Prolific documentary filmmaker Jesse Moss has introduced us to ‘The Family’ via his film of the same name.
Available on Netflix, The Family covers this now not-so-secret-organization’s history and global outreach.
Founded by Abraham Vereide in 1935, in San Francisco, the loosely structured organization expanded and spread around the globe. The key players attempted to keep this non-organization organization secret as long as possible. Yet, now there is this five-part documentary.
The Family is based on two ideas and a strategy: A simplified version of Christianity, a focus on the wealthy and powerful, and a ‘prayer breakfast.’
In 1935, Vereide along with Major J.F. Douglas began hosting ‘prayer breakfasts’ for local leaders. The phenomenon expanded nationally and internationally. The idea is to meld government with The Family’s version of Christianity, and to use that combo to promote a right-wing political agenda globally.
The United States’ annual ‘National Prayer Breakfast’ in Washington, D.C. has been attended by every US President since Dwight D. Eisenhower. DC-based, our ‘Breakfast’ has morphed over the decades into a week or two orgy of political lobbying.
Moss’s film is informed by the work of author Jeff Sharlet from his two books, “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power” and “C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy”. Sharlet appears throughout the film speaking of The Family, sharing his experience as a young ‘Family’ member in a local group.
The Family paints a stunning, harrowing picture of insidious domestic and international proselytizing by the rich and powerful.