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Moral Re-Armament had many arts programs they would use to spread their ideals and recruit new members, some of which remain active to this day. Glenn Close performed in MRA stage plays long before she dreamed of winning three Tony Awards. She also performed with Up With People, a clean-cut preppy and peppy singing group that performed at five Super Bowl halftime shows, the second most of any artist or group after a college marching band.
But it wasn’t all fun and performing arts. “You basically weren’t allowed to do anything, or you were made to feel guilty about any unnatural desire. If you talk to anybody who was in a group that basically dictates how you’re supposed to live and what you’re supposed to say and how you’re supposed to feel, from the time you’re 7 till the time you’re 22, it has a profound impact on you. It’s something you have to [consciously overcome] because all of your trigger points are.”
Close and her family left the MRA when she was 22, in the 1970s. “Many things led me to leave. I had no toolbox to leave, but I did it.” She declined to give details about what leaving looked like for her family. “I’m not going into all of that. You can’t in an interview.”
Close attended university at the College of William and Mary, became a stage actress in New York, and appeared in her first film at the age of 35. In defiance of all the rules of Hollywood, her career has risen as she has aged. Today she is close with her mother and siblings, happily married, and remembers her father with a sense of forgiveness.
“I always thought, the way life works, the burden of forgiveness is on the child. That’s the way it goes. Forgiveness is probably the most revolutionary concept there is right now in our world. Because without forgiveness, you just perpetuate what has been before. You [have to] say, ‘It’s going to stop with me.’ “