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Theater to show documentary about Moscow-born religion

Leader of money-centered religion in Moscow once owned several buildings, local newspaper

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Theater to show documentary about Moscow-born religion

The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre will host the showing Thursday.

The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre will host the showing Thursday.

CARY WILTON | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre will host the showing Thursday.

CARY WILTON | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

CARY WILTON | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre will host the showing Thursday.

SAM SCHMITKE, Evergreen reporter

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The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre will host a showing of a documentary that focuses on the history of a Moscow religious movement called Psychiana created by Frank Robinson.

Brandon Schrand, author and teacher at WSU, said after the audience watches the movie, which he features in, he will answer audience questions.

“It is a part of our history,” Schrand said. “It is also a weird religion that became popularized from a small town to all over the world.”

Keith Peterson, a former state historian for Idaho, said the religion used to be a secret and became a mass production.

“People followed Robinson during the Great Depression into the 1940s,” Peterson said. “They followed him not only for the religion he made but for the business side of the religion as well.”

Schrand said that Psychiana’s leader, Robinson, told people if they paid him one dollar they would be able to see God.

“The way it worked was that there were levels you reach. These levels were based on how much money was put into the religion,” Schrand said. “His idea was that everyone has the same abilities that Jesus has, walking on water and making water into wine.”

Schrand said that Robinson had seven buildings for his religion in Moscow, which included an office and a church. He said Robinson’s buildings were closed down for a while but the buildings are now running as restaurants and apartment complexes.

Robinson was the richest man in Moscow, Schrand said. He said Robinson also owned the nicest car in town and the local newspaper.

Peterson said he is excited about the event.

“It should be a nice event,” Peterson said. “It is a quirky religion. Thinking of something of that size in a small town of Moscow shows how much can be accomplished if you put your mind to it.”

Schrand said that he hopes to help people understand more of the small town of Moscow’s history.

The showing will be 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, located at 508 S. Main Street in Moscow.

About the Writer
SAM SCHMITKE, Evergreen reporter

Sam Schmitke is a public relations major with an emphasis in risk and crisis communication from Kent. She recently joined the Life staff as a reporter.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Theater to show documentary about Moscow-born religion”

  1. Dulce Kersting-Lark on May 1st, 2019 2:48 pm

    Thank you to the Daily Evergreen for covering this upcoming event. The Latah County Historical Society was very happy to work with Idaho Public Television to bring Frank Robinson’s story to a wider audience. It has long been a topic of investigation in our office and we enjoy sharing information with the public. We do, however, want to be clear that Pyschiana was a religious movement that has not been characterized as a cult by scholars. In an age when folks often do not read beyond a story’s headline word choice is important. We hope that readers will take the time to watch the IPTV mini-documentary, which is available online, so they can get a full understanding of Frank Robinson and his teachings.

  2. Maggie Quinlan on May 22nd, 2019 2:47 am

    Thank you for your comment. I have edited the headline to reflect that Psychiana was not a cult.

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Theater to show documentary about Moscow-born religion