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Showing a little cleavage was no big deal to my teenage mind.

All my life I had been taught that constantly moving was part of our family’s duty to God. I wanted to be normal, so I convinced my parents to let me enroll in Rowland High School, in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley.

Father David referred to anyone who was not part of the Children of God as “systemites.” He sent out comic books with illustrations of what these systemites looked like—ultra-cool boys with slicked-back hair and baggy pants, girls with dyed hair, dangling jewelry, painted fingernails and lots of make-up. We were taught to be natural and wear our hair long with minimal fuss. Boys kept their hair short and men were not allowed to grow facial hair.

Father David shunned any attention to fashion or outer appearance.

Mom loved the sermons and excelled in church activities, eventually becoming a scout leader.In a practice called “flirty-fishing,” Father David instructed the women to use sex to entice new members to the group and gather donations.He appointed a woman named Karen Zerby as his chosen prophetess.She told stories of traversing the Swedish slopes, getting caught in a blizzard while skiing and bravely crossing a narrow bridge swinging high above a Norwegian fjord.On her way to buy a ticket to Tunisia, Mom met Thomas, a member of the Children of God who she described as “having eyes that were full of light.” She said he was glowing with an aura she had never seen. She sat down next to him and he told her about Jesus. When she told them about her dietary restrictions, one of the members told her, “It’s O. Just put the fish on the side.” She was ready to either hear or deliver a lecture about conflicting dietary beliefs.

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Berg partnered up with Fred Jordan, a television evangelist and founder of the American Soul Clinic in Los Angeles, an organization dedicated to training missionaries for the foreign field.

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