In response to the recent spate of articles featuring Christina Babin which reference The Family International, The Family International wishes to state the following:
Founded in the late 1960s as a countercultural new religious movement, the Family International operated as an international missionary fellowship for over 40 years that led millions to faith in Christ, many of whom joined conventional churches, and assisted the needy in a multitude of volunteer and humanitarian efforts in over 100 countries. In 2010, the Family International disassembled its previous organizational framework, and currently exists only as an online network of 1,900 members, with no formal structure beyond its websites.
Our sincere hope for those who were once part of the Family International is that they can lead fulfilling lives and we wish them well in every way. The Family International has expressed its apologies on a number of occasions to any members who feel that they were hurt in any way during their membership, which are also a matter of public record (http://www.myconclusion.com/category/letters-of-apology). While we are unfamiliar with the personal lives and experiences of those who were once members, in this case Christina Babin, and therefore not in a position to speak to the details of their personal narratives, we extend our sincere apologies to anyone who experienced anything negative or hurtful during their childhood or time as members of the Family International.
Although the Family International has apologized for any hurt, real or perceived, that any member or former member may have experienced, we do not give credence to tales of institutionalized abuse, often told by those who seek to promote their personal agendas or causes, or for financial gain. Much of the published media surrounding Christina Babin’s account is highly implausible and reads like sensationalized fiction with little to no relation to the community or evangelistic purpose of the Family International. The fact that Christina Babin’s narrative has surfaced in the media some 22 years after she left the movement, and serves as a platform for soliciting funding raises serious ethical issues (see https://ca.gofundme.com/cult-outsider).
The Family International has had a zero-tolerance policy in place for three decades for the protection of minors (since Ms. Babin was 10 years old). (See The Family International’s Child Protection Policy: https://portal.tfionline.com/en/pages/charter-children/.) Courts around the world that conducted exhaustive investigations in the early 1990s, with intrusive physical, psychological and educational examinations of over 600 children concluded that the children were not victims of any kind of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect, and were satisfied with the quality of their upbringing and education. (For third party summaries of these court rulings, see http://www.cesnur.org/testi/TheFamily/se_thefamily.htm). According to the World Health Organization, similar random testing of 600 children in mainstream society would not likely yield such results.
TFI Child Protection Policy
We believe that every child has the right to be protected from abuse and neglect of any kind, whether physical, emotional, sexual, or educational. TFI has a zero-tolerance policy regarding the abusive treatment of children, and permanently expels and excommunicates any member who violates this policy. Members are advised to conduct themselves in conformance with the laws of the jurisdiction in which they live in all matters. TFI is committed to the well-being of children and considers it the moral responsibility of any adult caring for minors to protect them from harm.
TFI’s policy for the protection of minors was adopted in 1986. Regrettably prior to the adoption of this policy, cases occurred where minors were exposed to sexually inappropriate behavior between 1978 and 1986. This was addressed in 1986 when any sexual contact between an adult and minor (any person under 18 years of age) was officially banned and, subsequently in 1989 declared an excommunicable offense.
We believe that every child is entitled to the best care possible, in an enabling environment where their needs—physical, educational, intellectual, moral, and emotional—are amply met. Children should receive a competent education that empowers them to become self-sufficient and prepares them for adulthood.