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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: Skeptical ()
Date: April 15, 2016 04:10AM

My wife has just returned from Turning Point. She's always struggled a little with depression and lately she's expressed an emptiness - although she hides it well and generally our marriage and family looked in good health.

She decided to sign up without talking to me about it. As is the case with most, someone at work advised her to go - this course is all about encouraging others to go, she's even asked me to attend.

I know if I fought ber on this she would push me away so I had to be patient and considerate and choose my momentams wisely. I see alarm bells with sleep deprivation, large groups and the break them down methods.

First night she finished at 4 - that was a constant from Wed/Fri as the course is 60 hours in 5 days. There was a group of 38 and you all get a buddy, plus a core group.

She came home crying 'it's really hard'and on the third day she looked worn out and unhealthy, having chewed her nails and lost weight. Know that you won't get an answer about what takes place at the centre although they've been mentioned in earlier posts and it's a lot of weird role playing stuff. This is the best kept secret in the world! So I focuseed on broader questions like 'are you happier, are you getting the answers you seek'

So a week down the line as I predicted she's signed up for Joyspring. Oh boy, another week of jangled nerves for me. Things seem ok at this point, she's been more affectionate and she's eating healthy (although not enough, she's lost 3kg in 5 days!) and seems to want to avoid drinking alcohol. That's good.

She's begun some meditation and writing notes and doing all things that old her never would have done. Again, maybe not a bad thing but a distinct altering of behavior.

I'll monitor it leading up to and after Joyspring and cross my fingers. Anybody have information on Joyspring and how it differs to TP?

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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: DodgedaBullet ()
Date: July 29, 2016 02:13PM

Hi all

I am from South Africa but live overseas now. Several years ago a friend of mine who is also from SA did Quest and then took his girlfriend along to it. We still live these days nearby to each other and I see them now and then.

I can't say that I noticed any big changes in either of them after they did it but... naturally after they did it they started bringing it up when I was with them and saying I should go do it when I visit home. And they would fairly regularly bring it up and talk about returning to do Inquest themselves etc.

The way they talked about it made me really suspicious. Two points really bothered me: 1. how they described it as wonderful and life-enhancing and should absolutely be done and 2. but would not say anything concrete about it. It made me feel very uncomfortable and I just brushed it off any time they mentioned it and remained absolutely non-committal.

The last time that they brought it up, I decided to hit the internet and try to find out about it. More suspicions were raised when my searches brought up very little information when searching for terms like "quest training". Eventually I tried "quest johannesburg" and then, Bingo!!!, I landed on this forum and this topic and was finally able to find out what quest is. What a load of bull****.

I just joined the forum to say thanks for the forum and for those that have shared their experiences with Quest here. I am so glad that this information is available here as I now have what I need to know that I will never ever take part in Quest or indeed any other sort of LGAT. I had never heard of the concept before and am glad I now know what they are and that they should be avoided.

All the best to you all.

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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: Noo ()
Date: August 17, 2016 12:49AM

I'm sorry I didn't see this post about Joyspring earlier. Skeptical, if your wife has done this training, I hope she's OK.

In the 1980s I did a number of LGATs in Cape Town. First the I Am training, then a couple of others that were either single day sessions or an evening a week for a few weeks, then Joyspring. This was over a couple of years. I remember Pat Grove quite clearly (I believe he calls himself a "life coach" now) as well as Buster and Wendy Sefor. I was in an iffy emotional state beforehand and still in an iffy emotional state afterwards, but the thing that nearly took me apart was "Joyspring" - a misnomer if ever there was one. I Am was all right, not too traumatic, even quite fun by the end of it, but seemed designed (after the first couple of days of hammering and psychological breakdown) to love-bomb people and draw them in to spend more and more money on trainings, give more and more of their time to the organisation for free, be more and more zealous, "share your fantastic experience" with friends and family, bring more and more of them along to "guest events" so they could be persuaded to go through the same. It was incredibly coercive and manipulative, looking back on it. If you refused to let yourself be drawn in, they'd say you were "stuck" and "hadn't got it". But Joyspring was a mindbender - perhaps not for everyone - some people seemed to come through it quite well and raved about it afterwards - but certainly for me it was. There were real issues in my past that I hadn't been able to come to terms with, and to put yourself in the hands of untrained, power-crazy, robotic people in that emotional state is a recipe for disaster, and for me it was a setback that lasted many years and changed my relationships drastically, and not for the better. After a while I ceased all contact with the organisation as I realised that the trainings and continued involvement with the organisation changed people - sometimes suddenly and sometimes quite gradually - in ways I was deeply uncomfortable with. There were lots of marriage breakdowns, an inordinate number of wives who moved out to be with other women (usually other training "graduates") and husbands who moved out to be with men, leaving lots of shocked and traumatised children behind. Even where marriages remained intact, there also seemed to be a lot of extramarital affairs among "graduates", some involving people who had never considered marital infidelity before, and a sort of unspoken social pressure on the other spouse to be OK with the situation.

I think the reason people don't talk about exactly what happens on the trainings is twofold: one, probably the main one, is because the "graduates" are being pressured to bring new people in, and telling them exactly what they will be confronted with would put most people off. And two, because a lot of the effect of what happens on the trainings is unique to each person, very deep in their own minds, and isn't actually easily explained by means of the activities that happen on the training. That's hard enough to talk about for those have had a good experience, but for those who have a bad experience, there's really nobody to talk to about it other than perhaps someone else who also did one of the trainings and had a bad experience. It's very isolating. You can't talk to the people who are happy with their experience because they'll use all the training jargon phrases against you, to convince you that you're the one who's responsible for yourself being messed up.

I only stayed around for as long as I did because of the sort of spiritual seduction of "transformation" associated with the original I Am training. There was one particular "special realisation moment" during the training, but the problem with that was that unlike following a sustained spiritual practice, through which you might work towards a sense of enlightenment, in the I Am training you were kind of catapulted into it momentarily with no real idea of how you got there or how to integrate it into everyday life. Shortly before I started doing the trainings I seem to remember that there was a lot in the papers about a "graduate" of I Am who had committed suicide ... I suppose that should have been a warning to me. I also seem to remember a charge subsequently being brought against Pat Grove (for practising as a psychologist without training/a licence? Something to that effect) as a result of which he had to make a minor change to the training programme, for whatever that was worth. I honestly wouldn't recommend these things to anyone, least of all people experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties. The effects can be very disturbing and are not easily or quickly shaken off.

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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: lastsmile ()
Date: January 30, 2017 06:45AM

Hi Everybody, my daughter attended all the workshops i.e turning point, joyspring and the mile. She is going through chronic depression as well as paranoia and all sorts. We've managed to change her sleeping patterns and this is obviously causing a change in her chemicals. She has been crying since before xmas, doesn't leave the home. Her emotions are all over the place. Does anybody here know of a psychologist in Johannesburg who has experience working with people that have come out of LGAT'S.

I have not seen my daughter laugh or smile in a very long time. She used to be bubbly, vibrant and full of life. They have reduced her to a state of 'nothing'. She doesn't eat well has no friends because of the way she behaves and the things she talks about.

Thank you in welcome. She is way to young to be on suicidal watch. Which is where I'm at

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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: February 01, 2017 12:17PM


I don't know of any specialists, and I'm no expert. Still, I am wondering if you can get her into evaluation/treatment for just the depression, while you are waiting for more info, and maybe that therapist can refer you to someone who specializes on this type of thing.

I have read that attempts at treatment after cult abuse by someone who is not qualified can make things even worse, so I would ask them to just evaluate for the depression, etc, until you find the right person. Other people on the forum, (especially rrmoderator or corboy), are much more qualified than I am, so, of course, their advice overrides anything I can say.

Good luck,

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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: lastsmile ()
Date: February 04, 2017 07:15PM

Thank you for response kdag...

This past week has been very traumatic for the family. My daughter is now on psychotic meds. at home. Thankfully we managed to get her out of the home to see a psychiatrist who diagnosed her schizophrenic. Mental health hospitals in SA are in a very dire situation certifying her would have more long term trauma to deal with.

Awaiting a response from someone who knows of a therapist more suitable to help my daughter. I want her to recover and lead a normal life and not be dependent on the meds.

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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: February 04, 2017 09:22PM

See []

Large group awareness training has historically produced psychiatric disturbances. You might want to share this study with your daughter's doctors.

See []

The book "Cults Inside Out" has a chapter devoted to large group awareness training seminars (LGATs). You might find this chapter useful along with the chapter on coercive persuasion and influence techniques titled "brainwashing."

It may be meaningful to find a psychiatrist or psychologist with specific experience helping former cult members or battered women subjected coercive persuasion.

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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: lastsmile ()
Date: February 11, 2017 08:54PM

Thank you for response.

It's been really difficult trying to find a professional who has dealt with this previously. I will however mention the above to her current therapist and hopefully we will find the help needed.

Much appreciated...

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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: Chuck ()
Date: September 24, 2018 09:46PM

I have spent the last few days reading this entire thread. Why did I come here? I was watching Leah Remini's show Scientology and the Aftermath and I guess they must have mentioned how one of the ways a cult is defined is with sleep deprivation, food deprivation, and not paying the people that work for them. This reminded me of Quest, and that assistants don't get paid. My father had said that my sister and I were "in a cult" after doing Quest and Inquest. I scoffed at him because back then (this was like 15 years ago, and he leant me the money to do Inquest) my idea of a cult was being brainwashed to the point of roboticness and not being allowed contact with the outside world at all.

However, I have become very disillusioned with Quest over the years, so I guess that accounts for my morbid fascination in the accounts on Leah Remini's show and leading me to do a google search and the first result was this very old thread. I am sad that it is old, that certain members who have posted appear not to be active any more. I would have liked to talk more about the "programming" and release any ideas hanging on in my mind that Quest and Inquest put, and cemented there.

I am shocked to hear of SaneAgain's experience on Inquest, I guess it goes to show that "Every Quest or Inquest is different" and believe me I really hate that saying because it is LGAT jargon, however, there will be different ways that different groups of people interpret the training. My group certainly didn't make such a big fuss about integrity and how much we were affecting the "outside world" however, I also don't remember this being an overriding message within our training. Maybe this was some kind of sick experiment that came to be after I did my Inquest, that the trainers decided to implement.

I agree with SaneAgain that it is quite scary to think that Wendy Sefor is a fundamentalist and actually believes everything she is teaching and doesn't necessarily do this just for the money.

The lady that came to post here about her experience on Quest after being made to strip down to her underwear and act like Tarzan, disturbs me. Her experience after talking to her boss and the trainers and various "handlers" at Quest is horrific. This is one of the messages from all LGAT's that is very disturbing, and that is that "it is just your experience of the situation and how you choose to handle it" I.E. it's all "your stuff". That is an incredibly dangerous message to be sending to survivors of abuse "that they chose the abuse" and to possible perpetrators of the abuse "its ok what I do because its all the other person's experience of it and nothing to do with me". This angers me so much, in a world where I am fighting against victim-blaming. I didn't want to strip down because it was cold, and I hadn't shaved my legs. I think I should get to choose how much of my body I want to show and when. And certainly not to a group of 70 people (I attended Quest when they still had very high numbers of attendance and the maximum was 70 on a training). Let me not digress from this point. In a "clearing" after a training I assisted on, one of the assistants said they were so sad that one girl who was "thin" had a problem doing the Tarzan exercise and she is so sad that even "thin" girls have body issues. I wish I had spoken out. That yes, as a "thin" girl, I too have body issues. That it might not even be a "body issue". Maybe she also hadn't shaved her legs, or maybe she is just modest, maybe she has a history of sexual abuse.

This whole "seminar" is really pushing the boundaries of consent and informed consent too. I know this has been discussed somewhere on this forum so I am not going to harp on too much about that, anyone looking to do one of these "trainings" or "seminars" needs to be aware that you sign a form saying you agree to fully participate but you are NEVER told what you are fully participating in.

I think the beginning of my disillusionment with Quest and everyone involved in it began right away, because the overriding message is always "thats your stuff" which does lead to many people becoming incompassionate, and quite bluntly a@@#oles... However, what I could never reconcile is that we were "taught" that successful people keep their agreements, and if they can't keep their agreements, they renegotiate them, to a point where both parties are happy, and if the other party isn't willing to renegotiate then you need to accept that and keep to the original agreement. Directly after "teaching" this they also talk about the book "Who Moved My Cheese" and the principal behind that is that the cheese always moves and you need to deal with it, it's your stuff. So if you make an agreement with a Questie, they would quite often change their mind and then just respond with "the cheese moved". But what about renegotiating agreements? Isn't that ALSO a "Quest" principal? I found that Questies could be very selective in their "integrity" and everyone thought this was OK because you are told to "take what you want from the training and leave the rest".

The very last time I assisted on a Quest (part time for the "Nothing Dyad") we had an intense session and I put it down to the "energy in the room being bad because the head assistant is out of integrity". I knew that the head assistant owed someone a lot of money and had quite simply not kept his agreement to pay the money back. So I brought it up in a clearing. I said that the energy on this training is bad because the head assistant is out of integrity and maybe Quest needs to check that. I was very angry. I was told in the clearing that I need to check my "in effectness" of this situation and my own integrity. Of course they're not going to stop someone who is donating their time and working damn hard to the institute's benefit. I see that now. It doesn't matter which assistants are in or out of integrity, they are working for free, we don't care.

I came to do Quest because I was struggling with grief. Only a couple weeks before I signed up at a guest event I had terminated a pregnancy because the baby was not compatible with life outside the womb. I was grieving and pretty much my life was falling apart because the baby's father couldn't or wouldn't grieve with me and no one in my life knew how to handle my grief. No one seemed to get that I had lost a child. I got told he wasn't a child yet, he wasn't born so it didn't matter. He didn't matter. Gosh if my naive 22 year old self knew what it knows now I would have ripped everyone to shreds about those comments. So I did quest because everyone said I would be better. I was already in a heightened emtotional state, so the "brainwashing" was pretty immediate. I came off quest on a high, and believing I knew better than everyone. I lost my job, but it didn't matter, because I knew better and was destined for better things. Funny thing, Quest advertises that it is great for relationships, well my relationship with my baby's father fell apart before we did quest together and we couldn't reconcile after quest either. I met someone else on a dating website and could tell from what his profile said that he had done quest. We actually ended up meeting at one of the evening "sort courses" we started dating but soon all of my "old issues" became apparent again and out of concern, for me, everyone I knew within quest and including some of his closest acquaintances within quest, convinced me to to Inquest. I was still unemployed, but I did it anyway and borrowed the money from my father, I was expecting my pension fund to pay out from the job that I lost, so all good right? And Inquest would fix me and I would get a job straight after, right? Well, kind of. I came off Inquest "high" again and bombed quite a few job interviews with my new arrogance. But someone I was on Inquest with did find me a job with one of their clients, which my newfound arrogance bombed again after a couple of months.

I am not going to go into details of the Inquest experience, because SaneAgain has given the program, so it isn't necessary. The point of my post is to say that if you are looking for an LGAT to "fix" you or your life, don't, don't do it. It will probably make your life implode in a spectacular way and you will be out of thousands of $$$ that probably could have been better spent on therapy with a qualified psychologist.

What Quest and Inquest left me with was some lifeskills that I am still grappling with whether they are good or not (any links to anything I can do to "deprogram" or decipher what is still serving me or not will be greatly appreciated) and a feeling of annoyance at the people who facilitated my training and were on the training with me. Wendy Sefor is very quick to say that their training is "unique" because they do it from a place of love whereas the other similar trainings do it from ego. Well my experience of her "love" is for her to tell another "friend" that I am nothing more than a "maneater" and that is why I couldn't create a sustainable relationship in my life. This was the opinion of most people in Quest of me. I have come to terms with what they think of me, knowing that they don't know my truth. Facilitating my training for 5 days does not give you spectacular insight into every facet of who I am, nor does sharing that training with me. The only reason why she said that about me is because I was a "bad advertisement" for their training, because I didn't stay in relationships that I formed with other Quest and Inquest graduates. For various reasons, my last relationship with a graduate ended in physical abuse. So much for Wendy phoning men up and crapping all over them for being out of integrity.

I assisted on a Kids' Quest in 2004. Yes they started with this crap with kids. Knowing what I know now that I am a mother, I would never have agreed to sending kids to essentially be brainwashed. I am so sorry to every single adult who was on that training as a child that I had a hand in brainwashing. I am so very sorry. Quest believed that parents shouldn't have too close a relationship with their children. Although they still expected 100% honesty in these relationships. But not too close. Don't make "mommy's boys". Boys needed to refer to their fathers for advice from the age of 12. Wendy and Buster were opposed to homeschooling. Believing that if you wanted to homeschool, you should swap kids with your neighbour. You can't "teach" your own kids. A definite separation of "parent" and "teacher" needs to occur. I guess this only serves their purpose further anyway, because you need to trust in instutionalised education to trust in them, right? Well I now know as a parent who initally sent their kids to school, that the philosophy of "UNschooling" is far better for children, and having a connected relationship with them is great. I only mention this here because of recent interactions with an Inquest graduate who has also chosen unschooling. I actually have cut contact them because they were using "Quest Speak" to manipulate me. I really wanted to ask them how they reconcile Quest principles into their lives now given how the trainers felt about homeschooling. But I guess the standard response would just be "you take what you want from Quest".

After a few more tragedies in my life, I did manage to find a man who loves me, and I him. The first year of our relationship was a rollercoaster as I sorted out feelings of grief that I had, but he loved me through it all. We have been together for 10 years and we have made it work, WITHOUT QUEST or other LGAT bulldust. I told him the other night of my experiences and reading this forum and he is shocked, but supportive in me finding more of my true self.

I was relieved a few years back when I heard the trainings would be stopped. It would appear that they couldn't "dupe" anymore people and it became "too much like hard work" for them to continue. Well my research this week has shown that Wendy, Buster and their daughter Savannah (who was known as Nu on the trainings back when I did them) have moved to Cape Town and continue to do the trainings in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Quest is now called Training 42. Inquest remains. Training 42 has a maximum of 42 delegates per event. Inquest remains 16. Their other daughter, Leah, is a "Life Coach" and is still based in Johannesburg.

My idea in posting here is to ask for advice on where I can read about the LGAT programming, how I can release from it, be sure that I am being my true self, and make sure that I have healed, before I mess up my beautiful children. I also want to keep this thread active, so that anyone researching Training 42 and Inquest before they or a loved one do it, can see, that it is nothing more than a cult, that will ask you for more and more money to do more and more trainings and if you still don't "get it" you will be told "oh you need to assist so you can experience it again". Don't be duped. Don't do these trainings. They are still operating in South Africa. Don't do it.

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Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Posted by: kdag ()
Date: September 25, 2018 04:18AM


I am not the best person to answer your questions about Quest, but I know that I have seen others posting about that organization here. If you don't get an immediate response, just keep checking back.

Rick Ross goes over the elements of coercive persuasion in detail, in his book, "Cults Inside Out."

There is a quick rundown on a thread about consent forms, as well, in which I posted about elements that were obvious to me, based on Margaret Singer's criteria for thought-reform. (This will probably come up on that specific post, but you might be Interested in scrolling back and reading the entire thread. It is about Landmark, but these groups have more similarities than differences):

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