Another person's report. Make a copy if you want to be sure you
have access to it later. Material often disappears from the internet.
The seminar was called ‘the isa experience’ and is the first stage of recruitment for a sophisticated and highly experienced money-making and power-trip ‘new age’ cult, wrapped up as a spiritual path to enlightenment. When I got there it looked like a cult and smelled like a cult. At some level I already knew I’d made a mistake. But I was a long way from my home in London (in Bradford), with no transport and a big commitment of around £400 already spent. Plus from the moment you enter the hotel where the ‘seminar’ is held the thought reform process begins.
You are greeted by ‘overly smiley’ strange looking cult members who comprise the core of the cult. And not left alone from the start , so not given the chance to use your critical abilities to evaluate what you’re being told and what’s going on. The authoritarian, charismatic leader begins the seminar with various ground rules (no watches, don’t sit next to anyone you know, no side-talking, no eating and drinking) in a room devoid of natural light. That’s where the seminar will unfold for the next two evenings and days (one of which goes from 10am to 10pm at night). You are persuaded to put aside your own doubts and thoughts in favour of ‘learning something new’ a suggestion from the authoritative leader that actually means you suspend your ability to think for yourself.
By the end of that weekend I had been well and truly brainwashed and turned into one of the smiley, strange looking folks who would go home and try and sign everyone he knew up to the seminar.
At some level I still knew it was a cult and vowed i’d take the good from it and never do the ‘advanced’ course (£600+) with even more control techniques introduced. And certainly i’d never ‘assist’ – the ‘process’ they call it that gives you the real fast-track growth, but which is in fact where you become a full on recruiter for the cult, tasked with recruiting as many people as you can and ‘supported’ to do so under the false statement that it’s for ‘your own personal growth’.
A few years later i’d done both the ‘advanced course’, been an ‘assistant’ and recruited around 20 friends or family to the cult. This, by the way, made the cult around £5000, of which I received nothing. I’d been brainwashed. My thoughts and behavior had changed so much that my friends and family were worried about me. Most of those I’d recruited had smelled a rat and wanted nothing to do with the cult. I however was on a path to destruction, bent on becoming ‘as good’ as the charismatic leader, punishing myself for all my short comings and imperfections. Short comings and imperfections that the cult induced me to believe I had, by the way.
It was disastrous being an ‘assistant’. I alienated many friends, ran up a £200 phone bill and my business fell apart – all in a ‘process’ that I was told would fast track me to the wealth, happiness and success I wanted; andmake the world a better place.
It appears that ISA has the features of what is called a "Large Group Awareness Training."
The problem with LGaTs is that they are designed to destablise even those who are "mentally strong".
Large Group Awareness Trainings are usually run as businesses, despite all the talk of healing and transformation. Maximizing profit is the chief goal, but recruits are not told this.
Lack of accountability is the major problem with LGATs, which is why so many have come to CEI with harm reports. Licensed physicians and therapists do not require us to sign waivers in which we give up citizen rights to sue for damages in case we incur harm; most LGATS do require subjects to sign these waivers.
In the end, the LGAT takes all the credit for good feelings; if subjects feel upset or harmed, subjects are said not not have been 'ready'.
This reveals the problem: the LGAT claims the power to transform our lives. But if this transformation leaves us feeling harmed the LGAT refuses to accept responsibility for its power.
Anything capable of doing good has the potential to do harm. Drugs such as aspirin have side effects and come with package warnings. But most of the time LGATs never acknowledge that they have side effects. Instead all this is brushed away
by claiming that "This isn't for anyone; you have to be ready
These articles describe one of the earliest of the LGATs (Lifespring). Many
of these methods have been incorporated into other LGATs. Names and terminology
differ; most of the methods are the same.
Description of the behavioral structure of the training
An excerpt from "The Politics of Transformation: Recruitment - Indoctrination Processes In a Mass Marathon Psychology Organization
By Philip Cushman, Ph.D.
Pathology as "Personal Growth":
A Participant-Observation Study of Lifespring TrainingPsychiatry
, Vol 46, August 1983
By Janice Haaken, Ph.D. and Richard Adams, Ph.D.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/20/2017 12:39AM by corboy.