Kudos to PeterF

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Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2005 06:32 am
Kudos to PeterF
The collection of newspaper articles you've been posting are valuable historical documents providing information that might be difficult to gather elsewhere. Like the names of the leadership cadre who were purged with the RNR--Mike & Debbie Sweeny & Deborah Kaliher Canevaro--Great work!

The material you've been mining in the mainstream Christian press is very interesting. This venue may be a very good source of material for TFIs activities in the 1990s & 2000s, since Peter Amsterdam is so desperate for the group to gain legitimacy. I vote for giving you a research star of excellence.
 
Peter Frouman
 
Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2005 10:21 am
Thanks. Of course there have been other contributors as well who have been quite helpful in finding and posting articles. The press archive is still far from complete but I plan to keep adding to it as I find stuff and when I have time. Except for the one Christianity Today article, the CRJ article, and the Midwest Christian Outreach Journal article "news snoop" found, there is actually not much from the mainstream Christian press yet. I know there is at least one more Christianity Today article from 1990 (?) which has quotes from Ed Priebe and Daniel Welch. Any suggestions on other articles that should be archived and where they can be found are most welcome. There are some more newspaper articles in the queue at http://www.frouman.net/c5/ and http://www.oplexicon.com/nyt-cog/

You may find this article at http://www.frouman.net/c5/evening-capital-feb9-1980-melton.pdf interesting.
It has a quote from Melton in which he claims that, in February 1980, the Family only had 600 members. I don't recall off hand the actual numbers or estimates but he is way off. They did lose a lot of members in the late 1970s but not the 4400 Melton claims.
 
Anonymous
 
Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2005 05:30 pm
Good work, Newsnoop!
I liked the Midwest Christian Outreach Journal Article. I'm thinking about posting some of it for commentary elsewhere.

Peterf: My thought about the Melton article is that the 600 figure is a typo. I read in one of the other journal articles about the RNR that the group was reduced to about half its size from 8,000 to about 4,000 during the late 70s and early 80s. 4,000-6,000 members in 1980 might be a reasonable estimate. But then, it all depends on how one defines "member" at that point in time.
 
Peter Frouman
 
Reply Thu 23 Jun, 2005 09:09 pm
Re: Good work, Newsnoop!
BlackELkk wrote:

Peterf: My thought about the Melton article is that the 600 figure is a typo. I read in one of the other journal articles about the RNR that the group was reduced to about half its size from 8,000 to about 4,000 during the late 70s and early 80s. 4,000-6,000 members in 1980 might be a reasonable estimate. But then, it all depends on how one defines "member" at that point in time.


Well perhaps the reporter, rather than Melton, got it wrong but it's definitely more than a typo:
Quote:
"But the latest surge of religiosity now has passed, he said, and most of the new groups stopped growing about a year ago, with many of them declining. For example he said the Children of God has dropped from nearly 5,000 down to about 600 and now resorts to so-called "flirty fishing" by which its women use sex to recruit new members.


If what Melton said was accurately reported, then it seems this is a clear example of how little regard some of these cult apologists have for accuracy and a possible indicator of how reliable and thorough their research is. Tha Family claims they had 5062 members at the end of 1978, 5937 for 1979 and 7865 for 1980 and that membership steadily increased until 1984 when it dropped. I don't know if these numbers are accurate but Melton's estimate is apparently not even close.

There is an old chart at http://www.frouman.net/membership-levels.jpg covering yearly membership numbers from 1968 until 2000 (except for a gap of 1995-1998). It was a modified version of a chart from Bainbridge, Wiliam Sims. The Sociology of New Religious Movements.. (New York: Routledge, 1997), 225 (based on data provided by the Family to Bainbridge) and the last page of http://media.xfamily.org/docs/fam/gv/gv_90.pdf
Note the chart does apparently not include non-DO members (IRFers/TSers or whatever they were called) until 1989. This might explain why although the Family has claimed over 13000+ members for some years, the highest number is 11541 for 1988.
 
Anonymous
 
Reply Fri 24 Jun, 2005 06:31 am
The numbers
My guess is that the reporter got it wrong. However, one way to check to discrepancy is to look at Melton's book, which is referenced by the article.

BTW, the article on the NY AGs 1974 investigation is great. I found the reference to the Youth For Truth, Inc., the 1974 financial conduit for GOD an interesting bit of information. It might be possible to see how this nonprofit morphed over the years--who's names are on the original application for nonprofit status, for example, assuming these public records are still accessible in NY.
 
 

 
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