Jack Oskar Larm
Sorry to sound like the Devil's advocate, but I don't consider a belief in Christian doctrine that different from Landmark's.
Thanks for that, I'm aware of my tendency to be self-effacing. I think this trait of mine comes from years of frustrating debate with advocates of any strong belief system. I suppose you could say I have strong beliefs too, but I like to think they're fluid and not set in stone. I suppose I've come to suspend judgment on so many issues and ideas. So, as you say, I'm not really sorry. I just want to be humble, non-confrontational. I respect a great many voices on this forum, yours included.
You should never apologize for what you believe. I will presume we have differing thoughts on what Christian doctrine is. I'll just state mine: Christian doctrine is first a faith in a God you don't see in the carnal sense, its a faith in a being that created all we do see in existence. It is a faith that operates in the spirit not in the body as we know it. Basically, Christian doctrine is the articulated Will and Presence of a God that you either believe exists or you don't, obviously I do. From that standpoint I can see every difference between Landmark's doctrines and those that are biblical.
From my understanding, the typical Lekkie is also bound by faith in the teachings of LEC. I agree that Landmark doctrine operates more on a carnal level, but it also professes to work on the psychological/spiritual levels of the individual. Having said that, it's important to be clear about what parts of the definition of 'carnal' we're talking about. There's desire and passion, which both doctrines mold to their own guidelines. I think both doctrines try and instill a sense of desire and passion in their pursuit of the 'true way'.
The idea of carnality is also rooted in the 'true' value of this earth we walk upon. Everything about it: the smell of a rose; the squish of mud between your toes; the taste of mango on a hot afternoon at the beach. It's about our own bodies. Fantastic vehicles for sensing and interacting with this temporal world. Obviously, it's about choice: what we chose to touch and mold.
Landmark is based on the selfish misguided notions of a very greedy unempathic human being. Christian doctrines are based on God's will and are intended to serve as not just guidelines for living in the here and now but into an eternity which you either believe in or you don't. Landmark's doctrines say 'get as many people as you can into the Landmark fold and make sure you work them over in such a way as to entrap them spiritually, psychologically, and materially until such time as they run out of money and friends to recruit. Christian doctrines say go out and preach the gospel to all the world that all may be saved, set free, and have eternal life (this is not the exact wording, just the meaning). The intent in this instruction is for people to be set free from what is so binding and enslaving in our human nature, to be set free from the many forms and structures we erect in our minds, perhaps a good word of these structures are 'paradigms'. Essentially, Christain doctrine is all about freedom in spirit, mind, and body. Landmark doctrines say 'lie to people, get them to a forum by hook or by crook and don't ever allow anyone to sabotage this process.' Christain doctrines say tell the truth, love your neighbor, forgive one another, and to give freely of what was given to us freely. Landmark's doctrines are designed to 'mimic' all that we know is good and desire in our hearts and our lives, but are void of the power to produce the qualities it mimics. Christian doctrines do have the power to produce the joy and the fulfillment of our hearts because they are rooted in God, unlike those rooted in werner erhard's dreamings.
If all of Landmark's doctrines were listed from A-Z, I am confident I could find a biblical doctrine that is quite the opposite in nature, intention, and result.
I agree with what you're saying about the 'true' intent of Landmark's doctrine, but from their point of view (the whole lot of them) would disagree with: 'get as many people as you can into the Landmark fold and make sure you work them over in such a way as to entrap them spiritually, psychologically, and materially until such time as they run out of money and friends to recruit.'
They'd tell you that you're misinterpreting their doctrine and they'll have plenty of testimonies to back up their claims. This kind of twisted, subjective logic is not unique to Landmark. I'm gonna say it! It's just as easy to misinterpret the Bible or, for that matter, any doctrine. Just by our observance, our utter naivety, we potentially ruin the exercise of interpretation. I think we have to be careful not to allow our 'emotions' to taint the research, understanding and the debate of whatever we're trying to comprehend, especially if we're willing to have faith in it.
With regard to promising joy and fulfillment, I think both doctrines make similar claims. The number of Lekkies I've spoken to are thoroughly convinced that their life is NOW filled with joy and possibility. I know it's sad.
The Christian Truth and lekkie truth are opposite in nature, one comes from light and the other comes from darkness, if you don't believe in either concept then think of one as being water and the other as being oil. They are two totally different substances and can never be made to intertwine in some way as to produce similar results, in anything. Keep in mind, one set of doctrines serve the human spirit while the other serves erhard's bank account and self aggrandized image. While humanity is made in the image of God, Landmark is made in the image of werner.
So, by that logic, Werner is made in the image of God.
For me, there are so many logic traps in both doctrines (I just want to just go outside and shake my head half the time). You know, I recently read some scholarly text that revealed the misguided logic of many Christians. It was about Pontius Pilate and the wrongful persecution of his deeds by Christians for centuries. Apparently, it was decreed by God himself that Jesus HAD to die, so it was just and right for Pilate to do what he did. He was only following God's will and, therefore, innocent of any blame.
Many, many churches and Christian organizations in the world do indeed set out to make money off its following. Some do so with the intent of using money to increase faith in God. Money is used in a practical sense and nothing more, the workers have to be paid. All the while too many others do it with the intent of getting rich, and distort true Christian doctrines in the process. I believe that the power one is given to do good works is also able to corrupt those who possess it. It is those who have been corrupted or who have chosen to use their power in destructive and selfish ways that create so much misery and misconception about God and His Word.
Landmark definately fits the role of 'just getting rich' and it does so by following the example of the many corrupt churches and the leaders of those churches. Landmark doesn't want to be known as a religion because too many people shy away from the notion of religion but it certainly forges a following from similar tenets that these churches grow on. If not for the template provided by some churches in the world, I doubt if werner would have ever been able to begin his own congregation. If you watch and listen to Landmark's tactics, they lack originality. They haven't shown any innovation in their mission of creating followers, its all copycat, mix n match strategies and some reckless philosophies that produce a similar result that churches do.
Landmark's god is a rich and attention needy man aging comfortably somewhere off the shores of his home country, and Christianity's God is still the Great I AM with the same doctrines and same desire to set people free from the bondages we create for ourselves, or has been created by others for us, and He at least promises an eternity of Glory after this life. Landmark doesn't promise anything but what a few lines of coke might offer and its idea of eternity is the time it takes to the next fully attended forum.
There is just no comparison or similarity between Christian doctrine as it is truly intended, and Landmark doctrines. Landmark chokes the life out of a soul, Christ brings it back to life again.
With regard to employment within either body, they both have many, many people working for them from the goodness of their hearts. As long as there is accountability for either bodies riches, it's fine by me. Obviously, the comparison between these two entities is difficult to make on the grounds that Christianity has become so large and diverse and Landmark is still quite singular in it's infrastructure. A second, and, perhaps, more important, difficulty is the lack of Landmark's written doctrine. Landmark seems to be modeled on the ancient art of storytelling - with a Werner twist, of course.
With regard to originality, I really don't want to go there. All I can say is that Christianity, like Landmark, is founded on much earlier mythologies. In fact, a statement like that is quite oxymoronic, because it is surprising how similar were the stories that came from every corner of the globe that helped to influence the modern ideologies. It's a bit like the 'chicken and the egg' problem. I like to think in circles. Does there really need to be a starting and finishing spot? We live in a paradigm of duality. That's the way it is and we can't have it any other way, especially while we're residence of planet Earth. As humans we are all basically the same. We share the same needs; we follow the same path from birth to death. It seems logical to think that our stories would be very similar (just dressed in different clothes) and, according to someone like Joseph Campbell, they are.
I believe in eternity and I believe that God is Love. I believe that Landmark has a sad ending and has learned nothing about Love for the human race. I don't know what your beliefs are Jack I'm only stating mine. For what its worth, I know for a fact that there is a life after this one because I came really close to going there once. Its real and its forever, its something Landmark can never ever duplicate.
I've had my share of near-death experiences. My three year old son died for a few seconds (loss of blood) and when he was revived he said he saw white horses. On some level, I feel sad that I can't interpret my experiences or his as somehow linked to a Biblical idea or prophesy. It's a complete mystery, but I don't mind because it's in line with my brand of logic. Like I said, we're compelled to experience this life in duality. Any notion of pure singularity is beyond our (my) scope of understanding. There is no precedent. Manufacturing a god is not good enough for me.