“Training for the Apocalypse” is a well produced but ultimately confusing documentary featuring a number of survivalists in the United States, some of whom are religious believers. A shorter portion of the documentary was shot in Guatemala, the homeland of the Mayans. Yes, it's the Mayan Apocalypse 2012 scare all over again!
It's a pity that “Training” is so badly edited, since some of the people interviewed are pretty interesting (in a way). Parowan Prophet is a Mormon-derived polygamist-apocalyptic sect based in the small town of Parowan, Utah. Its leader, unrepentant White supremacist Leland Freeborn, got his prophetic messages during a near-death experience and believes that the Bible mentions “the Obama-nation of desolation standing in the holy place” (i.e. the White House). We also get to meet a defector from the sect, who is still a survivalist and gives weapons training to his young kids.
A more metaphysical guy, Ivan Stein (Park City, UT), also got his information on the impending doom and future paradise from an NDE. A quick search on the web reveals that Stein has moved to Florida and no longer talks about the Mayan apocalypse, opting instead for spiritual self-realization and organic food. “Training” also includes secular survivalists who (unusually for people in this milieu) teach organic gardening to people in poorer urban neighborhoods. Finally, we are forced to endure the faux macho antics of a guy with a black mask and a voice distorter. The documentary ends with everyone celebrating Christmas, rather than fighting the Antichrist!
Frankly, “Training for the Apocalypse” only deserves two stars, but since I happen to find some of the characters intriguing, I will gracefully give it three.