Main Line Today did an article on the International Peace Movement Mission, the mysterious cult operated by Mother Divine out of Gladwyne, PA. It is a lengthy, two part read but well worth it. Much has been documented about the life of Father Divine and the followers who continue to worship him as God, but this outward speaking article gives new insight into the inner workings of the sect and the few who remain loyal to this day, and begs the question: What happens to the wealth when a cult dies?
In addition to the mind bogglingly bizarre truth of this story - that for no other reason than that it's honest strangeness stands well enough on its own, hasn't been made into a movie - the fate of historic Woodmont may be in question, prompting some to warn of another La Ronda disaster.
"Swept up in all this uncertainty is the fate of Woodmont. Its 1998 National Historic Landmark designation amounts to little unless the Peace Mission followers named on the active deed allow Lower Merion Township to list the old Alan Wood Jr. mansion as a Class I building. Otherwise, it can be sold and subdivided—or demolished. There’s fear that increased preservation pressure will put followers on the defensive, perhaps even prompting a scenario along the lines of the controversial destruction of the La Ronda mansion in Bryn Mawr. And other than a philosophical agreement, no conservation easement has been signed to protect the grounds, says Mike Weilbacher, former executive director of the Lower Merion Conservancy."
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