Returning: Shaun Micallef’s Stairway to Heaven

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SBS has set a January date for the second season of Shaun Micallef’s Stairway To Heaven.

In the three part series, Micallef travels to Salt Lake City, to the southern “bible belt” states of America and off to Brazil.

Envious of those with ‘unshakeable faith’, Shaun journeys across the globe immersing himself into some of the world’s most unique religions and beliefs. Can he find the answers he has been looking for?

Shaun starts his extraordinary spiritual adventure in Salt Lake City, home to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In their heartland of Salt Lake City Shaun eats, prays and lives with the Mormons through privileged access into a usually closed world. He works with young missionary Mormons sent off to the jungles of Fiji, and bunks in with breakaway fundamentalist polygamists in the deserts of Utah to try. Shaun wants to understand this devout faith so entwined with the development of the USA, and centred around the remarkable contents of the Book of Mormon.

In Brazil, Shaun immerses himself in Spiritism; a blending of Christianity with supernatural miracles, mediums and communicating with the entities of the afterlife. Deep in the back blocks of Brazil, Shaun checks into the Casa de Domenacio, a spiritual hospital where the controversial full trance medium, John of God, performs ‘miracles’ through various confronting spiritual and physical surgeries. People arrive in their thousands, including Shaun, to be cured and enlightened. Shaun struggles through a mysterious spiritual healing process with surprising results.

Finally, Shaun explores Armageddon and the second coming of Christ with born-again Christian fundamentalists. In the Bible belt of the US, Shaun meets up with Pastor Joe Fox and his group of doomsday preppers, who, in cammo gear and slinging semi-automatic weapons, are practising combat techniques to help them survive “The End”. Keen to get more insight into the Book of Revelation, which inspires so much of the doomsday movement, Shaun meets Texan TV evangelist Pastor Irvin Baxter who takes him on a pilgrimage all the way to Jerusalem and onto the Temple Mount – the very place Bible prophecy says “The End” will begin.

This is Shaun’s second foray into religion and the spiritual world, having explored Hinduism in the Gods, Gurus and the Ganges in the first Shaun Micallef’s Stairway to Heaven documentary in 2015. Will Shaun find the divine answers he is seeking this time?

8.30pm Wednesday January 18 on SBS.

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