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Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: justwondering ()
Date: June 02, 2010 01:35PM

Does anyone know if the New York group is still active? If so, is Sharon still in control? I'm curious to get information because we have a family member who may be involved. Is this a large group? What is the process toward becoming a teacher? Are teachers victims or victimizers? Does it operate like a sales scheme? Do teachers get a share of the money they bring in? I know its a lot to ask, and yet only scratches the surface of what I'd like to know. Our family member has become aloof and distanced, but seems to be functioning fine. Any questions we ask are conversation enders. Please, whatever information you can share would be much appreciated.

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Re: Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: June 02, 2010 07:05PM


Alex Horn is dead (Sharon Gans husband), but Gans is still alive.

See []

Nothing has changed significantly.

Gans makes her living as the "teacher" of the group.

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Re: Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: Samwise Gamgee ()
Date: June 07, 2010 11:36AM

Hi justwondering,

I am an ex-member of the Boston group which is connected to Sharon's New York group. I had some interaction with the NY group over a three year period. As such, I have some general information which may address your questions.

First, the group is still very much in existence. As for the size of the group, I believe that it actually exists as two or more sub-groups. The one which I had some contact with seemed to consist of about 30-40 members. That group will have included the longer-term members.

As far as the teachers being victims or victimizers, I would have to say it is both. One does not get to be a teacher without being in the group for a long time, paying large sums of money in the process and also giving up ones' independence of thought. By the time anyone gets to be a teacher, either he is completely brainwashed, or completely amoral and in pursuit of power. And yes, the teachers certainly victimize the rank and file students.

For the most part teachers are not paid money for their efforts. There may be some exceptions (such as the acting teacher), but it certainly seems the lion's share of the money brought in goes to enlarge Sharon's personal fortune.

You say that your family member is becoming aloof and distanced, but seems to be functioning fine. That is exactly what I would expect if s/he is in this group. Please, for the sake of your family member and yourself, insist on knowing everything. It is likely to be difficult , and a large confrontation, but the longer s/he is in the group, the worse it will get. Many people have wound up leaving marriages and ruining their ties to family members under the influence of this "school".

You have my best wishes,

Samwise Gamgee

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Re: Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: wassuphere? ()
Date: June 12, 2010 04:06PM

Thank you for your input. Unfortunately we are unable to pursue the issue with my relative. We are held hostage by the threat of loss of all contact if we ask questions. Due to Sharon's age I thought the group may have disbanded. What will happen when she dies? Is there hierarchy in place to continue the group? Presumably the teachers share Sharon's charismatic else could they bring in students and keep them in line? How do members keep their children from discussing what's going? It seems from several posts that children are brought in to classes, parties, etc. I read about actual physical abuse back in the San Francisco days: is this still part of the indoctrination?

I really appreciate your help in trying to learn as much as possible.

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Re: Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: Samwise Gamgee ()
Date: June 13, 2010 01:12PM

Hi wassuphere?

It is true that Sharon is getting old and she certainly is not in the best of health. But I wouldn't count on the group disbanding when she dies (I seriously doubt she will retire as it fulfills so many of her psychic needs). There are too many junior teachers who are waiting in the wings. The best one might hope for is a power struggle among them which might result in fragmentation of the group and possibly some people leaving due to the fallout.

Whether or not you might lose all contact depends on your situation.

If you are talking about a marriage, then I have to say it is possible. I have seen many people leave marriages while in the group. Some of these may have been marriages which would have failed anyway, others likely failed because of the demands of the group, including the secrecy requirements and the time demands.

If you are talking about a child or sibling, in my experience a total cutting off of contact is not so likely. I never saw anyone be instructed to cut off contact with their blood family. I know that many cults do this as a matter of course, but fortunately Sharon Gans' group does not.

If anyone knows different from their own experience - please chime in!

It is possible that forcing the issue might result in a lessening of contact, as your loved one feels the conflict of trying to keep the secrecy rules while seeing you.

Ultimately, only you can determine the best course of action. Just please keep in mind that if your loved one is in this group, then s/he is being systematically drained of his/her money, energy, free will and spiritual possibilities.

I wish you the best.

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Re: Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: mytruevoice ()
Date: June 19, 2010 01:59PM

The group could easily disband once Sharon retires or dies.

I’ve been out of the Boston branch of School for several years, but before I left I thought Robert was getting burnt out on the whole esoteric scene. And the younger teachers in Boston lack the charisma to keep the group going. It might be different in New York, but I doubt it.

Over the course of years, Robert stopped attending classes for long periods of time that would span several months, maybe even a year or two. The junior teachers leading the classes would bring up (in ominous tones, no less) the possibility of classes disbanding, and tell us not to take the School for granted. I believe some of Robert’s absences were due to health issues, but some of them, I think, were because he just wanted a break from it all.
Robert would frequently complain and berate us older students about how terrible and uninspiring we looked during class. (Probably 90 percent of us were just counting the minutes for class to end so we could go home and get some sleep! …and he knew it). I’m sure Robert did not want to be there, and could easily think of a dozen other things he’d rather be doing.

Robert would spend inordinate amounts of time rewriting and rehearsing lectures for the series. He would get so run down he would get physically sick and the lectures would have be postponed until he got better. It seems that no one has his knack for taking somewhat factual material and giving it enough spit, polish, and spin to convince the naive recruits of their unbelievable good fortune at being invited to join such a special and unique group. As Robert gets older, his drive and stamina will only diminish. He’ll want to spend more time in Florida and less time in Boston and New York. Certainly less time working on lectures. And whatever ails him will only get worse as the years go by.

In Boston, the student population is aging, and I’m sure it must be the same in New York. Most of the older group falls in the 50 -60 year age range right now, with a good number of students over 60. My sense is many of them do not have the financial means to stay in school during their retirement years. Paying tuition on time has always taken precedence over saving for retirement. And if you were fortunate enough to be able to save something after paying all the regular tuition and class fees, you would be asked for more money for special projects. And if students can’t pay, they can’t stay….Right?

Many of my fellow classmates had some mysterious illnesses that are most likely stem from the lack of sleep and a weakened immune system. As the group ages, these illnesses and others will increase and further reduce the number of students. When I left, there were few students in the younger Boston class below 40, so I doubt there are enough young and able bodied students to rise up the ranks. And as the average age of students goes up, it will become harder to attract younger and more energetic new students.

I’ve heard that School is having a hard time recruiting, and the pressure is intense to get new students in the door. This poses several problems for the continuation of School. Students on the fence about the group will finally get fed up with the oppressive recruiting pressures and decide to leave. And without the results to puff up their egos, even the best recruiters will inevitably get tired of the relentless quest for new students and decide to spend more time painting, acting or being with their kids. They may stick around for classes, but will lose their enthusiasm for “adding new people to their list” and having all those endless meetings. As more students leave or slow down, it forces the rest of the students to question why they’re sticking around. A mass exodus is possible.
And for the younger class, it’s got to be disheartening to see the newest students leave after the free eight class experiment ends. … If any new recruits are making it that far these days! The older class has already stagnated from the lack of new blood, and it’s most likely happening in the younger class as well.

And if someone is foolish enough to join this group, there are plenty of red flags signaling the need for extreme caution. All the rules and secrecy, veiled as “protecting privacy”, the emphasis on not using the internet, the solicitous attention of their sustainer, Xeroxed copies of books and lectures handed to them without an author’s name so you can’t find the group’s history by looking up “Gurdgieff “or “Fourth Way School”, among other things. Of course, there are the lies you tell to family and friends about where you go on Tuesday and Thursday nights. And don’t forget the emphasis on tuition, not missing classes, and always telling the truth to your teachers. Isn’t it bizarre how no one disagrees with the teachers, or how obsequious and pandering everyone is around them? There must be dozens of tip offs that something’s wrong with this group.

And I’m sure at the back of their mind, every new student wonders if the group is a cult or not. The teachers and sustainers will never know when new students start doing some online investigating. The new students can’t help themselves, and inevitably they find enough material to convince them to leave.

There are enough loyal and diehard students for School to limp along for awhile, but eventually it’s going to just run out of steam and die. If I were Robert or Fred, I would stop now while I still have some vigor and energy left. They could finally have some time to themselves, and pursue the perfect tan or the perfect starlet, or whatever else makes them happy. It’s clearly not looking at their students, sitting in their little circle, for class, after class, after class, after endless class.

But I have a different view from the outside, and more freedom. I am one of many ex-students who woke up and had the courage to leave. We care deeply for those that are still in, and I would imagine the current students care and wonder about us, too. Please know that it’s so good to be out, so freeing, so wonderful. We wish everyone inside could discover this joy for themselves.

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Re: Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: wassuphere? ()
Date: June 25, 2010 02:31PM

Thank you Samwise and My True Voice for your comments and insights. It seems there is cause to be concerned. I'll have to figure out the best course of action. Unfortunately most of my family thinks I'm imagining the situation and that all is fine with SG.

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Re: Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: wasthere222 ()
Date: July 01, 2010 01:18AM

Never mind what the family thinks, print out a few pages of this forum - especially "mytruevoice" most recent post.
Print out stuff about Sharon and Fred (since you are in New York), the properties, the money and time invested by students. The marriages and divorces. The San Francisco article about when they fled.
Take samples from posts that highlight recruiting or "why you can't leave or research on the internet" techniques. Try to avoid the word "cult" if you think it's too strong to get anyone to listen.

Take samples from

Give your family member a simple, few-page packet of key points against this group - hand it over with your geniune concern, and pray they get out relatively unscathed. Give copies to other family members if you think they think you are overreacting. Many stay in for years despite doubts. Many just need that last push to go.

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Re: Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: coronoman ()
Date: July 22, 2010 01:24AM

I'm out for over 10 years, and have reasonably recovered at this point, but my blood still boils whenever I think about Sharon, Robert, Fred & Co.

I'm very happy that ex-members were able to join forces to prevent the group from getting an Oscar for the "documentary" on the Russian orphanage, but I never felt that we did enough to prevent new recruiting by the group.

Would it be very inadvisable to put together a group of ex-members to picket one of their meetings and hand out information? If not objectionable, would anyone be interested? I have no idea where they are meeting in NY these days, and I assume that they have little spies surfing this forum, but I think it's worth a shot.

RR, let me know what you think.

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Re: Sharon Gans: New York Group
Posted by: Samwise Gamgee ()
Date: July 23, 2010 08:34AM

Post deleted by author

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/23/2010 08:46AM by Samwise Gamgee.

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