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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: sunsetserene ()
Date: December 06, 2003 01:21AM

Hi SS,

Coming from your knowledge of hypnosis, would you not think NLP is something along the same lines?

I know when I did IFLP, there were quite a few followers/instructors of NLP in the program, and frankly, every time someone mentions NLP, I get that feeling similar to a sudden bowel movement (crude but effective).

Watching some of these people add a mastery to their manipulation techniques inside of the IFLP program is sad. They admitted to using NLP on those they were selling to, but then they added a whole new bag of tricks they picked up in IFLP.

Myself, I just don't put a whole lot of faith or promise in all this new age stuff that's out there these days. Guess I'm an old-fashioned common sense, cut the crap and get to the point kind of person.

And regarding your point A, yes, I've found that since I've left the headlock of landmark, the most effective way to prevent someone from the same fate is to provide a simple and calm layout of the real truth. The hysterical approach just tends to put their back up and gets them more determined than ever to do the course. No sense driving them into the programmers' hands.

NLP probably is somewhat similar. After all the common denominator in all of these methods is that one is trying to motivate/manipulate the human mind.

The embedded commands are somewhat reminscent of what is called waking hypnosis. The key is transition: To be able to transition the person from waking consciousness to a suggestible one--without their realizing what you're doing, make them think that what you want them to do was their idea all along and then theoretically you won't get in trouble.

In that vein there are a whole slew controversial hypno seduction websites that all peddle an NLP method to faciliate seduction or at least attraction. And they all boil down to what I just described.
I think Mr. Ross's site also exposes some of them.


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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: automaticftp ()
Date: December 06, 2003 06:25AM


Hello. I thought the discussion here was terrifically informative. I talked with a potential date last night who has done a variety of the LE classes--hence my finding of this forum!

A lot of what I've read seems like rather straightforward sales techniques, overlaid with a veneer of non-sensical philosophies to provide some apparent "depth." Reminded me of Neil Rackham's book "SPIN Selling." In a nutshell, identify the situation. If you have to, identify the situation yourself, but it's more powerful if the target does it on their own, in their own words. Next, identify the problem. Here, the harangues about "your life doesn't work" and so on do that. Next, draw out the implications and make them as horrifying as possible. Finally, provide a way to solve the problem and its implications...

Works brilliantly with educated people, which appears to be the target audience. I started down the philosophical road of trying to argue Sartre and Heidegger before realizing my mistake.... So I tried "selling" her on something...

Fascinating discussion here! I hope you'll all pardon my entrance...



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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: Guy ()
Date: December 06, 2003 07:24AM

Welcome Auto,

No pardon needed.

"Works brilliantly with educated people, which appears to be the target audience."

Right on the money.
Many people think it's about the "weak and helpless".
The "weak and helpless" don't bring in more recruits. They can be cashflow but they'll never get more people to come in.
The focus is on the "strong and vibrant".

We think of weakness and strength as being qualities of survival preferences and they get used as qualities of attraction or repulsion.

Just look at Hollywood.

We use the arrogance of education against itself.
"If I'm smart/educated enough, I won't get duped."

Nobody is too smart or educated if the right levers are applied.

Who wants to emulate "down on his luck"?

Everyone want to "be" the one that "saves the world", "gets the girl/guy", "make the big bucks", etc...

That simple knowledge is enough to manipulate everyone you've ever met.

As long as we keep to our "primate politics" we'll keep falling into the potholes.

Your illustration from Racham's book is the fundament of the "enrollment conversation" in LEC.
"...but it's more powerful if the target does it on their own, in their own words."
That's the work of "masters of enrollment".

It was a competition at the office to see who could enroll who into what.
Like playingwith mice in a maze.
Fun to move the walls on the mice just when they figured out the route.


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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: sunsetserene ()
Date: December 08, 2003 04:54AM

Yes, indeed welcome Auto:

As the holiday season looms my thought often linger on my old friend, now LEC grad. We were very close and always made time for one anothe during the holidays. I've neve known such a friendship before or since. I too feel a great anger towards LEC like Lori. I too though try to use that emotion constructively. My ex friend I have little doubt that now she is an ardent volunteer who aspires to be an employee who aspires someday to be a forum leader.

1--The sense of helpless confusion still lingers:

Even after 3 years I still feel in a state of confusion over how abruptly the friendship ended. The only thing I can compare the sense of sudden shock and loss to is when I've lost beloved friends, family and relatives to death. It feels just about as permanent too.

2--As long as she thought I was "open to the possibilities" she'd talk to me:

In her initial stages while my ex friend and I still were on speaking terms she experessed many things:

She acquired a ton of nervous energy which she directed into getting up far earlier to be more self disciplined. That impresssed me. To her this was a tangible benefit that she knew I'd be impressed by so she shared it. Being around new "like-minded" friends clearly is attractive to anyone. She even said that dateless people got dates effortlessly after doing it. Well heh!

But she also showed a new great impatience and, yes, even hatred for anyone who dared to contradict her forum leader during her forums and annoyance and dismissal of anyone who did likewise in the real world.

Her forum leader was someone by the name of Jinandra [sp?]. According to my friend he'd been a forum leader for nigh on 20 years, and he was to retire after my friend's forum. My friend was quite simply in AWE of Jinandra. He was from India, and he told her that he found EST/the Forum far superior to anything he'd encountered in his homeland or in the US.

I heard that he could be fairly brutal to anyone who contradicted him.

2--She used my own interests to lure me:

Accordingly my friend so-very-much wanted me to meet him since she and I both were into Eastern philosophy. I deserve no credit during that period of my life for being "aware" of someting being not right with her or the forum. It was simply apathy.

For me it was simply that the prospect of driving 60 miles on a Wednesday evening in the dark and cold after work in heavy metropolitan traffic filled me with intertia.

3--She demonstrated peculiar emotional and even physical reactions:

After Forum #1 my friend often used the word "racket" a lot. She said that she thought "everybody" should do the forum.

She also developed literally physically painful reaction against being around anyone who she perceived as being "negative"--especially if they were in any way critical of the forum, its jargon or its people.

4--She plotted how she was going to get people to do the forum:

She was working to get her boss to make the company she works for do the forum as well as her friends and family who'd listen. Her husband refused as did her son in law though.

5--LEC would bug her at home regularly:

After forum #1 her forum leader would call at unspecified times, and then apparently she was expected to drop whatever she was doing and simply introspect with him.

I expressed annoyance at such an intrusion, as if one were expected not to have any othe life than LEC. Normally she would have too as she had many friends, relatives and neighbors who would call or even literally just walk in the door unannounced at all hours of the day.

However after forum #1 she instead said, "It's not like that," and then proceeded to justify the leader's intrusion which apparently was quite often to pressure her to take forum #2 and if she resisted to use that as an excuse to find out what her "rackets" were to NOT taking it. Apparently "no" wasn't an option.

6--Her personality would phase in and out:

When she called me during a break of forum #2 she expressed disappointment and impatience with it. I felt a glimmer of hope, for she sounded like my old friend. But by the time we spoke again later that day she was dismissive of it when I brought it up again and totally back in the fold.

7--She demonstrated the typical post forum behaviors:

As usual she "couldn't tell me" what it was all about because that would "spoil it," but she was sure sure that unlike "so many others who weren't as bright as I" in her opinion I could "get it," that I"d have to have a "break down" to then have "break throughs."

She was very apprehensive about being late to her forums--her a smart, successful and educated professional. There were a lot of professionals there, and she even managed to hook up with someone in the field that she'd expressed an interest in.

The statement "It's not like that," seemed to become an integral catch phrase in her verbal repetoire whenever we'd have a disagreement about the nature of the forum.

As a matter of fact much of what she said bears an eerie resemblance to much of what I've read posted by other happy forum grads. like at the Rants and Raves place, for example. The unctuous "sharing" I've seen here and elsewhere seems little more than fill-in-the-blank form letters that you see in junk mail.

What creeped me out a little bit was when based solely on her credibility I agreed to attend my own forum#1. I found her reaction to be highly peculiar. She literally wasn't able to speak but instead gave out someone almost like low gutteral exclamation pleasure--I'm sorry but my mental thesaurus isn't working today.

The forum gal who took my credit card number seemed just as giddy, and she had this peculiar habit of giggling.

Both reminded me of someone who has almost a post hypnotic suggestion to A whenever someone did B.

8--Intelligence has nothing to do with it:

Despite all my so-called learning and "intelligence," it's funny how we start to justify things once we've made up our mind to to them, to fill in the blanks of their story with our own ideas.

In retrospect in feels to me like my ex friend played me like a pro and had me even convincing myself.

9--She even got me to start convincing myself:

Accordlingly I once I decided to "do it" based solely on the trust we once shared, I found myself providing my own justifications based on the context of my own knowledge.

Accordingly I asked the gal who took my credit card number if the forum jargon was perhaps an attempt to create a common semantic to facilitate better and more efficient understanding. Giggles, and she agreed.

Then I asked if perhaps since it often seems that "a village" seems to be what messes us up that "a village" is necessary to fix us. Agrees and yup, more giggles.

I truly couldn't tell if I was being laughed with...or at. It made me uncomfortable...suspicious.

10--Finally I pull my head out of my a--:

Too late did I find out the appalling truth. God, I am so very sorry to say that unfortunately I did my research far far too late to ever help my dear friend.

11--Assimilation into LEC was complete, and despite our past all discussion was futile:

Anything and everything that I then showed her she dismissed completely. In her mind landmark was right and everyone else was wrong, even me her old friend to whom she used to look up to and listen to.

And you know what? The sad sad irony is that I could have prevented this if I would have gotten to her in time. She looked up to me. Trusted me. I know that she would have listened to what I had to say. I could have prevented this.

12--Her ability to insinuate and create long lingering seeds of doubt was appalling:

I am appalled at how well she learned how to make me feel like I was crazy for not doing the forum, how well she made me doubt my motives, my future and my own thoughts.

I'm amazed how well she learned how to play me without my even realizing that she was. Or did she? You see that's the rub. I just don't know what she knew or why or how.

13--And so why you're reading this:

So that's why I came here. I don't know anything about the forum--not really in a tangible way like Guy, Hope, GC and similar--still don't or ever will probably. But then perhaps that's why I should be thankful.

So there you are. To this day I still wonder sometimes if I was the crazy one. They sure are good at making one question everything and everyone about themselves, and sometimes when I think about it I still do.

14--It still makes me stop and question myself sometimes and a warning:

In conclusion all I can say from my limited perspective to any potential enrollees is that even LEC persuation methods from my limited exposure left me reeling in self doubt for a very long time.

I strongly urge you to not do the forum even if you have any kind of mild to moderate self esteem issues, anxiety or mood disorders--let alone anything moderate to serious. These LEC people do not have the ability to tell you what you should do. Their mental wellness screening process is a joke that anyone could thwart. Even if a so-called professional counsels you to do it I'd call the American Psychological Association about not only LEC and their methods but about your counselor and just exaclty where they got their degree.

Don't really have much else to share from now on. So chances are I won't be posting very much if at all until I finish another book. That may be a while... If not then, well, it was nice to meet you all if only for a brief moment in time.


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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: JackSF ()
Date: December 08, 2003 07:44AM

sunsetserene -- Thanks for your heartfelt response to this thread, and your earlier ones as well, which are the sort of posts I hoped to see.

One small thing. I don't know that appealing to American Psychological Association will provide much support. Raymond Fowler, an Executive Vice President and CEO of the APA is on record that:

In my opinion, the Landmark Forum does not place individuals at risk of any form of "mind control" "brainwashing" or "thought control." In my opinion, the Landmark Forum is not a cult or anything like a cult, and I do not see how any reasonable, responsible person could say that it is.[]

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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: elena ()
Date: December 08, 2003 07:54AM

A fine and very touching post, SS.

An especially melancholy one this time of year, for the same reasons we all think of friends and family and the closeness that is something to cherish, something sacrosanct, or at least should be. Not "territory" for the mining of profits and bodies to fill seats. Not "business possibilities" for predatory organisations. Not just so many potential recruits so that ardent followers can curry favor with their gurus. And not "objects" to be manipulated for the benefit of someone else's ambitions.

The very sad thing that Landmark and groups like Landmark perpetuate is destruction far beyond the immediate involvement of the victims and those closest to them, but the echo and recall of destroyed friendships, relationships, respect and love between people for years and years. Sometimes lifetimes.

Even if you could forgive your friend completely for what amounts to her cruelty, though she was under the influence of what is an abusive organisation and may have had the equivalent of a mental illness, and she came to recognize all the damage she had done to herself and others, that would put her into some kind of a "penitent" state, which many would find intolerable and she or they might be better off just moving on with different people who hadn't endured the abuse. With all the best intentions, sometimes the body just can't accomodate the memory without flinching. I'd like to think this might not be the case at least some of the time.


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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: December 08, 2003 09:37AM

When Raymond Fowler spoke as an apologist for Landmark he certainly did not express an official opinion for the APA.

Fowler essentially spoke as an individual expressing an opinion. And he is not known as an expert or even a specialist in the study of brainwashing.

Fowler also did not cite any supporting research and has not produced a peer reviewed and published paper on this subject.

Margaret Singer did cite Landmark specifically within her book Crazy Therapies. And unlike Fowler, Singer certainly was a leading expert on the subject of brainwashing.

Also, Philip Cushman, a clinical psychologist, produced a research paper about mass marathon training like Landmark.

See []

Based upon Landmark's persisten bad press, continuing litigation and complaints I receive constantly, Cushman's observations about mass marathon trainings seem to apply directly to Landmark.

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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: JanSmith ()
Date: January 20, 2004 01:35PM

Hi Everyone. This is my first post and I'm so glad I found this site and safe place to express multiple viewpoints. I was involved with Landmark for over 4 years. In that time I did the entire “curriculum for living,” the introduction leader’s program, the communications curriculum, multiple seminars, and coached many graduate-level programs (ILP and SELP). For 3 years of that time, I led introductions to the Landmark forum and assisted quite a bit. During this time, I had lots of great things happen in my life — I started a business, made more $$ than I had made in the past, went on many great vacations. And, I also discovered the rotten, ugly underbelly and nasty, foul legacy of this organization.

Yesterday, I terminated all of my participation, "completing" as an IL. My business is doing fabulous--I'm on track to have a great quarter and really want to pursue training that is directly related to my profession. And I'm tired of being badgered to bring guests and lead introductions. In addition to being criticized for expressing another view point contrary to the distinctions, demeaned, demoralized and having the technology used against me, I was told that I should really examine my integrity and that I should stop letting my mood dictate what I do and who I be. That I was just confronted about leading because I had been effective...that if more people in my life did this work and I invited guests again I'd have a breakthrough. Yeah right!

I have been away now for approximately 4 days and have been more productive, at peace and relaxed. Looking back, I saw lots of warning signs, was subjected to a great deal of bullying, nasty behavior, screaming center manager and registration managers, but I stayed, thinking I could make a difference. I went back to a really great councelor I worked with before I did the Forum when I called off my engagement 9 years ago and she has asked me to write out everything I experienced from beginning to end. I've only gotten to page 3 and everything from before the ILP but I already feel better. I'm feeling so redeemed and am picking up the pieces of my life, hoping to use every bit of advice and insight from this group.

What's next for me is creative writing classes, business roundtables where I can have intellectual conversations with a variety of people who have multiple viewpoints....not just idiots who drone on about distinctions and who I'm being!

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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: January 20, 2004 10:26PM

Hi Jan,

Welcome to the forum. I saw your profile and was anticipating your posts. You are "just out" so don't be surprised if you feel the need to go back, feel depressed, even grief. Your emotions will be up and down, and you will probably have a lot of self-doubt, think everything they said was right, then think everything they said was wrong. This is quite normal. It's great that you have a therapist to help. Perhaps she can read some of the material here and on


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Landmark Manipulation Techniques
Posted by: Guy ()
Date: January 20, 2004 11:04PM


I hope that's not your real name.

It's going to take a wild ride for you to decompress. Just think about nitrogen narcosis....the bends.

It will take a while for you to stop selling LEC's product. You've been trained to do it for quite a while now and it's not going to stop overnight.
"more $$$, great vacations, etc..."

The jargon will stay for quite some time too.
"terminated all of my participation" is called quit in the real world.
"fabulous" and "I'm on track" while not strict LEC jargon are certainly Center jargon. Loaded language. Modeled after Nancy and Joan behaviours.
They modeled it form Werner.

Anyway...welcome out of the closet and up from the depths and out of the belly of the dragon.

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