The Children of God, a.k.a. the Family, was founded by David Berg in the late ’60s. By 1981, it boasted more than 2,000 homes in 76 countries. Former child members include actors Joaquin Phoenix, his late brother River and Rose McGowan.
The group emphasized the cutting of family ties, discipline and commitment to cult beliefs, which included total devotion to cult activities on the part of children of members. The group’s activities triggered a 18-month investigation by New York’s Attorney General’s Office in the 1970s, which led to a 1974 report alleging that cult members were engaged in kidnapping, imprisonment, virtual enslavement, prostitution, polygamy, rape and sexual abuse of children and incest.