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Glenn Close Grew Up in Right Wing Religious Cult


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Starcasm had an article today (http://starcasm.net/archives/292487) about actress Glenn Close and an interview she gave to The Hollywood Reporter in which she revealed that at age 7 her father, a Harvard-educated doctor, joined a right-wing extreme religious cult called Moral Re-Armament or MRA. It says: "Almost immediately, everything she knew and loved was taken from her as she and her siblings were sent to live at the MRA’s headquarters in Switzerland while her dad worked in Congo. Although the MRA’s “Four Absolutes†were the honorable traits of honesty, purity, unselfishness and love, they were corrupted by the group’s leader, Rev. Frank Buchman, who is described by The Hollywood Reporter as “a violently anti-intellectual and possibly homophobic evangelical fundamentalist.†Glenn, now 67, said of the tenets she was forced to live by, “You basically weren’t allowed to do anything, or you were made to feel guilty about any unnatural desire.â€

And this part where she describes how much the experience still haunts her (she left 5 years after she graduated highschool) made me think of the Duggars:

"If you talk to anybody who was in a group that basically dictates how you’re supposed to live and what you’re supposed to say and how you’re supposed to feel, from the time you’re 7 till the time you’re 22, it has a profound impact on you. It’s something you have to [consciously overcome] because all of your trigger points are [wrong],†she said. “I would have dreams because I didn’t go to any psychiatrist or anything.â€

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I learned a bit about this when I saw the documentary "Smile 'Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story." Up With People was a branch of MRA. Glenn Close was in an early version of the singing group when she was young.

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I didn't know Up with People was part of a cult. I remember them. I read somewhere that the father of the lead singer of The Fray was a part of Up with People.

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Up With People was MRA? Wow. I remember being extremely creeped out by it when I was a kid, in the late 70s, but I didn't know what it was.

I don't know why UWP, Lifespring, and the June Taylor Dancers are all interconnected in my mind. I was a confused kid.

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Up With People was MRA? Wow. I remember being extremely creeped out by it when I was a kid, in the late 70s, but I didn't know what it was.

When I was in high school (graduated 1970), I felt the same way you did--creeped out, but couldn't figure out why. A few of my friends were in it, and our neighbors hosted a couple of young guys who were traveling with the program.

The songs they sang were positive and had no political or religious slant, but something about the whole deal just felt "off."

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UWP officially separated from MRA in 1968, but they retained the conservative values. One of the featured soloists was kicked out because she and one of the group's drummers got engaged. A gay man who had been in the group said that at the time, most of the male members were gay, but were all closeted and not allowed to talk about it. The songs were supposed to be apolitical, but the conservative idea behind the group was to basically sing positive songs about how everything is fine and dandy in order to counteract hippie culture. (One person interviewed called them "radical moderates.") Black members, in particular, felt conflicted about their time in the group because they wondered if singing to support the status quo made them part of the problem that civil rights groups were fighting against.

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  • 6 years later...

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