I have taken both the Forum and Advanced Course. To those who speak of brainwashing or manipulation I challenge you to defend those points of view. I have read time and time again how "I know someone who did it" or "I lost someone". If you yourself have not done the Forum and are basing your statements, etc. on hear say then you are speaking only from that realm of understanding.
I could fill up the Rick Ross website responding to this post but I won’t. However, I will comment on the above quote because I hear this argument frequently from Landmark lovers.
If you yourself have not done the Forum, blah blah blah blah.
Keep your mouth shut.
You can’t possibly comment on something you never experienced.
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
Try it yourself before judging it.
Don’t be cynical, resigned or arrogant.
Stop having to be right.
You have an anti-Landmark racket.
Etc, etc, etc.
I’ve heard it all.
Oh boy, where to start. I’ve never taken cocaine, does it mean I have to experience it to know it’s poison? I’ve never jumped off a 40 story office tower, but do I know better not to even consider it?
I’ve never taken the forum but I’ve read countless accounts, both pro and con, from those who have enrolled. Lots of people love Landmark and will swear by it. Lots of people say it’s a cult, a scam, a money grab, a brainwashing racket, etc., and lots of people say they really got something out of the forum but didn’t like certain things about the group such as their extremist hard-sell, manipulating/lying to people and the arrogant nature of those running the programs. The problem that I find is that there are too many complainers. If one or two or three or 10 or 100 or 500 people complained about Landmark, I could understand a Landmark supporter’s point of view. After all, nothing in this world is immune to criticism - some would even criticise the beauty of the Taj Mahal. But I’ve done extensive internet research and found so much major criticism I had to stand up and take notice.
Here’s just some of what I found that apparently sheds light on what Landmark is really about:
Let's start with published articles, which are available on-line: Pay Money, Be Happy (New York Magazine, 2001); Tune Up, Tune In, Transform?;The Cult of Fashion (New York Times,2005) Defending Your Life (GQ Magazine, May 2005);Drive Thru Deliverance (Phoenix New Times, 2000);The EST of Friends;Do You Believe in Miracles? (Elle Magazine, 1998);In the Grip of the Therapy Tough-Guys, NOW Magazine (2000).
A MUST read article on Landmark: [www.theologyweb.com
]. Here are a couple of excerpts: "Psychologists and psychiatrists have extensively studied both the methodologies and the effects of cult brainwashing in its many forms, throughout the 20th century and into the new millennium. Landmark uses a particular brainwashing technique called “thought reform.”...Thirty minutes dedicated to a couple of online search engines can produce a laundry list of anti-cult and cult watchdog organizations that believe Landmark is definitely a cult. There are even organizations like ReFoCuS Network -- the Recovering Former Cult Survivors Network -- which has a chapter devoted to people who have escaped from the Landmark cult and are now recovering from the damage inflicted in that time with Landmark. Why would this exist if Landmark were not a cult?"
For further reading, check out:
The Apologetics Index - apologeticsindex.org (Christian)
The Watchman Fellowship (Christian)
American Family Foundation (the world's largest, secular counter-cult org.)
The Cultic Studies Journal
The Cult Awareness Network
The Swiss Cult Advisory Organization
Dienst für Analyse und Prävention (Service for Analysis and Prevention, a German org.)
Also, check out the Cult Awareness and watchdog websites in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Israel and France (just do a Google search using key words “cult” + "Landmark" and the country). They all warn people against getting mixed up with Landmark. The French government officially classifies Landmark as a cult and has outlawed Landmark‘s “volunteering“.
The Wellspring Retreat in Albany, Ohio is a residential treatment facility that treats those who have been damaged by cults. They have treated many ex-Landmarkians and others from similar groups. Check out their website: www.wellspringretreat.org. You can email them with a request for information on their work with ex-Landmarkians.
Visit these sites: www.assaultedthoughts/cults/landmarkvsestandscientology. Also try www.cultnews.com. And: www.ex-cult.org/Groups/Landmark/
See what ordinary everyday people think about Landmark. There’s tons of blogs and message boards out there, lots of people will tell you what a scam Landmark is. But of course there are others who will say Landmark is beneficial to them.
Here’s what some have said about Landmark: "My son has gone through the program, and is now sitting in a hospital under psychiatric care. Where are they when their program goes bad? They don't want anything to do with him! Afraid of the lawsuit maybe. this is not an isolated incident - it happens often - there are many cases where it has ended in murder and/or suicide."
From another blog: "The big SUCK about Landmark is the "guest conversation". This is also called "sharing". Unfortunately, every Landmark course I've taken spent about 30% of its time talking about inviting friends (guests) to check out Landmark. It's a big thing inside of Landmark. The number of guests you bring directly reflects on the capability of the course leader. It's one of the statistics they use to determine how successful a course leader is. Now, you can see that this is a useful statistic if the organization is all about making money. But an organization that is more concerned about its participants than its profit shouldn't be using this to gauge how well the course went-- it should use something to do with what the participants accomplished, perhaps the particular goals they set out for themselves at the beginning of the course. I can't emphasize enough how significant this is inside of Landmark. It makes sense when you look at the origin of the education-- it was derived from the sales techniques used by Werner Erhard to improve the abilities of his book-selling sales team."
The best site of all is right here, the Rick Ross website. This message board has harrowing stories of Landmark survivors that would shock you. They describe how Landmark powerfully controls you to get your money. You could spend hours on that site alone reading about Landmark. Also try www.culteducation.com/groups/landmark.html
An interesting and informative article on the subject: [skepdic.com
apparently Landmark is responsible for a number of mental and physical breakdowns.
See what anti-cultist Steven Hassan says about Landmark - his articles are on-line.
Please note the above is by no means an exhaustive presentation of the negative on-line feedback on Landmark.
This is my argument: you talk about intelligence but with all this information I just outlined it would not be intelligent to dismiss it all. There has to be something here. There’s just too much.
You say Landmark doesn’t brainwash, but the experts in the fields - the cult information services all over the world - claim otherwise. Your position is that someone like me can’t comment on Landmark because I never took it. But even if I did, I am not a professional in the field of cults - but the cult information services ARE; I’d feel better relying on their expertise and their opinions on Landmark than to form my own opinion on this subject - even if I did attend.
I take special notice of your statement: “If you yourself have not done the Forum and are basing your statements, etc. on hear say”. Does that mean you don’t believe in word-of-mouth? Do you think word-of-mouth opinions are worthless? If so I can tell you the vast majority of businessmen and women would disagree with you. In fact they’d tell you word-of-mouth is the most effective and accurate advertising of all!
And if you are saying we shouldn't listen to the nay-sayers, why then should we listen to you? Why the double standard? I would imagine you would like us all to try LM, but just like I said, why should we just listen to you and not those who took Landmark and warned against it? If their words are hearsay then why aren't your's? You're talking out of two sides of your mouth friend. Is that what Landmark teaches in its communication "courses"?
I wonder if a drug pusher ever said "If you yourself have not done cocaine and are basing your opinions on hearsay then you are speaking only from that realm of understanding"?
To illustrate what decievers and liars they are at Landmark is (anything to make a buck) see my thread entitled "Landmark's Incidious Business Practices" and you'll read about the repugnant way Landmark lures unsuspecting victims into its grand ballrooms to catch you off guard and then put the extremist hard-sell on you. Their high-pressure sales tactics make used car salesmen look like baby ducklings! Others have described these Landmark recruiters as "brutal". And why not consider their very title: Landmark "Education"? Is it really an educational institution like you'd find in a classroom setting or is it an organization applying psychological or psychiatric techniques? After all, before you can participate in the Forum, you must assure the Landmark leader that in the past six months you have not taken any prescriptions for mood-altering or chemical imbalances. Nor can you have been hospitalized for a psychiatric problem. Nor can you have been under the care of a psychiatrist and discontinued treatment against advice. Does that not seem odd that if Landmark is simply an "educational" organization you have to declare all the above as not applying to you? I've never heard of someone with such a history being barred from a school. And if Landmark is "education", for the money they charge in tuition fees I'd like to know what kind of teaching degrees they have.
It seems like Landmark is much more of psychology without a licence rather than an educational institute.
Having said all this, I am not going to deny that the forum has some helpful insights and ideas on how to live your life. Nor can I deny that many have benefitted from the forum. But there doesn't seem to be anything original about the forum - it's principles are based on a number of stolen concepts and ideas derived from well-established philosophers such as Heidegger and Sartre, as well as New Age, Scientology and basic psychology. And of course so much of Landmark is based on Zen Buddhism, which you can read up on in the library. Many ex-Landmarkians have remarked that they could have acquired the same wisdom by reading a few Dr. Phil books. One ex-Landmarkian said he could have learned the same by watching "What the Bleep Do You Know" on DVD a couple of times. Now [i:b5542d09d4]this[/i:b5542d09d4] sounds like a good idea - renting a DVD is a tiny fraction of the cost of Landmark and you won't have to worry about the video store manager badgering you to rent more of his DVD's or getting you to bring all your family and friends into his store! lol
Some people have said Landmark has helped them gid rid of their baggage. But Landmark has baggage of its own. There are safer, less costly ways of reaping the same alleged benefits you'd get from this cult.