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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: Mermaid ()
Date: November 03, 2002 01:46AM

Hey all..

My husband did "The Sterling Men's weekend" a while ago.. I thought it was a good thing, but I have been hearing and reading (on the RickRoss website) that is is very cultlike.. and I am shocked by some of the information that I have encountered.

I have similar experiences.. he is on the phone alot, and he has his meetings all the time.. he seems to be getting more and more involved..

I have read some of the basic tenants of the Sterling group, and Im horrorfied. - It is very mysogynistic.. and frightening.. (see Sterling in the groups section) while I havent seen this in my husband.. Im just afraid of him associating with men that think like that..

Any one else have similar thought??


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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: Jennie ()
Date: November 29, 2002 07:53PM

All though I am not a "sterling wife," I feel that I share a similar experience. Four years ago I found my soul mate, Paul. He was the most wonferful, beautiful person I have ever met. We made plans for a future together... a home, children, everything I ever wanted. He became involved in a group called "landmark Education," because he was feeling suicidal & very depressed. Instantly his parents, my parents, his sister & family, my sister & family, & many other friends became concerned about this group. My parents warned me that the group was not safe & that if Paul became deeply involved with it, he would leave me within the next six months. Of couse I thought they were all full of it, but I still told Paul about everyone's concern. Well, here I am, moving out on my own, selling him my half of our home we bought together, completely in shock. This group made him believe that his life before "landmark" was awful, that he was a terrible person. It made him think that our four year relationship was completley insignificant. He told me that he never really loved me, that he was only with me out of financial convenience & that he was hiding his true feelings in a "closet." I feel like the man I fell in love with has died, & there's nothing I can do to bring him back. He's gone through the entire "education" program & has even contimplated becomming a leader. Something must be done about these dangerous groups, they must be held accountable for the damage they can inflict upon people who really need the help of a trainned professional. Sorry to go on and on, but this is the first time I've had a chance to share my story with someone who understands. I feel these two groups are very similar, with all the phone calls & meetings & never ending seminars. It's all about the organization finding people who will become dependant & hooked for life. It's a terrible way to exploit people who may just be going through a rough spot in life. Thanks for listening. ~ Jennie ~

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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: November 29, 2002 11:24PM

I agree with you that these groups need to be exposed. If you read the updated Landmark website, they sound so benign. Yet the actual programs are a different story.

By posting here, Jennie, you are getting the word out. Please let as many people as you can know about this site and your experience. Check out the other posts in this thread, too.

Landmark can be helpful if people are stuck in a rut in life, perhaps with jobs, not knowing what to do next, difficulty making decisions. But these "trained" leaders have no business counselling people on relationships. Both my doctor and the Landmark people I met encouraged me to leave my husband, that I was "settling". They bend their own words to fit their needs. For example, if I had actually left my husband and had regrets, their response would have been that I was running a racket on them, that leaving wasn't really what they meant, that I should have thought up a different solution. Yet (especially my doctor), the message clearly was that by staying, I was not taking responsibility for my own happiness. THey are experts with words.

Perhaps at some point your husband will come to his senses. Once he's away from Landmark, as with many others, the effect the seminars has seems to fade. The language and behavior is not natural.

For now, you are suffering a huge loss and I hope you have a good support system, perhaps a counselor who specializes in cult issues. Please continue to post or PM some of the people here. This web site is quite helpful. Also, [] has a great web site to deal with the marriage and loss issues (the Catbox forum). There were a few people on their who knew about Landmark.

I've been thru Landmark, too, and have dealt with a "therapist" who used Landmark technology as his treatment of some of my physical problems, with terrible results. I'd be happy to correspond with you either privately or on the board here.


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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: Mermaid ()
Date: December 02, 2002 02:06AM

Hey Jeannie..

Im so sorry about your experience.. that is so horrible.. How long ago did you and Paul split? It sounds like it is still really fresh.. I really do know about how Landmark can devestate lives... My husband's uncle pressured he and I for a couple of years about doing "The Forum" he said it was so great, and it would change our lives, and basically do everything but solve world hunger..

So finnally my husband went along with it and did the Forum.. and it he came back kinda weird, not sleeping, and not eating, and very very emotional.. and he was talking all this jargony stuff, and I had no idea what he was talking about.. then he talked me into doing it.. *whew* - was that a mistake..

I have to say that I got some good stuff out of it.. but mostly, I felt like I was in a very forced environment.. You cant leave the room - if you are two seconds late, you are scolded, if you disagree with anything the "leader" says then you are "having a racket" or "something is coming up for you around this" (I hate that bullshit talk they all do) - it's like you cant have an original thought that goes against Landmark.. They seem to think that they have all the knowledge and that if you dont follow their way of thinking then you have a problem.. and if you arent 100% ok.. then you are not at all ok..

The whole thing is so fucked up...

Then my husband did the Advanced Course.. and he came back in a state that I have never seen, and hope to never see again.. He didnt sleep for a month - and I mean he didnt really sleep at all.. he lost 10 pounds in a weekend, he thought that he heard the voice of God speaking to him.. he told my sister that he had the secret of the universe, but he couldnt tell it to her.. He was talking fast and furious, and making no sense..

Shortly after he was diagnosed with bipolar illness.. He got on meds for a while.. - we separated.. (thanks again to Landmark)

We were separated for 9 months.. it was miserable.. but during the time.. the meds got him back to pretty much normal..

Then he did Sterling.. and he credits Sterling for saving our marriage.. he decided that he still wanted to be married after doing it.. so I was grateful for Sterling at first.. but then, he got busyer and busyer with them.. and it seems like he is gone all the time with them..
Sorry to be so long.. I guess I just had to rant a little.. feel free to mail me.. personally..

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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: ishtar ()
Date: December 10, 2002 05:30AM

I used to date a man who got invovled in Sterling. His friend got involved and literally begged my boyfriend to come to the weekend. I found out later that the group puts huge pressure on men to bring their friends in.

There were some things that were decent, like they handed out clothing to homeless people. No problem with that. But he started to exhibit the behavior you are talking about ... he HAD to call at certain times, usually inconvenient ones like 10 PM.

Then he started to "cult talk". It has been too long so I can't remember the terms but he was clearly being indoctrinated. He started spewing a deeply sexist point of view that was offensive. They also began to tell him my relationship with him was bad for various reasons.

I began to point out to him when he was using "cult language" and basically harass him about the control they had over him. I'm not sure in retrospect that this was wise, but he was a boyfriend, not a husband so I probably felt like I had less to lose. I would ask him, "So what happens if you call at 10:05 PM or 9:55 PM? " He told me that he would be the focus of attention at the next group meeting and they would humiliate him.

I kept him talking and asked him, "Doesn't this seem wacky to you? Doesn't this seem weird?"

He asked me to join Sterling Women and I laughed in his face. I said I would have nothing to do with a group that basically hated women. He tried to talk about how great the women's group was but I referred to them as "the self-loathing women's group". A little unfair since I never met them, but that was my opinion from the outside.

Finally I printed out Rick Ross' pages about Sterling and handed them to him. I guess the combination of all of this helped him to see the light because he began to stand up for himself at the meetings.

From what he told me they finally kicked him out because he was questioning them all the time in front of the other members. The thing that got him was that he thought all the guys in the group had been such "good friends" of his, afterward none of them would return his calls. He was cut off.

In the end he was glad I did what I did, but remember I caught it very early and am familiar with emotional mind control and cults from being generally well-read. If it goes too far, it can be too late.

I think what really got him was learning that the leader, I think he was Jason Sterling ... something like that... had a poor marital history. I also think that the article about the weekend hit him hard too because he would never tell me what happened that weekend and I guess the article was pretty close to the truth.

I hope this was helpful. Best of luck and I hope you have happy holidays.

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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: ASterlingGuy ()
Date: March 20, 2003 05:14AM

Hello all, I'm not sure if this thread is still active but I felt compled to write.

I'm a graduate of the sterling mens weekend, and am an active memeber on a mens team.

I see allot of fear on these message boards and on this site and it makes sad that somthing that I have benifited from so much in this last year is being slandered because it is misinturpreted and misunderstood.

I am on my mens team beacuse I want to contribute to the community. I want to help change mens lives and thus change the lives of thier families. I also want to improve my life and by helping change the lives of other, I internalize that feeling and can apply it to my own success.

Life on a mens team is an amazing thing, but it can look strange and secretive on the outside. I will not break the confedintiality of the circle of men, but I will talk about it's importance.

Imagine a world were nothing is sacred. Where nothing is private. Gossip is rampent. Misunderstandings arise. War breaks out. It's allot like our world.

The circle of men is a sacred place for the men. It's not about being better, or keeping everything secret for the sake of being secretive. It's a sacred place were men honor other men by sharing eachothers lives and truths.

It's all about taking a man and turning him into a commited husband, father, employerr, employee, artist, spirit.

The means can be odd and not what you'd expect.

When a man has to make a call at 10PM every night for a week... what is it really about? It's about the man practicing commitment and being held accountable by other men. If he succeds in his commitment he become stronger in all his commitments.

This is just a little example of how we train each other on our mens team to grow strong.

As a women, you have to ask yourself... do I want a man that practices commitment? If yes, let the man talk on the phone at 10PM. If you really want him to hold his commitments, then support him in keeping them!

It's only a big deal if you let it become a big deal in your mind.

Boys and Men:

While growing up, boys come together and form circles. In these circles they compete, yet they are friends. They push each other, yet they are friends. They fight physicaly, yet they are still bonded.

Many times a man loses this circle later on in life due to lack of time and the fact that socitiy frowns on a cirlce of men. Sometimes men in the circle break thier word, and the circle disappears.

This is why we make the time.

I heard a story about a mens team meeting in a remote area. All of a sudden there were police helicopters and sqad cars. They searched each man and thier cars. Obviously this is a circle of community service and self service so nothing was found illegal.

The world just isn't ready for men to do what they do naturally. Be in a circle of men.

Your word is your honor in the circle. You're held accountable to your word.

Do these things really sound so bad? Cause this is the truth about what happens.

I've seen mens lives saved. I've seen business owners become successful. I've seen families strengthend. All as a direct result of the circle of men. My own faimly has seen these results.

I will always have my circle because it makes me a better man. It makes me the man I've always wanted to be. Perhaps I should start a prosterting site :)

And finally I must say. The people who did the Sterling weekend took an oath on thier honor to keep secret what happens during the weekend. Those who have broken thier word must not hold the honesty at highly in thier life. They are more interested in controling the opinions of others by spreading the poison of gossip then helping a person take action and change thier life.

I wish you all good luck and happyness. I hope I may have contributed to changing the fear. Fear kills action. Action is the only thing that can change lives.

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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: March 20, 2003 07:38AM

The Sterling Institute of Relationship is a for-profit privately owned company. Justin Sterling, previously known as Artie Karsarjian runs it.

Karsarjian or Sterling as he is now called has no credentials as a relationship expert. He has no degree or certification in the field of marriage and/or family counseling. Typically, professionals who offer seminars or "weekends" have both and often a post graduate degree.

Sterling has only his personal experience; a failed marriage, bitter divorce and court ordered supervised visitation with his daughter.

Sterling was once reportedly involved in "Est" now known as Landmark Education. He seems to have largely copied the "Forum" format to come up with what he calls the "weekend."

The weekend actually appears to be little more than warmed over Est with some key elements essentially lifted from Robert Bly (author of "Iron Man") and John Gray (author of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus").

The weekend events are videotaped and at the conclusion men are asked to strip naked for some sort of male bonding ritual.

The Sterling Institute of Relationship has a deeply troubled history and has generated constant complaints, negative press and at times emotional breakdowns. Rather than improving relationships it has actually ripped many apart.

I would not recommend Sterling to anyone under any circumstances, nor any of the support groups associated with it, which seem to often include recruitment efforts and have likewise generated serious complaints about.

See []

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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: ASterlingGuy ()
Date: March 20, 2003 08:40AM

No orginization is perfect because all orginizations are comprized of people.

However that is also a strength.

While you can focus on the problems of one men and try to discredit the work he does, it's not possible to judge the all the people in the orginization.

There are many amazing people in this orginization.

Sterling provided tools. I build my house from the tools. If I don't like a tool, I don't use it. If I find a tool useful, which I have, I do use it.

Many great teachers in our history as a human civilization have had no credentials.

It's not about what he says, it's about what you learn about yourself. I learned allot about myself, and I don't have credentials.

Would you trust someone with you business or life just because they have a degree?

In my professional, a degree is almost useless. Skill combined with knowldge, to create wisdom is a rare and sought out comodity.

Yes, the Sterling Institue of Relationship is for profit. So are most other services of this nature.

People might want to know that the men of sterling have formed thier own orginization called MDI. Men Division International. We are non-profit orginization. Mens teams are a part of MDI. Not a part of Sterling. We have chosen to support the weekend.

As for the naked ritual. Most men have no problem with nudity around eachother. You'll find it in locker rooms all over the country. From a spiritual perspective, my body is a work of God, and thus, being naked will never bother me.

Taking things out of context and spreading fear for those who may have had a loved one do the weekend does not serve anyone. It brings no good.

I know a man who did the weekend and rediscoved his love for his wife thru the men in the weekend. He came to my mens team with a zeal for life. He was succeding in business. His wife got on the internet, and read your site, and is now threatening to leave him simply because of the fear and missinformation.

The simple thruth. The facts outside of context are not facts.

Ask yourself if you're really doing a service.

In my eyes, your just feeding people information that is out of context and spreading fear for somthing that is trying to improve the quality of life for humanity.

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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: March 20, 2003 07:59PM

Thank you for acknowledging that MDI "Men's Division International" is a group that provides "suport" for the weekend.

MDI clearly is a "tool" used for recruitment and promotion by Justin Sterling for his weekend.

Sterling typically grosses about $70,000.00 for a working "weekend." This income has made him a multi-millionaire.

Also, despite your apology, telling men to strip naked and videotaping them at a "relationship seminar" is neither like a "locker room," nor does it seem very "spiritual."

Instead, it is unseemly and potentially embarassing.

Men should be told in advance what to expect at these weekends, so they can make an informed decision if they wish to attend or not.

Regarding your other comments, they are a fairly typical apology made by Sterling devotees.

Those interested should read the comments of others not devoted to Sterling and the bad press the group has garnered.

See []

Obviously there are less controversial and more credible alternatives to resolve marriage problems than Sterling.

Men might consult resources within their community such as licensed and credentialed counselors, clergy or psychologists who are accountable to a licensing board, agency and/or body/church.

Thankfully, groups like Sterling, which have been repeatedly discredited, are not the only source for solutions to personal problems or self-improvement.

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Looking for Sterling Wives...
Posted by: ASterlingGuy ()
Date: March 21, 2003 04:08AM

I'm not going to engage in a debate about the man or the means. I know that I could not ever change you're opinion. Your forming opinions and knowledge on neo social theory. Sterling teaches the exact opposite of neo social thoery and presents it as a great experiment that has gone awfully wrong.

From this point forth, I'm not going to reply to your posts.

Personally, if I could make a business out of helping people chaing thier lives for the better, I'd do it.

All I know and care about is what I've gained personally, professionaly, and spiritualy from the weekend and MDI.

There are two things that you're flat out wrong about.

I did not apoligse for anything.
MDI is not a tool for anyone but them men involved in it.

Thankfully there are many resources for people to imporve thier lives. If someone asked me for advice, I'd set them on the path that got me here. It's not the only path, but it's the path that is worked for me.

The point is that there are people in the world that are hurting, and whatever path is taken to heal them is fine. It's just that a path needs to be taken, rather then stared at, mulled over, picked appart. Not acknowledging that there are many ways to solve a problem is simply avioding the problem itself.

If someone you love has done the weekend, support them on thier path. If they later decide to leave the orginizations, support them on thier path. Whatever they chose, realize that they are working to make themselves better for you and thier community. Support them.

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