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Mark Simonson

February 3, 2014

The Farm of Franklin became a 'commercial for God' in the 1970s


“We call it a spiritual community,” Goldberg said in 1976. “We believe in God and that all people are the same. We believe the way to solve the world’s problems is for people to realize we are all one, to learn to live peacefully with each other — and share. We are a living experiment that it can be done.”

Regarding the term “commune,” and their being referred to by some as “hippies,” Goldberg said, “Those terms were Kent State and LSD in the ‘60s, and they also represent heavy drug use — we don’t use drugs, or stimulants, we don’t even drink coffee.”

“We’re into getting married, working hard — we don’t feel as though we’re escaping anything. While we are out of the mainstream, we don’t try to be. We have nothing against cities, except they are crowded — and make people crazy a lot … and you won’t find any orgies or wife-swapping here. We’re so straight it’s ridiculous. We believe in some old-fashioned things like courtship, we believe in marriage, making life-time commitments.”

After giving a Star staff reporter a tour of The Farm, Goldberg said, “See, this is all a commercial for God.”

The Daily Star made a follow-up report on The Farm in late December 1980. Eleven families were living there at the time, and some of the children were reaching school age. It was hoped by residents that sometime in the future there could be a Farm school.

Steven Hatfield, a member at that time, said the community’s future rested with the children. The Farm’s ultimate goal was to have about 100 in their community, and members were counting on their children.

“We’re trying to avoid a generation gap,” Hatfield said. “We don’t expect that all of them will want to do this, but hopefully most will. If they don’t, that’s going to say something to us.”

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Mark Simonson

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