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The Family International

Karen Elva Zerby (born in Camden, New Jersey, United States on 31 July 1946) is the current leader of the group formerly called the Children of God, a new religious movement. The group is now called The Family International (TFI). Zerby legally changed her name to Katherine Rianna Smith in 1997, and uses the pseudonyms Maria David, Maria Berg, Maria Fontaine, Mama Maria and Queen Maria.

Zerby joined the group, then called Teens for Christ, in 1969. After becoming a private secretary to David Berg, the group's founder, a relationship started between the two. Eventually Berg left his first wife Jane Miller and Zerby became his common-law wife. Soon after leaving Miller, Berg told the group about a prophecy called "The Old Church and the New Church", which was widely seen within the movement as his justification for leaving his first wife.

In 1975 while living in Tenerife, Spain, Zerby had a son Ricky Rodriguez (known within TFI as "Davidito", which is Spanish for "little David"). While not Berg's son, he was thought of as an adopted son. Ricky's childhood was recorded in a book called The Story of Davidto, which was meant to be an example to other members on how to raise their children. The book is controversial for its encouragement of child sexual abuse. In January 2005, Zerby's son Ricky murdered former group member Angela Smith, who had been involved in his upbringing and at one time served as Zerby's executive secretary. Hours later Ricky committed suicide.

With David Berg's health declining in the later years of his life, Zerby began to take a leadership role within the group. Upon his death in October 1994, she assumed the spiritual leadership of the group and soon after married her long-time partner, Steven Douglas Kelly (legally changed his name to Christopher Smith, and is known in the group as Peter Amsterdam or King Peter).

A consistent trait throughout the history of TFI has been their aversion to government oversight and extreme secrecy surrounding leadership and finances. In recent years, Steven Kelly has carried pictures of Karen Zerby with him on travels to show members, since most had never seen a picture of their spiritual leader prior to this. Although, by now, most of the group's members have seen photographs or video footage of Karen Zerby and Steven Kelly, their identities and location are still heavily guarded by members working closest to them. Recent photographs or video footage of Karen Zerby were not readily available even to fulltime members of TFI until March 2005, when several recent photographs were leaked online. This marked the first time that recent photographs of Karen Zerby were made available to the public in nearly 30 years.

For more information about the deceptions of The Family International organization we encourage you to visit their website

Please find below a copy of our e-mail, dated January 7, 2010 to Karen Zerby, Steven Kelly, and the Public Affairs Office of The Family International organization. Copies were forwarded to all major news organizations and media personalities in the USA and Canada.

To the members of a divided "Family",

The Fellowship, also known as The Family, is an International organization founded in 1935 and has been led by Douglas Coe since 1969. Its members include scores of high ranking U.S. government officials, corporate executives, heads of religious and humanitarian aid organizations, and non-U.S. leaders and ambassadors. It has been described by prominent evangelical so-called Christians as one of the most politically well-connected fundamentalist organizations in the US.

By reviewing the Mission Statement of The Family International organization it should be noted that you have not only stolen the words from the Bible (John 10:1) but the use of the words taken from Luke 4:18,19 by your organization are contradictory to its true meaning as they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

Your removal of the words "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" was no coincidence as your organization was never built on the foundation of the Spirit of God but rather the spirit of this world (1 Cor. 2:4-16). The leaders and members of your organization are separated from God and spiritually blind. They do not know what spirit they serve and what spirit they are of (Luke 9:55).

For this reason they do not know that they were never anointed by God to preach the gospel but have transformed themselves into the apostles of Christ (2 Cor. 11:13). Because they are spiritually blind they do not know that the use of the words "poor" and "blind", in truth refer to those that are spiritually poor and blind, while you claim to be rich (Matthew 19:23,24; Luke 6:24) and claim to be able to see (John 9:39,41).

The use of the word "brokenhearted", in truth refers to those whose spirit has been broken from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God during the journey of repentance.

The words "deliverance to the captives", in truth refer to those who claim to be sinners and are being held captive by Satan and the prince of this world (John 12:31). Few people are able to do this as Satan has most people convinced that they are already children of God through all manner of religious doctrines (2 Cor. 11:13-15). This is a deception and a lie.

The words "to set at liberty them that are bruised", in truth refer to those who have submitted themselves to the true and living God for transformation from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God (Acts 26:18). It refers to those who are spiritually bruised and injured (Luke 10:30-35).

If you have been following the news you would have noticed that your mission to change the world has failed miserably as you serve the spirit of this world and mislead all the followers of your organization. We know that you do not preach the love of God as you do not have the love of God in you (John 5:42) but the love of the world, which is after the wisdom of man and not after God.

Did you not know that it only would take two or three believers in order to change the face of this present world (Matthew 18:18-20) but the believers and followers of Christ do not pray for this world even as Christ did not pray for this world (John17:9; 1 John 5:19) as this present world is Satan's Kingdom (Luke 4:6; 11:18; John 12:31; 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph 2:2).

For a better understanding of the work of our Ministry, the Mystery of the Gospel of Christ and our message of repentance, which is the same message which was preached of by Christ and the Apostles, we invite you to read all of the pages and articles of the website

Please let it be known that the day will come and is already here that you will know that you have been deceived and that your Prayer Breakfasts are all in vain, as you teach for doctrines the commandments of men (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew).

In His Service.

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