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Considering the Forum???
Posted by: andyval ()
Date: September 05, 2003 05:33PM

Please let me know

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Posted by: wolfy ()
Date: September 05, 2003 09:53PM

I live in London and first came into contact with the work of Landmark education about four years ago. My (then) girlfriend did it and I was happy for her to do it, though I didn't think it was for me. I went to a couple of introductions and thought it was all a bit weird, a bit culty and felt pressured.

If I was reading about Landmark for the first time on this board I would definitely not go and find out anything about it. I mean, all these people can't be wrong can they?

I must say that my (I say, my) experience of Landmark is not the same one most other people seem to have had. I did the Landmark Forum about three years ago - I thought "what the hell have I got to lose - some money, a weekend - and if it doesn't work I can feel justfied in criticising it."

I thought it was pretty good actually. I didn't come out feeling brutalised or cheated, there was no God to worship, I didn't have to give anyone any money if I didn't want to and I didn't have to sign over my first born.

I got a lot out of my landmark weekend and the subsequent seminar series. I started to see the ways in which I was holding myself back and could actually do something about it.

I didn't do another Landmark course for three years, which I would hope indicates to people I wasn't brainwashed. I'm just an ordinary guy, with a responsible job, I'm not gullible or insecure. Back in June I participated in the Advanced Course and I got even more out of that than the first one.

For me I've been able to express my love and affection for family members, I've got married, got two kids, been promoted and started to pursue my dream of being a screenwriter. If empowering people to make a posotive difference in the lives of those around them is a bad thing, then I guess the Landmark I know is a bad thing.

I've become aware how I used to blame other people for my own shortcomings, how I never took responsibility, how I lived my life by being right about everything, how I never did anything outside my comfort zone for fear of failing and looking bad... if I'd never done landmark I would have still go through life, just as I had done for the 30 years before that. There was nothing wrong - I didn't need fixing. I just got access to a different way of doing things and was able to make a decision about the kind of life I wanted to lead.

My life now involves me admitting when I made a mistake and clearing it up. I tell those important to me what they mean to me, and I show it. I've given up trying to dominate people with my opinions that I spoke as if they were the truth. I've given up worrying about looking good, or being laughed at - all this has given me incredible access to living a life I love, bringing joy and happiness to those around me.

Is that a bad thing? Does it make me brainwashed?

I dare say there will be people with opinions about me, even though we've never met.

I am not running down the bad experiences people have had - I wasn't there and I don't know what happened - all I'm saying is that the Landmark these people are talking about is not one I know.

Landmark is the bread in my life; it's not my life. It's an amazing technology that - applied correctly - can give people the opportunity to live whatever kind of life they want. Like any technology, it can be abused and go wrong - but the common denominator in any and all systems that don't work is the human condition - whether that comes from the organisers or the participants.

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Posted by: elena ()
Date: September 05, 2003 11:22PM

>>>...Did my life change through Landmark? Yes! Life also changed my life - a life threatening neurological condition, a life threatening bowel disease, my cancer, my family, my marriage, my friends and the birth of my daughter. Oh! and anybody I care to listen to - you never know they may change your way of thinking.>>>

In the early days, and now only slightly disguised or modified and passed down through his clones, Werner Erhard's message was that people became ill because they "chose" to become ill. People succumbed to various disabilities because they "chose" them. People suffered because they "chose" suffering. He adopted(plagarised) this nonsense from scientology with no clue as to how idiotic it was. L. Ron Hubbard's cult taught/persuaded people that they were 100% responsible for EVERYTHING that happened in their lives. Illness, accidents, tragedies, and all the other misfortunate events that befall us. What it amounted to was the equivalent of saying,"I not only have to suffer the disease, but also have to suffer the fact that I did it to myself." This came from the mind of a madman who was a pathological liar and out to control and exploit people. It was a way of frightening the slightly neurotic into being very, very neurotic. Frightened people are easier to control and influence, as every adman knows. People who are suffering are very suggestible to anyone "offering" to relieve their suffering. That the cults position themselves as "medicine men" is about as dispicable as anything they do. They are preying on the most vulnerable people in society. Because these people are so easy to fool or take advantage of, scammers will always be in the "snake-oil" business. If you defend, promote, advertise, or recruit for them, you are helping to perpetuate this crime. What you've written suggests you know full well the power of suggestion, sociial manipulation, emotional coercion, appeals to vanity or ego, and tactics of influence. Either that or you are just "parroting" what you have been told by members of the cult. Which is it?


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Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: September 06, 2003 07:27AM

Man, what a breath of fresh air to read your post Ellen, after a bunch of crud i have been reading recently on some other sites, sorta fighting against some Landmark cultist types. Really miserable, hateful people.

Made me think.
If a person is 100% immersed in an environment full of Cultists, its so exhausting, i bet most people would just "give in", and start to doubt their own thinking.
Reading Free Thought is an essential "tonic" for the Mind.


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Posted by: wolfy ()
Date: September 06, 2003 05:26PM

I've heard about all the est stuff, but never met anyone that's done it. Certainly, from what I've heard people say about it, it certainly seems brutal.

The concept that we are 100% responsible for what goes on in our lives is certainly one that's taught at landmark today. However, I have not heard anyone say that a person is responsible for their illnesses, tragedies etc.

As far as I am aware - in my experience - this is not something that is taught today. Indeed, if someone said to me in a seminar you are responsible for getting cancer I would challenge and refute it. Certainly, there are established links between diet and state of mind (which can suppress the immune system) - so we can take responsibility for that - but I would disagree with anyone that said, "You got a brain tumour and you are responsible."

Certainly, as far as the teaching of landmark today, I don't think people are told to believe they are responsible for getting ill or if someone they love dies in a car crash.

However, what people ARE encouraged to take responsibility for is their life and what happens in it. If I'm arguing with my wife, I am encouraged to take on 100% responsibility for that? Why? Because taking on that standpoint gives you an incredible access to power to resolve whatever issues are at stake. Landmark encourages people to look at who they're being, what they're doing, their internal dialogue... effectively, what they are responsible for.

Rather than being the disempowering, blame-filled, blame-making concept that you have portrayed, it is in fact a useful place to stand - and that's all it is - a place to stand. It's not the truth.

Instead of focussing on who's right and who's wrong, you get to see what life is like for the other person - you get to really listen to them and see how your behaviour can trigger an upset. This doesn't mean what you're doing is wrong - but once you see how someone might get upset at something you do, you have the power to understand it and deal with it.

Taking responsibility for one's actions is actually empowering.

On my Advanced Course I met an old guy - a lovely man - who had been sexually abused while he was at school. He'd lived his whole life through "there was nothing I could have done about it." What he got to see was that there was something he could have done about - nothing stopped him telling someone apart from his fear - but he decided not to.

Now, there is no blame attached to that. No one would ever expect a child to speak up, or expect them to act - there is no blame on the child - the child is never to blame. But here is the subtle distinction. When a child grows up living with the idea that "there was nothing I could do" they are effectively disempowered. This pattern then shows up in all aspects of their life.

Again, I hasten to add that no blame is attached to the child for being abused - this is not about "you are a bad person, you let this happen". This about getting access to the decision made at an early age - "there was nothing I could do" - that stops the child from living powerfully as an adult.

What the guy got from his course was that he realised there was something he could have done - he could have said something, I mean it's not as if his mouth was taped shut. He wasn't to blame for not saying anything - but he'd lived his life as a powerless victim. What the course gave him was peace and the realisation that he could have done something AND it was okay that he didn't. He got to see that he didn't have to live any more of his adult life with the concept "I am a victim and there's nothing I can do about it."

This is a very subtle distinction - it took me a while to get my head around it. You can very easily jump on the bandwagon that "Landmark says all child abuse victims brought it on themselves" but it isn't like that - it's nothing like that.

Something happened, you made it mean something and you've lived your life into that made up meaning ever since. We can't do anything about what's done and in the past, but we can do something about how we live now and in the future.

This technology is all about empowering people to have a choice about how they live so they aren't the powerless victims of their past. Once you've done landmark you can still live the old way if you like - but at least you have a choice.

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Posted by: elena ()
Date: September 06, 2003 09:31PM

You have used so many jargony words and concepts here that to some of us in the cult-watching business your post looks as though it were lifted right from the est/LEC "reply to critics" handbook. I'm surprised you haven't accused me of being "negative and cynical."

What Landmark offers is a poor imitation and cheap cult-subsitute for basic psychotherapy with some built-in distortions to keep you confused and anxious underneath the veneer of "empowerment." The hidden distortions, or manipulative elements, are Landmark's way of keeping people motivated to take more programs and recruit others. They can also be extremely damaging to the psyche and to relationships in some cases. You may or may not be vulnerable to these distortions but your post indicates you have given over you own critical thought processes and accepted the cult view and explanation down to the letter. My concern would be for your friends and family who might be on the receiving end of your new-found "empowerment."


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Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 06, 2003 09:56PM

In my opinion it would be impossible to empower people by covertly manipulating them.

The embezzlement of your humanity happens gradually so you do not at first understand that you're being ripped off--the initial bliss hit conceals all that.

Its just like a pickpocket smootching/snogging you, getting you all horny and, while you are unaware of it, slipping your wallet out of your back pocket.

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Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: September 06, 2003 11:47PM

In my view, when people start talking about Landmark (and other groups like this) in a casual, non-threatening way, it is just another SALES TECHNIQUE.
It is just a different tactic to reach out to those that might be undecided.
After all, it sounds reasonable, it seems ok, right?
And it contains the classic Landmark claim,

"look at me, I’m ok, just say no!".

What the Pro-Landmark Apologist-Propagandist above has written, I have actually seen DOZENS AND DOZENS of times.

I think it only has one goal.

To get the victim to go to the free meeting.

That's it.
Get the victim in the door, and then let the "experts" start working them over.
What I have found, are folks that talk about Landmark like Wolfy, if you really PUSH them, and challenge them, then the vicious "Landmarking" techniques will start to come out.

I once went to a Landmark free meeting, just to TEST what they were doing. ( I do NOT encourage other people to go to Cult meetings!!)
But I sat up at the front, and pulled out some PAPER, and started taking NOTES, and later started asking questions, and the whole bit. Of course, the whole thing turned VERY nasty, from initially sounding quite unthreatening.
The "Friendly Fascist" act that some Landmarkians put up, is just that. A fake ACT. If you challenge them enough, and get under this mask, then the real nasty stuff starts coming out.

My view is that some Landmarkians know about this thread.
So they have come here, to try and give a "soft sell" of Landmark, in case others who are unfamiliar with Landmark read this thread.

Also, let us not forget, the True Believers, are just that. Many times they really really do "believe" things that they say, which have been totally refuted by the facts. They are involved in GROUPTHINK.

I say Wolfy's post is a total, complete self-CONscious attempt at DECEPTION.
Its a 100% distortion of reality.

His first deliberate deception is in his first sentence. Wolfy said,
"I've heard about all the est stuff, but never met anyone that's done it."
Then later he says he's done the "Advanced Course".

So its a blatant deception.
He's lying.
He knows who Werner Erhard is.
Landmark is FULL of old est people.
Wolfy's post is just SOFT-SELL PROPAGANDA to try and offset the TRUTH about Landmark that has been told in this forum.

So beware, reader, when you see someone SOFT-PEDDLING a cultic group that you have heard can be very dangerous to certain vulnerable people. DO YOUR RESEARCH.

They are vicious SHARKS in sheep’s clothing looking for fresh meat.

Its just another TRICK.
Another blatant LIE.
Never trust anyone who tells you to "trust me".
And never go to a "free meeting" for a cultic group like Landmark.
That is where they will start running their psychological tactics, to GET AT YOUR WALLET, and get at your MIND.

Nice try Wolfy, but not ONE person is buying that phoney propaganda.
Its just another nasty RACKET that is being employed for propaganda purposes.
Landmark is like a vicious VIRUS.


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Posted by: wolfy ()
Date: September 07, 2003 02:52AM

Thanks for the opinions, but I haven't lied about anything that I've said. You can either accept that, or not.

All I've done is genuinely talked about my experiences. Your experiences of Landmark may be different. The Landmark you talk about isn't the one I know.

You can call me brainwashed, deluded, or whatever you like - I can't do anything about that. It doesn't make any difference to me, but how you're being with me now is probably how you are in all aspects of your life.

My commitment to myself and those I love is that they have a great life, full of choices and freedom to choose. I haven't seen anything I've experienced, or anything that you've said, to make me believe that I've been sucked into some weird cult.

But then I would say that wouldn't I?

By the way, I believe you're using the term cult incorrectly as Landmark is neither a religion and doesn't have a figurehead who is worshipped. But that's just semantics.

All the arguments I've heard so far are cold, cynical, conspiratorial, full of fear and negativity. Cynicism never helps. It just closes the heart down. There are reds under the bed, black people are coming to get you, the aliens are coming, we need to get armed, the government is out to get us, there's poison in the water... you can believe in whatever weird theory you like, but it doesn't make it the truth.

It seems to me that anyone who comes here to say anything posotive about landmark is lambasted, insulted and told they've been brainwashed, or are accused of being "agents" in some great conspiracy.

Is it just Landmark you're against, or are there other things too? Is your hostility a function of your life? Does it show up anywhere else? Living in fear is not a great feeling and I would hazard a guess that those people who are scared Landmark will soul-suck or brainwash them are probably sacred of a lot of other things too.

I belong to Greenpeace. I support Amnesty International. I give money to the NSPCC (National Society for Protection of Children). I believe in human rights and civil liberties. I work in the community to protect my home town from crime and drug abuse. I guess you could call me a liberal.

you could probably call me a lot of things - but brainwashed and a liar?


But I guess it serves a purpose to label me as such rather than engage in a meaningful dialogue.

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Posted by: Hope ()
Date: September 07, 2003 07:34AM


However, I have not heard anyone say that a person is responsible for their illnesses, tragedies etc.

This happened in my LF in 2001. It was very clear that LE believes illness is a person's choosing.


Now, there is no blame attached to that. No one would ever expect a child to speak up, or expect them to act - there is no blame on the child - the child is never to blame. But here is the subtle distinction. When a child grows up living with the idea that "there was nothing I could do" they are effectively disempowered. This pattern then shows up in all aspects of their life.

The problem here is that LE, even if a participant were to insist they had moved on and were doing well, the LF leader would sneer and attack the participant into believing he was in denial. This happened multiple times in my forum. LE gives no clue as to what their program is about up front. A participant gets in and is asked to tell about a horrible experience. LE then takes this description and applies their agenda to the situation and takes any human failing as proof that they've been living a life that's a story, chock full of rackets, because they didn't take responsibility. They don't believe people are happy. How does that empower a person? It sends them on a wild goose chase searching for feelings they are not feeling, and most likely looking back with regret for how things could have been different. But then, in the end after mental torture, LE says. I sat with a woman for a short time who had been raped and she decided there was no way she was going to share any of that with our leader. Can you blame her? She was doing well in life, happily married and had kids. She was trying to find a different career path. LE would have turned her rape into the cause of her indecision.

My forum leader was the most dispicable person I've ever met. This man wore a sneer on his face from the time we walked in Friday until his tearful farewell. It was on Tuesday evening that we got to talk freely and found out how many prior Landmark plants were in the audience, all of whom acted as though this was their first time and they were having major breakthroughs. Most of our forum "stars" - those doing all the talking and breaking through - were plants. Several were est grads who said LF is for sissies. Go figure.

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