Joaquin Phoenix, recognized as one of the great actors in movie history, has left an indelible mark with his portrayal of the legendary Joker and other notable roles. However, after his success on screen, a dark shadow emerges from his past linked to a dangerous sect.
Joaquin Phoenix’s childhood was shrouded in mystery, largely due to his family’s membership in one of the most fearsome cults in history. Accused and persecuted for heinous crimes such as human trafficking, pedophilia and fraud, this sect left a trail of destruction in its wake, affecting multiple generations.
Joaquin’s parents joined this cult during the turbulent 1960s, when many young people were searching for answers in the midst of the Vietnam War and yearning for peace and freedom. It was then that David Berg, leader of the sect, lured the Phoenix family with his teachings that distorted the Bible and promoted unrestrained love, even glorifying the sexual aspect.
Berg produced scriptures known as the Letters to the Children of God, which were marketed around the world, attracting a large following through missionaries who spread their message. However, behind these teachings was a disturbing reality of abuse and exploitation.
The sect used coercive and manipulative tactics to recruit thousands of people, establishing headquarters in various countries. Berg was constantly on the move to evade justice and stay safe from the authorities.
It was in 1993 when the sect was dismantled in Latin America thanks to the courageous denunciation of Ruth McKee de Frouman, a mother whose children had been recruited by the organization. During the raids, approximately 268 children were rescued and 30 cult members arrested, although many of them went unpunished due to a lack of hard evidence.
After this episode, the Phoenix family left Argentina and shortly after, David Berg died in Portugal, without having faced justice for the crimes publicly denounced. Although Joaquin and his family managed to escape sectarian influence, the emotional scars remain.
Joaquin Phoenix’s story is a testimony of resilience and overcoming, as he has managed to overcome the dark chapters of his past and shine in his artistic career. His talent and dedication have led him to become one of the leading actors of his generation, leaving behind the shadow of the cult that threatened to overshadow his life.
Photo by AFP
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Joaquin Phoenix: The shadow of a sect in his past