Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Born" Inside Jesus People USA

From the website:

"Born is a documentary film that chronicles the joys and sorrows of several people who were, born and raised in the Jesus People USA Christian Commune on Chicago’s north side (920 W. Wilson). The film is ending production and is eyeing a release in several film festivals nationwide before formal distribution is sought."

View the trailer and clips from the documentary here


  1. I watched the clip.

    I hope they gotta away from that spanking a toddler because she misses her parents schtick.

    Seems the folks interviewed say good and bad things about the JPUSA.

    The casting out the demons thing was amusing. "Demons of homosexuality". WTF.

    What the hell is a gay demon? I'm picturing my place being haunted and my wardrobe being redone as I sleep. Then I'll awake to my Irish drinking CD's being gone and being replaced by techno music and Barbara Streisand. The HORROR.

    You have to watch the trailer and then the clips to get a good idea of what the movie will be about.

    I look forward to it. I'm guessing a few of our JPUSA neighbors will not be looking forward to it.

    If there are any gay demons around please stop at the Catholic Workers house. Those folks need some serious help.

  2. WOW! I am sooooo excited to see this documentary.

    That the filmmaker characterizes his experience as wonderful/awful seems about right.

    I'm sure this thread will get negative at some point so I'd just like to say that what JPUSA is trying to do is entirely commendable and, for me, immensely interesting.

    As for the documentary, I found the young man's comments about the "wounded leading the wounded" to be an insightful yet compassionate assessment. We human beings are so imperfect and most communal experiments like this face enormous challenges. (There was a wonderful documentary on the Black Bear Ranch called "Commune" that showed some of the difficulties the children and young families had.) I hope that JPUSA is actively doing things to keep their house in order. Its not an easy task given what they are trying to do. (Have they implemented the recommendations from the former members? I read them and they seemed like invaluable constructive criticism.)

    Again, I can't wait to see this film and heartily thank everyone who was willing to be involved. It couldn't have been easy...

  3. In order to understand JPUSA you need to understand EVERYTHING about this organization. Focusing strictly on the commune live situations is only a smal portion of what they do. I'd like to see the documentary go into their business aspects also and see how they work.

    JSPUSA owns and operates several large companies in the chicago area with the biggest of being Lakefront Supply. They are a very well run organization and they operate profitably.

    On the whole their organization does a lot of good. You may question their motivations, their politics, their religion but they have been around over 30 years they have major influence in Uptown.

    To understand everything about a group is best way get what they are all about. I am not a religious person and do not agree with their certain views but as long as they are within the law they are entitled to their views and practices as granted to each and every group and person.

  4. Religion is one big business isn't it?

  5. For more info on JPUSA go to

  6. for accurate info on jpusa and some info that was actually generated this decade visit:

  7. ALL of the info at is accurate and some of it - such as the Chicago Tribune's articles from 2002 - are from the past decade.

  8. What this documentary failed to mention was the severe consequences of children who were raised in this "commune." One of the members in the documentary was abused by a church member as a child. His sister is a drug addict and his brother an alcoholic. Seems like the parents of JPUSA kids worried more about their missionary work than their own children. FROM WIKIPEDIA: In 1993, Dr. Ronald Enroth's was researching a sequel to his book "Churches That Abuse", which was said to mention issues of abuse within JPUSA. Paul R. Martin, the director of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, one of the few residential treatment centers in the world for former members of "abusive groups," supported Enroth's findings, saying that his facility had seen a flood of requests for help from former members and that JPUSA "displays virtually every sign that I watch for in overly authoritarian and totalistic groups." In 2001, the Chicago Tribune published a two-part article primarily critical of the movement, with quotes from several ex-members accusing the group of authoritarian practices. One of the JPUSA activities criticized in the article includes "adult spankings," in which a system of corporal punishment was employed as punishment for adult members of the group. The practice was eventually abandoned by the group, with leaders citing the practice as reflective of how "spiritually immature" the group was at the time. LAME EXCUSE FOR THOSE WHOSE CHILDHOOD AND LIVES WERE RUINED BY THE CHURCH FOUNDERS WHO WERE MERELY A PATHETIC BAND OF PROSELYTIZING HYPOCRITES.

  9. The video was taken off by Jesus People USA because it consisted of a bunch of testimonies against this so called ministry. One man who was raised in the commune was falsely accused of being a homosexual. One young woman testified that she was beaten with a wooden dowel rod when she was afraid something might happen to her friends that were going out witnessing about Christ. Another, a young man who grew up in the commune was falsely accused of carrying a knife and was kicked out. He tesified that the commune embarked in incest in its earlier days. He complained how terribly people were treated there. One woman while crying described how she did not know who she was growing up in the commune. She when younger was forced to live at the commune farm where she was isolated from boys for TWO YEARS! Another young woman who grew up in the commune said her and her friends were treated with the same strictness as people who were trying to recover from drug addiction. A young man who grew up in the commune said he never really felt a part of the group but that the commune became ingrown and intent on survival rather than reaching out to people. He previously commented that "if you ever leave the commune don't ever come back". This is how cultic the commune is.

    More recently more members have been leaving. A family moved to New Mexico. Another couple moved out West. Others have been leaving. Two young men forced to go through mental in house evaluation at Michael Reese Hospital left. One was dying to leave and made the choice himself. The other was kicked out of the commune after they caught him telling his friends outside of the group that he felt like he was a slave. He worked hard for 7 years and did what he was told. They didn't pay him, He got no medical coverage, just bulk food stolen from a local program that gives food to homeless shelters. JPUSA is not a homeless shelter. He got a room to live in which he shared with another man. JPUSA gave him no money to help leave, only two weeks to hit the road. Either you are totally into their way of life which is self imposed poverty with no accountability of where any of the communes money is going or your out. JPUSA is still not accountable to Evangelical Covenant Church and lives in isolation from any accountability to any ministry or leadership outside of its own group.

  10. I guess what scared me most about the place was that a senior citizen in the Freindly Towers Program choked on a piece of food, no one in the Seniors Dining Room from JPUSA was there to see it and then the man died. Later JPUSA tried to cover it up by saying that he had a heart attack but he didn't. He died from suffocation.