KEYWORDS: kids, fun, things, time, work, children

Devil's Challenge to Our Garden of Eden, The

Karen Zerby

Maria #93DO 25264/89

—By Maria

(Intro: Like most of our Families, we too had enjoyed Combo living until one of our many moves landed us in a smaller Home situation in which we had nearby English neighbours. One day the neighbour children called out to David & Techi over the fence, wanting to play with them. This contact didn't seem so serious initially, but the effects from even this one brief encounter proved otherwise! From this incident, the Lord taught us some very valuable lessons which we feel would be helpful to our precious Family, especially those of you living in smaller situations, or those who have gone mobile & whose children are prone to have contact with System kids or feel "bored" with their own situation.)


1. Children naturally desire fellowship‚ they want to have fun, they want to do interesting things & have some relaxation with others. But I don't think they really mind that much who it is they're having fun with, whether it's having fun with their own age group or whether it's having fun with adults. The thing they care about is the activity‚ not what age the participants are.

2. If you, as an adult, can be just as fun & just as inspiring & just as great to be with as somebody their own age (& many adults can be), they'll prefer you. I think our own kids would choose the adults for fellowship & for fun over the kids their own age if they had a choice. Because they know that you have a lot more to offer them, & just like we did when we were young, they'll look to age much more than they'll look to their own peers, because they know adults have much more wisdom, much more experience, & much more in their bag of tricks.

3. Adults have a lot more to offer, so our own kids, especially as thoughtful & as mature as they are, would choose the older ones over the younger ones for fun & fellowship if they had a choice. But if the adults are so tied up & wrapped up in their own business & in their own work that they don't give the kids what they need in the way of fun, fellowship & inspiration‚ then they're going to go to someone else. They need someone, so if there are other kids around, they're going to naturally gravitate towards them.

4. David's first opportunity to be with teens his own age was in a Family Teen Combo. But unfortunately he got involved with the wrong ones, whom the Enemy was actually trying to use to pollute & contaminate him & to even cause him to backslide.

5. But after we pulled him out of the Teen Combo, to a situation where he had nothing but adults around him, he got just as close—even closer—to one of the adults on our staff, to the point where he said a few weeks later after having left the Combo, "Ric's my best friend!"

6. I'm sure he recognised the difference in the quality of the experiences. Even when they're having fun & fellowship, kids like people they can learn from.

7. Learning is a part of their pleasure! It's part of their satisfaction, accumulating more know-how & knowledge. That's the way they're made—to want to know more & to want to learn to do more. So he recognised that, & I'm sure that at that point, after having been friends with both teens & adults, he definitely saw the difference & would have chosen Ric over his teen friend who was a problem case at the Teen Combo.

8. But when there are other kids around, all our Family kids are going to definitely gravitate towards them, even System kids, especially now that so many families are going back to their home countries. They can speak the language & will probably live in small Homes in contrast to the big Combo Homes that a lot of them have lived in on the field. So the teens especially could easily gravitate to the System unless they have something that'll keep them happy at home.

9. It's important, therefore, that our adults realise that our kids do need fellowship. It's a big need, & they'll have to fill it, or somebody else less desirable is going to fill it!


10. Kids want friends, but adults can be better friends to them than other kids of their own age—if they will be, & if they realise the importance of it & take the time for it. It's nice for kids to have "fun" adults around, adults who make everything exciting, who have tremendous ideas & imagination & can, on the spur of the moment, come up with some fun‚ thrilling things to do, & who have a big bag of tricks that they can keep pulling things out of!

11. Sara is one person who is always able to think up interesting things to do‚ & Alf can also always come up with fun ideas when the occasion warrants it. Children like that, & that's real nice & that would be the ideal in some ways‚ but most of us adults are just not that much fun. We don't have all these interesting things that we can get together on the spur of the moment, we're not bursting with ideas.

12. But teens don't even really require that if they have a friend. You can be a friend to them, somebody who can listen to them & respect them & their opinions‚ & give them encouragement & work with them on their different projects. Just work with them & have fun & enjoy doing things with them. Older children & teens don't actually have to have a lot of separate play time just for play time if they enjoy their work & have fun doing it.


13. Their work can be fun & play too‚ especially if they can have somebody who can enjoy it with them. You can have a lot of fun doing things together as friends, enjoying things together & being able to share your hearts together while you're doing chores or work. It's also nice to have a little bit of play time‚ too, playing ball or some other games once in awhile, but that's not even so important if your work is fun & you can be working with somebody you like. Outdoor maintenance work or peeling potatoes or painting a room is so much more fun when it's shared.

14. Maybe you won't get as much work done when you're working together, because you'll stop to share hearts & sometimes to play. But if you're going to try to combine your work with your play, you're going to have to give a little leeway in your deadlines & your expectations of your teens & kids. It will affect how fast they're going to do their work & how thorough they're going to be, because if you're going to do it together & have fun doing it, you're going to have to expect that it's going to take a little longer & it may not be as thorough.

15. So if you're not going to give them a separate time for play & recreation‚ then the alternative is to combine their work & play time so they can have fun at the same time they're doing their chores.

16. In our Family, there is so much to do & time is so short. We're working to get as much of the job done as we can before the Lord comes, so we really can't allow long periods of time where our kids just goof off or play games.

17. The alternative is to make their work-time fun, & you can be their friend & work along with them & really make it enjoyable. I think that's a very reasonable option. Actually, that's what our kids here have been doing. They've been working at all the needed home chores & they've been very happy at it, although they're even happier when they have people who enjoy it working along with them.

18. The times when they enjoy it the most are when you're working with them & doing it together with them & you can stop & have little chats & talk about any problems they have or anything they have on their hearts. In working together, you're showing them by your sample how to do things & you're helping them to get the job done.

19. Actually, when an adult works with kids, there is usually less goofing off & spacing out, so there is a good possibility that work that would take the teen twice as long alone or even longer for two or more teens together, could be done in half the time by a teen or teens working together with an adult. Then the time they have saved can be used for talks, walks or other fun activities.

20. You just have to find a happy medium & you have to leave a little leeway. You have to do what's best for the work & also what's best for the child. You have to come to some kind of compromise. You can't always just be work, work working, or the poor child will feel he's missing out on life itself. You have to help him really enjoy life.

21. Of course, on the other hand, in our Family, we can't give our children loads of separate recreational time. It just wouldn't be wise. System kids feel like it's their right to have lots of time off. What if ours want to have the whole Summer off like most System school kids do?—"After all, we work hard all year long, now we're supposed to have a month or two or three off in which we can do just as we please!" Well‚ in our Family we don't have that kind of system & our time's too valuable! So we just have to try to combine work & play & hopefully make it all enjoyable & even more satisfying & fulfilling for our kids, because they know they're accomplishing something, & not just playing around all the time.


22. Our children have their place in the Family, their place of responsibility, & they're giving & doing their part in reaching the goal. They're also learning at the same time, if you keep them learning. You can't just stick them indefinitely in some job where they're doing the same old thing over & over & over every day—a job which they've long ago learned so well that they can't go any further in it. If you do, it just becomes boring to them, there's no more satisfaction in it.

23. They want to progress, they want to learn, they want to have a new challenge! So you have to keep this in mind with children. Some of you adults, of course, have to do the same thing every day, but thank the Lord, you're willing to sacrifice. You've had your growing up time. But we need to be careful that we don't keep the children in a job where they have to do the same old thing over & over & over until there's no more challenge to it, no more satisfaction in it except to know they're doing a job & getting it done well.

24. This, of course, is a commendable goal, but kids need more. They need to move! They need to progress. They need to try new things, to have excitement & change! So if they're going to be working all the time, like our kids do, we need to make sure they get some changes periodically. After they've learned to do a job & they've learned to do it well, if possible they should move on to a new area of responsibility.

25. Our young people should be learning all they can. Ideally they should be learning all kinds of different things: Babycare & housecare, cooking & maintenance, schedules, finances, stats—everything! Try to teach them a little of everything.

26. That's what's going to keep them much happier than sticking them in one job until they get burned out on it, they've learned it & there's nothing more to conquer & it's just a bore & a chore & they feel like they want to do more. (The same might apply to our new disciples!)

27. We need to be very conscious of giving them challenge in their work. Often we request that they shoulder heavy responsibilities, but at the same time we must remember that they're still kids. They can't stand as much at a time as adults. Sometimes they need a break, they need a change. They have a lot of other things they want to learn.

28. So let's try to switch them around to different jobs. Everybody likes change, especially our young people. They know they need it & they want it. They haven't had as many years to experience things as we have, & they want to be able to do different things.


29. If an adult has a job to do for an hour‚ & a teen has a different job to do for an hour‚ why not have the adult offer to help the teen half-an-hour on his work‚ then the teen help the adult half-an-hour on his work? Both jobs get done‚ & they're both shared. (Fam: Yes, that would mean the World to David. He said, "You know, we don't work together on maintenance much any more. I miss that!" It means so much to him just to work with somebody.)

30. Not only is it fun to work together, but then they're learning from the adult's experience. In addition, they have the supervision that they need. They also have the opportunity for the heart-to–heart communication & fellowship that they need & want. It has a lot of advantages.

31. The System is so brainwashed into thinking that kids have to have other kids to the point that they're crazy on the idea! That's one of the main reasons they say you've got to go to school, "Because you've got to become socially adapted & you've got to be able to learn to live in your society & get along with your peers!"

32. But as long as a child has brothers & sisters, they can learn just as adequately—& maybe better—how to get along with the opposite sex & each other & learn what different children are like. They have that experience in a small way, in a much more controlled & better quality atmosphere in every way‚ than if they were going to school with 30 or 40 or even more children in each class.

33. You don't need those often evil peers in order to grow up to become a well-adjusted citizen. In fact‚ the experts are now saying that peer influence actually hinders children from growing up well-adjusted! All the negative traits of hundreds of children are combined to influence the child as he grows up.

34. In a one-on-one situation you might have some chance of your good traits overcoming their bad, or at least influencing them for the good. But when you're one Christian in the midst of many unbelievers, their influence is pretty hard to buck! You're much more apt to be influenced by the evil majority of all of them than they are to be influenced by you!

35. That's why one Christian child going out amongst all those non–Christian & even anti-God kids is very very difficult. The Lord may give you the courage to stand up at some time or other for your convictions, but you're not going to be able to really do too much to influence a whole mass of people who are already so controlled by the Enemy.

36. They've got great strength in their numbers. Maybe you can influence them a little for the good. Nothing is impossible, but it's highly improbable that you're going to be able to do very much to seriously change them. It's much more possible & even probable that you're going to get influenced negatively by them! That's just the facts. Sad to say, that's the way it is in real life most of the time.

37. We're not saying that the Lord can't do it. He can, but He doesn't usually do it, because you're not supposed to be yoked together with unbelievers, you're not supposed to be having fellowship with the World. So when you're breaking His laws He's not really going to protect you as much as He could if you weren't. "Wherefore come out from among them, & be ye separate, saith the Lord, & touch not the unclean thing; & I will receive you."—2Cor.6:14-17.

38. Of course, if you, like some of our Catacombers, had to be out there witnessing to them, then He could protect you from their evil influences. But if you're going to be breaking His laws, He's normally not going to be helping you to overcome all this negative influence if you're out there on the Enemy's territory doing what He told you not to do in the first place!

39. In other words, the Enemy has the right‚ on his territory, to do pretty much what he wants to do. If you're the Lord's child, the Lord is going to ultimately protect you, but you may get a lot of battle wounds in the process‚ or get so completely trampled on to where you're a bleeding wreck because of your getting mixed up with the Enemy's crowd on the Enemy's territory.


41. With the notable exception of Japan & a few other countries, everything in System teens' lives nowadays is based on the attitude, "Take it easy! Do your own thing! Don't work toward any goals‚ there aren't any goals anyway! We haven't been given any‚ so we don't have anything to work for!" Everything's non-disciplined, non–work, non-goal-oriented—complete superficiality‚ complete shallowness, complete silliness‚ complete non-edification. There's nothing in it, nothing positive!

42. Now, there's nothing wrong with kids playing games. They need to once in awhile. It provides fresh air, exercise, relaxation of mind, opportunity for learning to get along with others, etc. But examine the games our neighbour children were playing: Not just a normal old-fashioned tossing a ball around‚ but smashing the ball into each other; they had to be throwing it hard at each other. Neither did they stop with the ball, they then threw lumps of dirt at each other! So what's wrong with that? It's probably not going to hurt anybody, it just gets you dirty. (But then again, it might even injure!) But what do these things lead to?—Maybe throwing eggs. Well, other than wasting food, eggs can injure someone. Next will probably come stones.—And bullets & bombs won't be far behind if the occasion should arise! These neighbour kids told our kids tales of how they'd sneaked on someone else's property by breaking through their fence & that they'd made some contraption there. Well, that really didn't do that much damage. But what will it lead to? What act of property desecration or vandalism or trespassing will be next?


43. I was shocked at all the neighbour girl told Techi in such a short time—& how it affected Techi too. The girl told her, "I go to dance class, but I goof off behind my teacher's back & I don't do what I'm supposed to do. I break through the neighbour's fence & sneak into the neighbour's yard & do whatever I want to do, & he never knows about it. Look at all the excitement & all the fun I have!"

44. The whole idea was, "I get to do my own thing, nobody bosses me around! I get to have all this fun, I don't have to work, I don't have to do all these chores. I can do practically anything I want. If you listen to me & listen to how I do it, I can tell you how to get away with anything & have some real fun!"

45. All those seed thoughts were implanted in two hours! I said to Techi, "What do you think was profitable in your visit? Was there anything edifying in it?" She said, "Well, it was fun." I said‚ "Well, yes, everybody needs to have some fun once in awhile, but was there anything profitable in it? It seems to me like most of it was silly & unedifying." She admitted, "Yes, I guess that's what it amounted to."


46. I asked her, "Have you been happy here where we live? I mean, have you had fun?" "Oh yes!" she responded. Then I asked‚ "Haven't you had lots of fun with your pets & learning so many things with Grandpa & doing lots of fun things with him, too?" She answered, "Yes."

47. I explained‚ "What is happening now is that the Enemy is coming into your Garden of Eden where you have Paradise & you have the most wonderful things. You do have to work, & you have to keep things beautiful & you have to take care of your pets & take care of your little garden. But look at the wonderful people you're surrounded by. And look at the love you have!

48. "Then the Serpent comes into your Garden & he says, 'Look, I know you have a beautiful garden here & you're really happy, but‚ you know, you could be even happier if you would just eat this little fruit over here. If you'd indulge in this activity you could be even happier! You know, you're not really happy enough. You think you're happy, but you just didn't know there was more, & I can give you even more! You can have even more fun! You've gotten used to all these fruits here in your Paradise. They're good fruits, but you're used to them now‚ & they're sort of boring & your chores have gotten to be a little bit of a drudgery. Maybe you didn't realise it, but aren't you beginning to find it a little boring? There are new things over in the neighbour's yard‚ & if you eat this 'fruit', it's a new taste & it's going to be delicious & you're going to really enjoy it! It's going to give you something that you didn't have before!'"

49. I continued‚ "The Serpent's coming into your Garden here & telling you that you're working too hard here. You thought you were happy, but you didn't know you can really be happy & have lots more fun if you go over here & fellowship with these other kids!" It was such a parallel to Genesis Chapter three!


50. The other illustration the Lord gave me to give her was, "Look at all Jesus had. He was perfectly happy‚ but the Enemy came to Him & said, 'Look, I know You've got a lot, but this is one thing you don't have that I have!—I have all the kingdoms of the World! And if You'll just have a little fellowship with me & make friends with me, I'll give all of these kingdoms of the World to You! That will make You even happier than You are now. You must not be completely happy because You don't have everything, You don't have what I have to give You!'"—Luk.4:5-7.

51. It was a temptation! There was a spiritual battle involved. This was something that looked good that Jesus didn't have at the time. Well, ultimately He has it all, but at that moment, the Enemy had that power & still does. He's ruling over the World & its powers & he was saying, "Look, You can have it all!" And part of Jesus' temptation was probably not just personal lust or greed, but rather, "Boy, if I had it, then I could get rid of this Devil! I could right all wrongs! If I had total control right now, everything would be pure & everything would be right & the Enemy wouldn't have any more power."

52. Sometimes I think our Family kids feel a little like that. They think, "Well, maybe if I make friends with these kids, I can witness to them, I can help them, I can be a good influence on them." I can see with our older teens, in some cases, that could be their motivation. And I'm sure in Jesus' case‚ that was part of the temptation.—To give in to the Enemy in order to get rid of the Enemy's power & take over Himself‚ as He knew He could rule it the right way.

53. It's such a perfect example of what's happening here in the spirit. Our kids have everything here. Our other Family teens are the same. They may be lacking in certain areas but on the whole they have everything. Things in the Family are so much better than they could find anywhere else. They may have their problems & they may think they're neglected sometimes, but overall‚ their life, even in the worst cases, is much better than anything the System has to offer. We've had returning backsliders, even teen backsliders, confirm that time after time after time!

54. They've finally come back to the Family & said, "Look, no matter how bad I had it in the Family" (& some of them did go through pretty difficult times), "the World is so much worse than the Family could ever be!" In other words, in the Family we've got the very best. It may have its drawbacks sometimes‚ but by comparison‚ it's so much better than anything we could ever have anywhere else!

55. It's the same with our teens, if they could only realise that. Some people will unfortunately only realise it by sad experience, but if they could just accept our word for it, that overall, in spite of the problems that they have, & in spite of some seeming drawbacks & some things they see in the System that they wish they had, compared to the way things really are out in the World, the Family is Paradise for them!—It's Heaven on Earth!

56. There were some things that even Jesus didn't have. He didn't have the kingdoms of the World. The Enemy says, "Well look, Techi & David, at what you don't have. You don't have as much fun as you could have. You have to work hard & you have to do chores all day. But I can help you have fun & enjoy life. You don't have enough fun, you don't have enough free time. I can give you all these things if you'll just compromise & if you'll just not worry about your principles or any of your training or anything.—If you'll become like them you can have a lot of fun!"

57. … Yes‚ they had everything else & they thought they were wonderfully happy, & they were. But when they saw the one thing they couldn't have, they started to murmur & they started to be discontented. That evil seed was implanted in their hearts. It didn't have to continue to affect them, but they let it. They let that murmur grow, about "not having everything we want!", & they let the Enemy continue talking to them & they continued listening to him. He was telling them, "You could be a lot happier & you could have more power & could experience things you've never experienced before! You could have more pleasure & more excitement, more fun! You're so bored now!"

58. The power of suggestion! You can be perfectly happy, but somebody's negative idea implanted into your mind can make you start wondering, "Well, maybe I'm not happy after all!"

59. Then you get discontented & you start murmuring & complaining, "Well, what is wrong? I guess I'm really not as happy as I could be. There must be something missing!"


60. The System's idea is to have fun, take it easy‚ let your hair down, don't impose any discipline on yourself, & don't worry about other people's feelings. So in the context of "Teen fun," that's usually what it's based on—just doing whatever you want, forgetting any principles or convictions, being silly & shallow, flowing with the tide, going along with the crowd like a dumb sheep, just following where they lead.

61. Of course it's a lot easier. My goodness! It's lots easier to just have fun than it is to work like Adam & Eve in the Garden, tending the Garden & taking care of the animals like the kids do with their pets, & taking care of their baby sisters & brothers & learning to cook. I talked to Techi about that & she said, "The neighbour kids don't like school. They think it's boring."

62. So I explained, "Well, Honey, you expect that sort of attitude from System kids. They don't have any reason to accomplish anything, they don't have any motivation, any goals, they're not trying to be soldiers for the Lord. They're not trying to become good leaders. They're not trying to learn so they can teach others, so they can pour into the children they babysit, or learn to sew because it can help the Family & help the Lord's Work & help make them responsible people. They don't have any motivation. You can't blame them in a way.—Plus, most of System school is very boring, unlike the fun way things are taught in the Family! What reason do they have to work instead of goof off when goofing off is so much easier?

63. "And if they don't have anybody forcing them to do things, they're not going to do them. Why should they? Who wants to work instead of play if you don't have any reason & motivation for it & you're not forced to? Nobody will work unless they have a goal. The only people who do things without being forced are people who have a reason for doing them. If you don't have a reason you just give up & you don't do it."

64. That applies to the System & to us as well. If you don't have a reason for doing something that's hard work, you won't do it unless you're forced to. You would much sooner just goof off or daydream & not do anything. So because they don't have any motivation or any goals, they end up selfish & lazy. What are their goals? They're not taught any goals at all. They could at least be taught that they have to learn all they can in order to have children & have a husband, but they're not even taught that as a goal. They're not taught the need for preparation. They think, "We can learn what we need when the time comes."

65. They're not presented with any reason for doing anything. They're told‚ "Study so you can go to college & so you can get a good job!" But that's too far away right now & that's not something that really inspires them. It doesn't appeal to kids nowadays; growing up, going to college, getting a job. They don't want to go to college because they don't even like school, so why should they want to go to college? And they really don't want to get a job because that's hard work too.

66. So how can the System motivate kids? They say to them, "You have to get a job so you can have money, so you can buy what you want." But most kids have got everything they need now, so it's hard to conceive of sometime in the future having to stand on their own & needing things. In other words, they're not too motivated to make money to be able to buy things, because they already have things. Things aren't that important to them because they already have them. They're probably glad to have them & use them, but most of the rich kids of the World don't have such an overwhelming motivation to work to get more things in the future. They've already got so much, they figure they're really pretty well set. So they just don't have any motivation.

67. Many of the new generation in the industrialised nations harbour a constant fear of war & rumours of war & the nuclear threat. That sort of thing has its effect, you know.—All the news about the tearing down of the environment & wars here & wars there, the threat of nuclear annihilation & all kinds of natural disasters. They don't know if they have a future anyway. They sort of hope they do but they don't know if they do, so why should they burn themselves out working for some goal or even working to grow up when they don't really know if they're even going to be around in a few years anyway? So their attitude is, "Why not just have fun?"

68. See, that's the bad attitude & the seed that this contact with System kids implants. It's always easier to do the easy thing than the hard thing, & when kids are faced with a choice of whether to stay in the Garden & do all the work, or go out into the World & just have fun & goof off, of course it's easier to just want to have fun.

69. It's human nature to take the easy course & go downhill instead of uphill! And unless you have conviction to strengthen you against the evil, you're going to slide. No matter how beautiful the Garden is & how wonderful everything is there, you've got to work to maintain it.

70. These are the kinds of ideas that the Enemy puts in the kids' minds, "It's a lot more fun & a lot easier out there. I won't have all this control, I won't have all this work to do, I can learn all about what's out there!" The temptation of knowledge & the easy life‚ of being out from under control & out from under authority is all quite real. After all‚ when teens get together on their own like that & they're out from under authority, the Devil can get into them & they can do almost anything. I must say‚ these kids Techi & David met seem to be headed that way.


71. The seeds of disrespect, anarchy & inconsideration for others are very much manifest in them. The rough ball tag‚ the dirt-throwing battles, the tickling each other aggressively‚ the sample of how to break through a fence & get into somebody else's property & do whatever you want, the examples of goofing off at school—all of those are seeds that can easily grow into greater things, greater negative things because it's all uncontrol, lack of discipline, wasting time‚ inconsideration & hurting others!

72. These characteristics are not manifested to a great degree in these little deviations, but they'll show up in a more serious way later. If you can do these things‚ why can't you do things that are a little more hurtful & a little more dangerous? Because when you get bored with this mild, little kids' stuff, then you've got to find something that's more dangerous & more hurtful to give you your thrill & to make all this free time you have even more exciting!

73. So those are just the seeds. In themselves, playing ball with neighbour kids & throwing dirt at each other is probably not going to hurt you much; tickling each other, while uncomfortable, is not going to kill you. Whatever they were doing wasn't so bad or so damaging in itself. But, see, this is only where it starts. Where it leads is what's serious. (Fam.: When that gets boring, then they start throwing stones at pedestrians or rocks at windows.)—Maybe eventually bombs!

74. "A child left to his own devices bringeth his mother to shame."—Pro.29:15. Dad has said that practically the worst thing that ever happened in the World was that mothers went to work & left their kids by themselves, & this is certainly a dandy bad example of it!

75. If our kids had been in a Combo Home with other Family kids to play with, I don't think it would have even tempted them. However, more & more of our families are going to be in similar circumstances‚ living in small Homes. As the persecution increases, they're more & more going to have to deal with this sort of thing, as it's going to increasingly be a temptation to have fellowship with other children if you don't have other Family kids around. …

76. See, to them, they weren't doing anything wrong, they were just being nice & having a little fun with these kids. But they don't realise the serious spiritual implications of it all. However, I'm glad it happened, thank the Lord, & thank the Lord Dad handled it the way he did & tried to nip it in the bud because we dealt with it immediately & didn't let it go on. That one encounter was a good learning experience for all of us. More than one would have been serious though. It was a chink in our armour, a crack in our wall.

77. Once kids get started on something like that, they want to keep going & it's hard to stop. Once a person backslides even in his heart, & actually yields to & tastes of the Enemy's temptations, it's a rare person who can disengage himself immediately. The natural tendency is to keep going further & further afield.

78. One reason for this is because the initial taste is usually good. You don't find out that it's really bad & it's really got its grips on you & it's really destroying you until way down the line. … Just like David during his stay at the Teen Combo.—I think he started to realise he was in too deep, but there wasn't anything he could do. He couldn't go up to his "cool" teen friend & say, "You know, I realise that you're being a bad influence on me, so I'm going to cut off this friendship."

79. Kids don't do that, it's almost an impossibility, when they're in the same class, in the same School. It's pretty hard to get out once you've gotten in, & that was David's problem. I learned from reports it was going on, but I didn't realise how far advanced things were until almost too late. I was very concerned about it but I didn't realise it was as serious as it was. I was starting to realise it when Dad intervened & took quick swift action, & if he hadn't it would've been too late. (See "Our Teens—The Devil's Target!", ML #2525.)


80. After reading the report from David's overseers, Dad just said‚ "Forget it‚ get David out of that situation & get that problem teen out & separate them! Do something about it now!" I was waiting until we had enough "evidence" so David could be confronted with it‚ which in some cases is good. If it's not that serious a thing, it's good to wait until you have enough facts so you can present an airtight case. But if it's a matter of life & death, you don't have to sit the teen down & present all the evidence & get him to agree. You just say, "Look, this is what we're going to do!—Your life's in danger whether you understand it or not, & we're going to change this situation fast!"

81. That's what Dad did, & it's a good thing he had us move on it so quickly, because it would've been too late if he hadn't. In other words‚ if it's a serious matter‚ you can't just let it go on till they find out for themselves.

82. That's why we, as parents & Shepherds‚ have to keep a very close eye on what our kids are doing, so they don't get involved with the wrong people or in the wrong situations‚ because if they do, before you realise it, you're going to have real trouble & real problems on your hands trying to get them back out of whatever trouble they've gotten into! It's going to be much harder on you & much harder on them. That's why we believe in attacking the problem in its earliest stage, not after it's gone on for awhile, while we are waiting & hoping it'll go away, hoping they'll see the light, hoping that the little things we can say will help convict them.

83. The Enemy's playing for keeps, especially with our children! We have to take the initiative & go on the attack & nip the problem in the bud & give the kids the Word on it & pray that they can learn the lesson without having to go through the experience! Some things they just have to take your word for.—If they will. Of course, if they are that defiant & they insist on going ahead anyway‚ they'll still ultimately learn their lessons very well, but they'll be hard lessons. "The way of the transgressor is hard!"—Pro.13:15.

84. Hopefully, if we can get to them in time & convince them with the Word & with our experiences & our wisdom, it'll keep them from having to go through those sad hard experiences for themselves.


85. The Letter, "On Guard!", you read today is so appropriate for this situation. (See ML #1377.) I'm sure the staff member mentioned in the Letter saw no harm in talking to the Systemites & seeing what they had to say, interacting & having communication with somebody different. It was sort of the idea of being a little bored & liking "new flesh," new points of view. In some ways, it was a desire for the experience of the World & wanting to know what's going on & wanting to know what's outside your little circle, a desire for new ideas, new adventure & new excitement.

86. But when we get our eyes off the major goal of the Lord's Work & His Word, & allow ourselves to become diverted from our "mapped out route" outlined in God's Word, then we're bound to go astray. These things are certainly a temptation of the Enemy. Often it's so subtle that you don't realise it till after it happens, & maybe you don't even realise it then for quite awhile unless somebody pulls you out of it & shakes you up & shows you that you're doing something wrong. As far as our kids were concerned, it was just having a little fun with some neighbour kids since there were no other Family kids around.

87. … [Techi] was very happy with the people she had around her, but he tempted her with a new kind of "friend" that she didn't have.



89. It's very commendable that they're willing to be obedient out of love for us, even without being convicted in their own hearts & convinced of the reasons why they shouldn't. But that's not enough for them. And it's not enough for us to stop at that. I'd be very unhappy if they don't realise in their own hearts why it's wrong & they don't really know the Word on it & can come back later & say‚ "Okay, this is why I know it's wrong‚ this is why I know I shouldn't be fellowshipping with them. And I know it in my own heart & I'm convinced & I'm staying away from them because I think it's wrong, not just because everybody is telling me it's wrong."

90. It would be really sad if we stopped short of that goal.—If our kids are just doing it because they know they have to. We haven't done our job unless they understand in their own hearts & know why they shouldn't do things & are convinced personally that they don't want to do it & that it's the wrong thing for them to do.

91. It's like that Scripture Dad got for our Family teens: "Come out from among them & be ye separate. Touch not the unclean thing. Come out of her, ye My people, lest ye be partakers of her sins."—2Cor.6:17; Rev.18:4. That's been our policy for a long time—that's why we have the Family!

92. (—AMEN! GBYAK our Teens! ILY!—In Jesus' name, amen. WLY! "Love not the World, neither the things that are in the World. If any man love the World, the Love of God is not in him!"—1Jn.2:15. "Know ye not that the friendship of the World is enmity with God! Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the World is the enemy of God!"—Jam.4:4.—D.)

(P.S.: We wanted to pass an additional word of caution on to all parents & children's shepherds to please be very prayerful[:] If your children have any associations which you feel may be harmful‚ in most cases it would probably be advisable to fade these out gradually & discreetly in order to avoid offending either your children's friends or their parents, which could potentially cause you problems with your neighbours.

To avoid any misunderstandings with your own children, they will probably need a good thorough explanation from you‚ perhaps coupled with a reading of Mama's Letter, "Be Not Unequally Yoked with Unbelievers!" (ML #2535, Vol.19). Please pray & ask the Lord for the wisdom that you'll need in handling this rather delicate matter. GBY‚ WLY!)