You might say that I am a cult enthusiast. If something concerns a cult, I am all over it. With that in mind, THIS IS THE BEST DOC ABOUT A CULT THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN. It goes way, way beyond "whoa, look how weird these people are" and looks at the dynamics that lead to the cult phenomena. As someone who has been obsessed with the questions of "Why" and "How" surrounding cults, I have so many more answers after watching this than I ever thought I would. Superb film making, truly.
Join Us is superb documentary examining the slow, inch-by-inch indoctrination process of religious leaders obtaining total control over followers' emotional, intellectual and economic sovereignty.
Religion may preach love, but when members feel petrified, worthless and helpless, that's not love but destruction of one's humanity. The classic sign of totalitarianism, regardless if via religion or politics, is authoritarian shaming and crushing of intellectual, emotional and moral examination.
Most striking is the impact of fundamentalist belief and behavior on the children, filling them with explosive and/or stuffed rage, disassociation with love and unending sorrow.
Having survived a small, abusive, "bible-based" church, this documentary was fascinating to me, a bit triggering, and responsibly created. Highly recommended for survivors of abuse churches and their families and friends. The cover of the DVD makes the pastor look particularly creepy (old school jacket and tie, black and white photo, large image, etc.), and he kind of is that...but it isn't a "scary movie," but a great account of a group of families negotiating the rough waters of leaving an abusive Christian church.
A very interesting documentary about a small cult. Lots of interesting information such as the fact that the U.S. has the most cults anywhere, cults are usually small and people do not all live together like a commune. My advice after watching this and documentaries about scientology is this: raise your children to be critical thinkers and not so trusting. Raise them to believe in facts and science.
This is an important documentary and very well done in terms of the objectivity and honesty of the producer/director. What is interesting is that it is a small group of people, rather than the usual gigantic groups often profiled, that are duped by a cult/religion and therefore the viewer is privy to the personal lives and conversations between the church members. The movie does an excellent job in showing the difficulty of individuals when separating from an a preacher in whom they had put all of their trust and the awful moment when the lightbulb goes off and an individual realizes he or she has been conned. The film holds steady in objectivity even when showing that it was the parents themselves who allowed the horrific physical abuse of their children to occur even if they do claim they were under the preacher's "spell'. It is an honest film, one that leaves you with questions as to what constitutes brain washing and mind control, especially when one of the mothers who has escaped the mad man's grip says she still hits her kids - just not as hard.
Over the years I've seen a number of documentaries critical of religion, but never one that delved so deeply, so intimately, into the lives of those who have suffered mightily at the hands of a spiritual leader who is nothing more than a charlatan. Either by design, or deluded certainty, this leader crushes the life and spirit of those who accept his every word.
One's heart goes out to the victims; sick with the idea they may lose the love of their God — mentally tortured by the fear that falling away from their spiritual leader means they are possessed by demons or the devil. Their fear is palpable in almost every scene.
This is a powerful film about fragile people, overwhelmed with a desire to be good, and desperately seeking redemption for their supposed sins. Slowly (grudgingly for some) they come to realize it was their credulity that led them into this nightmare situation. Highly recommended.
Join Us is a sad but true portrayal of life inside a fundamentalist, religious cult. As a cult survivor, I could identify with the struggles and confusion faced by the families in this documentary. I thought the filmmaker did an awesome job trying to show exactly why people can follow someone who is delusional and the fear they face regarding eternal punishment for daring to question and think for themselves. l highly recommend this documentary to anyone wishing to learn more regarding authoritarian environments, and to cult survivors, who will find much with which to identify.
Everyone should watch this movie. It was a sobering experience to watch what these poor families went through. I think the children will eventually be okay, but the memories of the horror that this "man of god" did to them is disturbing. I was raised Catholic and I no longer belong to the church, but I have my own relationship with my creator and that works for me.