ON CLOVER ROAD BACKSTAGE GUIDE 17 you think there's a good answer to this? No...It's just a very complicated situation because you never know. I don't think anybody could have foreseen Jonestown happening. Aaron, who's in the film, whose parents tried to deprogram him three times from the Christ Family, [which was] considered a very dangerous, high-controlled cult in the '70s and '80s, but now [the members are] in their 60s and they're all living quite happily together. I think it would be kind of sad to pull them away from that family. I have conversations with them, I can hang out with them, and they believe this man Lightning Amen is the second coming of Jesus. They believe it so much, but it doesn't seem to really harm them. [But in the 1970s] there was this moral panic. And then because of Manson and Jonestown, this fed into this paranoia, because deprogramming became very popular right after Jonestown. Parents were just like, "Oh my god, we have to save [our kids]." In some cases people say that [deprogramming] really was helpful. Like Steve Capellini in the documentary, he's so thankful that his parents hired Ted. Ted's methods were pretty controversial though. He kidnapped people, held them against their will and then harassed them with questions for sometimes months at a time. One of the things the film shows is that some people were so worn down by the process that they just acquiesced, said whatever they needed to say to make it end. It made me wonder, does this guy have any clue what he's doing? Or is he just persistent? I think there are so many approaches... I just think that it worked some times so he kept doing it. And when it didn't work, it didn't work, but he didn't necessarily adapt. But other people after him adapted. A lot of people he deprogrammed out of different groups became deprogrammers themselves and really refined it and changed the method a lot. So Ted is not—I mean, he is sort of like the extreme version of deprogramming, the sensational version. It's really hard because there are no real statistics and I can only go by the people I met. I think a lot of people did just talk their way out of [deprogramming] and then [went] back to the cults. But back then, Ted and his secretary didn't keep records, they didn't follow up with people. So a lot of people, maybe left for a few months to make their parents happy and then who knows? I've heard of other stories where people wanted to leave and the deprogramming was just a really good way for them to get out. It's so complicated. How does Ted distinguish between a cult and what we think of as traditional religions? Ted today, he doesn't explain himself very clearly, but from the archives he always described the difference being personal autonomy and how [these groups] ... through sleep deprivation and repetition and a form of hypnotism, would interfere with your ability to think critically. Then you become sort of enslaved by it, the will of the leader. [For the people who felt their deprogramming worked] is it possible to say if deprogramming was actually necessary? Can you say the ends justified the means? I personally think that most of the people he deprogrammed probably would have left the group on their own eventually. I think it was just part of that era. I've met so many people who had spent a lot of time, months or years, in different communes or groups in the '70s and then eventually left. Without the moral panic I think that some people may have stayed, some people may have left. But like I said, it's so difficult to tell. Steve Capellini told me he really believes he could've still been a [Unification Church member] today if he had not been deprogrammed. Even Cheryl, whose deprogramming she described as not being perfect, she thinks she would've still been in a cult had her parents not hired Ted. I think the question is... I guess it's like would they be better off? Do you think Ted ever questioned the parents who were hiring him? Like, did he ever think these parents just didn't understand their kids? No...[And] I think that's where he sort of discredited himself in this history... Rick Ross said that he declines half of the calls he gets. He'll say, "This is not a cult situation. This is a family issue." How do you think [Ted] will react to the film? I don't know how he's going to react. I think he'll be fine because I've told him who I was interviewing. I've always told him. He understands the controversy. But he loves it. He's like "Anybody wants to debate me, they can debate me." He likes the controversy.