Some of the name calling you are doing here is pretty harsh.
Calling an organization a "cult" seems like a very serious allegation.
And also using the following to describe them:
mindless, unethical "Kool-aid drinkers"
Meridian may be a large group awareness training (LGAT) program much like Landmark Education, which offers a philosophy for "leadership" to corp. American, but that doesn't make them a "cult."
To better understand the problems LGATs or mass marathon training frequently pose see the following:
For examples of LGATs such as Lifespring or Landmark see the following:
To better understand a working definition for a "cult"...
Here is an excerpt from this FAQ section:
[b:d7ecee0a98]Question: [/b:d7ecee0a98] Isn't the word "cult" a pejorative label used to discriminate against new religious movements?
[b:d7ecee0a98]Answer: [/b:d7ecee0a98]No. It is disingenuous to ignore the historical significance and modern day applications of the word cult. Today many controversial groups, that have been called "cults", are seeking to either eliminate the word, or create through fear of litigation a reluctance to use the term. Some cult apologists have literally said that "'cult' is a four letter word," and should be replaced by the politically correct title "new religious movement" (NRM). However, historically cults have always been with us and they continue to be a part of the world today.
How is the word "cult" defined?
Webster's Dictionary defines a cult as:
"1. A formal religious veneration 2. A system of religious beliefs and rituals also its body of adherents; 3. A religion regarded as "unorthodox or spurious."; 4. A system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator; 5. a: A great devotion to a person, idea, thing; esp.: such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad, b: A usually small circle of persons united by devotion or allegiance to an artistic or intellectual movement or figure."
This definition obviously could include everything from Barbie collectors to old "Deadheads," "Trekkies" to diehard Elvis fans. American history might also include within such a definition the devoted followers of Mary Baker Eddy the founder of Christian Science, or the Mormons united through their devotion to Joseph Smith. Both these religious groups were once largely regarded as "unorthodox or spurious." However, the most important concern today is not simply who might be somewhat "cultic" in their devotion now or historically, but what groups might represent potential problems regarding personal or public safety. That is, groups that are potentially unsafe and/or destructive.
Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who wrote the definitive book about thought reform (often called "brainwashing") also wrote a paper about cult formation. Lifton defined a cult as having the following three characteristics:
1. A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power.
2. A process [is in use] call[ed] coercive persuasion or thought reform.
3. Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.
Do you honestly think Meridian meets these three criteria specifically?
And "drinking the Kool-aid" denotes the most extreme cults, so "brainwashed" they would be willing to kill not only themselves, but also their children if the leader asked.
Does this really describe employees that have taken Meridian training?
Think about it.
Let's try not to not make harsh statements/judgements that can't be backed up with objective proof.
Calling someone a "cult" and comparing them to the victims of Jim Jones at Jonestown (that drank cyanide laced fruit drink) is very, very harsh.