Lifetime’s “Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation” is an engrossing drama movie that centres on the eponymous character, a charismatic Tennessee-based church leader
The film was directed by John L’Ecuyer and can be seen on the network Lifetime. Gwen becomes well-known for her controversial Christian diet programme known as Weigh Down Workshop.
In this programme, she emphasises the significance of prayer in relation to maintaining a healthy weight and slimmer appearance.
She is the leader of the Remnant Fellowship Church, and as such, she condemns everyone who does not obey her commandments. Additionally, over the years, she has amassed a significant amount of power and fortune.
However, over time, the shadowy aspects of Gwen’s influence have begun to come into the light. Amongst other concerns, she has been accused of abuse and of fostering cult rituals.
The movie that airs on Lifetime dives into important subjects like misguided religion and the abuse of religious power, and it features gripping performances from skilled performers like Jennifer Grey, Karen Cliche, Jorja Cadence, and Vincent Walsh.
In addition, the truth-to-life portrayal of a controversial religious figure with a larger-than-life character raises the question of whether or not the events depicted in “Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation” are even loosely based on real-life occurrences. If you are equally interested in the matter, then let’s find out!
Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation: Is It Based on a True Story?
There is some truth to the premise that “Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation” is based on a real event. The name of the book gives away the subject matter, which is a biography of Gwen Shamblin Lara, who is a pastor at the Remnant Fellowship Church in Tennessee and a published author.
In the 1990s, she rose to renown as the creator of the Christian diet programme known as the Weigh Down Workshop. This programme rejected any procedures that are often recommended for losing weight.
Instead, it placed an emphasis on the power of prayer and faith in God, preaching that if a person ate only when they were hungry and quit when they were full while also adhering to the church’s beliefs, they would be successful.
Gwen was born in 1955 in Memphis, Tennessee, into a family that was deeply committed to their Christian faith. She went on to earn a degree in food and nutrition from a university.
During that period, she came to the realisation that a person’s weight was determined by more factors than just their metabolism and their genetics.
She believed that there was a higher power at work. In the beginning, Gwen ran the programme out of the Bellevue Baptist Church that was located close to Memphis. Its popularity skyrocketed during the 1990s, and by the end of the decade, thousands of churches in the United States and around the world were serving it.
In the year 1999, Gwen established the Remnant Fellowship Church, which quickly attracted a lot of attention and members. However, she and other leaders in the church were quickly accused of engaging in behaviours that were both abusive and harmful.
The death of a child named Josef Smith, who was eight years old, as a result of severe maltreatment by his parents, Joseph and Sonya, called into doubt the morality of Gwen’s preaching.
Allegations suggested that the couple was a part of her church and would blindly obey her directives, which included extreme techniques of reprimanding and disciplining children. Also, it was claimed that they were members of her church.
Gwen Shamblin: Rumours
In addition, rumours began to spread that Gwen and the other leaders of the church would excommunicate any members of the congregation who gained weight and take legal action against those who voiced disagreement with their core beliefs.
Not only that, but in the year 2000, she caused even more controversy by calling into doubt the biblical basis of the theology of the Trinity, which resulted in a number of churches dropping her programme and causing her to lose adherents.
The Tennessee-based dietician and church founder experienced a great deal of fame and wealth during her lifetime, and she even wrote three books. This was despite the fact that she was the subject of numerous conflicts due to the ideas that she held.
The tragic plane disaster that took place on May 29, 2021, claimed the lives of Gwen and her second husband, the actor Joe Lara.
In spite of this, many people continue to recall her larger-than-life persona and distinctive appearance, both of which Jennifer Grey, who plays the church leader in the Lifetime movie, has made an effort to convey.
The actress talked about her preparations for the role in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. In particular, she discussed how she successfully obtained Gwen’s southern accent.
Gwen Shamblin: Career
- I couldn’t get enough of her interview on Larry King and would play it over and over again. When I was in the bathroom, listening, I noticed that the way she spoke “Gawd” was not how I anticipated it to sound.
- She wouldn’t drop her i’s and n’gs when she’s attempting to be really detailed and possibly theatrical. She would say things like, “I can’t believe I’m living.”
- After that, whenever she was with the children or doing something else, she would declare, “I am livin’.” Jennifer remarked, “I wanted to observe the nuance between when she is being the rockstar and when she is just throwing down at home and giving people s—.”
- “I wanted to notice the complexity between when she is being the rockstar and when she is just giving people s—.”
- In addition, the actress from “Dirty Dancing” revealed that she had never heard of Gwen prior to working on the film and that she was rather surprised to find out about her.
- She watched the documentary series “The Way Down: God, Greed and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin” on HBO in order to get a better understanding of the character she was playing, and she was shocked by the behaviours and beliefs of the church leader depicted in the programme.
- As a result, Jennifer had some reservations about taking the part, despite the fact that in her everyday life she promotes self-acceptance and body positivity. She intended, by means of her act, to cast doubt on the veracity of Gwen’s teachings and to demonstrate that one should not mindlessly follow the example set by others.
- Jennifer continued by saying, “…I feel Gwen’s brokenness led her to a solution, and then to share that solution with other people was extremely fulfilling [to her],” which was an interesting take on the situation.
- People were pulled to her such that they began to empower her and turn over their life [to her] because she was so captivating, and because she was so thrilled and passionate about her answer.
- They start to feel love, devotion, and idolization for her and begin to project those feelings onto her. It packs quite a punch. She is worshipped and revered as if she were a deity in her own right. There’s that well-known saying that goes, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts totally.” This is how I understand it.
- Even if the movie’s skilled authors, Richard Blaney and Gregory Small, have largely maintained loyal to the real-life subject and present a realistic representation of Gwen Shamblin Lara’s life, there are probably certain parts that have been expanded and exaggerated for the sake of cinematic flare.
- Although it is admirable that despite their personal qualms regarding Gwen’s ideals and lifestyle, the entire team has persuasively portrayed the factual components of the late diet guru’s story, it is important to note that despite these reservations, it is great that the team has done so.
Gwen Shamblin: Bio
Shamblin, Gwen Lara was born on the 18th of February in the year 1955 in the city of Memphis, which is situated in the state of Tennessee in the United States. When she passed away, she had 67 years of age under her belt.
The constellations in the sky at the time of her birth placed her as an Aquarius.
Shamblin, Gwen Lara was brought up in a family that had deep roots in the Christian faith. Since 1978, David Shamblin and Gwen have been happily married, and this union will continue till 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 hard to find The elusive Jennifer Shamblin Gwen received her bachelor of science degree in dietetics from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she also completed her undergraduate studies.
After that, she pursued a master’s degree in food and nutrition at Memphis State University, which is a postsecondary educational institution situated in the state of Tennessee.
The hard to find The elusive Jennifer Shamblin Lara followed a career as a nutritionist after finishing her master’s degree, and she finally joined the teaching staff at Memphis State University. Her primary area of expertise is in the field of sports nutrition.
During her tenure there, she called that location home and was a resident there for close to five years. After that, she worked for the state’s Department of Health for a total of five years until leaving her position there.
When Lara was younger, she had a difficult time keeping her weight under control. Gwen started her work as a weight reduction counsellor in 1980, with the intention of supporting other individuals who were going through issues that were comparable to those that she had gone through.
Gwen Shamblin: Contribution
In 1986, she started a series that she called the Weigh Down Workshop, in which she counselled listeners to avoid unfavourable feelings and behaviours such as rage, despair, binge eating, and drunkenness in favour of cultivating genuine relationships with God.
She called the series “Weigh Down Workshop” (Weight Down Workshop). She gave them the specific advice to abstain from partaking in these behaviours at all costs.
Gwen founded the Remnant Fellowship Church in 1999 with the purpose of delivering the people of God from their oppressive circumstances.
In the beginning, a handful of people working in the shipping department of the Weigh Down factory in Franklin, Tennessee, decided to band together as a group and form a team.
They did this on a daily basis, and during their time together, they devoted it 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 fulfil his dream of constructing a church on the land that he had previously purchased. 2004 was the year that saw the completion of the building that housed the church’s interior.
The first book that Gwen Shamblin Lara ever attempted to write, “The Weigh Down Diet,” was finally published the following year in 1997.
In the book, she recommends turning to spirituality as a strategy of protecting oneself from the negative effects of emotional eating.
She provided readers the advise to read the Bible whenever they had the impression that they were hungry but in reality were not hungry at any point throughout the whole of the book that she wrote.
Over 400,000 copies of the book were purchased in the span of just one year since its release. It is estimated that the book has sold more than 1.2 million copies as of the year 2021, making it the most popular book in the history of publishing.