All the World's a Stage
Date: September 02, 2018 03:46PM
When a former friend recruited me into doing the Landmark Forum, I was reluctant. Her argument was "It's $500 and a weekend. What have you got to lose?" She was so invested in my doing the Forum that she paid over half of my tuition.
The way that it was presented to me, it was something to try, with no further obligation or strings attached. There seemed to be very little risk. I was given the impression that if Landmark did not work for me, I would be free to get on with my life.
After I did the forum, Landmark principles were pushed into every conversation I had with my recruiter. I would point out to her that many parts of the program did not work for me, and of course, she would point out how it was always my flaws that prevented it from working. In the seminars, the seminar leaders would instruct us to "just try on" certain ideas, to see if they fit. Again, there was allegedly no pressure to actually buy into what they were saying.
Meanwhile, the center manager, and even the Forum leaders, (during the Tuesday night session), would briefly talk about "hard cases," or people who said that Landmark did not work for them. They made vague and fleeting mention of tactics that were used on those people. If there is really no pressure to adopt the philosophy put forth by Landmark, why would anyone be considered a "hard case"? Either you accepted their premises or you didn't, and if you did not, that was supposed to be okay. Only it's not.
Contrary to what they tell you, if you voice any criticism of the program, or ask the wrong questions, you may be subjected to harassment, surveillance - or worse. Most people DO walk away from Landmark without being harassed. I suspect they prefer to harass mostly people who have no clout, (with a few notable exceptions), simply because they assume that they can get by with it. Predators have a tendency to target people who don't have the resources to fight back. I was dirt poor, and they knew that.
My recruiter knew that I had not been blown away by the Forum, and I guess that that, (and my apparent stoicism), made me a "hard case." Although I had been cooperative, I had voiced some mild criticism, and maybe asked a few of the wrong questions. In addition, some of us have noticed that people who are stoic or non-reactive seem to be targeted for an extra level of nastiness.
My recruiter and Landmark had been among the few people who had my cellphone number. Soon after I had completed the Forum, I had been awakened early one morning by a hang-up phone call. This was followed immediately by someone outside of my house, who turned on my outdoor water tap, and left it running full-blast onto the ground. I was forced to go outside to turn it off, and when I did, I looked across the street and saw the culprit standing there with a camera pointed in my direction. Because of this, and everything that followed, I believe that they had put me under surveillance.
One year later, in my last seminar at Landmark, they handed out a pamphlet. Some people would not even touch it to pass it along to the next person. They leaned way back in their seats and put their hands up in the air, so you had to pass it over them to the next person. They obviously knew what was going on. The page on top was a consent form, which stated that we had agreed to receive information about the program that was described therein. It did not state that we had consented to take that program. We had to sign the form and hand it back, before we could even look at the contents. I was an idiot to sign it.
There were about 20 - 25 pages that we could take home and read. We had to return our pamphlets the following week, and I believe that we also had to have agreed to not make any copies, (I wish I had made a copy).
When I think back on what was in the pamphlet, the program description pretty much outlined what could be described as "gangstalking," but they speak, (and write), so as to make it not sound as malicious as it is. The program involved "role-playing" by others, but I have since learned that they won't tell you, at the time, that they are role-playing, or even that they are involved in that program. When I asked questions, I was either lied to or stonewalled. According to the program description, the program ended with a presentation in which details of your personal life were aired in front of the whole group. From my perspective, (now on the other side of it), the program is nothing but a ghastly and vicious "hazing."
It appears to me that the goal of this "program" is to cause fear, confusion and uncertainty in the targeted person's life, and then add public humiliation on top of it, (using information that you never shared with them to begin with). In the implementation of this program, I strongly suspect that they are also collecting Keith Raniere-style "collateral." Every shred of privacy is stripped from the targeted individual, and personal information passed around to random people at Landmark. This will then be repeated back to you. Items that you have thrown into the trash will mysteriously reappear. What they don't tell you is that you apparently don't have to actually sign up for that program to end up being in it, nor will you be informed ahead of time.
Having now been through it, I can say that the gaslighting involved in this program is unimaginably vile, and is capable of causing extreme cognitive dissonance, and paranoia. In the implementation of that gaslighting, they made use of information that I had not given them. Some of this information seems most likely to have been provided by my recruiter, whom I had met in a 12-step group. I had confided much to her, long before I had anything to do with Landmark. She had promised to keep that information to herself. Other personal information was also used, and they must have surreptitiously dug very deeply into my private life to get it. They did not have my consent to do this, but then again, their consent forms seem, more than anything, designed to cover their proverbial asses while not giving away what they actually do to people. Any "consent" that is given is in no way "informed."
Information about this program is concealed, and will not be found on their website, even with a search. I am sure that some of its components are either illegal, or just barely within the law, (and only because the laws have either not kept up with technology, and/or their actions were so outrageous that the laws never anticipated such things).
I had NOT signed up to participate in the program, only to "receive information" about it. Even worse: I had told several people, including the assistant seminar leader, a course supervisor, and my recruiter that further participation in Landmark's programs was against medical advice. On the advice of my therapist, I would be leaving the program, as soon as I finished the seminar I was in at that time. Although they had already started running the above-mentioned "program" on me, they should have stopped immediately. These people really, really need to learn when to quit.
I was enrolled in one of Landmark's seminars, at the time, and had spoken about what was going on to the assistant seminar leader. Since it had been this seminar in which the material was handed out, that should have been enough to get them off my back. From my conversation with him, it was obvious that he knew what was going on. His response was to ask me if I thought I was going crazy. I told him that I wasn't sure. He then told me that if I signed up for the next seminar in the series, that my question as to my sanity would be answered. I recalled the part about the details of my private life being aired in front of the entire class, and wasn't about to go back there. The mind-fuck continued.
Within the same week, my recruiter sent me a text, asking me to call her. When I called, her first words to me were, "Tell me what you know." I responded by saying that I thought she knew more about my situation than I did, and she confirmed this. I told her that she needed to tell me what was going on, and she refused. I had once believed this woman to be a kind person, but it seems that involvement with Landmark had stripped her of any kindness she had ever possessed. The mind-fuck continued.
In conclusion; if someone tries to recruit you into Landmark, and tells you that there's no pressure to actually adopt the Landmark philosophy; either they are lying, or maybe they are new to the program and really don't know any better. You may get out without having your life sabotaged, being put under surveillance or harassed, but then again, you may not. They might go so far as to send their goon squad onto your property, or into public places which you are known, by your recruiter, to frequent. In my case, they did both. From my point of view, there is not one thing in this program that makes it worth running that risk.
The bits and pieces of this program that I have described here barely scratch the surface. It is vile beyond belief. By all rights, this organization should be shut down. Until it is, don't ever sign anything put in front of you by these people!
There were crimes committed as a part of this "program." I strongly believe that Landmark's waiver form would qualify as an "unconscionable contract," if it were challenged in court. I guess you could say that, in posting this, I am challenging it right now.