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Heartland Ep. 6: Film Chronicles 22 Years In A Cult + A Conversation On 'Spiritual Direction'

CNN / Rachel Otwell
CNN poster for Holy Hell film / Dan Frachey

On this episode we speak with Will Allen about the film Holy Hell, a documentary released this year. It chronicles the 22 years he spent in a cult headed by one man, it was called Buddhafield.

Allen tells us about how the experience changed his life, what he believes now, and why he says:  "I don't think I would have gotten to be who I am today without all of that: the pain, and the good."

We also speak with Dan Frachey, a central Illinois man who is part of an international movement called Spiritual Direction. Tune in!

Holy Hell, the documentary film, premieres on CNN Thursday night, more info on how to see it then is here. You can also check out the official page for the film here as well. 

A note: CNN reached out to the subject of the film and recently received this comment from him:

“It is heartbreaking to see how history has been rewritten. Holy Hell is not a documentary, rather, it is a work of fiction designed to create drama, fear and persecution; that is what sells. I am saddened by this attempt to obscure the message of universal love and spiritual awakening. It is devastating to see these friends, who were once so filled with love for the world, become so angry. I wish them only the best, and hold each one close to my heart. If any of my actions were a catalyst for their disharmony, I am truly sorry.  May all beings find peace, Michel"

You can watch an excerpt from the film in which some of the ex-members talk about Michel's appeal:

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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