KEYWORDS: love, law, lord, god, word

Our Beliefs Concerning the Lord's Law of Love

Peter Amsterdam, Apollos

DO 28586/93

—By Peter Amsterdam & Apollos

1. One of the topics discussed at Summit '93 was our beliefs & practices regarding the Lord's Law of Love. Before going into the details of our discussions & conclusions regarding this, we'd like to present a brief reminder of exactly what this Law of Love is.

Definition of the Law of Love

2. The Lord's Law of Love is a big subject. Generally speaking, the Law of Love is the Godly principle by which our entire lives, as Christians‚ should be governed. Jesus summed it up very simply in the famous "Golden Rule‚" giving us the key to our relationships with others: "As ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the Law & the Prophets" (meaning that loving your neighbour as yourself fulfills God's Laws.—Such love is the "Law & the Prophets" [Mat.7:12]). Ideally, this loving principle should guide all of our actions with others. This is a belief that millions of Christians hold in common with us.

3. However, a good deal of controversy arises between us & most other Christians when we claim that this principle of the Law of Love can be carried over & applied to our sexual interaction with others. Although we believe that God's Law of Love should be the guiding principle in all of our behaviour towards others, it's our application of this principle to sexual relationships that we will now pay special attention to, since that is the area which has raised the most questions. It is understood that sex is actually only a very minor part of our busy lives of serving the Lord & bringing the Gospel to others. But because our particular beliefs regarding sex have raised so many questions, we will devote much of this GN to addressing & explaining them.

4. As you know‚ Dad has written dozens of Letters showing from the teachings of Jesus & the Apostles that for the believer in Jesus, God's only law is love. One of the key passages on the Law of Love in the New Testament is found in Matthew Chapter 22, where the religious leaders questioned Jesus, "Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?" (v.36). Jesus answered them‚ "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, & with all thy soul, & with all thy mind. This is the first & great commandment. And the second is like unto it‚ thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (v.37–39).

5. Jesus proceeded to shock these Pharisees—whose entire religion was built on their attempts to keep the thousands of laws, ordinances & traditions of their Jewish religion—by telling them that these two simple commandments summed up all the other commandments of the entire Old Testament!—That Love was God's Law!—That if you love, you are fulfilling all the laws of God! He proclaimed, "On these two commandments (to love God & your neighbour) hang all the Law & the Prophets!" (v.40).

6. Time & again Dad has shown us from the Scriptures how God's grace through Jesus absolutely frees us—God's born-again children—from the rigid laws of Moses, liberating us to be led by God's Spirit of Love. "For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth."—Rom.10:4.—Which means that the Laws of Moses ended & were done away with for the believers in Jesus. "For ye are become dead to the Law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to Him Who is raised from the dead (Jesus!) For if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law. For where the Spirit of the Lord is‚ there is liberty."—Rom.7:4; Gal.5:18; 2Cor.3:17.

7. We therefore believe that if someone's actions are motivated by love—real, unselfish, even sacrificial love, God's Love—and are not hurtful to anyone, those actions are in accordance with Scripture & are absolutely lawful in the eyes of God. "For the fruit of the Spirit is love ... against such (love) there is no law."—Gal.5:22,23. "For all the Law is fulfilled in one word‚ even in this; thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."—Gal.5:14. For the believer in Jesus, God's only law is Love, for "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law (of Moses), being made a curse for us. For the Law was given by Moses, but Grace & Truth came by Jesus Christ!"—Gal.3:13; John 1:17.

8. And though this deliverance from the Laws of Moses gives us a great deal of freedom, Dad has always stressed that this liberation is not a selfish, reckless freedom wherein we are free to disregard the rights or feelings of others or act unkindly, selfishly, lustfully or lawlessly towards them, for "love worketh no ill to his neighbour."—Rom.13:10. In fact, the Letters have made it clear that Jesus' Law of Love is actually more strict than the old Laws of Moses because we are now obligated to go beyond the dutiful "thou shalt not's" of Moses, & be loving & kind to others because we want to, because we love them.

Are Our Beliefs in the Principles of the Law of Love Altered by Our Current Sexual Restrictions?

9. In our discussion about the Law of Love at the Summit Meeting, one of the main issues that was addressed was: Does the Family understand that the restrictive sexual policies which we have implemented have not altered our beliefs in the spiritual principles of the Law of Love? Do we—especially our teens & YAs—have the right attitude about the sexual liberties that we believe God has given us under His Law of Love? Does everyone understand why certain restrictions have been put in place in regard to our sexual liberties? Also‚ how do we honestly explain to the public, & if necessary, in a court of law‚ our beliefs in the Law of Love & some of the different phases that we have been through in our Family history as a result?

10. As you know, over the years the Family has put into effect certain restrictions & rules of behaviour concerning our sexual liberties. The reasons such restrictions have been put into place have been explained in past pubs, such as the GN on "Questions & Answers on Sex, Freedoms & Relationships." (ML #2718, GN 486; Vol.20) This GN gives some of the reasons why the Family has implemented various sexual restrictions:

"The main reason we don't have as many freedoms along those lines today as we once had is because many of us misused them.

"The Lord gave us those freedoms so we could sacrificially & unselfishly help others. But many of us simply weren't mature enough to handle them wisely & responsibly, thus we wound up using—or misusing—them selfishly & getting way off the track. So for our own well-being & for His Work's sake, the Lord had to restrict or severely limit many of those freedoms." (ML #2718:6-7)

11. A question that has come up as a result of some of these changes in our policies is: "If our practices & application of the Law of Love principles have changed, does that mean that we've changed our beliefs regarding those principles as well?"

12. Unfortunately‚ some Family Members, especially many of our young people—teens & YAs—have misinterpreted what these limitations mean. Some have drawn the wrong conclusion, thinking that because we do not practice the same degree of sexual freedom that we did in the past‚ that we have changed or modified our beliefs in the Law of Love. As a result, some Family Members are somewhat confused, wondering exactly what we do believe in regard to the Law of Love & how it applies to sexual liberties.

13. This kind of uncertainty has not only resulted in some Family Members feeling guilty for past behaviour, much of which was actually lawful & legitimate in the Lord's eyes, but it has also caused an unfortunate backlash of a lack of affection in some of our Homes. In fact, some of our people have wrongly concluded that almost any affection, including even a simple non-sexual hug, is questionable & should therefore be avoided. This is a very sad state of affairs & has left members of some of our Homes feeling unloved, unappreciated & lonely.

14. So we want to make it clear that despite the different sexual restrictions & rules that are currently in place in the Family‚ we still believe in the Scriptural principles that the Lord showed Dad about the Law of Love, & we believe that these principles are good & right. Even though we no longer practice all of the "all things" freedoms which are our Scriptural right according to God's Word, we still believe in the principles of the Law of Love as much as ever!

15. This point was also brought out clearly in the Letter "Questions & Answers on Sex‚ Freedoms & Relationships":

"There was—& is—absolutely nothing wrong with the freedoms that the Lord gave us! The Lord showed Grandpa that the Scripture, 'All things are lawful unto us' (1Cor.6:12), literally means exactly what it says; that there are no exceptions‚ all things indeed are lawful for the believers in Jesus who are motivated by love.

"The problem wasn't with the Word we'd been given‚ it was with us & our misinterpretation & misapplication of that Word." (ML #2718:15,16,81)

16. In Letter after Letter, Dad has explained the freedom that the Lord wanted to give us & what His intentions were, & he laid down the ground rules for how the sexual liberties of the Law of Love should be handled. If you are interested, you can study the many Letters on this subject, such as: "The Law of Love," "The All Things Tree," "One Wife!", "Is Love Against the Law?", "Love vs. Law!", "Grace vs. Law," "Our Declaration of Love!", "Amazing Grace!", etc. (See Letters 302C, 302A‚ 249, 648, 647‚ 635, 607, & 1968.)

17. Unfortunately, the teachings of the Letters & the principles of the Law of Love were not always carried out perfectly by every Family Member. Many of us were young & immature when we were first learning to apply the Law of Love, so there were cases where the Word was misinterpreted or misunderstood, & these freedoms were used "as an occasion to the flesh" (Gal.5:13) & not applied lovingly & unselfishly as the Lord & Dad had intended. When Dad wrote those Letters, he expected us to be loving, unselfish, considerate & mature enough in spirit that we wouldn't do anything that would hurt anyone else. He expected us to be yielded to the Lord & closely following His Spirit in our practice of these freedoms. As Dad brought out in the original Letter entitled "The Law of Love":

"It depends on your spiritual strength & maturity, trustworthiness, & especially the ultimate in total unselfish & sacrificial love—the true Love of God! Can you be trusted with it, or will you abuse it & use your liberty as license to do wrongfully & lustfully instead of rightfully & lovingly? Will you use it to heal & help, or harm & hinder? The answer is up to you.

"If you are strong enough in Spirit & filled with His Love, you can be trusted with His liberty as a useful tool to help others. But if you are weak in the flesh, full of selfish lust & play with it foolishly like a dangerous toy, it will only harm you & others & hinder the Work of God!" (ML #302C:5-8)

18. Overall‚ our past practice of the Law of Love bore good fruit & had wonderful results. But because some of us were not as mature & loving & yielded to the Lord as we should have been, there were some problems & some mistakes were made. But the Lord even used our mistakes to teach us some valuable lessons‚ & we have since learned that it's better to wisely curb some of our sexual freedoms because they're not all necessary or helpful. We've also learned that by putting less emphasis on sexual freedoms & relationships, we can thereby devote ourselves more fully to the Lord's Work.

19. In fact, the different rules & restrictions regarding sexual activities which we have incorporated over the years do not signify a departure from the principle of the Law of Love, but are actually an affirmation of the Law of Love. They serve as a safeguard to help ensure that everyone is indeed acting in accordance with the Law of Love. By removing some potential for problems, these rules ensure that no one is hurt or harmed.

20. We've also learned that some of our past freedoms were very difficult for a lot of weak & unenlightened outsiders to comprehend. Since the Bible says, "For meat destroy not the Work of God" (Rom.14:20), we have chosen to discontinue some of the freedoms we practiced in the past, even though "all things indeed are pure."

21. But according to God's Word there is absolutely nothing wrong with the freedom of Love & the principles of the Law of Love, providing the following conditions are met: That any such relationships are motivated by unselfish love & are desired by all parties, are agreed upon & hurt no one. The truth of the Law of Love was God-given, it was a freedom of the Spirit‚ it was good, & overall it bore good fruit. The freedoms of the Law of Love are not an ugly besmirchment on our past. It's not something we should all be ashamed of, so that every time it comes up we all bow our heads with embarrassment. Below we'll cover some examples of past Law of Love liberties which are now restricted or have been abolished.

FFing Becomes DFing

22. One of the main examples of our past application of the Law of Love was the ministry of FFing, which as you know, often—but not always—involved sex with those we were witnessing to. This was a ministry which was tremendously fruitful, with over 100‚000 people won to Jesus because of our sacrificial love for the lost & willingness to "lay down our lives" for those we were trying to reach with the Lord's Love & Message. When we get to Heaven & meet those who were saved because of FFing, we will be thrilled & so thankful that we were willing to give our all to win them to the Lord.—And our detractors will hang their heads in shame for condemning us for it!

23. Perhaps many of us could have done a better job of staying closer to the Lord & the Word while we were FFing, & if we had‚ chances are we wouldn't have gotten as enticed or "entangled in the affairs of this life"—2Tim.2:4. But despite some mistakes, the overall fruit of our FFing ministry was tremendous!—And the spiritual principles behind it were Godly & true & right, & FFing was a genuine manifestation of true sacrificial love, the Love of God!

24. It just so happened that in 1987 the Lord showed Dad & Mama that the time had come in which the Lord wanted us to switch from FFing to DFing. Some of the reasons for this change were because the Lord wanted us to put more of an emphasis on follow–up & grounding our converts in the Word. Also, DFing enabled our witnesses to reach & minister to more individuals than they were able to in the highly personalised ministry of FFing. It also so happened that the plague of AIDS had begun its rampage through the World at that time, so it was the Lord's perfect timing for us to stop our FFing ministry! Thus, we closed the book on the FFing era. But there was nothing wrong with it & it's certainly nothing to be ashamed of! To the contrary, we should be proud of it!—God's proud of us for doing it!

25. However, one of the problems today is that because we have changed our practices regarding FFing, some people have gotten a mistaken idea that there must have been something wrong with the Word & the principles behind the FFing ministry. This is simply not the case. The Letters & the spiritual principles behind FFing are as true today as they ever were! It's just that the Lord was requiring us to change our witnessing methods because He knew that it would enable us to minister to & follow up on more people than we were able to via FFing, which is why He gave us the DFing ministry.—And He also wanted to protect the Family from the "diseases of the Egyptians."—Exo.15:26.

Sex Among Teens Restricted

26. Another area in which we have altered our policies & curbed some of our previous liberties is the amount of sexual freedom allowed among our teens. But this change does not mean that we believe that sexual contact between teen boys & girls is inherently sinful or wicked, as a lot of church people teach. To the contrary, we still believe that our bodies & their sexual organs are God-created for our pleasure, & that He intended for us to enjoy them! (—With the right person & in the right time & place!)

27. However‚ we also learned that sexual & romantic involvement between teens frequently wound up complicating their lives, distracting them from their service for the Lord, & all too often was unfruitful, because the teens in the Family at that time lacked the necessary spiritual maturity & foundation in the Word that would enable them to wisely handle such freedom. We also found that in many countries such behaviour was either prohibited or frowned upon by the powers that be.

Sex Between Adults & Minors Strictly Prohibited

28. Yet another area in which we've changed over the years is regarding any kind of intimate relationships between adults (those over 21 years of age) & minors (those under 21 years of age).

29. As you are probably aware, in recent years‚ the System has been on an absolute rampage against child abuse, & we totally agree with them that there is a lot of genuine abuse out there, perpetrated by ungodly, unloving, cruel & abusive people. One can read in the papers & hear news stories of real child abuse with children being raped, sodomised, severely beaten, starved, tied up & left alone for days, cruelly tortured, etc.—Horrors which we deplore!

30. We definitely believe that any such acts of cruelty are child abuse & we're thankful that the authorities are taking steps to try to stop it. Our rules make it evident that we take the issue of protecting our children from abuse very seriously. …

31. Even the governments & societies of the World cannot agree with each other on [the age of consent], & are terribly divided over this issue! For example, in some countries a person is considered a "minor" until they are 21 years of age. However, in other countries like Holland (the Netherlands), the legal age of sexual consent was recently lowered to 12 years of age! So which country is right? Something that is perfectly legal & socially acceptable in Holland is considered a moral outrage & serious criminal offense in another country!

32. Mama recently spoke about this discrepancy & confusion in the System's standards & laws:

"Although we have prohibited any kind of intimate relationships between adults (those over 21 years of age) & minors (those under 21) in our Family, we do not believe that all such relationships are inherently wrong in principle, according to the Scriptures. However, according to the laws of Man, in many countries it's another story entirely! But even according to Man's standards, who decides what's wrong & what's right? In one country, something is defined as child abuse, while in another country, the same thing is legal and accepted.

"In one country the age of consent is 14 or even 12, & in another country it's 18 or 21. Any thinking person can see that such rules & laws are man-made & are not absolute. According to the System's rules, whether or not what you're doing is wrong depends on where you are, what country you're in, & who is making the laws.

"In the System, there are no absolutes. For us, the Word is the absolute.—And it can't be denied that it says 'To the pure all things are pure!'—Tit.1:15. The Word also makes it clear that love is God's standard, & 'against such there is no law.’—Gal. 5:22‚ 23. If one country says the legal age of consent is 14 & another country says it's 17 & another country says it's 21, who is right? There is no final authority but God's authority, so we must look to Him for the answer.

"Man today thinks he has such great wisdom to discern what is right & what is wrong, but every few months or every few years he completely changes his mind & changes his laws & changes his standard! The System is doing that all the time! Governments, countries & states can't even make up their mind about how old a person has to be before he can legally have sex, so they're frequently revising their laws regarding what they call 'the age of consent.' Furthermore, a lot of things that were perfectly acceptable a few years ago are now completely banned. And things that were completely banned, things that people were horrified at & were even illegal on the law books—such as homosexuality—are now being struck from the law books & are becoming wholeheartedly endorsed, accepted & even promoted! So how can we be expected to believe everything the System says? Just because they say something is morally wrong or something is not morally wrong‚ that doesn't necessarily make it so."

33. We therefore believe that in principle, according to God's Law of Love as explained in the Bible, "all things are lawful" unto the believers in Jesus who are acting in love (1Cor.6:12), which means that their actions are loving‚ sweet & helpful to others, not harmful in any way. We believe that according to the Scriptures, loving sexual affection of this nature is no sin in God's eyes.

34. However‚ when it comes to any such contact between an adult & a minor, no matter how loving or how helpful or appreciated it may be deemed to be, because it is against the laws of Man in most countries today, we simply do not allow it. In fact, it is common knowledge & it's stated throughout our literature that we excommunicate any adult who engages in such activity.

35. It's important to understand‚ however, that the reason adults would be (& have been) excommunicated for having sexual contact with someone under 21 is not because we believe that all such contact is in itself necessarily a sin or crime in the eyes of God. The grounds for imposing such a severe penalty on any adult who has sexual contact with a minor is because engaging in such activity is wilful disobedience & flagrant disregard for the policies & rules of the Family—rules which we believe are absolutely essential in this day & age.

36. Any adult Family Member who has such contact with a minor is not only breaking the no-cross-over-between-adults-&-minors rule, but they are also violating the Law of Love itself!—Because one of the conditions that Dad made clear in the original "Law of Love" Letter is that no sexual relationships should be initiated without the mutual consent of all parties involved. (See ML #302C:14.) And in the case of a minor, the responsible parties would include their parents, Shepherds‚ etc., none of whom would give their consent if they are faithful & obedient Family Members.

37. So even though we firmly believe that "all things are lawful" unto us according to God's Own Law of Love, we also believe the second part of this verse, that says "but all things are not expedient" (1Cor.10:23), which literally means that all things are not helpful or beneficial or profitable. And when it comes to sexual contact between adults & minors‚ we definitely believe that it's not very helpful or profitable, particularly when it's illegal!

38. Dad has always counselled us to avoid doing things that are against the laws of the land, unless the law in question actually forbids or prevents us from preaching the Gospel. The particular laws against sexual relations with minors do not have any bearing whatsoever on our main goal of witnessing, so obviously we believe it's wise to obey them. Thus we do not allow any cross-over sexually between those who are over & those who are under age 21. (We have chosen the age of 21 as the dividing line in order to cover most countries worldwide, & because we had to set a consistent standard for the entire Family.)

Why Sex Restrictions Regarding Teens Were First Initiated

39. Mind you, our original decision to prohibit all such contact between adults & minors was not made because of the System's laws, but because Dad & Mama only wished to see liberties employed that were edifying & helpful to those involved. …

40. Emotionally, these teens simply weren't prepared to handle such relationships, & found that such interaction was a distraction that hindered their relationship with the Lord. Upon learning of this, Dad & Mama instituted a clear Family policy which forbade & immediately put a stop to all such relationships throughout the Family. So our current prohibition of any such contact or relationship between an adult & a minor came about not as a response to criticism from the System, but because Dad & Mama were concerned about the emotional & spiritual well-being of our teens.

41. At that time, Dad & Mama also became aware of just how distracting personal relationships between many of the teens themselves had become. It was obvious to the Shepherds at the TTC that some of our teens were so caught up in their own personal relationships with each other that they weren't focusing their attention on the more important spiritual matters, they weren't tuning into & being fed by the Word. In short, many of the teens at that time weren't mature enough to handle such relationships, & they weren't maturing into dedicated disciples & missionaries for Jesus. Because of this, it seemed necessary to curb such personal relationships between younger teens in order to allow them to concentrate on their spiritual relationship with Jesus.

42. So it was at that time (1986) that we began to put into place some definite restrictions on the sexual freedoms which our teens were allowed. It was also at this time that we issued a clear policy to all our membership that any sexual contact whatsoever between adults & minors was strictly prohibited.

43. The overall fruit of these restrictions has proven to be very good. In the years since [then], our teens have grown & matured & have become much stronger spiritually. They have developed a strong relationship with Jesus & have also learned to develop mature relationships with each other, without being distracted by sexual pressures from each other. Our adults have also learned to be more loving & concerned Shepherds who have their priorities straight‚ & who can teach & train & shepherd these teens without the distraction of any kind of romantic relationships with them.

44. Our current rules about no adult/minor sexual activity were put in place [in 1986]. The various restrictions we now have on teen sexual activity were adopted after a period of experimentation & change, when we were trying to find what would be best for our young people‚ & they have now been in place for the last few years. Because we now have older teens who are grounded in the Word & have matured spiritually, we are presently praying about & reviewing our teen-with-teen sex policy. God willing, there will be some experimental modifications of the rules put forth shortly, which will allow more sexual freedom for teens in some circumstances.

Adults' "Sharing" De-emphasized

45. Another area in which we've restricted or de-emphasized our previous policies is heterosexual relations between consenting adults. We believe that such relationships are perfectly lawful in the Lord's eyes providing they fulfil all the conditions of the Law of Love.—Which means that all such sexual contact between adults (which we commonly refer to as "sharing") should be loving, unselfish & not harmful to anyone. It should also be agreed upon by all who would be directly or indirectly affected.

46. After several years of experimentation with sexual sharing between adults, we learned many lessons in how to put the Law of Love into practice. We found that sharing can be a very beautiful experience that not only meets others' sexual needs‚ but which also promotes love, intimacy & unity in our Homes. However, through our personal experiences we also learned that some of our human weaknesses & frailties made it very difficult to live such liberties to the full.—Particularly weaknesses such as jealousy, lack of love‚ overindulgence‚ etc.

47. Also, as can be expected, adult sharing opened the door for a lot of personal relationships to develop, which often became quite complicated, time-consuming & distracting for those caught up in them. These personal relationships often didn't bear good fruit & frequently became a hindrance to our service for the Lord, because many of us lacked the spiritual maturity to properly handle them. Although we still believe in & practice sexual freedom between consenting adult men & women‚ we have chosen to enact different restrictions & safeguards which have resulted in the adult sharing in our Homes being quite limited compared to what it was in times past. As was explained in GN 486 [Vol.20]:

"When we used those liberties with the wrong motives, a lot of us found ourselves caught up in a maelstrom of romantic & sexual feelings, emotions & relationships that were overpowering & could virtually control us because we let them occupy so much of our mind & heart & time. This, of course, resulted in quite a few serious problems, causing our work & fruitfulness for the Lord to suffer greatly. This is a major reason why we now have various restrictions & safeguards in place today, to 'make it easy for us to be good,' & to help us avoid such problems." (ML #2718:8)

48. So in addition to the discontinuation of FFing, the limitation of sex among teens‚ & prohibition on any sexual contact between adults & minors, some major policy changes regarding adult–with-adult sexual freedoms were initiated throughout the Family. One of the most significant of these policy changes was the 1983 publishing of Dad's Letter, "Ban the Bomb" (ML #1434), which banned sexual sharing between members of different Homes. Another major change was the publishing of Mama's Letter, "Sex for Babes?" (ML #1909) in 1984, which established the rule that new disciples would be required to abstain from sex with others for six months after joining the Family, in order to give them time to adjust to their new life for the Lord, learn to witness, get grounded in the Word, etc.

Loving & Unloving Incidents from the Past

49. Due to misunderstandings as to why the above-mentioned restrictions were placed on our previous sexual liberties‚ some Family Members have unfortunately come to some wrong conclusions. A number of our young people‚ as well as some of our adults, have wondered if our past sexual liberties were wrong. No, there was nothing wrong with the liberties that the Lord gave us, nor was there anything wrong when they were wisely & lovingly used in accordance with the Law of Love guidelines laid down in the Letters. Any actions that were done in accordance with the Law of Love were permissible according to the Word of God. If such experiences were loving, were helpful, were mutually desired, were sacrificial & were agreed upon by all parties concerned, we believe they were fine in the eyes of God.

50. We realise that there were instances in which some individuals did not always strictly follow the principles & guidelines of the Law of Love‚ & in some cases‚ some of these liberties unfortunately were used as an "occasion to the flesh."—Gal.5:13. If any of you were personally guilty of any unloving acts‚ we trust that you have sincerely asked the Lord to forgive you. If you haven't already‚ we're sure you'd also want to ask anyone you have offended to forgive you, providing they are in your Home or nearby in your area, & you're able to verbally apologise to them. We do not recommend that you write others about things of this nature. And if you were in a situation where you feel someone in the past was unloving to you, then we hope that you have sincerely forgiven them. "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you."—Eph.4:32.

51. We are truly sorry if any of our Members were hurt or offended in any way by someone who misapplied or in some way strayed from the strict guidelines of the Law of Love. We are sorry if anyone was stumbled or confused or embittered by any such actions in the past. The people who misused their freedoms—either intentionally or unintentionally—were literally breaking the Law, the Law of Love. And we cannot condone this, neither have we ever condoned it. However‚ even though some people may have misused the freedoms granted under the Law of Love, that does not negate the Scriptural truth & Godly principles behind it.

52. Unloving actions by some did not invalidate the Lord's Law of Love or mean that we no longer believe its Scriptural truth. It simply means that there were cases where some people were not loving enough or spiritually strong enough to properly adhere to it. This is why Dad & Mama felt it necessary to enact what are now the current restrictions on such freedoms & liberties—to ensure that no one was being hurt or offended by others who may have misapplied or misused the Law of Love principles, & to make sure that such freedoms were not distracting the Family from our main goal of preaching the Gospel & reaching others for the Lord.

53. However, the fact that such restrictions are in place today does not mean that everyone misused the liberties granted under the Law of Love. To the contrary‚ many people were very loving, mature, wise, considerate & sacrificial in their application of the Law of Love. But just as blanket (all-inclusive) laws have to be imposed in the System (even though many people would not even think about committing the acts which the laws are forbidding), so blanket restrictions had to be imposed on all Family Members to make sure that the people who were misusing such freedoms would not continue to do so.

To Defend or to Deny the Truth about the Law of Love?

54. Due to persecution, we are presently facing questions about our beliefs concerning the Law of Love from many different quarters, including the courts, the media & the general public. Some Family Members have been concerned, thinking that if they are too forthright about the Law of Love & some of the freedoms granted under it‚ that it could jeopardise our position with those who are questioning them, & in the long run, possibly even hurt the Family as a whole.

55. On the other hand‚ no one has wanted to deny the truth of the Law of Love, as that would be saying that these Scripture-backed principles & truths are wrong, which of course they're not. Dad has addressed this issue in several recent Letters, & the Lord has used him to make it very clear what our stance should be regarding the Law of Love. In fact, the title of one of these Letters, "We Can't Recant the Truth!" sums it up very clearly! Two other Letters, "Why Do Ye Stone Us?" & "There's No Way Out But Up!", also make it clear that we are not to deny or compromise our beliefs in the Lord's Law of Love, nor in the God-given freedoms allowed under it. (These Letters can be found in GN 554 [Vol.20].)

56. In prophecy the Lord gave a wonderful confirmation of Dad's "We Can't Recant" stance to the leaders gathered together at Summit '93. The Lord clearly stated that we cannot deny the truth of His Own Law of Love! The Lord told the leaders at the Summit that we were not to be ashamed of our teachings regarding the Law of Love, but that we should be proud of them, since they're definitely based on His Word! Although we still need to keep the current restrictions in place, He showed us that when questioned about our beliefs along these lines, we should stand up & boldly & clearly defend the truth & principles of His Law of Love.

57. The Lord made it clear that we are not to compromise or back down, but rather "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh [us]."—1Pet.3:15. Of course, that doesn't mean that we should shout it from the housetops or make preaching the freedoms of the Law of Love our number one priority. Our Message to the World has many facets & includes many important themes, which are clearly presented in our tools. While we should continue to "major on the majors" & emphasise the most important aspects of our Message in our day-to–day witnessing, when we are asked specifically about our beliefs in the Law of Love—either by the media, or other interested people or in a court of law—we shouldn't be afraid to stand up for the Truth!

Comments from Mama

58. (The prophecies received at Summit '93 were a confirmation of the way the Lord had been leading Dad & Mama over the past months. When discussing the Law of Love some months ago, Mama said the following:)

59. I certainly understand the dilemma some of our people are in when they are being asked by outsiders about the Law of Love & how much freedom is actually allowed according to the Scriptures & according to our Family policy. The System is quite strong in their condemnation of our belief in the Law of Love, & for the most part they feel it's wrong, & that some of the liberties granted under it are either immoral or illegal. Because of their vocal opposition to it & their threats against us, there has been a temptation by some Family Members to back away from defending the Law of Love & the God–given freedoms allowed under it.

60. The System's attitude has been that Dad is the one who is wrong in this matter, & that we should have never allowed the sexual freedoms granted us by the Word. They put the "blame" on Dad‚ saying that he led us astray, which of course is completely false‚ as in fact he's done the opposite, he's gotten us on the right path by proving to us the Truth from the Word of God. It's not Dad's fault that the majority of the World do not believe the Truth. Jesus said that most people wouldn't follow or believe the Truth, "For wide is the gate & broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, & many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate & narrow is the way, which leadeth unto Life, & few there be that find it."—Mat.7:13,14.

61. If we sit back & let Dad take all the "blame" for all our controversial Biblical doctrines that the System doesn't like & criticises us for—like our sexual openness & our sexual freedom amongst ourselves, FFing, our stand against Sodomy, our standards about not conforming to the World‚ what we think about [the ACs] who are trying to destroy Christianity, & many other radical doctrines that have made us what we are—then aren't we in a sense denying both Dad & the Word Itself?

62. Of course, I realise that for various reasons we decided to desist from some things that we allowed in the past, but that's a lot different than denying the fundamental Scriptural principles that these actions were based upon. One thing that we need to understand is that these truths that Dad has taught us in the Letters are Biblical principles & Scriptural truths, so to flat–out deny them is to do virtually the same thing that Peter did when he denied Jesus—& for the same reason! Our whole life is based on our strong adherence to the Bible. We have tried to closely follow its truths in all areas. And without affirming the freedom that is preached throughout the New Testament, we would not be the Family that we are at present; we would not be the strong, united force against the ungodly System that we are today.

63. It's true, we have changed some of our practices of the freedoms granted under the Law of Love, but just because you don't practice something doesn't mean you don't believe in the general principles behind it! For example, we still believe in the principles of FFing just as much as we ever did, even though for various reasons we have chosen to cease FFing. And even though we don't go storming into churches, raging against them, that doesn't mean that we do not believe that the church system is guilty of terrible neglect & failure to do their job.

64. So just because we no longer practice some of the things we used to does not mean that we do not still believe the Scriptural principles behind them. We know that "to the pure all things are pure" (Tit.1:15), & that "all things are lawful unto me."—1Cor.10:23. However, we also believe the second part of that verse, that "all things are not expedient," which means that some things may be lawful for us, but they're not helpful or profitable.

65. Some of the things we have had to stop practicing or even being so vocal about fall into that category—things that are lawful but not profitable anymore in this day & age. But if & when we are put on the spot about our beliefs straight from God's Holy Word, & we deny these beliefs & give all kinds of excuses why we do not believe them‚ & in fact believe that they are wrong, we are putting ourselves in the same position as the backsliders who do the same thing! We are just as bad as the Apostle Peter was when he denied Jesus.

66. Of course‚ you shouldn't forget that when you're standing up for the "all things are lawful" Truth, those things are only lawful if they're loving, if they're done in genuine unselfish love & in adherence to the Law of Love guidelines. The Scriptures make it clear that "he that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law, for love is the fulfilling of the Law!"—Rom.13:8,10. So to partake of the liberties of God's Law of Love, you have to be acting in love‚ that's God's condition, that's the key. All things that are done in genuine unselfish love are lawful unto you.

67. We also need to understand that the Family's teachings & principles are not necessarily always carried out perfectly by all of our Members. In other words, the actions of one person or Home do not always accurately reflect the policies & principles of the Family. Unfortunately, some of our Homes or followers have fallen far short of that standard.

68. But despite some people's failings & shortcomings, we need to be able to look past that & not "throw out the baby with the bathwater!" We need to make sure that we have the right attitude about the Law of Love & the freedoms granted under it. I'd just hate to have our Family Members acting as though Dad was wrong, when we know that's not the case. If there was anything wrong‚ it was that some Family Members may have gotten into some excesses & taken things to the extreme in some cases‚ using such liberties as an occasion for the flesh.

69. If Family Members are ever put on the spot & asked point–blank about these matters, they should tell the truth, that they don't believe we ever promoted any kind of abuse or anything that would be harmful to a child. And if the System uses the Davidito Book to try to prove that we allowed some sexual behaviour between adults & children, then I think our people should respond by saying that those pubs were written fifteen years ago & have since been removed from all of our Homes, & have been taken completely out of circulation. They should also drive home the point that we've changed our approach on that today, & any such contact with a child is forbidden in our communities & is an excommunicable offense.

70. If the System still presses the issue, I think Family Members could honestly say that they feel Father David raised his child as he saw fit, & that he permitted David to be cared for as he felt led of the Lord at that time. It's the past, & it's between Father David & the Lord, & we have no reason to criticise or pass judgement, "Every one of us shall give account of himself before God!"—Rom.14:12. Besides, there have been millions of people throughout the World who have raised their children in ways that varied from & were much more liberal than the present "politically correct" conservative sexual standard that has been imposed upon the World in recent years.

71. I just don't think we should deny our beliefs in principles that we know are Godly & Scriptural. Nor should we discredit our leader & our teachings just because our doctrines are controversial. We should be true to our convictions & beliefs! (End of comments from Mama.)

Excerpts from Dad's Letters

72. (Following are just a few select excerpts from Dad's recent Letters about standing up for the Law of Love. These first quotes provide a very clear reply to our enemies' charges of child abuse:)

"We have never allowed actual child abuse of any kind, as we would never think of harming our children! We are completely against any kind of child abuse, not only because of the System, but because we love our children, & to harm them in any way would be completely against our principles of love. We cannot even allow any kind of sexual affection between minors & adults whatsoever, even though the Bible says that 'to the pure, all things are pure.'—Tit.1:15. We have found that even though 'all things are lawful unto us, all things are not expedient' (1Cor.10:23), which means that even though some things may be perfectly lawful & all right in the eyes of God, they may not be helpful or profitable for us.

"We certainly do not condone nor approve of child sexual molestation, exploitation or abuse. In fact, we have very stringently condemned it & have made it very clear that not only is any kind of actual child abuse absolutely illegal in our Homes & that anyone guilty of any such practices must be excommunicated & ostracised & cast out of our Homes & our fellowship‚ but we've also had to go so far as to ban any non-abusive contact with minors which could be construed as 'abuse' by the System! We do not condone nor accept nor encourage nor approve of the things that our wicked, self-righteous‚ hypocritical enemies are accusing us of, while they are accepting the vilest, most wicked, filthiest sins & wickedness of all in Sodomy, & worst of all, self-righteous hypocrisy!" ("Why Do Ye Stone Us?" ML #2835:62,63)

73. In "There's No Way Out But Up," Dad's sentiments on whether or not we should back down on our beliefs in the Law of Love are made clear:

"Some of our friends have even suggested that we modify our Scriptural belief in the freedom granted to us under the Law of Love, to come out & deny it or change it or admit that it was wrong. But how are we going to do that? ... They want us to deny our position on the saving grace of God, that all things are lawful in Love because of God's grace.

"We are standing up for a principle of freedom in God's grace where 'all things are lawful‚' as the Apostle says.—1Cor.6:12; 10:23.

"How can I go back on the Truth of God & the Truth of God's Word, & the Truth of God's grace & the freedom of His Love? How can I now recant & deny it, when I can't recant because I know that what we stand for & what we have taught & what is according to God's Word & our faith in God's grace & His freedom in Love, genuine Love, is right! I cannot go back now & recant!

"So can we compromise? Can we hedge just a little? Can we deny that we really believe this & that? Can't we say we didn't really mean that? Can't we deny the grace of God & Salvation by faith just a little & qualify it just a little bit so we can save ourselves from the wrath of Satan & this World?—Not if we're going to please God!

"We have to stand up for our convictions of the Truth of God's Word, Salvation by grace & freedom by Love! As Martin Luther said, 'Here I stand, I can do no other!' Stand up for Jesus, stand up for our faith, stand up for the Truth of God's Word! Stand up for our freedom & grace & Love! Stand up for Jesus!" ("There's No Way Out But Up!" ML #2837:18,23,25,27‚34,39,42)

Confirming Prophecies

74. Without having read the above-mentioned new Letters from Dad, when the leaders at Summit '93 came before the Lord in desperate prayer, asking Him to please speak & confirm His Will concerning how we should defend & explain our beliefs in the Law of Love when asked, He spoke wonderfully, thank the Lord! (You can read these prophecies & their interpretation in full in FSM 242.)

75. The Lord began by reassuring us, saying, "I will guide you through the maze of the System's questions." And as the prophecies continued, He made it very clear that He did not intend for us to compromise or back down concerning the truth of the Law of Love, but rather to stand strong in the liberty wherewith He has made us free, & hold forth His light for all to see!

76. The Lord repeatedly encouraged us that we have a special calling, a special mission to proclaim His Message: "I have given unto you‚ the children of David, the most precious Message that this World has ever known, the Message of My Love. ... Hold not back that which has been given unto you‚ for ye are My called–out ones, ye are My chosen ones, I have ordained you for a special mission ... a mission that none other would accept, for ye have believed‚ obeyed & followed the Words of David & the Words that I have given. Others who say they know Me have rejected these things, but ye have been willing & faithful to follow & to hold My Word aloft that others may see, & to live My Words so others may see that that which I speak is true in this wicked & perverse World today."

77. The prophecies reminded us that our radical beliefs help to get out the Message. "For there are many that carry My Light in a dim way, but My Light shines brightest in a controversial issue, which this issue of Love has become!"

78. The Lord again made it clear that we are going into a time of many battles. "It is good that ye call upon Me this day, so that in wise counsel ye shall prepare for the wars ahead. For there are many battles ahead, but ye must know that in all these battles I am with you. As I have been with you in the past, so shall I be with you in the future. ... This is a time of testing‚ it will not be without sacrifice. There shall be many battles & ye shall be thrust face to face with your enemy, & ye shall have to answer by reason of the Word & of the Love that is within you, to testify of My beauty‚ My grace & this Law of Love which ye have lived for so many years."

79. Several times the Lord brought out that this is a time of decision & choice. He said, "Choose ye this day what is your heritage & what is your faith! ... Choose ye this day whom ye will serve!—The god of this temporal World which passeth away?—Or the God of all Eternity, Who reigns forever! ... I am well pleased in your choice this day. There is a fork in the road, but the strait & narrow way goeth only to one side, & ye have chosen this side, & for this I love you."

80. He also warned us of the dangers of compromise: "Do not compromise, but stand strong! For one small compromise would lead to another & to another & yet to denial. It is through this test that the Enemy would seek to deliver a mighty blow at the very foundation of the Family, at their faith in the Words of David. For if ye deny in one part, ye would deny in another, & yet another, & yet another, & in the end who will stand?"

81. But He also encouraged us that proclaiming & standing up for the Truth of the Law of Love will expose the System's lack of love & draw many to us. "For the Evil One has convinced the World of hate & of distrust. But My Love will prevail, & they that see My Love will hear My Voice. For My Sheep hear My Voice, & they follow Me. ... There are many that are seeking & groping in the darkness; they will see this light even afar off, & they will come running & fall at your feet & beg to be part of your folds, so that this precious, warm, gentle Love of David will fill their souls to overflowing."

82. Concerning how we should help our teens & YAs clear up any misunderstandings or confusion about the perfectly pure sexual liberties that are ours under the Lord's Law of Love, the Lord said: "Face your children unto the Light that they too may be strengthened & fed, that they too may shine as glowing candles upon the Earth in this dark time, a time which will become darker & darker. They shall become brighter & brighter from My Truth that they shall have within them, for they too are the embodiment of My Love & of My Spirit upon the face of this Earth.

83. "Ye must not fear the System & what it shall do unto you‚ nor the threats that they pour out upon you. But ye must now look unto your little ones & answer their questions & give unto them the pure Word of God‚ for they are the hope of the future & they are the hope of your Father David. These are the ones who shall carry on with My Word. These are the ones in which the Law of Love shall truly be fulfilled, for they are unharmed by the World. They have not been perverted by the World & its ways.

84. "Ye must be mindful that in the Garden of Love that I have given you, & with these tender plants that I have given unto your care, that ye do not let the weeds of this World come in now to choke out My Love & My Light. If ye give unto them the pure Word of God, they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. They shall be a testimony for you!

85. "When they hear the sound of the trumpet, they shall heed the call & they shall follow. They shall fight with conviction & they shall stand up in conviction & with Truth. For they love you & they know you love them, & they know that all that has been given them has been in love. As ye continue in My Love & continue to pour My Love upon them & to give them My Words, they shall grow up as a mighty army to fight against this onslaught of the Enemy!

86. "David is the little pebble that is called to hold the big ones together, & ye must look to him & hold fast to his Words & hold up his Words, for without him or without his Words that I have given unto him, the walls of your defense shall crumble. Be faithful unto all that I have given unto you & be faithful to give it unto your children, & I shall be faithful unto you. Know ye not that this time of trouble is but for a little while? Although it is hard for you to think of what is ahead & what may happen as a result of your standing up for My Truth‚ I wish ye could see the glory in the reward that I have for each one of you & for your little ones, because ye have been faithful unto Me & unto My David!"

87. The Lord also promised His protection: "Forsake not the Words of your father, for as I was in the days of old with the three children of Israel—Shadrach‚ Meshach & Abednego—I will be with you. As ye go through the fiery furnace, I will keep you, I will help you; yea, I will strengthen you with the right hand of My righteousness! Fear not the fury of the oppressor! ... If ye are faithful to My Word, I will be your defense. ... Have I not told you that My Word is an offensive weapon? Ye have to witness My Word, ye must stick to the Scriptures & all that I have told you through your Father David. Be faithful to My Word, then I will be faithful to protect & keep you, because My Word is the only weapon that ye have. If ye forsake this, how can ye stand?

88. "Withhold not this Truth from the Earth & from the lost! For if ye will not pour forth this Truth, who shall? For I have given unto you a special calling & a special message of Love! And as the Enemy, Satan, tries to deceive the nations & to turn them against My Love & against all forms of My Love, as he tries to pervert My Love as men with men, & as he tries to turn away the children from their parents, so they must see the light of My Truth, & only ye are upholding this in its purity!

89. "Therefore quench it not & be not afraid, for I will protect you! As a lamp of glass protects the candle & the flame from the wind & from the storm, so shall I protect you that they cannot blow out this Light. For I will encompass you about with My Truth & with My protection as a glass that they can see through to see the Light, but cannot blow it out. So have I promised & so will I do it, but ye must hold fast the Truth & turn not away, but hold it up as a true candle, as a true light unto these nations!"