70's Texas ranch

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Mary Jane Henry
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2008 12:56 am
Re: 70's Texas ranch
These helicopters followed us constantly from the compound to the area where the "friend" allowed us to drop the goods and back again.

I found this comment fascinating! I joined in Cincy early in 1972 and left in 77 but I'm Canadian and originally found the Lord at "The Light Club" in Toronto. While I was at the Colony in Cincinnatti I felt that we were being closely monitored by some sort of government agency almost all the time. It was very curious because we didn't notice anything like that in Canada or France or Germany but just in the US.
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2008 04:43 am
Re: 70's Texas ranch
I'm not a conspiracy theorist in any sense of the term, but back when you were a babe in COG and you were "damning the system", it was very easy to be one. The choppers were certainly one thing that fascinated me and hold in my memory. These were not the small kind of news choppers you see today, and I wonder if the local Texas TV stations even had any in 1971, but at least one of them was the large military style. The large one I recall followed our caravan of vehicles to the dumping spot. I remember the number 4 when I used to retell this story. I believe that I saw as many as 4 in the air at one time. While we unloaded, the large chopper landed on a small rise about a mile away. I don't remember now if the others landed or not. When the caravan left to return to TSC, it took off and followed us back. The one that awakened me at the flagpole that morning was not just passing overhead. It was hovering directly above me and not very high above me at that and was very noisy.

I don't know who or what they were. Since we had no personal media access, I don't know if they contained any reporters or not. I have no idea as to what their purpose for being there was, but clearly they were interested enough to observe our behaviour. Again, it was enough of a mystery to keep an impressionable person intrigued with this family known as the Children of God.
Reply Tue 15 Apr, 2008 06:51 am
Re: 70's Texas ranch
In 1972, I had a shepherd named Gabriel who told this story: He was an Air Force chopper pilot in Texas and would regularly fly over the ranch at TSC. Apparently, there was a big sign painted on the rooftop shingles--something like God Loves You. He was very curious about the ranch and TF as a consequence. He eventually joined TF at TSC--got a discharge--went on to get married and become a colony shepherd on a Virginia refuge farm. I think he went to Costa Rica from there.
Justme 1
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 12:18 am
Re: 70's Texas ranch
I wasn't there but my husband was in Texas, Aaron Goldenlight; he was between the age of 17 and 19 at the time , in the 70's.
Reply Mon 22 Dec, 2008 07:24 pm
Re: 70's Texas ranch
Hi, I was at TSC in 1970, my name was Lasha from Texas, I was part of the Asher tribe, I was 15yrs old, married Obed(arranged) in 1971, went to Europe, left in 1976. Anyone know me? Smile Smile
Reply Tue 23 Dec, 2008 02:29 am
Re: 70's Texas ranch
Rhonda wrote:
Hi, I was at TSC in 1970, my name was Lasha from Texas, I was part of the Asher tribe, I was 15yrs old, married Obed(arranged) in 1971, went to Europe, left in 1976. Anyone know me? Smile Smile

Hi! Very Happy I remember your name from somewhere in Europe - I am also from Texas, and was at TSC, but in the summer of 1971. I spent some time in the UK and then went to Spain, which is where I spent most of the following years, until leaving, like you, in 1976. I was married to (Spanish) Phoebe, later divorced.
Reply Sat 4 Apr, 2009 08:16 pm
Re: 70's Texas ranch
It's good to see that others survived the COG experience and even now seem "normal". I guess we were all pretty normal in wanting so desperately for life to be better than what it seemed to be in the early 70's. I joined in about 72 in Dallas and then went to the ranch. Then on to Minneapolis, Cincinnati, DC, Michigan Farm, Kentucky Farm, Troy NY, Chicago, and the Phillippines. I found a way to pull my brains back up out of my **s after Jim Jones took his whole group down, and spent many years recovering and adapting back into "the world". The whole experience led to a type of post traumatic stress kinda thing, and I just about went nuts many times. I'm now recovering from alcoholism, and living a relatively happy and fulfilling life.
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 09:46 pm
Re: 70's Texas ranch
My late brother-in-law joined into the COG at the Texas Ranch sometime in the late 60's/early 70's and went on to Canada & Switzerland within the group. He became a very indulgent member then broke away from COG when they became "The Family" sometime in the 80's to start his own church in California. I cannot divulge my brother-in-law's COG name as none of our family was given access to it - his "real" given name was Herbie. Herbie married a woman named "Nikki" in Switzerland while involved in COG and brought her back to the USA. They have 4 children together of whom reside in the USA. Herbie's wife and children have no desire to discuss their time spent with COG/The Family. My husband and the siblings of Herbie are seeking closure and information concerning his life within his involvement of COG.

We are seeking anyone who may help to find a connection to Herbie during this time and invite you to email at [email protected]

Regards - MJ Willis
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 01:07 am
Re: 70's Texas ranch
CB wrote:
In 1972, I had a shepherd named Gabriel who told this story: He was an Air Force chopper pilot in Texas and would regularly fly over the ranch at TSC. Apparently, there was a big sign painted on the rooftop shingles--something like God Loves You. He was very curious about the ranch and TF as a consequence. He eventually joined TF at TSC--got a discharge--went on to get married and become a colony shepherd on a Virginia refuge farm. I think he went to Costa Rica from there.

I recall a Gabriel, he left TSC for Woodland Park Colorado (as I did), he had sandy blonde hair, and a face with rough features. He flew interragation missions in "Vietnam".
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 02:35 am
Re: 70's Texas ranch
Did anybody here know Willing? He was my shepherd as a babe at Zion and he came out in the 60 minutes special on the COG. I remember he was from California, a little on the chubby side and had blond or ash blond hair, with a surfer hairstyle, you know the long bangs; I can still see him in my mind, tossing his bangs back....

I also remember thinking: "Hey, they made me shave off all my hair, why does he get to have long hair?" LOL
Reply Sun 4 Oct, 2009 02:13 pm
Re: 70's Texas ranch
I remember TSC and there is a military base that has been around forever, not so far from there, so it wouldn't surprise me that military did routine flight and training missions in the area. TF would have been a curiosity for them. Probably they'd get bored sometimes and say "Let's go f with the hippies.." I remember Gabriel and he was a helicopter pilot who had been to Nam. He did join and he got together with a woman who had joined named "Hosanna". I am not sure what ever became of them in TF.
I also remember Willing. I remember him from Zion mostly. He had an ingrown toenail there and they took care of it without meds. I remember him screaming. I also remember the very crazy lady that owned "Zion" and also had a house in Houston. Her name was Johnnie Mae Hackworth. (not sure of the spelling). She believed the land and House near Brenham was Noah's Ark, Zion, (how it got it's name), and the second floor was "the upper room" and she had some written prophecies where she wrote that Jesus "melted into her" on a certain date. When she'd wear her business outfit, she was Johnny May Hackworth, first woman president (to be). She had run for governor of Texas at one time. When she wore her granny clothes she was a grandma that puddled around making home made chicken noodle soup from scratch, and when she wore this white gown and carried a shepherds crook (that TF leadership provided for her, if my recollection is correct ) she was the shepherd, Jesus. She had a history of having been hospitalized for some time in the sixties because she had written some letter that must have been a sort of threat or caused her to go to the looney bin for awhile because she was sure that LBJ was "THE Anti Christ".
Back to Willing, I remember him well. He must've become a tribe leader for some of the guys and I remember him when we were close to being evicted from "zion".
We had plans of what to do to protect ourselves from "Mother Zion" as she was escalating in anger and had apparently started eviction process. She'd come in the kitchen while we were deep frying sword fish steaks and she'd pull the pot off the stove with grease and fish flying across the kitchen. Or she'd grab up all the knives from people's hands while we were cutting up veggies or other foods in meal prep.
It was after Zion that many of us went to a park near Houston (was it bear creek park?) that had millions of mosquitoes in the early morning and at sunset and all night long. Everyone got some serious mosquito borne disease there because we were living in tents in the park, and most of us did not have mosquito netting. Cephas would lead meetings where we'd sit there being bitten, bites on top of bites, on the lips, ears, everywhere. But mostly he and Shiloh would go to one of their parents place to stay while the mosquito feast continued.
Then some of us moved into a large house on McGregor St. The plumbing was not working for a few weeks. So much more I could say.
I was not at TSC when it was first started. I remember hearing about it being a run down missionary training place (Texas Soul Clinic) that was owned by Fred Jordan but it had not been actively used for years. I remember hearing people who had travelled on "The Road" talk about how even though it was broken down and dirty from years of not being used, it was like heaven compared to being on "the road".
I was recruited in L.A. and then bussed to TSC probably in early fall 1970. It was after Berg went underground but before the letter " I Gotta Split" was written, or read to all, I think.
I was at TSC when the first 60 minutes was filmed and someone who was an executive in the project of filming us had also brought films of Israeli pilots..
It was a favorable show and there was a big influx of people seeking COG out after that one. Huge numbers joined and many more babes ranches sprang up. One of them was Zion. Then a bit later Merkel was opened. I was at Zion from day one until the day we left.
kmt 1
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2009 12:02 pm
Re: 70's Texas ranch
I remember you - I came to the School (south of Dallas) in 72. It always amazes me at the selective memory of people who were in the group, as I read some of these posts. I was in from 71-78. My name was Bashan Sheep. I always like the people - but a life based on fear and doubt and bad biblical interpretation certainly isn't going to bear much good fruit.

I worked hard too, and of course that made it easie not to THINK or DOUBT. But what really clinched it for me was living much closer to the leadership in Puerto Rico, France, Italy and Madrid. Then I found out what they really thought of the rest of us. But even then, I could not leave and needed help to get out. And lots of support and prayer and study to work through the mental control and spiritual rape.

God is merciful and gracious and patient with us, but I certainly don't think he is "winking" at our ignorance. I hope folks who were involved and now out, can get the help they need to see the group not through rose colored glasss, but for what it was and is.
Reply Mon 8 Nov, 2010 06:59 pm
Re: 70's Texas ranch
I was at the ranch in TX that we called Selah in the early 70's I was only there for a few months but I remember these huge barrels of grains that were full of insects like boll weevils or something. There was also a horse that I shoveled up after. I remember the room full of metal bunk beds we used to sleep on, and the little shack that had all the "forsaken" stuff that anyone was welcome to take. Anyone remember a guy named Jacob Jew (me)?
Reply Thu 14 Nov, 2013 07:34 am
I did know Saul and Endureth in LA in the early 70's and then again after the COG in Phoenix...haven't seen either of them since about 1982 or so...sorry to hear about Saul..a great brother, been wondering alot about him. Any idea how to contact Endureth or Margaret? Would love to see her again...
was once Jocephas
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2014 06:36 am
My name is Michael. I first encountered the Children of God outside Fort Worth, Texas at a tent revival on the old Mansfield Highway in Kennedale, Texas. I visited that location several times, being witnessed to by a boy who had been converted from being a Mormon. Next, the group became located in a former lumber yard on East Rosedale in Fort Worth, not too far from downtown and the inner city. I visited that location several times. The group was known by that time as Revolutionaries for Christ, and it was the winter of '69 into the spring of '70. By the summer of 1970, the group had relocated to a ranch outside the ghost town of Thurber, Texas on property dedicated to missionary training purposes and known as Texas Soul Clinic. I was a student at TCU in Forth Worth, but my hometown was Mineral Wells, Texas, about 35 miles from Thurber. During that summer I took many visitors to see the group who by this time had become known as the Children of God. There was a military base in Mineral Wells known as Fort Wolters. Soldiers trained there as helicopter pilots before being deployed to Viet Nam. I took many of these soldiers to Texas Soul Clinic to introduce them to the Children of God. One of them joined the COG and took the name Gabriel. In September of '70, I took my college room mate from TCU to visit the COG for the first time. He had gotten saved about four months earlier in a dramatic conversion while under the influence of LSD. It was based on witnessing his conversion that I dedicated my life to the Lord, though I had been visiting the COG in its earlier history for almost a year. Well, on his first visit, my TCU room mate, Tom Bacon, was captivated by what he saw there, and joined on the spot, refusing to return to TCU with me! This created quite a stir back on campus, which was just beginning the fall semester! During that academic year I often loaded my government surplus mail truck with as many as a dozen students and we would make the 75 mile trek west to Thurber to visit Tom, now known as Darius, and the Children of God! During those trips most of the students who visited got witnessed to by COG members and got saved, causing a great revival to arise on the TCU campus, because these students were not ones who had previously been "religious" but were rather worldly and rebellious hippie types, leaders of the counter culture on campus! To see such ones getting saved was no small thing, and the face of the Christian community on campus began to change dramatically! I know that Darius, aka Tom Bacon, subsequently moved to Great Britain, married, and remained with the COG for a number of years before leaving them sometime in the mid '70's. He was originally from Rochester, New York. Later, for a brief time after leaving the COG, he lived in Dallas, possible with another couple, I believe Cary Noble may have been the brother's name of the couple they lived with in Dallas. Subsequently, they may have moved to east Texas, in the Kaufman area, and eventually their marriage broke up as what I heard was due to Tom's developing problem with alcohol. The last I heard of his location was that he had moved to the Midwest, somewhere in Kansas or Missouri, but this was 25 years ago. I would desperately like to reconnect with Tom, and know how he is doing physically and spiritually, because though I haven't seen him in almost 40 years I think of him often, and owe a spiritual debt to him for encouraging me in my own spiritual journey! If anyone has any memories of Tom, aka Darius, that you can share I would appreciate it, especially if you know how I can locate him or get in touch with him. He was a gifted musician if that helps confirm your recollections! Thank you so much. You can respond here, or email me at [email protected], or text me at 817-907-7406. Michael Southern
Reply Tue 7 Oct, 2014 07:13 am
Hi, I had originally discovered the COG on TV ("First Tuesday"), but didn't catch who they were and where they were from, so wrote to NBC. In the meanwhile, I sold all my stuff to make the trip. When I got the answer ("Children of God" in Thurber TX), I flew from Milwaukee to Dallas and then caught the bus to Strawn. A couple from there drove me up to TSC in the evening. That was at the end of Jan. 1971, when I was 19. And I joined then and there, and took on the name "Parmenas Tuesday". In those first few days, I met with Hosea, Faith & Deb. Aaron was somewhere else. I remember getting a special class on science/evolution vs. creationism from Samson. It was to make sure that you accepted (and toed) the "party line".
At first, I was at the "Babes' Ranch", which was a little outside of the main ranch itself. There were daily classes with Joab, and I think Samson did some too. I thought the Bible classes were interesting, but the "Mo-letters" which were read to us, and (obviously) held in such high esteem, less so.
The evening "inspirations" - mostly with Music by David Z, Jeremiah & others were probably the high-points of the day for me.
After about 4-5 weeks, I was sent to the new "Babes' colony" at Merkel, where Jeremiah was sent as well. Life there was pretty monotonous and I was happy to get back to TSC after about a month or so.
There were over 200 members living there and they were divided into tribes. I was in Simeon (kitchen workers), where the tribe leaders were Joseph and Imrah. I remember having to make endless inventories of perishable goods inside a walk-in fridge that didn't work at all.
I also started doing "guard duty", which meant sitting with someone else in a car (which didn't work) on the hill above the main hall, but below the house where Berg's Family lived. The car faced the main road and we had to report any lights heading our way. Abner (who was an okay guy) was in charge of security before he died in a foolish motorcycle race with Jethro (Deb's husband), who ran the whole operation there.
Awhile later, I was sent to a new colony called "Zion" - a huge mansion owned by a lady we were to call "Mother Zion". She was not in the COG, but we were to be courteous and defer to her. Whenever she sashayed past, one of the leaders led us in a rehearsed chorus, "Good Morning, Mother Zion!" and she'd wave at us like she was the Queen of the World. Her special thing was that she was convinced that ex-president Lyndon Johnson was the "Abomination of Desolation". Why, even us youger brothers and sisters had to smirk at that one - ha!
It was at Zion that I got to know Aaron (Berg). They didn't call that guy "Space" for nothing! He would lead the evening inspiration session, which lapsed into the evening "sermon", for lack of a better word. And that guy could talk and talk and talk. He never stayed on the original subject though, but rambled from this to that, complete with a whole array of anecdotes, etc. Although we got to bed so late that we just crashed, I kind of liked Aaron. He seemed a lot more "human" than many of the autocratic robots running about - many of the mid-level leadership.
After several weeks in Zion, I was sent back to TSC. Already there were rumblings that we wouldn't be able to stay there much longer. Normally after a night of guard duty, you could go sleep right after breakfast. But, one time, we had to stay in the car, not only all morning, but it stretched into the afternoon. We radioed in several times (you had to be careful how you expressed youself, so you wouldn't be accused of "murmuring"), thinking that they had perhaps forgot us. Anyway, when I was finally relieved, I was to have a talk with Benji (Robert Levy) before I went to bed. He told me that the provisioning colony in Dallas (in a huge warehouse complex there) would be expanding in the near future and they needed someone to cook, among other things (I was in Simeon, so I guess that qualified me as a cook!). And so I left TSC, never to see it again.
As people left TSC, the Dallas colony swelled in size. One memory that's stuck with me was salvaging eggs out of the garbage wagons there. We did it late at night and tried to be as quiet as possible. The whole thing was organized like a military operation - eggs broken into cups, smelled if they were still okay and then added to larger cans, which were then sent to TSC. Adria (wife of Javan / "I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger ...") was my boss, and I tried to relay to her that I needed help, as I couldn't make it on my own anymore. The evening sessions lasted longer than ever (Joel was there, and he was just as talkative as Aaron - just a whole lot prickier) but I had to get up early in the morning to prepare breakfast. After awhile, this began to really wear me down, and I had lost a lot of weight and was continually fatigued.
Salvation arrived in the form of Mother Eve (a friendly lady), who was looking for people willing to help pioneer new colonies. As I was from the Milwaukee area, I was to be sent to Chigago, where a small band led by Woodsman pioneered that city.
But, that's a different subject. Here's the rest in shortform: Later on I was in Minneapolis, where I married a sister named "Understanding". In August 1972 we arrived in a colony somewhere in upstate NY, via Cincinnati, and from there on to London (the Bromley colony, where I finally got to meet Big Josh). A few weeks later, we hitchhiked our way to Munich, where the Olympics were being held. And then on to Switzerland (St. Gallen), but the young shepherd there (Habakuk) had problems with my wife. We were sent to the main German colony in Essen, which was led by Elisha (Robert Stevens). My wife was sent back, but I was allowed to stay (wow! - how "revolutionary" of me!). Later on, I was in Cologne (almost a type of banishment), but was brought back to Essen in Sep. 1973, to help run the business side of the regional office along with Capernum. For about a whole year, we were based out of the "selah" colony in a different part of Essen. In late summer '74, then back to Essen, where change was in the air. Zebediah and Benji (yes, the same guy) arrived and the long-time leaders, Elisha and Sheriah were sent somewhere else.
It was at that time that I met a young German sister named "Rachel Lovelight" and we were really attracted to one another. After a couple of months, I talked to Zebediah about it and he agreed to marry us. At the last moment it was called off - without explanation, and I was sent to Holland (Amsterdam, Arnhem, Utrecht, Rotterdam & Hengelo). I hated it there and was glad to get a request to come to Switzerland from Benji (yes, him), and after a time in Basel (Matthew Canada & Renee) and Bern, it was back to Basel. I really suffered there under the nitpickety leadership and under a lot of pressure, finally broke and just left.
I made my way back to the States (via an African roundtrip on freighters), but before doing so, I tried to get back in contact with Rachel. I found out from her sister, whom I knew and visited, that she was now a regional shepherd based in Düsseldorf, and she gave me the address. I stopped there one night, and the guy answering the door knew me (but, not that I'd left). He welcomed me up into the house and I tried to fudge it as long as I could, before they caught on to what I was up to. Sadly, Rachel was not there, so I didn't have a chance to try to save her from the cult.
The next time I saw her, it was in a photo in a magazine (ca. 1978?) - the one with Mo and his FFing troupe. That really gave me a shock.
Years later, I heard that she had married a man in Portugal and was living there; her new name being Christine Ratzke de Figueredo. Recently, I tried googling her name to find out an address and sent her a letter, but never heard from her. I thought that maybe she just wanted to let the past stay the past, but it can very well be so that she's still in the cult. If anyone knows something, please let me know.
Anyways, there's a whole lot more that I could write, but maybe some other time. In case anyone recognizes me and would like to contact me, I'm basically open to it. I'm not much into theology anymore, but if it's something at the "human-level", try me out. Sincerely, Jack Bandy.
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 12:53 am
I remember - in the meanwhile, faintly - an Obed at TSC (dark hair?).
Little z
Reply Thu 17 Sep, 2015 02:43 pm
I was there during the the time we got kicked out. I came from LA I was working with the Mechanics. I just finished fixing the Motorcycle that the one member died on when we got the word to leave. I took a group to Colorado and later drove them to the big gathering in Seattle. Then I took a new wife and we hitched to Florida, Gainsville. Later we went to Atlanta and after they wanted us to have sex in the same room as the rest of the elders we left for Canada, My wife left me after we had a son because she could not get over them and wanted to go back later I found out they rejected her because of my son. I miss them both. Little Z
Little z
Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2015 12:39 pm
Me too, Like to connect to someone who remembers. I took a group to Colorado then Seattle, I then hitched to Flordia with my new wife. ended up in atlanta when my wife want to go home to have our son. I was not supprised to see what happeened to group. It was getting strange about the time we left.

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