Jesus Freaks: A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge

Jesus Freaks A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge In the tradition of Jon Krakauer s Under the Banner of Heaven Don Lattin s Jesus Freaks is the story of a shocking pilgrimage of revenge that left two people dead and shed new light on The Family Int

  • Title: Jesus Freaks: A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge
  • Author: Don Lattin
  • ISBN: 9780061118043
  • Page: 224
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the tradition of Jon Krakauer s Under the Banner of Heaven, Don Lattin s Jesus Freaks is the story of a shocking pilgrimage of revenge that left two people dead and shed new light on The Family International, one of the most controversial religious movements to emerge from the spiritual turmoil of the sixties and seventies.Some say The Family International previously knIn the tradition of Jon Krakauer s Under the Banner of Heaven, Don Lattin s Jesus Freaks is the story of a shocking pilgrimage of revenge that left two people dead and shed new light on The Family International, one of the most controversial religious movements to emerge from the spiritual turmoil of the sixties and seventies.Some say The Family International previously known as the Children of God began with the best intentions But their sexual and spiritual excesses soon forced them to go underground and follow a dark and dangerous path Their charismatic leader, David Moses Berg, preached a radical critique of the piety and hypocrisy of mainstream Christianity But Berg s message quickly devolved into its own web of lies He lusted for power and unlimited access to female members of his flock including young girls and teenagers and became a drunken tyrant, setting up re indoctrination camps around the world for rebellious teenagers under his control.Thousands of children raised in The Family would defect and try to live normal lives, but the prophet s heir apparent, Ricky Davidito Rodriguez, was unable to either bear the excesses of the cult or fit into normal society Sexually and emotionally abused as a child, Ricky left the fold and began a crusade to destroy the only family he ever knew, including a plot to kill his own mother.Veteran journalist Don Lattin has written a powerful, engrossing book about this uniquely American tragedy Jesus Freaks is a cautionary tale for those who fail to question the prophesies and proclamations of anyone who claims to speak for God.

    • ☆ Jesus Freaks: A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge || ↠ PDF Read by ↠ Don Lattin
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      Published :2018-09-24T00:25:16+00:00

    1 thought on “Jesus Freaks: A True Story of Murder and Madness on the Evangelical Edge”

    1. I wouldn't recommend this to those looking for in-depth history on COG/TFI or the 'Jesus People' movement. I was hoping Lattin would delve further into the early history & cultural environment in which high-demand groups like this one were able to flourish.This book seems to sell itself on the sensationalism of already-sensational events, which makes me wonder why many reviewers seem shocked at the content, knowing in advance what the themes are. Hopefully this book's existence serves as a s [...]

    2. This book was so badly written and disorganized that it made a compelling subject almost uninteresting. I expected this books to be sensational and tabloid-like, but the writing was so bad that i couldn't even enjoy it as a trashy non-fiction book about an interesting subject.

    3. I am intrigued by the people who get sucked into abusive cults. What draws them in? At what point do they forget common sense? This nonfiction book follows the life of "Prophet Prince" Ricky Rodriguez, who was born into the Children of God/The Family International cult and, according to cult founder David Berg, an alcoholic pedophile, was destined to become one of two "witnesses" who would sacrifice himself to bring on the apocalypse. Berg claimed that sex between adults and children (including [...]

    4. An interesting (if tragic) account of the Children of God, a new religious group (aka "cult") that came out of the late 60s Southern California Jesus movement. I think some of the negative reviews of this book come from readers who expected either an in-depth sociological study of the Children of God or a true crime thriller. It's neither, although it has elements of both. Don Lattin has covered new religious movements for decades and has a good grasp of the subject, and also consults academic e [...]

    5. WOW Did I say WOW?I was so caught up in this book. I have studied religion and have an arts degree with a major in Religious Studies, but NEVER WOW! I am floored. I know that people do some wacky things in the name of Religion, but this one tops the cake so far. Child sexuality, prostitution (oh, sorry, flirty fishing), multiple partners, orgies and all in the name of Jesus Christ? WOW! I couldn't put this book down, and the whole time, the only thing running through my head was "what makes a pe [...]

    6. This book is problematic. It veers between wanting to look at the larger sociocultural scene around the rise of cults in the 1960s, being a sensationalist exposé of what is by any standard a real, real shady cult, looking at the underpinnings of the religious doctrine of said cult, and covering a murder suicide committed by a cult member. It wants to do all of those things and does a little of each, but without giving readers any type of functional analysis. It reads amateurishly and is poorly [...]

    7. The subject matter is fascinating, and I appreciate all the effort the author put into researching the events and conducting interviews. I just felt that the writing of it was scattered, especially in a chronological sense--it seemed like it jumped around all over the place, back and forth. There were also some repetitive sections, while parts I would have liked to have had more in-depth were skimmed over. (A challenge when you're piecing a story like this together, I know, but overall it made t [...]

    8. Book Is Not Holding My Interest - Almost 50% Through And StrugglingI am definitely a "fan" of true crime - tending to prefer books that deal with sustained psychological dysfunction - a trait cults tend to share. The cult portrayed in this book definitely has the dysfunction - but the author seems to be unable to convey the story in a coherent way. He skips all over the place -describing, for example, a scene from the 70's, and then in the next paragraph fast-forwarding to the 90's and going on [...]

    9. It seems that many religious cults are founded by a megalomaniac man who ultimately uses his authority to have as many kinds of sex with as many kinds of followers as he can, and then justifies it by carefully selected quotes from the Bible; the name David Koresh comes to mind.This book is fascinating in a prurient way. The founder of the Jesus Freak cult known as The Family is a despicable man living in a self-delusion of alcohol and orgies. The number of abused children who commit suicide in t [...]

    10. I love true crime and am fascinated by cults. The topic of this book could have been a perfect combination of the two if not for the poor writing. This book would have benefitted from more editing as it felt disorganized and incoherent at times. This was a missed opportunity to effectively tell this fascinating story and go in depth with the characters.

    11. True CrimeThis book tells the story of the Family, a sect that has been in existence tsince the 60s. I didn't really enjoy reading it; the tale was too grim. I was appalled by the abuse of children and even adults who were members.

    12. Truly disturbing insight on the life of one tortured young man. To think that this "family" did all this with the mindset of loving God.

    13. This was book was so poorly written and disorganized that I couldn't maintain any interest at all. After falling asleep several times while reading it, I gave up.

    14. Jesus Freaks / 978-0-06-111804-3Sometimes you're walking through the "True Crime" section of the bookstore, and a book leaps out at you, and you realize that it's the true account of that one Law & Order episode you caught that one time that totally wasn't based on a true story or anything, except of course they all are. And because you thought the episode (Season 15, Episode 19, "Sects") was interesting (in a horrifying kind of way), you take the book home and you read it, and you find a gr [...]

    15. About halfway through reading this I realized it was the plot of one of those "ripped from the headlines" episodes of Law & Order. Makes sense. A religious cult that promotes the sexual abuse of children in its religious teachings is a perfect fit for a procedural TV melodrama. This tie-in portrayal, I'm sure, was triggered by the murder suicide that ties this story together, in which young Ricky Rodriguez, who was anointed an end-times prophet at birth and then sexually molested for years b [...]

    16. [Trigger: Discussion of sexual abuse]By chance, I stumbled upon two documentaries about The Children of God (aka The Family, aka The Family International) while browsing around on the internet recently. One, by the director of Beginners was about how he was going back to the group to try and visit family. The other, the name of which I now forget, was about the situation Lattin discusses in this book: The supposed prophet of the next generation, a young man by the name of Ricky, filmed a suicide [...]

    17. David Berg was an odd cult leader. He built his cult completely around his pathology and abuse history. He mandated sexual contact with infants but was not a interested in participating. He was not attracted to sexually immature girls or boys - but did not waste much time waiting for puberty to end to bring girls into his sexual rotation.Berg was abused by a nanny as a child. This nanny would caress and fondle him. Eventually, these caresses advanced with his maturing physiognomy. Berg felt this [...]

    18. Jesus Freaks: the story of a religious group from the early 1960’s: the Children of God, whose doctrine transcended normal religious ideals and descended into a sexually promiscuous, abusive, and secretive cult. Whose true practices and beliefs came to public attention when the group’s chosen prophet, Davidito, an illegitimate and sexually abused descendant of one of the founding members, murdered a leading cult member that sexually abused him as an infant. The story unfolded when police fou [...]

    19. I just finished reading this book (so much for summer reading :). Although it is not the most well written book I have ever come across, which is surprising considering the author is a journalist, I found it incredibly interesting. Lattin examines the life and death of Ricky Rodriguez, otherwise known as Davidito in The Family. The cult sometimes known as The Family, Children or God or the Family International was a non-denominational religious group born out of the free love and political rebel [...]

    20. This is a hard book to review. Due to the subject matter and that the book is not really that well written, even though the author is a journalist. I only gave it 2 stars, a rating of OK. In the last half of the 60s around the time of the Summer of Love, this cult started picking up momentum. Back then it was better known as Teens for Christ or Children of God and later became the Family International or merely The Family. How anyone could believe some of it is hard to imagine, since unlike some [...]

    21. This book is disturbing. I just want to say that straight out. It deals with a bizarre cult known as The Family that got started in the late sixties and is still going today. The Family, at least at certain points in their history, have practiced some seriously icky stuff, including incest and child abuse. What makes the story interesting is that they started out as a fairly run-of-the-mill hippy "Jesus People"-style movement. They were, basically, evangelical fundamentalists. And then somehow, [...]

    22. This is not the easiest book to form an opinion on. The topic is probably one of the most heinous things to be written about - the systematic sexual, emotional and physical abuse of children under their brand of Christianity.The writing itself is average, but the topic overcomes the sub-par writing being such a shocking time line of events which numerous people thought were acceptable under the guise of their religion: incest, paedophilia, child pornography, adultery and corporal punishment are [...]

    23. I got a new textbook for a family class I'm teaching this semester. A featured inset article in a chapter on family sexual issues (including child molestation) discusses The Family/Children of God, a cult born out of the hippie/sexual revolution of the 1960s founded by David Berg which advocated free love including between adults and children. This book was listed in the references, and I read it to learn more. The story itself is fascinating covering some of the early history of Berg, the movem [...]

    24. I remember watching a Dateline or 20/20 episode about Ricky Rodriguez and the Family of God cult many years ago, and it had stayed with me as one of the most horrific stories I'd ever heard. This book chronicles that story in a very thorough way, and is gripping, horrifying, and page-turning. After reading Lattin's book, I found myself looking up various documentaries about the cult on YouTube and was totally immersed in those as well. The idea that such evil not only exists in the world, but th [...]

    25. This is a very difficult book to rate so I will start with what's easiest. Considering that the author writes for The Atlantic I had expected better quality writing from him. I found that the writing lacked flow, repeated itself unnecessarily a few times and was disorganized in parts. The actual story however was incredibly compelling and certainly made up for this. A family member had briefly been a member of this cult, originally called the Children of God, leaving once some of the more horrif [...]

    26. Disturbing, sick, grossYuck! I am curious at what point does sanity and good sense leave you and you join a cult that endorses pedophelia? This story mainly dealt with the young man who was raised in "The Family" to be the messiah of the next generation. Shockingly, a life time of sex abuse and witnessing what can only be described as perverted debauchery, he exploded in rage and murdered his former nanny. He then went on to take his own life. It was well written and the research was valid, I ju [...]

    27. I read Not Without My Sister: The True Story of Three Girls Violated and Betrayed before this book, and I'm very thankful I did because I doubt I would have had much interest in Jesus Freaks otherwise.The book was informative, but mostly about the histories of a few people involved in the cult. It definitely comes across as much research-based than memoir/crime-based.It just doesn't grab you. Unless you have previously read a book about Children of God cult, I wouldn't suggest this. Even if you [...]

    28. i loooooooove reading about cults. watching documentaries about them. and i love diane sawyer, i'm pretty sure i saw this cult story on tv one night and went to the bookstore immediately. i even forgot to call to see if they had it. or where it would be.i found it in religion. awesome.i watched all the youtube stuff. i still do not in any way understand how these people thought any of this was ever normal or insanely reasonable. and that a person could command that kind of control is hard to ent [...]

    29. Another cult book about a cult I'd never heard of before. As usual, it is hard to write a definitive book about a secretive cult because the members don't cooperate so this one morphs into the story of Ricky Rodriguez, adopted son of the cult leader, who is anointed as the successor but doesn't want any part of it. Ricky leaves the group, then decides to take revenge, leading to a sad ending.Lots of titillating stuff about sex with kids. As often happens reading these kinds of tales, one wonders [...]

    30. Touching on its early history, leaders of the movement and testimony of ex- and current members, Lattin presents a creepy portrait of the Children of God cult, otherwise known as The Family. The book loosely follows the life of David Berg, the charismatic and manipulative leader, and his chosen disciple, Ricky Rodriguez. Lattin tells the story of the rise of the cult, the death of Berg and Rodriguez's murder of Sue Kauten in an attempt to find and kill his own abusive mother and save his sister. [...]

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