By Mark Spencer, ITA Certified New Code and Classic Code NLP Trainer and Change Agent
Brainwashing Reference Material
Cult Awareness and Information Centre (CAIC)
CAIC seeks to educate the public about the technique used by ALL cults and spiritually abusive churches, and how to counteract them.
From CAIC: Intruding into the Workplace An excerpt from the book Cults In Our Midst by Margaret Thaler Singer (1921–2003), who was a clinical psychologist specialising in many things including brainwashing and coercive persuasion.
From CAIC: Anyone familiar with this?
From CAIC: Hypnotic Language Patterns Used by Cults
From CAIC: “Journey to the Land of the New Gurus”, originally known in French as “Voyage Au Pays Des Nouveaux Gourous”. (Video)
ABC in Australia
From the ABC AM Program Brief use of training in Australian Defence
LGAT Truth Blog CBC News Reports
LGAT denies – Large Group Awareness Training denies it is a Large Group Awareness Training
Pure entertainment on cults What are the criteria of a ‘cult’? (Video and references)
- Excellent reporting by CBC News
- LGAT subreddit
- 10 fun ways to social hack an awareness training from the inside out
- Self-Help debunked and exposed in five fun articles
- Two pop culture LGAT updates
- Best 9 ways to check if your group is led by a dangerous charismatic leader
- Comedy is a great communicator
- Disappointing lunch
- The Huffington Post on ‘How Corporate America Is Turning Into a Cult’
- Top five questions to ask at Large Group Awareness Training
Cult News Why did … leave France? About countries banning certain training groups
Diane Benscoter, an ex-Moonie, talks about how she joined the Moonies — and stayed for five long years. She shares an insider’s perspective on cults and extremist movements, and proposes a new way to think about today’s most troubling conflicts and having be a de-programmer, is now invested in finding ways to battle extremist mentalities and their potentially deadly consequences. ex moonie Diane Benscoter on How cults think and other references for Diane Benscoter
This TED Talk is a lot more about the language we use to encourage public discourse and being able to evaluate life and choices with a lot more understanding. It is on th fringe of the topic of brainwashing, but it is related. You might be able to relate to the closed systems of thinking that are described, and it is uplifting in that it describes her transformative process and what made a difference.
I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here’s why I left
Megan Phelps-Roper · Writer, activist. A former member of Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper is now a writer and educator on topics related to extremism, bullying and empathy in dialogue.
Inside… by Karin Badt writing for Huffington Post
Large Group Awareness Training – beware, another detailed experience and exposition of the mechanics of what they went through.
The top 5 fails of Landmark Forum The Landmark Forum – Don’t Do It – Top Five Fails of Landmark Forum, another article, tagged with another memorable attribute, Public Humiliation. “I can only hope that you do trust that there are several other ways to obtain the knowledge that is so highly “sought after” in Landmark. Their work is hardly original and anyone who has jumped on their bandwagon is only ignorant to suggest such a thing.”
42 Hours, $500, 65 Breakdowns …lost weekend with the trademark happy, bathroom-break hating, slightly spooky inheritors of est.
Cult Education Institute – UPW – very BAD experience
NBC Cancels as viewers think he is Mr. Infomercial
ICSA – International Cult Support Association Support Page
Leading Cult Expert Rick Ross on The Kabbalah Centre The Cult Education Institute calls the Kabbalah Centre a “destructive cult” and explains how its practices meet the conditions described by American psychiatrist, author and foremost researcher on cults, Dr Robert J Lifton, on his “Eight Criteria for Thought Reform”.
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
― Albert Einstein
The Science of Persuasion
http://www.influenceatwork.com This animated video describes the six universal Principles of Persuasion that have been scientifically proven to make you most effective based on the research in Dr. Cialdini’s groundbreaking book, Influence. This video is narrated by Dr. Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin, CMCT.
With most great tools, there are good and positive ways of using them and negative ways, and this applies to science, psychology, money, NLP and others. This animated video is mostly on the positive use of persuasion, but given the context of the subject matter here, you can see how the same principles might be exploited to be used in a way that has negative outcomes for some.
- Excellent reporting by CBC NewsExcellent reporting by CBC NewsSee recent articles at links below for some excellent reporting by CBC News:Alberta Health Services staff pressured to attend controversial seminars - Government continued to use Landmark Education despite employee complaintsby Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell, CBC News, October 15, 2014AHS employee complaint over Landmark seminars sparks review Public Interest - Commissioner will look into complaint over controversial Landmark Education trainingby Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell, CBC News, October 15, 2014Alberta Health Services hired 'coach' to implement Landmark ideology - Sole-source contract breached department policyby Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell, CBC News, October 17, 201410 health stories that mattered this weekby Roger Collier, Canadian Medical Association Journal, October 17, 2014Including response via press release from company reported on by CBC News:http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1432488/landmark-sets-the-record-straight-about-services-provided-to-alberta-health-servicesPrior relevant history and background information:2011Cafe Gratitude Sued for Labor-Code Violationsby Ellen Cushing, East Bay Express, August 9, 20112008Reports on lawsuit by employee who claimed religious discrimination for being pressured to go to seminars:Report by ABC NewsReport by New York PostReport by The Village VoiceReports on Australia Defence Department using controversial seminar training:ABC News Australia reportAustralia AM radio program report2006Investigation by United States Department of Labor in Texas2004Investigation by United States Department of Labor in California1996Investigation by United States Department of Labor in Colorado1989Employees sued after being pressured to attend similar seminar program:Report by The Wall Street JournalReport by Los Angeles TimesReport by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- LGAT subredditThere's a new subreddit on Reddit for Large Group Awareness Training.Check it out at:http://www.reddit.com/r/lgat/
- 10 fun ways to social hack an awareness training from the inside outThe Program is a novel by author Gregg Hurwitz. Although it's fiction, The Program provides some great insight into abusive groups and destructive movements, as well as ways to social hack a Large Group Awareness Training.In this case, social hack is used to refer to a method to literally disrupt and ideally completely destabilize the Large Group Awareness Training, from the inside out.10 key ways to social hack a Large Group Awareness Training:1) Act authoritatively. Destructive groups and abusive movements often model their staff and train their leadership after the one influential leader and founder of the group. They will not expect you yourself to also act in this manner. They often act authoritarian and totalitarian, as this is how these staff members are taught, to emulate and act like their leader and founder.2) Bring a mental health professional as part of your social hacking group. Ideally this would be someone with a PhD in psychology or an M.D. with a specialty in psychiatry. This person would educate and brief the members of the social hacking team about tactics and methods of the group, and the dangers of getting in too deep into its thought patterns.3) Bring an ex-member of the group in question. This ex-member should be someone intimately aware of the ways the group functions, and yet out for enough time to have fully gone through a period of cognitive dissonance and awakened back to a pattern to appropriately interact with society again.4) Bring law enforcement or someone familiar with the law. This person will help brief the rest of the members of the social hacking team on their rights should staff from the destructive group or abusive movement falsely make claims about their actions during the seminar. This person would also be quite useful to conduct research into the possible criminal activities of the group and its founder and leader. This person should instruct all members of the social hacking team on ways to have fun disrupting and destabilizing the Large Group Awareness Training seminar, without doing anything illegal.5) Don't follow group mentality. Refuse to stand when everyone else stands. Don't clap when everyone else claps. This will help you maintain your sense of self and independence throughout the attempts by the abusive group or destructive movement at influence and manipulation. If you are asked to explain yourself by a staff member of the abusive group, sample language from the book includes: "From what I've seen, I'm not sure if I like The Program yet. If I decide that I don't like what's going on here, I'm leaving. Thank you for having me here today." (Obviously replace "The Program" with the name of whatever destructive group or abusive movement's seminar you are attending.)6) Politely interrupt the seminar with inquisitive questions. Make sure to be polite about this. Again, maintain a positive and happy attitude when doing this. Most likely other members of the seminar in the room full of 200 or so people will echo some of your concerns.7) Assertively affirm your positive outlook on life. Wording suggested in the book by the fictional psychologist, character Dr. Glen Bederman is: "My Program is: I participate in activities that give me self-esteem, and I have the courage to decline to participate in those activities that do not." This frames your reason for attending in a positive way that simultaneously retains your own sense of self, independence, assertiveness, and self worth. It also signals to potential shills, dupes, and marks in the audience that they can similarly adopt your positive yet independent attitude and modus operandi while being in the seminar.8) Maintain a positive and happy attitude. You are there to have a fun time. Act like it. Potential shills and suckers and marks will respond positively to you if you question the methods and tactics of the abusive group or destructive movement, while at the same time showing you are a happy and fulfilled person. 9) Bring a digital thermometer. Destructive groups and abusive movements will sometimes wildly alter the ambient temperature in the room where the seminar is conducted, in order to put attendees off balance. If you notice this pattern, politely but loudly question the staff on this, in front of the rest of the seminar participants so they can all hear your concerns.10) Ask the staff loudly and politely if they are licensed to practice hypnosis. In the book, the fictional psychologist Dr. Glen Bederman asks: "Are you licensed to administer hypnosis in the state of California?" When the abusive group's leader "TD" responds: "We're not practicing hypnosis here. We're simply meditating.", Dr. Bederman loudly points out in earshot of the entire seminar: "Guided meditation is a form of hypnosis. Everyone in this room should know that."But wait, there's more: There are plenty other helpful pointers to social hack a Large Group Awareness Training in this section of the book, and it's all there on pages 323-337.Other educational takeaways from the book:pages 256-263: Exit counseling with psychologist Dr. Glen Bederman; this fictional character created by the author Gregg Hurwitz is likely an amalgam of non-fiction psychologists and psychiatrists who have studied victims of abusive groups and destructive movements.pages 270-272: The investigator meets with postal inspector Owen B. Rutherford; the author Gregg Hurwitz in the book's Acknowledgements section credits postal inspector Mike McCarthy for his research in this area. What's most interesting about this part of the book is the postal inspector character's statements about the crime of tampering with U.S. mail. The section of the book deals with an abusive group and destructive movement that takes away mail from its members that live on its controlled compound, a crime which is: "Most obviously a Title 18, Section 1708 -- theft or receipt of stolen mail matter, generally. But between theft, obstruction, and destruction, we could have over two hundred federal, criminal, and civil statutes."Says the character postal inspector Owen B. Rutherford: "Do you know what a thirty-seven-cent stamp buys you? ... Not just delivery service. Oh, no. The thirty-seven cents buys you a fiduciary relationship with the United States Postal Service. We are custodians of private property. Namely: the mail. That private property belongs to the sender until it comes into the hands of the intended recipient. These jelly-spined bliss ninnies can't grant the right for their leader to destroy incoming mail before it comes into their actual possession -- it isn't their mail to relinquish. First-class mail must be delivered, forwarded, returned to sender, or sent to the mail-recovery center. Any other act is a violation of the rights of the sender. A violation further of the sanctity of the mail and -- make no mistake -- it is as such a felony in its own right."----This is all from The Program a novel by author Gregg Hurwitz. Check it out!
- Self-Help debunked and exposed in five fun articlesSelf-Help debunked and exposed in five fun articles :1) New book by author Brian HaighAwaken Your Perfect Self: How to Become Better than Everybody Else2) New York Magazine at http://www.nymag.comThe Power of Positive Publishing - How self-help ate America.3) io9 at http://www.io9.com6 Possible Secrets to Happiness, According to Science4) The Advocate of Hampstead & Manchester at http://www.carrollcountytimes.comDo self help books work?5) Blouin Art Info at http://www.artinfo.comCult Theater: Brainwashing Experience Tests the Line Between Fantasy and Reality
- Two pop culture LGAT updatesTwo pop culture LGAT updates:1) Andrea Kuchlewska’s COMPLETE Opens 2/23 at the Matrix Theatre This looks to be a fascinating play inspired by a young girl who was subjected to a form of large group awareness training at the age of nine years old.2) Morris Berman on America’s culture of “Me, Myself, and I” Dr. Berman compares a former leader of a large group awareness training organization to: “Ayn Rand warmed over”. It’s a most interesting and fascinating commentary on the resultant psyche of those who have participated in forms of large group awareness training.
- Best 9 ways to check if your group is led by a dangerous charismatic leaderBest 9 ways to check if your group is led by a dangerous charismatic leaderIs your Large Group Awareness Training being led by (or founded by) a dangerous charismatic leader? Here are the best 9 ways to find out, with some additional resources below:1) Is your charismatic leader manipulative, does he act like a con artist?2) Does your charismatic leader maintain a grandiose sense of self? Does she feel everything is owed to her as a right?3) Is your charismatic leader a pathological liar? Does he lie even when it is obvious or even in small situations when it is unnecessary?4) Does your charismatic leader have a lack of remorse? Does she not show any guilt or signs of shame for dangerous or even possibly criminal behavior she may have performed in the past?5) Is your charismatic leader a thrill seeker? Does he have a need for stimulation? Does he partake in dangerous thrill seeking behavior in his spare time?6) Does your charismatic leader have a lack of empathy? Is she callous? Does she ridicule others in public or in front of large groups of people?7) Is your charismatic leader impulsive or have poor behavior control mechanisms? Is he prone to making large purchases of extravagant gifts for himself? Is he prone to fits of rage or abuse? Does he command others to perform abuse on his behalf?8) Did your charismatic have early onset of behavior problems? Was she a juvenile delinquent? Was she cruel to others as a youngster? Did she have early failed relationships?9) Is your charismatic leader unfaithful to his sexual partners? Is he promiscuous? Does he have a disturbing pattern of serial adultery or infidelity? Were there reports of child abuse, child sexual abuse, or rape committed or allegedly committed by the charismatic leader?Resources:Skeptictank.org. "Profile of Cult Leaders".Dannyhaszard.com. "Psychopathy and Characteristics of a Cult Leader".Truthonthenet.com. "Profile of a Cult Leader".Anandainfo.com. "Cult Leaders: The Master Manipulator".Books:Tobias, Madeline Landau; Janja Lalich. Captive Hearts, Captive Minds. (1994). Chapter 5: "Characteristics of a Cult Leader". pp. 67-79.Note: Captive Hearts, Captive Minds is an excellent resource for further info, many of the questions above were drawn from warning signs about charismatic leaders in this section of the text.
- Comedy is a great communicatorComedy is a great communicatorThrough the use of comedy we can learn about the impact of Large Group Awareness Training on individuals after going through a taxing seminar.Here is an example from comedian Daniel Ryan-Spaulding:We hope you enjoy it!
- Disappointing lunchDisappointing lunchKnox Bronson Music and ArtKnox Bronson gives a most interesting audio commentary on a controversial Large Group Awareness Training. Take note of the entertainingly fervent responses in the comments section. See more at: Knox Bronson Music and Art.Dean BrandonDean Brandon links readers to this intriguing reflection on a Large Group Awareness Training, in this post drawing attention to a YouTube video clip. Again the response posts make for amusing reading material.The PR VerdictThe folks over at The PR Verdict analyze this disappointing lunch date, and they comment on the behavior of the subject being interviewed. Note what caused "more than a hint of irritation from his luncheon companion." The conclusion: "this was a disappointment."Food for thoughtIs it possible that those same characters who often show up to praise leaders of controversial Large Group Awareness Training organizations themselves suffer from debilitating cognitive dissonance ?
- The Huffington Post on 'How Corporate America Is Turning Into a Cult'The Huffington Post on 'How Corporate America Is Turning Into a Cult'HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING:"How Corporate America Is Turning Into a Cult and Why It's Harming the American Employee", by Ruth Whippman. The Huffington Post. November 24, 2012.Two key points from this article:1) "Over the last decade or so, a growing disconnect has developed between the bizarre and almost cult-like rhetoric and practices that companies use with their staff, and the increasingly grim reality of being an employee in modern day Corporate America."2) "It would seem that the more Corporate America demands cult-like devotion from its employees the worse it is able to treat them, and the less likely they are to complain. Yet given that the vast majority of Americans stand to lose rather than gain from this type of relationship, it is worth injecting a bit of healthy scepticism back into our assessment of our employers' motives. Now that really would be empowering."Read the full article here over at The Huffington Post website.
- Top five questions to ask at Large Group Awareness TrainingTop five questions to ask at Large Group Awareness Training:5. Are you willing to engage in conversation with me that may question the group and its leaders?4. Is the volunteer to paid employee ratio of your group greater than 2:1 ?3. Does your group have its own unique words, cliches, slogans, chants, prayers and doctrinal phrases that reinforce the group viewpoint?2. Are doubts viewed as a lack of faith, dedication, commitment or disloyalty?1. Does your group use frequent public testimonials, confessions, or sharings that reinforce the group’s mission or agenda?-----------------------------------------------------------More questions and resources:Cult Help and Information: "Questions for Cult Recruiters". Periodically.org: "How to Know If You Are in a Greed Group".John D. Goldhammer: "Self Quiz - Are you 'under the influence' of a destructive group or belief system?".
- Chilling Effects and American thinkersLGATs in the NewsAmericanthinker.comNovember 16, 2012 - Jack Cashill writes in Americanthinker.com of the Peoples Temple group and what they came to realize at Jonestown in Guyana: "What they discovered was a South American gulag equal parts Werner Erhard and Pol Pot."Those are his words, we can't make this stuff up folks, most interesting references by the above author to Werner Erhard and Pol Pot in the same sentence.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"Chilling Effects"Here's how "chilling effect" has been described online at RationalWiki: "A chilling effect describes a situation in which rights, such as free speech, are threatened by the possible negative results of exercising these rights. The effect is to silence criticism and freedom of expression, even in cases where criticism is perfectly valid." Interesting development at the website ChillingEffects.org, a revealing look at a complaint over a 60 Minutes program by CBS about Werner Erhard from March 3, 1991 and attempts to remove multiple different types of references to it from the Internet. Some background about prior history of that on the Internet at BoingBoing.net by Xeni Jardin, and more general background history in the biography Outrageous Betrayal by Steven Pressman, see for example some excerpts from that biography at the orange papers website.
- Remember 34 years after JonestownLet's take a moment 34 years after Jonestown and the dangerous group Peoples Temple to remember the tragedy of November 18, 1978.Here are some videos about how groups with cult like qualities recruit, and about how cults are related to Large Group Awareness Trainings or LGATs, to reflect on during this time:
- Large Group Awareness Training denies it is a Large Group Awareness Training?There have been some interesting articles lately over at the online site for The Arizona Daily Star, about Large Group Awareness Training. In addition, there are some very good articles at the paper itself. They are: November 3, 2009 – “Large Group Awareness Training”: A touchy label after the Sedona sweat-lodge deaths November 5, 2009 – Psychology prof calls “plagiarism” on author of 2005 study on personal-transformation seminars November 8, 2009 – ‘Transformation’ sessions claim high cost November 8, 2009 – It’s buyer beware for personal-transformation seminars November 10, 2009 – Is Landmark Forum an LGAT or not? And does it really matter? At this last one from November 10, there is an interesting statement given from Landmark Education. Let’s look at 2 issues from the Landmark Education statement. One, is the strange attempt by the Landmark Education representative to distance the company from the term “Large Group Awareness Training”, and the other is the ties of high-ranking executives that control Landmark Education to Werner Erhard and his prior company “est”. Deborah Beroset, Director of Public Relations, Landmark Education, said: “As I said during our conversation a bit ago, Landmark really has no place in a story about LGATs. To characterize Landmark Education as a LGAT would not only be inaccurate, it would also damage the reputation of the company, its programs, and the approximately 1.2 million customers who have participated in Landmark Education’s programs and derived value from them.” This statement seems quite odd – especially when this statement from Beroset is compared against writings of a highly-ranked executive within Landmark Education. Take a look at the paper “The Promise of Philosophy and the Landmark Forum”, Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. XXIII, No. 1 & 2, Jan/Feb & Mar/Apr 2001 Barbados Group Working Paper No. 01-01. Full cite is here, and the paper itself is here. One of the authors of this paper is a man named Steven Zaffron. Zaffron first became an executive for Werner Erhard and was an “est trainer” in Erhard’s company “Erhard Seminars Training” (Outrageous Betrayal by Steven Pressman, St. Martin’s Press: 1993, page 217). Currently, Zaffron serves the Landmark Education corporation as CEO of “Vanto Group”, formerly known as “Landmark Education Business Development”, and in addition, Zaffron has the highest-ranking “trainer” title in Landmark Education called “Landmark Forum Leader”. In this paper co-authored by Zaffron, the phrase “Large Group Awareness Training” is used multiple times in reference to Landmark Education. Example on page 52: “Dennison’s dissertation,7 which categorizes the Landmark Forum as a “large group awareness training” is a qualitative study based on interviews with Forum graduates. He also reports predominantly positive outcomes and in addition, briefly summarizes philosophical components of the Forum. The extensive research literature on “large group awareness training” published in the 1970s and 80s (summarized in Finkelstein, Wenegrat, and Yalom8) is framed in psychological more than philosophical terms, albeit there is some reference to the training as existential psychotherapy.” Two different academic treatises are cited as references in the paper co-authored by Zaffron (see page 59, endnotes 7 and 8, Dennison 1994 and Finkelstein 1982) – and both have the phrase “Large Group Awareness Training” in their titles. So, on the one hand you have Deborah Beroset, Director of Public Relations, Landmark Education, saying “To characterize Landmark Education as a LGAT would not only be inaccurate, it would also damage the reputation of the company…” and yet on the other hand – there is Steven Zaffron, former executive of Werner Erhard’s est, current CEO of Vanto Group (formerly Landmark Education Business Development), and current “Landmark Forum Leader”, readily using the term and referencing multiple academic papers that also use the term “Large Group Awareness Training”. Next, let’s look at another statement from Deborah Beroset, Director of Public Relations, Landmark Education, where she says: “I noticed your ProfNet query mentioned “est” as well as Landmark Education. Landmark Education is a different company (we were established in 1991), and The Landmark Forum is not the est program (the two programs differ in their focus, material, methodology, and delivery). The person who created est sold the founders of Landmark Education his intellectual property…” It is interesting to see this attempt to separate Landmark Education from what Beroset refers to as “The person who created est…”. Well, the person who created est was Werner Erhard. As already stated above, high-ranking Landmark Education executive Steven Zaffron, was previously an executive within Erhard’s est training, and an “est trainer” before he was a “Landmark Forum Leader”. Werner Erhard’s brother, Harry Rosenberg, is CEO of Landmark Education. Werner Erhard’s sister, Joan Rosenberg, is listed as a Director of Landmark Education. And last but not least, attorney Art Schreiber is Chairman of the Board of Landmark Education (also see list of directors) and and is also General Counsel of Landmark Education. Prior to his work at Landmark Education, Art Schreiber was General Counsel for “Werner Erhard and Associates” (“$5 Million Lawsuit Filed Against EST”, San Jose Mercury News, December 5, 1985, page 8A.) In addition, Art Schreiber also served as an attorney representing Werner Erhard (“$15 Million Suit Against Werner Erhard Is Dropped”, by Susan Sward, San Francisco Chronicle, October 26, 1985, page 2). So Werner Erhard’s brother is CEO of Landmark Education, his sister is a Director of Landmark Education, and his attorney is Chairman of the Board of Landmark Education. On a side note, BoingBoing.net has published a legal letter sent to the website from a Terry M. Giles, yet another attorney for Werner Erhard. Giles owns “Tekniko Licensing Corporation”. The company “Tekniko Licensing Corporation” is also a subsidiary of Landmark Education.
- 'The Landmark debate' in Bangkok PostThe Landmark Debate, by Al Lock - November 6, 2008, in Bangkok Post A great article on this controversial large group awareness training organization. A very interesting quote from the article: This sounds suspiciously like the process used by the Soviets in preparing confessions for their show trials or the first stage of the brainwashing process. Here is another blog’s take on the article: Don’t Be Fooled: We Are Now Under Attack. And for some enlightening historical background, read: Why did Landmark leave France? Find out more about Landmark Education at the Introduction to the Landmark Education litigation archive - a truly invaluable resource.
- Letting the LGAT out of the BagLetting the LGAT out of the Bag - This December 16, 2004 post from blogger gus van horn may be a few years old, but it is still left me touched, moved and inspired.
- Read 'Slave Labor' for a detailed analysisSlave Labor and Fauxlosophy PART I - A very well thought out and detailed analysis. Who is wise? Why, Alex is wise. Can’t wait to see the next post “Part II”.
- Skeptik is wise.Skeptik is wise. Even the guy’s username is wise. It is healthy to be a skeptik - it is wise to question and probe and educate oneself about these controversial types of Large Group Awareness Training organizations and companies. Skeptik is wise.
- What are the criteria of a ‘cult’ ?What are the criteria of a ‘cult‘ ? A relatively new YouTube user, bradbavarde, compares a description from Webster’s Dictionary to his opinion of certain characteristics of a Large Group Awareness Training organization. Take a moment to watch this video about bradbavarde’s commentary on these criteria, and decide for yourself: Here are some additional resources discussing ‘cult’ criteria: What is a Destructive Cult? - FACTnet Criteria for Determining If a Group is a Destructive Cult - Cult Awareness and Information Center Dr. Robert Jay Lifton’s Criteria for Thought Reform - ex-cult Resource Center Defining a Cult - The Ross Institute Internet Archive for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements Cults 101: Checklist of Cult Characteristics - International Cultic Studies Association What are the Characteristics of a Religious Cult? - The Prem Rawat Talk Forum And once again, a more humorous but also disturbing take on how to start a “Mind Control Cult”: As always, you are encouraged to watch the above videos, read the information provided at the links, research more and educate yourselves - and decide for yourself.
- Concerns raised around the blogosphereHere are some posts you may find enlightening, I know I did. (Click on the bolded dates for the posts) Iron Raptor looks like he’s at least using the Internet to do some preliminary research which is a very good thing. Take a look at this post from August 30, 2008. Skeptik is wise, this post is from August 10, 2008. Lady Nyo posts in this August 10, 2008 piece how she is “losing friends to a particular cult” and my heart goes out to her. Though this blog is called Rambling Content, the concerns raised don’t seem rambling at all. Check out this post from August 8, 2008. Cult News always has great stuff, very well researched, here is a disturbing piece from August 5, 2008. Marmalade has some interesting points to consider here in this post about New Age from July 21, 2008. The Macho Response has lots of good stuff as usual, here is a gem from July 17, 2008. This July 4, 2008 post from the Complicity blog has lots and lots of valuable links and resources.
- Jedi mind f__k ?Johan is wise. Read his wise words in this post from his blog, Aventures d’un métis:A day in the life of a half-breed - specifically this wise blog post from August 27, 2008. Johan is wise.
- Controversial development training cited in religious discrimination lawsuitsFriday, May 23, 2008A controversial development training course called "Landmark Forum" is cited in religious discrimination lawsuits in United States federal courts in New York and Washington, D.C. The seminars are run by a San Francisco, California-based for-profit training company called Landmark Education. The company evolved from Erhard Seminars Training "est", and has faced criticism regarding its techniques and its use of unpaid labor. The sperm bank and surrogacy company Los Angeles-based Growing Generations is named as a defendant in the New York lawsuit, and the Democratic political action committee Twenty-First Century Democrats is a defendant in the Washington, D.C. case.In separate lawsuits filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, New York, and in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., former employees are suing their employers for monetary damages and claiming religious discrimination after their employers allegedly mandated that they attend courses at Landmark Education. In the US$3 million federal lawsuit filed in New York, Scott Glasgow is suing his former employer Growing Generations and its CEO Stuart Miller. Growing Generations maintains sperm banks and also arranges surrogacy for gay couples who wish to have children. The company has offices in New York and Los Angeles, and has done business with celebrities including actor B. D. Wong of Law & Order: SVU. Glasgow was marketing director of Growing Generations, and claims he was fired in June 2007 after refusing to continue attending Landmark Education seminars. Glasgow is also suing for sexual harassment, and claims Miller came on to him in September 2006. He made approximately $100,000 per year as the company's marketing director, and was the company's only employee based out of New York City. The company's main offices are in Los Angeles."I was shocked when I was fired. It took me months to right myself. I want them to stop imposing Landmark on the employees, and I want an apology," said Glasgow in a statement in The Village Voice. Brent Pelton, one of Glasgow's attorneys, stated that: "The Landmark philosophy is deeply ingrained in the culture of the company". Glasgow said that the Landmark Education training courses were "opposite" to his Christian beliefs. According to Glasgow he was questioned by Miller in May 2007 after he walked out of a Landmark Education course, and was fired shortly thereafter. "We stand by the allegations contained in the complaint and we look forward to proving them at trial," said Pelton in a statement to ABC News. Ian Wallace, an attorney who represents Growing Generations, claimed that Glasgow wasn't fired but walked away from his position. "Growing Generations and Mr. Miller are very confident that these claims will be dismissed ultimately, and there's no factual basis for them whatsoever," said Wallace in a statement to The Village Voice. Lawyers representing Growing Generations and Stuart Miller declined comment to The New York Post, and did not immediately return a message from ABC News. In Glasgow's complaint, entered into federal court record on April 18, he asserts that Landmark Education constitutes a "religion", and "perceived their philosophy as a form of religion that contradicted his own personal beliefs". He states that when he was promoted to Director of Marketing, he asked Miller if he could stop attending the Landmark sessions but was told that they were mandatory for all of the company's executives and that Landmark is "very much the language of the company." Glasgow said his performance at the company was assessed based on how he was "touching, moving and inspiring" others, a phrase from the Landmark philosophy, as opposed to his business accomplishments at the company. The complaint claims that the actions of Miller and Growing Generations violated Federal, New York State and New York City civil rights laws. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. deals with a separate plaintiff and company, but the plaintiff in the suit also claims that religious discrimination took place for allegedly being mandated to attend Landmark Education courses. Kenneth Goldman is suing the United States Democratic political action committee Twenty-First Century Democrats (also 21st Century Democrats) and its former executive director Kelly Young. Goldman was formerly the communications director of 21st Century Democrats. According to Goldman's complaint, three employees of 21st Century Democrats were fired after refusing to attend the Landmark Forum course. The complaint asserts that Landmark Education has "religious characteristics and theological implications" which influenced the mission of 21st Century Democrats and the way the organization conducted business. Goldman's complaint states that in addition to himself, a training director and field director were also fired after they made it clear they would not attend the Landmark Forum. Goldman says executive director Young infused Landmark Education jargon terms into staff meetings such as "create possibilities", "create a new context", and "enroll in possibilities". He also claims that Young "urged" staff members to participate in Landmark Education events outside of the workplace, drove employees to and from Landmark functions, and used funds from 21st Century Democrats to pay for employees to attend those functions. Goldman's complaint asserts that he was discriminated against in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.In a statement in The Washington Times, the executive director of 21st Century Democrats, Mark Lotwis, called the lawsuit "frivolous" and said: "we're going to defend our organization's integrity". Landmark Education spokeswoman Deborah Beroset said that the Landmark Forum "is in no way religious in nature and any claim to the contrary is simply absurd," and stated: "While we are not a party to this lawsuit and have no firsthand knowledge of it, we can only assume that we are being used as a legal and political football to further the plaintiff"s own financial interests."The New York lawsuit was filed April 14, and is still in early filing stages. A conference with the federal court judge in the case has been scheduled for June 17. The Washington, D.C. suit began in November 2007, and entered mediation this past March. As of April 15 the parties in the case were due back to court on July 11 to update the court on the mediation process. Landmark Education is descended from Erhard Seminars Training, also called "est", which was founded by Werner Erhard. est began in 1971, and Erhard's company Werner Erhard and Associates repackaged the course as "The Forum" in 1985. Associates of Erhard bought the license to his "technology" and incorporated Landmark Education in California in 1991. This is not the first time employees have sued claiming mandatory attendance at "Forum" workshops violated their civil rights. In a lawsuit filed in December 1988 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, eight employees of DeKalb Farmers Market in Decatur, Georgia sued their employer claiming their religious freedom and civil rights were violated when they were allegedly coerced into attending "Forum" training sessions. "Many of these training programs, particularly at large corporations, claim to be purely psychological, aimed at improving productivity and morale and loyalty. But in fact they are religious," said University of Denver religious studies professor Carl Raschke in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. The DeKalb Farmers Market employees were represented by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union. Consulting Technologies Inc., an affiliate of Transformational Technologies Inc., was named as a party in the lawsuit. Transformational Technologies was founded by Werner Erhard, and was not named as a party in the suit. The "Forum" course that the employees claimed they were mandated to attend was developed by Werner Erhard and Associates. Employees said that they were fired or pressured to quit after they objected to the Forum courses. The workers claimed that the Forum course contradicted with their religious beliefs. The plaintiffs in the suit included adherents of varying religious backgrounds, including Christianity and Hinduism. "The sessions put people into a hibernating state. They ask for total loyalty. It's like brainwashing," said Dong Shik Kim, one of the plaintiffs in the case. The plaintiffs said they lost their jobs after objecting to a "new age quasi-religious cult" which they said was developed by Werner Erhard. The DeKalb Farmers Market denied the allegations, and an attorney for the company Edward D. Buckley III told The Wall Street Journal that employees were encouraged, not coerced, to attend the training sessions. According to The Wall Street Journal, The Forum said it would not sanction workers being coerced to attend its training sessions. The parties in the DeKalb Farmers Market religious discrimination case came to a settlement in May 1989, and the case was dismissed with prejudice in June. The terms of the out-of-court settlement were not made public, but the employees' attorney Amy Totenberg told The Wall Street Journal that the case "has made employers come to grips with the legitimate boundaries of employee training". According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers must "reasonably accommodate" their employees' religious beliefs unless this creates "undue hardship". In September 1988, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a policy-guidance notice which stated that New Age courses should be handled under Title VII of the Act. According to the Commission, employers must provide "reasonable accommodation" if an employee challenges a training course, unless this causes "undue hardship" for the company. In October 2006, Landmark Education took legal action against Google, YouTube, the Internet Archive and a website owner in Queensland, Australia in attempts to remove criticism of its products from the Internet. The company sought a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to discover the identity of an anonymous critic who uploaded a 2004 French documentary of the Landmark Forum to the Internet. "Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous" (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus) was produced by Pièces à Conviction, a French investigative journalism news program. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive, and Landmark withdrew its subpoena in November 2006 in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic not to repost the video. Landmark Education itself has come under scrutiny for its controversial labor practices. The company has been investigated by the United States Department of Labor in separate investigations originating out of California, Colorado, and Texas. Investigations focused on the heavy reliance of unpaid labor in the company's workforce, which Landmark Education calls "assistants" and deems volunteers. An investigation by the U.S. Dept. Labor based out of Colorado found that activities performed by Landmark Education's "assistants" include: "office, clerical, telephone solicitation and enrollment, as well as greeting customers, setting up chairs, handling microphones during the seminars and making coffee. Additionally, a number of volunteers actually teach the courses and provide testimonials during and after the courses." The Colorado investigation's 1996 report found that "No records are kept of any hours worked by any employees." According to a 1998 article in Metro Silicon Valley: "In the end the Department of Labor dropped the issue, leaving Landmark trumpeting about its volunteers' choice in the matter." Metro Silicon Valley reported that Landmark Education at the time employed 451 paid staff, and also utilized the services of 7,500 volunteers. After an investigation into Landmark Education's labor practices by the U.S. Dept. Labor's offices out of California, the company was deemed to have overtime violations. According to the Department of Labor's 2004 report on the investigation, back wages of $187,569.01 were found due to 45 employees. An investigation by the U.S. Dept. Labor in Texas which concluded in 2005 stated: "Minimum wage violation found. Volunteers (Assistants) are not paid any wages for hours worked while performing the major duties of the firm. The assistants set up rooms, call registrants, collect fees, keep stats of classroom data/participants, file, they also are answering phones, training and leading seminars." The Texas investigation also discovered an overtime violation. Landmark Education agreed to pay back wages for the overtime violation, but did not comply with the overtime violation found by the U.S. Dept. Labor for the "assistants". Landmark Education denied that the "assistants" are employees, though the Department of Labor report concluded: "Interviews reveal that the employees are taking payments, registering clients, billing, training, recruiting, setting up locations, cleaning, and other duties that would have to be performed by staff if the assistants did not perform them." According to the 2004 investigative report by Pièces à Conviction in the "Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous" program, Landmark Education was investigated by the French government in 1995. In the "Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous" program volunteers were filmed through a hidden camera and shown performing duties for Landmark Education in France including manning phones, recruitment and financial work for the company, and one volunteer was shown cleaning a toilet. Le Nouvel Observateur reported that after "Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous" aired in France, labor inspectors investigated Landmark Education's use of unpaid volunteers. According to Le Nouvel Observateur, one month after the labor investigation took place the French branch of the company had disbanded. A former "Introduction Leader" to the Landmark Forum, Lars Bergwik, has recently posted a series of videos to YouTube critical of the company and its practices. Bergwik appeared on a 2004 investigative journalism program on Sweden's Channel 4, Kalla Fakta (Cold Facts). According to Bergwik, after the Kalla Fakta program on Landmark Education aired, "Landmark left Sweden".Related news "Australian Defence Department funds controversial development training". Wikinews, April 3, 2008Sources"Lawsuit Claims Sex Harassment, Cultish Behavior". ABC News, May 23, 2008"Sperm bank employee claims harassment". United Press International, May 22, 2008Kati Cornell "Bondage Boss Is A Bad Seed: Suit". New York Post, May 22, 2008Graham Rayman "Suit Against Sperm-Bank Firm Claims Sexual Harassment and Cult-Like Behavior". Village Voice, May 20, 2008Lars Bergwik "Landmark Education Lars Bergwik part 1". YouTube, May 6, 2008Jim McElhatton "Democratic PAC faces lawsuit for employee 'religious events'". The Washington Times, November 27, 2007David Wachtel (attorney for plaintiff) "Kenneth Goldman v. Twenty-First Century Democrats". United States District Court for the District of Columbia, November 19, 2007Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Dept. Labor (Texas) "Compliance Action Report - Landmark Education". United States Department of Labor, June 26, 2007Marie Lemonnier "With the gurus wearing neckties: 395 euros for three days". Le Nouvel Observateur, May 19, 2005Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Dept. Labor (California) "Narrative Report (FLSA) - Landmark Education". United States Department of Labor, December 8, 2004Traci Hukill "The est of Friends: Werner Erhard's protégés and siblings carry the torch for a '90s incarnation of the '70s 'training' that some of us just didn't get". Metro Silicon Valley, July 9, 1998Wage and Hour Division, U.S. Dept. Labor (Colorado) "Compliance Action Report - Landmark Education". United States Department of Labor, May 4, 1996Margaret Singer "Intruding into the Workplace". Cults in Our Midst, 1995"'New Age' Training Suit Against Market Settled Out of Court". The Wall Street Journal, May 31, 1989George White (Los Angeles Times) "Employees strike back against 'human potential seminars'". Times Union, March 25, 1989Martha Brannigan "Employers' 'New Age' Training Programs Lead to Lawsuits Over Workers' Rights". The Wall Street Journal, January 9, 1989Martha Brannigan "Training Course Sparks U.S. Suit By Market Workers". The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 1988Credit: Wikinewscc-a-2.5
- Former ‘Landmark Forum’ Introduction Leader speaks outLars Bergwik was an “Introduction Leader” to the Landmark Forum course at Landmark Education. He is now speaking out publicly against Landmark Education in video posts on YouTube. I think his videos speak best for themselves so I will just say go watch them. If you don’t have much time, just watch the first one.Here are his videos about Landmark (there are seven so far): Landmark Education Lars Bergwik part 1 Landmark Education Lars Bergwik Video part 2 Landmark Education - Lars Bergwik on Randy McNamara - FL Landmark Education - Lars talks part one Landmark Education - Lars talks part two Landmark education -Lars talks part three Landmark Eduction - Lars talks part four Some links: Discussion thread about it at Cult Education Forum Discussion thread about it at alt.fan.landmark Blog post at The Macho Response: Go, Lars, Go!!! Why did Landmark Education Leave France? - Cult News
- Australian Defence Department funds controversial development trainingThursday, April 3, 2008Australia's Department of Defence spent thousands of dollars on controversial development seminars, Australian media reported Wednesday. The seminars are run by a San Francisco, California-based training company called Landmark Education. The company evolved from Erhard Seminars Training "est", and has faced criticism regarding its techniques and its use of unpaid labor. Australia's Defence Minister Warren Snowdon said that the government is in the process of reviewing Defence Department expenditures on career development. "We're in the process now of doing an audit, completely unrelated with anything to do with Landmark, which is being undertaken into learning and development to make sure that they meet our needs. ... We have to be very sure that the courses that people do undertake are relevant, appropriate and indeed in line with what community expectations might be," said Snowdon in an appearance on ABC Radio.The Australian and Australia's ABC News reported that Landmark Education had been listed in France as a "possible cult" in the mid 1990s. When asked about this on ABC Radio, a spokeswoman for the company in the United States, Deborah Beroset, responded: "What happened in France was that a commission established by the French parliament issued a report in which they listed almost 200 organisations as being possible cults ... We were never contacted. We were inappropriately included in that list". In a program which aired Wednesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio program AM reported that Australia's Defence Department spent at least AUD12,270 of taxpayer funds to send government employees to Landmark Education courses. According to AM, the Defence Department said it does not appear that further funds have been sent to Landmark Education since 2004. In a statement released by the Defence Department, the government stated: "A search of Defence records does not indicate exactly how many individuals attended courses with this training provider, however it is believed it was a small number of individuals. ... Defence has been unable to determine individual reasons for why groups within Defence choose this training provider." AM also reported that the use of unpaid labor by Landmark Education "has attracted the attention of the US and French governments," and that some individuals in the mental health field have accused the company of brainwashing. When asked about the allegations by mental health experts that Landmark Education's techniques amounted to brainwashing, Deborah Beroset responded: "Well, there is absolutely no credence to that whatsoever."In a March 9 article in the Herald Sun, Peter Rolfe reported that taxpayer money was used to send at least 37 police and government staff from Victoria, Australia to seminars run by Landmark Education. Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said that "Decisions on the appropriateness of staff attending courses by Landmark Education are made by individual managers who remain best-placed to assess the development needs of their staff," but State Liberal MP Murray Thompson told the Herald Sun that the funds should have been put towards fighting crime. Apple Inc., Reebok and Mercedes-Benz have sent employees to Landmark Education seminars, according to a spokeswoman for Landmark. In October 2006, Landmark Education took legal action against Google, YouTube, the Internet Archive and a website owner in Queensland, Australia in attempts to remove criticism of its products from the Internet. The company sought a subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in an attempt to discover the identity of an anonymous critic who uploaded a 2004 French documentary of the Landmark Forum to the Internet. "Voyage au pays des nouveaux gourous" (Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus) was produced by Pièces à Conviction, a French investigative journalism news program. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represented the anonymous critic and the Internet Archive, and Landmark withdrew its subpoena in November 2006 in exchange for a promise from the anonymous critic not to repost the video. Landmark Education is descended from Erhard Seminars Training, also called "est", which was founded by Werner Erhard. est began in 1971, and Erhard's company Werner Erhard and Associates repackaged the course as "The Forum" in 1985. Associates of Erhard bought the license to his "technology" and incorporated Landmark Education in California in 1991.Sources"Defence sends staff on 'cult' courses: The Department of Defence has spent thousands of dollars on professional development courses run by an organisation listed in France as a possible cult". The Australian, April 2, 2008Daniel Hoare "Defence Dept under fire over professional development spending". AM (ABC Radio), April 2, 2008"Defence workers trained by 'cult': The Defence Department has admitted some of its personnel have undertaken professional development courses run by an organisation that had been listed as a possible cult". ABC News (Australia), April 2, 2008"Defence Dept under fire over professional development courses (AM)". AM (ABC Radio), April 2, 2008"Govt doing audit of Defence Dept professional development courses (AM)". AM (ABC Radio), April 2, 2008Peter Rolfe "We pay for seminars: Taxpayers are picking up the bill to send police officers and bureaucrats on a controversial personal enlightenment course". Herald Sun, March 9, 2008K.C. Jones "Landmark Drops Copyright Infringement Subpoenas On Google And Anonymous Critic: Landmark sought a subpoena to find out who posted hidden camera footage from an event held by the French branch of the organization". InformationWeek, December 1, 2006"Landmark and the Internet Archive". Electronic Frontier Foundation, November 29, 2006Traci Hukill "The est of Friends: Werner Erhard's protégés and siblings carry the torch for a '90s incarnation of the '70s 'training' that some of us just didn't get". Metro Silicon Valley, July 9, 1998Credit: Wikinewscc-a-2.5
- Useful information from two Ph.D.’s, a parody play, and other LGAT discussionSome Large Group Awareness Training related news, information and postings: Related to our prior post, Mankind Project or Dancing Naked With Other Men While Beating Cooked Chickens, in a post “Article raises questions about New Warriors Adventure” - Professor of Psychology Dr. Warren Throckmorton cites strange practices by the group including: Blindfolded walking tours in the nude; People blowing sage smoke in his face while 50 or so naked men danced around candles; Men sitting naked in a circle discussing their sexual histories while passing a wooden dildo called “The Cock”; and of course, Naked men beating cooked chickens with a hammer. “Landmark Forum and the Red Flags” is an amusing, humorous satirical parody play discussing what the writer refers to as the “Formicans”, and a character’s research through both direct experience and (wisely so) also through research on the internet about this fictional parody group. The Cult News Network provides a link to an “Ongoing legal complaint re: Werner Erhard on Wikipedia ?” The issue is also discussed at the Cult Education Forum, under the topic: “Large Group Awareness Training, ‘Human Potential’ “ Echidne of the Snakes has an interesting piece called “A Guest Post on the Mankind Project.” The writer cites the Houston Press article, “Naked Men: The Mankind Project and Michael Scinto.” However, the most interesting quote from the Echidne of the Snakes post, would probably be a warning about secrecy related to Large Group Awareness Training organizations: “Secrecy can be a good thing, but insisting on secrecy on this level should make us worried.” The Post of Athens, Ohio in an article called “Conquering coercion” has some very valuable information about coercive groups, and provides a list of “Warning Signs for College Students”. In its research for the piece, The Post consulted with psychologist Dr. Paul Martin, director of the Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center. Dr. Martin was influenced by the work of Harvard-trained psychiatrist Dr. Robert Lifton, who wrote about the Eight Criteria for Thought Reform. Dr. Doni Whitsett discussed deceptive mind control techniques and tactics often used by “destructive groups”, in an article in the Daily Trojan. Dr. Whitsett gave some advice to parents of potential victims of these deceptive practices: “Don’t be discouraged by resistance … Kids will remember your questions when they begin to doubt. Question, but don’t give advice.” This is very good advice, because through questioning and asking good points and probing into the background of some of these deceptive groups, the parents can begin to restimulate the rational skepticism of their child that may have been laying dormant as a result of harmful tactics they may have experienced.Small Company Secrets: The MindBend experience, by Paul Burri, Goleta Valley Voice. A great little piece about a weekend “seminar” called MindBend (name changed to protect the author of the article from being sued), which is described as being similar to EST. Burri provides some excellent advice at the end of the article: “Do not ever allow anyone to put you in an uncomfortable situation. Speak up and ask to have the rules changed, the setting changed or to make whatever changes are necessary to make you feel comfortable. It will keep you from agreeing to something that you might regret later.”
- Drinking the Kool Aid - Press censored by complaint of “libel” ?On October 24, 2007, the Daily Orange, a student newspaper in Syracuse, New York, posted an article entitled: “Drinking the Kool Aid: Cults target college students in recruitment.” This article discussed the presence of cults on the Syracuse University campus, and also gave information from cult expert Carol Giambalvo, a member of the board of directors for the International Cultic Studies Association, and Syracuse University dean of Hendricks Chapel, Thomas Wolfe. Giambalvo stated that cults can masquerade as activist, self-improvement and religious groups.If you go to the Web page where this article was located, you can no longer read the article on “Drinking the Kool Aid.” Instead a notice is displayed from the editor, stating that the Daily Orange removed the body of the article because it contained “libel,” and they apologized to “the parties involved.” Unfortunately, we do not know specifically what the allegation of libel was regarding, and what group made the allegation of libel, or even what groups were specifically analyzed in the article itself. It is certainly possible that one of the groups mentioned in the article contacted the paper and alleged a cry of “libel,” in order to get critical information quickly taken off of the internet. It is also possible that the Daily Orange editor, with no external provocation, chose to censor their own article without any actual threats or complaints from any outside group. At the moment, that key fact is not publicly known. But the censorship itself did occur.The comments section below the notice from the editor is still active, and the readers have made eight interesting key comments about the censorship of the article. One commenter posted a quick and funny note one hour after the censorship: “Quick….to the lawyers. Truth be damned.” Others have hazarded guesses about which group may have complained resulting in the censorship of the Daily Orange. We will not make guesses ourselves about that, and instead allow you to read the comments at their site and discuss and rationalize for yourselves what may have provoked this censorship.Interestingly enough and of direct relation to our site’s title, the eighth and last commenter below the censored article discussed Large Group Awareness Training, and also spoke positively of his experiences with the group Landmark Forum. Was Landmark Forum discussed in the censored Daily Orange article? Well, we do not know for sure, because the article is removed, but it is interesting that others are commenting about it, both positively and negatively, in the comments section below the article. However, Landmark Forum has been referred to by academics as a form of Large Group Awareness Training. One such recent reference would be:Rubinstein, Gidi. “Characteristics of participants in the Forum, psychotherapy clients, and control participants: A comparative study”, Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, (2005) 78, 481-492. The British Psychological Society.The article is a very interesting read. Whether or not Landmark Education was mentioned in the article aside, it is most intriguing to note that they have acted in the past to attempt to remove critical information on the internet, and have explained this by claiming that such critical information is “libel.” Attorneys Skolnik and Norwick of firm Lowenstein Sandler PC have written an excellent article summarizing some of this history, called: “Introduction to the Landmark Education litigation archive“. They explain that they created this Landmark Education litigation archive so that future attorneys defending clients critical of Landmark Forum and accused of libel do not have to go through and spend as much time researching Landmark Education’s history of litigation as Skolnik and Norwick did. More recently, Landmark Education attempted to get the video known as “Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus” removed from the internet. More about that at: “Landmark Education wants to make French news report a “forbidden video” on the Net.” The Web site Chilling Effects, which documents usage of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to remove material from the internet, as well as other forms of censorship on the net, has posted a copy of a letter sent by Landmark Education attorneys to a Web site, asking them to remove the “Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus” video and associated transcript from their site, called the Cult Awareness and Information Centre, which is based in Australia. Oddly enough, Chilling Effects decided to title the page where they host this letter from Landmark Education lawyers very similarly to the currently censored article from the Daily Orange. The page at Chilling Effects is titled: Who is bringing the Kool Aid?As a caveat to the potential “lawyers” as the first commentator we spoke of above alluded to - we will make this statement here: Please note carefully - It is not our job on this site to characterize any group as a “cult” or to say that any group is not a “cult.” You can find information on “cults” at other Web sites, some of which we have discussed in the past as references, including the respected International Cultic Studies Association mentioned above, that publishes the peer reviewed journal, the Cultic Studies Review. Our interest in these posts is to educate the reader about Large Group Awareness Trainings, and their history, background, methodology and tactics. Therefore, we will not get into trying to parse which groups are widely considered “cults” and which are not, but rather will instead discuss and explain groups that are widely considered to be Large Group Awareness Trainings. We will leave the cult identification and discussion, to the experts.Related links:Discussion about the censored Daily Orange article is going on at the Cult Education Forum, under the topic Large Group Awareness Training, “Human Potential” .
Cult Education Institute (CEI)
Recovery from Destructive Cults and Groups
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Terrorist and Extremist Groups
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“Cults,” Sects, and “New Religious Movements”
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“The business of lying is transacted in the abode of the gullible.”
― Michael Bassey Johnson