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Swiss Filmmaker Chronicles Wilson Family's Ties to Purity Movement

June 1st, 2011

By David Halbrook

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722
OfficeOfCommunications@phc.edu

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Senior Colten Wilson (L) being interviewed by a Swiss film crew

Another foreign media enterprise has designs on capturing the unique mission of Patrick Henry College and its students on film. A Swiss film crew spent a day on campus last Thursday, May 26, interviewing PHC senior Colten Wilson and his wife, Anna (CLA, ’09), for a segment of a full-length documentary underway about the Wilson family’s involvement in launching an emergent purity movement. 

It’s another example of how the College and its students continue to generate acute interest among journalists, broadcasters, authors, and filmmakers curious about PHC’s rigorous academic profile, ties to homeschooling, and its mission to equip young leaders to shape the culture and serve the nation. To this end, the crew also spent considerable time with President Graham Walker, documenting his responses to a host of questions about the College, its students, aspects of the PHC honor code and courtship values and trends common to the campus.

“At Patrick Henry College we’re endeavoring to equip students for a style of leadership that is not just about itself but about something higher,” he replied to a question about the College’s mission. “We expect that leadership to be reflected in a desire to live selflessly and not to remake the world in their image. I see our students heeding Christ’s call to take up their cross and serve others.”

The Wilson family, founders of the Generations of Light ministry led by family patriarch Randy Wilson, created The Father Daughter Purity Ball that is now in 48 states and spreading abroad.  The Purity Ball is a ceremony in which fathers sign commitments to be responsible men of integrity in all areas of purity. The commitment also includes their vow to protect their daughters in their choices for purity, and the daughters commit to live pure lives before God through the symbol of laying down a white rose at the cross.

“Our parents were very intentional in seeking the Lord for wisdom in how to raise a family in this culture,” notes Colten (Government, IPP), who is finishing up his final internship credits this summer working for a local technology contractor.  “They worked to devise specific symbols and ceremonies to help connect our hearts to the truth of Scripture and to prepare us to effectively enter the culture as adults.”

The Ican Film group interviews PHC President Dr. Graham Walker

The Ican Film group, headed by producer Mirjam (Miriam) von Arx, had identified the purity movement gaining traction in the Christian community as a fascinating topic for Swiss and European audiences far removed culturally from such familial themes. Von Arx contacted the Wilson family for references to other families teaching principles of modesty, purity, and biblical courtship to their children, and then decided to focus on the movement’s founders.

“The more we talked with them (Wilsons), the more it occurred to us that we should profile them,” said von Arx. “So we’ve spent the past year-and-a-half filming their family, getting to know them, and learning about the family dynamics and the principles they’re teaching their children, and, by extension, a much larger American and even European audience.”

While von Arx hinted at some personal skepticism toward the Wilson family’s efforts in spreading the purity message, she allowed that the film will include no editorial commentary but will simply be a “direct cinema”-style documentary, with the Wilsons providing all of the narrative dialogue.

“Audiences will watch and decide for themselves,” she said, noting that the film's release is at least a year away and dependent on sales to willing Swiss and European distributors. In the last five years the Wilsons have been featured on CNN’s The Glenn Beck Show, NBC Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, Dr. Phil Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, the Tyra Banks Show that was also aired in Egypt, Fox21 News at Nine in depth story, KKTV News in Colorado Springs, CO., Fox16 News Little Rock, Arkansas and other local and national news.

According to the Wilson’s website, one of the most memorable highlights of The Father Daughter Purity Ball is “when the fathers stand in the middle of the ballroom and form a circle around their daughters standing all aglow in their lovely ball gowns. The fathers place their hands on their daughters, and together we pray for purity of mind, body, and soul for generations to come.”