A MUM has told how she fled a horror doomsday cult where newborn babies were savagely beaten to rid them of “demons”.
Vennie Kocsis spent 11 years in Sam Fife’s sect called Move of God- where she says she was subjected to ritualistic exorcisms, torture, and paedophiles.
The last image taken of Vennie Kocsis (left) and her siblings before they joined the Move[/caption]
A prayer circle at one of the Move’s deliverance farms[/caption]
At the age of three in the 1970s, the warped cult recruited Vennie’s mum while they were living in California and her dad was working on a military base.
After arriving in Ware, Massachusetts with her mum and two older siblings, aged seven and nine, Vennie had all her belongings taken from her and her childhood photos were burned.
She was told she was starting over for God – and joining the tens of thousands of cult members living in two dozen “wilderness” farms across America.
Move of God’s central teachings were that the end times were coming – and people needed to move away from mainstream society to live without sin.
They believed all problems were caused by demons which must be driven out of your body through exorcism and spiritual healing.
But the cult’s practices are alleged to have led to the horrifying and systematic abuse of children, including Vennie.
Fife and his inner circle believed that children were inherently sinful – that they had an “old Adam nature” that needed to be stripped out.
In one sermon, Fife said: “A child has the same kind of nature the demons have.
“The demons can’t make him any worse than he is because he was rebellious against God from the day he was born.”
The darkly charismatic preacher was a former Baptist who began to teach the end times in 1971.
He presented himself as a “prophet”.
Fife claimed he was immortal – assuring his followers he had stopped ageing thanks to his “incorruptible life”.
He led the group until he died aged 54 in a plane crash in 1979 in Guatemala.
Paedophiles were also welcomed to the farms to “heal” – allegedly contributing to vile sexual abuse.
“They believed that paedophilia, any sort of depravity you had, was a demon spirit,” Vennie, who has bravely decided to waive her anonymity, told The Sun.
“So they welcomed paedophiles to come to the farm for healing, to expel the demon.”
Vennie revealed that she was first abused at Ware, when she was just three years old.
She said: “I lived in a room with about a dozen other girls my age. The woman who was our overseer was vicious and nasty.”
The survivor survived who the woman would grab her and abuse her, leaving her feeling “smothered” and “unable to breath”.
“I didn’t understand what was happening,” she said.
But, the sexual abuse was mostly hidden, according to Vennie.
She said that the times that it did come out, pointing to the example of her sister, often the girl was blamed.
“She was called a whore of Babylon, a Jezebel,” Vennie said.
Meanwhile, children were not allowed to say no. Children were simply supposed to obey, as failing to comply was deemed sinful.
They welcomed paedophiles to come to the farm for healing, to expel the demon
According to Vennie, Fife’s belief in the demonic qualities of children – and how it guided his raising of them – was “absolutely horrific”.
“He believed that infants should start being beaten at three days old,” she said.
“When I say beaten, I mean vigorously slapped all over their bodies
“He says things like babies are selfish. They wake their mothers up.
“He even talks about trapping his own daughter, taking his belt and coming at her when she’d break his rules.”
Vennie adds that she was tortured throughout her childhood. That she lived in permanent fear of being grabbed and beaten at any time.
She said that all children were subjected to exorcisms, hypothermia baths, sleep deprivation, public humiliation, withholding of food, as well as being tied to chairs and beaten with belts and paddles.
All of the abuse was justified as an incentive for resisting the devil, she said.
On top of being beaten, the cult ensured children were kept busy at all times.
There was limited schooling, and the hours they should have been spending in education was replaced with child labour.
Vennie said: “I was working 13 hour days. Tilling the fields, a lot of working in the kitchen.
“Peeling potatoes until your hands are blistered, churning butter until your hands are blistered. Peeling eggs. Anything.
“I mean, like there’d be one day I’m churning butter all day until my little arms are just aching. And you can’t not work. You’re going to get a smack.
“I’d be shucking corn, slaughtering chicken, cutting up vegetables to dehydrate, cleaning, anything.”
America’s most infamous cults
Cold War America saw a drastic and disturbing increase in the number of cults around the country. Here’s some of the most horrific.
Manson family Probably the most notorious cult of them all, the 100 something followers of Charles Manson left their mark on the world in 1969 with their string of brutal murders.
On August 9, 1969, Manson ordered a group of his followers to massacre the Hollywood elite – leading to a two-day killing spree.
People’s Temple The bullying leader, Jim Jones, humiliated, assaulted, raped, robbed and killed many of his church’s members.
In November 1978, the warped leader convinced 909 of his followers to kill themselves in a “revolutionary suicide”. Around 300 of those killed were minors.
The Branch Davidians Founded in the turmoil of the 1960s, warped cult leader David Koresh convinced his followers he was the only person who could reveal the true teachings of the Bible.
His totalitarian control over his members led to a wealth of disturbing practices – such as taking various “spiritual wives”, some of who were reportedly as young as 11.
Children of God The horrific group came to be known by the public for its “flirty fishing” technique – which referred to female members being forced into sexual acts with men as a form of recruitment.
Former members have alleged that a wealth of sexual abuses occurred on the cult’s communes, including child sexual abuse and incest. River Pheonix revealed he first had sex at the age of four while in the group.
Heaven’s Gate This religious group believed that by rejecting their human form they would become extraterrestrial beings and would ascend to Heaven on a UFO.
Members of this bewildering movement had to adhere to a series of stringent rules including abstaining from drinking, smoking, sex, and in some cases, castration.
Vennie recalls how the cult’s recruiters used her father’s absence to control her mother.
She told how they eventually sunk their claws in and claimed that her husband wasn’t actually working and that he was spending time with other women.
Her mother issued her husband an ultimatum – either they should all join the Move of God, or she would file for divorce.
Soon after, the cult funded the divorce, and Vennie was shipped off to Ware.
“I remember when my family was happy, and I remember when everything felt like it turned dark,” Vennie said.
After arriving in Ware, her family was split up and they were put into their “classification” units.
In 1977, after a brutal four years, Vennie was reunited with her family and flown to a much larger compound in Alaska.
There, the sexual, physical and mental abuse continued.
He believed that infants should start being beaten at three days old
But it was coupled with a rhetoric about the Cold War that was used to scare members into believing in the “end of times”.
They were told communists would eventually kill all Christians.
“They taught us thatwould invade America, and anybody who was a Christian would be shot on sight,” Vennie said.
She explained how she was trained to fight, with instructors shouting at her “in a mock Russian accent” – screaming “do you believe in Jesus?”.
“It was terrifying,” she told The Sun.
“Your mind does kind of reason that like, oh, I’ll just say, I don’t believe in God, and then I’ll live.
“But then the other side of your mind, the mind-controlled side of your mind thinks about eternity in hell. So you’re like, die or hell.”
Fife’s successor, Buddy Cobb, took over the cult in 1980 – and the Move of God still has “farms” around the world today, despite its dwindling followers.
In 2017, Cobb was filmed by his granddaughter, Angie, where she can be heard asking him: “What are you going to do about all the abuse? All the people that got abused?”
He appeared to acknowledge the abuse, responding: “There’s nothing that happens that isn’t the will of God.”
Speaking on her daughter’s actions, Cara Cobb, Buddy’s daughter-in-law said: “She produced that video when her grandfather was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s.
“I, personally, do not feel that she was right in posting it. It was completely unfair to Buddy.
“Yes, the event did happen. Yes the man was never expelled. Yes, the ministry believed and stated all things were ordered by God, including abuse.”
Cobb died in 2017 – and the group now operates under a different name.
Cara added that even after 30 years of having left, her daughter is still working through the anguish she experienced in the Move of God.
Both Cara and Vennie warned that the Move remains active – with multiple strongholds across the world.
Vennie eventually moved in with her grandmother in Tennessee after the cult excommunicated her family, and experienced a total culture shock.
She had no formal education or experience with the outside world.
After studying fine arts in Tennessee, Kocsis moved to the Pacific Northwest.
It wasn’t until she birthed two children that she could begin to understand some of her psychological trauma.
In 2007, after Vennie’s mother passed away she decided to write her first book – Cult Child – to help her unpack the abuses against her.
Now, Vennie has become an advocate for cult survivors – using her voice as a beacon of hope for others in similar situations.
The Sun has reached out to Move of God’s current form for comment.
The building on the right has been described by Vennie as where most of the torture took place[/caption]
Young cult children had a number of responsibilities – like milking animals[/caption]
One of the never-ending tasks on the farm was doing everyone’s laundry[/caption]
Children were also expected to work long hours in the fields[/caption]
Cult members lived on bunk beds in wooden cabins[/caption]
The cult bestowed riches upon Sam Fife (right), who was able to use private planes to fly around the world and spread his doctrine[/caption]
According to Vennie, life in the cult was very “primitive”[/caption]