John de Ruiter & The Messiah Complex
Posted by: MaryBurb1988 ()
Date: October 28, 2011 01:22AM

Hi everyone

I recently completed a book covering my two years following Canadian guru John de Ruiter. I hope to publish later this year or early 2012.

A bit about myself. I was raised an atheist and never had much interest in “spirituality”—much less gurus—especially when as a teenager my stepfather joined the Rajneesh community and came back glassy-eyed and dressed in maroon. In my early twenties, however, I developed an interest in occultism and traveled around the world, mostly in Latin America where I apprenticed under a shaman. I have published several books between 1999 and the present, under various different names, and in the past few years my interests as a writer have moved more and more into psychology.

I first heard about de Ruiter in 2008 and was skeptical. Immediately after, I had a powerful, seemingly paranormal dream experience of/with him, and soon after that he came to London, where I was living at the time. I attended a meeting, was convinced at once that he was “the real deal,” and became a devout follower (though I never moved to Edmonton). I moved to Canada to live with a woman whom I later married, the same person who had first told me about de Ruiter, and was still a devout follower of his teachings.

Long story short, after two years trying to live his teachings and turn myself into the perfect de Ruiter clone, some outside interventions lead me to look more closely at my blind devotion to this man, and also at the man himself and his behind the scenes antics. I eventually came to realize—through talking to as many people as I could, including people who had known him in the past—that, although de Ruiter was not a con-man and seemed to genuinely believe in his status as a “living embodiment of truth,” he was a deeply deluded individual who was creating a kind of psychic dependency among his followers, and as such, leading them into slavery, not freedom.

That’s a very rough summation, by way of introduction. The reason I came to this forum is because I’d read Rick Ross’s pieces on de Ruiter way back, when I was a true believer (and of course dismissed them), and now I’d like to make contact with the people who are the potential audience for my book, it being one thing of value that has come out of all this. I now see that I went into de Ruiter’s community (and entered his reality tunnel) as an “undercover agent,” a method journalist who needed to find out how cults really work, and so had to succumb to cult mentality myself. At least, that’s how I prefer to look at it now, because it was an extremely educational experience, and it did give me a much deeper understanding, not only of how personality cults work, but of my own susceptibility to idealize external figures and hand over my power to define what’s true, for me, to another person. It’s that same tendency, which I now think exists in all of us, which allows cults to come about.

My process isn’t yet over, because not just writing but publishing the book is all part of it, of my catharsis and de-programming. One of the hardest parts of it has been not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, not to become cynical or embittered about spiritual truths and teachers. When we succumb to a guru or charismatic personality, it’s like when we fall in love: we are hooking into someone (or letting them hook into us) with a very deep part of us. So no matter how much we may come to our senses and see the person we gave ourselves to as unworthy, there usually remains a deeper part of us that is still holding on, that simply won’t listen to “reason” or common sense. In the same way, if we end up hating the person we were once in love with, we remain bound to them by that hatred (which is really just love turned sour). I think there’s a deep emotional and psychological need in all of us that responds to gurus, or anyone we choose to give ourselves to in a compulsive and un-thought-out way, and that need is like a wound that has to be tended if we are ever going to be free of the harmful influence of others. In that sense, falling for a “cult” or idealized guru figure (like falling in love with the “wrong” person) can be a liberating, psychologically healing process. For me I think it has been—or is slowly becoming—but only so far as I am willing to recognize my own responsibility for being duped, instead of taking the easier route of blaming the guru (or the wife), and assuming the role of victim.

Anyway, that’s my story, or rather a glimpse into it. What I’d really like to know is what others think and to get a clearer sense of my readership for this book. I would like very much for it to reach its proper audience, after all the work—the pain and humiliation, and the satisfaction of realization—that has gone into it. I’d also like to hear of anyone else’s impressions of de Ruiter, or of the ways in which you have come to know yourselves better by falling under the spell of untrustworthy teachers, etc.

There’s a saying that a people gets the government it deserves. Perhaps the same may be true of followers and gurus…? Symptoms aren’t the disease—but they can point the way to a diagnosis.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/28/2011 01:29AM by JasonK.

Re: John de Ruiter & The Messiah Complex
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: October 28, 2011 01:27AM

you might find the following links useful:



Re: John de Ruiter & The Messiah Complex
Posted by: wendyjduncan ()
Date: October 29, 2011 11:17PM

Jason, my husband and I were in a pseudo-Christian cult for many years. When we left this cult eleven years ago, we began reading all the cult literature that was available. The whole cult phenomena continues to fascinate and sadden us. Promoting cult awareness and helping former members has become a passion for us. About four years ago, we started a monthly support group for former members and have met the most amazing people. My husband is a licensed therapist (when back to school after leaving the cult) and he does counseling with ex-cultists.

I said all that to say, yes, there is an audience for your book. One of the things that we encourage former members to do is to read memoirs by people who have been in cults. Some are well-written, some are not, but reading about others' experience is extremely beneficial to people who are trying to sort out what happened to them. It is also helpful for friends and family to read memoirs because of the insights they will gain.

I wrote a book about our experience and even though we have only sold enough books to cover the cost of publishing it, it has been rewarding when people say things like, "I would never join a cult" and then read my book and say, "Oh, I get it. I can see how people get involved in cults." However, the most rewarding feedback are those ex-cult members who tell me how much it helped them.

BTW, I met someone who was very close to John de Ruiter at a cult conference five or six years ago. I agree with you that he has deluded himself and has created a psychological and spiritual dependency in his followers.

Re: John de Ruiter & The Messiah Complex
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 29, 2011 11:31PM

Friend, work on your book and dont blog about it or give too much advance notice that you have a work in progress on this subject.

You will risk being shamed and threatened by devotees and this can play havoc with the creative process that all writers, including investigative reporters, need.

Find a publisher who understands controversy and will have your back.

And if you give readings, be prepared for possible attempts at sabotage. Marta Szabo, who has a blog, The Guru Looked Good, arranged a reading of her memoir at a restaurant. Some minions from the ashram called that restaurant, claiming Ms Szabos reading had been cancelled.

Fortunately for Szabo and the persons who wanted to hear her, the restaurant arranged for an employee to check with Szabo. This revealed just how far the ashram was willing to go to so as to hamper other persons constitutional rights to assemble peacefully as a group, on private property to listen to information they wanted to hear.

Re: John de Ruiter & The Messiah Complex
Posted by: MaryBurb1988 ()
Date: October 30, 2011 12:12AM

Hi Wendy,

that's my hope, that the book will reach people who have been through something similar and maybe still aren't all the way out, and at the same time, people who, like myself, think it could never happen to them.

The person you met who was "very close to JDR" - if they were at a cult conference does that mean they left his community? Was it his ex-wife? (I ask because I am always interested in talking to any leavers.)

Corboy (interesting name: "Cor" was the name of JDR's father)

thanks for the advice but I'm not sure it applies in this case.

a) I have already spoken to JDR himself about my book (he gave me a blank look and very little else, true to character)

b) I have also thrashed it out with his community at their google group. See these links: [] and []

c) I've given up trying to get a publisher to take the book, too tiresome and fruitless, and even Steve Hassan, best-selling author, suggested self-publishing is the better route these days. That means self-promotion also.

It may be that JdR or his people try and discredit or sabotage me, we'll see. If so they will only add fuel to the furnace.


Disclaimer regarding Steve Hassan

The Ross Institute of New Jersey/May 2013

See []

The inclusion of news articles within the Ross Institute of New Jersey (RI) archives, which mention and/or quote Steven Hassan, in no way suggests that RI recommends Mr. Hassan or recognizes him in any way.

News articles that mention Steve Hassan have been archived for historical purposes only due to the information they contain about controversial groups, movements and/or leaders.

RI does not recommend Steven Hassan.

RI has received serious complaints about Steve Hassan concerning his fees. Mr. Hassan does not publicly disclose his fee schedule, but according to complaints Steve Hassan has charged fees varying from $250.00 per hour or $2,500.00 per day to $500.00 per hour or $5,000.00 per day. This does not include Mr. Hassan's expenses, which according to complaints can be quite substantial.

Steven Hassan has charged families tens of thousands of dollars and provided questionable results. One recent complaint cited total fees of almost $50,000.00. But this very expensive intervention effort ended in failure.

Dr. Cathleen Mann, who holds a doctorate in psychology and has been a licensed counselor in the state of Colorado since 1994 points out, "Nowhere does Hassan provide a base rate and/or any type or accepted statistical method defining his results..."

Steve Hassan has at times suggested to potential clients that they purchase a preliminary report based upon what he calls his "BITE" model. These "BITE reports" can potentially cost thousands of dollars.

See []

Steve Hassan runs a for-profit corporation called "Freedom of Mind." Mr. Hassan is listed as the corporate agent for that business as well as its president and treasurer.

RI does not recommend "Freedom of Mind" as a resource.

RI also does not list or recommend Steve Hassan's books.

To better understand why Mr. Hassan's books are not recommended by RI read this detailed review of his most recently self-published book titled "Freedom of Mind."

See []

Steve Hassan's cult intervention methodology has historically raised concerns since its inception. The book "Recovery from Cults" (W.W. Norton & Co. pp. 174-175) edited by Dr. Michael Langone states the following:

"Calling his approach 'strategic intervention [sic] therapy,' Hassan (1988) stresses that, although he too tries to communicate a body of information to cultists and to help them think independently, he also does formal counseling. As with many humanistic counseling approaches, Hassan’s runs the risk of imposing clarity, however subtly, on the framework’s foundational ambiguity and thereby manipulating the client."

RI has also learned that Mr. Hassan has had dual-relationships with his counseling clients. That is, clients seeing Mr. Hassan for counseling may also do professional cult intervention work with him.

Professionals in the field of cultic studies have also expressed concerns regarding Steven Hassan's use of hypnosis and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Based upon complaints and the concerns expressed about Mr. Hassan RI does not recommend Steve Hassan for counseling, intervention work or any other form of professional consultation.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/10/2013 09:03PM by rrmoderator.

Re: John de Ruiter & The Messiah Complex
Posted by: wendyjduncan ()
Date: October 30, 2011 12:50PM

Hi Jason,

I also tried to find a publisher, but it is very difficult for a newbie to get a chance with most publishers and the ones who read my manuscript turned it down because of the potential liability. I ended up self-publishing, but had a book designer, professional editor, and graphics person so I thought it turned out pretty well. With the new technology, it is much less expensive to self-publish.

On my attorney's advice, I kept my book quiet until it was published to avoid any injunction from my ex-cult leader. I hate the self-promotion part, which is probably why I haven't sold more copies. For me, it was a God thing so I figured I would leave it to Him.

Please let me know when your book is out so I can purchase a copy and help you promote it. I can't put my contact info here or my website address, but you can find it easily.

Wendy J. Duncan

PS: You have been in contact with the individual I was referring to. She is an amazing person!

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