That you chose “Hippie Christian Cult…” as your title immediately establishes an unwarranted and absurd bias on your part which creates questionable credibility regarding you as a reporter of fact.
That said, as someone who was in Southern California at the peak of this cult’s existence and had written about them (quickly being labeled an enemy)in underground press, I can attest to some of your claims.
This was a time of numerous religious cults and sincere spiritual efforts gone bad. The Way, Moonies, COG were but a few and nearly everyone of them used CIA techniques of deprivation and other forms of abuse, physical psychological and emotional. Children of the post WWII and Korean conflict inundated with the existing Vietnam conflict lived, in large part, within highly dysfunctional families… many fueled by alcohol and newly emergent psychotropic medications pushed by Big pHarma. Many of these families were repeating past trauma from their parents who were repeating past traumas from their parents. Lost and searching, the children who fell sway to the charismatic psychopaths like Berg, rather than being “hippies”, were actually runaways who were street prey. Many had been early initiated into the abuses of main stream religions and, in the battered women syndrome effect actually sought out the same abuses. Older and sometimes more established individuals were lured into these cults by their own seeking to escape past trauma.
I had a number of friends who were sucked into various cults, including COG/The Fam. Some, I was able to extract. Others were either extracted by friends, family, law enforcement. Still others, were not so fortunate and were either killed or took their own lives.
In reality, little has changed. Cults still exist and are born. Dysfunction is rampant in families. Children are still running away from and toward trauma. Adults are still seeking saviours who promise all manner of salvation. Witness the mass measured appeal of extreme sociopath Donald Trump or sociopath Hillary Clinton or sociopath Bernie Sanders… the cults of the Democrat and Republican Parties and the minorly effective Libertarians… all with their attractive saviour personas replete with pathological lies and abuses. These cults actually convince their adherents to maim and murder all around the globe. Think about it.