Landmark or Est as it was previously known has been around since the 1970s and earned many millions of dollars. Currently the company says it takes in about $50-$60 million dollars annually from its paying customers.
This is more than enough money to fund meaningful research to prove its claims, which could be done by objectively measuring results.
That is, using a group of Forum graduates along with an outside control group to demonstrate the direct results of its "technology."
This might include measuring over a period of years the greater earnings of Forum graduates, corresponding lower rate of divorce and/or improved grade point average, etc.
But no such peer-reviewed study has ever been funded or published by a respected education journal that I am aware of, despite Landmark's recources and decades long history.
Intead, Landmark offers testimonials or anecdotal stories told by true believers, which as you say rely upon "words," i.e. subjective feelings as opposed to objective factual evidence.
Landmark, in this sense, comes across more like indoctrination rather than "education."
Landmark's history of litigation is transparent. The company has sued and/or threatened lawsuits to suppress criticism in an apparent effort to control information about its practices.
This can be seen through Landmark's pattern of lawsuits against the press, individuals, this Web site and message board.
Again see [www.culteducation.com
Some Forum participants have described their Landmark experience much like enduring an emotional and/or psychological "assault."
This can be seen by watching a video now readily available on the Internet.
A French news team filmed a Forum in Paris. Not long after the television program aired Landmark packed up and left France.
Your analogy comparing "skydiving" to Landmark is somewhat apt.
That is, skydiving is a risky venture and people can be easily hurt.
Likewise at Landmark.
There is a marked difference though, which is that skydivers know what they are getting into and newbies at Landmark most often don't and that is by design.
Don't you think informed consent is better than preying upon ignorance?
Why not let people know what they are signing up and paying for in advance so that they can make a more informed decision?
And though Landmark can be seen as something like group therapy, albeit without a mental health professional to rely upon, unlike credible licensed therapists, its leaders insist upon a waiver of responsibility.
Strange isn't it, considering that Landmark puts so much emphasis through its programs and courses on taking responsiblity for your actions?
Maybe Lamdmark should teach, "Do what we say, not what we do."
Perhaps this apparent contradiction can be explained by noting that Landmark Education is after all a business. That is, a for-profit privately owned company, which means it's set up to make money. And profit margins can be maintained more effectively by reducing the financial burden of legal costs to the company through waivers.
Please understand that at times going over these same points repeatedly with newbie Landmark devotees can be tiresome and a bit boring.
But there it is, again.