Twillia 1, maybe YOU aren't open to seeing things.
While you and your girlfriend have found MKP fine, there are plenty of people on these boards who have had less than happy experiences. See the thread [board.culteducation.com
Maybe now you will understand why some people are anti-MKP.
Others of us are anti other LGATs after finding strangers, who used to be loving family, spouses, friends, changed and distant and suddenly rejecting all the love and support they have always had in their lives in favour of the support of strangers.
Many of us are very angry. I am sure many are angry at the insinuation that we don't want to see the facts as you put them. Rather judge your own experience and let others judge their own experiences.
However, considering the vast amount of information on these boards, read about MKP and other LGATs; if you see some disquieting practices at least you will have been forewarned.
LGATs, while the details may differ, often follow similar formats. See [www.culteducation.com
Then check out how many of the requirements for manipulation, coercive persuasion, thought reform, mind control - whatever you want to call it - were present in MKP. See [www.culteducation.com
Is MKP up front about what they are doing? Are they trained [b:221e1813d1]and qualified[/b:221e1813d1] to be using the methods they use?
MKP won't fit everything that follows, but maybe some questions should be seen as warnings. Obviously, it covers a lot of ground, but be open to investigating and making informed decisions based upon important questions.
LGATs, while they have helped some people, have often used less than ethical methods. They have also stuffed up many people's lives as these boards will attest to - both those who have been involved with LGATs and those who have been affected by the involvement of a loved one.
Good for you that your experience has been a decent one. Speaking for myself, as the result of some courses my girlfriend attended, I can honestly say I have never felt such hurt, pain, anger, despair and disbelief in my life at the affect it has had on her.
It has now been going on for a year. Others have suffered longer. Others seem to have lost the battle for the ones they loved. It hurts badly and lives have been turned upside down.
It is horrible struggling through night after night of broken sleep. It is horrible waking up with a pit in one's stomach day after day, wondering how everything went wrong, wondering how to change it and get through to the affected person. This is the reality of many people's experiences.
Through study on these forums, reading many books, consulting people, I know she has been messed with. And I have a problem with the methods used on her - methods I see commonly used in LGAT after LGAT.
Are you familiar with any of these [b:221e1813d1]red flags[/b:221e1813d1]?
While by no means complete, the following list of "red flags" may help you sort through the thousands of personal growth programs. If you encounter one of these red flags in a program you’re considering, step back. Resist pressure (internal or external) to make a decision; ask more questions. If you discover two or more red flags in a program you are considering, I recommend that you avoid that program like the plague.
• Secrecy around the processes and techniques used (This is very different from protecting the confidentiality of any participant’s work, which should be absolutely sacred).
• Refusal to talk to or coordinate with your therapist or counselor.
• Programs built on the ideas and/or leadership of one charismatic person.
• Nagging doubts about the facilitators, staff or program content.
• Challenging, defensive or discounting responses to your questions.
• Vague or over-general promises of participant success.
• "Hard-sell" tactics.
• Pressure on graduates to recruit more participants.
Some other questions one needs to ask:
What is the background of the facilitator(s)?
In general, the greater the emotional intensity of the program, the more important the therapeutic background of the facilitators. If a facilitator promises dramatic, life-changing results, you should have complete confidence in that facilitator’s professionalism and ability to deal with emotionally charged, deep-seated psychological material. A dynamic speaker, powerful motivator or "certified" trainer is not necessarily qualified to facilitate deep emotional change in individuals and groups. Ask for credentials. It is always preferable that any intensive emotional program be facilitated by at least one experienced and licensed clinical psychotherapist.
Are you making an informed decision?
Anytime you consider a life-altering decision, be sure you think through its consequences. Base your decision on as much information as you can reasonably acquire. Just as you would engage in research and soul-searching prior to getting married, starting a new career, having a child or making a big investment, apply that same approach to decisions about your personal growth. Representatives of some programs are secretive about the processes they employ; they expect participants to pay up front and attend the program without asking probing questions. They may even turn reasonable questions against prospective participants, challenging them to "get out of their head" and "trust the process." In reality, you’ll find it much easier to trust a process when your questions are met with direct, responsive answers.
Questions to Help the Assessment Process
1. Who is the leader?
What are his/her background and qualifications?
Have you relied solely on trust that all of the information you were given is true or have you done independent investigation?
Do you feel pressure to accept and not question at all?
Is it possible that there are misrepresentations or falsehoods?
Is there external corroboration for extraordinary claims of accomplishment or are they simply his/her say-so?
If "miracles" have been performed, can they be replicated under open observation or even under scientific conditions?
Are there other explanations for the "miracles," such as magic tricks, hypnosis, etc.?
If there is a former leader or member, have you sought him or her out to hear for yourself critical information? If not, are you afraid to trust your ability to discern the truthfulness of what you learn?
If you find yourself saying that you don't care if there are major deceptions, ask yourself if you knew this information before you became involved, would you have even bothered to make a commitment of time and money?
2. Are there exclusive claims made to wisdom, knowledge, love, and truth? If so, the burden of proof is on the leader to demonstrate his or her superiority, not on members to disprove it. A truly "developed" spiritual being exudes love, compassion, and humility. Any person who claims to be "superior" but does not practice what they preach is of questionable character. There is never incongruency between words and deeds. A person who uses fear and phobia indoctrination to control followers demonstrates insecurity and lack of spiritual maturity.
3. Is total submission and obedience required? Any relationship that demands giving up one's personal integrity and conscience is dangerous and leads to totalitarianism. Be wary of those who advocate "the ends justify the means," especially when it clearly serves their own self-interest. Also, make sure that your desire "to believe" doesn't simply activate the common psychological defense mechanisms: denial, rationalization, justification, and wishful thinking. If a doctrine is true or a person is truly spiritually advanced, they will stand up to the scrutiny of objective evaluation. If they do not prove themselves, they are probably not worthy of your commitment and devotion.
4. Does he/ she have a criminal record, a legacy of allegations against him/her or a history of misconduct? If there are allegations of misconduct against the leader, the responsible follower must seek out the negative information and the sources of that information to evaluate the truth. If a leader claims to be celibate and allegations are made that the leader engaged in inappropriate sex, this is an extreme violation of integrity. It must be investigated vigorously. It is never appropriate for teachers, therapists, or spiritual masters to take advantage of a power differential over followers. This is especially true in the area of sexuality. It is grossly unethical to engage in sexual relations with someone who has placed their trust in as a teacher/advisor/master. Many followers are incredibly vulnerable to this and unable to resist sexual intimacy. Anyone should be able to say "no."
Is he or she a "trust bandit," stealing hearts, souls, minds, bodies, and pocketbooks for his or her own ends?
5. Does the leader demonstrate psychological problems and awareness of their existence?
Does the leader have addictions to power, drugs, alcohol, sex, even television or shopping?
Does the leader have emotional outbursts?
Does the leader physically abuse followers?
Does the leader drive expensive cars and wear expensive clothes while extolling the virtues of renunciation?
Does the leader financially exploit followers by expecting them to live in poverty while he or she indulges in luxury?
Is the group or leader's driveway habitually filled with luxury cars while ordinary people find him or her inaccessible and unreachable?
Does the leader ever encourage deception or use deception as a "technique" to trick followers into so-called correct thinking and understanding?
Codependent behavior by a spiritual teacher should be a warning sign of danger. Codependency includes: obsessively trying to control others; allowing people to hurt and use them; lack of clear boundaries; being reactive, not proactive; tunnel visioned; obsessive worrying and denial; expectations of perfection and suppression of human needs. (Beattie, Beyond Codependency, Harper/Hazelden, 1989)
6. Are questions and doubts permitted within the organization?
A healthy spiritual environment must engage individual followers at
their level of experience and should encourage them to feel and think and therefore question their beliefs and exercise good decision-making. In this way, the follower can investigate, discriminate, and test the dogma and the environment they are being asked to accept, between what his or her personal issues are and what might be an unhealthy environment. If intense pressure is used to dissuade people who wish to talk with former members or critics, it is a clear sign of information control. Controlling information is one of the most essential components of mind control.
7. Is the organization open or closed?
Are there organizational secrets?
Are there "in" groups and "out" groups?
Are there restricted teachings for initiates only?
Are there secret texts and publications "for your eyes only"?
Is there real financial accountability?
If a group says that you can look at its accounting records, does it actually provide access?
The only way to know is to ask to see the records. If you are afraid to ask, what does this say about the atmosphere of the group?
8. What structural checks and balances exist within the organization to prevent abuse of power?
Are there divisive sectarian biases, even in the name of interdenominational ecumenicism and universality?
Is there an independent "ethics"committee to challenge and change policies of the group?
If there are abuses or injustices, what structure exists to correct them?
Can anyone legitimately question the actions of the leader without threat of emotional withdraw or fear of expulsion to "hell"?
Do the rich and powerful get preferential treatment?
Are "indulgences" (spiritual pardons) sold?
Is there a "code of silence" against unethical behavior of leaders?
These questions posed above come from Michael Langone - executive director of the International Cultic Studies Association, and Steve Hassan - well-known cult expert and exit counsellor.