David, you may be wondering how I was able to uncover such detailed information about the history of your group, in terms of your time with the Children of God, your meeting with Jim Roberts, and all that. Well, I'll tell you now.
From September of 2008 until September of 2009 (for fifty-one weeks, to be exact) I was a resident of Meadow Haven, which is closed now and which was in Lakeville, MA. I was there because I was trying to process and recover from my own involvement in an abusive group (more than one, actually, but that's long story). Meadow Haven was a place that I'd characterize as a rehab facility for ex-members of various cults and other abusive relationships.
It was wonderful, my experience there was. My counselors were named Bob and Judy Pardon and as far as I am concerned these people saved my life. I could never repay them for what they did for me there, in terms of mere money. My time at MeadowHaven was simply invaluable, in terms of my own recovery and personal growth.
One of the people I went through MeadowHaven with, was the first female member outside of the Berg family to join the group that eventually came to be known as the Children of God, and later the Family. She was with them in Huntington Beach, CA and back then the group was called Teens for Christ. So I was in treatment with one of the original Teens for Christ.
"Caleb" and his brother "Big Josh" were the very first members outside of the Berg family to join, and she was the first female to join. Her name in the group was LYDIA WEST, and she taught me more about the group than I frankly care to know. This woman had been through hell, to put things mildly. "Caleb" was her first husband, then she married "Marc" aka Lonnie Davis and later she and Marc opened the Jumbo, in the Philippines. She is also the narrator of "A Day At The Jumbo."
If you go through the MO Letters, as I have, you'll read all about Lydia West. She left the group in the late 1990s, so she was with them for over thirty years.
Just as an aside: LYDIA WEST was also the only other person present in the room, when David Berg's mother Virginia Brandt Berg passed away. Virginia Brandt Berg passed away in bed, while David Berg and his family were in another room, and Lydia West had to go and tell David (who was not called "Mo" yet) that his mother had just passed away. She told me that when she told this man that his mother was gone, that he become very emotional, and started praying in tongues in hopes that he could resurrect her, bring her back to life. He stood over his mother's corpse, praying to God to bring her back. What a surreal scene that must have been.
So I was in treatment with somebody who is a veritable living encyclopedia of COG/Family history, and she taught me a ton about that group, its history and practices, etc., including a lot about the McKays.
She is the one who told me about the Book of Remembrance, and she helped me in my research toward figuring out that Dave McKay is mostly full of doo-doo with respect to his story about how he is a former COG Shepherd. She was there, so she'd know who was who in terms of Family Leadership back in the day. After all, she was KQC. Here is her picture (posing with Caleb and one of their children).
This is LYDIA WEST. I was in rehab with her.
I was in MeadowHaven with Thomas too, and Thomas is the one who was there when Dave McKay and Jim Roberts met in 1990 or so. I was asking Thomas if he knew anything about a guy named Dave McKay, and Thomas said "Oh yeah, that was that group from Australia who went around preaching 'Greed Breeds Mean Deeds.'" He knew your name right away, David.
Also I was in MeadowHaven with one of Peter Amsterdam's nieces. She was/is a very, very damaged person.
Many thanks to Bob and Judy Pardon, "Lydia West" and Thomas for their help in my research toward documenting the history of the McKay group. I could not have done that on my own. I am a former member myself, but I am also a serious researcher and you cannot fool me, David.
Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2022 09:48AM by The Whirlwind.