Note to wassuphere?:
I'm wondering if you had the discussion with your family member and how things went? I'm not sure if this sort of method works or not, but I would imagine its worth trying. Many of the older students are so heavily under the spell of Sharon and Robert that they may refuse to listen to you. On the other hand, they may have formulated their own reasons to be suspicious of the group and just need a push from you to leave.
Did you find this page of questions on the Esoteric Freedom website? [esotericfreedom.com
The questions on this webpage are perfectly tailored to address why someone would be initially attracted to this group and areas where they may have some doubts or concerns.
On a more general note, I stumbled across an old thread in this Forum for a group that seems remarkably similar to the Sharon Gans/Odyssey Study group, the Royal Way/Jacumba. Although the actual group is different, the methods, tactics and appeal are the same. It sounds like the Royal Way’s founder studied Gurdjieff at some point. I particularly appreciated Corboy’s informative and helpful comments.
The thread is long, but worthwhile reading in it’s entirety, especially if you’re a former student of Sharon Gans, Robert Klein, Fred Mindel, et al. [forum.culteducation.com
]Quoting Corboy:“It appears you were recruited in a highly skillful manner. That’s scary.
1) Identify the issues in your life right at the time you were recruited. Recruitment usually succeeds when it coincides with a period of vulnerability. Feelings you put on hold as your involvement deepened may come back now that you no longer have the distraction of the group.
2) The hardest thing to give up is that shared sense of intensity, purpose, having soul mates, having a group of friends who shared that intensity and those values--perhaps even the shared sense of anxiety about following the rules was a source of bonding and purpose. Combat veterans suffer horribly in war, but often admit that when they return home, they miss the intensity of the battlefield and ordinary civilian life seems 'flat' and most civilians seem shallow, lacking the discipline of their brothers in arms. One veteran who returned for a second tour of combat duty in Vietnam told an army physician, 'Everything I do as a soldier is important. The way I tie my bootlaces can make the difference between surviving a patrol or getting killed because I trip on a dangling boot lace. But back home, everything felt so petty, so trivial. No one understood what it was like over here. And the ones who wanted to hear war stories had bad attitudes about it. I got so lonely that I signed on for a second tour of duty.'
So, you may be like that young soldier. You were in a game of marked cards that only Michael can win. But that game had an intensity, and it must have matched some of your deepest hopes and dreams, despite it being an ultimately unwinnable game.
You'll have to figure out what Buddhists call 'your deepest intention' and discover how to be faithful to that in daily life--and find a way to restore life outside the group to its full savor. That will take time, but unlike the Royal Way, its a game you can win.
You did not fail. You were recruited, and quite skillfully, by someone who abused friendship by turning you into an object to be manipulated. You did not fail. You were in good faith. Anyone who perverts friendship into a recruitment venue is the real loser.
These 'under the radar' groups that begin with psychotherapy or as esoteric communities usually do not attract a lot of attention, precisely because they recruit in an ultra-discreet manner and do so with tremendous patience--its a lot like being covertly recruited into an espionage operation. Because they are discreet they can go on for decades. “