Anyone thinking of enrolling in Landmark should be aware of the present and recent troubles this organization faces and should consider what kind of organization it must be to generate such problems. At present, Landmark is deluged with major crises, including government investigations, public outcries, a wrongful death suit and other legal challenges and difficulties, closures in European countries and even open discontent among their own supporters. When reviewing the present and recent troubles Landmark has had to deal with, it makes one wonder why an organization that denies it’s a cult and that claims only to want to help people and improve the world has so many enemies.
Here is a summary of the troubles faced by Landmark:
1. After withdrawing a frivolous “SLAP” lawsuit against Rick Ross in Landmark’s unsuccessful attempt to intimidate Rick and stifle free speech (what are they trying to hide?), Landmark suffered a very embarrassing public humiliation. The legal experts at Landmark grossly miscalculated in their schemes to punish Rick Ross for his exposure of Landmark’s cult-like organization and instead the strategy backfired and hitherto confidential information about the inner workings of Landmark ended up revealed for all to see. The reason Landmark dropped its lawsuit apparently was to avoid facing further discovery although much of the “cat“ came out of the bag due to this lawsuit and is available for public perusal on this website. [www.culteducation.com
Obviously Landmark thought they’d be able to intimidate Rick into removing all references to their group including this message board, but they didn’t count on the outstanding and humanitarian pro bono services of Peter L. Skolnik and Michael A. Norwick of Lowenstein Sandler PC who defended Rick without charge. All of us who are concerned with the destructive societal consequences of cults in general should very grateful to these two attorneys and others like them. They are the vanguards of our rights.
2. Problems in Europe: Landmark’s experience in France was filled with controversy and conflict almost from the start. In 1995 a committee of the French National Assembly included Landmark Education on a list of cults and the French Ministry of Labor investigated Landmark for labour violations. In 2004 an outstanding undercover documentary was aired entitled “Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus” in which a courageous journalist secretly filmed the Forum in action and exposed the abuses Landmark leaders apply on participants. This video appeared on several on-line video services including You-Tube and Google Video and of course Landmark in its typical fashion to suppress the truth about themselves sent out letters threatening legal action unless the videos were pulled. To some extent Landmark’s intimidation was successful but they were unable to completely suppress the truth about this unscrupulous group. Landmark’s intimidation tactics prompted the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit group working to protect “digital rights”, i.e. free speech on the net, to enter the fray and confront Landmark’s despicable attempts to stifle free speech and legitimate criticism of their group.
The video is still available on the Australian Cult Awareness website: [www.culthelp.info
In 2004, Landmark ended operations in Sweden as well. As in France, the causes of the closure included a diminishing interest in participating, evinced in connection with very critical articles in the press and on television. The airing of two documentaries on Swedish TV entitled "Lycka till salu" (Happiness for sale) in the program series "Kalla Fakta" no doubt contributed to the termination Landmark in Sweden.
As in France, the government of Austria has also classified Landmark as a cult.
3. Now Landmark is facing investigations here at home from the US Department of Labor. Landmark is a multi-million dollar international corporation, yet Landmark is very unique in the sense that despite their for-profit status, the bulk of their workforce is comprised of unpaid volunteers. The DOL investigation is focussed on why these “volunteers” aren’t paid. It appears that Landmark is violating labor laws. This is the same type of investigation Landmark faced in France from the French Ministry of Labor before they shut down.
4. Landmark is even facing a mutiny from their own supporters! A group of participants who object to Landmark’s intense and unrelenting pressure in recruiting “fresh fish” circulated a petition and much to Landmark’s embarrassment this petition was posted publically on-line.
One can clearly see that even Landmark own supporters are fed up with Landmark’s despicable business pratices:
We, the undersigned Landmark graduates, stand for a breakthrough in the conversation of transformation through the reform and renewal of the curriculum, organization, and methodologies of Landmark Education. The reforms at the core of this renewal cover the following interrelated issues and actions:
1. A substantial reduction in regular course time devoted to guest invitation and related conversations, including time used for conversations regarding the virtues of Landmark Education and transformation - providing more course time for additional distinctions, coaching, sharing, and other exercises and activities.
2. Allowing the results embodied in Landmark graduates, the education itself, and the intention of graduates to speak for the organization and for transformation - reducing reliance on invitation to introduction structures.
3. Creating commitment and sensitivity at all levels of the organization to a positive, respectful experience for current and potential participants - balancing statistical and numerical measures of performance (for seminar leaders, introduction leaders, ILP participants and others) with measures of the quality of participant experience.
4. Taking measures to ensure that course registration efforts do not create negative impressions, perceptions of pressure, or otherwise turn off significant numbers of prospective participants to the conversation of transformation.
5. A commitment to transparency and openness, including openness to criticism, openness to straightforward and public discussion of all aspects of Landmark, its history, and other transformational methodologies, as well as greater transparency into Landmark ownership, decision making, and financial information - openness also to graduate-led reforms such as these, and to changes in Landmark leadership itself if leadership serves as an obstacle to positive reform.
Landmark methodology too often creates a negative impression among those who interact with the organization or its participants, unnecessarily inhibiting Landmark's effectiveness in spreading transformation to the broad, global community. Having observed these fundamental obstacles to widespread acceptance and participation in the conversation of transformation, and seeing and standing in the power and possibility of renewal, I add my name to those calling for reform by signing below:
5. Landmark is presently forced to deal with a wrongful death lawsuit. The mother of a postal employee who was killed has sued Landmark as well as the alleged killer. The mother alleges that the alleged killer attended Landmark classes, where he was "subjected to extreme emotional and psychological stress which caused or contributed to his mental disorders," which in turn resulted in her son’s death. This suit, if successful, could have far-reaching consequences for the organization. If Landmark were to lose this lawsuit it could very well open the floodgates of public criticism, further lawsuits, government investigations and (hopefully) Landmark’s demise.
For an organization that claims (by its title) to be nothing more than an educational institute it sure has its share of major crises, problems and pubic condemnations. I don’t see how anybody of sound mind, given the facts of this organization, would consider getting themselves mixed up with Landmark.