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Part two -- golden oldie posts from 2003 site
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 27, 2014 10:17PM


(in the last post it notes that psychologists can get sucked in)

(quote)Date: 1 March 2003
Subject: cult
From: Ben

Killer site. I have a friend who got sucked into this painfully obvious and amusing, manipulative cult. I have heard of many others.

I simply instructed him never to discuss it with me - and that would reveal his true "integrity". He got the msg.

It's the ultimate American snake-oil game, thought sadly, plays with fragile people. But, people are free to be taken advantage of. If this cult allows them to feel they are part of a family, so be it. A family, however, of zombies, filling their emotional holes with an expensive addiction in the form of psycho babble, essentially avoiding a more thorough, proactive study of life. If it's not Landmark, it's Scientology and the like.

The bad part is the aggressive, blind need for recruitment.

Trying to explain the true nature of Landmark to one of it's countless zombies is impossible. You cannot help someone who enjoys their problem - it's worse than telling a heroin addict to stop - at least the addict who cannot stop is aware they are destroying themselves.

I need to start my own cult. What a great way to make tremendous amounts of money.

NoLandmark replies: Go for it, you've definitely got it all figured out. There's plenty of competition from other we'll-help-you-avoid-facing-your-problems cults, but then, there's an awful lot of people who seem to like that sort of thing.

Date: 28 Feb 2003
From: Andrew

We have a good friend who, while going through a pretty lonely patch got hooked up with Lm in NYC and has continued to become more and more deeply invlved over the last two years.

We have tried talking (firmly and softly) and notice that he is becoming more solitary and lonely than ever. We live in London, so can't really get a hold on him.

Is there any recommended way to get him to see sense? He is bright and used to be very humorous too. What can be done?

NoLandmark replies: That's the perpetually unanswered question. The guy above you seems to think it's impossible.

Date: 27 Feb 2003
Subject: Thank you
From: Liz

I stumbled across your website while running a search for information to help me explain why my girlfriend should NOT attend a Landmark "Informational Get Together." Her long-time college friend invited her to brunch this past Sunday and casually told her, "I'm hosting an informational gathering at my house on Wednesday about a great organization that's changed my life. It's called The Landmark Forum. It'll help you improve the quality of your relationships..."

As soon as my girlfriend told me that, I nearly fell over. Last year a friend of mine spent months trying to get me to attend an "informational gathering." She used every tactic she could think of... "They'll have free sushi..." or "We should go to the gym and then drop by after..." or "It's a great way to meet new people..." Finally I told her to knock it off or else lose me as a friend. If I really wanted to sink hundreds of dollars into b.s., I'd attend a Tony Robbins seminar. At least that would have "celebrity" speakers and be more entertaining. (And they let you go to the bathroom whenever you want...!)

Anyway, my girlfriend almost fell for it and I talked her out of it. I appreciate you having that information so readily available, it helped bolster my case for why Landmark is nothing more than a cultish money-sucking scam.

NoLandmark replies: Another one saved! Just call me Jesus.

Date: 27 Feb 2003
Subject: the landmark forum
From: jessica

hiya, my name is jessica, i am 24 yrs old and live in lancashire england. My best friend Rachel was introduced to the landmark forum just before christmas, and she swaer's by it after month's of raving about it she evenually got me to go an open night ( at this point i was lead to believe that i wasnt under any presure), Rachel has done the advanced course and is currently getting sponcers to do the 3rd stage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Last night i went along to the landmark forum taking my husband for support, on arirval we were asked to give our name and phone number, (wich we did), after 2hr's we were able to talk to other's i felt that the leader's were desperate to make eye they could persuade us landmark was the best sollution to impruving our quality of life and about the way we think. I took this oppertunity to go and have a cigarette!!!!!!!

After three ciggaretes i was starting to feel uncomfortable with the pressure both Rachel and some of the volenteirs were putting "us" under, i say "us" becouse of manipulating remark's like "you are your own person" "dont you think for yourself" bla bla bla.

We went back in to the room wich had been hired, and Ria the leader spoke yet again at how wonderfull the landmark forum is and was thanking those people who "had" signed on the dotted line !!!!, as the meeting ended i had Rachel, and two other people putting pressure on me to sign on the dotted line, my husband was also badger'd by somebody else, i kept hearing thing's like "make that jump"....sign she going to sign, itl change your life bla bla bla, at this point i was fu**in petrified, i felt under immence pressure to sign, but i wouldnt, i refused...i said i cant handle this i need a cigarette, i then told Rachel to stay where she was and had my fag.............i felt bloody sick to my stomach, i returned to the room to relieve my husband who was extremley gratefull at me returning as there were two more people trying to bully him, i kept saying to Ria "i feel under pressure" i need time to think.....she kept saying just make the jump, "your new life begin's here", bla bla bla, but i am thankfull to say i followed my instinc's as did my husband and we came home to think, you could tell that Ria was absolutley gutted, i am a strong person.....but i almost backed down on several occasion's.

I have hardley slept a wink of sleep all night becouse i had a feeling something wasnt right, i woke at 6.50am and came straight onto the internet, I FOUND YOUR WEBSITE IMMEDIATLEY AND HAVE READ EVERYTHING, i nearly fell into the trap but i am gratefull to my instinct, and my will to follow it.

I truly believe that landmark is a high money making scam, i am disgusted at the way's they were trying to sell the course to myself and my husband, but how do i explain all this to Rachel without losing her friendship, im scared shi*less right now i just dont know what to do for the best.

The landmark

NoLandmark replies: They sure made you angry, Jes. And some folks wonder why I put so much energy into this website.

Date: 27 Feb 2003
Subject: Landmark Feedback
From: Anonymous but Grateful

Your website saved my life--I sincerely believe that. Here's my story:

A business associate of mine had been using Landmark brainwashing techniques on me. He was extremely convincing. He had told me about Landmark and how life-changing it was, and eventually asked me to attend their meeting as one of his "guests".

I had considered attending the forum, since it sounded like it really helped him professionally and personally. It sounded great, but something in my gut felt unsettling about it. I asked him for a brochure, a phone number of a contact person, or to even just tell me more about Landmark, but he said that I'd have to go there and experience it myself, since it was something he couldn't put into words.

The night before I planned to attend, I decided to do my own research on the internet, just to try and find out more. It was then that I found your website.

Your website saved me. I have suffered from clinical depression, as my business associate knew. I have worked long and hard on overcoming it, and I am certain that had I attended the Landmark Forum, years of hard work would have gone down the drain and I would have had a mental breakdown.

I was so shook up after reading your website, when I realized the damage it would have done to me and when I realized how close I came to actually attending the forum. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I hope my story will save others.

NoLandmark replies: It will, it does, it has. Stories like yours is what this website is all about. Thanks.

Date: 23 Feb 2003
Subject: response
From: Carol

Re: Sept. 26, 2001 post: the web page he cited written by a psychologist, I looked up his credentials. The Institute where he received the PhD in psychology is ranked 180 out of 183 on test scores ( Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology from 1988 to 1995 (as given in the report "How Do Professional Schools' Graduates Compare With Traditional Graduates?" in the September, 1997, APS Observer ). According to the APS Observer , the EPPP is one of the most important national standard tests in clinical psychology and therefore constitutes one objective criterion "by which the adequacy of clinical training programs may be evaluated." The Institute where he is a post doc is ranked 178th.

NoLandmark replies: Degrees, affiliations, and memberships are all meaningless--the person can still be a complete idiot. Readers: look for the post in I Love Landmark.(unquote)

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More golden oldies from 2003
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 27, 2014 10:21PM

(Quote)Date: 5 Feb 2003
Subject: thanks for web site
From: T

Thank you for the informative Web site on the Landmark Forum. It has saved me from any involvement with this unscrupulous organization. I feel as if I have been targeted based on my professional standing as a high-ranking government official.

At my son's basketball game last evening, a classmates father talked to me at length concerning the Landmark Forum and gave me tickets to a "Special Evening" to be held next week in Alexandria, VA. I could make absolutely no sense of what the man was speaking about and quite frankly thought he was making a sales pitch for some Amway type product. He also provided several brochures that left me just as perplexed . I also investigated the Landmark Forum Web site with the same result. Thank you so much for exposing this harmful group.

NoLandmark replies: Always glad to help. Indeed, Landmark shares much with the Amway-type pyramid marketing strategy. As an Amway dealer, you only make money if you bring others into the dealer program. As a Landmarkian, you only feel complete if you bring others into Landmark.

Date: 3 Feb 2003
Subject: Canned-Dark Forum
From: Alexandra

I found your website a few days after going to a Tuesday night Landmark introduction with my best friend. I want to thank you for putting into words what I wasn't able to articulate to myself or others about this program. I think you've really got it...and I just hope that more people who find themselves on the fence will find this site and steer clear of Landmark. I am amazed at the fragility of the human condition, and just how needy and vulnerable we are (and how easy it really is to take that and run with it). This company preys on our inherent weaknesses, and makes TONS of money off of them. I encourage everyone to find alternate solutions to their problems, and not to give a penny to this money-grubbing organization. Thank you for solidifying what I had an inclination was something I shouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Now....have I lost my best friend?

NoLandmark replies: Probably. You summed it up just right.

Date: 31 Jan 2003
Subject: Thanks for this site!
From: KB

You've heard it hundreds of times and I'm just going to add one more. This has validated my sanity! My husband went from a warm, caring, loving, fun, churchgoing, active, helpful person to a depressed, insensitive, angry, secretive, critical man thanks to Landmark and the friend that led him to it. I watched him intentionally distance himself from me, our church and all of our mutual friends. His Landmark friends were the only ones that would tell him the truth about himself. He would tell me his whole life has been a lie, stories he has told himself. He lays in bed on weekends until mid day. My husband is an intelligent man who was very vulnerable and smack in a mid life crisis with the recent death of his father and another family member when they got him. Your site has been a great educational site and explained to me what this behavior is all about. He worked so intentionally to destroy our relationship and detach from me that I now see this is how they encourage people to become emotionally dependent on them. I don't know where to go from here if there is anything left to rebuild, but it is at least comforting to know you may save some relationships through your site. Thank you for your mission!

NoLandmark replies: Good luck, I hope he comes to his senses and doesn't lose a good person like you. I cannot imagne too many marriages surviving if only one partner is converted.

Date: 26 Jan 2003
Subject: Landmark Feedback
From: JW

I attended a seminar this past weekend and left after the first day. The program was not what I was looking for at all. After the dinner break the first night, they began to tear down people which really made me know that this was a red flag. Who are these people to get participants to break down and tell them where there emotional issues really are? They are not professionals at this and I could see that it would only get worse so I got out.

Looking back, I can see how my friend that recruited me could get into this, he is always looking for something to hang his hangups on and this appears to give him the answer.

NoLandmark replies: Indeed. They are professionals...professional exploiters.

Date: 26 Jan 2003
Subject: Fire and Police beware of Forum!
From: N

I have a friend who I workout with that I occasionally engage in deep conversations with about life etc. About three months ago she told me about the Forum and recommended that I go and said that it was free to Firefighters and Police, I am a professional Firefighter. It sounded interesting, I had no knowledge of the Forum at that time, and I thought I might check it out. Because it was free I thought that I might take the class and I thought, from her comments, that it was like a professional development seminar, communication skills, organizational skills, the usual business seminar type stuff. She kept recommending it every once in a while and I finally called to find out the dates of the course. On the phone the person I talked to was extremely pushy and wanted the phone number of my department and wanted to arrange to put the whole department through the course. Well, that set off the giant red flag! I told him that Fireman didn't like anything pushed on them and would not give him my departments number. I barely got of the phone, the guy was so pushy. I called my friend and expressed how my contact had turned me off. She apologized and said she would call them and scold them. After another month or so, I went through a bad breakup of a relationship and I found my friend immediately recommending the Forum again. At the same time I had another friend who had never mentioned the Forum recommend it as if it would be a cure all to my heart ache.

I actually went to the website when my friend sent me a link to a top 100 site that rates the top 100 cars, restaurants, adventures etc. The site listed the Forum as the number two adventure, second only to going into space! When I went to the site and read the course syllabus and the hours you put in class more red flags went off. If it such good information why is it necessary to force it on sleep deprived, starved, bathroom deprived and verbally abused clients? Why do they have to put so much emphasis on recruiting if the material is so good, recruiting should happen naturally through word of mouth like any good business? Being single I spent a few nights on the Internet and did some investigating to confirm my suspicions, it wasn't hard. Thanks for your site.

I'll stick to the feedback I get at the Firestation to get over my broken heart! It's great therapy, I'd like to invite one of the Forum Leaders to dinner at the station, they would have a breakthrough, probably through the door as they got thrown out!

NoLandmark replies: Wow, FREE Forum (recruitment training) for firefighters and police! This is marketing genius: can you imagine a more effective army of recruiters than these trusted Public Protectors? Landmark will make millions off this idea. Personally, I wouldn't trust a Landmarkian policeman farther than I can throw a Forum Leader.

Date: 24 Jan 2003
Subject: Landmark Forum feedback
From: Wei-Yuen

I just completed the Landmark Forum in Vancouver, BC last weekend. I feel betrayed by one of my most trusted friends -- how could she have lured me into this crap using such deceptive means? I am more depressed than ever before in my life, because I am prepared to end my friendship with her despite how important she is to me. I am trying my darned best to be compassionate and to forgive her with the understanding that she herself is trapped within the lies of LF.

The day after completion of the course I banged out these reflections and then came across your website. Please do post my message for the benefit of others.

My thoughts regarding LF:

- The philosophy reduces to constructivism. It's hardly as profound as its proponents claim. Or is the profundity in the process which leads participants are led to realization?

- Are the revelations through the coaching process real? Exploits common emotional responses to contrive a sense of enlightenment. Intense abuse (disguised as coaching) followed by soothing approval would of course provide feelings of relief, regardless of what gibberish is being thought or uttered by the participant.

- Microphones are placed right at foot of stage, such that LF leader towers over speaking participants. Whenever a participant is in disagreement with the LF leader, the leader bears down on the participant while verbally abusing him/her. Classic intimidation tactics.

- Leader exploits classic divide-and-conquer tactics. Co-opts the supposed support of the silent majority to bully the individual. "Everyone in this room disagrees with you !" According to whom? Body language and facial gestures constantly manipulative - often smirking as if sharing jokes about the participant with the crowd - thus deliberately cutting down the esteem of the participant.

- Dissent and disagreement is supposedly welcomed, but dynamic is constructed for maximum risk and humiliation for those who don't follow group think. I.e. "Stand up now and make a fool of yourself if you disagree with me" situations.

- Philosophical contradictions - supposedly nothing is real, yet the word of the leader is the only reality that is acceptable. No answer to a question is acceptable until it is expressed in agreement to the philosophies of and in the language of the LF.

- Ideas expressed in layman's terms are rejected as wrong until expressed explicitly in the language of the LF. Any deviation from Forum vocabulary is forcefully discouraged. If that's not loss of "freedom, power and self-expression", what is? By the end of the Forum, participants communicate in terms incomprehensible to non-participants.

- The supposed values of integrity, completeness, authenticity, etc. are enlisted to subvert resistance to registration in follow-up seminars and the advanced course. High-pressure sales tactics. This is an irreconcilable contradiction given the emphasis on integrity and deceptive sales tactics.

- Deceptive tactics with respect to setting of ground rules - opportunity to leave the game is given before and only before the rules are revealed. Further rules are spuriously linked to the your "commitment" (e.g. MUST submit a form for the seminars because it's "part of the values you agreed to").

- When a passing reference to est was made, leader suddenly launche dinto a zealous defense of est against criticisms that were never mentioned. Talk about paranoia!

- Forum leader repeatedly cites a Harvard Business School study praising LF, a study that has apparently been withdrawn by its authors.

- Long hours, sensory depravation. Curriculum is scheduled such that periods of peak alertness (morning, early afternoon) are consumed with administrivia with truly substantive discussion later in the day and into the evening when alertness and psychological defenses have been weakened.

- Critical questions are responded to with classic diversionary tactics. Question: "How does the Forum achieve its results so quickly?" Response: "The real question should be why it takes so long." Absolutely brilliant.

- The healing power of confession ("sharing") is over-emphasized - then what? You've spilled your guts, but what is really different about your life now?

- Breaks are few and far between, and are not truly breaks at all given that all are occupied with assignments. There are no opportunities for unregulated introspection and reflection.

I regret taking the Landmark Forum. I would recommend it to no-one. Stay away.

NoLandmark replies: Good thoughts, thanks. Yes, all "coaching" is abuse, your "integrity" depends upon buying more of the product, and critical questions are not allowed (and Landmarkspeak removes the ability to ask them).

Date: 24 Jan 2003
Subject: Thank you
From: Georgeanna, Registered Clinical Counsellor

I found your website very valuable. I am a therapist and someone who was exposed to Landmark wanted to come for therapy. I hadn't heard of this "cult" and have referred the person to BC Psychologists in order to work with someone who has experience with victims of this organization.

Thank you for your dedication to providing information about the human cost of attending this forum.

NoLandmark replies: Human cost = Landmark's profit.

Date: 23 Jan 2003
Subject: Landmark Cult Feedback and Tips
From: Kaz

I'm glad I stumbled across your website on the night after my Tuesday evening session of the Landmark Forum in Boston. I actually got the idea to do a "landmark cult" online search from another participant of the program who almost left on the first day. Not very surprisingly, the volunteers convinced her to stay for her own well-being. The young woman was manipulated in such a manner that she felt guilty for wanting to leave. I decided at that moment that I would become friends with her and be "silent skeptics" together. We spoke about the "cult" aspects of the program with eachother, but never to other participants. If they wanted to get sucked in, that was their problem.

I am a strong believer that human beings can invent endless possibilities for themselves and their life. What I don't believe in is Landmark's methodology in causing that realization...It's all a big sales pitch.

"In order to practice what you learn here at the Landmark Forum, we ask that you chose a seminar series to attend, which we provide as a scholarship with no fee to you," the charismatic coach said to the participants. In my mind, I'm thinking "Uh uh, no way." So, I left the date portion blank on the provided card and did not sign my name. BIG MISTAKE. There were 5 instances after that moment where the little volunteers asked me which seminar series I was attending. All I wanted to do is say "I'm NOT attending one of your stupid seminars ever again, so stop bugging me!"

Here are some GREAT tips to help anyone who plans on attending one of these forums: 1. If you really don't "get it," tell someone. They may reimburse you if they know you are not gaining anything from their program. You would be a waste of their time if you are not planning on attending the entire Curriculum for Living.

2. Do not sign ANYTHING they ask you to. Signing confirms a committment from you. Once you make that committment, the Landmark staff commits to making sure that you commit to your committment. And they'll call you every day to make sure that you know that. This also applies to the $200 deposit for the Advanced Course. They will only reimburse $100 of that, so don't sign up unless you REALLY want to get your mind manipulated.

3. Even if you have a significant "breakthrough," realize that in order to have a breakthrough, you must have a breakDOWN. Being brave at the microphone only makes you vulnerable to "coaching" from a manipulative seminar leader, who is the only person there getting PAID! (If only a few hundred people are paid employees of Landmark Education across the world, WHERE DID MY $375 GO TO????) They explain that this program gives you enless possibilities that are priceless for just $375. If it meant that much to them, they would be non-profit or even FREE.

4. Life is not empty and meaningless and it is not a bad soap opera written by a 5 year old. Life has the meaning you give it. Everyone has had tragedy strike in their life, but the key is not letting that event hold you back. Live in the moment and with no regrets. Take ownership and communicate with people in your life. It's much much simpler than Landmark makes it out to be. You really don't need a 3 1/2 day (or 50 hour) seminar to realize your full potential in life.

5. I work for an inspirational program for children with few similaries to the Landmark Education seminars. I HAVE seen more powerful results come out of less intense and manipulative companies. Do your research on other companies. I am a (very under-) paid employee of a not-for-profit educational company that brings FUN back into life and learning. The company makes no money, I make very little, and I am happy with the results. We don't force the participants to return, just to practice what they've learned if they want to. Landmark isn't the last chance for some people, it is a false sense of hope in order to financially support their psycho-Scientologist founder.

Ugh...I can't take any more. DON'T PARTICIPATE IN THE LANDMARK EDUCATION SEMINARS, EVER! Am I making my point clear enough??

NoLandmark replies: Crystal clear. Thanks for the tips, and for the valuable work that you do.

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Golden oldies 2003
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 27, 2014 10:25PM


(quote)Date: 22 Jan 2003
Subject: How I lost my best friend
From: Maggy

I have been reading through the postings on your website and am finding some of the entries extremely enlightening and helpful. I would like to add my own narrative in hopes of helping others who find themselves in a similar situation. You see, over the course of about two years I lost my best friend of 25 years to Landmark Education. It has been a profound loss, and this is the story of how I believe it happened.

Several years ago my friend met a man at her place of work. He was 15 years her senior, in the throes of a mid-life crisis, struggling with a dead-end marriage, and very much involved in New Age ideas and practices. I never met him, but heard enough over the years to sense that there was something slightly "off" about him. For example, he had spent 7 years of his life on an Ashram out west. My friend has always been interested in alternative paths to spirituality, and she and this man became good friends. Eventually, my friend fell in love with this man and although he led her on for about two years, it never turned into a relationship. When he finally left his wife he did not turn to my friend. Eventually he quit his job at the firm and disappeared from my friend's life. But before he disappeared, he "completed" with my friend. In Landmark-speak, this means he came clean with her; he basically told her that he had felt very compelled by their connection, but due to his own issues was ultimately not able to deliver the goods, and apologized for having hurt her. He also told her that she is an "extraordinary individual" with "limitless potential" and that she could probably some day become a great "leader" and help others in their journey towards self-actualization if she joined this organization called "Landmark", which, incidentally, had put him in touch with his authentic self such that he was able to admit everything he had just revealed to her. These crumbs from an incredibly ungenerous (and I believe toxic) person became a great "gift", and she ran with it. Within days she was signed up for the Forum, and that was the beginning of the end.

One day several months later (a few weeks after the WTC attacks, at a time when we were all feeling vulnerable and searching for answers) I came home to find a message from her on my machine. It went something like this: "Hi, it's me. Listen, I need you to do something really important for me. I need you to clear your schedule for next Tuesday evening and come support me in something that is very important in my life. I really need you to do this. Call me and we can talk more about it." She had asked me to do favors for her many times over the course of 20+ years as friends, but nothing had the urgent quality that this had. Naturally, I cleared my schedule and was there for her, but pretty much bolted before the evening was over, making it clear that I had absolutely no intention of ever signing up for a course. Commercialized spirituality is something I have very little tolerance for, and could not believe that my best friend had gotten sucked in so deeply.

Part of me wishes I had never gone to that "friends and family" evening. Until that point I was happily oblivious to what Landmark was about. After that evening I tried to search out and read anything I could get my hands on about the organization. I was not satisfied with the idea that you could only "get it" by going through it (In reality, there isn't all that much to "get" that can't be "gotten" by a trip to your local library.). That sounded suspect to me. I also realized that labeling it a cult was not useful either. Clearly my friend was not selling her belongings and moving to an Ashram. The thing that got my antennas humming was the total devotion participants displayed. Even from my friend, an intelligent, creative woman who I know to be capable of very subtle critical thinking, I never heard anything that even distantly questioned what Landmark is and does. The most I ever heard was, "It's not for everybody", implying that anyone who is not interested in doing Landmark has some kind of personality flaw or some other issue that they're avoiding dealing with. The more I read (both pro and con), the more I came to realize that Landmark's ways go against a lot of what I believe about how to help people improve their lives and relationships (I am a clinical psychologist). Also, there seem to be some ethically suspicious elements that are conveniently circumvented by claiming that Landmark's seminars are not meant to be "therapy". If a patient of mine ever went around doing testimonials about how I had changed her life, I would be considered a failure as a therapist and my ethical standards would be called into serious question. Yet testimonials seem to be Landmark's main method of recruitment. Also, termination is an integral part of the therapeutic process. Landmark does not seem to have a protocol for termination. Quite the contrary, the idea seems to be to get people to enroll in one seminar after another, ad infinitum.

As troublesome as some of the ideological and ethical issues were, what worried me more was what I observed in my friend over the weeks and months since she initially began investing time and energy (and money) in Landmark. Af first I thought the changes were really positive. She seemed nicer, easier to talk to and get along with. She was cheerful all the time, energetic, and full of fun. She seemed a lot more sensitive somehow, helpful and attentive, although I did find it odd when once or twice she called and apologized for things that I hadn't thought of as having upset me. She also began making these absolute statements about life and human relationships. She began to speak in a language of breakthroughs. She began using words and phrases in ways that increasingly rubbed me the wrong way. She began to attribute her newly found happiness to this system called Landmark and seemed to condemn things like "defenses" both in herself and others. More than once I found myself thinking, "Defenses are there for a reason; Without defenses people become psychotic". More and more I found myself silently disagreeing with many things she had to say but did not know how to begin expressing my disagreement because she seemed so committed and what she was saying seemed so absolute and non-negotiable. I eventually asked her to not talk about Landmark with me, a request that seemed unfair. I was saying in no uncertain terms that I could not be supportive of something that was so important in her life. It upset her very much but she reluctantly agreed to my request. It did not work, however, because she had bought into Landmark so totally that it pervaded her thinking and behavior, and it inevitably seeped into our relationship. On a few occasions, when I felt she was trying to do Landmark-style coaching with me, I'd get so frustrated that I'd say something like, "These are my feelings, and my feelings are valid!"

What was eventually most bothersome, however, was how I began to feel when I was with her for extended periods of time. I began to observe in her an intense emotionality on the one hand, juxtaposed and at times even superimposed with icy detachment on the other (anyone who's spent time with a Landmark person knows exactly what I mean). I did not know which part to attach to or go along with at any given time. I often found myself feeling confused and off-balance. She also started saying some really strange things to me. For example, I guess in an effort to be "completely open and genuine" with me, she once revealed to me that she sometimes thinks about me and my husband being intimate with each other and it makes her feel "hot" and "turned on". I had no idea how to respond or what to do with that information. It definitely gave me the creeps. She also became very confrontational, pointing out flaws that she perceived in my character and behavior without restraint. Frankly, I started to feel intimidated by her; something I had never felt before. She seemed so zealously committed to her ideas that I felt my choices were to constantly debate with her or to keep things superficial. I chose to do the latter, but that took a lot of work too. We ended up having to tiptoe around each other all the time. Because we were no longer speaking the same language, spending time together became very exhausting for me, as it undoubtedly did for her, and more and more we began to avoid seeing each other.

After about 5 months of total silence between us, we went out for dinner one night. I brought my husband along as a shield (for some reason she never talks about Landmark in front of him), and she, too, brought a date. He was clearly an associate of hers from Landmark, a creepy dude who reminded my husband of the serial killer in the movie "Copycat". He asked me a question about Gestalt Psychology but seemed to stop listening as soon as I started to explain what I knew about it; a surefire technique for making the other person feel insignificant and stupid. I had hoped that my withdrawal and silence might make her start questioning and inevitably moving away from Landmark. Instead, I was given clear evidence that she is more deeply connected with Landmark than ever. I realize that she has a lot invested there and has built a social network that reinforces her continued involvement.

One thing I would like to make clear is that people who are attracted to Landmark are not "losers". On the contrary, they are mostly educated individuals who are gainfully employed, but who, for some reason, have not been able to take the developmental step that would allow them to accept the existential reality that, contrary to what our manic, commercialized culture would like us to believe, we are not beings of limitless potential, living lives of endless possibility. Aside from a few highly gifted and fortunate individuals, most of us will live ordinary lives; grow up, grow fat, work to pay our bills on time, hope to meet a decent partner, struggle to raise our kids, care for aging parents, grow old ourselves and eventually die. And we will spend a lifetime trying to make some sort of meaning out of it all. As depressing as this may sound, a mature, well-integrated person will eventually embrace the mundane realities of life and and feel incredibly unburdened and liberated (as in: "You mean, it's OK to just be myself and live my life?"). My friend, however, and I suspect the many others who buy into Landmark, are willing to go to great lengths to defend against having to face that profound question: "Is this all there is?" While there are undoubtedly some in Landmark who hold advanced degrees and have lucrative careers, the masses are probably like my friend: individuals predominantly in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties, most likely college graduates who majored in literature, philosophy, the arts and humanities, living in or close to urban centers, and working office jobs that do not embody the ideals that they came out of school with. It is at the very juncture in life that the existential question "Is this all there is?" begins asserting itself most urgently, that these individuals get introduced to Landmark by a co-worker or friend who seems to have it all together somehow, someone who is adept at "deep" philosophical discussions, someone who seems to have the right answers, someone who is attractive, or seductive, or seems open and caring in an environment that gives little value to an individual's feelings and thoughts, someone who seems to be an emotional oasis in an impersonal desert.

Landmark is a business, and what it sells is possibility: the possibility of suspending the stark realities of post-modern, and now, post-9/11 life; the possibility of avoiding the narcissistic injury inherent in giving up the idea that one is "truly extraordinary" and that life is "full of possibilities". What Landmark offers, at a price, is never having to say, "Yes, this is all there is, and it's OK", and many people, like my friend, are willing to pay the price.

NoLandmark replies: Readers: if you were thinking of skipping this one due to its length, don't. Thanks Maggy, for such an excellent perspective.

Date: 22 Jan 2003
Subject: We managed to escape!
From: Vincenzo & Ana

About two years ago, my brother called me just after midnight. He was filled with a new-found excitement and wanted to talk to me about a "life-transforming experience" he just had, earlier that evening. I listened to him go on and on about his new outlook, and how he wanted to share this powerful experience with me. We talked about some things that took place over 30 years ago, when we were children, and how he had been carrying so much "baggage" all these years. I admit I was in a bit of shock, but told him that if this seemed to be working for him, then great. As I hung up, my wife who had been listening in on my half of the conversation made the comment: "I think your brother joined a cult." We snickered over it, and didn't think much of it after that.


He continued to take various Landmark classes, and was spending LOTS of time as a volunteer in his local office. He also lives about a three hour drive from us. He would often invite us to attend one of the workshops and introduction meetings. We always declined. Last September, he was going to be driving up for a visit, and called a week prior to ask if an associate could join him for a brief meeting. Curious, we said "Okay". Well, my brother and this young girl of around 22 showed up (she was from the local office), and they got out some papers and workbooks. My friends who had dropped in for the barbique were shooting me looks of "What the heck is this? Is your brother a fruitcake?" Anyway, we managed to get through it, the girl left, and we turned our topic of conversation elsewhere. Later that night, my brother practically begged me to sign up for the class. I told him that I wouldn't do anything of the sort, unless I was to do it with my wife. And coughing up $800 for the both of us to attend this shin-dig was not high on my list of priorities (we enjoy eating periodically, and that is a months grocery budget for us!). He answered: "If I pay for it, will you go?" I was stunned. The idea of my brother willing to fork over that type of cash, made me think that perhaps, there might be something good here. So, we signed up to attend a class in early January, 2003.

The first day of the class, we sat there and listened to the host go on and on for SIX HOURS about what the L-M-F was going to do for us. We saw one man publicly humiliated and interrogated by the hostess, when he decided to leave, early on (SMART MAN!). After six hours, we were told we were FINALLY going to get started...

WHAT A BUNCH OF WHINY PEOPLE. People were actually stunned when my wife "shared" that she DIDN'T hate or blame her parents for all the "tragedy" in her life, and that her biggest complaint was that the kids didn't walk the dog frequently enough. At this point, she was starting to tell me (on the breaks) that she was not buying into this. Her exact words were: "This is a bunch of crap." After two days of sitting on hard chares and rushed breaks and demands that we stay up late when we got home around 12:45 to telephone people and write essays, my wife was in severe pain. She suffers from degenerative arthritis, and her back and legs were in severe pain. (Anyone who has been to one of these things will remember that on the first day, the participants are told NOT to take any *over the counter* medications as they would reduce the "experience". As a result, my wife could no longer sit without crying, and 45 minutes into the first session, she hobbled to the ladies bathroom where there was a small lounge. Within minutes, three of the "true believers" had converged upon her, interrogating her as to why she was there. I guess one of them realized the severity of the situation, and I was summoned. I ended up taking my wife home and medicating her. She spent the rest of the day in bed, in pain. She also told me that I should return to the LMF, in case I "got something". So, I went back. Also, my brother would be driving up for the "Graduates Visit", and I had no way to reach him as he was already on the road.

At long last, the Host stated (after a combined total of 34 hours of telling us what the LMF would do): "And here it is! The Magic Moment!" All 139 people in the room bent forward to hear the $400 pearl of wisdom that would "enlighten" us...

"According to the Landmark Forum, the meaning of life is... THERE IS NO MEANING!"

Were it not for the fact that there were 138 witness' in the room, I would have strangled her. "WHAT!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?! My brother paid $800 for this!?!?!??!?! If he was so hot and bothered to give me that big lump of cash, I could've taken us to Reno, or some other place. Hell! I can get a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu for $99 each way! What a RIP-OFF!!! During a "share" time when we were supposed to pontificate over this revelation, I looked at the sap next to me and told him he was on his own. I then went to the Hostess, and told her that she was taking part in a scam, and that her statement was a load of "horse-feathers". Her smug look of self-righteousness only angered me more, as she spoke to me as if I was a three year old child being admonished for touching something I was told not to. I would "get it" if I just kept an open mind and stayed for the rest of the night, and the following Tuesday evening session (but make sure to bring lots of friends to sign up!).

I stayed, kept an open mind to the fact that I had just seen so many people bamboozled, and decided that I was NOT going to be taking part in any future LMF activities. I did go to the Tuesday session, but only out of respect to my brother's investment. My wife (who was still in pain) stayed home.

I watched everyone "share" and speak of their new "possibilities", and beat a hasty retreat out the door as soon as it was 10:30. When I got home, I was met by a family that was fearful of the fact that I might have been "assimilated" into the LMF. While I had been out, my wife had decided to do a little checking on the internet about LMF. SURPRISE!!! She found this site, and many others of similar content. I reassured them that I was still the same old grumpy & grouchy fellow (with "issues" intact) that they knew and loved. My son was very happy that the old man was not going to get "mushy" on him.

Where we go from here, concerning LMF is still unknown. I am sure my brother will be curious to see what my reactions are, and if I plan to spend more money for more courses (Answer: NO WAY!) We also anticipate getting LOTS of phone calls from the local LMF office asking my wife to "finish" her course, so we can continue with the 10 week follow-up sessions. (Sure, and the sun will rise in the West next week.)

Needless to say (after this long-winded tirade), we are worried about my brother and how this is impacting his life. It is confusing, and not a little frightening, that a man with a PhD could fall for this nonsense. Wish us luck.

NoLandmark replies: Thanks for your beautiful "tirade." Yet another revealing inside look to what the Forum is all about. Your brother may have a PhD, but he also has issues (like the rest of us) and Landmark is helping him avoid them for the single purpose of turning him into a good recruiter.

Date: 21 Jan 2003
From: Bill

I have a friend who just got into landmark. He asked me to the recruitment session, and I agreed before having found your site.


NoLandmark replies: Well then I bet you found the session quite entertaining...

Date: 19 Jan 2003
From: TerL

Thank you so much for this site. I had never heard of Landmark until a friend started attending last year. She keeps harrassing me to go, and it is really beginning to annoy me. I have told her that badgering is not an effective form of persuasion. I have also told her that the that Landmark's position that the rest of us folks are too stupid or insincere to know what we're thinking is very offensive. She keeps contradicting herself by saying that this is not what Landmark does but then turns around and questions everything I say. If I were to say the sky is blue, she'd ask me if it really is blue or was I just saying that to be nice. Whatever. It is getting to be too much energy to be around her, defending every action and statement. Am I going to have to sever contact? There's certainly no way to argue my point of view anymore. They've got their hooks in her. Any suggestions? Again, wonderful site. At least I'm not alone.

I'm also terrified of being harrassed. Is there any way that my friend will give them my contact info? I have not given her permission to do so (and I'd kill her if she did!) but is there any way that would happen?

NoLandmark replies: I haven't heard of recruiters giving away contact info. At least in the US it is illegal for a telemarketer to call after being asked once not to. It is true Landmark's philosophy is illogical and contradictory. That's why it is subject to catastrophic failure (followers suddenly realizing they are living a lie). Your story is a classic example of how Landmark destroys relationships. And unfortunately, badgering IS an effective form of persuasion for most people, and the technique is an integral part of the marketing strategy.

Date: 16 Jan 2003
Subject: I'm going to forum in Cape Town
From: Bruce

Thanks a million for your site. I've been coerced into doing forum by sister and brother. I have gathered all the info I can. I 100% agree that it's a highly dangerous form of manipulation. I have taken the advice you said to another person, about how to try and keep level-headed:

NoLandmark replies: Of course the exact nature and intensity of the onslaught (mind slaughter?) will depend on who is leading this particular Forum. I would approach it by looking for the agenda behind the rhetoric. Watch for the thinly vailed attempts at manipulation, humiliation, and physical and emotional abuse. Always keep in mind their one true agenda, which is having you sign yet another check while bringing new victims to Tuesday recruitment. Then, when their nonsence is directed at you, you'll be able to knowingly smile and laugh it off to yourself.

I have an M.Sc. in theoretical physics, but I'm afraid all that means is that I am exactly the type of guy who will swallow this stuff, because its not presented rationally or logcially, but uses sales techniques. It takes a con to know one, and from what I've read on the net all the salesmen type people see this stuff immediately for what it is.

I hope I come out sane! I'm pretty sure I will walk out early on. I will email you afterwards!

PS I am sad that even Cape Town is not immune to the long arm of Landmark.

NoLandmark replies: Don't worry, you'll be fine. You don't necessarily have to be a jerk to understand one.

Date: 16 Jan 2003
Subject: Need Help
From: Brittaney

I have recently had my grandmother, parents, and now uncle go through the Landmark Forum. Upon htier return i really thought that they had been brainwashed. There was little left of the once vibrant people I knew.

My parents have since come down from the Forum's euphoria, but they are still taking classes and are still evangelical in their praise of the programs.

I need help in discovering what this program really is and why it is so damaging to the people who take it.

Please help me by sending me any information you have from credible sources that I could you in an argument for themt o not send my niece.

NoLandmark replies: They're going to send your neice? That makes me sad. Sending a child to any unlicensed treatment program is extremely irresponsible. But then, Landmark makes its members "let go" of any true responsibility. You can show them my website, and also try the links on my front page.

Date: 16 Jan 2003
Subject: Forum--ugly experience
From: Martine

I am confused, my old life means nothing to me anymore, Ifeel empty, afraid and unable to relate to the world. I feel like I am in no-mans land. I am having a problem between deciding what is 'right' and 'wrong' and how I feel about everything. The warning bells went off for me when the leader said the 'problem' with the internet is 'freedom of speech'. I'm sorry, but freedom of speech is one thing I have always treasured. I did not question her on this as I thought it was only important that I realise that and not everyone else. I also think the act of contacting people with whom you've previously fallen out with is dangerous. There are usually good reasons as to why some people cease communication with certain types. I know I have. I contacted a 'friend' with whom I have had major problems with in the past and now regret it. There were good reasons I wanted her out of my life and those reasons haven't changed. I now realise what a sham Tuesday night was and feel ripped off. Just before I went into the town hall, I wanted to leave. I thought, " there is no reason for me to be here", I had warning bells going off in my head left, right and centre. I now realise it was nothing but a marketing scheme, designed to exploit the "experiences", of the people in the forum. While I feel I had many 'breakthroughs' in the forum, I was well aware that any "sharing", I had to do was for their benefit and not mine. I also didn't like the way the forum leader turned to the crowd every time someone said something a bit "daggy". So what? It's their opinion and they were subliminely degraded by the leader.

My parents got divorced when I was 8, my dad was irresponsible and basically showed no responsibility to me. About 2 years ago, when his second wife left him, he called me a few times and told me he wanted a relationship with me. At first I was sceptical, but he insisted on 'bringing the family together'. I thought, " maybe he's changed". I was just beginning to trust him and feel I was building a relationship with him. He hounded me for almost a year to do the forum. When I said I couldn't because I work on the weekends he told me to be unreasonable. I eventually did and now I realise the whole motivation for our newfound relationship has been the forum. I feel ripped off and a fool. Icant even have a conversation with my father without it turning into a 'coaching' session. The other night I tried to have a conversation with him and when I said world peace would be "nice", he proceeded to lay into me about how world peace would not be "nice ", that "nice", is what "an ice-cream is" and then proceeded to lecture me about the importance of "language". I don't feel I can have a relationship with my father right now as I feel sick every time I talk to him. When I questioned him on the integrity of the organisation, he told me to call them to get "coaching". I said, "I don't need coaching, this is my opinion". Itruelly feel like I am going insane. I still don't manage to see how an organisation who preaches integrity can't just stand up and say, " our main purpose is to make money. We sell you a product but that's it". Instead they say that they are committed to your wellbeing. I don't believe this.

I now feel really strange. I can't stop sleeping and don't want to leave the house. I feel like something has gone on but I can't explain it. The funny thing is that I DID "get it", but by standing up for myself, I feel I am betraying myself and going against my integrity. I think it is especially hard because I have a parent who has never related to me in the forum and I feel like it is just another way my father has violated me. The thing with a "story ", is that it has sometimes occurred. You can not take away a person's experience, even if it becomes retold as a story.

Just a quick question. Are the 'leaders' (the presenters) the only one's who get paid? Our 'leader' told us that the leaders are 'shareholders' in the company. She then said "you wouldn't do this for the money". I'm just wondering if you know how much they get paid? She made out she was doing it for the love of it. You mentioned that the only people paid in Landmark forum are very highly paid leaders or people at the top. I'm just wondering who these are?

NoLandmark replies: Abuse is very difficult to deal with, especially now that Landmark has compounded your problem by delivering its own form of abuse through your father and through the Forum. Remember that the abuse is ONLY designed to coerce you into joining Landmark. As long as you resist the abuse will remain. There is nothing wrong with you—the problem has always been with your father, and Landmark is just supporting and exploiting it. Your perception of the company is clear and accurate—never doubt that. Regarding paid employees, as a privately-held company Landmark does not have to reveal much about itself. There seems to be some question as to whether all or just some Forum leaders are paid. A "shareholder" strongly implies there is money involved. Consider a 150-participant Forum: that's a $50,000 weekend, minus only the cost of renting the space. Someone is going to get a "share" of that.

Date: 13 Jan 2003
Subject: Help me backout!
From: Claire

I registered for the Landmark Forum as a result of two friends prodding me at a weak moment. I am supposed to go this weekend, but I want to backout. I understand there is a chance in the first few hours of the session to backout. Has anyone heard of anyone actually getting a refund if they back out before the session? Will I get my money back if I backout that morning?

Help - I can't afford to lose the money, but I do not want to go!

NoLandmark replies: If you back out and then pester the company for a refund, usually they will give in. I'm not sure about the nonrefundable deposit though, so you might be out a hundred bucks. Still, a little more persistance and you might even get back that as well. Landmark is vulnerable to strong-willed people!

Date: 11 Jan 2003
From: Baybee

I first want to say that i am a very open minded person and i went into this just that way.... I did about two hours of the 3 1/2 day forum. Why 2 hours? Because after the way this lady stood up at the podium (acting all knowing) I was sick in my stomach.

My father, who heard about this from a friend, suggested i go. Either I get something out of it or I don't. But he wanted me to decide for myself.

I got there and the atmosphere that it takes place in is very uncomfortable. The office itself is not established. It looks like they rented out a room with a bunch of tables and chairs and call it "landmark eduction". I walked into a group of very enthusiastic participants and "volunteers". Once I sat down in the room, they closed the doors, and right then I was uncomfortable. The site you have just come across is not far from the truth about the Forum. It hits the hard truth!!! I left at the first break. Why did I stay so long if I didn't like it? Like I said, I am an open minded person and, yes I didn't understand one word that came out of her mouth, but I guess I hoped it would get better. It didn't... The first chance I got I ran to my car, called my dad crying and he told me to leave!!!!!

The landmark forum is bullBLEEP! (excuse me) and if you ever talk to bonnie (the boss lady of the forum) or ronnie (the recruiter) hang up or run the other way. Not only are they too persistent, they are inconsiderate. Every day before the forum, ronnie called my cell phone to pressure my fiance to join. It began to feel like harassment. I hated hearing my phone ring because i knew it was her. Finally he agreed to go (only because I didn't want to go alone). After the fact he realized he had other obligations. That alone is understandable, however ronnie and bonnie told him that the Forum was more important, and to tell his other obligations that this was prearranged and to hold off on everything else to go to the seminar.... Just to let you know, he had to fix his transmission, pick up his pay check, and had a job interview.... Now because the forum is all day, he would have had no time to do anything.

They don't care about anything but money.

Please, I beg, don't go to the Forum, save that money or use it to buy a loved one a present (whatever) just spare yourself the uncomfortable situation you will be putting yourself in.

They are a cult. I've seen how they can twist your thoughts....

NoLandmark replies: "They don't care about anything but money." Yes, once you get that, you get the whole thing.

Date: 9 Jan 2003
Subject: effects of the Forum
From: Lars

I did the Forum in -94 and was heavily involved with Landmark until November -97. I took most of the courses and was assisting heavily, being an introduction leader. I recruited my ex-girlfriends brother who took 2 courses and did some assisting. He didn't seem to get much out of the Forum and I was intrigued by that. I lost contact with him but heard from my ex that he didn't feel so well, having depressions.

One day I received a call from my ex-girlfriend. Her brother had hung himself.

Now I have to live with the knowledge that my part in his involvement with Landmark might have caused his suicide. I'm sure he's not the only one having taken this extreme measure to end his suffering caused by this, in my view, criminal cult.

NoLandmark replies: Wow. Perhaps your story posted here will help save another's life.

Date: 5 Jan 2003
From: Anne-Catherine

I just finished the landmark forum today. Or, should I say, I gave up around mid-day on Sunday, finding it dreadful and useless to me. I was, however, quite impressed by the way some people seemed to get touched and moved by what were in my view some simplistic and aggressive psychological techniques. At the time of leaving the group supervisor put a lot of pressure on me to stay, until I gave up and just left. To be fair, I must say he offered to reimburse me, saying that they did not want the money of someone who did not benefit from the course. And now here I am on the internet surfing for more information in order to understand the power and success of an organisation which offers, in my view, such a poor quality of training... and I discover the whole controversy around the landmark corporation.

From my experience, I do not believe this program present any danger to balanced people with healthy self-confidence. Unfortunately, I could also see how some people got broken down by the aggressive interpretation that the "coach" was making of their story. Moreover, the whole point of the forum is to push people into acting immediately based on the principle taught during the day... which could, in some instances, have irreversible consequences. I would not recommend this training to anyone: either you are balanced and used to introspect yourself, and it is useless; or you are fragile, and it is dangerous.

NoLandmark replies: Unfortunately Landmark targets its marketing to people who are fragile. Another part of the marketing scheme is to have you come home from a Landmark meeting and immediately call someone you've always hated and try to make amends. Trouble is you haven't even begun to address the issues that led to the bad feelings in the first place because Landmark has taught you to completely ignore them. So you tell your loved ones how wonderfully transformed you have been and you attempt to recruit them. On the receiving end, it rings hollow, insincere, and selfish. The result is a bizarre and unnatural connection that either doesn't last or remains incredibly shallow. But it works for Landmark because it brings in new recruits! (See also the letter from Butterfly of 16 Dec, below)

Date: 24 Dec 2002
Subject: Landmark
From: Joe from London

I am concerned that a very good and longtime friend has started to attend landmark courses and recruit as many people into their forums/seminars. Not only has he tried to interest me, with only a negative response, but has successfully recruited his flat mate. She has attended several courses, but in private she has complained to me that they are bullying her and trying to make her spend as much time as possible at their london HQ to the detriment fo her work. Fortunately she is gradually coming to see Landmark as a cult and that their practices are based on a similar 'techniques' to the Scientologists: eg: tell you there is something seriously wrong with your psyche and only they have the courses/info to help, no doubt at great expense. However, the problem remains with my longtime friend and he is still actively recruiting people. I have asked him not to try this on with any of my friends, but when you have known someone for so long it is almost impossible to distinguish between his friends and my friends. I will direct friends to this excellent website and would appreciate any feedback on how to tackle this issue with possible 'recruits' to prevent my social life turning into a sinister 'body snatchers' scenario.

NoLandmark replies: Landmark was founded by a Scientologist who stole their techniques. I like to think my website affords some kind of immunity to the Landmark infection. Sending your friends here to get vaccinated is a good idea, but make sure you get to them before Landmark does! Hey, now we've got two NoLandmark-certified films: "Fight Club" (written by a Landmarkian) and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

Date: 22 Dec 2002
Subject: landmark?
From: AC

I have been invited to attend their forum on scholarship. What, they can't get enough people to fork out $375.00 on their own, so they give the forum "free"? Your site is getting me thinking about NOT attending. Why waste my vacation on this program and spend $500 for a hotel I will not enjoy because I am "holed-up" in a roomful of people for 14-15 hours a day!? Please e-mail me back, I would love to talk more about your experiences with this organization.

NoLandmark replies: You have good instincts. I will have to investigate this "scholarship" program...perhaps I should apply?

Date: 20 Dec 2002
Subject: excellent site!
From: Steve

One of my roommates has been a dues paying cult member for a year or two now. From time to time I've searched the net to find some info to try and help her & to share with her/my other friends who have differing levels of concern over her involvement with them, your site is by far the best resource I've found (I'd seen some of the info/stories you linked to before). Anyways, just wanted to say great job... keep up the good work, and if you didn't know - you're the top search result on google for the query:
"Landmark Forum" cult

good job -

NoLandmark replies: Thanks!

Date: 16 Dec 2002
Subject: Digging up the past
From: Butterfly

I have recently been contacted by an ex-boyfriend whom I haven't heard from for nearly two years. I thought it was strange how he suddenly reappeared in my life. The next thing I thought was strange was that he would phone me always on a Friday night from what sounded like a call centre. This call centre turned out to be the LandMark offices where he spends his Friday nights (how sad is that) phoning people he knows to casually "catch up", but before you know it he's starting to inform you about this course which has changed his life. Next thing you know he's encouraging me to come along to this course and discover it for myself.

My intuition was telling me that something was fishy about this reappearance of a past ex who seemed so interested in letting me know about his life altering experience so I cancelled a "coffee" meeting with him and then didn't return his next few phone calls. That didn't put him off though because he put the literature in the post.

I mentioned the "LandMark" courses to a few friends and those who knew of it didn't seem to think negatively of it but one did agree it seemed like a cult. I am SO GLAD I took the time to search the internet because I was actually considering going along to one of these mumbo jumbo sessions. If he mentions it again I will tell him not to bother me with this garbage again otherwise I won't be responsible for where I kick him.

Having one divorce behind me due to the zealot Jehovah's Witness group snatching my husband, my antennae are twitching at the LandMark concept! Thanks for providing a forum where I could confirm my suspicions.

Kiss kiss :)

NoLandmark replies: Lots of body snatchers out there. Hug hug.

Date: 10 Dec 2002
From: ME

Thankyou for your website and for not printing my name or email address....I am using someone else's computer.

I have just come back from 2 and half days of this workshop. I decided to leave - with just 6 hours to go to 'transformation'. I had no expectations of what LM was going to do or not do., I wanted to consider this 'wonderful' transformation - I had heard from my partner who had done it twelve months ago and to see what it was about. My leaving was met by questions - apparently not for QA, but an explanation for why I was leaving. In landmark speak let me tell you the facts without the story:

LM Are you leaving ?

Me: yes

LM why are you leaving?

Me: two reasons - one I have a headache and secondly, quite separate from the physical discomfort and more importantly- I am bored.

LM: Bored?

Me : Yes

LM: you know you can leave your bags and belongings here and an assistant can go over the road to get you an aspirin. You can go back in the room. I don't want you to miss anything.

Me: No

LM: we can do that for you so that you don't miss out. You are only 6 hours from transformation.

ME: I am not concerned about the construct of "missing out" - I can't miss out on something that I don't know. Your talks mentioned that "I don't know what I don't know" - so I am sure that I won't feel as if I am missing out or gaining - it just is.

I want you to hear that NO is an answer.

LM: I really think we should look at the reasons - I am committed to you gaining this transformation and you have come this far.

ME: You are very kind to feel and express the need to be committed to the program. I don't want you to loose your commitment but I would like you to hear - to really listen and "get it"- NO is a word and an answer.

LM: but why did you come here?

ME: I had no expectations.


LM: but what did you write on the form? You can't have had no expectations.

ME: as I said I had no expectations.

LM but surely you wanted to consider how your life is and why it is not complete.

ME: that is one hypothesis. You have made a conclusion on something you don't know. You don't know what you don't know and yet you are concluding that my life must not 'be complete'....your beliefs applying your own framework are erroneous and a I will invite you to be open to enquiry and to take the opportunity to explore that for yourself that if your organisation openly stated that it made changes to its program years ago because it was 'inauthentic' because it wasn't working and you were being inauthentic - do you think my boredom/discomfort/ unwillingness to stay -may be linked to the possibility that your organisation is being inauthentic now in the present moment? I will admit that I am a fraud

LM; A FRAUD!!???

ME: Yes ....I am being inauthentic to your organisation because I am neither moved touched or inspired by your program and continuing to sit in that room would be inauthentic. I have realised that I would only be staying because I don't want to look bad. But guess what ?!!! I don't care if I don't look good by leaving - I need to be authentic to my physical needs (headache) and mental needs (bored). I am sure you would want me to be authentic. I am following through and taking action. I take responsibility for my boredom and now will act to leave.

LM :interrupts...but I am concerned that you are going to miss out.(realises that she is talking over me) and says...Oh I am sorry for interrupting you.

ME: that's okay to interrupt me - you just be yourself and I like you being yourself....but as I is an answer. No as I said I have a headache - lets sit on the floor so I can be comfortable. You look anxious and disappointed.

LM: but don't you want to be transformed...

ME: I don't know what I don't know. Your company makes a statement that there is no someday.....well I am hearing that by Sunday at 6.00pm I will be transformed and you are telling me know that in 6 hours I will be....and why has it not happened now? Because there is no sounds like a phoney 'someday'....let's face it there is nothing to "happen" and even if it was absolutely going to happen - who cares?.

Now we can continue to have a circuitous conversation but that will waste my time and your time. I am leaving -went to shake her hand and said - I think you are a wonderfully kind person and I can see you are open hearted and sincere in your beliefs and I wish you well.

LM; if you leave now you won't ever be happy

ME: if you need to believe in the hocus pocus of chain mail ...if you do this then that will happen....then I feel concerned for you....

LM: I think you are being self righteous

ME: thank you for your opinion. If you need to label the behaviour in that way to feel comfortable please do so. I see where you are coming from, I don't agree, but I appreciate your opinion.

GOOD bye.

Nolandmark.... I do not want to be associated in any way with this type of thinking. I will never speak of this experience again. I found the whole thing very very very silly....and absurd

NoLandmark replies: It never ceases to amaze me every time a Landmarkian manages to accuse a nonbeliever of being "self-righteous." There is only one actor here that qualifies for that description, and it sure isn't you! Of course, Landmark has cleverly redefined the term to mean its own opposite.

Date: 5 Dec 2002
Subject: another story for the archives
From: Evvie

I just had an experience that I found violating of my personal and professional rights with Landmark Forum people attempting to corral me into their fold i.e.: control me.

I am a pretty well-known, talented freelance artistic director and writer who was hired by the Grady's to consult, create, and produce a national mailer and advertising program for the Bali-headquartered jewelry designer. A husband and wife team (most people call them "wackos", though I will refrain from the derogatory names such as the husband/famed designer, John, would call me. The Grady's are immensely talented and hot right now (he- creative, she - operations). The wife, Cyn, hired me at an allegedly secure and decent monthly contract rate which stipulated it was on the condition of her husband's "sanctioning" me by a certain date. He agreed, with arm twisted by her behind his back. (She knew it was a $3mil+ profit center.)

I had to travel to Bali to be "interviewed by the vampires" and sanctioned. There I was:
- subjected to rude and reptilian treatment
- required to participate in survivor hikes up and down the ravines of Bali
- designated sleeping quarters on their compound
- and being locked up/gated w/o drivers on their compound since they wouldn't pay for a hotel
- Sunday brunches with cult leaders who have exploited the Indonesian people and laugh about it
- a barrage of negativity regarding my personality (which "he" perceived as being "stupid", too Christian, lah-di-dah socialite, Upper East Side NYC - none of which I'm characterized by others as those demographic "labels" are irrelevant to my work and my personality), and ...
- being air transported thru Jakarta + 4 more cities in economy class during the worst of political seasons because they wouldn't pay for a better route or business class. I made 2 RT's to Bali and back the Summer of '02 and did not want to return without a colleague. (Unbelievably, they agreed, as said colleague was "FORUM")

Tho they all (he, his wife and entire company) loved my work, he proceeded to tell me how he didn't like me personally, and that I'd have to go to the Landmark Forum to "get it". At first, I was open, but The LF wouldn't take me w/o a Dr's excuse (which I provided) having taken a low-dose anti-anxiety after Sept. 11th in nyc. However, the scheduled Forum weekend conflicted with a mandatory court appearance for increased child support, and I could not change it, therefore was not able to attend. I was commanded to "Lose the Lawyer, join the Forum, come back to Bali" where "everything would 'work out just fine'." I attempted to keep them placated by saying I wanted to eventually take a course, but couldn't now, that it was my priority to settle things for my child's behalf now.

To make a long story short, I was pressed to decide: "So, Evvie, what'll it be? Your story or the possibility of a life. Time to decide. Get on or off this boat now." I got off, not knowing the consequence would be a total loss of income and a suspended contract after they loved my performance, and I delivered.

In addition, it put an indelible strain and a wall on a 20 year friendship with my colleague who, coincidentally, was a Landmark Forum Grad, and began proselytizing and became overly arrogant with me as well. I lost all trust in him. We have no real friendship left, just the history of one. Mind you, I was the only one with the ability to create and deliver this particular project under the time/ budgetary constraints/creative demand, though none of that was recognized.

Now broke and confused, I want to go on the record as saying: "The Forum Kills Spirits Who Don't Choose to BELONG". They have no ethics in regards to commitments with others and manipulated me into believing I was the one reneg'ing. Too complicated to even make heads or tails of.


I believe that these people are playing with peoples' lives and well-being for their own personal benefit. I believe they are dangerous and that there should be a governing social agency that prevents them from forcing employees to join.

BUT ... I survived them.

NoLandmark replies: The reality of the situation would seem to be that they needed your skills...but reality (ie your "story") is irrelevant in light of the need to recruit. [note: I substituted a ficticious name (Grady) because we don't use last names here.]

Date: 3 Dec 2002
Subject: Thanks
From: Katharyn

Thanks for the site. I was "invited" last night by an acquaintance. Was initially amazed by his story, but checked their site today. Promises seemed great (red flag!), but it was waaaaaaaaaaay to vague. The further I read, the more weirded-out I got. After a few more minutes of reading their claptrap I was embarrassed to have their site up on my screen at work (glaring red flag). Thanks for helping me to steer me clear of this weirdness!!

NoLandmark replies: One reader wrote a play called Landmark Forum and the Red Flags.

Date: 1 Dec 2002
Subject: For Jackie
From: Aggie

Jackie opened her experience by stating that her story is not very interesting. It hit home base for me. Her description of the guy who tried to recruit her sounds like a guy I dated only a few months ago. I am scared and alarmed by the "possibility" that it could be the same guy. Thank you, Jackie, for submitting your story even though you felt it may not have the impact as some of the other stories on this website. I have decided to NOT attend the Forum and to NOT continue to correspond with the fella who suggested that I attend.


Corboy note: Will post Jackie's story next.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Getting back my life and thoughts after LGAT/ Landmark
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 27, 2014 10:34PM

quote)Date: 26 Aug 2002
Subject: Landmark
From: Jacki

My story is not that interesting, I just wanted to contribute to your website as I have a small story that recently occurred to me.

I was recently dating a guy who seemed to be wonderful in that he was open to trying everything, ambitious, intelligent and charismatic.

I eventually asked him about how he had gotten so confident and he first mentioned the Landmark Forum. After a few more weeks he asked if I was interested in attending a visitor night and put a little pressure on about how he met lots of people through it and lots of his friends were involved.

As I was letting my guard down with this guy, I decided I had nothing to lose and went to the seminar where i was sequestered with two other newbies for 3 1/2 hours of talking.

I admit that some of the techniques they showed us on how to get past our fears and be happier sounded easy and fantastic and when they starting pushing me on signing up I decided to put a deposit down against my better judgement. I know that was completely my own fault and I don't blame them for that.

During the next few weeks of being with the guy who signed me up, he started to show some interesting aspects of his personality. Like his complete lack of compassion towards my fear of sex as my father has sexually abused me and he mentioned that was something I had made big in my head and I should just let it go.

Then he failed to show any sympathy towards his friend who had recently lost a close relative. All in all, I just started noticing that he wasn't a very nice person. Friendly, yes, charismatic, sure, outgoing, definitely.

Then I found out that he was seeing another girl on the side who he was also taking to the seminars and to think he preached to ME about INTEGRITY!!!!

So to make a really long story short, after speaking to some of his long time friends, it appears that he has gone through some massive changes since he took the forum and not good ones.

It appears as with any cult/religion/faith/following, you can twist and convert it into anything you want. I'm disappointed in myself for falling for the pitch.

I hope your website will reach many others and I wish I had seen it sooner. Thank you.

NoLandmark replies: People who make up their own realities generally make up ones that suit themselves, not others.

Hang on to your hats folks, this is a long, sad story from an insider
Date: 25 Aug 2002
Subject: let life be a journey
From: Emily

Dear Friend,

I completed the landmark forum a few days ago and, though I experienced euphoria, some breakthrough conversations with loved ones, and gained valuable insights into myself that are useful, overall the experience (esp. the tues night session) was so disturbing to me that it caused psychological trauma.

Trauma is not a general term meaning "it was upsetting," it is a word used to describe a specific emergency response in the body and brain to an extremely upsetting event.

Prior to attending the forum I was in good mental health, an empowered and joyful individual. i am not someone who is angry she got yelled at or didn't feel liked by the Forum leader. to the contrary he made me out to be the star of the weekend. at first i got sucked in, then i realized what was going on and it just devastated my sense of safety.

I am now pulling all of my resources together to return to the level of well-being and empowerment I had prior to attending the Forum so i can be present to my grad school course work and students beginning next week. i know a lot of people get some or a lot of good out of this, but for me it was a dangerously mixed bag.

getting complete with every single thing in your past over three days was like having the rug pulled out from under me.

i discovered the hard way that i grow best and my psyche can best handle closing doors, addressing forgiveness needs in relationships and coming to personal insights one by one, not everything all at is so much to process...if done bit by bit, the psyche can collapse, shut down as if to say "stop...let me digest the chocolate cake before you order a shrimp cocktail!"

i am providing you with a detailed account of what i experienced and my perspective on this as a recent participant and clinician.

i worked at a level one trauma center and am sad to recognize that my body and psyche are showing signs that i'm processing the landmark experience (especially the closing session marathon sales pitch) as a trauma.

what concerns me most about this organization is that they believe they are sincere about saving the planet-- when really they're creating people who are told they cannot feel negative emotions or have a critical lens that is constructive.

(i'm all for getting rid of true rackets-- it's about knowing how and when to use your critical lens constructively, not completely eradicating it.) there are some volunteers such as one friend who has supported me in recovering from the trauma i experienced after attending, who are committed to making sure landmark doesn't use mind control techniques--but it still happens.

over the course of the weekend i had moments when i considered ending my professional work as a mental health clinician and sending everyone to landmark ( i was feeling that euphoric), but i realized through the aftermath i'm experiencing that there is a wisdom to the slowness of the therapeutic process as used by social workers and psychologists.

it can provide the healing and separation of facts/ "what happened" from "story/drama about the facts" and retrain the critical observer in each of us to function constructively in our service and the service of others instead of completely eradicating it (as does landmark).

the forum leader mistakenly said that psychologists do the opposite of this-- that we create "drama/stories." he defamed psychology twice and insisted that landmark was not psychology, when several of the techniques resonated or are seem to be borrowed from cognitive behavioral therapy.

i an concerned by his dismissal of psychology b/c there was a woman on the weekend living with chronic mental illness who came to me, tearful and appearing strung out as if on a drug to tell me she created the "possibility" that she no longer has manic depression (a chronic illness with chronic medication needs analogous to diabetes), no longer need medication or therapy, saying this not knowing her euphoric state was most likely temporary, and that she would probably crash worse than most people b/c of her bipolar status.

people can get hooked on landmark, like a drug-- taking the classes to return to that euphoric state. i heard of one person who took it seven times- granted this is what i heard and i do not know this person myself. a psychologist who encourages you to continue therapy and/or medication can then easily be dismissed b/c they are "not landmark." they must not be enlightened and should themselves take the Forum.

when you are in a room with 100 other people, haven't slept or ate much and are encouraged not to use the bathroom b/c you might miss some crucial element for you (the exact words were "like missing the best part of a good movie."-- though they do not stop you or pressure you not to go), your ego boundaries are broken down and you begin to take in the messages being given and build trust in the one delivering them.

The pressures to register, the manipulation and feeling i was used by this organization to get more recruits, combined with the realization that they attempted to remove me of my critical observer and emotional life in a way that could be useful to them, caused me much psychological suffering.

i am sad to notice I am experiencing some classic ptsd responses to things that remind me of the forum. these are ways the body and psyche processes and are altered by traumatic events, to heal and protect from further harm.

i'm going to avoid any weekend self-growth seminars b/c i don't want this to happen again. my body's strong reaction to them will make sure of it. examples: startle response to things that remind me of landmark ( i did not laugh when a friend joked that i might be brainwashed if i listen to this other guy's view on politics), avoidance-- asked my friend to call landmark and ask them not to call me ever again so i wouldn't have to talk to anyone from there again), disturbed sleep, have crying spells and want to sleep for hours to avoid the pain of hearing the forum leader's manipulative voice in my head.

i have recommitted to my profession ( i am a grad student now) b/c i think therapy is safe for people. done individually-- so there are no influences of mass psychology. and the therapist does not pressure the client to serve his/her interests or use the cognitive techniques they teach to control the client's thinking about what s/he is doing/wants from them as their therapist--- i think this in and of itself is the crucial distinction.

i also found that the only emotion allowed in landmark was feeling love or power, while psychologists acknowledge the importance of feeling and learning to express the wide range of human emotions (positive and negative) in constructive manners. to remove humans of critical observer and their emotional life (distinct from creating "stories" or "drama") is to attempt to remove their humanity, thus leaving them open to mind control. if being "angry" and criticizing is my "racket," and I am convinced it is always my racket, then it is my racket, not my authentic self that is angry at landmark when they used pressure. get how it works?

I have attended other self-growth seminars that used some of the yelling techniques and physical limitations but for me they did not cause trauma, as did landmark.

in fact i experience a lot of euphoria and several breakthroughs during the weekend...things were going well until tues night, the closing session.

we were told to bring all our family and friends, that it would be a great night of sharing everything we gained and a big celebration..."you don't even know what's in store-- it will be the best night of your life..." so i invited my loved ones...they took advantage of people feeling especially close post-forgiveness conversations to hook people to attend the tues night session, which turned out to be one big long sales pitch that turned into a pressure cooker to enroll our guests in the landmark forum and ourselves in the advanced course.

I grieve that I got up and shared in the beginning b/c my story was then used as a sales pitch. I got up and spoke b/c a lot of time was spent on me during the weekend and i didn't yet realize that we were manipulated and misled regarding the true purpose of the closing session.

I was jokingly referred to as the "celebrity" of the weekend and my breakthrough was a catalyst for a lot of other people to have personal insights about themselves. due to my ivy league educational background, i was selected by the forum leader as a person who would "especially" be powerful and make a difference in the world by the forum leader who kept referring to me all weekend-- he actually contradicted the supposed purpose of the forum by saying i had more to offer than others.

I am not someone griping b/c they got yelled at or felt disliked. everyone "loved" me on tht weekend. .the pressures tues night and the use of mind control techniques to dissuade resistance to registering was so severe and upset me so deeply that it caused trauma to me...the "star" of the weekend. The following is an example of what occurred on my tues night.

several of us shared what we learned about ourselves/touching conversations we had with loved ones during the weekend, each story was interspersed with a cheesy sales pitch. our guests were then told to turn to us and ask us point blank, "shold I register for the landmark forum. go ahead and take 2 minutes and ask the person who brought you here, should i register for the landmark forum."

i, who believe in free will and respect the fact they we are all on our own journey and timing with what we choose to do, how and when, told my friends I got a lot out of it, that i was disturbed by the sales technique and there was of course no pressure for them to attend. the forum leader then asked us if we were just wishy washy in our invitations to register or did we really "stand for the possibility" of our guests. he then told our guests to ask us again, "should I register for the landmark forum." and told us to tell them "yes," or "no" and not be 'wishy washy" about it. i started to get and disturbed as did one of the volunteers-- who told me he could not express himself openly with me b/c one of the other volunteers would overhear.

i was embarassed that i had brought my friends, whose wedding i'm standing up in next month. my friend's fiance was so angry he wouldn't talk with me. they left immediately. i felt awful. thankfully they are generous and believed me when i said i had no idea it would be like this.

next our guests were broken into groups to attend what I was led to believe was going to be an educational exercise for them. my third guest later shared that all that happened was a continuation of the sales pitch.

her questions were always responed to very vaguely and she began to recognize brainwashing technqiues at work (she has her master's in education), such as repetition of the phrase "register for the landmark forum.." they were given a bathroom break combined with a second opportunity to register. she told a volunteer she was "starving," was probably going to sign up but had to go get something to eat. the volunteer pressured her to stay, "it will only take a little longer." she left anyway. she was still thinking about taking the forum despite her red flags until we spoke the next day-- it is very alluring when you're there and see everyone in "zombie" mode which at first glance seems like true peace and joy").

meanwhile we were in the main room and our guests were not allowed to enter. they continued to pressure us as to why we didn't "stand for the possibility" of our guests by firmly "inviting" them to register. they told us that 8 people had registered. we were happy for those 8 people. then we realized they angry that it was only 8.

most participants were still in a state of euphoria from the physical and emotional techniques used on the weekend so they believed the leader when he said "don't you want your guests to get what you got this weekend? stand if you invited someone to tonight's session and they didnt' come. great, you should feel good about inviting them. stand if you invited someone and they came. great. stand if you invited someone and "stood for their possibility" -- if you asked them to register and they said yes. excellent. stand if you invited someone, they came but you didn't stand for their possibility, that is they didn't register. okay, now stand if you don't stand for the possibility of your loved ones-- that's fine, just be honest about it. if you don't want them to get what you got this weekend..." we were then told since we have "no self" because we compelted our past and can do anything with the present/future, we needed to create a possibility for ourselves, then actually create that and learn how to be it by taking the advanced course (e.g. suggested that were were now landmark dependent.)

a similar series of standing up techniques were used to pressure and humiliate us into signing up on the spot for their advanced course.

i saw that i was going to have to stand up when he called for "those that are not going to stand for their possibility by registering for the advanced course." so i left the room. i felt like i was sneaking out and got negative looks from the volunteers. you see, one of my "rackets" discovered over the weekend was leaving when something bothered me. this is an example of how the techniques that can be applied usefully in one's real life were used for the purpose of mind control and pressure. so i did what felt safe for me.

i just left.

at this point I was actually frightened of the possible response of the forum leader to me, "the star" of the weekend stood up and said I was not going to register on the spot for the advanced course. even though we were taken through a "fear" exercise to show us how absurd it is to be afraid of anyone in the world...e.g. that we should trust everyone like the forum leader, the "coach" who is to be unquestioned simply because we paid him.

when i left the room, i walked past volunteers who were standing at the door to make sure none of the guests entered the room.

I have been pulling together all of my resources to regain the well-being and empowerment I had prior to attending the forum. I am a mental health clinician and educator who has attended other self-growth seminars where I did not have this experience. I am sad now that I ignored my intuition when it told me to look on the web for perspectives on landmark b/c my life will be different from now on. I am no victim and will survive this experience, but I will have to spend a lot of time, energy and money healing from this experience

the pressures to register with other seminars did not nearly approach the mind control techniques used by the landmark forum leader. I will give you an example.

have worked with trauma victims and families. I have been very sad to recognize that my body and psyche are processing my escape from a near-brainwashing experience as trauma.

I am no victim but the reality for me now is that my life is changed and I understand firsthand what some of my clients are dealing with. I attended a party this weekend and a japanese friend jokingly warned me "if you listen to his view on united states he will mind control you, be careful." It triggered deep suffering in me.

I noticed that envelopes i was using to mail something were made by a company that happens also to be called landmark, and it triggered tears. i believe tears are one of the body's ways of healing so I've been letting myself cry a lot, trying to get out of my body the suffering that resulted for me when i realized what they were doing.

I have been suffering so much that my landmark volunteer friend was even concerned when he heard about the type and amount of pressure used by Scott Forgee, my forum leader.

I was relieved to hear you acknowledge this as one possible outcome of doing this seminar, as friends I've been speaking with about it don't understand how the pressures to register people for the forum and yourself for the advanced course could cause psychological trauma. if you're someone who is sensitive and intelligent, it is easy to see what's going on, and in my case this caused me trauma. i have never experienced trauma (a term used to define an external event that temporarily or permanently damages a physical and/or emotional system) firsthand before and now that i am going through it, am grateful you are warning people that this is a risk they take when participating in thius particular seminar. I am trying to focus on the good thing that came out of the forum for me, but i think it will be a while, until after i heal a bit.

i read your "who wrote this page."

and was very touched by your acknowledgement that landmark has left a lot of bruised souls in its wake. i have been deeply bruised, am determined to use this experience to know how best to respond if i ever have a client or loved one approach me to ask about attending. you are doing a service and i find just your acknowledgement of what happened to me as being real to be comforting and assist with my healing. you may not realize that providing this website is a service for people like me who experienced real harm to help facilitate our healing process-- talking about a trauma is the crucial step/sign someone is beginning to heal from it. i worry when people are so traumatized by an event they can't speak. i was there for a day and half with landmark..

i went to check out the church of scientology when i worked as an interfaith hospital chaplain (trauma, oncology, psychiatry) to learn about the "religion" in case i had a patient who was from that church. my work as a chaplain was to work with people from within their belief system. they tried to recruit me and i was appalled at how anti-medication they are-- some psychiatric illnesses are life threatening and medication is one important resource that helps alleviate people's real suffering. the ignorance and insensitivty apalled me, as i saw that medication helped a lot of people i was working with get back to themselves, like coming back from the dead so they could use therapy constructively....(not that i'm for overmedicating..i'[m conservative with it...)

anyway, thank you. from a 27 year old grad student with much good to give to the world, much to recover from landmark so i can do that again--

NoLandmark replies: Thanks for sharing your story--I think it will help others who read this.(unquote)

Options: ReplyQuote
Golden oldies 2003 description of the homework exercise
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 27, 2014 10:37PM


(quote)Date: 17 Aug 2002
Subject: One thing you forgot to mention about Landmark
From: Nick

As a participant in the forum, I can attest that everything you mentioned is most certainly true. However, the homework assignment is crucial in terms of how they persuade you to find more people. The homework assignment on the first night is to write a letter forgiving someone who has wronged you in the past. In fact, they brainwash you into forgiving every single person in the world who has wronged you in the past so those people will naturally say to you "What's gotten into you?" Then you of course mention Landmark and they're off and running. The homework assignment is how they hook people. They drag you through a torturous day from 9 am to 12 PM and then ask you to forgive everyone. Your defenses are so worn down by that point that you do it without thinking. And the other thing; if you happen to think critically, they tell you that it's a "story." Anything that contradicts what Landmark might teach is a story. One person said at the Forum "What you're teaching sounds like existentialism." The Forum leader said "You may think that, but it's a story." They've borrowed from Zen, Mystical traditions, you name it, but it's all out of context and meant to benefit their pocketbooks.

All in all, you've got Landmark sized up pretty damn well!

NoLandmark replies: Independent thought is a "story."

Date: 15 Aug 2002
Subject: Landmark
From: Robert

I don't know where I stand on Landmark- although I am quite suspect.

I recently was dumped by a girlfriend of 2 months, we were talking marriage and all of the things that go with it. Everything was wonderful, except that I noticed that her family was always in constant contact with one another. If she didn't get a call from a family member, then she had to call them to find out was what going on every day. Her mom was her best friend, her brother was her best friend. Her entire family including cousins were her best friends. (They all went to Landmark together as a family). I made the mistake of bringing the fact up that it seemed odd that she had to talk to her family every day, and of course she was very defensive. This girl also has very few real friends outside of her family. She is 24 but feels the need to take care of all of her family members as if they were children. They all do that for each other. There seems to be very little independence or want of any. I started to feel like I would never be as important as her family (a must if I was going to be her husband), and she took that as me trying to make her decide between choosing them or myself. To make a long story short, she broke up with me because I couldn't "deal with the fact that she was close to her family".

I feel I'm close to my family, but I'm not co-dependant with them. I haven't taken the Landmark class, but I am suspect of it's power over people in weakened situations. My girlfriend did not try to recruit me- she did ask me if I'd be interested in going, but she didn't press it. She was however not happy when I said no.

She touted the classes as teaching her how to communicate better with people, but she wasn't able to have a conversation with me about the closeness of her family without being defensive. I understand this because if you base your whole life on one ideal, any question to that ideal can bring up huge anxieties.

NoLandmark replies: Landmark fosters a childish type of codependence.

Date: 13 Aug 2002
Subject: My experience
From: Margarita

I did the Forum in May and started the Advanced at the end of June. It's a long story but to cut it short I was asked to leave after one day and a half 'cause I stood up and said I wouldn't commit to be in that room for four days no matter what (as you might know you are not even allowed to go to the toilet between breaks as "if you can't manage you bladder what can you manage in your life", according to them). I hated the experience, people were offensive, even abusive, the leader was an arrogant insensitive person who still tries to contact me despite my complaint letter in which I asked not be called by them and him specifically ever again. When I left I was in pieces, they reduced me to tears, I was inconsolable for two hours and it took me days to get over the experience. My emotional health has suffered, my anxieties have worsened, just thinking about it I get really anxious, my self-esteem reached rock bottom as I was humiliated in front of 100 people while in tears. I got my money back but the emotional distress they caused me, that's something they can't repair. They have tried to change my mind about them, they say I am blaming them for the way I feel, that I have unresolved issues, etc.They don't seem to be able to accept how I feel about them. I just want them to leave me alone. This web-site is great, very useful and realistic. I wish I read it before getting involved with them. Please don't use my name and surname on the web-site.

NoLandmark replies: I made up a name for you.

Options: ReplyQuote
2003 from a mental health professional, effects on a boss, etc
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 27, 2014 10:45PM



Date: 01 Mar 2002
Subject: Landmark Feedback
From: DS

To the author of the site, -and to any others who may read this.

Numerous points have been raised, both for and against Landmark. I cannot address all points, but here are a few: I am, amongst other things, a trained psychotherapist. I have done the Forum, and personally, I felt genuinely and actually brainwashed when I'd finished the weekend! Any advantages that can be gained from Forum, can be gotten just as well from other, (and safer), forms of self-growth processes, via group or individual work.

A proper, ethical and professional attitude is not evident or existing, within the Landmark process. They merely seem to cover themselves against potential legal action. Any real therapist or teacher acting as these 'coaches' do, would likely lose their professional accreditation very quickly.

There is no proper 'after care' service provided for the 'clients'. And the techniques they use are exactly of the same ilk as those used by covert military units (etc) to interrogate and 're-program' people.

Some of Landmarks 'party tricks' (-such as: "Hey! -We cured your headache!") can be done by anyone, at anytime, but such tricks tend to convince the more gullible amongst us! *And* they know in advance that quite a few people *will* have headaches by that stage of the proceedings, because of the pressures they purposely design into the process; (ie: long hours, rushed food breaks, little sleep, -and then telling folk "not to buy or use any over-the-counter drugs or medicines". (They never told me why not!)

The author of the main article here speaks of physical abuse at Landmark's events. I would be surprised if that actually took place. I am informed that the 'coaches' are trained *never* to physically touch the participants, this is probably to avoid potential litigation!

However, I did personally witness a high level of deliberate verbal abuse, very frequent personality attacks, etc, which had the effect of humiliating and reducing many individuals to tears. No psychotherapist would ever attack a client in this way. It is unnecessary, unskillful and potentially very damaging.

What I personally witnessed was real bullying (often of small females!) by one very tall, loud, Australian male called David Ure, who obviously enjoyed rubbishing other people, breaking down all resistance, to then reform them in the Landmark-dependent mold. He also boasted often, saying such things as "You cannot win an argument with me, I have two degrees, one in Political Philosophy" (unquote). Such degrees and braggart behaviour are useless in a genuine therapeutic or teaching environment David!

Many of the phrases used in the 'script' that the coaches read from, were obviously lifted from an assortment of older material, such as Zen, assorted philosophers, bits of personal development stuff, and snippets of religion and such.

The only originality I perceived was in the use of certain bits of jargon that Landmark has invented for itself, -which is hardly rocket science, and convinces only the gullible that they are getting something a bit extraordinary for their money!

Landmark calls itself 'educational', this is deceptive. I might add that I am personally also a trained teacher (adult education) and the Landmark 'coaches' broke many of the golden rules of real teaching!

Beware people, -if you are thinking of doing the course...

About (?) one third or more of the course seems to be given over to hard and soft-sell tactics, often dressed up as something other.

It is undeniable that some folk there did end up feeling that they had successfully resolved family or other relationship problems, -but they could have got to that place equally well, by working with a trained therapist, -and with less potential risk!

I have been checking out Landmark for a while now, and know there are a lot of really heartbreaking casualties out there now, -suffering long-term psychological illness and distress, after doing Landmark's programs. This applied also to the older (forerunner)'est' group, and I believe even more to Scientology, -(an even darker force than the first two mentioned!!)

This fact is never mentioned by those who run the Forum courses. The coaches are, in my professional opinion, dangerous amateurs, who irresponsibly practice upon usually misled participants, and have no professional, or independent, supervising body overseeing their work (unlike most other practitioners who work in similar fields with people).

And unlike other practitioners, Landmark seeks to sell itself repetitively, all through the course. If it was really *that* wonderful and marvellous, it wouldn't have to take such extreme measures, -would it?

If I have genuinely helped someone to be rid of some problem or phobia or whatever, or had taught them a subject successfully, I would simply see them to the door, and away they fly!

I do not spend a third of the session trying to inveigle them to return to later sessions and, (what's more), insist they bring the rest of their family and friends with them, to listen to my sales pitch! That would be preposterous!! But this is how Landmark operates, unfortunately.

There are a few aspects of what Landmark (and other groups) do, that I could see as being potentially beneficial, to individuals and society at large. But such work should be carried out by more ~authentic~ and ethical practioners and organisations.

Those like Landmark are far too interested in the cash, and not enough in the ethics and standards that are usually firmly in place; These safeguards are not just to protect therapists and teachers, but the most important people in the equation, -our students and clients.

I would advise everyone who reads this not to be duped by those who have themselves been duped, (taken-in, brainwashed, -or whatever).

Give Landmark a miss!

"One who happily escaped their clutches!"

NoLandmark replies: Great info, thanks.

Date: 01 Mar 2002
Subject: My experience
From: Jennifer

Last year, a woman who I considered my mentor and friend attended the Landmark Forum. She came away from this experience so profoundly moved that I attended the introductory session and a few months later signed up for the Forum.

I began having doubts about the Forum in the weeks leading up to my attendance, but since I had told my mentor I would go, I attended the first day. From 8am until nearly midnight, we were locked in a room at their local headquarters building and "engaged in conversations" about our innermost personal selves. As I'm sure you know, there were few breaks.

As it happened, the day that I was at the Forum was shortly after Sept. 11. I worked in an industry that was badly impacted by the swift economic downturn, and that day was sort of a "Black Friday" at my company - while I knew my job was safe, every time we had a break I was on the phone with my office seeing who else had been fired (approximately 15% of our staff was let go on that day). To top it off, this was also the day that my boyfriend found out he was being transferred to an office in another state, and wanted to know if I would go with him.

Needless to say I was unable to focus on the Forum. I was extremely restless and almost angry by the time they let us go, since they had initially stated that we would be done by 11pm and it was nearly midnight when we were "released". Fortunately I had not booked a room close to the headquarters as they suggested; I lived nearly an hour away, but figured I would rather have a little time to spend with my boyfriend and our dogs each night than be isolated for the weekend. By the time I got home, I was completely overwhelmed; considering the distance of the drive, the two more lengthy days that lay ahead of me and the fact that they had given us homework assignments that would further eat into the little amount of time I had for sleep, I made up my mind that I would not go back. I had more important life decisions that needed to be dealt with that weekend.

My "mentor" never forgave me for backing out of the Forum. She told me that the second day would have been much easier, which I am certain it would have considering that we would all have been sufficiently sleep and sensory deprived by that time to be much more amenable to the "conversations". The kicker for me was when she told me that my needing to be with my boyfriend and have real conversations about our future and the potential move were decidedly less important than the Forum and could have waited until afterward - she said the decisions would have been easier in light of what I learned from the Forum.

Despite her failed attempts to make me feel guilty, the more I thought about what I experienced in that day of the Forum, the happier I was that I did not complete it. LEC of course called me to see why I dropped out, and they made sure to tell me that I had not really experienced the Forum since I had not "completed my commitment" and stayed through the entire weekend.

But I know enough about cults to be able to recognize basic brainwashing techniques, and if I wanted to be "broken down and rebuilt" then I would have gone into the military, where at least I would have gotten paid for it!

Keep up the good work. It's important to let people know what they are dealing with in terms of this organization.

NoLandmark replies: Yes, the military would be a great alternative!

Date: 24 Feb 2002
Subject: I've been a guest
From: Lila

A few years back, I was asked by my boss to attend a visitor's night to be introduced to the Landmark Forum. She had done the 3 1/2 day course and had now just begun the Advanced course. She seemed happier and more in tune with herself, so I thought I should give it a try. After all, it was recommended to her by her well respected therapist.

I could not believe what I found. They would not answer my questions. They used many phrases that sounded like answers, but weren't. They were so pushy and kept telling me that I had to sign up. Didn't I want a better life? blah, blah, blah.... I got a really strange vibe from all the members. The feeling I got was that they wanted to reel people in and make them dependent. That way, you would continue to take their courses (because you NEED the Forum to have a better life) and pay large sums of money to do so.

I left without signing up, but I did receive a phone call every night for a week telling me how I needed to sign up and change my life. They were relentless!

Now, years later, I have seen the effects of the Forum on my former boss. She has changed from a caring, warm person to a cold hearted you know what! It all started soon after she began the Advanced course. She has been verbally abusive and condescending to me and many others. Many people have left the organization I work for because of her belittling attitude. I guess she thinks that's what it means to be successful and in control of your life. She thought she was powerful, but recently was demoted due to her office falling apart and the constant complaints against her.

I would steer clear of the Forum. I honestly believe it is a form of brainwashing.

NoLandmark replies: I hesitate to use the term brainwashing because the word has a paranormal connotation...but it is accurate nonetheless, and a standard practice among cult leaders.

Date: 21 Feb 2002
Subject: Thank you for your website
From: Craig

I'm enrolled to do this nightmare tomorrow, and was only alerted to do some more research by a friend who said "isn't that part of scientology ?".

A little digging found your site which clearly tells me what I need to know about these sharks.

I'll take the refund tomorrow.

NoLandmark replies: Another one saved! Yeehaaa!(Unquote)

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Getting back my life and thoughts after LGAT/ Landmark
Posted by: bd ()
Date: August 05, 2020 11:43PM

does anyone have an example of a script from landmark that people read to their friends to try and recruit them for the forum?

i remember my friend trying to get me involved with some words that are not super commonly used. maybe it was kerfuffle?

i'm not good at keeping text messages :-( and i'd like to write a novel using some of the language. thank you!

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Re: Getting back my life and thoughts after LGAT/ Landmark
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: August 06, 2020 11:02PM


I was involved with Landmark for a little over a year. During seminars, they would train us on how to anticipate and sidestep peoples' reasons, (or according to them, "excuses"), for not attending, but we weren't actually given a script for recruiting people.

The Forum leaders do follow an actual script, but the rank and file participants are just told to notice what their would-be recruits are concerned about, and offer Landmark as the solution. There was role-playing, where one person would try to recruit, and the other would come up with reasons they could not attend. I felt like I was watching them train cattle dogs. The goal of the "recruiter," would be to come up with an immediate solution for whatever reason was given, examples were:

Target: " I can't, because I will be out of town that week."
Recruiter: " That's fine. We have another introduction scheduled two weeks later."

Taget: "But i can never find a sitter."
Recruiter: " I have a friend who will babysit for free."

and the perennial favorite,
Target: "I can't afford it."
Recruiter: "I'll loan you the money." (Don't let them do that!!!)

...and on and on ad nauseam. All you can really say is, "No. I'm not interested." And even that may not get them off your back. Then they go to, "Aren't you interested in having a better life?" or "Are you so selfish that you don't want to make a difference?" (eyeroll).

Maybe people are given scripts in the ILP. I never took that course, (and had to tell them over and over that I was not interested), but we were all told to go out and try to rope people in, and no actual script.

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Re: Getting back my life and thoughts after LGAT/ Landmark
Posted by: rafaelrarq ()
Date: November 17, 2020 06:08PM

I took LF in Brazil in 2018, and recently I attended to and evening seminar, that I think that's called in english "living powerfully". But I was an assistant, I took care of the Blog of the Landmark Community.
It's hard to me talk about it, I'm still suffering and have just 2 weeks that I realized what LE really is.
Please people, how did you took your normal life back. I'm trying but all the times I remember the distinctions, I remember that I need to be my word and never be out of integrity.
Please help me. How did you all do this?

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Re: Getting back my life and thoughts after LGAT/ Landmark
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: January 19, 2021 09:59AM


When i realized how far they had gotten with me, i got away from Landmark, and anybody who had any involvement with Landmark. I cut off a lot of people i had once believed to be friends.

If i got a call from or about Landmark, I blocked whatever phone number the call came from.

Then, I surrounded myself with family and old friends who had never been to Landmark. It was sort of hard, at first, because my recruiter had been an alleged friend, before she started Landmark, so i missed that. I just had to accept that she had changed, and was no longer trustworthy.

Then, just get back to doing the things that you enjoyed before you got involved. Have normal conversations with people.

If you run into anybody from Landmark, avoid them as you would avoid someone with a deadly, contagious disease, whom you know you can't help, such as rabies. You really cannot help them, and they are only trying to reinfect you. Run!!!

I wish you a full recovery.

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