Glenn Close Spent Childhood in a "Violently Anti-Intellectual" Cult
Glenn Close, legendary actress whose roles needn't be listed for reference (Damages), spoke in a new issue of The Hollywood Reporter about her childhood spent in what the magazine calls a "violently anti-intellectual and possibly homophobic" cult. Ah!
The cult, known as the Moral Re-Armament, was led by Rev. Frank Buchman, an evangelical fundamentalist from Pennsylvania. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he was an alleged Hitler supporter during and after World War II and believed only those with "special guidance from God" were without sin. Close spoke about her memory of him, saying, "in order to have something like this coalesce, you have to have a leader":
You have to have a leader who has some sort of ability to bring people together, and that's interesting to me because my memory of the man who founded it was this wizened old man with little glasses and a hooked nose, in a wheelchair."
Close says she was brought into the cult by her father at age seven, and was moved with her brother and two sisters from Connecticut to the cult's headquarters in Caux, Switzerland. She describes the headquarters as a "very glamorous" hotel, in which they spent two years:
"You basically weren't allowed to do anything, or you were made to feel guilty about any unnatural desire," she recalled of her childhood in the MRA. "If you talk to anybody who was in a group that basically dictates how you're supposed to live and what you're supposed to say and how you're supposed to feel, from the time you're 7 till the time you're 22, it has a profound impact on you. It's something you have to [consciously overcome] because all of your trigger points are [wrong].
Close returned to Connecticut for school at age 15, but remained involved with MRA offshoot singing group Up With People (who have performed at more Super Bowl halftime shows than any other musical group, according to Wikipedia). (Congrats!) She left when she was twenty-two, explaining, "Many things led me to leave. I had no toolbox to leave, but I did it."
She refused, however, to explain how she broke free of the MRA: "I'm not going to go into all of that," she said. "You can't in an interview."
[image via Getty]