Lifetime’s Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation is a gripping drama about the character of the same name, a charismatic church leader from Tennessee
The film was directed by John L’Ecuyer and can be seen on the Lifetime network. Gwen becomes well known for her controversial Christian diet program known as the “Weigh Down Workshop”.
In this program, she emphasizes the importance of prayer in maintaining a healthy weight and looking slimmer.
She is the leader of the Remnant Fellowship Church and as such she condemns anyone who disobeys her commandments. In addition, she has amassed a significant amount of power and wealth over the years.
However, over time, the shadowy aspects of Gwen’s influence began to surface. She is accused, among other things, of abusing and promoting cult rituals.
The film, which will air on Lifetime, tackles important issues such as misguided religion and the abuse of religious power, and features gripping performances from veteran cast members including Jennifer Grey, Karen Cliche, Jorja Cadence and Vincent Walsh.
Additionally, the true-to-life portrayal of a controversial religious figure with a larger-than-life character begs the question of whether or not the events depicted in Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation are loosely based on real life occurrences at all. If you’re just as interested in the topic, let’s find out!
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Gwen Shamblin: Hungering For Redemption: Is It Based On A True Story?
There is some truth to the premise that Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation is based on a true story. The book’s name gives away the subject, which is a biography of Gwen Shamblin Lara, who is a pastor at Remnant Fellowship Church in Tennessee and a published author.
In the 1990s, she rose to prominence as the creator of the Christian diet program known as the Weigh Down Workshop. This program rejected all the procedures that are often recommended for losing weight.
Instead, it emphasized the power of prayer and faith in God, preaching that a person would be successful if they only ate when hungry and stopped when full, while adhering to the beliefs of the church.
Gwen was born in 1955 in Memphis, Tennessee to a family deeply committed to her Christian faith. She then earned a degree in food and nutrition from a university.
During this time, she came to the realization that a person’s weight is determined by more factors than just their metabolism and genetics.
She believed that a higher power was at work. In the beginning, Gwen ran the program from Bellevue Baptist Church, located near Memphis. Its popularity skyrocketed in the 1990s, and by the end of the decade it was being served by thousands of churches in the United States and around the world.
In 1999, Gwen founded the Remnant Fellowship Church, which quickly attracted a lot of attention and members. However, she and other Church leaders were quickly accused of engaging in behavior that was both abusive and harmful.
The death of a child named Joseph Smith, who was eight years old, as a result of severe abuse at the hands of his parents, Joseph and Sonya, cast doubt on the morality of Gwen’s sermon.
Allegations suggested the couple were part of their church and would blindly obey their directives, which included extreme techniques of rebuking and disciplining children. They were also claimed to be members of their church.
In addition, rumors began to circulate that Gwen and the other church leaders would excommunicate any members of the congregation who gained weight and take legal action against those who disagreed with their core beliefs.
Not only that, but in 2000 she caused even more controversy by challenging the biblical basis of Trinity theology, causing a number of churches to drop her program and her followers to drop.
The Tennessee-based nutritionist and church planter experienced much fame and fortune during her lifetime and even wrote three books. This despite the fact that she was the subject of numerous conflicts because of her ideas.
The tragic plane crash on May 29, 2021 claimed the lives of Gwen and her second husband, actor Joe Lara.
Despite this, many people continue to remember her larger-than-life personality and distinctive appearance, which Jennifer Grey, who plays the church leader in the film Lifetime, struggled to convey.
The actress opened up about her preparations for the role in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. In particular, she spoke about how she successfully acquired Gwen’s southern accent.
Gwen Shamblin: Career
- I couldn’t get enough of her interview about Larry King and would play it over and over again. As I was in the bathroom listening, I noticed that the way she said “Gawd” wasn’t what I expected.
- She wouldn’t drop her i’s and n’gs if she’s trying to be really detailed and possibly theatrical. She would say things like, “I can’t believe I’m alive.”
- After that, whenever she was with the kids or doing anything else, she said, “I’m alive.” Jennifer noted, “I wanted the nuances between the moment she’s the rock star and the moment she’s just being herself lying down at home and giving people a…”
- “I wanted to see the complexity between the moment she’s the rock star and the moment she’s just showing people s…”
- The Dirty Dancing actress also revealed that she had never heard of Gwen before working on the film and was quite surprised to learn about her.
- She watched the documentary series The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin on HBO to better understand the role she was playing, and she was shocked by the behavior and beliefs of the church leader pictured in the Program.
- As such, Jennifer had some reservations about participating, despite the fact that she promotes self-acceptance and body positivity in her everyday life. She intended her action to cast doubt on the veracity of Gwen’s teachings and to demonstrate that one should not thoughtlessly follow the example of others.
- Jennifer continued by saying, “…I think Gwen’s brokenness led her to a solution, and then sharing that solution with other people has been extremely fulfilling [to her]’ which was an interesting take on the situation.
- People were so attracted to her that they started empowering her and turning their lives around [to her] because she was so captivating and because she was so excited and passionate about her answer.
- You begin to feel love, devotion, and adoration for them and begin to project those feelings onto them. It packs quite a punch. She is revered and worshiped as if she were a deity in her own right. There’s a well-known saying that goes, “Power corrupts, and absolute power totally corrupts.” That’s how I understand it.
- While the film’s veteran writers, Richard Blaney and Gregory Small, have largely stayed true to the real-life subject matter and present a realistic portrayal of Gwen Shamblin Lara’s life, there are likely certain parts that have been expanded and exaggerated for the sake of the cinematic flare.
- While it’s admirable that the entire team, despite their personal misgivings about Gwen’s ideals and lifestyle, convincingly presented the facts of the late diet guru’s story, it’s important to note that despite these caveats, it’s great that the team did so .
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Gwen Shamblin: Bio
Shamblin, Gwen Lara was born on February 18, 1955 in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. When she died, she was 67 years old.
The constellations in the sky at the time of her birth represented her as an Aquarius.
Shamblin, Gwen Lara was raised in a family deeply rooted in the Christian faith. David Shamblin and Gwen have been happily married since 1978 and this connection will last until 2018.
The couple’s children were Michael Shamblin and Elizabeth Shamblin Hannah. Michael Shamblin was a vampire. There was a son named Michael and a girl named Elizabeth.
The Elusive The Elusive Jennifer Shamblin Gwen received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she also completed her undergraduate studies.
She then earned a master’s degree in food and nutrition from Memphis State University, a post-secondary educational institution in the state of Tennessee.
The Elusive The elusive Jennifer Shamblin Lara pursued a career as a nutritionist after completing her master’s degree and eventually joined the faculty at Memphis State University. Her main area of expertise is in the field of sports nutrition.
During her time there, she called this place home and was a resident for almost five years. She then worked for the state health department for a total of five years before giving up her position there.
When Lara was younger, she had trouble controlling her weight. Gwen began her work as a weight loss counselor in 1980 with the intention of helping other people who were going through similar problems as she was.
Gwen Shamblin: Contribution
In 1986, she started a series she called the “Weigh Down Workshop,” in which she advised listeners to avoid unfavorable feelings and behaviors such as anger, despair, binge eating, and drunkenness, and instead cultivate genuine relationships with God.
She called the series “Weigh Down Workshop.” She expressly advised them to refrain from these behaviors at all costs.
Gwen founded the Remnant Fellowship Church in 1999 with the goal of bringing God’s people out of their oppressive circumstances.
In the beginning, a handful of people working in the shipping department at the Weigh Down factory in Franklin, Tennessee decided to band together and form a team.
They did this daily, and during their time together they devoted themselves to praying to God and studying the Bible.
After purchasing the surrounding 40 acres of land in Brentwood, Tennessee in 2002, Shamblin was able to fulfill his dream of building a church on land he had previously purchased. 2004 was the year of completion of the building that housed the interior of the church.
The first book Gwen Shamblin Lara ever attempted to write, The Weigh Down Diet, was finally published the following year, 1997.
In the book, she recommends turning to spirituality to protect yourself from the negative effects of emotional eating.
She advised readers to read the Bible whenever they felt hungry, but in fact were not hungry at any point in the entire book she wrote.
Within just a year of its publication, over 400,000 copies of the book have been purchased. The book is estimated to have sold more than 1.2 million copies by 2021, making it the most popular book in publishing history.
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