Escaping Twin Flames is a new documentary series on Netflix that is about an online dating group called ‘Twin Flames Universe’. Twin flame is a term broadly used to describe a perfect connection between two people who are in love. Jeff Divine and Shaleia Divine of ‘Twin Flames Universe’ grossly took advantage of the idea to sell it under the garb of helping people find a perfect partner.
What Happens In The Docuseries?
The three-part miniseries, Escaping Twin Flames, began with Paula Hardy making a police complaint regarding her twin sister, Stephanie, who seems to have been held captive by the ‘Twin Flames Universe’. Paula and her mother detached from Stephanie, as she had decided to separate from her family based on the decision made for her by Jeff and Shaleia Divine. The couple convinced Stephanie that her family was holding her back from fulfilling her dream of bringing her twin flame into her life. This was the story of not just Stephanie but many women who came across Jeff and Shaleia Divine’s ‘Twin Flame Universe,’ for many were battling loneliness and heartbreak. The mini-documentary series began with Jeff projecting himself as a lifestyle guru. He ventured into many acts, such as spiritual healing, before getting into the business of finding love through exercises and courses for those seeking guidance. The tale of Jeff and his wife was also appalling.
Through three episodes, the makers brought to the forefront many ex-members and ex-employees of the ‘Twin Flames Universe’ who were publicly outing this organization by revealing many secrets of how the couple ran. Keely and Coby were two of the first members of the group that reunited with the help of ‘Twin Flames Universe’. They were also projected as the success of the work Jeff and Shaleia were doing. Keely had also ended up forcing her sister Marlee to pursue a forced twin flame relationship with Joshua. They were also projected as another successful relationship from the ‘Twin Flames Universe.’
Halfway into the documentary, it was difficult to ignore the overwhelming influence of Jeff. He took center stage, while Shaleia always remained in the background. The women were hoodwinked and gaslighted into believing their real lives were stopping them from seeking their one true love. Many women willingly believed Jeff and Shaleia, and the couple took advantage of the emotionally and physically vulnerable women. They conducted online and physical classrooms and indulged in many culturally appropriate activities that gave their organization a spiritual touch. The women were forced to pursue relationships with their previous partners. Elle, a highly educated woman, was pushed to pursue an ex-lover who had filed a restraining order against her. She faced prison time for violating the restraining orders. Many members faced the wrath of their ex-partners just because they were convinced their connection with them was real.
Jeff and Shaleia, along with their team, developed the ‘Mind Alignment Process,’ a course created by Dr. Chrissy Kay of the American Army to heal trauma and depression from the root. The makers brought in psychologists and psychiatrists to pick apart the legitimacy of the technique, but sadly, many willingly joined this course to seek help for their mental health issues. Many of the speakers in the series spoke in detail about how Jeff turned this online group into a religious organization for tax evasion purposes. Jeff and Shaleia also introduced coaching programs for people who wanted to join the ‘Twin Flames Universe’ as instructors. Keely and Elle were two of them. The couple also introduced the concept of the divine masculine and feminine. The notion involved men and women having both qualities, and every member of the group needed to embrace it. Under this notion, many female members were forced to be recognized as male and change their gender pronouns. Some women were assigned to other women as twin flames, even though none of them were lesbians. The idea of forcing and manipulating women to transition into males came as a shock to their families. Some women willingly left the group because of this forced conversion. Some women believed in Jeff and Shaleia blindly and transitioned into men to live with their twin flames.
The final episode of Escaping Twin Flames had many parents coming forward and speaking in detail about dealing with the changes their kids went through. The parents were livid at this abuse of the power Jeff and Shaleia had over these women. The series ended with Keely finally understanding that her relationship with her twin flame, Colby, was not working out. She came to know of the wealth accumulated by Jeff and Shaleia over the years, all while they spent nothing on the employees. Keely, along with many close to Jeff and Shaleia, quit the company eventually, and she approached many members whom she’d mistreated at the orders of Jeff and Shaleia.
The ‘Twin Flames Universe’ reeked of a cult where the leaders tried to control the minds of the people using many techniques and isolated them from their loved ones. The end credits of the documentary stated that Jeff and Shaleia refused to speak to Netflix and do not consider themselves to be a cult. The ‘Twin Flames Universe’ is still running, and there are members who claim to be benefiting from the modules set by Jeff and Shaleia.
Just a few months ago, Netflix released a documentary series on How to Become a Cult Leader. The series delved deep into the lives of cult leaders from around the world and some of the common traits found in them that attract a certain section of people. These cult leaders find a way to control any group of people through words, actions, and understanding their weak links. Something similar could be said about Netflix’s brand-new documentary miniseries Escaping Twin Flames, which was released on the platform on November 8, 2023. The series focuses on an online forum that purports to find people their twin flames, which is loosely translated as assisting them in seeking their one true love.
This three-part documentary directed by Cecilia Peck is about a group of women who were drawn to an online dating website and forum run by Jeff Divine and Shaleia Divine named ‘Twin Flames Universe’. Many women who were a part of the group for a while shared their experiences with the filmmakers of the documentary. Some of them worked with Jeff and Shaleia and encouraged many women to join the collective.
The documentary begins on a somber note, and the subject matter of the show is such that there is no turning back for the viewers. Many women come forward to speak in detail about their harrowing experiences with the group. It was mostly women who joined this collective, and they simply got carried away by the promises made by the self-fashioned cult leaders. The setup of the show is interesting, as we get to see many women who escaped from the collective speak in depth about the step-by-step process of what was happening inside the virtual group. There are also parents of women who left their families to be with ‘Twin Flames Universe.’
Jeff and Shaleia might not agree on them being a cult, but it’s undeniable that controlling tactics were used on countless women. The whole setup reeks of a sect that thrives on mind control, brainwashing, manipulation, and gaslighting. These led to many mental health-related issues, including PTSD. Though the speakers only mention in passing the withdrawal symptoms they felt along with trauma, it is easy to pick up on the repercussions of their experience with the group. The makers also chose to include inputs from psychiatrists and psychologists who could read what these leaders were up to and what made them behave in a certain way. Sadly, there was no discourse on Jeff and Shaleia’s mental health. They displayed signs of narcissistic personalities and received plenty of monetary benefits from this farcical commune, which still exists.
The director of the documentary’s series also discusses the cultural appropriation by the group. It is jarring to believe the white population still exploits yoga and other spiritual tactics from the Indian subcontinent to get as many people as possible to join their group. It was the right of the director to bring up the issue, and it is now considered cliched for con artists to resort to Eastern spiritual practices to market themselves as the group that has the ultimate solution to every problem related to love and relationships. The direction is incredible, and at no point are the makers trying to egg the family members and the ex-group members to force an emotion or obtain an erratic reaction.
The pacing of the show was slow because many people had come forward to describe in detail every bit of the ordeal they faced because of the couple. The runtime of the show is three hours, and the structure of the narrative draws the audience into the story. The entire tribulation faced by countless women is an example of truth, which is indeed stranger than fiction.
All of them openly speak about being scammed in the name of finding love, and they regret their decisions. The makers of the show delved into many subjects regarding the treatment of the LGBTQ community, and many women were forced to transition. It throws light on how easy it is to mold the minds of those who come across as emotionally and physically fragile. The director of the show, sadly, did not elaborate on how Keely and Colby’s relationship ended. A big chunk of the documentary was about the couple who were prime examples of ‘Twin Flames Universe’. It would have been interesting to hear the entire ordeal from the perspective of Jeff and Shaleia, who refused to speak to the documentary makers, which adds to the suspicion about them and validates the torture the ex-members and employees went through.
This three-part documentary is a must-watch because of the topic it deals with and how people like Jeff and Shaleia latch on to the gullible and naïve populace for their own benefit. It is essential to understand the difference between a mentor or guide and a cult leader, which has been expressed through this show in detail.