Re: Klemmer and Associates
Date: March 11, 2009 04:12AM
Are you open to an alternative viewpoint?
First, a bit of background - I'm a Christian, a linguist and programmer with advanced degrees, and a critical thinker. I've been all the way through the Klemmer work, and I was dragged into it kicking and screaming by an ex-wife. I spent the first half of the Personal Mastery course on my laptop, searching the web for links between K&A and other LGAT's. I'm neither stupid nor terribly impressionable.
I found the K&A work immensely useful in my life. I went in a Christian, and came out a stronger Christian. I went in without much purpose in my life, and came out of it knowing that my goal for the rest of my days was to bring people to Christ by lifting the human condition through acts of healing service. Having been back to staff a dozen K&A events, and watching the facilitators, administrators and students closely, I've seen nothing short of miracles worked in people's lives.
Now, the reality check. Is K&A an LGAT? Definitely. While not directly connected to est, almost all of this type of organization grew out of Erhard's initial work, and Brian Klemmer is the first to admit that almost nothing he does is original. The red/black game, the behavioral quadrants, the raft, almost all of it is found in other organizations as well. The only thing Brian could legitimately trademark is his term "Compassionate Samurai." And, in contrast to many of the other groups out there, I've never seen anyone abused or humiliated. Asked to take themselves on, yes. Confronted when they talk bullshit about themselves, yes. Required to look at the potentially destructive nature of human group interactions, yes. But never treated with anything less than dignity and value.
Is K&A a for-profit company? You bet. They employ a lot of people, and spend a lot of money to put their seminars on. Do for-profit companies market their services aggressively? You better believe it. The techniques I've seen used at K&A to promote their classes are no different from what I encounter when I go to buy a car. And If you pay attention to the required logistics, you'll see that these seminars are run on a pretty slim margin. They lay out huge amounts of money to hold these events. I've watched the conversion rates at the end of these seminars. They seem to hover around 50%. That's hardly "brainwashing". Almost the last thing people hear at the Advanced seminar is an hour-long plea from Kimberly Zink that no matter what they choose to do in their lives, whether they sign up for the next seminar or not, is to keep themselves moving forward, and to find ways to make a difference in the world.
Like other LGAT's, the K&A seminars require people to take a good look at their own behavioral patterns and belief systems. Given the bell-curve of humanity, not everyone will respond the same way to this kind of emotional probing. Based on my own experience, the positive results far outweigh the negative ones. Yes, some people will find the seminars disturbing, especially if they are in huge resistance to making positive changes in their lives. "Shattered lives" and "broken marriages"... it would be hard to say that K&A is directly responsible for these, although again - statistically - you could probably find some. But my goodness - many people go through traditional counselling and/or therapy and some come out successful, others feel like it ruined them for life.
I now know virtually thousands of people who have gone through this work. They come from all walks of life - Christians, secular humanists, Muslims, Jews, educated, blue-collar, you name it. My own direct observation is that an overwhelming preponderance of these people have heightened awareness of their abilities and self-worth; the connected nature of humanity; and a desire to step out into the world and make a positive difference in the lives of others. If that's the result of a "cult", sign me up. Oh, wait...
The No. 2 at Klemmer? Would that be Steve Hinton or Patrick Dean? Because along with Brian, that's basically 1, 2 and 3. I know these people. I know what they are about. They are trying to make a positive difference in the lives of people, and keep a company running as a vehicle for doing so.
Tolerance vs. love? Is this a cult-education forum or a loudspeaker for radical Christianity? The savior himself didn't condemn the woman taken in adultery, even while admonishing her to go and sin no more. No one exemplified better the concept of a world that works for everyone than Christ. He preached the Gospel, admonished people to keep the commandments and come to the Father, and spent most of his time eating, drinking and associating with publicans and sinners. He condemned no one except the pharisees and hypocrites who kept the law for the wrong reasons and lived in judgment of everyone else. Christ didn't say "judge not, except for people who have four wives, or are gay, or who cheat on their spouses." He said, "Judge not."
Despite my objectivity, it will be easy for many to write off my comments as the rantings of another brainwashed loon. So be it. And, this is my experience. K&A has changed my life for the good, immeasurably. Four times the price would have still made the seminars cheap, in my estimation. As it is, the ten grand or so I shelled out seems like a pittance in exchange for what I've gotten back, and the difference I've already been able to make in the lives of others.