‘Pray and obey’ makes religious cults more understandable

Most of us have heard of Warren Jeffs and the fundamentalist The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as FLDS). was hit. New Netflix documentary. Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey explores the world in a new way. This is not just informing the audience about the events that have taken place. Instead, he shows how they affected real people and how those people believed the lies they were told. Keep Sweet: Pray and Obeytells us about the mental and emotional consequences of these crimes and sheds a welcome new light on the atrocities committed by the FLDS.


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Cults and religious crimes are intriguing areas of true crime, and many documentaries aim to explain and explore the various stories in this vein. One thing that makes these events so interesting is how far removed they are from the reality of most viewers and how complete the leaders’ control over others can be. It’s not like other types of true crime that evoke the feeling of “it could easily happen to anyone” or “it could be me”. Rather, it may seem unbelievable to someone who has not experienced these crimes to imagine that they are happening. But, Keep Sweet: Pray and ObeyThe way he guides viewers through this story makes it clear how easy it was to suck this world into a child growing up in it.

Many victims in this community grew up surrounded by this cult and its beliefs. The series shows images of pieces of pages cut out of textbooks to prevent children from learning certain information in school. It describes forbidden contact with the outside world. It’s easy to see how these kids were so shielded from the rest of society’s way of thinking that they really only knew them beliefs and lifestyle. They were taught that they were the lucky ones who had the opportunity to live in a community that allowed them to abide by the rules of their god.

Because of the juxtaposition of past and present footage, this documentary series is able to get into the minds of people who grew up in this community. It shows how easy it is to be mentally poisoned and manipulated in this way. This not only highlights the bravery of the survivors, but also makes the consequences of these crimes clear and understandable. This series, of course, is a retelling of the crimes of Warren Jeffs and his henchmen. But it is also a story with protagonists and heroes who endured incomprehensible adversity.

The series invites viewers to consider aspects of escaping from such a community that they have probably never experienced before. Not only are these children led to believe that their escape will make them sinners doomed to an eternity in hell, but it goes far beyond that. There are plenty of immediate, material consequences for leaving – if they can even successfully escape. They will be shunned by everyone they know and will find themselves on the street with no money or a clear idea of ​​how the outside world really works. When the survivors who managed to escape are interviewed, it’s hard to imagine how they mustered the courage and determination to do what they did. According to the director, Rachel Dretsin, this was one of the goals of the work. She told the podcast, You can’t do it, “Our attention [is] not only in the experience of being in this cult… It is in humans, especially the women who managed to defy it and escape from it, which – if you know anything about the FLDS – is quite a wonderful and incredible thing.

Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey stands out for the way he interviews victims who have fled the community and gives them a platform to share their opinions on today’s things. This gives us the opportunity to put ourselves in their place. The concept of mass manipulation of leaders is far from beyond our understanding. All viewers watched what was happening in real time. As the series progresses, the notion of getting out of control becomes more and more comprehensible. This is facilitated by the way in which those who have run away from the church are interviewed. Viewers will learn how the victims understand what has happened now that they have experienced life in the outside world. Residual trauma and pain are evident. And there is a direct connection between then and now.

We see pictures of former member Elissa Wall as a child marrying her older cousin. We hear her talking about it in 2022, sitting at the kitchen table. When I see and hear her now, it seems real. Knowing that something like this happened very recently, for someone who is still a young woman to remember it so easily, makes it even more visceral for viewers. There are reports of teenagers falling in love despite having their relationship dictated by someone else and their forced marriages to older men. Elissa’s sister, Rebecca, says “fu”, recalling what she thought about the concept of marrying 85-year-old leader and “prophet” Rulon Jeffs when she was only 19 years old. circumstances.

Understandably, what viewers feel was exactly what Rachel Dretzin felt when she interviewed these victims. And she made a special push to get that message across to her audience. She also said to You can’t do it “I began to realize that these women are just like us… They were born in a completely different society… but it was really a revelation to realize that if I had been born in this society, I would have acted just like them.” Putting yourself firmly in someone else’s shoes throughout the piece allows you to experience it in a uniquely dramatic way. Direction Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey combined with the interviewees gave him the opportunity to take viewers on such a ride. At the same time, it was possible to get a long-awaited insight into the problems of the victims and how they overcame them.

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