"Pray Away" Analysis

This potentially triggering documentary exposes the traumatic conversion therapy still being implemented in some southern states in 2021, believe or not. The documentary is accented with interviews from former members of the “anti-gay movement” that participated in spreading the dangerous practice of conversion therapy around the globe in ** Those participating members explain how they were deceived by the church and are currently seeking redemption via this expose.

Growing up, my parents chose to raise me in the Catholic Church which was fine, until it wasn’t. I remember being required to attend weekly confessional at the Church when I was 8 years old, accompanied by my peers and kids as young as 5. We had a worksheet that allowed us to list three (or more) sins we had committed that week that we needed to confess to the priest. One week, I wrote, “I did really good this week and didn’t commit any sins! I’m so proud of myself and I think God is, too”. I took that to the confessional booth and the priest insisted I step out, think harder about my behaviors because I would be sure to find something to confess. I was a child being told very early on that I wasn’t allowed to be sin-less because I was human; a walking, talking sin. There was a well-known assumption that being human was a sin and even though God created us and everything He did was purposeful, his creation, us, was bad and sinful, especially if you didn’t follow the very specific rules played out in the Bible! Is that what they were trying teach me? Or were they using classic brainwashing techniques used by every cult and religion to date? Make your followers believe they can’t have what they want (eternal peace in heaven) unless they come to you and your church (confession) and give your money back to God (and pay us to trick you into giving us your money)?

It was clear to me that there was something larger happening here as they convinced children that they needed the church for the rest of their lives and so did their children and the generations after that. Churches are a money making machines, profiting off of people’s vulnerability by providing a seemingly caring and safe space. Just like “the algorithm”, churches seem to prey on the lonely, weak, and desperate by preaching an idealistic version of the truth in an effort to “save” (convert) more and more patrons. The Catholic Church appears to be only focused on its own narrative and agenda in an effort to maintain the funding it needs for uninterrupted operation. It seems to stop at nothing to further this agenda, including damaging and dangerous workshops that shockingly, continue to include gay conversion therapy.

Using the devil as a tangible villain to instill fear and provide a scapegoat for people’s “wrong-doings” is a powerful tool utilized in churches and in Exodus’ execution of conversion therapy. Classic brainwashing techniques were used to control the narrative amongst and within Exodus, similar to the Scientology movement and currently the overtaking of “Q”. The more you need them, the more they thrive.

The opinions I’ve shared are played out in the most hilarious way on “The Righteous Gemstones” on HBOMax. You can binge both seasons, now! You can also watch “Pray Away” on Netflix.