BBC documentary

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catherine
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BBC documentary

Post by catherine » 26 Jul 2007

Hi all.

My name is Catherine, and I work for an independent UK production company called Monkey Factual. We are developing a documentary for the BBC about controversial religious groups in the UK - specifically the effects a young person's involvement in a group can have on their family, friends and relationships. We are at the early stages of development and want to make sure we deal with this complex, sensitive subject with tact and from a fully informed and balanced position. In order to do so, I am keen to speak to anyone with a friend or family member currently involved in a group - or who might have quite recently left a group. The conversation would be completely confidential, completely off the record and solely for research. It could be made anonymously and no names would need to be used - we could even converse over email from withheld accounts. I realise it can be understandably very difficult for people to talk about their experiences, but should anyone feel they might be able to please get in touch.

Thankyou,

Catherine Lynch
Development Associate Producer
Monkey Factual
0207 7493132
catl@monkeykingdom.com
http://www.monkeykingdom.com/home.php?setType=2

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tinydot
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Post by tinydot » 26 Jul 2007

Hi Catherine,

welcome to the forum. You can send me private messages and hopefully I can help you develop your project, whatever it may be.

Just wondering, you label your profile as "not sure". Have you got some introduction with the Brahma Kumaris?

I tried going to your website, but your site cannot be found. I will try later again.

Regards,

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in the night
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Post by in the night » 26 Jul 2007

Hello Catherine,

in my humble opinion, this group the BKWSU, is unlike any other. By this I mean if you want a flashy worrying documentary about dangerouus sects who capture weak individuals ... well :roll:, then. This is not it.

The BKWSU is a true spiritual involved organization with a real agenda. Perhaps, the ultimate danger in the category ... Members are sharp and with their eyes open and a serene state of mind.

Good luck

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BBC documentary

Post by abrahma kumar » 27 Jul 2007

catherine wrote:My name is Catherine, and I work for an independent UK production company called Monkey Factual. We are developing a documentary for the BBC about controversial religious groups in the UK - specifically the effects a young person's involvement in a group can have on their family, friends and relationships.
Welcome to the forum Catherine and Good luck with your efforts. Personally, while I do not regard myself as a representative forum contributor, my initial response to your post is: Not again!

A similarly worded correspondence and invitation was posted here sometime earlier this year and there was some discussion about that. Maybe you may have already read those items. Once again good luck and best wishes.

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Post by fluffy bunny » 27 Jul 2007

in the night wrote:in my humble opinion, this group the BKWSU, is unlike any other. By this I mean if you want a flashy worrying documentary about dangerouus sects who capture weak individuals ... well :roll:, then. This is not it.
Oh, come now ... there is dirt and complete utter whackiness from a wordly point of view if you want to dig it. You know, along the lines of ... "Whacky Bottom Washing End of the World 5,000 Year Old Dinosaur Cult Fakes History to Fleece Followers whilst Seducing United Nations Worshipping Ghosts and not Eating Mother's Cooking"!

They could look at the real messages/Murlis/beliefs and start asking why they are hidden. I knew Western kids that had a hard time growing up being told they were reincarnated Indian BK Elders whilst having to be 100% celibate etc. The failure of prediction things I would say is an issue.

Such a thing could be done but one of the problems in trying would be that the BKs have a very good front and the leaders are so artful that it would be difficult to penetrate them individual and collectively ... that is to say, they are mostly very well trained not to speak personally and give answers a bit like yours.

Would a BK dare to speak out? Be honest about the teachings etc and voice their feelings etc? Far more likely just to turn on the autopilot and make the event a service opportunity! I'd love to see a real indepth documentary on the BKs now that the history revision and stuff is opening up but I would be afraid that may be it was really not that interesting to the rest of the world.

There is also the stuff about the families breakup up because one partner is sucked into and not the "Shudra" other. But, yes, to a degree it is a lot more subtle than other group.

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Post by catherine » 30 Jul 2007

Thankyou all for your replies, what a welcoming forum!

We did indeed post a similar message a few months ago, and we are still researching the same project. We are keen to do our research as thoroughly as possible and speak to a variety of people so our view is balanced. It seems people have very different experiences of the Brahma Kumaris, some negative some positive.

We are not out to make a sensationalised documentary demonising any particular group, as I mentioned, the BBC are interested in the dynamic that happens within a family when one or more members changes their beliefs suddenly, or joins a group that excludes the rest of the family. I do realise that finding people who are happy to talk about their experiences is quite tricky, but I am making progress slowly but surely!

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Post by bansy » 30 Jul 2007

Hi Catherine,

Have you approached the BKWSU themselves, if so what response have you gotten, if not why not ?

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Post by catherine » 30 Jul 2007

I haven't yet contacted any groups directly. As I mentioned, we are currently focussing on talking to the friends and relatives of current/ex-members, and I am not sure contacting the Brahma Kumaris would help right now. I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that they might not be too willing to talk to anyone representing the media?

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Post by fluffy bunny » 30 Jul 2007

catherine wrote:I haven't yet contacted any groups directly. As I mentioned, we are currently focussing on talking to the friends and relatives of current/ex-members, and I am not sure contacting the Brahma Kumaris would help right now. I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that they might not be too willing to talk to anyone representing the media?
They would love it! You will be presented with wonderous shining examples, invited to join them for a retreat in their Palladian Mansion, be fed holy sweeties and be gazed upon lovingly by their senior sisters.

But we can give you some good questions to ask, examples to raise about whilst you are at it (like the sex abuse cover ups and the "5th floor" suicides); pre-warn, pre-arm and decifer the language they use to deal with people like you.

The truth is, folks have quite a good time during the "Honeymoon Period" and it is only after a few years when they start to drop out and leave that the probles really start to arise. Whether the BKWSU would present a family where there have been problems to discuss it honestly, I doubt it. If youl ook through the child abuse papers for "The letter from the brother of the child" I think you will receive an excellent study of what goes on.

Its analysing what they do with all their financial donations and what they qualify as their charitable "service" too.

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Post by abrahma kumar » 30 Jul 2007

catherine wrote:I haven't yet contacted any groups directly. As I mentioned, we are currently focussing on talking to the friends and relatives of current/ex-members, and I am not sure contacting the Brahma Kumaris would help right now. I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that they might not be too willing to talk to anyone representing the media?
catherine, they will be willing. If only to make sure they get first go at your ear.

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Re: BBC documentary

Post by joel » 31 Jul 2007

catherine wrote:We are developing a documentary for the BBC about controversial religious groups in the UK - specifically the effects a young person's involvement in a group can have on their family, friends and relationships. We are at the early stages of development and want to make sure we deal with this complex, sensitive subject with tact and from a fully informed and balanced position.
To me, a "fully informed and balanced" exploration of the effects of young people joining "controversial religious groups" would consider that cultlike behaviors are ubiquitous in our society. The same tribal allegiances that "cults" exploit also serve to unite church congregations, sports fans, political parties, military units, families and many other social institutions.

Many harmful cult beliefs and practices can be found very close to home. You needn't look further than the military recruiters who seduce students on high school and college campuses using many of the telltale deceptions that lead us to brand other institutions as cults.

Of course, the "otherness" of "controversial religious groups" is a powerful attention-getter, so that the temptation to highlight that "otherness" might mitigate against showing parallels to similar behaviors in "conventional" society.

Years ago, I saw a documentary that followed a Australian Rajneesh devotee that left his pregnant wife to spend a month at the Rajneesh ashram in Poona (spelling?). The show, called 'Rajneesh, Spiritual Terrorist' followed the devotee before, during and after his visit to the ashram. I hope your production will be as revealing.

Wishing you the best for your documentary.

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Post by fluffy bunny » 31 Jul 2007

To me, a "fully informed and balanced" exploration of the effects of young people joining "controversial religious groups" would consider that cultlike behaviors are ubiquitous in our society. The same tribal allegiances that "cults" exploit also serve to unite church congregations, sports fans, political parties, military units, families and many other social institutions.
And how the corporations manipulate the same aspects of our personalities for financial gain such as fashion victims and other "brand cults" ... like Nike or Apple Mac.

I think another problem you are going to have is that what with the public attention this forum and other websites have brought the BKWSU, they are going to be very guarded ... and that on top of an already "secret service" like double act they play out.

Recently, they realised that they could no longer get away with the inaccuracies with which they present themselves and their dogma/faith and even made an "official" statement about it to their centers. Although it fell far short of what I would have hoped for.

If you were to act now, it might be interesting and worthwhile to document the many sides to this "unveiling" that is going on. I say many, because it is not just two. It is not every day that a "new religion" is unpeeled in public and even the sociologist have never, or may be rarely, have an opportunity to analyse that. A "we know that you know that we know" situation ...

The BKWSU has never really been done in depth. I wonder if they would accept the idea of giving a camera crew "official" unlimited access ... I guess they would. You would have to include the banished members and splinter groups.

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