A Statement from the Family International: Rose McGowan

In response to the recent spate of articles about Rose McGowan which reference The Family International, he following statement was issued:

The Family International is a Christian online network of 1,900 members in 80 countries, committed to sharing the message of God’s love with people around the globe. We seek to bring hope and spiritual renewal through the unconditional love of Jesus Christ that knows no borders or boundaries of race, creed, or social status.

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 a virtual network 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 and therefore not in a position to speak to their personal narratives, we wish to express 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 on a number of occasions to former members for any hurt, real or perceived, that they may have experienced during their membership, we do not give credence to tales of institutionalized abuse told by those who seek to promote their personal agendas or causes, or for financial gain. There is no basis in fact for such allegations, as evidenced by the findings of courts around the world, which evaluated over 600 children in the early 1990s living in communities of the Family International by means of extensive court-appointed physical, psychological, and educational testing. In every case, the courts were satisfied with the standard of life offered to the children. (For third party summaries of these court rulings, see here)

Media accounts of Rose McGowan’s early childhood years in the Children of God are contradictory and seemingly exaggerated for the sake of sensational publicity. According to earlier articles, she and her family left the organization when she was only five years old in 1978, not at 9 as is currently reported. By her own admission, she was not mistreated in any way, though she took objection to the restrictions inherent in the communalist religious lifestyle of the movement at the time.

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. (Please see TFI’s child protection policy)

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.

Contact: Public Affairs Desk for the Family International, publicaffairs@thefamily.org