Politics are tricky business and nothing is more indicative of that than the events described in the latest docu-series on Netflix, The Family.
In the show, Jeff Sharlet describes an elusive organization run by a man named Doug Coe known as “The Family,” aka Fellowship Foundation. The group recruits members who are believed to be “Chosen by God” and groomed to influence Christianity in politics at a residence called Ivanwald.
While most of Ivanwald’s existence is covered in episode 1, not much is elaborated upon about the location today.
Well, here is what to know about Ivanwald and whether the location is still running as of 2019.
What is the Ivanwald House?
Ivanwald is a housing residence located in Arlington, Virginia that functions as a place to recruit influential young men in hopes to make them members of a Fellowship.
Requirements for being a part of this housing, which Jeff Sharlet describes as having a Fraternity vibe, include having no history of substance abuse. Sex, swearing, and drinking is prohibited.
In the documentary, Sharlet says the group grooms men with potential “who are chosen by God for leadership” and the Ivanwald residence uses the men to keep the place clean as politicians and foreign leaders visit. He also says the atmosphere is cult-like.
The views on Christianity are also different than the widely popular view. The documentary depicts the group being handed books with only the sections of the Bible that include Jesus — with the rest cut out because the Family describes their doctrine as “Jesus plus nothing.”
Who runs Ivanwald?
The documentary discusses a mysterious man named Doug Coe, who was said to be the unofficial leader of The Family and the person who supervised influence at Ivanwald.
He was the leader of the National Prayer breakfast and died in 2017. He was 88 years old. His massively popular breakfast was attended by every President at some point. A rather eccentric man, according to the New York Times, “In private gatherings he was known to use improbable metaphors — likening Maoists and Nazis, for example, to religious zealots and extolling them as effective leaders.”
Yet somehow, many politicians, movers, and shakers from across the globe considered this man a brilliant religious leader worthy of following. His secretive nature in every area of life only made him more sought after.
As Coe says in the documentary, ” The more invisible you make your organization, the more influence you have.” And to this day, even after his passing these words hold true with the Ivanwald house.
Is Ivanwald still around?
There are still sightings of people at the residence, including men who “tend the grounds carrying leaf blowers,” but largely reports are skim about the comings and goings of the Ivanwald residence. As other sites have indicated, the best things to go off of are unverified stories from other people about their experiences while staying at the infamous location.
Without a doubt, this is most likely intentional. Jeff Sharlet has unveiled details that were supposed to be left behind the curtain. Now, the world is aware of how this group operates, which probably made them more private. Either way, a spotlight has been placed on The Family and with the Netflix documentary being released, it will not be as easy to influence under-the-radar.
The Family can be streamed on Netflix now.