An interview with a former persecutor and hater of The Family International (TFI)

As most people know I have a couple of friends who are members of TFI and I have been writing about the organization for some time. I think TFI is a great Christian organization with an: inspiring, eventful and positive history. Over the years TFI has been victimized through: hate, personal attacks and spiritual attacks. I do believe I have a reasonable amount of experience in investigating and researching various topics, and through researching TFI I discovered a former hater of TFI who persecuted the group over the years. I discovered this former TFI hater online and reached out to him. This former TFI hater was sorry for the persecution he directed towards TFI, and he realizes that it was demonic powers which influenced him into hating TFI. The interview is revealing and informative, and I believe many people could benefit from reading it.

This former TFI hater does not wish to be named but we will call him Bob (not his real name).

Below is my interview with Bob.

Me: Bob. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. Why did you agree to do the interview?

Bob: My pleasure. I just felt I needed to do it for myself and also for TFI. I am very sorry for hurting so many people and for the cyber bullying and persecution I directed toward TFI and its leaders.

Me: Some of the things which you said toward Karen Zerby and Steven Kelly were pretty bad. If I understood you correctly, you had even wished death upon Steven Kelly? You also condemned Karen Zerby to hell and had directed a host of other nasty comments toward her? Is that correct?

Bob: Yes, I had verbally abused both Steven Kelly and Karen Zerby very badly. However I regret doing it and am sorry.

Me: Where and when did the verbal abuse and threats take place?

Bob: I sent emails to TFI threatening them and verbally abusing them. I also went on TFI ex-member forums and wrote a large volume of verbal abuse toward Karen Zerby, Steven Kelly and TFI in general. I was consumed with hate and I really did feel possessed when I reflect on it.

Me: You said you felt possessed? Do you mean demon possessed?

Bob: Yes. Looking back on my behaviour, I felt possessed by a demon or some kind of entity. I don’t know why I behaved that way. If I could get a time machine and go back to that point in time, I would do things so much differently; I cannot tell you how sorry I am. I am sorry for persecuting: Karen Zerby, Steven Kelly and TFI. I think it’s even possible that people like me caused the TFI reboot. I was an evil person.

Me: Do you believe your actions caused the TFI reboot?

Bob: It’s very possible. When you have possessed people like me wishing death on people and making threats, its quiet possible Karen Zerby initiated the reboot to protect TFI members. Maybe she thought I was actually going to hurt somebody, so she initiated the reboot to prevent people like me locating TFI homes and causing problems.

Me: Were you a former member of TFI? Can you tell us about your history?

Bob: I had some friends in TFI that I had just met by chance. I came from a broken home and I had no family. I never really had any friends or family. On Christmas I would spend it alone. One day I met a guy from TFI and he invited me to his house for dinner. I was kind of shocked because nobody ever really invited me to their house for dinner. I just remember they were really nice people and for the first time in my life I actually felt accepted and loved. After becoming friends with TFI members I guess I became a general member (GM), and I visited TFI homes when they had communes and all lived together. I also did a number of Bible study courses with TFI. They were really nice people and I really enjoyed visiting TFI homes as I felt as though I was part of a family.

Me: What made you turn against TFI?

Bob: I cannot remember exactly what happened. I guess there were a few misunderstandings between myself and some TFI members, and then I just started getting caught up in gossip with some ex-members. I also had other people claiming to be Christians who would tell me that TFI was not a good organization. Then I just started verbally abusing TFI members and also writing destructive things about TFI and its leaders online. It started off as a little bit of gossip and then things just got out of control. I just remember feeling possessed and driven to attack TFI. It got really bad. It even got to the point where I contacted Karen Zerby’s parents and told them that their daughter was evil. I was out of control and I persecuted TFI very badly. I also threatened some TFI leaders with death. I wish I could go back and change the way I behaved. But I cannot change the past.

Me: Are you sorry for what you did?

Bob: Every day I feel regret. I hurt a lot of people. These people were some of the loveliest and nicest people I ever met. They were the first people who actually treated me like a human being. I remember TFI members invited me to a Christmas lunch. It was the first time I’d been invited to a Christmas lunch in years, these were fantastic and loving people and I destroyed them. I verbally abused these people and broke their spirits. I’m sure Karen Zerby heard about my hate also, I made sure my hate was heard all over the world at the time. Many times I have felt like killing myself for what I did. I feel the world would be a better place if a piece of garbage like me was not here. My main prayer to God has been to die. Most days I wish I was dead. I’m so sorry for what I did and for the pain I caused to so many good people. I am really sorry if I hurt Karen Zerby and Steven Kelly. Karen Zerby seems like a really sweet lady and I’m sorry for saying such foul things about her to her parents. What can I say? Looking back on my behaviour, I was basically acting like the Pharisee’s who persecuted Jesus. I crucified Karen Zerby, Steven Kelly and other TFI members with my words. It just hurts me so much to realize that I hurt some of the most loving people I had ever met. I guess the thing that hurts the most is that I attacked really good people. These were the first people in a long time that actually cared about me as a human being, and the fact that I attacked them is the biggest regret of my life. I just need to live with my mistakes I guess. I am trying to change as a person and hopefully by doing this interview God will see that I’m genuinely sorry. Words cannot express how sorry I am.

Me: Do you think your being too hard on yourself when you refer to yourself as a piece of garbage?

Bob: I just feel like a piece of shit. I hurt good people. TFI are really genuine Christians. Very few Christians will invite you to their house for a family dinner. As I look back at the acceptance I received from TFI I’m just saddened at my behaviour. I guess we have to live with the decisions we make and this is one decision I have to live with. I remember lying in bed and I saw the faces of various TFI members I knew, and God showed me all the pain I had caused these people, and I was just in tears because of all the destruction I had caused. Our tongues are like knives and I certainly cut TFI to pieces with my tongue. I just destroyed the lives of so many great people.

Me: Do you think demons were involved in your hate toward TFI?

Bob: I do think demonic forces were involved. Sure. But at the end of the day I made a decision to act the way I acted. I chose to persecute TFI so I take responsibility for my actions. I sinned against TFI and God and I admit this. I am sorry for what I did.

Me: What are your thoughts on Ricky Rodriguez and other disgruntled former TFI members who persecute TFI?

Bob: I think at the end of the day we are in a spiritual war whether people want to believe it or not. I think once Ricky Rodriguez left TFI, TFI’s enemies targeted him like a stray sheep that left the flock (My comment: This is something that wolves do in real life. They target the sheep that leaves the flock.) At that point, they probably filled his mind with: lies, exaggerations and hate. When you’re in that environment; demon possession is definitely possible. I think Ricky’s actions were the result of spiritual warfare and demonic influences.

Me: Sounds like you’re speaking from experience? Did you experience a similar situation?

Bob: Yes I did. It seemed that very shortly after meeting TFI and connecting with them, people came out from every corner, and were telling me that this group was an evil cult. I just got brainwashed into hating TFI I guess. I had forgotten how many great things TFI did for me and I was just filled with hatred. I then made it my mission to persecute and attack TFI in whatever way I could.

Me: It seems like the devil had blinded you to the good TFI had done in your life and then just started filling you with hate. I am friends with a couple of TFI members and they come across as really loving and genuine people.

Bob: Your right. TFI members are some of the most loving people I’ve ever met; they are definitely genuine Christians for sure.

Me: In a previous comment you suggested you felt you were responsible for TFI’s reboot. Could you expand on that comment?

Bob: I just think haters like me put pressure on TFI and its leadership, and that may have caused the reboot. I am not entirely certain, but I think people can only take so much persecution. Maybe Karen Zerby and Steven Kelly got so upset they decided to initiate a reboot; to distance themselves from the hate and persecution.

Me: What is your opinion of the reboot?

Bob: I don’t really know much about it. I just know they no longer have TFI homes nor do they live together communally anymore. I guess from my experience I find it sad, because looking back I did enjoy visiting TFI homes. I remember feeling welcome there and there was a sense of family. I’m just so sorry I attacked the group, but I did have some good times with them. Although I screwed up very badly with TFI I did have some good times with them.

Me: Could you tell us about some of the good times you had with TFI?

Bob: I remember I was sitting on the sofa watching a Bible video, it was a part of the Bible course I was doing with TFI, and I remember it was very cold and an older lady who was in TFI put a blanket over me. It was almost like this lady was treating me like her nephew or son, even though I had barely known her a few weeks. I guess small acts of kindness like that remain with you for the rest of your life. I also remember attending a Christmas lunch with TFI and some other barbeques and get togethers, it was just a really pleasant family atmosphere where I felt accepted. Like I said, it was the first time I had felt accepted as a human being in many years. I also enjoyed reading the Mo letters and Bible studies supplied by TFI, those writings really inspired me to seek God and to become a better human being. In the end I failed God and I failed TFI, but maybe one day God will give me the opportunity to find redemption. In the midst of corporate and business like churches, TFI is a genuine and sincere family atmosphere and its members just seemed to really care about people.

Me: You mentioned in a previous comment you felt like killing yourself. I just want to tell you to please don’t kill yourself; the Bible says if you’re genuinely sorry for your sins and have repented, God will forgive you. Have you attempted suicide?

Bob: I have thought about suicide. Yes. It just hurts me so much to know that I hurt the first people in a long time who actually cared about me. It’s hard to live with. I think being stabbed with a knife could not compare with the pain and regret I feel for betraying TFI. Many times I feel like Judas from the Bible and as you know, Judas killed himself. I guess when I reflect on the Bible I can understand Judas more now. I am no better than Judas and I understand how he felt. I guess in the past I read the Bible and read about Judas with pride, and I would think with pride, I would never be like Judas. But now as I reflect on my persecution of the brethren, I can see that I too was to some extent a Judas, and when I read about Judas I sympathize with him.

Me: Do you still see members of TFI in the community?

Bob: Occasionally I see TFI members or former TFI members in the community, but it’s clear they are to some extent afraid of me and that is understandable. I am a mentally and emotionally unstable person.

Me: Can you elaborate on your mentally and emotionally unstable state?

Bob: Basically I have been rejected most of my life. Most of my life I have been alone. My parents divorced when I was young and as a young person I was often left in the house alone. My mother would give me money to order pizza while I was home alone and she was away for the weekend. I would just be at home alone and just really bored and lonely. I guess I turned to drugs to fill the loneliness in my life as a teen, and this led me to be hated by my family and community. I guess I always expect to be rejected by people because that’s all I know. When I met TFI members I was surprised by the love and acceptance I received from them. I guess I just decided to start hating and persecuting TFI because I thought they would reject me eventually like everyone else. When you have lived the kind of life I have lived, it’s just difficult to trust people or even believe that you will ever be accepted. I am just constantly paranoid about what people think of me and I find it hard to trust people. At the moment I am a very isolated and alone person, I guess I have grown accustomed to being alone and it feels more normal than being with other people. So I find it difficult to deal with people in social situations, I guess this is what makes me mentally and emotionally unstable.

Me: What are your thoughts about people who are currently persecuting TFI and spreading hate toward Karen Zerby?

Bob: All I can say to them is why focus on the negative? TFI does a lot of good things. Even though my relationship with TFI didn’t turn out very good because of my hatred and mental instability, I still have many good memories of TFI and I try to focus on the good times. You have no idea what it’s like to be invited to a Christmas lunch when you are a lonely person, and TFI actually goes out in the community and tells people about Jesus Christ. I also remember TFI used to volunteer at a homeless soup kitchen and when I was homeless I actually ate at that soup kitchen. I really did bite the hand that fed me. TFI are damn good people, I’m just sorry I didn’t love them and respect them with the love and respect they deserve. There’s no benefit in dwelling on the negative and hating TFI. If you focus on the positive things TFI is doing it can help you live a better life, and it can inspire you to make a difference in the lives of others. Bitterness can really eat up your life. TFI are not doing anything evil and they are not an evil group. I think if more people acted like TFI members the world would be a better place. I would encourage TFI haters to visit the TFI website and look at the positive things TFI is doing. Why not write and talk about the positive things TFI is doing? I think that’s a better approach.

Me: I agree with you. The TFI website and Activated magazine website are good resources for keeping up to date with what TFI is doing. Michael Basham also has an excellent blog and youtube channel which keeps people up to date with the happenings of TFI. If you could speak to Karen Zerby and TFI leaders what would you say to them?

Bob: I am so sorry for hating on you Karen Zerby and Steven Kelly. I’m so sorry for spreading vicious hate toward you on ex-member websites and in the community. The devil just blinded me to the good TFI had done in my life. I was so thankful to be invited to a Christmas lunch by TFI members, and as I think back to it; it was a really lovely day. I think you’re a really sweet lady Karen Zerby, and I don’t think there’s any other Christian organization that has as much love as TFI. As I think back to what TFI did in my life I am really thankful, I am thankful that somebody actually loved me for once in my life. I am thankful that I didn’t have to spend Christmas alone thanks to TFI. I have visited other churches over the years but they lack the love and genuineness of TFI. When you visit TFI they treat you like you’re a member of their own family. I think you must be one of the most kindest and loving people Karen Zerby, because the people who follow you radiate with such love and comfort, that it’s clear they follow a leader who is someone special. I really think you are a special person Karen. Thanks to you I didn’t have to spend Christmas alone and I was able to experience the love and grace of God. If it wasn’t for TFI I would be on my way to hell and maybe I would be in jail or I may have committed suicide. At the end of the day, TFI members would not have been able to help me without your leadership Karen.

To some extent Karen, I am just like your son Ricky Rodriguez. The devil deceived me and I murdered TFI with my words. I am sure your son is sorry for what he did, just like I am sorry for what I did. Life is not easy. Life is a place of misunderstanding and spiritual warfare between the devil and God, and I am sure your son Ricky loved you very much. We all make mistakes and I made a mistake just like your son Ricky did. It’s so easy to get caught up in spiritual warfare, and one error in judgement can lead to misunderstandings that the devil capitalizes on, and before you know it, you are filled with hate and negativity. Once I was filled with hate and negativity, I had started one of the biggest online hate campaigns against TFI that had ever been seen. I know for a fact I had hurt a lot of good people and I have to live with that for the rest of my life. I hurt the first people in a long time who actually loved me and I don’t know if I will ever recover from that. It hurts so much that I hurt so many good people. But I cannot change the past. Maybe I am like a reflection of your son Karen and God is showing you that your son Ricky is in Heaven and he is sorry for what he did. Maybe God allowed me to fail so that I could show you that even though your children fail, they still love you and are thankful for all the good things you did for them. Even though I am a person who lives alone Karen I still consider you my spiritual mother, and I am thankful for everything you and TFI did for me and I will never forget it. I am sure your son Ricky is also thankful for everything you did for him and he still loves you. In the midst of demonic deception, mental instability and hatred, God’s light shines through and we are able to see the truth eventually. I am sure Ricky Rodriguez is in Heaven and is just like me, and in the midst of his mistakes, I am sure God’s light has shined through the darkness, and he realizes that you were a loving mother. Even King David made a mistake by murdering Bathsheba’s husband so he could take her for his own. King David is not even immune to serious sins. It’s so easy to be led astray and just like your son Ricky I was also led astray. All I can do is confess my sins and try to live tomorrow as a better person. Unfortunately time machines have not been invented and if I had one I would go back in time and treat TFI different, but I cannot do that. All I have is now and tomorrow. Maybe by doing this interview I can touch someone’s life with a positive message and help others to be better people.

I am sorry Karen Zerby, Steven Kelly and TFI. There’s not a day or hour that goes by that I don’t feel regret. I am not sure if my actions or the actions of other haters caused the TFI reboot. It’s so sad to hear that there are no more TFI commune homes. If myself and other haters are responsible for the reboot, I cannot tell you how sorry I am. I think the world needs more TFI homes, because there’s other people out there like me and Ricky Rodriguez who need to know that God has forgiven us no matter how terrible our sins may be. There’s people like me out there who need to experience a Christmas lunch, and who need to know what it feels like to be loved and accepted. There’s people out there who have never known what it’s like to have a family, and they need to have an opportunity to visit a TFI home to understand what a loving family is. Maybe they will persecute TFI, maybe they will hate TFI, but one day they will realize just how much of a positive impact TFI had on their life. Even though they may not be thankful today, tomorrow they will be thankful and tomorrow they will become better people because of the love TFI showed them. I am a living testimony of that. Yesterday I did hate TFI and I was an evil person, but today I am a better person because God has shown me the positive impact TFI has had on my life. It’s easy to love those who love you, but it’s very difficult to love those who don’t love you back. As I think back to how TFI members loved me it really was a miracle, because the hate I showed these people was horrific, and to love me when I hated them so much is a miracle in itself. As I reflect on these things it makes me realize how real God is and how much God lives within TFI members, because only a miracle could cause these people to love me when I showed them so much hate. This is the kind of person that Jesus Christ was, he loved those who nobody else loved. I guess to some extent I was like that violent and angry person influenced by demons in the Bible, that demoniac who lived amongst the tombs in chains; nobody would ever invite that type of person to Christmas lunch. But I remember Jesus accepted this person and reached out to him. This is what TFI members did with me; they actually reached out to me and accepted me as one of their own. I will never forget this and am thankful for the love they showed me. Thankyou Karen Zerby, Steven Kelly and TFI for accepting me and God bless you folks so much. I am just so sorry it took me so long to realize how special you folks are.

Me: Thanks so much for sharing your heart Bob. I just wanted to clarify a point you made. You believe the TFI reboot was a mistake and you think TFI should go back to the old system of living in houses together in a commune type environment?

Bob: I just think it’s possible the TFI reboot occurred because of haters like me. And yes, I did think the TFI commune house environment was a good family environment, and when you visit those homes it does impact your life in a positive way. I just think it’s sad that others like me out there may not have the opportunity to visit a TFI commune home. TFI homes definitely impacted me in a positive way and I was thankful for the invitation to visit. From what I understand after the reboot, TFI homes were stopped and TFI members are now living on their own now. I guess it would be good to see the old system re-instated so less fortunate people like myself could experience a TFI home experience.

Me: Bob, is there anything else you would like to add to this interview.

Bob: I just want to say to TFI members… just keep doing what you’re doing and keep telling people about Jesus and sharing Gods love. Even though the people you’re sharing Jesus with today may not seem thankful, one day they will be thankful for the difference you made in their life. God’s word will not return void. God bless you TFI and thank you so much for helping me to be a better person, thank you for showing me how much Jesus loves me.

End of interview.

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4 thoughts on “An interview with a former persecutor and hater of The Family International (TFI)

  1. This is a remarkable interview. Individual you do so much work here I often fail to catch up with you. I do pray more TFI Members get a chance to see this and realize how much the Enemy hates them and their work – and yours, and mine for that matter! Let’s stay close to the Lord and continue to follow Him no matter where He leads!

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    • Thanks for your comments and encouragement Michael. It was a remarkable interview, I totally agree with you. I do not judge the guy I interviewed either, I recently had to apologise to an evangelist who I mistreated also. The devil can really get in your mind if your not on guard. But yeah, I think this interview really shows that the persecution TFI gets is the result of spiritual warfare and demonic attacks. I also believe youth need to say no to drugs, drugs can also cloud your mind and open doors for the devil.

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      • It’s a subject that’s has not been brought out in a long time… the enemy really hated the work the TFI’s done and still does. I like to see where the enemy is aiming his guns and then support those he’s attacking. God bless you for your humility to set things straight with that evangelist!

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