WCCO’s Controversial documentary “Thy Will Be Done”, a critical examination of organized “new” religious organizations and cults as well as “deprogrammers”. I have saved this one for a long time to post, it’s not 90 minutes that can be watched lightly.To put this in historical context, the events of Jonestown, and the Manson murders were not distant memories in 1980. The Unification Church was considered at it’s peak in mainstream society in the 1970s, and Minnesota’s U.S. Representative Donald Fraser had done an extensive investigation on the Unification Church’s financial practices.
The documentary (under the Moore Report title), host Dave Moore and WCCO examine the impact of the new religious organizations and their effect on families in Minnesota. The term cult is used frequently, and is defined during this film.
Connecting with family members of organization members, WCCO travels across the country looking for answers to why Minnesotans enter these organizations, debates weather they are in fact cults and why it’s members disconnect from the outside world.
The controversial method of “deprogramming” is examined critically both from a legal and emotional perspective, in one segment the WCCO camera follows one intervention between the parents of a cult member and her eventual deprogramming session.
This documentary aired under a great amount of controversy. Lawyers of the religious organization of Brother Rama Behera and the Disciples of Lord Jesus filed lawsuits against WCCO which were not settled until the FCC ruled in WCCO’s favor in 1983. The original airing was followed by a WCCO “Town Hall Meeting” with a diverse group of lawyers, the ACLU (who were against the deprogramming method), Leaders of Religious Groups, former members, current members, and the general public. Since the tape that I have is the second showing, there is no Town Hall Meeting, but instead a response from the Unification Church and the Church of Scientology.
This video was shown in High Schools in Minnesota as late as the mid 1990s (I watched this in a High School Social Studies class in 1995). It has probably been 30 years or more since most people who have seen this previously first viewed it, and most viewers of this site probably have never seen it. When I posted WCCO’s documentary Death in the Family I was hoping to find any participants in the study to reach out and connect 30 years later. Thanks to my friends at MinnPost and David Brauer, we did find one of the documentaries participants. While a much more emotional and complicated subject, I still encourage and ask that if anyone out there is part of this film and would like to provide their insight to the past and present to contact me here
Ted: Thanks for sharing this. This documentary is more balanced than most I’ve seen on cult issues, which are almost always only critical of cults themselves. But I still think more could be said regarding “deprogramming” (reprogramming) including parallels with cultic activities.
Marty: Is there a way to get a copy of this on DVD? The cults provide an incredible insight into human psychology and human social dynamics. Dave Moore and his crew made a great contribution towards explaining a difficult and perplexing subject. I am very interested in how I may get a copy on DVD if possible.
Doug Agustin: Thank you for posting this. It is one of the best news pieces ever done on cults. It has helped educate both affected families and victims over the years. Hopefully it will help inform others before they become entrapped.