Re: Quest (Johannesburg South Africa)
Date: November 03, 2009 07:13PM
I just wanted to share my experience of Quest with you from this past weekend (31 October - 1 November 2009). It was recommended by my boss, that I attend the Quest seminar. He was very secretive about what the seminar was about, but I was intrigued because he promised that it would give me a whole new outlook and lease on life (which I could definitely do with at the moment given my very depressed and vulnerable state).
I attended the first day with equal feelings of anxiety and excitement. The course instructors names were Buster, and Nu (very strange names), and they soon had the 20 delegates (myself included) rapt with attention, and eating out of the palms of their hands. They spoke to us about learning to live in the here and now, and not concentrate on our past, or our futures. According to them we are all obsessed with looking good, and not living, so we should just accept what happens in our lives, because then we will have ultimate power. They also tell you that everything you have ever learnt, including your belief systems are bull shit (their exact words), and that we are in charge of everything that happens in the universe. It all sounded quite feasible at first, but then they made us do a process whereby the men had to strip down to their underwear and dress up as 7 year old girls (complete with brown wigs), and enact a song for the female delegates. Us females had to strip down to our underwear, and cover our bras and panties with black dustbin bags tied around ourselves horizontally, with pieces of leaves sticking out (we were supposed to do Tarzan/Jane impersonations), and perform our little skit in front of all the male delegates. I very firmly told them that I’m not doing it, but I was intimidated by the female assistants, and forced into doing it. I was shaking and sick the whole time I had to do the process. After it was done, they gave us a 15 minute break, and I ran into the bathroom to get dressed. I felt so ashamed and violated, that I broke down crying; it brought back all my past feelings of shame, and feeling dirty when I was sexually abused as a child. I phoned my friend and told him what happened, and asked him to come and fetch me. I handed in my name badge, and picked up my bag to go, but I was stopped by 3 of the assistants, and pressurized into staying for another hour because the whole seminar would get better for me according to them, and I’d make a break through. I was adamant that I wanted to leave, and told them that it’s disgusting and immoral to force people to parade around half naked in front of a bunch of strangers, and it goes against everything that I believe in. They tried to calm me down, but I told them that my mind is made up, and I’m leaving, as my friend is parked outside and waiting. They wouldn’t let me leave; they refused to open the gate for me to get out. I was in such a bad state, but since I couldn’t get out, I was forced to stay another hour and a half, until the seminar had finished for the night. According to my family my whole attitude had been changed for the worse, I was cold, distant, and hateful (all symptoms of brainwashing). The next morning I woke up, and I sent a sms to my Quest ‘buddy’, and let her know that I wouldn’t be attending anymore. Next thing I know, I get about 6 phone calls, and sms’s harassing me to come back and complete the course! They even phoned my boss and asked him to encourage me to come back. In the information brochure it said that should you wish to leave at any time during the seminar, you have free will to do so. What free will did I have? I was very clear about leaving because of their immoral processes, but they would not let me leave! I even got a call Monday morning from the Quest office administrator saying that I’m welcome to come back and complete the course in November, free of charge. Are they so hell bent on brainwashing people, that they’ll even allow me to do another course for free, even after I laid a formal complaint against them?
I called a meeting with my boss the Monday morning, and told him about my bad experience. He was very biased and told me that the Quest people are all very nice and helpful, and he doesn't believe that they forced me to stay. He also said that I over reacted to the Tarzan/Jane process because of my history of sexual abuse, and he sees nothing wrong with the process. He told me that it’s a pity I didn't stay for the last day, as that was the most important day, and I would have been 'transformed' as I'm only half the person I can be at the moment. My boss is deeply involved in the whole organization, and I believe that he is brainwashed into believing all their rubbish and defending them.
I sent out a mass email to all my contacts warning them about Quest, but I'd like to take this further and see justice served. I'm just worried that if my boss finds out about my intentions, that he'll get nasty and fire me. How can I take this further, without angering him, and losing my job?