From Google's cache of [www.facebook.com
This is a snapshot of the pages as they appeared on Apr 18, 2010
Legacy Center : the truth about the cult like organization in North Carolina
Legacy Center is an LGAT (large group awareness training) based on the techniques developed for encounter groups in the 1970's, and on techniques from other fields of study such as neuro-linguistic programming and behavioral psychology.
The techniques it employs include sleep deprivation, isolation from friends and family, verbal abuse, hunger, various forms of group pressure, humiliation, and coerced intimacy.
Legacy center has no trained counselors or psychologist on staff and claims they do not engage in counseling or psychotherapy.
The truth is that Legacy uses powerful psychological techniques to evoke strong emotional responses from their trainees which can and do lead to psychological crises and even psychosis.
Legacy center is a cult like organization in North Carolina. Unlike religious cults which typically try and completely isolate their members from society and control every aspect of their lives Legacy Center could be described as a money cult whose primary goal is simply to get as many people to enroll in their for profit courses as possible.
Legacy center has had its membership in the Better Business Bureau revoked due to unresolved complaints and has been, and still may be, under investigation by the attorney general's office.
Legacy center is an is an off-shoot of the Lifespring organization.
The American Psychological Association has condemned LGATs as being harmful and unsafe and has cited Lifespring in particular.
The president of Legacy center, Rob Katz, was a trainer at Lifespring, and continues to be associated with its founder John Hanley.
The Lifespring orginization was a for-profit private company, founded in 1974.
The company was the subject of investigative reports by the media, and was criticized by former staff and participants. After a series of lawsuits in the 1980s which alleged that Lifespring was responsible for mental damages to the plaintiffs, including suicides, the company paid out damages as a result of settlements and one lost jury decision and was consequently closed.
Because of the effects of cognitive dissonance (they have invested a lot of time and money) many current and former members may be unwilling or resistant to hearing information critical of the organization.
A quote from a research paper investigating the techniques Legacy Center uses and links to the full article
"We have argued that while many participants experienced a sense of enhanced well-being as a consequence of the training, these experiences were essentially pathological.
First, ego functions were systematically undermined and regression was promoted by environmental structuring, infantilizing of participants and repeated emphasis on submission and surrender.
Second, the ideational or interpretive framework provided in the training was also based upon regressive modes of reasoning--the use of all-or-nothing categories, absolutist logic and magical thinking, all of which are consistent with the egocentric thinking of young children.
Third, the content of the training stimulated early narcissistic conflicts and defenses, which accounts for the elation and sense of heightened well-being achieved by many participants.
The devaluation of objective constraints upon a person's action promoted grandiose fantasies of unlimited power.
A corollary to this devaluation of the external world wits that interactions with others lacked substance. People appeared to be interchangeable so that ephemeral, indiscriminate emotional contacts were experienced as profound and meaningful.
Identification with Lifespring necessitated considerable idealization so that any threat to this experience was aggressively defended against."
Link 1 to the full article-
Link 2 to the article-
What the perspective of a current or former member might be and a links to a firsthand accounts of former members of Lifespring
Because of the effects of cognitive dissonance, a manufactured psychological dependancy on the authority figures of the organization, and an addiction to the emotional highs that the exercises can produce many current and former members will be resistant to honestly examining the facts.
Here is the wiki definition of cognitive dissonance-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance
The powerful psychological techniques used in the trainings can bring up repressed feelings and issues and this can be a benefit for some members but for other members this can be very hurtful because the Legacy staff is not trained to deal effectively and compassionately with people in crises as real counselors are.
The trainings may also occasionally push some people into going forward with taking positive risk in their lives but other less fortunate members who are not as emotionally stable may make very sudden and damaging life decisions.
Besides the aggressive techniques Legacy Center uses to breakdown the psychological defenses of its trainees, trainees are also at times given a lot of attention and positive regard by the trainers and other member/trainees.
The fact that they are in a psychologically vulnerable state makes them feel very dependent upon this support when it is given.
The truth is many people in our modern culture live in a state of relative isolation, to a greater or lesser degree, and the sense of being surrounded by a suddenly very available community can be very powerful, regardless of the obvious faults of that community.
Another truth is that many people do not receive enough emotional support and praise in their lives from support networks of families and friends. And even people who do have supportive networks may be powerfully affected by having a large group of people simultaneously express feelings of love and praise for them, especially when they are in a psychologically vulnerable state.
All of the positive benefits that some members may experience could have been achieved through other types of coaching or educational programs that use the good techniques that Legacy Center uses without employing the potentially harmful ones that they use.
Legacy uses these potentially harmful techniques because they are very persuasive, can occasionally produce feelings of elation which are semi-addictive, and most importantly they make the participants receptive to Legacy's coercive efforts towards having them persuade their friends and family to sign up for the trainings.
When talking to a friend or family member who has been or is involved with the organization keep in mind that they have probably sacrificed a lot of time and money and that they may have experienced some positive benefits.
It may be difficult for them to realize and admit to the harmful or potentially harmful and manipulative aspects of the trainings because of these circumstamnces.
Despite whatever benefits a trainee may have gained through the program research has shown and psychologist and counselors will affirm that the same type of benefits could have been obtained through less potentially damaging and manipulative methods.
Research has also shown that in comparison to other types self improvement programs and counseling groups the techniques that Large Group Awareness Training programs, such as Legacy center, use are potentially much more harmful and that any positive benefits they may produce tend to be much shorter lived.
Here are links to first hand accounts of a former members of the Lifespring LGAT which was the model organization for Legacy Center and where the president of Legacy center received his training.
Despite what Legacy Center claims many of their actions contradict Christian teachings and belief
Consequently to being involved with Legacy Center many people's marriages have been broken and there are many testimonials by former participants that it was their involvement in Legacy Center that was responsible for the break-up of their marriage.
Many former participants have reported that their faith and beliefs have been mocked while they were attending the programs.
Trainers have reportedly shouted "F*ck Jesus!!" and "If you could depend on God why is your life such a mess!" during the programs.
In one of the exercises trainees participate in people are in instructed to strip down to their underwear and stare at one another.
In another exercise participants are told to go up to the person in the room that they find most attractive and tell them why they are attracted to them.
this is regardless of whether or not they are there with a married partner.
Participants/trainees have been told by the trainers to break off their relationship with a partner of spouse if they opposed their participation in the programs or if their partners wouldn't sign up for the programs themselves.
Participants are told that they are not allowed to tell people outside of the organization what takes place during the trainings and this includes their family, friends, priest/pastors, and church communities. They are coerced into signing a contract that says they will not reveal this information to anyone under any circumstances.
Links to discussion boards about Legacy Center
There are many pages of information on these boards. It can take a while to go through but there is a lot of good info. It seems some members or employees of Legacy have occasionaly posted crazy sounding messages on the boards which are apparently critical of Legacy but in reality are attempting to make their critics look bad.
Some good tips for how to talk friends out of the orginization found on a discussion board.1)
Make a lot of playdates with them, make them commit the time. The idea is to make them commit time to you that their LGAT might want, if your commitment comes first they will feel obligated to it. They will start to feel that the LGAT is asking too much.2)
Don't put down what they say if it has merit, as someone above pointed out in one of my postings some of the things the LGATs use cannot be argued (ie. it's better to be on time, who can argue that?).3)
Do not let them use jargon on you. Jargon is actually discouraged by many LGATs, but it's addictive and people that are hooked tend to use it. Ask "What does that mean?", and continue to ask questions until their arguments actually mean something, typically they'll fall apart.4)
Support them in improving their lives. One of the aspects that gets people hooked is achievement. You may not always see it, because it doesn't happen to everyone but when people 'play' in the LGAT environment some people do awesome things. I've seen people find their birth parents in a few hours, I've seen people buy houses in a day, I've seen other things that just don't seem possible, and it can make you high. The ultimate LGAT tool is to not take any excuses when someone wants to achieve a goal, it feels rude to be this way but someone in a LGAT they'll understand what you are doing and appreciate it (try babysteps at first if this is hard, maybe ask questions instead of just telling someone they're full of it).5)
Do not let your hate and fear of the cult aspects of LGATs define your arguments. Operate from your love of the person, but don't be negative. Make sure you are trying to give something to your loved one, not take something away.