (TIMOTHY: IN THE CASE OF "HOMOS," I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN IT & TAKEN OFF on it.) I think they take it the way they want to take it! (Timothy: Exactly.) I couldn't have made it any plainer in that Letter.

49. WE ARE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY, THE BIBLE IS AGAINST IT‚ THE LORD IS AGAINST IT & you ought to fast & pray for deliverance! (Maria: Some people did & they got a big victory!) Others took it as an excuse because we couldn't take a flat four-footed stand & condemn everybody & every single case. If you leave one little loophole, there will always be some people who try to squeeze through it.

50. (MARIA: SOME OF THE THINGS WE CAN'T HOLD BACK IN THE LETTERS, SO WE JUST HAVE TO BE CAREFUL & PRESENT ALL SIDES & factors for them. I think you did that very well in "Homos," so some people got a victory & some people got worse.) I think they did what they wanted, just like people do what they want with the Bible. They wrest the Scriptures & interpret it to suit themselves & to fit their own case.

51. JETHRO USED TO GET UP & APOLOGISE & EXPLAIN AWAY MY LETTERS EVERYTIME before he would read them! "Well now, you know Dad, now you know what Dad means. Now you know he doesn't always say what he means or mean what he says" & he'd explain the whole thing away before he would even read it, or while he was reading it. People will just do what they want to do & believe what they want to believe, no matter what you say. They'll try to twist the Letters & twist the Bible to fit.

52. ALL I KNOW IS THE WHOLE BIBLE IS ABSOLUTELY DEAD SET AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY! God wiped out whole cities & civilisations! … (John: Sometimes when a new Letter comes out with new ideas, some people think it automatically negates the old Letters that have been written on the subject. They need to balance Scripture with Scripture & realise that they have to get the balance.)

53. IN SOME OF THOSE OLDEST LETTERS I STATED THE BASIC FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES WHICH HAVE NEVER BEEN CHANGED; It's still the way I feel about it, it's still the way I believe. It's still the way I think we ought to operate. But just because I wrote them nine or ten years ago, some people have decided they don't mean anything anymore.

54. WE MAY CHANGE OUR METHODS BUT WE DON'T CHANGE THE BASIC PRINCIPLES.—Just like a general fighting a war. He may change tactics, methods, means of attack, ways of doing things, but he doesn't change the basics.

55. (MARIA: WE HAVE TO TELL THE KIDS ABOUT … PHONE CALLS [in sensitive countries]. …)

56. … They need to watch their language on the phone. …

57. WE HAVE A LANGUAGE ALL OUR OWN & ALMOST ANYBODY COULD RECOGNISE IT. How many church Christians use those expressions: "Praise the Lord!" "Hallelujah!" "Amen!"—Even on the telephone? It just doesn't happen to be their normal conversation. It's really hard to get that out of your telephone language.

58. YOU ALMOST HAVE TO WRITE UP THE PHONE MESSAGE FIRST, & then go over it & edit out all those things. Even then, you forget a few identifying things. There's almost nothing left of the phone message by the time we eliminate all the identifying language—we don't have anything left to say!—Ha!

59. (SARA: YOU KNOW‚ WHEN WE FIRST CAME TO BE WITH YOU, YOU NEVER SAID THOSE THINGS IN YOUR PUBLIC CONVERSATION. It was so hard for us to change our language. You never said, "God bless you" or "We love you" or things like that on the phone. You always kept it real straight, & everyone knew why …—But I think we all just get lax & careless.) I tell you, you'd better not be now!