Friday, November 2, 2012

"Ticket to Heaven"

Lately I've been doing a lot of reading and processing. We're getting to the point in this particular story that's really difficult to emotionally unearth.

In the process of getting to that storytelling juncture, I've been thinking a lot about my parents and their journey into the Unification Church. In my reading, I came across the 1981 Canadian Film "Ticket to Heaven." There is this little voice in the back of my head, saying that someone told me about this film growing up, defaming it and saying how grossly inaccurate it was.

I just finished watching it...the deprogramming scenes are a bit heart-wrenching for me. As I mentioned in a previous post, deprogramming is a really complicated topic and involves violating someone's free will and rights. BUT we could also discuss how many religious cults slowly hypnotize people into giving up their free will and surrendering their logical minds.

The scene where they talk about unselfish love was really painful, but it was also wonderful in a way. For the most part my relatives respected my parents' choice to raise their children in the Unification Church, but there are times that I look back and wish that someone had taken the time to ask us kids some of the more subversive questions (or to show us what unselfish, non-conditional love was).

Anyway I'd say about 90% of what I saw in this film rang true in terms of my own experience growing up in the church. Some things were more austere, some less. A lot of the worship and workshop scenes, singing in buses and living in vans were very familiar.

The wrist cutting was almost something we were quietly taught as second generation when we were fundraising, but never in so explicit a format - so I have no idea if that was something that our parents were taught. We were told it was better to kill yourself than to be raped while fundraising, for example, and so some parents did give their daughters "purity knives" to keep on their person while fundraising. And THAT is a whole other story...

So, most this is probably right on the money for someone who met the church in the 70's or 80's. Take a look (Kim Cattrall is in it!):



And here is the NY Times article written about the film:

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/11/13/movies/ticket-to-heaven-a-sleeper-about-cults.html

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