Visitor Feedback

Updated 17 March 2003

This is a complete record of comments, stories, and criticisms submitted by readers (identified by first name only—no email addresses will be posted). I have left them unedited except for bleeping out the more colorful language. I've also added my responses, which vary in tone depending on my mood. Due to high volume, we are not accepting new feedback at this time. Thanks to all those who contributed!

Your feedback comes in three flavors:
I Hate Landmark (133)| I Love Landmark (45) | I'm Just Weird (or indifferent) (26)


"I Hate Landmark!"


Date: 17 March 2003
Subject: Education?
From: Chris

Landmark Education? Unfortunately, I took two courses before finding your info on the internet. Its not that it is all bad, but considering that the methods are really like practicing psychology without a license it should be considered fraud. Yes, some get something out of it. The ones I worry about are the ones that are allowed to take it that have severe emotional problems. That is irresponsible. Yes, they are not completely open. Everthing I have read complaining about it is true. The worst parts are irresponsibility about disturbed people, heavy proselytizing, and attempts at mind control. They prey on the weak that need real healing, just like Scientology. Once I read about the history of Werner Erhard I knew immediately he was a phony used car salesman who saw an easy scam.

NoLandmark replies: You don't even need severe emotional problems to get hurt by Landmark; in fact you need a strong and healthy emotional makeup just to defend against their methods.


Date: 17 March 2003
Subject: landmark
From: kiompie

First of all thank you for posting your site on the web, it is great to have my suspicions confirmed.

Today, I had my own Landmark experience here in Belgium. We were asked by a friend to go to one of the introductory meetings, he wanted to know our opinion about the guy who was presiding over the meeting. So we went there, the three of us, to see what all the fuss was about.

There were actually two Landmark guys, a younger one who did the presentation and an older guy who seemed to be some kind of supervisor. We were the only guests.

First, we had to write down our names and phone numbers on a piece of paper, so they could contact us later in the week for an "evaluation" of the evening. Next we were given a brochure and a few sheets of paper for the "exercises". The younger guy then started to give his presentation in order to show us how Landmark would make our lives better. We had to take one sheet of paper and divide it into two columns, the right one for listing things in our lives that "worked" and the left one for things that "did not work". At this point I interrupted the speaker and asked him why I should provide this very personal information to somebody I did not know, why he thought he could help me with my problems and what kind of an organisation I was dealing with. He then started babbling about how my past was my future and how they would turn that around by removing the past and opening me up to the future. I was told to just do the exercise and see how it worked. When my friends voiced similar concerns, the older guy stepped in to convince us the exercise would reveal all the benefits.

So, we dutifully wrote down a few things that we thought were "not working" and were invited to talk about them. The younger guy helped us out by telling a sob story about how he used to have a problem with his little brother - too boring and predictable to repeat here . The three of us started to comment on the definition of the phrase "not working", giving examples of times when "not-working" things were actually a positive phase people had to go through, etcetera. In short, we were sabotaging their strategy with all kinds of philosophy. Again, the older guy stepped in to lead us back on the right track. We then went on to discuss the things that were "working" in our lives. All the time, the speaker was pressing us to give a clear example and not to get side-tracked. It was all very childish, something you would do to fourth-graders, and we were constantly being told how nice and great it was that we were "sharing". I cannot remember how many times the younger guy thanked us for what we said, but it was getting pretty irritating and way too obvious.

Anyway, after that we had the "you do not know what you do not know" rubbish, including a pie chart showing all the knowledge in the world and how little we knew. At the end of the presentation we were told how great Landmark was, how many people were already being helped all over the world and how we had to sign up. They were really putting pressure on us to commit. We all gave different arguments about why we did not want to commit and had to explain, over and over again, why not. That is their trick. As soon as you start, politely, explaining why you do not feel the Forum could be beneficial to you they start to question/undermine your motives and your beliefs. All very friendly and nicely, but in a way very offensive.

When I said I already had some good friends who were helping me with my issues - and that I had already come a long way in solving them - the older guy started to harass me with this "that is your story" talk. Like I was fooling myself and my friends did not know what they were doing!

It was the typical "you do not believe because you do not want to believe" routine. He insinuated that I refused to face my issues, that I was stubborn and self-delusional. I then told him I could see right through their strategies and that they should come up with something better in order to convince me, but to no avail. He went on ad nauseam.

In the end I pocketed the piece of paper with my name and telephone number - to avoid future harassment - and left with my friends, who also thought the whole thing was utterly ridiculous.

I now know two things. Firstly: Landmark preys on vulnerable people. And if you do not think you are vulnerable, they will try and convince you that you are and that you need their help. You definitely do not!! A lot of the stuff they say makes sense, but there is nothing new. There are many other - free - places you can go to for information and help. Secondly, the friend who arranged this meeting for us is going to be sorry he did.

NoLandmark replies: Thanks for the insights. Landmark hates those like you who would dare stand up for yourself.


Date: 14 March 2003
Subject: Your Forum
From: Jessica

Man, you've got those suckers NAILED. Well done. I have a Bachelors' Degree in Anthropology, and exposing the intentions of an organization such as Landmark Education is the ultimate philanthropic effort for today's society in my experience.

My best friend was recently approached by a "graduate" member of Landmark, and she being soft-spoken and not altogether strong willed allowed herself to be continually coerced by a new "friend" and a brigade of callers to put down a deposit on a Landmark Education seminar scheduled to take place in her area. She's got a good head on her shoulders, but has a very difficult time saying "No" to anyone, especially strangers. I think this stems from her need for acceptance from the general public, and this is the exact kind of mindset most malleable to a manipulative organization such as Landmark. Coincidentally (and fortunately) her mother attended an EST seminar many years ago, and my friend's father immediately made the connection when she went to him with her concerns regarding the situation she is in now. Apparently her mother had to go through considerable deprogramming to unlearn all the poisonous propaganda fed to her by the members of EST, and thanks to my friend's trust and respect in her father she decided to put a stop to her affiliation with her Landmark "friend" and fend off future phone calls from their people.

Not everyone has people they can truly trust or rely on, and according to statistics there are enough people hurting and confused to keep the cash flowing through Landmark Education's veins. I applaud your efforts to prevent individuals from getting sucked into a downward-spiraling case of dependency to which there is no physical end.

Please let me know if I can do anything to help.

NoLandmark replies: Glad your friend got out. It's funny that Landmarkians also consider themselves philanthropists...and they really believe it.


Date: 13 March 2003
Subject: pre-landmark issue
From: Kam

A good friend of mine paid for me to do the forum. I absolutely do not want to do it, but be claims "My word is my word" and once Im a Landmarkian i will realize that when I say Yes it means Yes. As well, the $400 bucks is already paid for.

I know that they don't brainwash per-se, but what can I do to safeguard myself?

NoLandmark replies: Don't let them convince you that everything you've learned in life thus far are "stories" that should be ignored in favor of Landmark's philosophy. And always ask yourself whether their technology is designed to help you or to get your money.


Date: 13 March 2003
Subject: Landmark Forum and the Red Fags, my play
From: Stephen

Hi, just wanted to thank you for the link from your site to my play "Land Mark Forum and the Red Flags". I originally had the short play on my playwrighting site: stephenpeace.homestead.com, and it didn't get that many visits. But the visits it did get were from "Formicans", usually, the top tiered Formicans who stood to lose money if their ideology and brainwashing was questioned. One guy was really nasty and we traded e-mails for a few times. He was obnoxious and called me a "whiney assed piece of BLEEP!" for having written my play. I think my parting shot was that I was going to set up a site that made finding my play easier. You have helped me in my quest. It is interesting how many hits I have had since this link was established. I hope he was bing 'authentic", and can see that his "rackets" are now being exposed. I now have hits on the play from all over the world, and most of them are off of the link at your site. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. --An interesting side lite to the play and the woman who invited me to the meeting is she recetly said that it was a "waste of time and she wished she had the thousands of dollars she spent on it back".

NoLandmark replies: I am a fan of theater.


Date: 12 March 2003
Subject: landmark
From: Becky

Take it from a fifty year old, well educated, open minded woman: DON'T GET INVOLVED WITH LANDMARK EDUCATION. AT BEST YOU WILL SPEND MANY MISERABLE HOURS IN THEIR UNPLEASANT COMPANY AND CUT YOUR LOSSES.

If you think you would enjoy making reservations at an exclusive, expensive restaurant and then sitting down to be served cockroaches sauteed in cat urine, while the waiter smiles & convinces you it is Strawberries Jubilee, then go ahead and PAY LANDMARK YOUR $400 PLUS and bon appetit!

I participated in one of LANDMARK'S DISGUSTING WEEKENDS and the result so far has been fPOST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER.

THESE PEOPLE ARE CROOKS AND THEY SHOULD BE PUT OUT OF BUSINESS FOR PERSONAL HARM AND DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES! SPEND YOUR MONEY ON SOMETHING FUN AND BENEFICIAL - FLY TO CANCUN & DRINK PINA COLADAS IN THE SUN -- IT WILL COST ABOUT THE SAME AND BELIEVE ME YOU WILL GET A LOT MORE OUT OF IT!

NoLandmark replies: But then where will I get my cockroaches in cat urine fix? Yum!


Date: 5 March 2003
Subject: london
From: Colin

Thanks for a great site. No doubt Landmarkians are directed here to guage tactics of defence etc.

I'm in London and also concerned about a friend who has been drummed into it. Luckily I had had a "fruitcake" experience by a cult in the States many years ago so as soon as I met people from the Forum huge great alarm bells started ringing!

Like Joe from London I am interested in meeting non-Landmark people who want to combat this disease.

Any suggestions?

NoLandmark replies: I'd be thrilled if Landmark were actually directing participants to this site, but I think instead participants are told you can't get any information about Landmark on the web. I have thought about setting up a listserve for us nolandmarkians. You can set one up for free with Yahoo Groups.


Date: 4 March 2003
Subject: Landmark experience
From: Josh

I met a beautiful woman at a party a few weeks ago and we exchanged phone #s. Which was great because I have no friends in this part of the country and am lonely. We hung out a few times, including a big party at her house. She is very outgoing, I'm introverted. Then she told me about landmark forum. I realized that a lot of the gibberish philosophy she had shared with me was regurgitated Landmark ideas. I agreed to go to an into lecture last night. I read the Nolandmark forum to prepare myself.

The insight exercise we did at the meeting was harmless enough and somewhat insightful. But the emphasis on recruitment left me with a bad feeling in my gut. At the beginning of the meeting they told us to turn off the little voice in our heads. I turned to my friend and said that I call that voice, "thinking." At the end of the meeting there was a really heavy duty segment about living in the now and not the future. And taking the class now living more fully instead of putting off our future.... It was all couched in very fluffy doubletalk. People had shared the whole evening and everyone seemed sincere, though shameless about sharing all their emotions (is anyone modest anymore?) Some people said they, "got this," or "got that." I recognized that was Landmark language they had been hypnotized with.

I still haven't eliminated the possibility of taking this class sometime. Though I don't cotten to warming a chair for 16 hours a day and sleep deprivation. My friend really tried to get me to sign up for a class immediately. I'm seriously wondering if this person likes me for who I am or only for my potential that Landmark can supposedly bring out in me. Time will tell. It turns out she has been an assistant at 10 of these trainings.

I'm taking my phone off the hook for a few days to avoid any phone calls from her or Landmark about these programs. She tends to ramble on for an hour at a time anyways.

If this is so fufilling why can't these people be happy instead of trying to recruit others into their group? If one really can see the value intrinsic in people, then one should see that people are already complete and can find their own path and own happiness.

What a turnoff.

NoLandmark replies: One must remember that the philosophy isn't designed to make people happy; it is designed to retain and acquire paying members. To reach this goal, it cleverly ties member happiness to the very acts of volunteering and recruiting. That is why your friend cannot accept you as you are--if she did it wouldn't help fill Landmark's coffers now would it?


Date: 1 March 2003
Subject: cult
From: Ben

Killer site. I have a friend who got sucked into this painfully obvious and amusing, manipulative cult. I have heard of many others.

I simply instructed him never to discuss it with me - and that would reveal his true "integrity". He got the msg.

It's the ultimate American snake-oil game, thought sadly, plays with fragile people. But, people are free to be taken advantage of. If this cult allows them to feel they are part of a family, so be it. A family, however, of zombies, filling their emotional holes with an expensive addiction in the form of psycho babble, essentially avoiding a more thorough, proactive study of life. If it's not Landmark, it's Scientology and the like.

The bad part is the aggressive, blind need for recruitment.

Trying to explain the true nature of Landmark to one of it's countless zombies is impossible. You cannot help someone who enjoys their problem - it's worse than telling a heroin addict to stop - at least the addict who cannot stop is aware they are destroying themselves.

I need to start my own cult. What a great way to make tremendous amounts of money.

NoLandmark replies: Go for it, you've definitely got it all figured out. There's plenty of competition from other we'll-help-you-avoid-facing-your-problems cults, but then, there's an awful lot of people who seem to like that sort of thing.


Date: 28 Feb 2003
Subject:
From: Andrew

We have a good friend who, while going through a pretty lonely patch got hooked up with Lm in NYC and has continued to become more and more deeply invlved over the last two years.

We have tried talking (firmly and softly) and notice that he is becoming more solitary and lonely than ever. We live in London, so can't really get a hold on him.

Is there any recommended way to get him to see sense? He is bright and used to be very humorous too. What can be done?

NoLandmark replies: That's the perpetually unanswered question. The guy above you seems to think it's impossible.


Date: 27 Feb 2003
Subject: Thank you
From: Liz

I stumbled across your website while running a search for information to help me explain why my girlfriend should NOT attend a Landmark "Informational Get Together." Her long-time college friend invited her to brunch this past Sunday and casually told her, "I'm hosting an informational gathering at my house on Wednesday about a great organization that's changed my life. It's called The Landmark Forum. It'll help you improve the quality of your relationships..."

As soon as my girlfriend told me that, I nearly fell over. Last year a friend of mine spent months trying to get me to attend an "informational gathering." She used every tactic she could think of... "They'll have free sushi..." or "We should go to the gym and then drop by after..." or "It's a great way to meet new people..." Finally I told her to knock it off or else lose me as a friend. If I really wanted to sink hundreds of dollars into b.s., I'd attend a Tony Robbins seminar. At least that would have "celebrity" speakers and be more entertaining. (And they let you go to the bathroom whenever you want...!)

Anyway, my girlfriend almost fell for it and I talked her out of it. I appreciate you having that information so readily available, it helped bolster my case for why Landmark is nothing more than a cultish money-sucking scam.

NoLandmark replies: Another one saved! Just call me Jesus.


Date: 27 Feb 2003
Subject: the landmark forum
From: jessica

hiya, my name is jessica, i am 24 yrs old and live in lancashire england. My best friend Rachel was introduced to the landmark forum just before christmas, and she swaer's by it after month's of raving about it she evenually got me to go an open night ( at this point i was lead to believe that i wasnt under any presure), Rachel has done the advanced course and is currently getting sponcers to do the 3rd stage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Last night i went along to the landmark forum taking my husband for support, on arirval we were asked to give our name and phone number, (wich we did), after 2hr's we were able to talk to other's i felt that the leader's were desperate to make eye contact.......so they could persuade us landmark was the best sollution to impruving our quality of life and about the way we think. I took this oppertunity to go and have a cigarette!!!!!!!

After three ciggaretes i was starting to feel uncomfortable with the pressure both Rachel and some of the volenteirs were putting "us" under, i say "us" becouse of manipulating remark's like "you are your own person" "dont you think for yourself" bla bla bla.

We went back in to the room wich had been hired, and Ria the leader spoke yet again at how wonderfull the landmark forum is and was thanking those people who "had" signed on the dotted line !!!!, as the meeting ended i had Rachel, and two other people putting pressure on me to sign on the dotted line, my husband was also badger'd by somebody else, i kept hearing thing's like "make that jump"....sign here.............is she going to sign, itl change your life bla bla bla, at this point i was fu**in petrified, i felt under immence pressure to sign, but i wouldnt, i refused...i said i cant handle this i need a cigarette, i then told Rachel to stay where she was and had my fag.............i felt bloody sick to my stomach, i returned to the room to relieve my husband who was extremley gratefull at me returning as there were two more people trying to bully him, i kept saying to Ria "i feel under pressure" i need time to think.....she kept saying just make the jump, "your new life begin's here", bla bla bla, but i am thankfull to say i followed my instinc's as did my husband and we came home to think, you could tell that Ria was absolutley gutted, i am a strong person.....but i almost backed down on several occasion's.

I have hardley slept a wink of sleep all night becouse i had a feeling something wasnt right, i woke at 6.50am and came straight onto the internet, I FOUND YOUR WEBSITE IMMEDIATLEY AND HAVE READ EVERYTHING, i nearly fell into the trap but i am gratefull to my instinct, and my will to follow it.

I truly believe that landmark is a high money making scam, i am disgusted at the way's they were trying to sell the course to myself and my husband, but how do i explain all this to Rachel without losing her friendship, im scared shi*less right now i just dont know what to do for the best.

The landmark forum......................sucks

NoLandmark replies: They sure made you angry, Jes. And some folks wonder why I put so much energy into this website.


Date: 27 Feb 2003
Subject: Landmark Feedback
From: Anonymous but Grateful

Your website saved my life--I sincerely believe that. Here's my story:

A business associate of mine had been using Landmark brainwashing techniques on me. He was extremely convincing. He had told me about Landmark and how life-changing it was, and eventually asked me to attend their meeting as one of his "guests".

I had considered attending the forum, since it sounded like it really helped him professionally and personally. It sounded great, but something in my gut felt unsettling about it. I asked him for a brochure, a phone number of a contact person, or to even just tell me more about Landmark, but he said that I'd have to go there and experience it myself, since it was something he couldn't put into words.

The night before I planned to attend, I decided to do my own research on the internet, just to try and find out more. It was then that I found your website.

Your website saved me. I have suffered from clinical depression, as my business associate knew. I have worked long and hard on overcoming it, and I am certain that had I attended the Landmark Forum, years of hard work would have gone down the drain and I would have had a mental breakdown.

I was so shook up after reading your website, when I realized the damage it would have done to me and when I realized how close I came to actually attending the forum. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I hope my story will save others.

NoLandmark replies: It will, it does, it has. Stories like yours is what this website is all about. Thanks.


Date: 23 Feb 2003
Subject: response
From: Carol

Re: Sept. 26, 2001 post: the web page he cited written by a psychologist, I looked up his credentials. The Institute where he received the PhD in psychology is ranked 180 out of 183 on test scores ( Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology from 1988 to 1995 (as given in the report "How Do Professional Schools' Graduates Compare With Traditional Graduates?" in the September, 1997, APS Observer ). According to the APS Observer , the EPPP is one of the most important national standard tests in clinical psychology and therefore constitutes one objective criterion "by which the adequacy of clinical training programs may be evaluated." The Institute where he is a post doc is ranked 178th.

NoLandmark replies: Degrees, affiliations, and memberships are all meaningless--the person can still be a complete idiot. Readers: look for the post in I Love Landmark.


Date: 23 Feb 2003
Subject: Great web site.... THANKS
From: Lulu

I have a friend who is heavy into Landmark but I never believed it did any good helping her with her troubles or issues and the amount of money seemed a bit steep. My belief is we all know what we need to do in life to feel better lead better lives and the library is a good place to start to self educate oneself.

Landmark Forum? Why pay for the cow when you can get the milk for free?

NoLandmark replies: And the cow is a wolf in disguise.


Date: 18 Feb 2003
Subject: Is there a way out of the Landmark Stepford People?
From: Guada

My best friend of more than 20 years "discovered" Landmark about a year ago.

For the three years prior, she had grieved her husband, who tragically died in a car accident. She quit her job, she was gaining weight, she was manic depressive and after I pleaded with her, went to a doctor who prescribed Celexa. She began to get better. Then Landmark. Suddenly, this intelligent, sensitive, sometimes hot-headed lady was evangelistic about the wonders of Landmark, convinced that it was solving all her issues (including creating problems from her childhood that did not exist before) and would resolve all of mine if I WOULD ONLY ATTEND THE FORUM FOR WHICH SHE WOULD EVEN PAY!!!

Being of sound mind and a rather independent nature, I have routinely refused to go to the Forum but she has corraled every other friend and relative. None have been "recruited" and I know that she has been "punished" for not bringing new dollars into the fold. She seems to be enrolled in yet another new "advanced" course and I can barely understand what the hell she is talking about with her new Landmark Lingo. Everything is about "stories," "being in or out of integrity," "possibilities, etc., etc., ad nauseum. The whole situation screams CULT to me. But she will not hear of it. She will sacrifice our 20-plus years of close friendship rather than entertain for a moment that there may be something insidious and wrong about the way she has attached all her thoughts to the Landmark runaway train and has ceased to be an individual.

I am a professional writer with a Master's Degree and significant study in psychology. I am fearful for her -- the very things that made her a wonderful person and individual are being worn away. She truly believes they are making a better person of her by remaking them in their own vague, yet powerful, form. Whatever insecurities Landmarks claims to have vanquished from her, they have simply used to their own end to manipulate her. She is postponing looking for a job since she "thinks" there is a paying future for her at Landmark -- the facts show that unless she is a world-class speaker, she will be a full-time volunteer forever, zelously recruiting everyone she knows until all her former friends and family will shun her (some do already). I see how Landmark is not just merely using her -- it's destroying her. I have treid to reason with her and will email her this web site at the risk of losing her completely.

How is it that what Landmark does is not a crime? Brainwashing is, at the very least, an act that is certainly "out of integrity" with society's mores -- at least the society that who "haven't got it" prefer to be a part of. Thank you for letting me share my fears and experience about Landmark within an understanding place.

NoLandmark replies: You may well lose her, as this a common side effect: she can't accept you for who you are until you start giving Landmark your money. That were their philosophy leads, and it is no accident. A crime? Yes. Illegal? In most countries, no, because it's akin to free speech. Yet it is illegal to shout "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater...


Date: 15 Feb 2003
Subject: good and bad
From: CRS

wow, so much to say about all this,...Took The Forum in Sept. for the hell of it after leaving an extemely high pressured job/after leaving my husband 2 yrs ago (still friends) /and after dating too many men that sucked the life out of me!!!! SO! After Landmark, maybe all just a coincidence--but, I'm dating a wonderful, handsome,and sincere man ( who by the way I've been friends with for 10 yrs!) -have a terrific, no pressure, fun job/ and finally quit my nastly smoking habit!!! --lot's of good things have changed in my life only 6 mths after The Forum.....HOWEVER!!! I did end up continuing with the 10 week creativity seminar (since it was included in my original $375)---I had to stop short of the last 3 sessions when I stopped getting anything out of it as I was becoming blinded with the bullshit of SALES. I knew from the get-go that there was an annoying element of this all along--but it got worse. I have stories for days of how they harrassed me--my friends, and revealed there incredible selfish,callous behaviour and incredible disorganization within their organization. It also became very clear to me that an enormous amount of their "leaders" were actually addicted to this cult-like lifestyle primarily because they started realizing that they could not live without it. A healthy, "normal" individual can actually derive much benefit from Landmark-----and then they MUST GET OUT!!!! / now, as for you.... I'm not going to bash you for your comments about this cult, however, it kind of reminds me of someone who would review the newest, fastest, tallest rollercoaster in the world ( for example!) --and you know what I'm going to say--when you haven't experience the ride firsthand. Many things in life, you actually need not experience --like jumping off the Empire State Building so that you can not recommend it to someone, however, this ride I really wish you would do,----not because you're going to TRANSFORM your life!!---but so that your site here has even more BANG and basis. I truly admire all of the stories you've exposed, and the time and effort you take to do this.. --it's just my own feeling, that your own credibility would be greatly enhanced-- and that you could have even more empathy for me and your readers---and visa versa. Listen, I worked for a horrible company for three years, and meet many people who were slightly traumatized for a period in their lives as well, from working for them too---but it's so much credible to speak to those who also experienced what I experienced, rather than someone who has only heard about how horrible this company was.. Know what I mean?? Keep up the good work regardless.. CRS

NoLandmark replies: Hey, I'd love to go back and complete an entire weekend, but I just can't afford it, and actually I don't think it's all that important (Of course I could just easily pretend, but I'm too honest!). Maybe someone will send me a scholarship. Anyway, I'm only one person, and one Forum is only one experience. To me it's far more valuable to have so many folks like you who have spent months or years with Landmark write in and share their experiences (and confirm what my research has deduced). Your experience doesn't surprise me. Of course the sales aspect just gets worse. The more time you spend with Landmark the more you can see that EVERY aspect of Landmark is supporting a single purpose.


Date: 9 Feb 2003
Subject: Signed Up Last Night
From: Eloise

I was told by someone I admire that she wanted to show me how I could increase sales as a business owner and invited me and some other business people---I got caught up in the presentation and signed up now after a night of no sleep how do I get out --can I SOMEHOW CANCEL? DO DIFFERENT STATES HAVE LAWS ABOUT SIGNING A CONTRACT AND BEING ABLE TO CANCEL?

I AM SO ANGRY AT MYSELF FOR BEING SO GULLIBLE.

THANKS FOR YOUR WEBSITE--I WISHED I HAD KNOWN ABOUT IT YESTERDAY

NoLandmark replies: Be very persistant and very angry. Call them every day until they give in (they have been known to capitulate). Good luck.


Date: 5 Feb 2003
Subject: thanks for web site
From: T

Thank you for the informative Web site on the Landmark Forum. It has saved me from any involvement with this unscrupulous organization. I feel as if I have been targeted based on my professional standing as a high-ranking government official.

At my son's basketball game last evening, a classmates father talked to me at length concerning the Landmark Forum and gave me tickets to a "Special Evening" to be held next week in Alexandria, VA. I could make absolutely no sense of what the man was speaking about and quite frankly thought he was making a sales pitch for some Amway type product. He also provided several brochures that left me just as perplexed . I also investigated the Landmark Forum Web site with the same result. Thank you so much for exposing this harmful group.

NoLandmark replies: Always glad to help. Indeed, Landmark shares much with the Amway-type pyramid marketing strategy. As an Amway dealer, you only make money if you bring others into the dealer program. As a Landmarkian, you only feel complete if you bring others into Landmark.


Date: 3 Feb 2003
Subject: Canned-Dark Forum
From: Alexandra

I found your website a few days after going to a Tuesday night Landmark introduction with my best friend. I want to thank you for putting into words what I wasn't able to articulate to myself or others about this program. I think you've really got it...and I just hope that more people who find themselves on the fence will find this site and steer clear of Landmark. I am amazed at the fragility of the human condition, and just how needy and vulnerable we are (and how easy it really is to take that and run with it). This company preys on our inherent weaknesses, and makes TONS of money off of them. I encourage everyone to find alternate solutions to their problems, and not to give a penny to this money-grubbing organization. Thank you for solidifying what I had an inclination was something I shouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Now....have I lost my best friend?

NoLandmark replies: Probably. You summed it up just right.


Date: 31 Jan 2003
Subject: Thanks for this site!
From: KB

You've heard it hundreds of times and I'm just going to add one more. This has validated my sanity! My husband went from a warm, caring, loving, fun, churchgoing, active, helpful person to a depressed, insensitive, angry, secretive, critical man thanks to Landmark and the friend that led him to it. I watched him intentionally distance himself from me, our church and all of our mutual friends. His Landmark friends were the only ones that would tell him the truth about himself. He would tell me his whole life has been a lie, stories he has told himself. He lays in bed on weekends until mid day. My husband is an intelligent man who was very vulnerable and smack in a mid life crisis with the recent death of his father and another family member when they got him. Your site has been a great educational site and explained to me what this behavior is all about. He worked so intentionally to destroy our relationship and detach from me that I now see this is how they encourage people to become emotionally dependent on them. I don't know where to go from here if there is anything left to rebuild, but it is at least comforting to know you may save some relationships through your site. Thank you for your mission!

NoLandmark replies: Good luck, I hope he comes to his senses and doesn't lose a good person like you. I cannot imagne too many marriages surviving if only one partner is converted.


Date: 26 Jan 2003
Subject: Landmark Feedback
From: JW

I attended a seminar this past weekend and left after the first day. The program was not what I was looking for at all. After the dinner break the first night, they began to tear down people which really made me know that this was a red flag. Who are these people to get participants to break down and tell them where there emotional issues really are? They are not professionals at this and I could see that it would only get worse so I got out.

Looking back, I can see how my friend that recruited me could get into this, he is always looking for something to hang his hangups on and this appears to give him the answer.

NoLandmark replies: Indeed. They are professionals...professional exploiters.


Date: 26 Jan 2003
Subject: Fire and Police beware of Forum!
From: N

I have a friend who I workout with that I occasionally engage in deep conversations with about life etc. About three months ago she told me about the Forum and recommended that I go and said that it was free to Firefighters and Police, I am a professional Firefighter. It sounded interesting, I had no knowledge of the Forum at that time, and I thought I might check it out. Because it was free I thought that I might take the class and I thought, from her comments, that it was like a professional development seminar, communication skills, organizational skills, the usual business seminar type stuff. She kept recommending it every once in a while and I finally called to find out the dates of the course. On the phone the person I talked to was extremely pushy and wanted the phone number of my department and wanted to arrange to put the whole department through the course. Well, that set off the giant red flag! I told him that Fireman didn't like anything pushed on them and would not give him my departments number. I barely got of the phone, the guy was so pushy. I called my friend and expressed how my contact had turned me off. She apologized and said she would call them and scold them. After another month or so, I went through a bad breakup of a relationship and I found my friend immediately recommending the Forum again. At the same time I had another friend who had never mentioned the Forum recommend it as if it would be a cure all to my heart ache.

I actually went to the website when my friend sent me a link to a top 100 site that rates the top 100 cars, restaurants, adventures etc. The site listed the Forum as the number two adventure, second only to going into space! When I went to the site and read the course syllabus and the hours you put in class more red flags went off. If it such good information why is it necessary to force it on sleep deprived, starved, bathroom deprived and verbally abused clients? Why do they have to put so much emphasis on recruiting if the material is so good, recruiting should happen naturally through word of mouth like any good business? Being single I spent a few nights on the Internet and did some investigating to confirm my suspicions, it wasn't hard. Thanks for your site.

I'll stick to the feedback I get at the Firestation to get over my broken heart! It's great therapy, I'd like to invite one of the Forum Leaders to dinner at the station, they would have a breakthrough, probably through the door as they got thrown out!

NoLandmark replies: Wow, FREE Forum (recruitment training) for firefighters and police! This is marketing genius: can you imagine a more effective army of recruiters than these trusted Public Protectors? Landmark will make millions off this idea. Personally, I wouldn't trust a Landmarkian policeman farther than I can throw a Forum Leader.


Date: 24 Jan 2003
Subject: Landmark Forum feedback
From: Wei-Yuen

I just completed the Landmark Forum in Vancouver, BC last weekend. I feel betrayed by one of my most trusted friends -- how could she have lured me into this crap using such deceptive means? I am more depressed than ever before in my life, because I am prepared to end my friendship with her despite how important she is to me. I am trying my darned best to be compassionate and to forgive her with the understanding that she herself is trapped within the lies of LF.

The day after completion of the course I banged out these reflections and then came across your website. Please do post my message for the benefit of others.

My thoughts regarding LF:

- The philosophy reduces to constructivism. It's hardly as profound as its proponents claim. Or is the profundity in the process which leads participants are led to realization?

- Are the revelations through the coaching process real? Exploits common emotional responses to contrive a sense of enlightenment. Intense abuse (disguised as coaching) followed by soothing approval would of course provide feelings of relief, regardless of what gibberish is being thought or uttered by the participant.

- Microphones are placed right at foot of stage, such that LF leader towers over speaking participants. Whenever a participant is in disagreement with the LF leader, the leader bears down on the participant while verbally abusing him/her. Classic intimidation tactics.

- Leader exploits classic divide-and-conquer tactics. Co-opts the supposed support of the silent majority to bully the individual. "Everyone in this room disagrees with you !" According to whom? Body language and facial gestures constantly manipulative - often smirking as if sharing jokes about the participant with the crowd - thus deliberately cutting down the esteem of the participant.

- Dissent and disagreement is supposedly welcomed, but dynamic is constructed for maximum risk and humiliation for those who don't follow group think. I.e. "Stand up now and make a fool of yourself if you disagree with me" situations.

- Philosophical contradictions - supposedly nothing is real, yet the word of the leader is the only reality that is acceptable. No answer to a question is acceptable until it is expressed in agreement to the philosophies of and in the language of the LF.

- Ideas expressed in layman's terms are rejected as wrong until expressed explicitly in the language of the LF. Any deviation from Forum vocabulary is forcefully discouraged. If that's not loss of "freedom, power and self-expression", what is? By the end of the Forum, participants communicate in terms incomprehensible to non-participants.

- The supposed values of integrity, completeness, authenticity, etc. are enlisted to subvert resistance to registration in follow-up seminars and the advanced course. High-pressure sales tactics. This is an irreconcilable contradiction given the emphasis on integrity and deceptive sales tactics.

- Deceptive tactics with respect to setting of ground rules - opportunity to leave the game is given before and only before the rules are revealed. Further rules are spuriously linked to the your "commitment" (e.g. MUST submit a form for the seminars because it's "part of the values you agreed to").

- When a passing reference to est was made, leader suddenly launche dinto a zealous defense of est against criticisms that were never mentioned. Talk about paranoia!

- Forum leader repeatedly cites a Harvard Business School study praising LF, a study that has apparently been withdrawn by its authors.

- Long hours, sensory depravation. Curriculum is scheduled such that periods of peak alertness (morning, early afternoon) are consumed with administrivia with truly substantive discussion later in the day and into the evening when alertness and psychological defenses have been weakened.

- Critical questions are responded to with classic diversionary tactics. Question: "How does the Forum achieve its results so quickly?" Response: "The real question should be why it takes so long." Absolutely brilliant.

- The healing power of confession ("sharing") is over-emphasized - then what? You've spilled your guts, but what is really different about your life now?

- Breaks are few and far between, and are not truly breaks at all given that all are occupied with assignments. There are no opportunities for unregulated introspection and reflection.

I regret taking the Landmark Forum. I would recommend it to no-one. Stay away.

NoLandmark replies: Good thoughts, thanks. Yes, all "coaching" is abuse, your "integrity" depends upon buying more of the product, and critical questions are not allowed (and Landmarkspeak removes the ability to ask them).


Date: 24 Jan 2003
Subject: Thank you
From: Georgeanna, Registered Clinical Counsellor

I found your website very valuable. I am a therapist and someone who was exposed to Landmark wanted to come for therapy. I hadn't heard of this "cult" and have referred the person to BC Psychologists in order to work with someone who has experience with victims of this organization.

Thank you for your dedication to providing information about the human cost of attending this forum.

NoLandmark replies: Human cost = Landmark's profit.


Date: 23 Jan 2003
Subject: Landmark Cult Feedback and Tips
From: Kaz

I'm glad I stumbled across your website on the night after my Tuesday evening session of the Landmark Forum in Boston. I actually got the idea to do a "landmark cult" online search from another participant of the program who almost left on the first day. Not very surprisingly, the volunteers convinced her to stay for her own well-being. The young woman was manipulated in such a manner that she felt guilty for wanting to leave. I decided at that moment that I would become friends with her and be "silent skeptics" together. We spoke about the "cult" aspects of the program with eachother, but never to other participants. If they wanted to get sucked in, that was their problem.

I am a strong believer that human beings can invent endless possibilities for themselves and their life. What I don't believe in is Landmark's methodology in causing that realization...It's all a big sales pitch.

"In order to practice what you learn here at the Landmark Forum, we ask that you chose a seminar series to attend, which we provide as a scholarship with no fee to you," the charismatic coach said to the participants. In my mind, I'm thinking "Uh uh, no way." So, I left the date portion blank on the provided card and did not sign my name. BIG MISTAKE. There were 5 instances after that moment where the little volunteers asked me which seminar series I was attending. All I wanted to do is say "I'm NOT attending one of your stupid seminars ever again, so stop bugging me!"

Here are some GREAT tips to help anyone who plans on attending one of these forums: 1. If you really don't "get it," tell someone. They may reimburse you if they know you are not gaining anything from their program. You would be a waste of their time if you are not planning on attending the entire Curriculum for Living.

2. Do not sign ANYTHING they ask you to. Signing confirms a committment from you. Once you make that committment, the Landmark staff commits to making sure that you commit to your committment. And they'll call you every day to make sure that you know that. This also applies to the $200 deposit for the Advanced Course. They will only reimburse $100 of that, so don't sign up unless you REALLY want to get your mind manipulated.

3. Even if you have a significant "breakthrough," realize that in order to have a breakthrough, you must have a breakDOWN. Being brave at the microphone only makes you vulnerable to "coaching" from a manipulative seminar leader, who is the only person there getting PAID! (If only a few hundred people are paid employees of Landmark Education across the world, WHERE DID MY $375 GO TO????) They explain that this program gives you enless possibilities that are priceless for just $375. If it meant that much to them, they would be non-profit or even FREE.

4. Life is not empty and meaningless and it is not a bad soap opera written by a 5 year old. Life has the meaning you give it. Everyone has had tragedy strike in their life, but the key is not letting that event hold you back. Live in the moment and with no regrets. Take ownership and communicate with people in your life. It's much much simpler than Landmark makes it out to be. You really don't need a 3 1/2 day (or 50 hour) seminar to realize your full potential in life.

5. I work for an inspirational program for children with few similaries to the Landmark Education seminars. I HAVE seen more powerful results come out of less intense and manipulative companies. Do your research on other companies. I am a (very under-) paid employee of a not-for-profit educational company that brings FUN back into life and learning. The company makes no money, I make very little, and I am happy with the results. We don't force the participants to return, just to practice what they've learned if they want to. Landmark isn't the last chance for some people, it is a false sense of hope in order to financially support their psycho-Scientologist founder.

Ugh...I can't take any more. DON'T PARTICIPATE IN THE LANDMARK EDUCATION SEMINARS, EVER! Am I making my point clear enough??

NoLandmark replies: Crystal clear. Thanks for the tips, and for the valuable work that you do.


Date: 22 Jan 2003
Subject: How I lost my best friend
From: Maggy

I have been reading through the postings on your website and am finding some of the entries extremely enlightening and helpful. I would like to add my own narrative in hopes of helping others who find themselves in a similar situation. You see, over the course of about two years I lost my best friend of 25 years to Landmark Education. It has been a profound loss, and this is the story of how I believe it happened.

Several years ago my friend met a man at her place of work. He was 15 years her senior, in the throes of a mid-life crisis, struggling with a dead-end marriage, and very much involved in New Age ideas and practices. I never met him, but heard enough over the years to sense that there was something slightly "off" about him. For example, he had spent 7 years of his life on an Ashram out west. My friend has always been interested in alternative paths to spirituality, and she and this man became good friends. Eventually, my friend fell in love with this man and although he led her on for about two years, it never turned into a relationship. When he finally left his wife he did not turn to my friend. Eventually he quit his job at the firm and disappeared from my friend's life. But before he disappeared, he "completed" with my friend. In Landmark-speak, this means he came clean with her; he basically told her that he had felt very compelled by their connection, but due to his own issues was ultimately not able to deliver the goods, and apologized for having hurt her. He also told her that she is an "extraordinary individual" with "limitless potential" and that she could probably some day become a great "leader" and help others in their journey towards self-actualization if she joined this organization called "Landmark", which, incidentally, had put him in touch with his authentic self such that he was able to admit everything he had just revealed to her. These crumbs from an incredibly ungenerous (and I believe toxic) person became a great "gift", and she ran with it. Within days she was signed up for the Forum, and that was the beginning of the end.

One day several months later (a few weeks after the WTC attacks, at a time when we were all feeling vulnerable and searching for answers) I came home to find a message from her on my machine. It went something like this: "Hi, it's me. Listen, I need you to do something really important for me. I need you to clear your schedule for next Tuesday evening and come support me in something that is very important in my life. I really need you to do this. Call me and we can talk more about it." She had asked me to do favors for her many times over the course of 20+ years as friends, but nothing had the urgent quality that this had. Naturally, I cleared my schedule and was there for her, but pretty much bolted before the evening was over, making it clear that I had absolutely no intention of ever signing up for a course. Commercialized spirituality is something I have very little tolerance for, and could not believe that my best friend had gotten sucked in so deeply.

Part of me wishes I had never gone to that "friends and family" evening. Until that point I was happily oblivious to what Landmark was about. After that evening I tried to search out and read anything I could get my hands on about the organization. I was not satisfied with the idea that you could only "get it" by going through it (In reality, there isn't all that much to "get" that can't be "gotten" by a trip to your local library.). That sounded suspect to me. I also realized that labeling it a cult was not useful either. Clearly my friend was not selling her belongings and moving to an Ashram. The thing that got my antennas humming was the total devotion participants displayed. Even from my friend, an intelligent, creative woman who I know to be capable of very subtle critical thinking, I never heard anything that even distantly questioned what Landmark is and does. The most I ever heard was, "It's not for everybody", implying that anyone who is not interested in doing Landmark has some kind of personality flaw or some other issue that they're avoiding dealing with. The more I read (both pro and con), the more I came to realize that Landmark's ways go against a lot of what I believe about how to help people improve their lives and relationships (I am a clinical psychologist). Also, there seem to be some ethically suspicious elements that are conveniently circumvented by claiming that Landmark's seminars are not meant to be "therapy". If a patient of mine ever went around doing testimonials about how I had changed her life, I would be considered a failure as a therapist and my ethical standards would be called into serious question. Yet testimonials seem to be Landmark's main method of recruitment. Also, termination is an integral part of the therapeutic process. Landmark does not seem to have a protocol for termination. Quite the contrary, the idea seems to be to get people to enroll in one seminar after another, ad infinitum.

As troublesome as some of the ideological and ethical issues were, what worried me more was what I observed in my friend over the weeks and months since she initially began investing time and energy (and money) in Landmark. Af first I thought the changes were really positive. She seemed nicer, easier to talk to and get along with. She was cheerful all the time, energetic, and full of fun. She seemed a lot more sensitive somehow, helpful and attentive, although I did find it odd when once or twice she called and apologized for things that I hadn't thought of as having upset me. She also began making these absolute statements about life and human relationships. She began to speak in a language of breakthroughs. She began using words and phrases in ways that increasingly rubbed me the wrong way. She began to attribute her newly found happiness to this system called Landmark and seemed to condemn things like "defenses" both in herself and others. More than once I found myself thinking, "Defenses are there for a reason; Without defenses people become psychotic". More and more I found myself silently disagreeing with many things she had to say but did not know how to begin expressing my disagreement because she seemed so committed and what she was saying seemed so absolute and non-negotiable. I eventually asked her to not talk about Landmark with me, a request that seemed unfair. I was saying in no uncertain terms that I could not be supportive of something that was so important in her life. It upset her very much but she reluctantly agreed to my request. It did not work, however, because she had bought into Landmark so totally that it pervaded her thinking and behavior, and it inevitably seeped into our relationship. On a few occasions, when I felt she was trying to do Landmark-style coaching with me, I'd get so frustrated that I'd say something like, "These are my feelings, and my feelings are valid!"

What was eventually most bothersome, however, was how I began to feel when I was with her for extended periods of time. I began to observe in her an intense emotionality on the one hand, juxtaposed and at times even superimposed with icy detachment on the other (anyone who's spent time with a Landmark person knows exactly what I mean). I did not know which part to attach to or go along with at any given time. I often found myself feeling confused and off-balance. She also started saying some really strange things to me. For example, I guess in an effort to be "completely open and genuine" with me, she once revealed to me that she sometimes thinks about me and my husband being intimate with each other and it makes her feel "hot" and "turned on". I had no idea how to respond or what to do with that information. It definitely gave me the creeps. She also became very confrontational, pointing out flaws that she perceived in my character and behavior without restraint. Frankly, I started to feel intimidated by her; something I had never felt before. She seemed so zealously committed to her ideas that I felt my choices were to constantly debate with her or to keep things superficial. I chose to do the latter, but that took a lot of work too. We ended up having to tiptoe around each other all the time. Because we were no longer speaking the same language, spending time together became very exhausting for me, as it undoubtedly did for her, and more and more we began to avoid seeing each other.

After about 5 months of total silence between us, we went out for dinner one night. I brought my husband along as a shield (for some reason she never talks about Landmark in front of him), and she, too, brought a date. He was clearly an associate of hers from Landmark, a creepy dude who reminded my husband of the serial killer in the movie "Copycat". He asked me a question about Gestalt Psychology but seemed to stop listening as soon as I started to explain what I knew about it; a surefire technique for making the other person feel insignificant and stupid. I had hoped that my withdrawal and silence might make her start questioning and inevitably moving away from Landmark. Instead, I was given clear evidence that she is more deeply connected with Landmark than ever. I realize that she has a lot invested there and has built a social network that reinforces her continued involvement.

One thing I would like to make clear is that people who are attracted to Landmark are not "losers". On the contrary, they are mostly educated individuals who are gainfully employed, but who, for some reason, have not been able to take the developmental step that would allow them to accept the existential reality that, contrary to what our manic, commercialized culture would like us to believe, we are not beings of limitless potential, living lives of endless possibility. Aside from a few highly gifted and fortunate individuals, most of us will live ordinary lives; grow up, grow fat, work to pay our bills on time, hope to meet a decent partner, struggle to raise our kids, care for aging parents, grow old ourselves and eventually die. And we will spend a lifetime trying to make some sort of meaning out of it all. As depressing as this may sound, a mature, well-integrated person will eventually embrace the mundane realities of life and and feel incredibly unburdened and liberated (as in: "You mean, it's OK to just be myself and live my life?"). My friend, however, and I suspect the many others who buy into Landmark, are willing to go to great lengths to defend against having to face that profound question: "Is this all there is?" While there are undoubtedly some in Landmark who hold advanced degrees and have lucrative careers, the masses are probably like my friend: individuals predominantly in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties, most likely college graduates who majored in literature, philosophy, the arts and humanities, living in or close to urban centers, and working office jobs that do not embody the ideals that they came out of school with. It is at the very juncture in life that the existential question "Is this all there is?" begins asserting itself most urgently, that these individuals get introduced to Landmark by a co-worker or friend who seems to have it all together somehow, someone who is adept at "deep" philosophical discussions, someone who seems to have the right answers, someone who is attractive, or seductive, or seems open and caring in an environment that gives little value to an individual's feelings and thoughts, someone who seems to be an emotional oasis in an impersonal desert.

Landmark is a business, and what it sells is possibility: the possibility of suspending the stark realities of post-modern, and now, post-9/11 life; the possibility of avoiding the narcissistic injury inherent in giving up the idea that one is "truly extraordinary" and that life is "full of possibilities". What Landmark offers, at a price, is never having to say, "Yes, this is all there is, and it's OK", and many people, like my friend, are willing to pay the price.

NoLandmark replies: Readers: if you were thinking of skipping this one due to its length, don't. Thanks Maggy, for such an excellent perspective.


Date: 22 Jan 2003
Subject: We managed to escape!
From: Vincenzo & Ana

About two years ago, my brother called me just after midnight. He was filled with a new-found excitement and wanted to talk to me about a "life-transforming experience" he just had, earlier that evening. I listened to him go on and on about his new outlook, and how he wanted to share this powerful experience with me. We talked about some things that took place over 30 years ago, when we were children, and how he had been carrying so much "baggage" all these years. I admit I was in a bit of shock, but told him that if this seemed to be working for him, then great. As I hung up, my wife who had been listening in on my half of the conversation made the comment: "I think your brother joined a cult." We snickered over it, and didn't think much of it after that.

Well...

He continued to take various Landmark classes, and was spending LOTS of time as a volunteer in his local office. He also lives about a three hour drive from us. He would often invite us to attend one of the workshops and introduction meetings. We always declined. Last September, he was going to be driving up for a visit, and called a week prior to ask if an associate could join him for a brief meeting. Curious, we said "Okay". Well, my brother and this young girl of around 22 showed up (she was from the local office), and they got out some papers and workbooks. My friends who had dropped in for the barbique were shooting me looks of "What the heck is this? Is your brother a fruitcake?" Anyway, we managed to get through it, the girl left, and we turned our topic of conversation elsewhere. Later that night, my brother practically begged me to sign up for the class. I told him that I wouldn't do anything of the sort, unless I was to do it with my wife. And coughing up $800 for the both of us to attend this shin-dig was not high on my list of priorities (we enjoy eating periodically, and that is a months grocery budget for us!). He answered: "If I pay for it, will you go?" I was stunned. The idea of my brother willing to fork over that type of cash, made me think that perhaps, there might be something good here. So, we signed up to attend a class in early January, 2003.

The first day of the class, we sat there and listened to the host go on and on for SIX HOURS about what the L-M-F was going to do for us. We saw one man publicly humiliated and interrogated by the hostess, when he decided to leave, early on (SMART MAN!). After six hours, we were told we were FINALLY going to get started...

WHAT A BUNCH OF WHINY PEOPLE. People were actually stunned when my wife "shared" that she DIDN'T hate or blame her parents for all the "tragedy" in her life, and that her biggest complaint was that the kids didn't walk the dog frequently enough. At this point, she was starting to tell me (on the breaks) that she was not buying into this. Her exact words were: "This is a bunch of crap." After two days of sitting on hard chares and rushed breaks and demands that we stay up late when we got home around 12:45 to telephone people and write essays, my wife was in severe pain. She suffers from degenerative arthritis, and her back and legs were in severe pain. (Anyone who has been to one of these things will remember that on the first day, the participants are told NOT to take any *over the counter* medications as they would reduce the "experience". As a result, my wife could no longer sit without crying, and 45 minutes into the first session, she hobbled to the ladies bathroom where there was a small lounge. Within minutes, three of the "true believers" had converged upon her, interrogating her as to why she was there. I guess one of them realized the severity of the situation, and I was summoned. I ended up taking my wife home and medicating her. She spent the rest of the day in bed, in pain. She also told me that I should return to the LMF, in case I "got something". So, I went back. Also, my brother would be driving up for the "Graduates Visit", and I had no way to reach him as he was already on the road.

At long last, the Host stated (after a combined total of 34 hours of telling us what the LMF would do): "And here it is! The Magic Moment!" All 139 people in the room bent forward to hear the $400 pearl of wisdom that would "enlighten" us...

"According to the Landmark Forum, the meaning of life is... THERE IS NO MEANING!"

Were it not for the fact that there were 138 witness' in the room, I would have strangled her. "WHAT!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?! My brother paid $800 for this!?!?!??!?! If he was so hot and bothered to give me that big lump of cash, I could've taken us to Reno, or some other place. Hell! I can get a flight from San Francisco to Honolulu for $99 each way! What a RIP-OFF!!! During a "share" time when we were supposed to pontificate over this revelation, I looked at the sap next to me and told him he was on his own. I then went to the Hostess, and told her that she was taking part in a scam, and that her statement was a load of "horse-feathers". Her smug look of self-righteousness only angered me more, as she spoke to me as if I was a three year old child being admonished for touching something I was told not to. I would "get it" if I just kept an open mind and stayed for the rest of the night, and the following Tuesday evening session (but make sure to bring lots of friends to sign up!).

I stayed, kept an open mind to the fact that I had just seen so many people bamboozled, and decided that I was NOT going to be taking part in any future LMF activities. I did go to the Tuesday session, but only out of respect to my brother's investment. My wife (who was still in pain) stayed home.

I watched everyone "share" and speak of their new "possibilities", and beat a hasty retreat out the door as soon as it was 10:30. When I got home, I was met by a family that was fearful of the fact that I might have been "assimilated" into the LMF. While I had been out, my wife had decided to do a little checking on the internet about LMF. SURPRISE!!! She found this site, and many others of similar content. I reassured them that I was still the same old grumpy & grouchy fellow (with "issues" intact) that they knew and loved. My son was very happy that the old man was not going to get "mushy" on him.

Where we go from here, concerning LMF is still unknown. I am sure my brother will be curious to see what my reactions are, and if I plan to spend more money for more courses (Answer: NO WAY!) We also anticipate getting LOTS of phone calls from the local LMF office asking my wife to "finish" her course, so we can continue with the 10 week follow-up sessions. (Sure, and the sun will rise in the West next week.)

Needless to say (after this long-winded tirade), we are worried about my brother and how this is impacting his life. It is confusing, and not a little frightening, that a man with a PhD could fall for this nonsense. Wish us luck.

NoLandmark replies: Thanks for your beautiful "tirade." Yet another revealing inside look to what the Forum is all about. Your brother may have a PhD, but he also has issues (like the rest of us) and Landmark is helping him avoid them for the single purpose of turning him into a good recruiter.


Date: 21 Jan 2003
Subject:
From: Bill

I have a friend who just got into landmark. He asked me to the recruitment session, and I agreed before having found your site.

yikes!

NoLandmark replies: Well then I bet you found the session quite entertaining...


Date: 19 Jan 2003
Subject:
From: TerL

Thank you so much for this site. I had never heard of Landmark until a friend started attending last year. She keeps harrassing me to go, and it is really beginning to annoy me. I have told her that badgering is not an effective form of persuasion. I have also told her that the that Landmark's position that the rest of us folks are too stupid or insincere to know what we're thinking is very offensive. She keeps contradicting herself by saying that this is not what Landmark does but then turns around and questions everything I say. If I were to say the sky is blue, she'd ask me if it really is blue or was I just saying that to be nice. Whatever. It is getting to be too much energy to be around her, defending every action and statement. Am I going to have to sever contact? There's certainly no way to argue my point of view anymore. They've got their hooks in her. Any suggestions? Again, wonderful site. At least I'm not alone.

PS
I'm also terrified of being harrassed. Is there any way that my friend will give them my contact info? I have not given her permission to do so (and I'd kill her if she did!) but is there any way that would happen?

NoLandmark replies: I haven't heard of recruiters giving away contact info. At least in the US it is illegal for a telemarketer to call after being asked once not to. It is true Landmark's philosophy is illogical and contradictory. That's why it is subject to catastrophic failure (followers suddenly realizing they are living a lie). Your story is a classic example of how Landmark destroys relationships. And unfortunately, badgering IS an effective form of persuasion for most people, and the technique is an integral part of the marketing strategy.


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Subject: I'm going to forum in Cape Town
From: Bruce

Thanks a million for your site. I've been coerced into doing forum by sister and brother. I have gathered all the info I can. I 100% agree that it's a highly dangerous form of manipulation. I have taken the advice you said to another person, about how to try and keep level-headed:

NoLandmark replies: Of course the exact nature and intensity of the onslaught (mind slaughter?) will depend on who is leading this particular Forum. I would approach it by looking for the agenda behind the rhetoric. Watch for the thinly vailed attempts at manipulation, humiliation, and physical and emotional abuse. Always keep in mind their one true agenda, which is having you sign yet another check while bringing new victims to Tuesday recruitment. Then, when their nonsence is directed at you, you'll be able to knowingly smile and laugh it off to yourself.

I have an M.Sc. in theoretical physics, but I'm afraid all that means is that I am exactly the type of guy who will swallow this stuff, because its not presented rationally or logcially, but uses sales techniques. It takes a con to know one, and from what I've read on the net all the salesmen type people see this stuff immediately for what it is.

I hope I come out sane! I'm pretty sure I will walk out early on. I will email you afterwards!

PS I am sad that even Cape Town is not immune to the long arm of Landmark.

NoLandmark replies: Don't worry, you'll be fine. You don't necessarily have to be a jerk to understand one.


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Subject: Need Help
From: Brittaney

I have recently had my grandmother, parents, and now uncle go through the Landmark Forum. Upon htier return i really thought that they had been brainwashed. There was little left of the once vibrant people I knew.

My parents have since come down from the Forum's euphoria, but they are still taking classes and are still evangelical in their praise of the programs.

I need help in discovering what this program really is and why it is so damaging to the people who take it.

Please help me by sending me any information you have from credible sources that I could you in an argument for themt o not send my niece.

NoLandmark replies: They're going to send your neice? That makes me sad. Sending a child to any unlicensed treatment program is extremely irresponsible. But then, Landmark makes its members "let go" of any true responsibility. You can show them my website, and also try the links on my front page.


Date: 16 Jan 2003
Subject: Forum--ugly experience
From: Martine

I am confused, my old life means nothing to me anymore, Ifeel empty, afraid and unable to relate to the world. I feel like I am in no-mans land. I am having a problem between deciding what is 'right' and 'wrong' and how I feel about everything. The warning bells went off for me when the leader said the 'problem' with the internet is 'freedom of speech'. I'm sorry, but freedom of speech is one thing I have always treasured. I did not question her on this as I thought it was only important that I realise that and not everyone else. I also think the act of contacting people with whom you've previously fallen out with is dangerous. There are usually good reasons as to why some people cease communication with certain types. I know I have. I contacted a 'friend' with whom I have had major problems with in the past and now regret it. There were good reasons I wanted her out of my life and those reasons haven't changed. I now realise what a sham Tuesday night was and feel ripped off. Just before I went into the town hall, I wanted to leave. I thought, " there is no reason for me to be here", I had warning bells going off in my head left, right and centre. I now realise it was nothing but a marketing scheme, designed to exploit the "experiences", of the people in the forum. While I feel I had many 'breakthroughs' in the forum, I was well aware that any "sharing", I had to do was for their benefit and not mine. I also didn't like the way the forum leader turned to the crowd every time someone said something a bit "daggy". So what? It's their opinion and they were subliminely degraded by the leader.

My parents got divorced when I was 8, my dad was irresponsible and basically showed no responsibility to me. About 2 years ago, when his second wife left him, he called me a few times and told me he wanted a relationship with me. At first I was sceptical, but he insisted on 'bringing the family together'. I thought, " maybe he's changed". I was just beginning to trust him and feel I was building a relationship with him. He hounded me for almost a year to do the forum. When I said I couldn't because I work on the weekends he told me to be unreasonable. I eventually did and now I realise the whole motivation for our newfound relationship has been the forum. I feel ripped off and a fool. Icant even have a conversation with my father without it turning into a 'coaching' session. The other night I tried to have a conversation with him and when I said world peace would be "nice", he proceeded to lay into me about how world peace would not be "nice ", that "nice", is what "an ice-cream is" and then proceeded to lecture me about the importance of "language". I don't feel I can have a relationship with my father right now as I feel sick every time I talk to him. When I questioned him on the integrity of the organisation, he told me to call them to get "coaching". I said, "I don't need coaching, this is my opinion". Itruelly feel like I am going insane. I still don't manage to see how an organisation who preaches integrity can't just stand up and say, " our main purpose is to make money. We sell you a product but that's it". Instead they say that they are committed to your wellbeing. I don't believe this.

I now feel really strange. I can't stop sleeping and don't want to leave the house. I feel like something has gone on but I can't explain it. The funny thing is that I DID "get it", but by standing up for myself, I feel I am betraying myself and going against my integrity. I think it is especially hard because I have a parent who has never related to me in the forum and I feel like it is just another way my father has violated me. The thing with a "story ", is that it has sometimes occurred. You can not take away a person's experience, even if it becomes retold as a story.

Just a quick question. Are the 'leaders' (the presenters) the only one's who get paid? Our 'leader' told us that the leaders are 'shareholders' in the company. She then said "you wouldn't do this for the money". I'm just wondering if you know how much they get paid? She made out she was doing it for the love of it. You mentioned that the only people paid in Landmark forum are very highly paid leaders or people at the top. I'm just wondering who these are?

NoLandmark replies: Abuse is very difficult to deal with, especially now that Landmark has compounded your problem by delivering its own form of abuse through your father and through the Forum. Remember that the abuse is ONLY designed to coerce you into joining Landmark. As long as you resist the abuse will remain. There is nothing wrong with you—the problem has always been with your father, and Landmark is just supporting and exploiting it. Your perception of the company is clear and accurate—never doubt that. Regarding paid employees, as a privately-held company Landmark does not have to reveal much about itself. There seems to be some question as to whether all or just some Forum leaders are paid. A "shareholder" strongly implies there is money involved. Consider a 150-participant Forum: that's a $50,000 weekend, minus only the cost of renting the space. Someone is going to get a "share" of that.


Date: 13 Jan 2003
Subject: Help me backout!
From: Claire

I registered for the Landmark Forum as a result of two friends prodding me at a weak moment. I am supposed to go this weekend, but I want to backout. I understand there is a chance in the first few hours of the session to backout. Has anyone heard of anyone actually getting a refund if they back out before the session? Will I get my money back if I backout that morning?

Help - I can't afford to lose the money, but I do not want to go!

NoLandmark replies: If you back out and then pester the company for a refund, usually they will give in. I'm not sure about the nonrefundable deposit though, so you might be out a hundred bucks. Still, a little more persistance and you might even get back that as well. Landmark is vulnerable to strong-willed people!


Date: 11 Jan 2003
Subject: I HATED THE LANDMARK FORUM
From: Baybee

I first want to say that i am a very open minded person and i went into this just that way.... I did about two hours of the 3 1/2 day forum. Why 2 hours? Because after the way this lady stood up at the podium (acting all knowing) I was sick in my stomach.

My father, who heard about this from a friend, suggested i go. Either I get something out of it or I don't. But he wanted me to decide for myself.

I got there and the atmosphere that it takes place in is very uncomfortable. The office itself is not established. It looks like they rented out a room with a bunch of tables and chairs and call it "landmark eduction". I walked into a group of very enthusiastic participants and "volunteers". Once I sat down in the room, they closed the doors, and right then I was uncomfortable. The site you have just come across is not far from the truth about the Forum. It hits the hard truth!!! I left at the first break. Why did I stay so long if I didn't like it? Like I said, I am an open minded person and, yes I didn't understand one word that came out of her mouth, but I guess I hoped it would get better. It didn't... The first chance I got I ran to my car, called my dad crying and he told me to leave!!!!!

The landmark forum is bullBLEEP! (excuse me) and if you ever talk to bonnie (the boss lady of the forum) or ronnie (the recruiter) hang up or run the other way. Not only are they too persistent, they are inconsiderate. Every day before the forum, ronnie called my cell phone to pressure my fiance to join. It began to feel like harassment. I hated hearing my phone ring because i knew it was her. Finally he agreed to go (only because I didn't want to go alone). After the fact he realized he had other obligations. That alone is understandable, however ronnie and bonnie told him that the Forum was more important, and to tell his other obligations that this was prearranged and to hold off on everything else to go to the seminar.... Just to let you know, he had to fix his transmission, pick up his pay check, and had a job interview.... Now because the forum is all day, he would have had no time to do anything.

They don't care about anything but money.

Please, I beg, don't go to the Forum, save that money or use it to buy a loved one a present (whatever) just spare yourself the uncomfortable situation you will be putting yourself in.

They are a cult. I've seen how they can twist your thoughts....

NoLandmark replies: "They don't care about anything but money." Yes, once you get that, you get the whole thing.


Date: 9 Jan 2003
Subject: effects of the Forum
From: Lars

I did the Forum in -94 and was heavily involved with Landmark until November -97. I took most of the courses and was assisting heavily, being an introduction leader. I recruited my ex-girlfriends brother who took 2 courses and did some assisting. He didn't seem to get much out of the Forum and I was intrigued by that. I lost contact with him but heard from my ex that he didn't feel so well, having depressions.

One day I received a call from my ex-girlfriend. Her brother had hung himself.

Now I have to live with the knowledge that my part in his involvement with Landmark might have caused his suicide. I'm sure he's not the only one having taken this extreme measure to end his suffering caused by this, in my view, criminal cult.

NoLandmark replies: Wow. Perhaps your story posted here will help save another's life.


Date: 5 Jan 2003
Subject:
From: Anne-Catherine

I just finished the landmark forum today. Or, should I say, I gave up around mid-day on Sunday, finding it dreadful and useless to me. I was, however, quite impressed by the way some people seemed to get touched and moved by what were in my view some simplistic and aggressive psychological techniques. At the time of leaving the group supervisor put a lot of pressure on me to stay, until I gave up and just left. To be fair, I must say he offered to reimburse me, saying that they did not want the money of someone who did not benefit from the course. And now here I am on the internet surfing for more information in order to understand the power and success of an organisation which offers, in my view, such a poor quality of training... and I discover the whole controversy around the landmark corporation.

From my experience, I do not believe this program present any danger to balanced people with healthy self-confidence. Unfortunately, I could also see how some people got broken down by the aggressive interpretation that the "coach" was making of their story. Moreover, the whole point of the forum is to push people into acting immediately based on the principle taught during the day... which could, in some instances, have irreversible consequences. I would not recommend this training to anyone: either you are balanced and used to introspect yourself, and it is useless; or you are fragile, and it is dangerous.

NoLandmark replies: Unfortunately Landmark targets its marketing to people who are fragile. Another part of the marketing scheme is to have you come home from a Landmark meeting and immediately call someone you've always hated and try to make amends. Trouble is you haven't even begun to address the issues that led to the bad feelings in the first place because Landmark has taught you to completely ignore them. So you tell your loved ones how wonderfully transformed you have been and you attempt to recruit them. On the receiving end, it rings hollow, insincere, and selfish. The result is a bizarre and unnatural connection that either doesn't last or remains incredibly shallow. But it works for Landmark because it brings in new recruits! (See also the letter from Butterfly of 16 Dec, below)


Date: 24 Dec 2002
Subject: Landmark
From: Joe from London

I am concerned that a very good and longtime friend has started to attend landmark courses and recruit as many people into their forums/seminars. Not only has he tried to interest me, with only a negative response, but has successfully recruited his flat mate. She has attended several courses, but in private she has complained to me that they are bullying her and trying to make her spend as much time as possible at their london HQ to the detriment fo her work. Fortunately she is gradually coming to see Landmark as a cult and that their practices are based on a similar 'techniques' to the Scientologists: eg: tell you there is something seriously wrong with your psyche and only they have the courses/info to help, no doubt at great expense. However, the problem remains with my longtime friend and he is still actively recruiting people. I have asked him not to try this on with any of my friends, but when you have known someone for so long it is almost impossible to distinguish between his friends and my friends. I will direct friends to this excellent website and would appreciate any feedback on how to tackle this issue with possible 'recruits' to prevent my social life turning into a sinister 'body snatchers' scenario.

NoLandmark replies: Landmark was founded by a Scientologist who stole their techniques. I like to think my website affords some kind of immunity to the Landmark infection. Sending your friends here to get vaccinated is a good idea, but make sure you get to them before Landmark does! Hey, now we've got two NoLandmark-certified films: "Fight Club" (written by a Landmarkian) and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."


Date: 22 Dec 2002
Subject: landmark?
From: AC

I have been invited to attend their forum on scholarship. What, they can't get enough people to fork out $375.00 on their own, so they give the forum "free"? Your site is getting me thinking about NOT attending. Why waste my vacation on this program and spend $500 for a hotel I will not enjoy because I am "holed-up" in a roomful of people for 14-15 hours a day!? Please e-mail me back, I would love to talk more about your experiences with this organization.

NoLandmark replies: You have good instincts. I will have to investigate this "scholarship" program...perhaps I should apply?


Date: 20 Dec 2002
Subject: excellent site!
From: Steve

One of my roommates has been a dues paying cult member for a year or two now. From time to time I've searched the net to find some info to try and help her & to share with her/my other friends who have differing levels of concern over her involvement with them, your site is by far the best resource I've found (I'd seen some of the info/stories you linked to before). Anyways, just wanted to say great job... keep up the good work, and if you didn't know - you're the top search result on google for the query:
"Landmark Forum" cult

good job -

NoLandmark replies: Thanks!


Date: 16 Dec 2002
Subject: Digging up the past
From: Butterfly

I have recently been contacted by an ex-boyfriend whom I haven't heard from for nearly two years. I thought it was strange how he suddenly reappeared in my life. The next thing I thought was strange was that he would phone me always on a Friday night from what sounded like a call centre. This call centre turned out to be the LandMark offices where he spends his Friday nights (how sad is that) phoning people he knows to casually "catch up", but before you know it he's starting to inform you about this course which has changed his life. Next thing you know he's encouraging me to come along to this course and discover it for myself.

My intuition was telling me that something was fishy about this reappearance of a past ex who seemed so interested in letting me know about his life altering experience so I cancelled a "coffee" meeting with him and then didn't return his next few phone calls. That didn't put him off though because he put the literature in the post.

I mentioned the "LandMark" courses to a few friends and those who knew of it didn't seem to think negatively of it but one did agree it seemed like a cult. I am SO GLAD I took the time to search the internet because I was actually considering going along to one of these mumbo jumbo sessions. If he mentions it again I will tell him not to bother me with this garbage again otherwise I won't be responsible for where I kick him.

Having one divorce behind me due to the zealot Jehovah's Witness group snatching my husband, my antennae are twitching at the LandMark concept! Thanks for providing a forum where I could confirm my suspicions.

Kiss kiss :)

NoLandmark replies: Lots of body snatchers out there. Hug hug.


Date: 10 Dec 2002
Subject:
From: ME

Thankyou for your website and for not printing my name or email address....I am using someone else's computer.

I have just come back from 2 and half days of this workshop. I decided to leave - with just 6 hours to go to 'transformation'. I had no expectations of what LM was going to do or not do., I wanted to consider this 'wonderful' transformation - I had heard from my partner who had done it twelve months ago and to see what it was about. My leaving was met by questions - apparently not for QA, but an explanation for why I was leaving. In landmark speak let me tell you the facts without the story:

LM Are you leaving ?

Me: yes

LM why are you leaving?

Me: two reasons - one I have a headache and secondly, quite separate from the physical discomfort and more importantly- I am bored.

LM: Bored?

Me : Yes

LM: you know you can leave your bags and belongings here and an assistant can go over the road to get you an aspirin. You can go back in the room. I don't want you to miss anything.

Me: No

LM: we can do that for you so that you don't miss out. You are only 6 hours from transformation.

ME: I am not concerned about the construct of "missing out" - I can't miss out on something that I don't know. Your talks mentioned that "I don't know what I don't know" - so I am sure that I won't feel as if I am missing out or gaining - it just is.

I want you to hear that NO is an answer.

LM: I really think we should look at the reasons - I am committed to you gaining this transformation and you have come this far.

ME: You are very kind to feel and express the need to be committed to the program. I don't want you to loose your commitment but I would like you to hear - to really listen and "get it"- NO is a word and an answer.

LM: but why did you come here?

ME: I had no expectations.

Pause

LM: but what did you write on the form? You can't have had no expectations.

ME: as I said I had no expectations.

LM but surely you wanted to consider how your life is and why it is not complete.

ME: that is one hypothesis. You have made a conclusion on something you don't know. You don't know what you don't know and yet you are concluding that my life must not 'be complete'....your beliefs applying your own framework are erroneous and a story....now I will invite you to be open to enquiry and to take the opportunity to explore that for yourself that if your organisation openly stated that it made changes to its program years ago because it was 'inauthentic' because it wasn't working and you were being inauthentic - do you think my boredom/discomfort/ unwillingness to stay -may be linked to the possibility that your organisation is being inauthentic now in the present moment? I will admit that I am a fraud

LM; A FRAUD!!???

ME: Yes ....I am being inauthentic to your organisation because I am neither moved touched or inspired by your program and continuing to sit in that room would be inauthentic. I have realised that I would only be staying because I don't want to look bad. But guess what ?!!! I don't care if I don't look good by leaving - I need to be authentic to my physical needs (headache) and mental needs (bored). I am sure you would want me to be authentic. I am following through and taking action. I take responsibility for my boredom and now will act to leave.

LM :interrupts...but I am concerned that you are going to miss out.(realises that she is talking over me) and says...Oh I am sorry for interrupting you.

ME: that's okay to interrupt me - you just be yourself and I like you being yourself....but as I said....no is an answer. No as I said I have a headache - lets sit on the floor so I can be comfortable. You look anxious and disappointed.

LM: but don't you want to be transformed...

ME: I don't know what I don't know. Your company makes a statement that there is no someday.....well I am hearing that by Sunday at 6.00pm I will be transformed and you are telling me know that in 6 hours I will be....and why has it not happened now? Because there is no product....it sounds like a phoney 'someday'....let's face it there is nothing to "happen" and even if it was absolutely going to happen - who cares?.

Now we can continue to have a circuitous conversation but that will waste my time and your time. I am leaving -went to shake her hand and said - I think you are a wonderfully kind person and I can see you are open hearted and sincere in your beliefs and I wish you well.

LM; if you leave now you won't ever be happy

ME: if you need to believe in the hocus pocus of chain mail ...if you do this then that will happen....then I feel concerned for you....

LM: I think you are being self righteous

ME: thank you for your opinion. If you need to label the behaviour in that way to feel comfortable please do so. I see where you are coming from, I don't agree, but I appreciate your opinion.

GOOD bye.

Nolandmark.... I do not want to be associated in any way with this type of thinking. I will never speak of this experience again. I found the whole thing very very very silly....and absurd

NoLandmark replies: It never ceases to amaze me every time a Landmarkian manages to accuse a nonbeliever of being "self-righteous." There is only one actor here that qualifies for that description, and it sure isn't you! Of course, Landmark has cleverly redefined the term to mean its own opposite.


Date: 5 Dec 2002
Subject: another story for the archives
From: Evvie

I just had an experience that I found violating of my personal and professional rights with Landmark Forum people attempting to corral me into their fold i.e.: control me.

I am a pretty well-known, talented freelance artistic director and writer who was hired by the Grady's to consult, create, and produce a national mailer and advertising program for the Bali-headquartered jewelry designer. A husband and wife team (most people call them "wackos", though I will refrain from the derogatory names such as the husband/famed designer, John, would call me. The Grady's are immensely talented and hot right now (he- creative, she - operations). The wife, Cyn, hired me at an allegedly secure and decent monthly contract rate which stipulated it was on the condition of her husband's "sanctioning" me by a certain date. He agreed, with arm twisted by her behind his back. (She knew it was a $3mil+ profit center.)

I had to travel to Bali to be "interviewed by the vampires" and sanctioned. There I was:
- subjected to rude and reptilian treatment
- required to participate in survivor hikes up and down the ravines of Bali
- designated sleeping quarters on their compound
- and being locked up/gated w/o drivers on their compound since they wouldn't pay for a hotel
- Sunday brunches with cult leaders who have exploited the Indonesian people and laugh about it
- a barrage of negativity regarding my personality (which "he" perceived as being "stupid", too Christian, lah-di-dah socialite, Upper East Side NYC - none of which I'm characterized by others as those demographic "labels" are irrelevant to my work and my personality), and ...
- being air transported thru Jakarta + 4 more cities in economy class during the worst of political seasons because they wouldn't pay for a better route or business class. I made 2 RT's to Bali and back the Summer of '02 and did not want to return without a colleague. (Unbelievably, they agreed, as said colleague was "FORUM")

Tho they all (he, his wife and entire company) loved my work, he proceeded to tell me how he didn't like me personally, and that I'd have to go to the Landmark Forum to "get it". At first, I was open, but The LF wouldn't take me w/o a Dr's excuse (which I provided) having taken a low-dose anti-anxiety after Sept. 11th in nyc. However, the scheduled Forum weekend conflicted with a mandatory court appearance for increased child support, and I could not change it, therefore was not able to attend. I was commanded to "Lose the Lawyer, join the Forum, come back to Bali" where "everything would 'work out just fine'." I attempted to keep them placated by saying I wanted to eventually take a course, but couldn't now, that it was my priority to settle things for my child's behalf now.

To make a long story short, I was pressed to decide: "So, Evvie, what'll it be? Your story or the possibility of a life. Time to decide. Get on or off this boat now." I got off, not knowing the consequence would be a total loss of income and a suspended contract after they loved my performance, and I delivered.

In addition, it put an indelible strain and a wall on a 20 year friendship with my colleague who, coincidentally, was a Landmark Forum Grad, and began proselytizing and became overly arrogant with me as well. I lost all trust in him. We have no real friendship left, just the history of one. Mind you, I was the only one with the ability to create and deliver this particular project under the time/ budgetary constraints/creative demand, though none of that was recognized.

Now broke and confused, I want to go on the record as saying: "The Forum Kills Spirits Who Don't Choose to BELONG". They have no ethics in regards to commitments with others and manipulated me into believing I was the one reneg'ing. Too complicated to even make heads or tails of.

THEY ARE ALIVE AND EATING OTHERS ALIVE IN INDONESIA. Watch out!

I believe that these people are playing with peoples' lives and well-being for their own personal benefit. I believe they are dangerous and that there should be a governing social agency that prevents them from forcing employees to join.

BUT ... I survived them.

NoLandmark replies: The reality of the situation would seem to be that they needed your skills...but reality (ie your "story") is irrelevant in light of the need to recruit. [note: I substituted a ficticious name (Grady) because we don't use last names here.]


Date: 3 Dec 2002
Subject: Thanks
From: Katharyn

Thanks for the site. I was "invited" last night by an acquaintance. Was initially amazed by his story, but checked their site today. Promises seemed great (red flag!), but it was waaaaaaaaaaay to vague. The further I read, the more weirded-out I got. After a few more minutes of reading their claptrap I was embarrassed to have their site up on my screen at work (glaring red flag). Thanks for helping me to steer me clear of this weirdness!!

NoLandmark replies: One reader wrote a play called Landmark Forum and the Red Flags.


Date: 1 Dec 2002
Subject: For Jackie
From: Aggie

Jackie opened her experience by stating that her story is not very interesting. It hit home base for me. Her description of the guy who tried to recruit her sounds like a guy I dated only a few months ago. I am scared and alarmed by the "possibility" that it could be the same guy. Thank you, Jackie, for submitting your story even though you felt it may not have the impact as some of the other stories on this website. I have decided to NOT attend the Forum and to NOT continue to correspond with the fella who suggested that I attend.

NoLandmark replies: Read Jacki's story.


Date: 28 Nov 2002
Subject: mind-control
From: KGO

I attended Landmark last night with my brother. He raved about how great the whole program was and how he felt so much better he felt about his life. I agreed to attend with him because I did not want him to feel bad. Once we got there, I was frightened by the number of people that were there. I was harassed by a member of the group to register and pay the 100.00. I did not even though what the whole program was about. We were then split up and I was bombarded by stories of people who felt horrible about their lives. The speaker seemed to feel that she needed to emphasize just how unhappy she was with her life with before the Landmark forum.

We were supposed to break into groups and discuss what would make us happy. I told the people next to me that I was happy and I didn't need this forum to make me happy. The entire time I was speaking to the people sitting next to me, the speaker was standing over us monitoring our conversation. I felt as if I was in 4th grade and a teacher was standing over me. The speakers were pushy and kept speaking about registering. They looked at me as if I was crazy when I told them that I would not be registering. The whole experience was scary. It was scary to think how many people believed in the landmark forum. The one thing that frightens me the most is the amount of children that were there. Since yesterday, I have been unable to think about anything but this entire program.

My main concern is my brother. He has been spending so much time away from his wife and his children. I fear that he will truly make a huge mistake. The Landmark Forum has to be stopped. Keep spreading the message about how dangerous the Landmark Forum is.

NoLandmark replies: Doing the best I can.


Date: 27 Nov 2002
Subject: I certainly won't be signing up!!!
From: Carolyn

A friend from work has just completed the third Landmark course. She invited me several times, strongly urging me to attend despite my relative indifference. She argued that although I have no "issues" I want to work through, that it would open up possibilities for me. She insisted several times, and not wanting to offend her I ended up going along last week.

It was like turning up to one of those time share scams in the 80s (where at least you got a free wok for turning up). Although the evening was supposed to be all about the projects people had been working on, it became obvious that all they wanted to do was sign people up. It was really transparent. I assumed it was a money making idea, but when I got home and talked to my boyfriend his instant response was that it sounded like a cult.

I think it's really scary that organisations like this exist to take advantage of vulnerable people. My initial lack of interest in joining up was based on two things. Firstly, the money. I could buy a new pair of shoes or a dress for the same amount of money and actually have something to show for it. Secondly, no-one could tell me exactly what Landmark was about. When I actually attended the meeting I didn't have any success in establishing exactly what the forum is either. People kept saying that you had to do it to understand it and the benefits can't really be articulated. Another person said that they did not want to ruin it for me by telling me too much (!)

I would never commit to something either personally or financially if I knew nothing about it, so having researched Landmark on the internet (interestingly, one Landmark inductee told me there was nothing on the web about Landmark) and having asked around, I can make an informed decision. However, that's probably because I'm satisfied with my life and luckily, have had no major trauma. Not everyone is so lucky.

It seems criminal for an organisation to prey on unhappy people with problems and promise them all the answers. I hope more people come across your website when researching the Landmark Forum. I certainly intend to bring it to the attention of all my friends.

NoLandmark replies: You've summed it up beautifully. Thanks.


Date: 26 Nov 2002
Subject: TOTALLY AGREE
From: Patricia

Your website is precise, and exact about the Landmark Forum. I was dragged to one of the meetings last year by a guy I was dating... I felt terrible and trapped the entire time I was there. I couldn't believe how people were falling for "what you don't know you know, you will now know" ... YES this is a cult and yes it is a bunch of crap... The glazed over look that everyone had was hysterical. I didn't have any money with me and they were ready to have me sign my life away . they had every answer in the book. Luckily for me I was sequestered with another non-believer who escaped with me.

THANKS !!!

NoLandmark replies: Yes they do have an answer for everything, usually centered on some inadequacy on the part of any person who is willing to think for themselves.


Date: 22 Nov 2002
Subject: My first Landmark Experience
From: Jessica

I have just found your website and let me tell you, I am relieved that my instincts were correct about Landmark.

I have a new co-worker who has been here about a month or two. He will not shut up about this Landmark crap. He was here for 3 days and he sent me the linkto their website. I am not easily swayed by anything that remotely seems cultish, so I ignored him. Then he continues to pressure me, why don't you want to go, I will drive yuou, you seem like you need it.

What is wrong with these people? I have been trying and trying to be nice to him. Do I need to be blatantly mean? What should I do to make him stop? Should I forward him your webpage? I think that might just make him work harder at trying to recruit me. As we are in a work environment I do not think this is the place or the time for him to be recruiting.

Everything in your website I read just clarifies the way he acts. He talks in Landmark Lingo and seems like he is trying to make me feel bad about not going. He even tries to get me to "help with his homework" one time trying to tell me about his sexual problems and how Landmark is helping him to overcome it...

What should I do????

NoLandmark replies: Since he is behaving like a child I suggest you treat him as such: inform him he is not allowed to discuss Landmark with you under any circumstances, and that you will simply ignore him if he ever brings it up.


Date: 18 Nov 2002
Subject: Thanks
From: Drusilla

Thank you for your site, I had been trying to make sense of my partner's continuing association with Landmark & its been so helpful to read all these other experiences.

We were invited to an Introduction by a close friend, & alarm bells rang for me straight away & I knew I wanted nothing to do with it, but initially thought it was OK for my partner as he had some issues in his life. He did all the courses he could, volunteered all the time, spent hours at their office "helping", organizing home introductions which I refused to attend, & at its height he was at Landmark at some time nearly every day as well as spending time at home doing phone calls. He spoke to me in "Landmark-speak" especially if we had any issues come up between us & I was usually told I was "making him wrong". I felt we became further & further apart, & I would say that Landmark was nearly the cause of our marriage breaking up as he became more & more emeshed. Of course you will be thinking how could I have put up with this. I told him I would never come to any evening or introductions & he knew he was in it by himself. Fortunately somehing happened which meant his involvement became less . I came to the realization that although I thought his invovement with Landmark had helped him, when I look at his life I realize that it has not helped at all--- he still has the same issues. It is mind bogling to think for 3 years I thought it wasnt doing any harm & now I see how our lives together have been at a standstill. Ive needed a great deal of patience & now I think he may extricate himself out of a sort of boredom . Hundreds of dollars & hours of time have been swallowed up. Yes Ive hung in there, he's a good man. He wont accept anything negative about Landmark, Good luck to all of you whose loved ones are emeshed.

NoLandmark replies: Many unconsciously use Landmark as a tool to avoid facing issues. It's one of the reasons Landmark is so popular, as it offers what appears to be an easy way out--in reality at best it offers nothing more than a distraction from the issues, and at worst it provides a whole host of new problems to dilute the existing ones.


Date: 13 Nov 2002
Subject: Weird
From: Nora

Just last night I attended the final evening of a weekend "seminar" as a guest of my friend and boss, who is a well educated professional. It was a very disturbing and alarming experience, despite my departure after the first hour, which required, as many of the other postings here have indicated, physically circumventing a woman who stood in the path of the hallway towards the hotel lobby as she directed us into another room for phase two of our initiation.

Most disturbing was the primary depersonalization technique which was introduced to the potential recruits straight away. Before introducing thoroughly euphoric, albeit uninspiring, testimonials from the members of the past weekend, our host began to discuss the filters through which we hear things. I was intrigued until I quickly realized that "the little voice in your head" that he continually referred to was in fact my personality and its instincts. Those "filters" as he called them are what make me who I am.

Another of the more glaringly obvious examples of disturbing incidences was the repetition of the phrase, "Landmark Forum." It was a joke amongst myself and some of the other escapees who I spoke with in the hotel lobby while we waited for our friends as Landmark attempted to recruit them for another seminar, this one twice the cost of the first.

One of the women I spoke to said that her friend had become addicted to the seminars, going to them over and over again and that it had caused her divorce. Even my boss signed her husband up for the second seminar. She didn't sign up as well because they "can't afford to go together." Still more frightening was that my boss volunteered to pay for a weekend seminar if I wanted to participate. Uh, no. But you can give me the three hundred and seventy-five bucks to pay my bills with if you want.

Incidentally, I have had a stress headache ever since last night. I can't be positive that the headache is related to the Landmark Forum, but each time I think of the slithering host telling the audience (hostages) that he told his mother on her deathbed (though after she was dead, meaning he was talking to a corpse) that he would commit to spreading the word of the Landmark Forum, my eye starts to twitch again.

Thanks for your site and I hope that the invaluable information offered here is far reaching.

NoLandmark replies: Perhaps Landmark will expand its marketing program and begin recruiting the dead. I shall have to add "filters" to my discussions of Landmarkspeak.


Date: 12 Nov 2002
Subject: Keep Up The Good Work - and this page!
From: Janet

I appreciate this site and many others like it.

I was a sceptic when my Husband's Mother finally talked me into attending a free introduction. I have been to the introduction and I am convinced this is not the best choice for me.

I wish my Mother-in-law would realise this, I told her that I would not be attending any further sessions, and did not fill in any requests for further information. I was still contacted by a young man on behalf of the Forum and talked him out of convincing me to come back to future seminars.

I am a strong self-aware individual and was not willing to participate as I felt that the only the mob mentality was keeping people there. The cost was another reason, I was not interested in spending such large amounts of money to participate in this apparent cult. I have participated in Self-help Seminars—such as Brian Tracey's Phoenix seminar, and had a sense from the start that this was far more sinister, just from the testimonials.

Yet my Mother in-law still is pushing, and she is also more connected with the organisation volunteering and speaking on their part. I have been going through tough life adjustments, and my husband and I are not getting along at all. I have chosen to see a councillor that is helping me make some tough choices, she is free of charge and trained from an accredited University, why would I pay some untrained brainwashed individual when there are many social programs for my type of situation—licensed and monitored.

I now have the information I needed to combat my Mother-in-law and know your site will help others to do as I have done, Make an informed discussion not to participate in this money making racket.

Thanks Again,

NoLandmark replies: Of course the Forum leaders are extremely well trained: they have unmatched expertise in using Large Group Awareness Training to take advantage of people. And yes, they are applying powerful psychological techniques to unsuspecting individuals in a totally unregulated and secretive environment. There are so many people who can benefit greatly from real professional counciling, but who sabotage themselves by seeking out Landmark-style pretenders, religious cults, and other organizations that help people ignore their issues rather than face them.


Date: 12 Nov 2002
Subject: My est experience
From: Picnic

I took est in the mid 70's in Los Angeles.

It cost me $325, almost a month's salary. It was grueling training but I told the trainer "I got it" at the end just to get out of there. Basically "getting it" means there's nothing to get, there's only the present moment.

After much harping, I signed up for the graduate course, "Be Here Now" because they said it would enhance the training. They should have called it, "Bring Guests Now," because that's all it was about.

I called to tell them I wasn't planning to attend any more Be Here Now sessions and the phone person said, "Didn't you 'get' the training? I replied, "Yes, I got it, but they said Be Here Now would enhance the training, and it's just about recruiting guests, and to me that doesn't enhance the training."

"So, you think you did get the training?"

"Yeah, I got it and paid good money for it, but that doesn't mean I am going to pay you so I can work for free to recruit new esties for you."

"Okay, well I get that."

"Good. Thanks for listening and hearing me," I said.

"So, you are not willing to keep your agreement to attend all the Be Here Now seminars?"

"The agreement was that Be Here Now would enhance the training. It has not. Keep the money, but I am not coming back."

"I got it."

"Good. Bye bye."

The est training didn't damage me, but for the money I spent, all I learned was life works when you live it with some modicum of integrity. You don't need to go without peeing for 16 hours to figure that out, and you don't need to volunteer as an unpaid recruiter to be considered an honorable person.

Would I recommend est or landmark forum to anyone? Nope.

NoLandmark replies: We get it.


Date: 12 Nov 2002
Subject: successful in getting 2 Forum cancellations!
From: Box

From Australia:
I friend rang me yesterday telling me a good friend of his and her 11 year son had enrolled in the LandMark Forum....

I nearly freaked! Explained to him what it was... he had to ring her back and pass on the many pro and con web-sites on Landmark and ask the lady in question to please consider reading all the stories on both these sites... (I didn't want to pressure her too much! so added some pro-sites)

She had enrolled because a friend living 3000kms (about 1800 miles) away had rung her and raved on about it (the well known recruiting tactics!)....

Why on earth would anyone spend such big bucks, without researching first what it is that you will be paying for? DO WE DO THIS FOR EVERYTHING... just BLINDLY spend HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS? She had even enrolled without consulting her partner! Do you ever make such expensive decisions on anything else in life, just because a friend tells you so?

Ok... yeah right... look at me talking... I lost ALL my SAVINGS on the advanced course... and did not get a single cent back when in the middle of the first day of the course I just walked out...

--- yes, I was haunted for several days... I could still come back... they now used my money as a ransom... I'd loose the money and certainly I wanted to "get something out of it all"... I also got pressured into thinking I had SERIOUS PROBLEMS and was afraid of having them revealed.... and NO ONE ever left the course... this was extremely rare (YEAH... RIGHT!!!!)

I'm an extremely rational and logical thinking person and... I'd been a passive forum attendee, with light sceptism... (about all the money, the volunteers... anyone with half a brain can see all that) ... yet as many was drained towards the end ... and found myself on the "high" so many find themselves on... Plus my boss, his wife and several colleagues had already done the Advanced course as well... and were doing great in "PEER"-PRESURING... about the greatness of it all... (PRAISE THE LORD!!!!)

I get angry when I hear how my ex-boss still cons every new member of his staff to do the Forum... he even offers to pay half.... -- Ooooh yeah and "empowering" people is now in his corporate mission-statement...I've seen several people getting fully absorbed in the entire volunteer business.... One was brought up in a Jehovah's environment, but estranged from his family for not believing... yet FELL for the Landmark 'BLEEP'. The other was a life-long bachelor ... {looking for love???} -- and he is now happily married (2 rackets!) The third a young (19yr-old) woman, deserted by her parents, broke up with her only "rock" in life... got a CREDIT CARD... to pay her normal bills... gave all her cash to LandMark... and is now in serious debt! Lost her job... etc... aaaaah surely all her problems were her own doing... but from now on she can ignore them all and live a happier life! Ooooh yes... and migraines and illnesses are a figment of our imagination! the power of the mind can HEAL it ALL... I was told by a recent FORUM-attendee... who happened to be promoting Landmark in my presence!

The city I live in is being talken over my LANDMARKEEEEEES.... HELP!!!!

I get angry when I see how innocent victims are being targeted... and how so many INTELLIGENT people fall for this.... Sure no one leads a perfect life... but why is we are striving to do so... Is this what western society is bringing us! PLEASE OPEN YOUR EYES! Anyone is as happy as they want to be Landmark or no Landmark... everyone has experienced problems at any stage of their lives... people have been doing so for centuries... and no one has ever complained... until some idiot started telling us it could all be so much better and we aren't living to our full potential....

You can't believe how happy I was to hear that my friend's FRIEND has UNENROLLED!

THANK YOU for your contributions which helped her see what LandMark really is...It wasn't easy for her to unenrol and get her money back... but she had a strong mind and didn't let all the pressure from Landmark get to her!

GOOD ON HER!!!!

And as for myself... I'm doing quite alright without all the "racket" and "empowerment" 'BLEEP'!

NoLandmark replies: Thanks for the (preBLEEPed) account. Occassionally people do decide that it's ok to face reality, even if reality isn't perfect. It's all a part of growing up.


Date: 11 Nov 2002
Subject: Dude,
From: Druvella

I thought you never put people's names on your website! Can you please, please take my name off there? Can you just invent some other name, please?? That is why I wrote, "Signed, Dreading It." By the way, I went through the weekend and want to write about it but I can't if my name is there. Thanks.

NoLandmark replies: No problem, "Druvella." Like the name? Unlike some other websites, I remove all last names, email addresses, and phone numbers from postings to protect contributors. Like radio call-in shows, this is a first-names-only forum (with a small f).


Date: 06 Nov 2002
Subject: How can she break free?
From: Simon

Thank you for your well balanced and honest site.

I need advice:
My girlfriend who I love so very dearly with all my heart is trying to escape from the Landmark corporation but they have their claws into her so deep its difficult- they won't let go.

She suffered a traumatic life experience around the time of taking the Forum course and in fact appears to have benefited greatly from it—it provided her with some so called 'tools' to come to terms with events, grief and guilt.

It was soon after this that I met and fell in love with her. She was still reeling from her loss but progressing well—she is a strong person.

I felt that the Landmark programme had helped her (although not quite as much as she claimed—she attributes a disproportionately large degree of her progress to the Landmark when in actuality it is largely due to the healing hand of time, family/friends social support and her own inner strength). She convinced me to attend an introductory day (she had already enrolled her mother into the full Forum course and had designs upon her Father, her Sister and even her sisters boyfriend to do likewise)—although I found it superficially interesting, I was dissuaded by their overly aggressive hard sell and also by the induced overly happy happy happy Walton family-like persona of their most zealous converts. As a medically trained Doctor I could see many psychological influencing methods being employed

I successfully avoided enrolling that day—within 48hours I received a telephone call at work from one of these zealots urging me to enroll—he had obviously been trained in psychological hard sell methods—"Is there anything area in your life that you would change?" "will you turn your back on this opportunity to help establish a meaningful relationship with your Mother?" etc etc.

Despite this, I did still intend to enroll on the Forum (and still may)—because I would be going in well informed and knew I would be able to resist their brainwashing—I wanted to do it as an experiential exercise and because I genuinely find group psychotherapy interesting and potentially useful at a number of levels.

Things seemed to be going well with my girlfriend. She would, in the main, resist coercing me into Landmark, but she would utter a constant stream of Landmark jargon/psychobabble

She moved on after the Forum and Advanced courses to take the longer (and expensive) SDLP course. I suspect she may have gone into debt to finance this.

A core component of this course involves undertaking a 'project'. With time she became more and more engrossed in the course—Landmark essentially became an all consuming obsession. Her work suffered as she withdrew from colleagues, using every spare minute to participate in on-line discussions with other Landmark members. On waking, she would phone a Landmark colleague (which they encourage participants to do), go to work, abuse her occupational internet privileges for.Landmark matters, stay late after work to continue with landmark issues, return home and yet again phone other landmark members to discuss project progress.

She withdrew from her friends and flatmates and retreated to the comfort and security of her new Landmark family. 99% of the people she knows in city she lives are Landmark members. Being with her was still great but arguments and tensions were increasingly frequent, she became increasingly and worryingly introspective as each session at the Landmark led to further and deeper fruitless and undirected analysis of her every little failing. Every little thing that others did relating to her became viewed through an ever stronger and stronger lens of paranoia—innocent comments and actions were interpreted as insults directed towards her, each one provoking further self-loathing self-analysis.

It reached the stage at which she could no longer be reasoned with. Any progress she had initially made on the Forum course was receding.

Then it happened fairly suddenly, one night, during a night-time discussion with me it suddenly dawned on her the havoc being wrecked upon her psyche by Landmark. As if a fog had been lifted she could suddenly see how she had been held back from normal social interactions, friendships, work relations, personal relations by her ever mounting time, emotional and intellectual commitment to Landmark.

It was a revelation for her—I took the opportunity and urged her to break free from her psychological captors—she agreed in principle—she unsubscribed from the groups discussion board, she text messaged Landmark members to explain her decision and she resolved not to attend her next indoctrination session. I was over the moon—this was a true 'breakthrough' in the Landmark sense of the word. But I knew it wouldn't be quite that easy and I warned her about the tactics they would employ to keep hold of her soul. I suggested that other group members would call, that her attempted escape would be passed up the chain of command and a more senior Landmark official would attempt to brainwash her. She accepted this may be the case and promised to remain strong.

And true to form , as predicted she had calls from her text-messaged colleagues—they appeared to be supportive and tolerate her attempts to leave. Next the organiser of her Landmark email group contacted her and urged her to not reject the board completely but instead to maintain an interest by receiving a 'daily digest' form of their propaganda (as in the manner of the best FBI hostage negotiators he successfully 'maintained a line of communication at any cost -- all it takes is one moment of weakness or low self-esteem to jump right back in—especially when the victim is still 'in the system')

Next she received emails from another landmark member ostensibly outlining sympathy for her views (again with the aim of maintaining contact).

Despite all this, and despite my disappoint that they still had a few of their talons in her I felt optimistic that she was beginning to make the break. That weekend after her decision was one of the happiest I've spent with her—she was happy, carefree and laughing again—able to look at her self still, yet not spending hours upon hours on self criticism—she seemed to be accepting who she was and feeling comfortable with it.

THEN—the night before her next Landmark session was due (ie the session she had intended to skip) she was telephoned by a more senior Landmark group leader (perhaps concerned that his statistics would look bad with another person dropping out of the course and the consequent loss of revenue if they did not sign up for further courses). As predicted he said anything necessary to keep her online and in the programme. He promised her that she would not be required to complete her project if she agreed to attend the last 3 sessions of her course (he said he would have words with the leaders to ensure this would be ok). He led her to believe that even though she had undergone a wonderful and frankly positive transformation since deciding to leave landmark—that somehow she would somehow be missing out on something and missing the whole point of the course if she did not complete it.

She believed this and planned to return to the course the following day!

When I questioned her as to what she could possibly hope to gain by returning to the programme which had so damaged her life, her answer provided me with an overwhelmingly depressing insight into the success of the psychological manipulation she had been subjected to.

She stated "I don't know what I'll gain, but I'm interested to find out. The leaders had told me the course would be hard, that there would be times when it would hurt—but also they said that we needed to see it through to the end to finally realise the benefits fully"

The subsequent heated argument that ensued between us have I fear only served to push her further into the grasp of Landmark.

My question is what can I do? I've considered very very seriously many options eg involving the police (would not be a feasible option), inflicting extreme violence upon the course leaders (would not achieve anything and end up with a prison sentence), involving her parents/sister (she would not listen), and reasoning with her (I've tried).

Landmark substitutes a victims self-loathing and self-pity with a newfound family of intimacy and 'honesty. Victims become dependent on Landmark for their very identity and sense of self-worth. They see things only in terms of Landmark—despite starting off as open-minded they become progressively narrow-minded—the Landmark way becomes the only way. They become course addicts—without the guidance proffered by Landmark courses they become the little lost sheep of the psychological wilderness. Like the Mafia—as long as you are a member of the 'family' then you are safe. You stay loved.

They go to course's and people listen to them, they respond to them, they applaud them, they 'care' for them, they give them an inner warmth and help them to 'discover themselves'—except its not themselves they are discovering, rather they are discovering a Landmark stereotypical construct—everything about their present state is due to childhood failings, their parents are essentially to blame for everything, they need to change themselves—and off course who is the loving figure that will help to action that change?—surprise surprise, it Landmark corporation. Who in their right mind would ever contemplate leaving this wondrous philanthropic caring charity like organisation?

They take people at their lowest ebb and feed on their deficiencies. I believe there are many many great benefits to be gained from the basic landmark courses - but once they are gained people should be allowed to move on with their lives—they should be allowed to leave without being coerced back in. It is possible to have too much of a good thing—as I am learning much too my personal cost right now

I am coming towards my wits end—to stand by helplessly as the woman you love is being sucked in and crushed by this organisation for a simple financial profit is a devastating thing to endure.

Do you have any ideas of where I can go from here?

Thanks

NoLandmark replies: I think her choice is either you or Landmark; I suggest making her aware of this. Given she seems actually able to listen to alternative views (a skill quashed in many Landmarkians), she might come around. Another idea: show her this letter.


Date: 05 Nov 2002
Subject: Pray for my sanity
From: Druvella

I am a well-educated, well-adjusted professional. And I have to go do the forum this weekend (Friday through Sunday. I already know I won't go Tuesday night.) You see, I am involved with a super guy, who is not a freak about the forum but really thinks it can be good for dealing with issues (yes, we all have them!). I have balked at going and I honestly am only doing it at this point out of curiosity (do they really scream and rant?) and because I know it will make him happy (and he'll get off my back.) So...I guess I just want to know: how I can survive the onslaught I face this weekend? Any advice on how to get through this with a sense of humor?
Thanks...Signed, Dreading It

NoLandmark replies: Of course the exact nature and intensity of the onslaught (mind slaughter?) will depend on who is leading this particular Forum. I would approach it by looking for the agenda behind the rhetoric. Watch for the thinly vailed attempts at manipulation, humiliation, and physical and emotional abuse. Always keep in mind their one true agenda, which is having you sign yet another check while bringing new victims to Tuesday recruitment. Then, when their nonsence is directed at you, you'll be able to knowingly smile and laugh it off to yourself.


Date: 04 Nov 2002
Subject: Your Landmark web page
From: Mark

Sir-
This is very frustrating for me because I had just written you this long and important message and my computer crashed I was sending so... I am going to attempt to re-write my message. Please bear with me.

I have just finished reading your web page and I feel extremely informed. I thank you already for giving me more insight into this apparently dangerous "educational system" and I write to you seeking help.

A very good friend of mine (you might consider her my girlfriend) has just returned from her first weekend and she is scaring me. She will not be quiet about the forum and her pressure to get me to do it is growing rapidly. Here is a girl who's self esteem was very low going in, she has commitment issues and she has trouble being productive and now, she claims to be ok. I read your page and fear for my friend. I do not know how to approach her because I know hat she has been told that those who resist the forum are bad or "not evolved" and I fear her pushing me away.

I am writing to you today to seek advice on how to "rescue" my friend, my love, from this evil system, in a safe and nurturing manner.

If you have any advice, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanking you (in advance)

NoLandmark replies: I was once in a similar situation. After my love took me to a recruitment session I simply begged her to get out of it, making it very clear that Landmark had put our relationship in serious jeopardy. I was careful to point out the changes in her behavior since embracing Landmark and how those changes were threatening our relationship (for example, the ridiculous things she was accusing me of). Happily, it worked, and she thanked me later. Of course what worked for us may not work for you. Best of luck.


Date: 29 Oct 2002
Subject: All I can say is "GOOD WORK!"
From: Lale

Actually, just a short statement:
I went to the Forum upon being coerced by a boyfriend in 1999. I already thought it was a crock (after dealing with a really strange acquaintance who was heavily into it), but went anyway.

I managed to stay one day (when everyone was wonderful and warm and encouraging). On the second day, when the leader started on his rampage of berating people, I got up and left. YAY ME! I don't need to be told negative messages. I already have enough I am trying to exorcize on my own!!

I am thankful I am strong enough to be able to dissent.

Needless to say, my boyfriend and I broke up a short time later (not really having to do with Landmark). Ironically, he's a true believer of that crap, and ironically cannot "commit" to any relationship, even though "making a commitment" is one of their underlying tenets. Doesn't that say it all?

They confirmed exactly what I thought of them in the first place!

Thank you for promoting THE TRUTH!

NoLandmark replies: Yup, says it all.


Date: 20 Oct 2002
Subject:
From: Kate

My only child, a daughter, just gave birth to her first child eight days ago an event that should be uplifting and one of bonding. However, I have not seen my daughter in a week because she thinks that I am trying to make her feel guilty because she has a child to care for now. My conversation with her this evening bordered on the bizarre. While espousing that she said things about me that were true—but not said in the way she wanted to say them, she accused me of never having gotten over my divorce from her father (over 28 years ago—I've been married to my second husband for 25 years), lying about what I had said to her or at least my intention in what I said—followed by—I may not have said it but I meant it (whatever that means), accusing me of harassing her because I was disappointed that she was not coming over for brunch today, and shouting some nonsense about a contract that I cannot call her for a week because I have too much baggage and she is tired of dealing with it—finally spitting out what I can and cannot do if I want a relationship with her.

Although this might sound like I have been the overbearing mother—rest assured I am not. I am a full-time law student, I work 20 hours a week for a federal judge, 20 hours a week as a law clerk for a law firm, 10 hours a week as a teaching assistant, and about 5 hours a week researching for a professor. I'm on law review and the trial team. So—far from being a mother/grandmother who has much time to dote or intrude, I don't. This lengthy preamble is only to advise that after my husband tried speaking with my daughter, he made the comment that something was definitely wrong with her. She would not listen to anything he had to say, but continually shouted at him.

My daughter has been involved in Landmark Education/Forum for at least 3 years. She had tried to talk me into attending the forum and recently brought it up again—offering to pay for me to go so I could find out what is wrong with me. Reading your web information has enlightened me with regard to Landmark. My daughter spewed their landmarkspeak at me ad nauseam this evening. What concerns me is that I cannot have a relationship with her or my grandson. It is hard to combat her thrusts and parries as she does not let you have a word in edgewise. At the end of tonight's conversation, I was exhausted and spent. Trying to understand the words, "it's always about you" when I'm not even permitted to express an opinion or thought.

HELP - is this normal Landmark behavior and do I throw in the towel.

NoLandmark replies: Yes, it's typical Landmarkian behavior, and illustrates how the philosophy destroys relationships. Landmark's relationship-building exercises are conveniently tied to member recruitment: generally relationships are only successful if both parties are Landmark followers. The reason your daughter keeps trying to recruit you is because Landmark has convinced her that that is the best way to repair your relationship. Of course the irony is that her devotion to Landmark is what wrecked the relationship in the first place. Sadly, you are a victim of nothing more than another subtle technique for increasing membership. Perhaps your daughter will come around when she realizes she cannot establish meaningful connections with anyone outside Landmark. Thanks for sharing.


Date: 09 Oct 2002
Subject: Landmark
From: Lisa

Hello. I was recently on your site, and for it I say THANK YOU! A good friend of mine participated in this forum a few weekends ago and after "recruited" several more of my friends including my boyfriend. My boyfriend is a naturally cynical person. He is tough on the outside and mush on the inside. He detests anything like this forum and openly expressed that opinion for years. He went with our friend out of courtesy. He came back from the introductory session having signed up for the forum and repeated the exact same bullBLEEP! explanation as our friend who recruited him. The words coming out of his mouth, were not his words, it was like someone else was speaking through his body. This freaked me out so much I went looking for more information on Landmark. I plan on showing him this site and hopefully getting some logical sense into him before its too late.
Thank you so much!

NoLandmark replies: People do seem to be possessed when Landmarkspeak issues from their mouths.


Date: 09 Oct 2002
Subject:
From: Joakim

Great work setting up the web site! Wish I had seen it before I did the course.

Just did the Landmark forum last week-end. Felt inspired and learnt a lot but luckily I managed to control myself and not get sucked in. It was very difficult not to get sucked since some people really seem to benefit in the short-term from it and the leader is very charismatic and powerful in language. You get told that you had a shit life so far and it is basically because you have believed your own interpretations. Forget your interpretations so you can complete your faulty past and transform into anything possible. However when you meet the super happy people that has done all the courses you get suspicious—there is just something wrong with them. They would just do anything for Landmark. They have seriously been affected by the courses like they are on a drug. You could benefit from it but I am sure there are much safer courses to take that would do the same thing. All I can say dont do it! Don't even think about it!

NoLandmark replies: I like that: Landmark is a mind-altering drug.


Date: 09 Oct 2002
Subject: Looking for People Harmed by Landmark
From: Terri

I have just completed the Landmark Forum and have grave concerns regarding the potential for psychological harm and the unlicensed use of psychology under the guise of "education." Another participant has joined with me in creating the possibility of being driven to shut down the Landmark Forum and gain compensation for those participants harmed by their participation. We are currently pursuing action with our State Psychology Board. I am inquiring if I can use your website to request information on participants who believed they have been harmed and may want to participate in a class action lawsuit. If we do not meet the criteria for a class action, we have another course of action to consider if I can get the names of approximately ten people who meet the criteria of being harmed.

There is no personal gain for me in this matter except the possibility of satisfaction should we be successful in shutting down the Landmark Forum. Since I do not believe I have been harmed personally, I could not participate in any financial consideration. My motivation is concern for the impact the Landmark Forum has on participants during and after the course. There is no follow up on the outcomes of the participants. I am currently enrolled in a community counseling masters program. I have spoken to several of my professors and friends in the counseling field and they all had the same reaction -- concern for the participant! With counseling, emphasis is given to three critical areas; behavior, affect (feelings), and cognition (thoughts). The Landmark Forum also emphasizes these same three critical areas telling participants to "get in the game" and "make that phone on the next break", that all our thoughts are just our "interpretations", that "life is empty and meaningless", that we are "living our lives through the eyes of a five year old" , that we are "incomplete with our parents", and so on. There were a number of participants in our weekend that made life altering decisions such as deciding to divorce their spouse or leave their job. Anyone that had an opinion or thought contrary to the Forum teachings were ridiculed or humiliated. A young man that participated over the weekend and had something contrary to say tonight at our Tuesday night session was intimidated by several Landmark Forum volunteers and the facilitator refused to acknowledge him even though he was standing at the microphone. Finally another participant (the one joining me on this "possibility") went to the front of the room and told the volunteers and the facilitator not to lay a hand on the young man. He was then allowed to speak briefly and immediately left the session. The rest of the evening the facilitator made fun of him. What appalled me was the unwillingness of allowing free speech and the number of participants that joined in with the facilitator in degrading the young man. Is this living a life we love when we use intimidation and ridicule against anyone who has a difference of opinion? Hence, my request for finding participants who believe they have been harmed.

I look forward to your response and thank you for providing this means of communication. It takes a few bold and courageous people to make a difference and I thank you for being one of them. Terri

NoLandmark replies: Readers—If you have been harmed by Landmark contact Terri at DaughtersT@aol.com


Date: 03 Oct 2002
Subject: My sister has been sucked in!
From: Anna

Hi,
My sister started attending these "classes" about a year and a half ago. She is now attending them on a regular basis and assistant teaching them. She has changed in such a dramatic way that now, whenever there is a family crisis, all she does is suggest that we attend these seminars. She has become very manipulative and our relationship is deteriorating because I am not interested in being recruited.

She has been given notice from her law firm that they will let her go in January, yet she is still spending her money on these "classes" rather than saving it for her future unemployment, paying off her $65K in student loans, or using it on mortgage payments. She uses all of her free time on these "classes", rather than looking for a new job. She has recruited her fiance, and my family is worried she is really damaging her life. Can you suggest any way that we can get through to her? She is extremely intelligent, and being a lawyer, always has an argument to support her activities. Are there any "deprogrammers" out there who could help us with an intervention? We are all well educated, middle class, professionals. I never in a million years thought our family would be going through something like this! It is beyond our realm of experience.

Can you please point me in the right direction to get here help? Thank you very much.

Best Regards,

NoLandmark replies: If there's one consistent story out there, it's this one. I'm afraid I'm all about prevention rather than the far more difficult task of treatment. Certainly do not give her a dime, as that will support her habit. Keep searching the web—I'm sure there are many other ideas out there.


Date: 29 Sept 2002
Subject: Help
From: Jasch

our pastor is doing this forum and a lady who went and quit is living in fear and is hounded day and night and even approached in parking lots..these people are everywhere...where do you go to be free??

NoLandmark replies: I suggest underground concrete bunkers, with firehoses at the ready.


Date: 28 Sept 2002
Subject: Rick Ross's Message Board
From: Debra

Great web site. The more I see that tells of people's experiences with Landmark, the happier I am.

If you go to Rick Ross's site, check out his message boards on Landmark. I think http://forum.culteducation.com will get you there. I am "Hope" in some of the threads. It's taken me nearly a year to sort out what happened to me at the Forum, after 2 yrs of being under the care of a doctor who was using Landmark technology on me. Hopefully I'll be able to write something concise, maybe several articles on related topics.

Are you still taking attendees' accounts?

NoLandmark replies: We're looking forward to hearing of your experience.


Date: 23 Sept 2002
Subject: Landmark weirdly bad
From: Lily

My boss kept pressuring my to go to the forum--can you say "harassment" ? It was like a Nazi Rally, everyone stood up and cheered like the speaker was Bruce Springsteen--but she wasn't; she was my boss! She introduced me and everyone came and told me how proud she was of me. Apparently these nutjobs thought I needed friends and reassurance. I do, but I need genuine praise and healthy relationships rooted in reality.

Now, I'm going through some things and I have a gruff exterior by nature, but I sure as hell don't have low-self esteem nor do I have money to throw away trying to fix my normal self esteem.

Like my mother always says" If it costs money and there's no Communion at the end, you don't need it."

great site keep it up.

NoLandmark replies: Thanks. You're just fine, gruff exterior and all.


Date: 16 Sept 2002
Subject:
From: Jennifer

I just read what you wrote about landmark and it was a giant help to me. My sister in law is heavily into this BLEEP! and we've all been trying to get her out of it and to no avail. Since she has joined over a year ago, she has now been basically homeless (sleeping on people's couches in the group etc) and she can't keep a job. She doesn't pay her bills but she goes on these retreats with them to NJ and NY and spends so much money on the classes. Do you have any clue what we can do to convince her that this is total bullBLEEP!? She's VERY defensive about it. Please help! Jennifer

NoLandmark replies: It is deeply traumatic when a devotee acknowledges what is really going on, and they will do anything to avoid coming to that realization. I am by no means an expert in getting people out (I work the prevention side), but I suggest at least that you avoid enabling her--don't give her money or a place to stay. That way she might get the message all on her own, if you're lucky.


Date: 11 Sept 2002
Subject: Landmark
From: Rob

Your webpage is right on the money.

I commend you for what you've done to help clarify this organization and it's unethical practices. I have a family member caught in this perpetuating scheme of paying Landmark for the privilege to work as a pawn in their "Relentless Recruiting Machine". Your resource is valuable to me and I appreciate the effort you put into this.

Your information is provided in such an articulate way that you find yourself saying as you read, "yes, that is exactly how I feel".

The page labeled, "What Landmark says and what they REALLY mean" is my favorite. I was actually on the floor laughing as I went through it. I'm not trying to diminish the seriousness of the wrong-doing by Landmark, it's just that this comparison was so revealing that it became comical.

Thanks,
Robert

NoLandmark replies: That's my favorite page too.


Date: 07 Oct 2001
Subject: i'm anti landmark
From: Bill

Hi There
Thanks very much-glad your site is at the top of Dogpile after typing in "Landmark Forum criticism". anyway---here are some observations based on My older brother's,and more recently my sister's "membership" in Landmark:

Let's just say my brother has had his share of troubles that have often caused depression and led to
poor life decisions. He fits the type of recruit that Landmark seeks very well.

Some background: My brother is the oldest,since our dad was not around, my brother acquired a certain amount of authority and respect,often well deserved--for the mostly good advice,and "always being there" for my mom,myself and my sis.

So when my big brother got roped into Landmark did he let Landmark use him to sign up his family--well he tried his best-just my little sister joined--my mom and I have seen more than our share of "tent shows".(in other words:we know a CON ARTIST SCAM when we see one.

My brother has caused battles within the family with his ridiculous stance that those of us that have refused to join Landmark will be forever inferior until we are talked into joining.The worst part is this: my brother gleefully offered to give me $375.00 to join this miracle known as Landmark, yet he refuses to give me even a third of that amount to help pay for essentials-like food,rent,utilities---Landmark somehow needs this money more than me?

What saved my mother and I from hours of boring infomercial-like sermonizing from Landmark ? It's simple: 1. Mom and I share a healthy abiding wariness of authority of any kind. 2. We don't have any money for them to swipe! 3. My Big Brother is just as vauge as Landmark stooges are about what it is,how and why it operates and who gets to deposit all those lovely fat checks. If there is indeed a Hell, it's fires await parasites from Landmark that benefit from other's misery and their ilk

Thanks Again-B.

NoLandmark replies: "If there is indeed a Hell, its fires await parasites from Landmark that benefit from other's misery"--I like that.


Date: 30 Aug 2002
Subject: My boss is forcing me to take the Forum
From: Ali

Unfortunately, in New York, your employer can basically make you do whatever he/she wants you to do. After several months of back and forth conversations, I have had to give in and sign up for this course; completely against my will. I have already been demoted and was told my job is on the line. Any advice?

NoLandmark replies: That's sad. Can you say, "Self-righteous Landmarkian?"


Date: 26 Aug 2002
Subject: Landmark
From: Jacki

My story is not that interesting, I just wanted to contribute to your website as I have a small story that recently occurred to me.

I was recently dating a guy who seemed to be wonderful in that he was open to trying everything, ambitious, intelligent and charismatic. I eventually asked him about how he had gotten so confident and he first mentioned the Landmark Forum. After a few more weeks he asked if I was interested in attending a visitor night and put a little pressure on about how he met lots of people through it and lots of his friends were involved. As I was letting my guard down with this guy, I decided I had nothing to lose and went to the seminar where i was sequestered with two other newbies for 3 1/2 hours of talking. I admit that some of the techniques they showed us on how to get past our fears and be happier sounded easy and fantastic and when they starting pushing me on signing up I decided to put a deposit down against my better judgement. I know that was completely my own fault and I don't blame them for that. During the next few weeks of being with the guy who signed me up, he started to show some interesting aspects of his personality. Like his complete lack of compassion towards my fear of sex as my father has sexually abused me and he mentioned that was something I had made big in my head and I should just let it go. Then he failed to show any sympathy towards his friend who had recently lost a close relative. All in all, I just started noticing that he wasn't a very nice person. Friendly, yes, charismatic, sure, outgoing, definitely.

Then I found out that he was seeing another girl on the side who he was also taking to the seminars and to think he preached to ME about INTEGRITY!!!!

So to make a really long story short, after speaking to some of his long time friends, it appears that he has gone through some massive changes since he took the forum and not good ones.

It appears as with any cult/religion/faith/following, you can twist and convert it into anything you want. I'm disappointed in myself for falling for the pitch.

I hope your website will reach many others and I wish I had seen it sooner. Thank you.

NoLandmark replies: People who make up their own realities generally make up ones that suit themselves, not others.


Hang on to your hats folks, this is a long, sad story from an insider
Date: 25 Aug 2002
Subject: let life be a journey
From: Emily

Dear Friend,

I completed the landmark forum a few days ago and, though I experienced euphoria, some breakthrough conversations with loved ones, and gained valuable insights into myself that are useful, overall the experience (esp. the tues night session) was so disturbing to me that it caused psychological trauma. Trauma is not a general term meaning "it was upsetting," it is a word used to describe a specific emergency response in the body and brain to an extremely upsetting event. Prior to attending the forum I was in good mental health, an empowered and joyful individual. i am not someone who is angry she got yelled at or didn't feel liked by the Forum leader. to the contrary he made me out to be the star of the weekend. at first i got sucked in, then i realized what was going on and it just devastated my sense of safety.

I am now pulling all of my resources together to return to the level of well-being and empowerment I had prior to attending the Forum so i can be present to my grad school course work and students beginning next week. i know a lot of people get some or a lot of good out of this, but for me it was a dangerously mixed bag.

getting complete with every single thing in your past over three days was like having the rug pulled out from under me. i discovered the hard way that i grow best and my psyche can best handle closing doors, addressing forgiveness needs in relationships and coming to personal insights one by one, not everything all at once...it is so much to process...if done bit by bit, the psyche can collapse, shut down as if to say "stop...let me digest the chocolate cake before you order a shrimp cocktail!"

i am providing you with a detailed account of what i experienced and my perspective on this as a recent participant and clinician.

i worked at a level one trauma center and am sad to recognize that my body and psyche are showing signs that i'm processing the landmark experience (especially the closing session marathon sales pitch) as a trauma.

what concerns me most about this organization is that they believe they are sincere about saving the planet-- when really they're creating people who are told they cannot feel negative emotions or have a critical lens that is constructive. (i'm all for getting rid of true rackets-- it's about knowing how and when to use your critical lens constructively, not completely eradicating it.) there are some volunteers such as one friend who has supported me in recovering from the trauma i experienced after attending, who are committed to making sure landmark doesn't use mind control techniques--but it still happens.

over the course of the weekend i had moments when i considered ending my professional work as a mental health clinician and sending everyone to landmark ( i was feeling that euphoric), but i realized through the aftermath i'm experiencing that there is a wisdom to the slowness of the therapeutic process as used by social workers and psychologists.

it can provide the healing and separation of facts/ "what happened" from "story/drama about the facts" and retrain the critical observer in each of us to function constructively in our service and the service of others instead of completely eradicating it (as does landmark). the forum leader mistakenly said that psychologists do the opposite of this-- that we create "drama/stories." he defamed psychology twice and insisted that landmark was not psychology, when several of the techniques resonated or are seem to be borrowed from cognitive behavioral therapy.

i an concerned by his dismissal of psychology b/c there was a woman on the weekend living with chronic mental illness who came to me, tearful and appearing strung out as if on a drug to tell me she created the "possibility" that she no longer has manic depression (a chronic illness with chronic medication needs analogous to diabetes), no longer need medication or therapy, saying this not knowing her euphoric state was most likely temporary, and that she would probably crash worse than most people b/c of her bipolar status.

people can get hooked on landmark, like a drug-- taking the classes to return to that euphoric state. i heard of one person who took it seven times- granted this is what i heard and i do not know this person myself. a psychologist who encourages you to continue therapy and/or medication can then easily be dismissed b/c they are "not landmark." they must not be enlightened and should themselves take the Forum.

when you are in a room with 100 other people, haven't slept or ate much and are encouraged not to use the bathroom b/c you might miss some crucial element for you (the exact words were "like missing the best part of a good movie."-- though they do not stop you or pressure you not to go), your ego boundaries are broken down and you begin to take in the messages being given and build trust in the one delivering them.

The pressures to register, the manipulation and feeling i was used by this organization to get more recruits, combined with the realization that they attempted to remove me of my critical observer and emotional life in a way that could be useful to them, caused me much psychological suffering.

i am sad to notice I am experiencing some classic ptsd responses to things that remind me of the forum. these are ways the body and psyche processes and are altered by traumatic events, to heal and protect from further harm. i'm going to avoid any weekend self-growth seminars b/c i don't want this to happen again. my body's strong reaction to them will make sure of it. examples: startle response to things that remind me of landmark ( i did not laugh when a friend joked that i might be brainwashed if i listen to this other guy's view on politics), avoidance-- asked my friend to call landmark and ask them not to call me ever again so i wouldn't have to talk to anyone from there again), disturbed sleep, have crying spells and want to sleep for hours to avoid the pain of hearing the forum leader's manipulative voice in my head.

i have recommitted to my profession ( i am a grad student now) b/c i think therapy is safe for people. done individually-- so there are no influences of mass psychology. and the therapist does not pressure the client to serve his/her interests or use the cognitive techniques they teach to control the client's thinking about what s/he is doing/wants from them as their therapist--- i think this in and of itself is the crucial distinction. i also found that the only emotion allowed in landmark was feeling love or power, while psychologists acknowledge the importance of feeling and learning to express the wide range of human emotions (positive and negative) in constructive manners. to remove humans of critical observer and their emotional life (distinct from creating "stories" or "drama") is to attempt to remove their humanity, thus leaving them open to mind control. if being "angry" and criticizing is my "racket," and I am convinced it is always my racket, then it is my racket, not my authentic self that is angry at landmark when they used pressure. get how it works?

I have attended other self-growth seminars that used some of the yelling techniques and physical limitations but for me they did not cause trauma, as did landmark. in fact i experience a lot of euphoria and several breakthroughs during the weekend...things were going well until tues night, the closing session. we were told to bring all our family and friends, that it would be a great night of sharing everything we gained and a big celebration..."you don't even know what's in store-- it will be the best night of your life..." so i invited my loved ones...they took advantage of people feeling especially close post-forgiveness conversations to hook people to attend the tues night session, which turned out to be one big long sales pitch that turned into a pressure cooker to enroll our guests in the landmark forum and ourselves in the advanced course. I grieve that I got up and shared in the beginning b/c my story was then used as a sales pitch. I got up and spoke b/c a lot of time was spent on me during the weekend and i didn't yet realize that we were manipulated and misled regarding the true purpose of the closing session.

I was jokingly referred to as the "celebrity" of the weekend and my breakthrough was a catalyst for a lot of other people to have personal insights about themselves. due to my ivy league educational background, i was selected by the forum leader as a person who would "especially" be powerful and make a difference in the world by the forum leader who kept referring to me all weekend-- he actually contradicted the supposed purpose of the forum by saying i had more to offer than others.

I am not someone griping b/c they got yelled at or felt disliked. everyone "loved" me on tht weekend. .the pressures tues night and the use of mind control techniques to dissuade resistance to registering was so severe and upset me so deeply that it caused trauma to me...the "star" of the weekend. The following is an example of what occurred on my tues night.

several of us shared what we learned about ourselves/touching conversations we had with loved ones during the weekend, each story was interspersed with a cheesy sales pitch. our guests were then told to turn to us and ask us point blank, "shold I register for the landmark forum. go ahead and take 2 minutes and ask the person who brought you here, should i register for the landmark forum." i, who believe in free will and respect the fact they we are all on our own journey and timing with what we choose to do, how and when, told my friends I got a lot out of it, that i was disturbed by the sales technique and there was of course no pressure for them to attend. the forum leader then asked us if we were just wishy washy in our invitations to register or did we really "stand for the possibility" of our guests. he then told our guests to ask us again, "should I register for the landmark forum." and told us to tell them "yes," or "no" and not be 'wishy washy" about it. i started to get and disturbed as did one of the volunteers-- who told me he could not express himself openly with me b/c one of the other volunteers would overhear.

i was embarassed that i had brought my friends, whose wedding i'm standing up in next month. my friend's fiance was so angry he wouldn't talk with me. they left immediately. i felt awful. thankfully they are generous and believed me when i said i had no idea it would be like this.

next our guests were broken into groups to attend what I was led to believe was going to be an educational exercise for them. my third guest later shared that all that happened was a continuation of the sales pitch. her questions were always responed to very vaguely and she began to recognize brainwashing technqiues at work (she has her master's in education), such as repetition of the phrase "register for the landmark forum.." they were given a bathroom break combined with a second opportunity to register. she told a volunteer she was "starving," was probably going to sign up but had to go get something to eat. the volunteer pressured her to stay, "it will only take a little longer." she left anyway. she was still thinking about taking the forum despite her red flags until we spoke the next day-- it is very alluring when you're there and see everyone in "zombie" mode which at first glance seems like true peace and joy").

meanwhile we were in the main room and our guests were not allowed to enter. they continued to pressure us as to why we didn't "stand for the possibility" of our guests by firmly "inviting" them to register. they told us that 8 people had registered. we were happy for those 8 people. then we realized they angry that it was only 8.

most participants were still in a state of euphoria from the physical and emotional techniques used on the weekend so they believed the leader when he said "don't you want your guests to get what you got this weekend? stand if you invited someone to tonight's session and they didnt' come. great, you should feel good about inviting them. stand if you invited someone and they came. great. stand if you invited someone and "stood for their possibility" -- if you asked them to register and they said yes. excellent. stand if you invited someone, they came but you didn't stand for their possibility, that is they didn't register. okay, now stand if you don't stand for the possibility of your loved ones-- that's fine, just be honest about it. if you don't want them to get what you got this weekend..." we were then told since we have "no self" because we compelted our past and can do anything with the present/future, we needed to create a possibility for ourselves, then actually create that and learn how to be it by taking the advanced course (e.g. suggested that were were now landmark dependent.)

a similar series of standing up techniques were used to pressure and humiliate us into signing up on the spot for their advanced course. i saw that i was going to have to stand up when he called for "those that are not going to stand for their possibility by registering for the advanced course." so i left the room. i felt like i was sneaking out and got negative looks from the volunteers. you see, one of my "rackets" discovered over the weekend was leaving when something bothered me. this is an example of how the techniques that can be applied usefully in one's real life were used for the purpose of mind control and pressure. so i did what felt safe for me. i just left.

at this point I was actually frightened of the possible response of the forum leader to me, "the star" of the weekend stood up and said I was not going to register on the spot for the advanced course. even though we were taken through a "fear" exercise to show us how absurd it is to be afraid of anyone in the world...e.g. that we should trust everyone like the forum leader, the "coach" who is to be unquestioned simply because we paid him.

when i left the room, i walked past volunteers who were standing at the door to make sure none of the guests entered the room.

I have been pulling together all of my resources to regain the well-being and empowerment I had prior to attending the forum. I am a mental health clinician and educator who has attended other self-growth seminars where I did not have this experience. I am sad now that I ignored my intuition when it told me to look on the web for perspectives on landmark b/c my life will be different from now on. I am no victim and will survive this experience, but I will have to spend a lot of time, energy and money healing from this experience

the pressures to register with other seminars did not nearly approach the mind control techniques used by the landmark forum leader. I will give you an example.

have worked with trauma victims and families. I have been very sad to recognize that my body and psyche are processing my escape from a near-brainwashing experience as trauma. I am no victim but the reality for me now is that my life is changed and I understand firsthand what some of my clients are dealing with. I attended a party this weekend and a japanese friend jokingly warned me "if you listen to his view on united states he will mind control you, be careful." It triggered deep suffering in me. I noticed that envelopes i was using to mail something were made by a company that happens also to be called landmark, and it triggered tears. i believe tears are one of the body's ways of healing so I've been letting myself cry a lot, trying to get out of my body the suffering that resulted for me when i realized what they were doing.

I have been suffering so much that my landmark volunteer friend was even concerned when he heard about the type and amount of pressure used by Scott Forgee, my forum leader.

I was relieved to hear you acknowledge this as one possible outcome of doing this seminar, as friends I've been speaking with about it don't understand how the pressures to register people for the forum and yourself for the advanced course could cause psychological trauma. if you're someone who is sensitive and intelligent, it is easy to see what's going on, and in my case this caused me trauma. i have never experienced trauma (a term used to define an external event that temporarily or permanently damages a physical and/or emotional system) firsthand before and now that i am going through it, am grateful you are warning people that this is a risk they take when participating in thius particular seminar. I am trying to focus on the good thing that came out of the forum for me, but i think it will be a while, until after i heal a bit.

i read your "who wrote this page."

and was very touched by your acknowledgement that landmark has left a lot of bruised souls in its wake. i have been deeply bruised, am determined to use this experience to know how best to respond if i ever have a client or loved one approach me to ask about attending. you are doing a service and i find just your acknowledgement of what happened to me as being real to be comforting and assist with my healing. you may not realize that providing this website is a service for people like me who experienced real harm to help facilitate our healing process-- talking about a trauma is the crucial step/sign someone is beginning to heal from it. i worry when people are so traumatized by an event they can't speak. i was there for a day and half with landmark..

i went to check out the church of scientology when i worked as an interfaith hospital chaplain (trauma, oncology, psychiatry) to learn about the "religion" in case i had a patient who was from that church. my work as a chaplain was to work with people from within their belief system. they tried to recruit me and i was appalled at how anti-medication they are-- some psychiatric illnesses are life threatening and medication is one important resource that helps alleviate people's real suffering. the ignorance and insensitivty apalled me, as i saw that medication helped a lot of people i was working with get back to themselves, like coming back from the dead so they could use therapy constructively....(not that i'm for overmedicating..i'[m conservative with it...)

anyway, thank you. from a 27 year old grad student with much good to give to the world, much to recover from landmark so i can do that again--

NoLandmark replies: Thanks for sharing your story--I think it will help others who read this.


Date: 20 August 2002
Subject: writing
From: Anthony

I dig your rather dry writing technique, regarding your response to e-mails. Do you do any freelance writing?

Regards,
Anthony

PS. Thanks for the site, someone asked me to attend...

NoLandmark replies: How did you know?


Date: 19 Aug 2002
Subject: I feel tricked
From: Florence

Dear No Landmark,

On the recommendation of a friend I joined last weekend a Landmark Forum course in Amsterdam. Before I signed I specified what I expected from this course, and the girl stated that this was the thing for me to do. And I went.

In just half an hours time I was fed up with the marketing tricks, the pushy atmosfeer, the narcistic way the 'goeroe' presented himself and the constant check of the helpers whether you already made your phonecall. I stayed to see what came out of it, but was very critical about what happened and I made a mission out of it to tell my group. One by one they fell into the hands of the leader and his helpers and you cannot do a thing. It was awful to see. You cannot discuss this with anybody, because on every negative remark they say that that is your 'racket'.

My advise: stay away from it as far as possible. Not even try to be interested, because they hunt you down until they get you.

NoLandmark replies: Independent thought is a "racket."


Date: 17 Aug 2002
Subject: One thing you forgot to mention about Landmark
From: Nick

As a participant in the forum, I can attest that everything you mentioned is most certainly true. However, the homework assignment is crucial in terms of how they persuade you to find more people. The homework assignment on the first night is to write a letter forgiving someone who has wronged you in the past. In fact, they brainwash you into forgiving every single person in the world who has wronged you in the past so those people will naturally say to you "What's gotten into you?" Then you of course mention Landmark and they're off and running. The homework assignment is how they hook people. They drag you through a torturous day from 9 am to 12 PM and then ask you to forgive everyone. Your defenses are so worn down by that point that you do it without thinking. And the other thing; if you happen to think critically, they tell you that it's a "story." Anything that contradicts what Landmark might teach is a story. One person said at the Forum "What you're teaching sounds like existentialism." The Forum leader said "You may think that, but it's a story." They've borrowed from Zen, Mystical traditions, you name it, but it's all out of context and meant to benefit their pocketbooks.

All in all, you've got Landmark sized up pretty damn well!

NoLandmark replies: Independent thought is a "story."


Date: 15 Aug 2002
Subject: Landmark
From: Robert

I don't know where I stand on Landmark- although I am quite suspect.

I recently was dumped by a girlfriend of 2 months, we were talking marriage and all of the things that go with it. Everything was wonderful, except that I noticed that her family was always in constant contact with one another. If she didn't get a call from a family member, then she had to call them to find out was what going on every day. Her mom was her best friend, her brother was her best friend. Her entire family including cousins were her best friends. (They all went to Landmark together as a family). I made the mistake of bringing the fact up that it seemed odd that she had to talk to her family every day, and of course she was very defensive. This girl also has very few real friends outside of her family. She is 24 but feels the need to take care of all of her family members as if they were children. They all do that for each other. There seems to be very little independence or want of any. I started to feel like I would never be as important as her family (a must if I was going to be her husband), and she took that as me trying to make her decide between choosing them or myself. To make a long story short, she broke up with me because I couldn't "deal with the fact that she was close to her family".

I feel I'm close to my family, but I'm not co-dependant with them. I haven't taken the Landmark class, but I am suspect of it's power over people in weakened situations. My girlfriend did not try to recruit me- she did ask me if I'd be interested in going, but she didn't press it. She was however not happy when I said no.

She touted the classes as teaching her how to communicate better with people, but she wasn't able to have a conversation with me about the closeness of her family without being defensive. I understand this because if you base your whole life on one ideal, any question to that ideal can bring up huge anxieties.

NoLandmark replies: Landmark fosters a childish type of codependence.


Date: 13 Aug 2002
Subject: My experience
From: Margarita

I did the Forum in May and started the Advanced at the end of June. It's a long story but to cut it short I was asked to leave after one day and a half 'cause I stood up and said I wouldn't commit to be in that room for four days no matter what (as you might know you are not even allowed to go to the toilet between breaks as "if you can't manage you bladder what can you manage in your life", according to them). I hated the experience, people were offensive, even abusive, the leader was an arrogant insensitive person who still tries to contact me despite my complaint letter in which I asked not be called by them and him specifically ever again. When I left I was in pieces, they reduced me to tears, I was inconsolable for two hours and it took me days to get over the experience. My emotional health has suffered, my anxieties have worsened, just thinking about it I get really anxious, my self-esteem reached rock bottom as I was humiliated in front of 100 people while in tears. I got my money back but the emotional distress they caused me, that's something they can't repair. They have tried to change my mind about them, they say I am blaming them for the way I feel, that I have unresolved issues, etc.They don't seem to be able to accept how I feel about them. I just want them to leave me alone. This web-site is great, very useful and realistic. I wish I read it before getting involved with them. Please don't use my name and surname on the web-site.

NoLandmark replies: I made up a name for you.


Date: 13 Aug 2002
Subject: Thanks for the info
From: Peaches

I have a friend that will be attending this weekend and I'm so worried for her. She got recruited by a friend at her office and after attending one night decided to sign up. After reading your site and others, I am even more worried than I was initially. My friend is very vulnerable right now as her mother is gravely ill and I think these people preyed on her senses and made her feel like she needs this. She's a very gullible person to begin with and I think she's going in the wrong direction. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your insight.

NoLandmark replies: But I didn't make up Peaches.


Date: 09 Aug 2002
Subject: my son
From: Angela

I have found your page and wish to share parental concern for my son.

He was brainwashed on his first weekend after someone took him to Forum in London. Rory is 28 now and been inculcated into Forum for 3 years roughly. He became a psychobabbler, my terminology. This is not now as pronounced but he has spent a substantial amount of money over this time on course after course and trip after trip. Because he is good looking, 6'2", well spoken , modern and well dressed he must in turn be responsible for pulling in more gullible youngsters. He is now a trainer and works for nothing for them. So far has the gullibility and brainwashing succeeded that he has chucked his City job and other City prospects to go to Australia to a Sports Guru who has been made known to Rory during his Forum discussions. Apparently this Guru will for two years at Rory's expense and costs, teach him how to motivate sportsmen/women back here in UK and get the English team to 'Win the Ashes'! Fortunately, the Australian government is restricting visas to 3 months only!

Rory has also previously fallen for pyramid selling of telephone charges and, one weekend in Italy some time ago in an hysterical crowd in a football stadium, was persuaded that the way forward to big money was to sell television sets that link in to the web and phone lines. Nothing has come to fruition of course but now he's off to Australia and probably the sports guru is part of the 'for profit' company controlling Forum and the minds of its gullible participants. Rory has denied this could be so. Does anyone know of this sportslink in Australia or an equivalent in USA?

I was delighted to find this site and thankyou for it.

NoLandmark replies: I don't think Landmark has their mitts on any of the multitude of similar money-grubbing schemes that pervade our planet--their own scheme is plenty profitable all by itself, in fact, they are at the top of the heap.


Date: 05 Aug 2002
Subject: est
From: Mike

I don't know how old or updated your comments page on est/Landmark Forum is, but I'd like to add a few comments on it when I took it back in 1989.

1. The mgmt of the firm I worked for then was very "high" on est and told everyone about without being too pushy. I among others checked it out by going to the "qualifying/social night" on a Tuesday and "passed" the interview. As I remember, I think they were looking for in people intelligence to understand the est concept and a usable credit card.

2. There was one part where you close you eyes and think of something that REALLY scares you and makes you cry... I heard whimpering around me, but I couldn't think of anything*! Was I getting "it"? (*And still goes for today.)

3. One night during the weekend, I called my mother long distance and read her the riot act of how she screwed up my life (not true... I get into that later!). My gentle spirited father called me back and really gave me hell on upsetting her so... He at ~65 and me at 39, I really felt I goofed and read something was wrong here.

4. Bottom line here, it took me a week to figure out I was not "getting it", and another week to figure out it wasn't because I wasn't "smart enough". It was just the opposite! I saw through it all !

5. I confronted them professionally on the next Tuesday recruiting session and they totally refunded my money. (Some gal in your reader's response said she could not a refund.)

6. Finally, screw est/Landmark Forum !!! I went to a great therapist and got meds for my bi-polar and my anxiety problems. Compare me with an est/Forum zealot... I'll be the funny-loving, professional who looks for life in the eye in any corner I find and not worry about skeletons rattling about.

NoLandmark replies: Landmark often refunds money if you're persistent--they don't want to fight those battles because it's bad for their image.


Date: 02 Aug 2002
Subject: no forum
From: J

I really liked your site, as a matter of fact it gave me the strength to get my wife out of this group. I will share my story with you for your site in the future but right now it is still too raw.

I think that it would be very helpful if you had a deprogramming/preprogramming page on your site to help people reconnect with their friends/loved ones that get sucked up into this group. Have you ever thought of developing such a page?

NoLandmark replies: No, my purpose here is prevention. Rescuing and healing is a task I am not qualified to take on. Good idea though.


Date: 23 Jul 2002
Subject: Concerned
From: Caryn

I have a very good friend whose ex-wife is requiring him to attend Landmark "seminars" (as an academic, I detest this cult's appropriation of a benign educational term) as a condition of seeing his children, aged 12 and 10, who are also being forced by their mother to attend. It is bad enough that maladjusted adults feel the need to cling to something as questionable as Landmark, but there must be something that can be done about forcing children to endure such emotional torture.

I want to encourage my friend to see a lawyer about this as I believe that it is tantamount to emotional abuse of his children, not to mention a violation of his visitation rights.

Some years ago, my husband and I have a good friend who tried to get us into this, too. Thank God we have always had a healthy skepticism of such nonsense! I can usually shrug this idiocy off until I see children being manipulated. Is there anything we can do?

NoLandmark replies: There is no law against manipulating children (or adults, for that matter).


Date: 27 June 2002
Subject: Been on course
From: Wingya

Hi,

I've recently been on a Landmark Forum this weekend. It was physically and mentally draining. I can understand why you are so opposed to the course, it preys on the weaknesses of humans.

Although I agree with some of your points-its a money making scheme, it doesn't really care about its members, it wants people to 'volunteer' out of the decency of their hearts. I was feeling great about the course until the last few hours of the sales pitch on Tuesday, when I felt physically and mentally repulsed at the course, it had given me so much (a new lease in life towards others-though its intent backfired when it comes to going back for more) but then I realise what they want is my money at the end of the day. I felt that the people who attended the course are genuine in their enthusiasm and some of their kind words (some of them wanted to fit in with the Landmark 'philosophy') I wonder about the course leaders now. What I got out of it was a wake up call to appreciate my life and to realise the falsities and realities that I'd created throughout my life. I found some great people-new and already in my life. I may have gotten to this point of my journey on my own, but probably at a later stage in life.

I would not recommend it to people who do not have genuine support from people around them while they do the course, I was fortunate enough to have two great friends with me while I found myself again.

Thank you for letting me air my views and your website was most helpful for me. I wish you the best in your own journey.

NoLandmark replies: I guess you didn't like it, but managed to get something out of it anyway. It was certainly a learning experience for me as well--I learned a lot about psychology, the art of manipulation, marketing, etc.


Date: 04 Jun 2002
Subject: Australia here
From: Petra

Hi,
I just recently met someone through the Internet. He has raved about the forum and told me about all the great things that it enabled him to change. Mostly personal stuff with relation to family and communication. He has brought up the forum at every conversation, and even has suggested that I might go do the course.

Hasn't been overly pushy, however I did hear the bells ring in the back of my head. To which I decided to do some research on the Internet. I am grateful for my intuition and am glad that there is enough information on the web for me to form an opinion of my own.

I am sure that most things taught at the forum are all about personal development etc. However I don't like the Idea of being marketed to in such an intensive way. Now I am questioning if this person I met isn't someone who targets women on the net just to get their trust and tell them about the forum.

NoLandmark replies: This is a marketing angle that had simply not occurred to me...


Date: 03 Jun 2002
Subject: Hi, thanks for the website
From: Stephen

I wrote a play about my being invited to a LandMark Forum meeting after expressely informing my neighbor over the years that I wasn't interested. My wife and I were told that it was a "family thing" at her church that she helped organize. Anyway, I wrote a little play about it and posted it on my website. It seems that the only people that have read it or are eager to respond are Forum members. One of them even called me a "whiney assed piece of BLEEP!" (bleep it out if Necessary), because I didn't think this was the greatest thing in the world. It is brainwashing pure and simple. Anyway, I set up and independent website with the play and my insights" it is at www.landmarkforumredflags.homestead.com

Forum people that have a stake in getting new members to pay them are very aggressive in attacking those who post alternate responses, as I am sure you are aware. They call it being "assertive."

NoLandmark replies: I love that--practicing assertiveness by being a corporate pawn.


Date: 25 May 2002
Subject: Landmark Forum
From: Mark

I would like to thank you for your insight to the Landmark Forum. I have a friend who recently attended and asked me to attend her graduation one day at work. Her graduation was that evening and due to job constraints her husband was unable to attend with her. I agreed having never heard of this group, and because Christi being a very close friend wanted someone to see this with her through to completion.

When I arrived I found this alien world of people who seemed to be on some kind of mood enhancing drug. The part that I found the most disturbing of the whole experience is that my three hours into this "Introduction" instead of Christi's graduation was nothing more than "What I could receive" out of the Landmark Forum. What it could do for me. blah.. blah... blah...

I even informed my friend that I was upset that I was not attending a graduation of her finding herself, but nothing more than a marketing effort on their part to get me to part with my money. And oh how perfectly clear they make it, "Its only 375.00 and you can charge it on your card" as if I didn't have to pay off the balance on the credit card.

During my experience, I roll played with the Introduction Leaders, fed them my psychological fishing line and got them take the bait and to go down the road in which I new they would take. I performed this experiment multiple times. This group offers nothing to the critical thinking person that doesn't already exist within their own personal skill set.

You really only have to have a to have the intelligence level above an amoeba to see that it is nothing more than a group of people who think that they have some new "Information" on how to address the world or their relationships, and the reality of it is nothing more than the snake oil of the new age.

It is all part of this new wave of "Make me feel good" about myself philosophy that extends its far reaching tendrils into many facets of society today. Not only do you have "Feel Good" courses like Landmark, but you have "Feel Good" religions that refuse to tell people that they are morons or idiots, place those rose colored glasses over their eyes while they make futile attempts to become self actualized.

In conclusion I would just like to add, that I was out surfing the internet in an attempt to find information to help me UNDO the damage that Landmark Forum inflicted on my friend. Try to get her to see that she really doesn't need this group or their snake oil charms. Your site has offered some good quality information into what happens within a session that I can utilize without having to spend the cash to attend so that I could find a way to deprogram her.

Much Thanks.

NoLandmark replies: You are very articulate. A worthy post.


Date: 16 May 2002
Subject: Just spent a "special evening"
From: Greg

I read with interest your site, as well as a number of others, trying to gather some more information about Landmark. Thank you for maintaining this site.

If only the web was available back when I got sucked into Amway...

NoLandmark replies: Ah yes, Amway, the mother of all pyramid marketing schemes.


Date: 06 May 2002
Subject: Please Help
From: Shelly

My daughter is a Landmark casualty. She went from being a feisty, happy go lucky free spirit to someone who can't leave the house. She spends all of her time in bed and has had psychotic symptoms. She has been in a constant state of panic for almost a year. No psychiatrist seem to be able to help her. I am getting desperate. I am looking for people who have been gravely affected and then got better so she can get some hope. Can you put us in touch with anyone like that? Also, how can I get them to stop what they're doing? I have reported them to the Better Business Bureau which won't help much but I can't find a lawyer to take my daughter's case. I had to quit my job to stay home and make sure she doesn't commit suicide.

They are monsters and quite frankly, I am afraid of them because they have so many willing foot soldiers whose souls have been removed from their bodies. They remind me of the people on the Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

NoLandmark replies: Invasion of the Body Snatchers! Unfortunately I don't know much about the recovery side of things. And, unfortunately, Landmark's practices are legal in most countries. I do feel for you. :-(


Date: 09 Apr 2002
Subject: Thank you
From: Samantha

Having just read your views on the Forum and seeing other people's feedback aswell, I just wanted to let you know that you've helped balance my view of the Forum.

I am due to go to my 'Tuesday evening' session following my Landmark Forum, and I am taking my partner (who is very cynical and that's cool) and a friend from work.

Having taken in all what has been said, I was going to enrol on the advanced course but now I'm not. I have taken some positive bits out of the weekend, and I feel happier in myself - just a shame I couldn't figure this out for myself really. I am glad I did the forum for how I feel now, however what struck home was the comment about how the structure of the 'curriculum for living' means you are constantly going on more & more courses in order to get nearer to an ultimate state of happiness etc.

I enrolled because a friend had done the course & he seemed so mcuh happier and I was feeling crap and so I wanted to 'give it a go'.

Since reading your site and in fact others similar, I have let my boyfriend know that I'm not signing up for the advanced course, and I know for a fact he wont either. For my friend I have just said to her I actually don't want her to sign up.

Thank you for your site - when I first started reading it I was like - 'but I feel so much happier how can they slag it off' etc etc but as it slowly sunk in, I realise whilst yes, I am happier, I do not need to rely on course and paying money indefinitely to maintain this.

NoLandmark replies: Thanks, I get all warm inside every time I hear of someone NOT giving themselves to Landmark.


Date: 24 Mar 2002
Subject: My experience with the Forum
From: Kiersten, Esq.

My former fiance along with some of his chiropractic buddies, convinced me that I "needed" the forum. I had these issues that I needed to complete, and I was being stopped in life. I attended an Introductory Session in which I was barraged by volunteers telling me that my life would be completely transformed and that every possibility I wanted for myself would happen if I went to the Forum.

Though skeptical, I caved to the pressure. I originally signed up to do the July forum in Philadelphia. Halfway through the first day, I became ill with a stomach virus. When I informed the forum leaders that I was ill and needed to go home, I was not met with the reaction I expected. Instead of telling me that they were sorry I wasn't feeling well and that I could take another seminar, they told me I should go lie down in a back room until I felt better. I reluctantly agreed. My condition worsened, however, and I just wanted to go home. Even though I was vomiting and visibly ill, the volunteers were still attempting to convince me to stay. I put my foot down and said no, I was going home. They promised to call and discuss signing me up for another seminar or refunding my money. They broke their promise. Isn't that against the Landmark rules? No one ever called and my money was not refunded.

Six months later, after again being pressured by someone I trusted, I called the forum and asked if I could register again. They had no explanation for why I was not called, but were eager to sign me up again.

Of course, by this point I was skeptical. However, I still thought maybe I could get something out of it. Let me tell you what I got out of it. The Landmark Forum is all about making people feel badly about themselves and their lives. They prey on insecurities. They tell you that you are an "inauthentic" person - that you are always pretending to be someone you are not to hide how you feel. They tell you you make up "rackets" to justify yourself and be righteous (question: aren't they?). They tell you that what you see as reality is not what actually "is". But yet, they fail to see the paradox in everything they say and do. They say that we control and manipulative to justify ourselves, but isn't that what they are doing to us. They tell us that there is no what "is", yet they expect us to just blindly believe that what they say "is".

The worse part is, if you actually figure this out, then you are out. I told someone the fallacy of what the forum was and was confronted by a volunteer and the course leader himself. They argued that my "winning formula" was to be argumentative, cynical and nasty. That I was not open to possibilities and that therefore I needed to go. In other words, since I was not buying what they were selling, I had to be removed before I was able to talk to anyone else about what I had discovered.

In forum speak, the forum leaders created a racket to justify what they were doing. The good news is I realized their inauthenticity, that it was hiding what they were saying was simply not true, and as a result I have full self expression!

NoLandmark replies: You nailed it, Kiersten. Thanks.


Date: 23 Mar 2002
Subject: Landmark
From: Evelyn

Thanks for your website.

A HS counselor recommended Landmark for my 15-yr-old daughter. I couldn't figure out what the hell it was by perusing the website, but somehow it rang a vague bell--about ten years ago my sister tried to lure me to Chicago ($700 flight) to "help her"--yup--I wrote to her and it was Lanmark all right. Sis asked me if I think she's a better listener now (one of the benefits she perceives from this experience)--I don't have the heart to tell her that her nonstop chatter feels like verbal abuse after a coupla days.

Anyway, I wrote back and said that after listening to her it sounded rather est-like. Hmm little did I know--est in Landmark clothing.

I'm glad I've taken the time to read further than the Landmark website. Yours was very instructive. My kid is a bit shy and unsure of her direction (fine at 15) and I thought that I might offer her something that built her up a bit and gave her confidence in public speaking. Phew. This probably would have "broken down" her sweet little budding person for sure. Thanks again.

NoLandmark replies: A great story, thank you!


Date: 11 Mar 2002
Subject:
From: Charles

Thank you for this web page. I had the "experience" this weekend. I feel as though I have been spiritually and intellectually brutalized. Go after these creeps!!!!

NoLandmark replies: Just doin' my part by robbing them of victims.


Date: 11 Mar 2002
Subject:
From: Jo-Ann

Hi,
I was suckered into going to the introductory night with someone I love and admire. I was so pissed off to sit there and listen to double-speak and Alice in Wonderland gibberish. These people, while claiming to have all of the answers, said a whole lot of nothing. I am very proud to say, I came off as un-recruitable, for getting in their faces saying I had no plans to join a feel-good pryamid scheme. I told one Landmark worker, that I had 12 years of therapy, had been a creative writer, an actress and how much more soul searching did she think I needed? These people looked zombied out and CRAZY. I can not understand how a thinking, intelligent person can turn over their life to such a nutty cult. Thanks for your site.

NoLandmark replies: A lot people are pretty nutty, aren't they?


Date: 08 Mar 2002
Subject: my thoughts exactly
From: Steph

hey well i just wanted to let you know that i was on my home from the completion with my boyfriend who had just gone through landmark and told him i thought it to be a cult and a pyramid of brain washing scheme type thing....then i found your website and found out other people share my views....thank you for that...

NoLandmark replies: Looking for a new boyfriend? ;-)


Date: 05 Mar 2002
Subject:
From: J

I found your site very interesting. Could you tell me if the recruiters give prospects suggestions for approaching friends and relatives for money? A relative has approached me for money for Landmark Forum and after investigating more about the organization I sensed that her approach might have been a "packaged approach" suggested by one of the recruiters. My niece said she was taking "a leap of faith" and asking for something for her birthday. She went on to briefly explain the class. She was asking friends and family to help her pay for the class instead of getting her any kind of card or present and said any donation would be appreciated and received with gratitude. It was odd. First of all, we don't even exchange birthday greetings, cards, etc. In fact, I didn't even know her birth date, nor did most of the others on her "request" list.

I was just curious and thought you might be able to tell me if this was one of their tactics. Perhaps they just encourage their recruits to be creative. I know my niece is vulnerable having recently divorced, and I would hate to see her duped by this group.

NoLandmark replies: I haven't heard of that one in particular, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised.


Date: 01 Mar 2002
Subject: Any Ideas??
From: David

My wife and I are writing to you as we have a very good friend who has become enraptured with "The Forum". It seems to be all she can speak about these days and she is skipping work and school to attend these seminars. Based on this, we became concerned and decided to look up The Forum on the web to see what we might find. Your website has confirmed our concerns that this is not "a great thing" as she would have us believe, and may become dangerous to her.

We are writing to you to request any insite you might have as to how to approach our friend to discuss the possibility that The Forum may not be what it seems. Right now all that we can come up with is showing her this website with the hundreds of bad experiences that people have had with it, hoping that the sure numbers will convince her that she should reconsider attending.

Anything you might suggest would be extremely helpful. Obviously we do not want to offend her and risk loosing the relationship.

NoLandmark replies: I think by exposing her to the information available and then letting her decide. Simply talking someone out of is next to impossible because Landmark's finely honed techniques will be far more persuasive than anything we can come up with.


Date: 01 Mar 2002
Subject: Landmark Feedback
From: DS

To the author of the site, -and to any others who may read this.

Numerous points have been raised, both for and against Landmark. I cannot address all points, but here are a few: I am, amongst other things, a trained psychotherapist. I have done the Forum, and personally, I felt genuinely and actually brainwashed when I'd finished the weekend! Any advantages that can be gained from Forum, can be gotten just as well from other, (and safer), forms of self-growth processes, via group or individual work.

A proper, ethical and professional attitude is not evident or existing, within the Landmark process. They merely seem to cover themselves against potential legal action. Any real therapist or teacher acting as these 'coaches' do, would likely lose their professional accreditation very quickly.

There is no proper 'after care' service provided for the 'clients'. And the techniques they use are exactly of the same ilk as those used by covert military units (etc) to interrogate and 're-program' people.

Some of Landmarks 'party tricks' (-such as: "Hey! -We cured your headache!") can be done by anyone, at anytime, but such tricks tend to convince the more gullible amongst us! *And* they know in advance that quite a few people *will* have headaches by that stage of the proceedings, because of the pressures they purposely design into the process; (ie: long hours, rushed food breaks, little sleep, -and then telling folk "not to buy or use any over-the-counter drugs or medicines". (They never told me why not!)

The author of the main article here speaks of physical abuse at Landmark's events. I would be surprised if that actually took place. I am informed that the 'coaches' are trained *never* to physically touch the participants, this is probably to avoid potential litigation!

However, I did personally witness a high level of deliberate verbal abuse, very frequent personality attacks, etc, which had the effect of humiliating and reducing many individuals to tears. No psychotherapist would ever attack a client in this way. It is unnecessary, unskillful and potentially very damaging.

What I personally witnessed was real bullying (often of small females!) by one very tall, loud, Australian male called David Ure, who obviously enjoyed rubbishing other people, breaking down all resistance, to then reform them in the Landmark-dependent mold. He also boasted often, saying such things as "You cannot win an argument with me, I have two degrees, one in Political Philosophy" (unquote). Such degrees and braggart behaviour are useless in a genuine therapeutic or teaching environment David!

Many of the phrases used in the 'script' that the coaches read from, were obviously lifted from an assortment of older material, such as Zen, assorted philosophers, bits of personal development stuff, and snippets of religion and such.

The only originality I perceived was in the use of certain bits of jargon that Landmark has invented for itself, -which is hardly rocket science, and convinces only the gullible that they are getting something a bit extraordinary for their money!

Landmark calls itself 'educational', this is deceptive. I might add that I am personally also a trained teacher (adult education) and the Landmark 'coaches' broke many of the golden rules of real teaching!

Beware people, -if you are thinking of doing the course...

About (?) one third or more of the course seems to be given over to hard and soft-sell tactics, often dressed up as something other.

It is undeniable that some folk there did end up feeling that they had successfully resolved family or other relationship problems, -but they could have got to that place equally well, by working with a trained therapist, -and with less potential risk!

I have been checking out Landmark for a while now, and know there are a lot of really heartbreaking casualties out there now, -suffering long-term psychological illness and distress, after doing Landmark's programs. This applied also to the older (forerunner)'est' group, and I believe even more to Scientology, -(an even darker force than the first two mentioned!!)

This fact is never mentioned by those who run the Forum courses. The coaches are, in my professional opinion, dangerous amateurs, who irresponsibly practice upon usually misled participants, and have no professional, or independent, supervising body overseeing their work (unlike most other practitioners who work in similar fields with people).

And unlike other practitioners, Landmark seeks to sell itself repetitively, all through the course. If it was really *that* wonderful and marvellous, it wouldn't have to take such extreme measures, -would it?

If I have genuinely helped someone to be rid of some problem or phobia or whatever, or had taught them a subject successfully, I would simply see them to the door, and away they fly!

I do not spend a third of the session trying to inveigle them to return to later sessions and, (what's more), insist they bring the rest of their family and friends with them, to listen to my sales pitch! That would be preposterous!! But this is how Landmark operates, unfortunately.

There are a few aspects of what Landmark (and other groups) do, that I could see as being potentially beneficial, to individuals and society at large. But such work should be carried out by more ~authentic~ and ethical practioners and organisations.

Those like Landmark are far too interested in the cash, and not enough in the ethics and standards that are usually firmly in place; These safeguards are not just to protect therapists and teachers, but the most important people in the equation, -our students and clients.

I would advise everyone who reads this not to be duped by those who have themselves been duped, (taken-in, brainwashed, -or whatever).

Give Landmark a miss!

Signed,
"One who happily escaped their clutches!"

NoLandmark replies: Great info, thanks.


Date: 01 Mar 2002
Subject: My experience
From: Jennifer

Last year, a woman who I considered my mentor and friend attended the Landmark Forum. She came away from this experience so profoundly moved that I attended the introductory session and a few months later signed up for the Forum.

I began having doubts about the Forum in the weeks leading up to my attendance, but since I had told my mentor I would go, I attended the first day. From 8am until nearly midnight, we were locked in a room at their local headquarters building and "engaged in conversations" about our innermost personal selves. As I'm sure you know, there were few breaks.

As it happened, the day that I was at the Forum was shortly after Sept. 11. I worked in an industry that was badly impacted by the swift economic downturn, and that day was sort of a "Black Friday" at my company - while I knew my job was safe, every time we had a break I was on the phone with my office seeing who else had been fired (approximately 15% of our staff was let go on that day). To top it off, this was also the day that my boyfriend found out he was being transferred to an office in another state, and wanted to know if I would go with him.

Needless to say I was unable to focus on the Forum. I was extremely restless and almost angry by the time they let us go, since they had initially stated that we would be done by 11pm and it was nearly midnight when we were "released". Fortunately I had not booked a room close to the headquarters as they suggested; I lived nearly an hour away, but figured I would rather have a little time to spend with my boyfriend and our dogs each night than be isolated for the weekend. By the time I got home, I was completely overwhelmed; considering the distance of the drive, the two more lengthy days that lay ahead of me and the fact that they had given us homework assignments that would further eat into the little amount of time I had for sleep, I made up my mind that I would not go back. I had more important life decisions that needed to be dealt with that weekend.

My "mentor" never forgave me for backing out of the Forum. She told me that the second day would have been much easier, which I am certain it would have considering that we would all have been sufficiently sleep and sensory deprived by that time to be much more amenable to the "conversations". The kicker for me was when she told me that my needing to be with my boyfriend and have real conversations about our future and the potential move were decidedly less important than the Forum and could have waited until afterward - she said the decisions would have been easier in light of what I learned from the Forum.

Despite her failed attempts to make me feel guilty, the more I thought about what I experienced in that day of the Forum, the happier I was that I did not complete it. LEC of course called me to see why I dropped out, and they made sure to tell me that I had not really experienced the Forum since I had not "completed my commitment" and stayed through the entire weekend.

But I know enough about cults to be able to recognize basic brainwashing techniques, and if I wanted to be "broken down and rebuilt" then I would have gone into the military, where at least I would have gotten paid for it!

Keep up the good work. It's important to let people know what they are dealing with in terms of this organization.

NoLandmark replies: Yes, the military would be a great alternative!


Date: 24 Feb 2002
Subject: I've been a guest
From: Lila

A few years back, I was asked by my boss to attend a visitor's night to be introduced to the Landmark Forum. She had done the 3 1/2 day course and had now just begun the Advanced course. She seemed happier and more in tune with herself, so I thought I should give it a try. After all, it was recommended to her by her well respected therapist.

I could not believe what I found. They would not answer my questions. They used many phrases that sounded like answers, but weren't. They were so pushy and kept telling me that I had to sign up. Didn't I want a better life? blah, blah, blah.... I got a really strange vibe from all the members. The feeling I got was that they wanted to reel people in and make them dependent. That way, you would continue to take their courses (because you NEED the Forum to have a better life) and pay large sums of money to do so.

I left without signing up, but I did receive a phone call every night for a week telling me how I needed to sign up and change my life. They were relentless!

Now, years later, I have seen the effects of the Forum on my former boss. She has changed from a caring, warm person to a cold hearted you know what! It all started soon after she began the Advanced course. She has been verbally abusive and condescending to me and many others. Many people have left the organization I work for because of her belittling attitude. I guess she thinks that's what it means to be successful and in control of your life. She thought she was powerful, but recently was demoted due to her office falling apart and the constant complaints against her.

I would steer clear of the Forum. I honestly believe it is a form of brainwashing.

NoLandmark replies: I hesitate to use the term brainwashing because the word has a paranormal connotation...but it is accurate nonetheless, and a standard practice among cult leaders.


Date: 21 Feb 2002
Subject: Thank you for your website
From: Craig

I'm enrolled to do this nightmare tomorrow, and was only alerted to do some more research by a friend who said "isn't that part of scientology ?".

A little digging found your site which clearly tells me what I need to know about these sharks.

I'll take the refund tomorrow.

NoLandmark replies: Another one saved! Yeehaaa!


Date: 17 Feb 2002
Subject: Landmark Forum
From: Matt, Sam, and Mick

we are a concerned group of friends in rural hereford in England. Some months ago friends of ours became involved with landmark, there were many requests for us to become involved, attend meetings etc. Since then friends and family members have become gradually more isolated as they have become more and more involved with the forum, and have turned into strangers who have actually vilified people for not being with them, but have instead accused us of being against them.

we know very little about the Landmark Forum, but would like to know more:
Specifically. Which military organisations have been infiltrated by the forum? Have any legal proceedings or challenges been brought against this cult in a British court? Is there a support group of similarly concerned people in England with which we can liaise?

NoLandmark replies: Those are good questions to ask, but I don't know the answers to any of them. Good luck.


Date: 12 Feb 2002
Subject: escape from the forum
From: Annetta

I have just attended the Landmark Forum in Albuquerque, NM, this past weekend. I was a past est graduate and this was considered a refresher course for me. I made it through the first day and left. Are there others out there that you know of that have had a similar situation? I went there for the wrong reasons. Two of my friends got me to sign up and pressured me to do the seminar because they had not been able to get anyone else to do it.I thought essentially that maybe I would do the seminar to get them off the hook. I have a business relationship with one person and they really pressed me about attending.

Within the first three hours the EST training experience came back to me and I wanted to leave. They gave us the opportunity to leave but it would have to be done in front of the entire group and that was uncomfortable to me. I found that the next three hours were really unbearable and I went to tell them that I wanted to leave. They would not accept this decision. They got someone to talk me into staying. At the dinner break I met the person that had me to attend.I expressed my reservations about attending.They would not take me home. They wanted me to just do the seminar and then decide if it was worth the time. I escaped and hid out for the remaining days so that they could not find me to try to convince me to go back there.

Thank God they do not know where I was. I was afraid that they may have sent someone to my house to convince me to come back. I was concerned about the marketing scheme that I felt was being presented right from the start of the seminar. I was very uncomfortable because I felt I had to escape to get away from them. This has marred a good work relationship.

The people I know involved in the Forum are spending so much money and their lives are still a mess. They parrot the various platitudes from the Forum and it has had no visible improvement in their lives. They are constantly being harassed to do volunteer work for this group. I sensed this before going but thought I should try to still do the seminar to help them out. Since I knew that my attendance at this seminar would be the only step that I would take I am glad that I didn't stay for the rest of it. I thought I would make some valuable contacts for business by going there. I realized that this was a superficial reason for the torture that I was experiencing. Most of the people who were sharing had some things that could not be fixed so easily.I asked myself, if your life is going so well, why would you make adjustments so readily? After a few days I would like to access this more objectively. I guess I am venting because I was frightened.

Thank you for your website. Hopefully I will find others that will make me understand this group and its workings so that I can share with others my experience.

NoLandmark replies: Venting is healthy. This website is adding years to my life.


Date: 31 Jan 2002
Subject: PLEASE READ SIR!
From: Marilyn

I attended landmark in Dec in Minneapolis and took the advanced course in Jan, actually last night was my last night. Dear God-someone has to help these people see what's going on. I want to help people see how misled and broken down they are being. Can't someone do something about this? There is NO DOUBT in my mind this is a cult. Brainwashing is putting it lightly. I was falling for it until about eight o'clock on Sunday when I realized what they were doing to me. I am so happy I did not get sucked in to there BULL. What can I do to help you? I want to warn others of this awful cult. I am in the process of getting ALL my money back on the basis is goes against my religion BIG TIME. It goes against all Christian religions in fact. LET ME HELP YOU! I could never write all the horrid things that happened to me the last 4 days. Thank you for caring about other humans enough for this web sight!!!! .

NoLandmark replies: And I'm not even Christian.


Date: 24 Jan 2002
Subject: Guess
From: Bruno

I have a little problem...
I own a nice business in MontrŽal (Canada), and i just discovered this week that my manager was far involved in Landmark and was trying to recruit all my staff, mama mia! Fortunately they're not that dum... But, is there a way to really disguss her of Landmark? Beside firering her... ???

NoLandmark replies: You'll probably find that your employees who are involved in Landmark will be less productive and far more likely to piss off your clients due to their inability to understand the needs of others.


Date: 21 Jan 2002
Subject: Thank you
From: Dan

Thank you so much for your site. You hit the nail on the head when it comes to Landmark. My best friend went through the Forum and the Advanced Course in February 2001 and then invited me to his "graduation". When I got there I realized that it wasn't a graduation but an induction seminar. Like your site said, it was lead by a very energetic, charismatic leader and had some heart wrenching (but hard to believe) testimonials from some selected-at-random (also hard to believe) audience members. It was a very uncomfortable night. At no time did anyone tell us what the "education" was or what techniques were going to be used to teach it. It was just like an infomercial, complete with the glazed-eyed participants clapping enthusiastically at the right moments. And, at one point during a break, I was actually cornered by several volunteers who kept asking why I wouldn't sign up. I ended up having to spend the rest of the break standing in a stall in the bathroom just to get away from them.

After telling my friend about what I went through he said that he didn't like the hard sell and would be leaving. He seemed to be over them and had moved on. But last weekend I was over at his house and saw a letter on Landmark letterhead confirming that he had signed up for a Communication Class. So they still have a pull on him. He knows better than to ask me to sign up and I've told his other friends to watch out. It's just sad that someone in so much debt is coughing up hundreds of dollars for more and more unnecessary classes.

Hope others take head of your warning and find other ways to self improvement.

NoLandmark replies: A textbook Landmark experience.


Date: 20 Jan 2002
Subject: your website
From: G

I don't know how I stumbled on your web site but I wanted to tell you - Great website! My wife was hooked on landmark for almost 3 years. Total cost was at least $10000 (maybe more) in courses, seminars, travel, lodging, vacation courses, repeat courses... It was unbelievable and almost cost our marriage. Thankfully, she weaned herself (I think she just got burned out) about 1.5 years ago. She never mentions lm and neither do I but I still feel scared from dealing with it and trying to understand it. Landmark is a pretentious, insidious, cancerous organization. First they snooker people into attending the forum with 2 goals - 1) sign up for the followup seminars and 2) get someone else to take the forum. In the seminars they have 3 goals - 1) sign up for another course (the mother lode sign up for lm is the wisdom course at $1700!), 2) enable the attendees to rationalize that money is irrelevant and should not hold them back from taking courses, and 3) get someone else to enroll in the forum on one of their lm peers to enroll in another course.

The only thing landmark cares about is to create self-replicating money generating units for the landmark company. I despise them. I didn't plan on venting like this but it sure feels good even after all this time of having them out of my life. btw, I found the rickross site very helpful when I was going through the bad times and I have an article posted there which was very cathartic for me to write at the time.

I hope you don't have a loved one involved in this pseudo cult/religion and if you do, I can only suggest that you hang in there and don't give up on them as they may someday come out of their trance. Good luck and thanks for the site.

NoLandmark replies: I had a loved one there once but I got her out quickly--Landmark only got $700 out of her.


Date: 18 Jan 2002
Subject: landmark feedback
From: Jaya

I went through your site was glad to see that its quite popular as an anti-Landmark site. Everyone has his own opinions, but facts are something we can work on. If you get the facts right and if you are ready to correct the wordings in your site, where it is less factual and more personally opinionated, then I feel your site will get more credibility.

Also because your site influences so many people positively or negatively, its all the more important that its maintainer have credibility.

Here are some observations :
1. In about.html and truth.html, you have mentioned that the Church of Scientology founded by Ron Hubbard is a spinoff or a offshoot of EST or Landmark Forum. But from what I have got out of the web, its the opposite. Hubbard came first and then Erhard. Can you give me the source (websites, books) from where you made your findings ?

2. truth.html
"Their members are told they must not reveal any information to outsiders about what actually goes on in the meetings because that will somehow ruin their benefit. In truth it would just undermine Landmark's recruitment strategy." I don't know if this was the policy before, but when I did the forum in July, 2001, I didn't find any such policy. We could be as open as we liked within the limits of the confidentiality agreement of course. There are some MLM companies which insist on strict secrecy, and I did realize that Landmark didn't have any such policies. I did sign a confidentiality agreement before attending according to which I was to not let out the personal details of the participants and what they shared.

3. recruit.html
"A friend or relative (your host) has brought you to a three-hour recruitment seminar, to find out what it's all about. You will learn nothing at this seminar except that you must register for the Forum." Its lines like these where your site loses credibility. You should have replaced the 'you' with 'I' because it was your experience. How can you possibly decide how another person is going to feel during the introduction ?

4. dangers.html
"For the system to work you have to believe that anyone not exposed Landmark is inferior." This feeling is very prevalent among Landmarkians. I agree totally.

"Landmark teaches you to go blissfully through life with your eyes shut." I would differ here. Its rather the opposite. Its like 'look at everything going on in life.' Its about hyper-awareness.

5. translate.html
I really loved this page ! What Landmark Says ... And What it REALLY Means "Landmark says : You have to take our courses to understand what our product is." The truth : If you researched our product beforehand, you wouldn't take our courses."

Which is not true, there are people who have scanned the entire internet for anything about Landmark, and gone through your page and rickross.com and the other ones, and then did the forum. So I guess you should be more effective.

NoLandmark replies: I did fix the bit about which came first, Hubbard or Erhard, not that it really makes a difference. I found Landmarkians are loathe to give any real details about the courses--they just tell me I need to attend in order to understand. Such secrecy may not be spelled out in anything you sign, but it is definitely part of the philosophy. Regarding the intro meeting, at the one I attended the vast majority of time was spent listening to people tell me how much I need Landmark to fix my life, without actually telling me how it would do that. Admittedly, there were a few minutes devoted to telling me that I'll learn how to deny all aspects of reality that are difficult to deal with--ironically, Landmark calls this remaking of reality a kind of "hyperawareness" or "seeing things for what they are." And the part about not joining Landmark if you knew what they were is hyperbole--of course some folks would still get into this stuff, but like other cults that don't disguise their true nature, they would have far, far fewer members.


Date: 07 Dec 2001
Subject: no, no, no Land Mark
From: anonymous

NoLandmark replies: It's a great email, trust me, but unfortunately the writer requested that I not post her story, even anonymously. Perhaps she will change her mind...


Date: 06 Dec 2001
Subject: landmark
From: Isadora

Hi there, I used to work at Landmark Ed. in Boston, 5 years ago, when I was 19. They hired me to be the Production and Finance manager for some reason, when I clearly had no skills in either area. Anyway, I had to chuckle, reading your website, because "Highly-paid" doesn't begin to describe what happened to me. I was given a salary of $23,000, lower than some other staffers, but I figured out that after my 65-75 hour workweek, I was receiving the equivalent of about 5 bucks an hour! I was like, forget this, and quit, but not before nearly having a mental breakdown. I would be happy to talk to other people who have had bad experiences with Landmark, as well as post a fuller story somewhere on-line in the future. Thanks a lot,

NoLandmark replies: I'll have to add the fact that in addition to the highly paid leadership they do have to use a few wage-slaves.


Date: 17 Oct 2001
Subject: thank you
From: Beth

I am from Minnesota and have been thinking about attending the "Forum". At this point I am going to cancel out because of educating myself from information such as yours. I just hope I get my money back.

Thank you for saving me $300 and a ton of time.

NoLandmark replies: Wahoo!


Date: 07 Oct 2001
Subject: landmark forum

Thanks for your insight into "the forum". I signed up for the course for next weekend, but since I am on antidepressants, I was told by Landmark not to participate. I begged to be included (due to the excellent marketing of a good friend). They told me if I got a waiver from my doctor I would be able to participate. My doctor did not want to sign the papers without seeing me. i'm glad he didn't since he was the one who tipped me off about it being something fishy. he suggested i read up on brainwashing, which I did. It all became very clear that landmark was in the business of brainwashing. I spent all day today on the internet reading everything i could find and your site had the most conclusive commentary about their true purpose. I told my friend what my doctor had said and he began to have doubts himself. He has been involved in it for at least three years so I hope he can be recovered without much damage to his ego. Here is the first article I read about brainwashing techniques which you may have already seen before.
http://www.dcd.net/NBP/persuasn.html
I plan to avoid landmark like the plague. I just hope they will give me my money back. Thanks for your web site.


Date: 01 Oct 2001
Subject: Landmark website

Dear Sir or Madam:

Your website about Landmark was a very interesting read. It reminded me of my own near brush with Landmark a couple years back. My close and trusted "friend" told me about a seminar he wanted me to attend. Fortunately, real friends tipped me off beforehand about his ulterior motives. My "friend" asked me a series of questions, such as "do you feel that something is missing from your life?" No. "Are you finding it hard to achieve your life goals?" No. "Will you come with me to the seminar?" No. "Why not?" Being quite outspoken, I simply replied, "Because I don't want to join your BLEEP!ing cult." Now, having read every single word of your website, I am certain that I made the right choice.

Keep up the good work!

Sincerely...


Date: 24 Sep 2001
Subject: About Landmark

Hi there.

I have just read some of what you have been writing on your website about Landmark, and I am very concerned. I have a friend who goes to their seminaries, and now he wants me to join, but all I can think of is how I am supposed to do get him out of there. Do you have any tips that could help me.

best regards...

NoLandmark replies: Unfortunately I do not know of a surefire way to get someone to quit Landmark. It is difficult because membership so often takes on a kind of religious devotion. Read on, a lot of folks are in the same boat as you. Good luck.


Date: 19 Sep 2001
Subject:

Thank you so much for this information.

I have had a friend "bugging" me relentlessly to go to a forum meeting. He's been so persistent that I started to become alarmed. I began asking around if anyone had heard about this group. Thank you so much for your information.

What should a friend do who is concerned about another who is caught up in this and is likely bringing his kids and family into it as well.


Date: 18 Sep 2001
Subject: thank you

I was a bit on the suspicious side of this whole landmark thing...something the guy i have been dating has been insisting I do...to the point where he was willing to take care of my kids for the whole weekend that I would go and he would pay for it. I especially got a bit pissed when he put down my religious points of view...I am NOT going this weekend as he suggested I do. If it kills the relationship, so be it.

Thank you.


Date: 29 Aug 2001
Subject: Thank You

Dear "nolandmark"

My best friend has recently accomplished his Landmark (after beeing there following his land mark volunteering parents) first course and brought me with him for his conclusive meeting.

After beeing there I was almost convinced that I want to go there and sign in. After all, I have seen my friend acting as he was on the top of the world.

I told my father about it and he told me that this forum is nothing like "New Technology" and this is a houndreads of years old tech. it's basic origin is from the torturing chambers, to mentaly break a person you need to deny from him his basic needs, food, water, Toilet and freedom.

These are the things they are doing there!!!!

After hearing that I found you web-page which open my eyes. Now I ask you what do I do with my friend and his parents, show him the web-page just like that? What do you recommend?

yours truely...


Date: 27 Aug 2001
Subject: Thank you

As my sister has fallen in hook, line and sinker and many family members are going down the same road, I decided to do my own investigation.

You have confirmed what I expected and I appreciate the time you have put into your sharing of information. When one is at a low ebb it is frighteningly easy to be sucked in by such organisations, and the financial strain in my family is of paramount importance to me.

I will pass on your information to my family members and leave it up to them to draw their own conclusions. Thank you once again.

NoLandmark replies: Thank you, this illustrates the whole purpose of my website. Good luck.


Date: 27 Aug 2001
Subject: Los Angeles Landmark contact list

I don't know if you have an interest in helping others outside of posting your work on the web, but if you do want to help people trapped in Landmark, here's the contact list, attached as an excel file.

I can't tell you how I got it, but I can tell you this - I lost a friend to Landmark two years ago, and it still bugs me.

Keep up the good work.


Date: 21 Aug 2001
Subject: feedback

while i agree with some of your critique of the landmark education program, i think some of your facts are inaccurate. i have attended the program, and i agree that there is hard sell at work, using the attendees to push the product. i chose not to attend the tuesday night session precisely for that reason, and i have no desire to invest any more money in the education program.

having said that, there are some valuable things to be gained from the forum. the forum doesn't advocate blaming your problems on others; it actually encourages you to take ownership of whatever it is about your life that you're dissastified with. it embraces the ideals of integrity, such as keeping your word and comittments, while letting go of the past, which everyone knows can be an unhealthy and costly habit.

the big turnoff of the program is the selling point, and people with common sense can see that and recognize the program for what it is.

NoLandmark replies: Landmark's brand of problem "ownership" is one in which you own your problem enough to divorce it from reality so that you can delude the problem away.

Date: 7 Aug 2001
Subject: your landmark site

Hi

I found your website and just want to say thanks for publicising your experience and knowledge of Landmark. I too feel like a concerned citizen and want to speak out in some way against them - even though, judging by the other stuff I've been reading on the net, my own experience has let me off very lightly.

I've just been at a Forum weekend and sat there all those hours during Friday and Saturday feeling angry and mistrustful but unable to put my finger on what was really wrong. I refused to do their ridiculous 'assignments', preferring instead to trust my own judgment about the wisdom of phoning people I'm close to in order to give themthe formulaic Landmark approach to healing old wounds - as well as actively making the choice to get as much sleep as possible rather than tussle with difficult and emotional issues on paper in the way that I was being told to.

Then on Sunday morning during the session, another participant whose name was David had the courage to challenge the course leader about what was really going on, and he had a quiet tenacity that meant he didn't give up or shut up. And I saw his humanity and humility and intelligence and humour - in short, all the qualities I value about human beings - in such sharp contrast to her fear, her rudeness, her anger, her mockery and her crazed lust for power through intimidation that my own good sense and inner spirit finally broke out of me. I shouted out at her in defence of him - at which pointshe became even more demonic, shouting back at me about this 'conspiracy' he was engendering. She got so angry she fell off the platform - and didn't immediately get up - and David was over to her like a shot, and you could see on his face that he was really concerned to know if she had hurt herself. Which she hadn't - or at least, she wasn't admitting to. I didn't want to see her hurt either - but it was great to see her so literally take a tumble. But even then theabuse went on, andI can't even remember the point at which my own body took over and got me to my feet and took me out of the door. Walking out was a hard thing to do as I'm sure you'll understand, yet an easy thing to do because I was responding to something a damn sight bigger than Landmark Forum: my own inner voice.I felt very emotional but triumphant because I was doing the right thing - even though I did concede to being called back and having a conversation outside the door with one of the volunteers. I also realise now that I was let off lightly where that was concerned too, since although there was quite a lot of Landmark automaton-speak in what she said, I did feel that on some levels I was talking to an individual human being, and she seemed to accept that there was no way on earth I wanted anything more to do with Landmark from that moment on.

Since then I've had the other people in that room on my mind a lot. Those poor suckers are going to be turning up tonight to the big sales drive, with their loved ones whoin some cases have been conned in to putting Landmark above the cost of an air fare from the other side of the world or the trauma of chemotherapy - not to mention the sheer stress for anyone of being asked to come in such emotionally-charged circumstances.

I'm glad to see that there have been articles in the press about the dubiousness of the Landmark approach and I would love to see more publicity in other media given to the truth about the way they operate, because people - intelligent, articulate, caring people - are apparently so much more vulnerable and susceptible to this kind of thing than I would ever have imagined. Andwhen that kind of thing gets too much of a grip on too many people, it starts to feel a lot less like 'education' than Nazism.

I'm going to get in touch withany consumer-type programmes on radio and tv that I can think of to see what they think about the possibility of an expose - do you know if radio or tv exposes have ever been attempted or achieved?

With best wishes...


Date: 6 Aug 2001
Subject: The Forum

Hi

I've just read your page having attended the Forum in London this weekend. I fully agree with you. In fact I spent an hour at the mike debating with the leader Anny Zollinger many of the points you raised, but specifically the fact that the Forum shows no tolerance of lateral thinking approaches to solutions, that it is completely dogmatic, and will not accept the fact that some people have just had a great life. Instead I pointed out that it exploits middle class guilt, by trawling participents pasts to discover "failures", in a manner reminiscent of Recovered Memory Syndrome.

Poor Anny got so worked up she lost her temper started shouting at me, and fell off the stage, before telling me I was arrogant, uncoachable, cold, and untouchable.

But hey, that's her "perception", and my "story".

Fortunately most of the participents seemed to side with me, judging by the feedback I got later in the day.

If I am as cynical as Landmark says I am, maybe I should start a counter cult. Fancy joining?

I hope as many people see your site as possible.

Keep up the good work.

Regards...


Date: 22 Jul 2001
Subject: Landmark Forum

An eye-opening website which made me wonder if it was trap set by Landmark to catch dissidents before they make their views too widely known.

Sadly, I enrolled and paid before I read your site so I will be attending the Forum in a few weeks. Forewarned is forearmed.

Do you know of any research or legal proceedings relating to Landmark other than the links from your site?


Date: 21 Jul 2001
Subject: Hello

I read your article about landmark forum and am worried about friends of ours. They have gotten their whole family to go through this and they are still going. They have tried to get us to join. I had a very bad feeling about it from the start when I found that they stay all day till midnight. I hadn't read your article yet and already thought that it sounded like scientology. There have been some good things come from this.....daughter speaking to mother....brother speaking to brother. These things could have happened on their own or with a licensed therapist. If I try to tell them anything, they do not listen. Any suggestions?


Date: 19 Jul 2001
Subject: Landmark

Good Site

My ex sister law has arrived home from Australia full of Landmark. She wants everyone to benefit from this and I am so glad there are sites like yours.

Thanks


Date: 07 Jul 2001
Subject: Been there, done that

To the writer:

About 8 years ago, a close friend gave me the "gift" of the Landmark Forum. About halfway through the second day, I leaned over the the man sitting next to me and commented "This is how they break prisoners of war." He agreed. It turned out he was a former Army colonel and POW. He and I were the only two who made it through the weekend fairly intact. Today, I still get the occasional call from some zombie who has my name on a list.

It was good to run across your site. The Forum may or may not be a cult, but it certainly is a crock.

Keep up the good work.

Thank you...


Date: 30 Jun 2001
Subject: Thank you

Thank you for your website - it has really helped me.

I went to an introductory Landmark seminar today, and I have to admit it was too peculiar - reminded me of an evangelical church with a twist. Too many people hitting on me with the same message, and nothing I said stopped them. The power of no gets people going, doesn't it?

Again, thank you. This website IS educational, as opposed to Landmark.


Date: 13 Jun 2001
Subject: I like your website

I find your website quite true. I went to the Forum and the whole time I felt like my mind was trying to be invaded. I would long for the breaks and to go home. They kept saying that tomorrow would be better. Well, I stayed until sunday and then had enough of it so I went and talked to the leader. He said that since I wasn't participating that it would be boring but all I went for was to learn, not to fix some problem. Well, after talking to him, and not believing in what he was doing, they gave me a refund and I left. I could make this story longer but it really doesn't need to be. I really agree with what you say and am glad you made the website.


Date: 30 May 2001
Subject: your website

Great website! You are very insightful!


Date: 25 Apr 2001
Subject: Thank you for your website.

Just to thank you for your website that gives info on the dangers of the 'forum.' God bless you for that.


Date: 17 Apr 2001
Subject: hello

hello

i have done landmark and i accept what you are doing and i ask you that you correct one incorrect statement on your site and that statement is the one on truth.html where you state that you are told to place all responsibility on your partner. Now i am unsure wether you have participated in the Landmark Forum but i feel that it should be brought to your attention that they actaully suggest the oppsisite. They suggest that you take actions to accept that you are responsible in all aspects of your life including relationships.

no, my experience was not a positive one, but it was for many others. I am a critic of the landmark forum and agree with you on many area's just i felt that i should say that i think in some areas you where incorrect.

i personally think that the whole landmark coporation is inauthentic and that they use people's subconcious need to feel usefull to get them to do things for nothing.

i agree with you just those few points.

regards...


Date: 20 Feb 2001
Subject: Link to LGAT page

I thought your web site was great, and right to the point!

Best wishes


Date: 4 Feb 2001
Subject: Holy christ!

To cut to the chase: my best friend was "guilted" into a Landmark session several months ago by a co-worker. She asked me to come along, and because I'm up for just about anything, I assented. We sat through the initial group pitch, during which time I was starting to be sold. She wasn't. Then when they broke us off into our 'groups' our "coach" was so vague that I was frustrated right out of the program. So, too I thought was my friend. As we left, we both mutually decided that we weren't interested. Well, several weeks later the person who initially got her involved put the push on her again and convinced her to take the weekend session (for which she had no money, but he was MORE than willing to front the $300 to be paid back later on). After the first night, she called me and told me that she wasn't going back. Well, that went by the wayside because she'd paid for it, so maybe it was worth seeing it through to the end, even though there were no breaks except for those mandated by the program volunteers, and the sessions were "intense". She talked about breakthroughs and follow ups after that. We argued about the things she could tell me about the program (being almost as vague as our "coach" was), but in the interest of keeping the peace I just stopped arguing. She was too adamant about the good things from the training to hear any opposing views. Now, she's gone ahead and taken the Advanced course, and the weekly seminars, of course. In addition, she wants to take the Leadership course, and is willing to let that series interfere with a planned vacation to London that we're planning. That part absolutely floored me: Why is it necessary to disrupt your vacation for this? One day is not as crucial as they make it out to be, but then without the iron grip of reinforcement of Landmark, she may not end up taking the next course. And the next.

Your site didn't so much open my eyes as it did clarify what I was already suspecting: she's been hooked into someone's scheme, and regardless of the positive results it may have had for her, she's being taken for a ride. Is there anything I can do other than hope it all blows over?


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January 2003