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Award winning filmmaker, Ondi Timoner, follows four families as they leave an abusive church in South Carolina and realize they have been in a cult. The film documents them as they enter Wellspring, the only accredited, live-in cult treatment facility in the world, where they learn the true extent of the brainwashing they have all experienced. Eventually they return home to bring the Pastor and his wife to justice and try to begin to rebuild their damaged lives. Written by
his e-mail is in response to Michael McGonigle's comments about "JOIN US".
While I found your response to be very well thought out and detailed, I think that you miss the mark on your analysis of how the parents could allow their children to undergo unnecessary beatings and other forms of abuse, with the excuse that they were simply following orders from their cult leader. You, in the end, feel that the blame lies squarely on these parents for allowing such acts to occur. You feel that there is no excuse for their failure to take action, or better yet, their inability to disobey an immoral order.
The power of the mind is incredible Michael. Consider the men and women who blow themselves up in order to become martyrs, as well as followers of terrorists who through following orders, commit the most atrocious of acts to their fellow human beings. These people have families and loved ones too, but yet they are willing to give all that up in the name of the faith. This faith, needless to say, has been acquired by merely believing the opinions of a few. The followers of Pastor Melz are in the same way long-time believers of his word, to the point of self-sacrifice. Also, don't forget that people like Pastor Melz often seek out the vulnerable and somewhat "save them" thereby earning their unquestionable trust and faith.
Mind control is real Michael, and so long as another human being is subjected to it, that particular person loses the power to think rationally, and can then not be judged in a rational manner, as you do. However, this isn't to say that there is no hope. Information is power. It is exposure to the outside world that gives a wake-up call to Pastor Melz's followers, who in turn begin to question his practices, and for the first time in a long time, think rationally. For many such people, it takes certain triggers or flags before they can "snap out of it".
In conclusion, while I find that you have certain valid points, I think you miss the mark when you deem it bogus that such events could actually take place.
Thanks for your informative and interesting post anyway,
P.S. I am currently working with Ondi, at Interloper Films.
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