Landmark Education Forum: A Thorough Review

Anyone who’s heard of Landmark Education knows they’re an organization clouded in controversy.  There have been rumors of everything from it being the best personal development program ever, to being a cult.  I’d read all the reviews of the program and even watched a documentary about the original founder of Landmark (EST) Werner Erhard.  After it was all said and done, I was too skeptical about Landmark to do the program…then Time Magazine and BusinessWeek (within a few weeks of one another) had reviews about Landmark and what a great program it was—both articles praised it as a great program for business people.  At that point, I decided to give it a go.  I figured, best case scenario, I would go to Landmark and it would be the best personal development program ever, worst case scenario, if it was a cult, I could at least infiltrate it and write a good story about what a cult it is.

I was initially planning on doing a different blog post with a review of each day; however, after the program, a thorough review of each day is unwarranted.

Day 1:

First off: I am utterly convinced that anyone who thinks that Landmark Education is a cult, is an idiot; it is a personal development program, and from day one to day three, it’s clear that that’s all it is.  It’s just a program to help people deal with their issues.

Day one can be summarized as: What Happened VS Perception: The Stories that we Tell ourselves.  (Pictures below).

Certain events happen in a person’s life and they attach a story to these events.  The facts of the situation are what happened, and the story about why what happened, happened, is our perception.  The main point to note is that perception isn’t fact, its perception.

Example:

You’re on your way to work and your car breaks down.  You arrive to work five minutes late and your boss starts yelling at you, “You’re late.  You’re always late.  You’re a horrible employee.”

This upsets you and you start telling yourself what a jerk you boss is, and you tell yourself that he must hate you.

The story that we tell ourselves is “he’s a jerk,” “he hates me,” but those aren’t facts, they’re perceptions, they’re stories that we tell ourselves.  We only say “he’s a jerk,” because he did or said something that made us associate him as a jerk.  Is it a fact that he’s a jerk?  NO, it’s not a fact.  But the story that we tell ourselves is that he’s a jerk and we accept it as a fact.  We then go around complain to anyone who will listen and say, “my boss is a jerk.”  And of course telling yourself  that your boss is a jerk and treating him like he’s one and complain all day and telling yourself all day that he’s a jerk, is going to put you in a pretty crummy mood.

So when something happens, just ask yourself why you’re telling yourself the story that you’re telling yourself—and ask yourself if it’s a fact, or a story.

Day 2:

Day two started off with people talking about the breakthroughs they’d had since day one.  (A LOT of people actually had a LOT of breakthroughs in that twenty-four hour period.)  The first few hours of day two was a combinations of people talking about their breakthroughs and Landmark pushing its other products.

After Landmark selling its other programs and after the breakthroughs , they started talking about responsibility:  Personal Responsibility.  Basically it’s the aspect of a person taking responsibility for their lives and what happen in their lives.

Example:

If someone’s an alcoholic, what happens is they’ll often say to themselves, “It’s not my fault.  I only drink because my dad drank…or my dad beat me.  If he never beat me, I wouldn’t be an alcoholic.”

A lot of people had a lot of problems with day two.  They didn’t like the idea of having to stop blaming other people, and start taking responsibility for themselves.  No one’s father made they become an alcoholic.

It reminds me of the old story of twin brothers.  These twin brothers had a very abuse and alcoholic father.  Their dad used to beat them, neglect them, etc.  Both of the boys grew up.  One of them became a very successful businessman who used his riches to help other people in abusive relationships.  The other grew up to become a drug addict and alcoholic.  When the first twin (the successful one) was asked what motivated him to work so hard to succeed and then give back to charity, he responded, “Well, growing up with an alcoholic father who beat me, how could I not work hard to leave home and become a success, and then use my money to help others.”  When the other brother was interviewed (the drug addict and alcoholic) and was asked why he became a drug addict and alcoholic, he responded, “Well, growing up with an alcoholic father who beat me, how could I not become a drug addict and alcoholic.”

Same situation, different stories they told themselves.  One brother used his upbringing to drive him to succeed and the other brother used his upbringing as an excuse to blame his father for all his short coming and problems.

Day 3:

Day three started off with a LOT more selling of other Landmark programs.  Day three was also the day that was supposed to bring day one and day two together.  After all the promoting of Landmark’s other programs, the beginning of day three was, again, about people talking about the breakthrough’s that they’d had in the past forty-eight hours—there were a lot of breakthrough’s, and a lot of crying.

I can’t go into detail about all the breakthrough that people had (because we all agreed to keep things confidential) but people had breakthrough is every walk of life, from people going through divorces, people who were abused as children, people who lost their job, people who hadn’t spoken to a family member in twenty years.  There was a little bit of everything and they all benefited.

Day three was about living a life where we’re aware of the stories that we tell ourselves, and it was about living a life where we all take personal responsibility for our actions and our emotions and feelings.   Imagine a world where people didn’t fret about the “stories” that we tell ourselves and instead only dealt with the facts of a situation.  Imagine a world where people take personal responsibility for their actions.  Day three was all about perpetuating this in our lives.

The Positive: Landmark gave people an opportunity to look at their issues from a different point of view.  It gave people an opportunity to see whether the stories that they’re telling themselves are true or are just “stories.”  It gave people an opportunity to take responsibility of their lives—for the good stuff, and the bad.  A fast majority of the people who went to Landmark seemed to get something out of the training, although some people’s nuggets of gold were substantially larger then other people’s.

The negative: If you have a serious issue in your life that you need to get worked out, Landmark is the company for you.  If you’ve got a drinking or drug problem, Landmark is for you.  If you have an issue with your mother or father, or a brother or sister, Landmark is for you.  If you’re going through a divorce, Landmark is for you.   If someone important in your life passed away, Landmark is for you.

If you don’t have any serious issues: Landmark might not be for you, yet.  Yeah, you’ll get something from the program, everyone does, but if you don’t have any serious issues or problems, Landmark might not be right for you—at this time in your life—and might come across as a waste of time and money.  But if you do have a serious problem, Landmark Education is the place to go and it’ll change your life for the better.

 

If you seriously want to put a stop to the excessive drinking of a friend or a loved one, you can learn a number of ways to help an alcoholic from various resources on the Internet.

Michael Anthony is an Iraq War Veteran and is the Author of: Mass Casualties: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Destruction, and Dishonor in Iraq.

189 Comments

  1. UD says:

    This IS a cult, I have first-hand experience. They “program” you using hypnosis, after which you have a very foggy idea of what was even said to you or what happened. You are in a room for almost a full work week, 39 hrs, condensed into three days.

    You are essentially isolated from anyone who would be concerned about you and would therefore try to intervene and “save you” from Them: you get up early, are gone all day long, come home overloaded from being talked to all day, either by THem or by other participants, eat, go to bed, do it all over again.

    During your breaks you have assignments to call people you have had issues with, not the people in your life who would, again, intervene when you call sounding all weird and robot-like, leaving no time to call anyone else. It’s Friday-Sunday so you go into work the next day, still isolated from close friends and family and the cycle continues unless somebody finds a way to intervene; that’s if you’re even open to it. Chances are, you’re not.

    The “breakthroughs” are funny enough, always timed to happen after dinner, then after they’ve developed your trust and talked to you for about 26 hours, then the hypnosis session comes on Sunday, the day where all skeptics are suddenly, zealously, and finally on board.

    Talk to anyone who leaves these things and watch and wait for the weirdness to come out. Here are some key terms that will “trigger” the hypnosis and unexplained zeal: inauthentic, racket(s), barriers, like the layers of an oinion, create possibilities, ‘get’ it. Experiment and see for yourself as the program emerges through the person.

    They program you to think that no one else will “get it” even though what they are telling you is 100% common sense, every day concepts and ideas packaged as a “New and Improved!” product. So then you feel alone in it and weird around forum non-attendees, ie the rest of the world. So then you pressure those around you, convince them, whatever, into coming so you all will be on the same page and connect in the outside world.

    Your goal becomes getting them to “get it” as your new catchphrase steadily demeans and irritates everyone around you because it outright states they’re too clueless to “get it” without the help of the forum. Now they MUST attend, unless they want to stay completely in the dark. As if life was unsuccessful before this cult was ever created. Right. And they all stand to benefit from what the forum has to offer. Only, They (capital T) benefit from what your bank account and non-chemical dependency has to offer: Unrestricted funds, because at this point, you’d happily give your right arm to move up and along in the “courses” without really being able to explain why.

    Their only agenda that’s apparent right now: to have you voluntarily and without compensation recruit for them by (they tell you this on Sunday before you leave) bringing at least three friends/family members back on Tues. and to create dependency on them so you keep spending your money on “advanced courses”.

    The intro course costs $485 times 150 ppl that’s approx $60K stood to be made in one weekend. Impressive. And they don’t have to pay anyone to bring them this kind of business, they just program it into “intros” as they call newbies. Advanced “courses” start at about $700-$800 and go up from there.

    Anyone who can reach into your mind so powerfully and essentially control you should be regarded with extreme caution, no matter how benign or “not serious” their agenda may be or seem.

    Don’t take my word for it- feel free to do your research about others’ experience & try to find out why they were kicked out of France. Good luck with that, their lawyers have tried very hard to block any of it from getting out.

    • See, I did the research and everything so when I walked in I WAS expecting some kind of cult atmosphere, but when I was there, I just didn’t see it. Maybe I built up such an image of Landmark as a boogey man, that by the time I took the forum, there was no way it could be as bad as I had imagined.

      I think you’re right about the business aspect, I mean they definitely are an organization/business out to make money. But I mean, from my experience, there was nothing cultish going on. They never stopped us from going to the bathroom (again, this is just my group, my experience).

      I mean I can see how people might seem weird afterward, and I’ve heard the rumors about how Landmark people try to make all their friends go, etc. But on the last day ‘Tuesday’ i didn’t even show up (Tuesday is a waste of time day where they try to sell you on other programs) and I haven’t recommended that any friends go–specifically because I don’t know with anyone dealing with huge problems that I think Landmark could help with.

      Let me put it this way: Yes Landmark is weird, and Yes they make you do some things that might seem weird and even drastic or intense. But if you’ve got something BIG that’s wrong with your life, then you’re going to need to take BIG drastic measures.

      But honestly, I don’t see how anyone could see it as a cult. A pushy business organization, yes definitely. But a cult, absolutely not. I’ve taken it and I don’t feel different, i haven’t donated them any money or sold all my possession and moved into a communal house; i haven’t spent the last month trying to convince everyone I know to go.

      It was just like going to a college lecture, albeit a very, very, very long and expensive college lecture, but it was nothing more and nothing less; just a long and interesting college lecture–that a lot of people got something out of.

      I just don’t see it. But then again, I think that some people just have certain types of personalities and anything could become a cult for them; religion, AA meetings, personal development seminars, etc.

      • Allyson says:

        I am happy that you did not get completely sucked in.

        That said, if you did not notice any cult-like elements then you either succumbed to part of it or weren’t paying attention. The long guided imagery exercises, the “fear” exercise or the “parent” exercise, the homework, etc. – those and others of their methods are well documented. Do some online research and you will quickly find out WHY these are considered psychological control techniques.

        Further, it did not strike you strange that they won’t let a person do it under certain medical or mental conditions but they don’t have a certified, licensed psychologist present in case a previously healthy person has an emotional breakdown? They don’t because they want everyone to have a little breakdown and THEY want to be there to catch them. If they were legitimate they would probably not do those exercises or if they did they would have licensed professionals there to handle the fallout.

        Why on earth would this be the best setting for someone with BIG issues like previous abuse or something where an emotional breakdown could be devastating?

        Lastly, like any cult-like organization… not everyone succumbs to it, but that doesn’t mean it is not cult-like in its methods or practices.

        • William Blevins says:

          Really? I guess the licensed, certified, Princeton trained psychiatrist who remained available for Baltimore Forums, by request of Landmark, was an aberration then. Just because an organization may share certain attributes with cults does not make it one. Is Avon a cult? After all, they strictly do word-of-mouth advertising and sales. Many healers use guided imagery, are they all cultists? You need to remember that just because all squares are rectangles does not mean that all rectangles are squares. Learning to discern distinctions between things which appear similar is a source of power for people. You should try it in this case.

          If the guided imagery in the disappear fear process were used in a manipulative manner then you might have a point, but it is not, and you do not. What possible evil intent could the Landmark people have in helping people overcome their fear of other people? Oh, I know. If they lose their fear of others it will enable them to talk to them and share the Forum with them and invite them to a seminar – how dastardly of them!

        • Bert says:

          Cult like practises;
          - Asked to believe in something
          - Join the group
          - Donate

          None of which are present in the Landmark Forum.

          • Kevin says:

            Cults try to separate people from their families. Landmark deepens your family relationships.

    • josette says:

      I dont know where you were at or what you are talking about. I was thinking freely the whole time. Im still having breakthroughs years later and not just after dinner. The tools i learned through Landmark Education I am still using in my life today~

      • Beth says:

        I’m with you Josie. I did the entire curriculum 15 years or so ago. Changed my life in a very profound & positive way and the breakthroughs have continued to come after all this time. I disagree that one may not get much out of the Landmark forum if he or she doesn’t have serious problems. I really had no huge issues or problems in my life but gained a great deal from the Landmark Forum. I also disagree with the notion that Landmark is just a business out to make money. Landmark’s main goal is to help people live lives they love the money one pays to attend Landmarks programs helps pay for overhead costs etc. Sure they “make money” but I don’t believe that is the primary goal.

        • Jim says:

          Landmark is a for-profit business…so what? A cult? No… As a graduate of est, and the original Forum back in the early 1980s, I can tell you that my experience was, and continues to be, a positive one. Now, to be clear, “getting off it” was a pretty steep hill to climb for me, and it was very easy to externalize it…it’s a cult, they pressured me, and all the other bullshit tapes so many of us play when we try to fit something into our stories about our lives that doesn’t fit, and therefore makes us afraid. Back in the days of the est Training, the ground rules were, keep your sole in the room (sole, as in the ones on your feet), follow the instructions, and take what you get. Your experience is exactly that…yours. Mine is mine, and I’m responsible for my own experience. Pretty simple concept, yet so hard for some people to just do…

          Anyway, after all these years, and recently laughing my ass off re-living my experience of the Training while reading Luke Reinhart’s book about est, I’m thinking I’m depriving myself by not doing a refresher! :-)

          Rock on!

      • Carolyn says:

        I agree Josette. I took the Forum, Advanced Course, and Self-Expression and Leadership programs when I was 17 (I’m now 25). I loved it then and I still look back at the work I did internally and am glad I did it. I didn’t have any BIG problems. I did have things about myself I wanted to improve and roadblocks that I created for myself that I was able to tear down with the work I did in Landmark. In fact, I became a CPA at 23 and am now pursuing my career as a music artist, something i never thought possible, because in my mind, I had told myself I couldn’t get over stage fright or I couldn’t write good enough songs or meet the right people. Landmark reminds me that those are all just obstacles or “stories” that I make up in my own mind, not the real truth of the situation. I am over my stage fright, people love to hear me sing, I meet people everywhere I go, and my song writing is improving and I’m working on an album. Of course, there were a lot of other factors to my success, but Landmark set me off on the right foot at a young age and I can’t imagine how my life would be different, particularly in my relationships with family, if I hadn’t participated in the Landmark programs. I still recommend Landmark to friends, but I don’t push it. It’s just something that helped me and if I see a friend in need, I will share what tools Landmark provided me with.

    • Redfin says:

      Hi UD, I’m trying to find people who might help me understand and get over what happened to me at LM about 3 years ago. It’s been a solo mission so far and it’s like waking from a nightmare about twice a day to realize your still in a nightmare… I feel i got hypnotized/brainwashed big time, and even when I can work something out intellectually, I still can’t convince myself it’s correct!

      Is it possible to get hold of you for a chat through a more private means? Is there a less public way o giving out emails or something?

      Cheers.

    • LJ says:

      Hi UD – I’m sorry you had a bad experience at the Forum course. I had heard alot of what you said as well but found it quite the opposite. It really helped me with my relationship with my family. The Forum didn’t DO anything to me. No hypnosis or anything like that. My thoughts on cults are usually they try to keep you in. The Forum was held in a hotel. The door was open; I could have left at anytime. My family is my priority and I would do anything for them. I now have an incredible relationship with them; that’s worth 10x the amount charged. I would recommend it to anyone; it’s not just a “how to” book on getting ahead in life…the class works.

    • Stuart says:

      UD It’s you who is brainwashed and clearly too ignorant of your own ignorance to see it! Clearly you need to get you out of the way of you. Obviously you went in there attached to being right how wrong the leader was (20 years training) and all you got was being right how wrong he was. next time start listening instead of just hearing, it’s very easy to hear and very difficult to listen. It;s apparent by your rhetoric above that your issues still lay with your father that you haven’t yet cleaned up, make we wonder if you have the same drama’s in your relationships no doubt. Of course you in the same group of 2 million that have done it successfully and got amazing results in their lives, you however are marching right-left whilst they are all marching left-right but your the only one in step! Your other problem is your too attached to holding your crap together, no doubt out of fear of not looking good, attached to fear of losing stinking approval or attached to getting it. No doubt you still alsoplaying that silly little boy macho game of “I want to be bigger, better, cleverer and smarter than you! Get a life little boy grow up and stop throwing your toys out the pram, mam ain’t coming to save you! not that any one needs saving anyway apart from the likes of you.

  2. Allyson,

    Thanks for the comment. Here’s my question, though. How do you suggest people go about changing their lives? Landmark may have some unique approaches to certain issues; however, there seems to be a certain positivity associated to the techniques.

    If it’s assumed that people going to Landmark are going to Landmark to work on issues, then it can be assumed that they indeed do have “issues.” If after the Landmark forum, these individuals have issues, it’s not to say that Landmark gave them the issues, just they didn’t solve them.

    If someone has a headache and then they take two aspirin; if they still have a headache after they took the aspirin, that doesn’t mean that the aspirin caused the headache. It’s true that people have stuff wrong with them, but if they have stuff wrong with them going in to Landmark and if Landmark doesn’t fix their problems, then Landmark can’t be blamed for them.

    I mean, that’s the thing, though, how then do we help people to change their lives for the better? Landmark has its techniques and other organizations have their techniques. Personally I didn’t see anything wrong with Landmark’s techniques. Did I think any of them were cult-ish? NO, absolutely not. I did think a few of their ideas and exercises were stupid, but definitely not cultish.

    With all that said; I can see how it becomes associated with cult-like signs. I’m reminded of the example of AA. A lot of people who are alcoholics join AA and AA can, for some of them, become a kind of cult. Now, AA is there to help people, and it’s not meant as a cult, but some people turn it into one of those things, where it becomes their lives. It could be meant as a good thing, and it could actually be a good thing, but things happen.

    I’d leave you with this axiom: “Some times it’s the Indian, not the arrow.”

    If people leave Landmark and start blaming their bad behavior on Landmark, it could just be that they’re looking for a scapegoat (they’d rather blame the arrow for the problem then the Indian (themselves)) maybe before Landmark they blamed all their problems on their parents or their crappy job or their spouse.

    I firmly believe that Landmark is absolutely harmless and does a lot of good for a lot of people, and if someone leaves Landmark and becomes depressed or thinks that their life is messed up, chances are that person was already messed up and Landmark just wasn’t able to give them the help they needed (see aspirin analogy).

  3. John B. says:

    I, many of my family members and friends have participated in The Landmark Forum with excellent results. There is a great article in the New York Times on Landmark at http://nyti.ms/h8Zxzx.

  4. Derek says:

    Thanks for a great no-nonsense run-down of the Landmark Forum. I agree almost 100% with everything you’ve said, with one important exception which I’ll come to in a moment.

    But first I must clear up a couple of misconceptions and outright untruths in the comments you’ve already attracted.

    1) Whether or not the course is “expensive” is purely a question of what value you get from it. I ceratinly got way more value than the cost, and so did almost everyone I know. It’s certainly a far lower price than any other Personal Development offering that I’ve ever come across. You get 40 hours of training – that’s about $12 an hour! If you take up the free 10 week follow-up seminar (which is a good idea actually), you get 70 hours training and that comes to $7 an hour. There are basket weaving classes that cost more than that!

    2) Actually it’s not true that the courses keep getting more expensive – after the Advanced Course they get cheaper and cheaper, siome time to a ridiculous extent.

    OK, so the one issue I had with what you said is the suggestion that it’s only for people who have serious problems. I had no significant complaints about my life and did the Forum mainly out of curiosity, but I got masses out of it. A couple of examples:
    a) My wife and I already had a truly great relationship that didn’t need “fixing” in any way; but since the Forum the inevitable disagreements that crop up in every marriage get dealt with in minutes rather than months (or worse yet, carry on festering forever).
    b) I’m an amateur highboard diver, and at 54 I’d assumed that my competition days were over. I got to see that this was just a story I’d invented and I could choose another one. Six months later I got a bronze medal in the British Masters Championships. Ten years later I’m still competing regularly at National and International levels, and sometimes winning my age-group.

    • Derek,

      I think you’re totally right, the course isn’t that expensive. When I first got back from Iraq I took a bunch of self-help and personal development courses and a lot of them were A LOT more expensive to take. The Landmark Forum and courses like it are designed to change someone’s life, for the better, so of course they’re going to cost some amount of money; but you’re absolutely right, the price is well worth it.

      I can see what you mean with your second point, and it’s awesome that you’re doing so well! I guess what I was trying to say was that to get something BIG out of the program, then you’ve got to have something BIG to work on. I had already done a lot of personal development prior to going, and the Landmark Forum was talked up so much that I was expecting a huge “Pop” when I went there. But no huge “Pop” came.

      At the price it can’t be beat, and it does seem like a very useful and valuable program; however, I’d say this, there’s been so many Landmark graduates that have gone out and written books and done different programs, that if you’ve done any other type of work or read the books, it’s going to come across as redundant. It was a type of “been there, done that.” It was still great to go there and see all these other people have these great moments and realizations, but Landmark was just so talked up that I was expecting one of those big ‘Pops’ myself, and in that aspect Landmark failed to deliver (and yes, I did all the assigned exercises) I just think that it was one of those things that to have a big pop, you need to have a big issue. If you don’t have a big issue, then there can’t be a big pop.

      That being said, I’ve heard amazing things about “The Advanced Forum” and I have been thinking about taking that, just to see what it was like.

      • Derek says:

        Hi Anthony
        Thanks for the response. I’d encourage you to go ahead and try the Advanced Course – I personally found it at least ten times more impressive than the Forum itself for several reasons: 1) Everyone in the room has already gone through the Forum and dealt with all those basic struggles; 2) It introduces the idea of Transformation on the level of Group and Society, opening up an opportunity to contribute to others rather than being preoccupied with our individual personal troubles; and 3) It trains you how to apply what you learned in the Forum in all the various challenges that life may throw at you.
        You didn’t seem to suggest that you were doing the free ‘Forum in Action’ seminar series. At 3 hours a week it’s not very onerous and it’s a chance to run through the distinctions at a lesiurely pace. Lots of people pick up on something big that passed them by completely in the Forum itself.

        • Anon says:

          I did the Forum and am doing the Forum-in-Action Seminar Series, but I, too, am a little disappointed that I still haven’t had any big “pop” from the experience. It was useful and helpful, but I didn’t have the big, ecstatic burst, most around me seemed to get. I half-assed some of the assignments, but I did everything and overall participated in good faith. But still nothing.

          Do you still recommend the Advanced Course for someone in that space?

          • Eva says:

            As someone who used to lead programs – I’d only recommend that you do the Advanced Course if you get all in – but by that I mean all in your life. On your worksheet, where it asks you, what would you like to get out of the LAC – put every dream you’ve ever had on that list and DO THE WORK to get there. I do have to agree with the writer that the LMF is great for fixing things or taking on a big life’s dream … if you’re fine with your life and don’t want to grow then I’d say it’s not worth it. It you want to do the work and put the energy in to rock – then I’d say do it. Hope this helps.

          • Bert says:

            Anon, from doing the course you can kind of see the nature of a breakthrough. Now, get off the stands, step down from the bleachers and start living a life.

            This is a little harder for you b/c not only are you in the stands, but you are also watching yourself in the stands.

            Now get out and make stuff happen!!

    • Helen Henry says:

      I have bought 2 tertiary degrees now which have been of great value BUT the money I spent doing the Landmark course was by far the best money I’ve ever spent. I use the skills I learned at Landmark everyday in all facets of my life – especially the fact/story aspect which in turn has impacted on my fitness, my marriage, my further education, my working life, my parenting, my friendships, my charity work…. LANDMARK WAS THE BEST PRODUCT I EVER BOUGHT and I highly recommend it.
      Finally just to clarify – yes they can be rather pushy in the self marketing aspect but so are the marketing campaigns of many products. And yes there might be a tendancy to become a Landmark junkie and just keep doing course after course BUT… it has been a standout part of the ongoing quality of my and my family’s happiness.

  5. Daniel says:

    Hello Anthony,
    I have a question that I would like you and your readers to address. You recommend that people with serious issues should do the forum and yet that is at odds with what Landmark itself says in it’s disclaimer. Why?

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Daniel,

      Thanks for the comment and question. Here’s what I meant.

      If someone is going through a divorce or just lost a loved one, or is dealing with an emotional or alcoholic addiction, then I think Landmark would help them.

      However, if someone is dealing with a serious condition like Schizophrenia, then of course I’m not saying that Landmark would help them with that. And I think that’s what Landmark meant by their statement.

      So, I suppose, it’s all a matter of semantics and wording.

      • Daniel says:

        Thanks,
        I agree that semantics has a lot to do with whether or not one should take the Landmark program. Especially when it is hard to tell even in cases like you cited; divorce, addiction, etc. that there isn’t some underlying emotional disturbance that might have instigated their current problems. Sometimes life’s a crapshoot and we just try to to do the best we can.

      • Cliff says:

        Actually, if you are dealing with alchohol, the Landmark Forum is hit-or-mist. Seriously, it’s not meant for people serious emotional or chemical problems, and I’ve done more Landmark Courses than you can shake a stick at. Actually, there is an agreement not to drink even a drop of alchohol during the whole weekend, so someone would have to be completely dry even to walk in the door. Same goes for drugs. Better stick with AA, and when the person is sober, and committed to staying sober, THEN do the Landmark Forum to get at the issues behind the chemical problem. The LF will also not address whatever metabolic imbalances are behind depression, alchoholism, etc., and although one will hear miraculous stories even in this direction, that’s not what the course is designed for. I suspect most of these rambling comments about LE being a cult are from people who have serious emotional problems that are best dealt with by a therapist.

        That having been said, for most people the LF and it’s other courses are extraordinary – I got my life out of them. It’s rather amusing sometimes, to read some of the negative comments: “they tried to brainwash me…. well, but I did get a whole new relationship with my father…. but they tried to brainwash me….” I completely agree with you, it’s a self-development program, nothing more – it’s as much of a cult or brain-washing as a speed-reading course.

        As to cost, I was out work for over a year when I did the LF, and, among other benefits, got back into my carreer, which has been worth, from then to this date, over 500,000 €. So just in cash money alone, the course was worth about 1,000 times what I paid for it!

      • onerous says:

        The Landmark Forum are for people who are well and not a cure or treatment for alcoholism or other serious or medical conditions. People specifically dealing with alcoholism or drug addiction or other health issues should seek medical or professional help far away from Landmark Education. Landmark Education is for people who are adjusted and already coping in life, but looking to upgrade the quality of their life or performance in some way.

        I have heard some version of the above said at Landmark Education an untold number of times.

  6. Allyson says:

    We will probably just have to agree to disagree, but to answer your question Michael, I think if people want to change their lives, there are very VERY many ways of doing it . These include reflection, reading-study and discussion of philosophy at the source (not someone else’s version), reading the vast and standard self help or improvement literature, therapy, cognitive therapy, self aware and d selfdirected NLP or affirmations, self-aware and self-directed hypnosis, (notice the use of the words self-aware and self-directed) education, or sometimes just by pulling themselves up by the bootstraps.

    If people have “issues” then they are well advised to resolve them in a setting with the properly accredited and trained professionals of their choosing, whose methods have been opened to general scrutiny so that you know clearly what they are trying to accomplish, in advance of trying it, and there are systems in place for them to be held responsible if they aren’t living up to the ethics of their profession.

    Interesting, isn’t it, that the confidentiality expectations among psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc, falls upon the practitioner, rather than the participant. That tells us something very critical.

    The aspirin analogy doesn’t even bear discussion, it’s idiotic.

    You mention AA and interestingly it often IS defined as an organization with cult-like qualities, and sometimes even as a cult. Major differences however are that when someone participates in AA, they know clearly in advance what the specific goal is, they know the methods that will used to obtain them, there is not great secrecy around their methods.

    • Bert says:

      Allyson, reading a book or meditating in India will give you nothing. No experience, no gain. When you are in the stands understanding and studious you will just get better at that. Nothing else. Landmark Education is an experience of being with people who for the first time are really real with themselves and you. That is not anything you get from reading about it.

  7. Tom says:

    Landmark is definitely a cult that was created by a cheezy, twice divorced ex-used car salesman who changed his name from John Rosenberg to Werner Erhard. They use 3 specific high pressure pyscological sales techniques in their seminars: 1. Group Pressure 2. Mental Fatigue 3. Language Manipulation. The Landmark Forum (I attended in Feb 1991) is basically a 40 hour long sales pitch for the next course.

    • Michelle says:

      Tom, you took the course in 1991 – more than 20 years ago. In the two decades that have passed, the intellectual property was sold by Erhard, purchased by the employees, and has been improved upon many times over – similar to how we’ve gone from the telephone, to dial-up internet, to … wireless, smart phones, ipads… Maybe it’s time to try the 21st century Landmark Forum.

    • Manila says:

      I had this Landmark Forum this month. And I agree that Tom’s comment is 100% true. It’s a cult-like and retreat-type of forum.

      “They use 3 specific high pressure pyscological sales techniques in their seminars: 1. Group Pressure 2. Mental Fatigue 3. Language Manipulation.”

      • Luis says:

        Hmm.. Is this in Manila, Philippines? my friend is inviting me to join the first/basic course. Is there any money Or networking related to this? Will my griend get part of what i pay for?

        Manila, can u tell more abt your experience?

      • Bert says:

        So Manila you actually never did it or didn’t finish the course – which one is ti?

  8. Mike Audet says:

    Michael,
    Great post. I took the est seminar years ago as well as some of their follow up seminar. is it a cult? I think everything can be a cult for a person that is looking for a cult leader. I mean really, any church can be a cult if you become a zealot. Any political idea can be a cult if you allow yourself to lose objectivity and swallow it hook, line and sinker. I think est was a great experience though looking back I don’t agree with all of their methods. I think Tony Robbins has things to offer though I don’t “follow” Tony Robbins. Some do…maybe for them it’s a cult. My point is, just like your description of the “perception of an experience” vs. the reality, anything can be perceived as a cult based on where the insecurities of the person viewing it are.

    I don’t personally believe that est or Landmark are cults but I do believe they use extensive, high pressure sales techniques. I don’t care for them but cult? No.

    Anyway, nice post.
    Thanks
    MIke

  9. Jim says:

    Interesting perspective. I too am a veteran, and think this course should replace TAP training for those leaving the service (for non-military types, TAP is the program service members have to take before getting discharged to help them transition to civilian life). I disagree that Landmark gives the most value for people with “serious issues,” though…my life was great when I did the course 4 years ago, but the Landmark Forum took it from that to a new level I didn’t even know existed. I taught in Africa and ran the New York marathon within a year and a half of doing this course…totally unpredictable. A better way of putting it from my perspective is that Landmark delivers a ton of value for everyone that is serious about having it work for them, not just those with “serious issues.” Granted, those that are seriously unhappy might be more likely to be serious about having it work, but that’s not always the case.

    If Landmark is a “Cult,” my attitude is we need way more cults in this world!!! They certainly work better than the things we have come to think of as “normal.” Normal is boring.

  10. noname says:

    Serious problems as you mention should be handled by psychiatrics or medical doctors!!! Not some business with a group course without any certifications.

    You would not want them performing brain surgery on you, neither should you consult them for serious issues. Go see a doctor if you have serious issues.

    • Brett says:

      Fantastic comment. To “get it” you must first agree to disregard the fact that these people are experts in nothing but the Landmark experience, which is, at heart, one man’s point of view.

      Scary thing to do, is messing with the mind, particularly without qualifications to do so.

  11. Hello, people reading this article!

    I just want to say that I have participated in several of Landmark’s courses and I have found them to be awesome.

    So much of my life has changed so dramatically, in such a positive way, that simple comment to this posting can’t contain it.

    I am getting married in less than a year, and I’m wildly in love with my future wife! I’ve gone from being a high school English teacher (which I loved to start with), to working full-time as a professional webinar facilitator as well as building a part-time business that will retire my family so we can work from home full-time! I’ve surrounded myself with many intelligent, funny, thoughtful and caring people, a few of whom have done the Landmark Forum, and most of whom have not!

    In other words, I’m one satisfied customer! :)

  12. Hmm. I am a writer and coach among many other things. The main thing I want to chime in on is this: I think that the “pitching” of other Landmark Education programs within their programs is completely appropriate. How else is anyone going to find out about their programs. They do NOT advertise. And if they DID advertise and market like a mainstream business, their tuition would go way up.

    As a long time graduate and someone who has assisted, of course, I am biased. That said, I’m also quite experienced in the world and I want Landmark to do well as a business so that it can continue providing what it provides for people: relatively low cost access to the dreams that have eluded them so far.

    Everyone has gotten some of the things that they set out for; many of us have “blind spots.” I think that Landmark truly excels at allowing people to get profound glimpses at their own blind spots and then, routes to take significant action(s) to pursue their heart’s desires.

    As for the coaching that people must have serious issues? I don’t agree with that at all. A lot of people have resigned to a quiet surrender to just putting up with “stuff” that’s neither serious or difficult but just can’t see past it. The Forum can be a real mirror that changes one’s own standards about how they want to live the rest of their lives; as a “ho-hum” existence or as a vital expression of their deepest selves. I pick the latter, and that’s what I got out of the Forum.

  13. Howard B. says:

    I have heard many pros and cons about Landmark, so I thoroughly checked out both view points. I have found very, very few negatives from people who actually participated in The Landmark Forum. The vast majority of the negative comments, including those on anti-cult sites, are from people who haven’t even taken The Landmark Forum, which is strange to me. Here are some of the positive things I have found; many are from very credible places.

    New York Times story: http://tinyurl.com/4jasfby

    Business Week/Panda Express story: http://tinyurl.com/4ln53am

    Landmark Education in The News: http://tinyurl.com/49zjxmg

    Pat Summerall on Discovery Channel http://www.tinyurl.com/4177kwl

    Top 100 Adventures Rates The Landmark Forum as # 3 http://www.tinyurl.com/26z5w23

    Landmark forum – cult, scam, or path to enlightenment? February 2011 http://tinyurl.com/6k2ucqo
    Recent Participant http://www.tinyurl.com/4p6x8u7

    Wall Street Journal April 16, 2011
    http://tinyurl.com/4y9gy7c

    Live A Better Life By Improving Your Communication Skills – CBS TV Los Angeles July, 2011- http://tinyurl.com/3d5jsu3

    Landmark Forum: Creating a new relationship with your father Inlaw http://tinyurl.com/3c7aryv

    • Eddie says:

      Perhaps because LE has a history of suing anyone that posts any critique? Check your facts. You obviously didn’t look too hard, because the trails of these are pretty clear (like the France 3 documentary).

  14. Marian says:

    so the here is my question about cults-from what I understand about cults is that they try to remove you from your family and friends-Landmark is about restoring your relationships and having even better ones-how is that a cult? Cults do not leave you alone-Landmark’s policies is after 18 months of no partipation they can not contact you you must contact them. and before that if you ask not to be contacted they will not-not much like a cult is it!?
    I have been around Landmark for over 30 years and the only comment I would make is if you have drug or alcohol problems go to AA or treatment, after you get “well” then do the Landmark Forum not before And you do not need BIG problems to do the Forum it is for people up to big things and want to grow as a human being and have better relatonships with family and work and so on.
    WE all have stuff from our past that gets in our way in the Forum you get to put the past in the past so that you can get on with it. Now that is what the Forum is about!

    • Keerthi says:

      Amazingly said Marain ! hats off ! Recently in a landmark forum which happened in Hyderabad, India, one of the forum leader Mahesh Nambiar said exactly the same thing u did when said its a cult..

      “cults is that they try to remove you from your family and friends-Landmark is about restoring your relationships and having even better ones”

  15. Tom says:

    I liked your report on the Forum and Landmark Education. I think in recent years they have softned their “sales” approach but remember it is a business and business is in the business of making money.

    They use cognative behavior theory as the basis for much of the ideas and language employed. There are many other theorists who suggest much of the same concepts, so the “technology” is not new, but just well presented.

    I know Landmark spent a fortune on research to see if they are actually a cult or not. One of the biggest strikes against the theory of it being a cult is that all of the programs encourage you to invite all of your friends and family. Depending on when you took the forum… it was more than encouraged. The anti cult people all said that this goes against cult like behavior. The standard cult looks to separate you from your F&F and landmark survives on your F&F!

    They have strict rules about employees and volunteers doing business with eachother. They are careful not to even have a hint of taking advantage to the emotionally charged newly graduated forum participants.

    I am not a spokesperson for landmark. What I say is based on my experience and opinion. I have told people numerous times… going to landmark is like going to a museum… you go and experience interesting things that will be with you as long as the memory exsists… your life is often enriched if what they have is what you are looking for… but if you don’t go to a museum, like landmark… you can still have an amazing life without it!

    It is not for everyone. Each person’s perspective is different. I too went to prove it wrong and very quickly saw that who is the fool to pay that much and spend the whole time mad or in dissent! So I listened and some of it made sense and has provided value…

    The greatest gift landmark has given me is a shared language to speak with my wife… we both have gone on to study other behavior theory and the language of landmark gives us a shared platform to discuss this. There were other nuggets too, but being able to speak the same language with your wife is priceless!

    Thank you for your consideration and willingness to listen and look at it.

  16. Dan Horne says:

    Woo-ha! What a bunch of controversy over Landmark. My goodness, you would think that people are so weak minded that they wouldn’t realize the fact that real programming, the type they are so worried about, is not detectible. It is a bit like stupidity. I’ve never met a stupid person that knew they were stupid. Stupid people think that they are smart! I have met smart people who sometimes think they are stupid.

    In like fashion, the people I meet who have their minds heavily programmed (programmed = you believe someone else’s thoughts and ideas are your own thoughts and ideas) have no idea that they spend their lives arguing from a position of absolute ignorance of the subject they speak about. This isn’t an insult. Smart people who are programmed do this all the time because they don’t realize that they have been indoctrinated through programming into a “cult-like” perspective. That is they believe that their opinions are based on fact, but they are not.

    Examples show this best. Landmark is the topic here. I have taken several Landmark seminars. For that matter, over the past few decades I have taken a number of personal growth seminars like Landmark. The idea has been around since the 1960s. Is it programming? Is it a cult? In a word, No. And, yes, some participants act like “born-again Landmarkers” for a while. There are some people in America, good people, who need a (metaphorical) whack in the head to wake up to themselves. They are so heavily programmed with other people’s thoughts and ideas that they truly cannot have an original thought. They have no idea who they are.

    These people–programmed personalities–do have inklings of who they are. It is very, very difficult to program someone so deeply that they have no sub-consious memory of themselves. But, on the surface in their day-to-day lives, they are automatons spewing forth the propaganda of other people’s thoughts, beliefs, and ideas. What these people demonstrate (quiet correctly) is a sense of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with themselves. Their lives are unfulfilling to them and they don’t understand why. Organizations like Landmark do a great job acting as a mirror to allow people to see themselves, many for the first time in decades, as they really are.

    The process of breaking through a lifetime of programming crusted over a personality is often filled with painful “letting go” and ends in a euphoric freedom that for a while is blissful. It is this blissful state that some people mistake for more than it really is. It does wear off and life does return. However, the person who has had this experience is forever changed so that when life returns, they make decisions that are more in tune with what brings them satisfaction and fulfillment–also known as happiness.

    If you are “afraid” of a Landmark style personal life training, the odds are that you are speaking from a programmed perspective. It is healthy to question before, during and after. And, there is nothing holy about Landmark. It is a business. Yes they market to you. If they don’t they will disappear, the work will end, and the awakening process will fade. I’m not affiliated with Landmark, not trying to sell it to you, and not really interest if you try their trainings or not.

    What I am interested in is that more people wakeup from their programming and companies like Landmark specialize in doing that. So, how do you tell if you are programmed? It is pretty simple. Ask, are you happy? Then, rather than listen to your mind’s answer, feel your body’s response. Your body won’t trick you, but your mind may. Are you happy with your career, your marriage, your body image, or the company you now work at? I don’t mean brimming with enthusiasm, life still sucks on certain days, but if you had it all to do over, would you change anything? If visiting these ideas creates pain or discomfort, then you are absolutely normal, and you have been programmed to live someone else’s life story–that’s all. And, you can un-program yourself so that you live your story. Easy? Yes. Uncomfortable? Very. Life saving? Every day!

    Before you damn an organization like Landmark as a cult, ask yourself if maybe the cult that if filling your head with propaganda is something your already belong to. Learn about the impact of television in programming the brain. About the meta messages given to you hundreds of times every day in the United States that attempt to put another person’s thoughts into your head. Look around your home at all the ‘junk’ you thought you needed at the time, but now has become a burden because you never really needed it at all–someone else needed you to need it and you did for a little while.

    Blessings to all.

    • kara says:

      I agree with C, wow. I think you are on the mark.

    • Vic says:

      Hi Dan, enjoyed your comments. I too “get” what you experienced and see the same thing in people. Sound asleep to already being programmed by the media and what I call the “no-think’ culture we live in. Thinking for oneself is at first a bummer, yet what shows up is oneself. Yes there are possibilities beyond what we are programmed to accept. I am an est grad from 1976 and have been around the work for many years. I am watching the Forum delivering their message from a softer platform and in my opinion they have gotten away from what works. Softer in okay, yet being babied is not what life is all about. Werner used a quote many times in the past that I saw caused people to wake up. “Life is fired at you point blank, this is it.” It has been my experience that way to many people think ‘someday’ is on the calender.

  17. Xerxes says:

    Why do people obsess on this Landmark cult/scam idea? There’s so many more interesting things to talk about, such as how the programs work and whether or not they benefit people.

    As an aside, I think the cult talk stems from the popularization of the term cult to go beyond the traditional definition involving people giving away their possessions and going to a compound to chant, and evolving into a general definition of some mass movement that seems cliquish, hard to understand, and a bit creepy. Of course, under this definition, the Boston Red Sox and followers of Ron Paul are more cultish than Landmark.

    Returning to the realm of sanity, here’s other objective reviews of Landmark that I don’t think anyone’s posted on this thread:

    Yelp Reviews of Landmark

    It’s Not a Cult (funny website name) review of Landmark Forum

  18. kris says:

    “I’ve never met a stupid person that knew they were stupid.”
    That quote I will certainly remember LOL

  19. Adrienne says:

    One of the things I think that has gotten missed is why does Landmark Education exist? What it isn’t is a self help group, there for people with “problems” etc. What Landmark is pointing to is what is it to be a human being. Not from a survival point of view which as a race we have come along way. Landmark asks us to have a look at what would be possible if that restraint wasn’t there anymore. How is that restraint impacting other area’s of your life like relationships, Health, finance etc. Landmark exist for people who want more out of life. I have gained a tremendous amount from attending the courses Landmark offer so much so that the “problems’ I thought I had actually weren’t problem’s at all just things I didn’t know were in the way of me being able to make the difference that i wanted to. You do have to be ready to take on the course as it can be confronting to have to look at yourself and who you are being in life but when you do you become more committed to life because you can’t lie top yourself anymore and can be bitter sweet. I say Landmark course aren’t for the faint hearted they are for people up to big stuff.

  20. Jim says:

    For more information about veterans and Landmark Education, you can also visit here: http://landmarkforveterans.wordpress.com/

  21. Anselm Jonathan Fernandez says:

    As the author said in his summery of Day 1, you are an idiot. It’s not worth saying anything else on the subject.

  22. Jenny says:

    I did read all the way through these posts and I’m glad there are so many positive ones. To answer the first post directly, I, too, have first-hand experience. I wasn’t hypnotised, didn’t feel foggy, I never sounded weird or robot-like (I called plenty of people who afterwards thanked me for my call). I read a good quote about Landmark – it it’s a cult, it’s the only cult that sends you back to your family. Michael, I like your post but Landmark doesn’t MAKE you do anything at any stage. As far as being expensive goes, companies spend thousands on sending their employees on courses. Education is expensive. I realise all of this has been said above but this is for anyone who just reads the first and last post on this thread, lol.

  23. kara says:

    Michael, thank you for writing this post, it got a really good discussion going.

  24. JITENDRA says:

    I HAVE JUST TO SAY LANDMARK EDUCATION PROGRAMES ARE UNIQUE ONES.

  25. Purnima says:

    Purnima 2 things in have changed my life one is study at IIT and other is Landmark, this is what a friend had told me lots of years back and this is wat I remembered when I was totally down. So i thought let me give it a try. So without even mentioning it the same friend, I went all alone to landmark introduction course. and then ohhhhhhhh how my life changed. It was a wonderful self discovery….
    What i really got was I was able to accept myself. Lots of small things and lots of big things too…..
    What I got from landmark is much much more than what I paid for it. I was able to look into myself. I was able to analyse my behaviour and patterns and find out what was behind the same. I discovered me.
    I read somewhere Landmark forum was in TOP 10 list of things that people fear…..
    Yes I asked (still tell if asked the opinion) my f&f to do landmark…. though not many have done it…. i wanted them to get what i got…. and it was freedom….
    I have done landmark forum, landmark advance course (this was one of the best things i hv done in life. It was 4 days at that time) , SELP and some other seminars….. I have also assisted at Landmark. Though from past some years i have not been there.

    I am really greatful to LANDMARK. Thank you landmark.

    I love landmark.

  26. JTeixtera says:

    I went to a Landmark Forum a few weeks ago in California and I had an interesting experience and I can see both sides of the argument. There were moments when I thought it was very cult like and then were moments were I thought that this was a very useful organization/program/technique.

    Here’s what I thought was cult like:

    At the Landmark Forum they make you agree not to drink and to stay in the room and come on time and they make you give your word and raise your hand. And I kind of had a problem with that because anyone who did have a problem with it (one guy) the Forum Leader kind of brow beat him until the guy agreed to the terms and it was just kind of weird. I agree with the idea that people should be able to go at least three days without drinking and without being late and it’s funny to think that it’s even an issue to agree not to drink alcohol for three days and to show up on time but what kind of erked me the wrong way was that the Forum Leader didn’t really take time out to listen to the guy it just seemed like he was using mind techniques to out-smart the guy and get him to do things the Landmark way.

    Which, I do agree with partially and partially I don’t agree with. I think that if something is the right things to do then it’s not that bad of a thing to trick and/or use tricky wording to get someone to do the right things, but at the same time it seems kind of shady to watch someone be tricked/out-smarted at a seminar.

    Here’s why I think it’s not a cult:

    In my mind cults are cults because they have sinister motives and have sinster intentions. Landmark Forum in my mind has only good motives and good intentions. Sure they make money from doing the seminars but they’re running a business and their business is changing lives. For all the tricky wording I thought they were doing–and they were–it worked! I saw people on stage crying (including the guy from the first day who objected to having to agree not to drink, etc) it was an amazing experience and if this group is classified as a cult then maybe not all cults are bad.

    • Michael Anthony says:

      I think you make a good point in the debate, a lot of it depends on how we classify a cult. Maybe it is a cult and maybe not all cults are bad. Not saying it’s true or not, just an interesting point.

    • Eddie says:

      “In my mind cults are cults because they have sinister motives and have sinster intentions. Landmark Forum in my mind has only good motives and good intentions. ”

      No, they all have the same goal… self-preservation. To grow and build the organization. Just like the Catholic church, or the Jehovas.

      I’m sure all the folks in the cults think the intentions are pretty awesome.

  27. Manila says:

    It’s the exact kind of life-stories from the people that talked yesterday from the forum!!! same stories, strategies, illustrations!!

    Citing from the Review of Michael:
    “but people had breakthrough is every walk of life, from people going through divorces, people who were abused as children, people who lost their job, people who hadn’t spoken to a family member in twenty years.”

    EXACT STORIES!!

  28. Robert says:

    There is one clear way to measure whether Landmark is a cult or not. Look at anyone you know that’s done it and loved it versus those that have done it and walked out screaming CULT!

    See the difference? Yup, it’s crystal clear. Those that love it are the ones you’ve always thought were easily susceptible to falling for these scams. Those that don’t are the ones you hang out with, drink a beer with, make some jokes with, and just plain consider to be NORMAL.

    Don’t listen to ANY review here, or online because they will always be skewed by those who either love or hate it, or flat out poke fun at it, like me! Make up your own mind by talking to anyone who has had any experience with the program.

    Think about that and realize that’s why Landmark is ultimately a cult. Because they’re telling you what to think. Like I am. Or am I? MAKE UP YOUR OWN DAMN MIND! Think freely or think Landmark, it’s up to you.

  29. Tom says:

    Michelle, you seemed to have neglected to address the fact that Werner Erhard was a used car salesman, then an encyclopedia salesman, then taught and sold correspondence courses, and later trained door-to-door sales personnel. He’s a high pressure salesman and Landmark devotees become his unpaid salesmen and he (and his brother Harry) get all the commssion. They make millions a year off of their customer’s unpaid labor. Also, Werner has been divorsed TWICE!!!! This is the guy that sells personal development courses based on “integrity”.

    • onerous says:

      Tom, where do you collect the information about Werner Erhard you are regurgitating? Have you met this person? I am going to guess no. You mention his early jobs as if they are somehow significant. You mention two divorces as if they are somehow significant.

      I have met the guy, saw him in action, I know he has been welcomed into churches, Harvard Business School, training rooms of fortune 500 companies and into the lives of millions of people. These points outweigh the grade school smears Internet people are addicted to posting about any public figure they feel like just because they can. Public figures do not need to be perfect just because we are looking at them, even though that is the thinking on line these days about politicians or people exercising leadership – godamnit they better be perfect or else. Werner Erhard is an ordinary guy who, for his job, wants to spend his life contributing to people in a positive way. He himself has admitted that he does not know the long term value of his efforts.

      For anyone interested I suggest watching the new film “Transformation: The life And Legacy of Werner Erhard” and reading the biography “Werner Erhard The Transformation of a Man: The Founding of EST” by William Warren Bartley III

  30. Jimmy says:

    Hi all,

    Good review and as a “graduate” (I use that term loosely) of the Forum, I felt I wanted to comment.

    I personally found the Forum to be interesting at best, helpful in some ways, especially towards thinking about my life differently. The action to do something about it, however, remains with me. It’s just a tool in a box of others that I use to improve my life; it may not be that trustworthy ratchet that I go for all the time (more like that sort-of a great deal on a tool I got at Harbor Freight, where the quality is sketchy, the source unknown, but sort-of kinda helps when necessary, and when it breaks, I won’t worry much).

    I have friends and acquaintances that have taken just about the entire “curriculum” (again, used loosely). At worst, it’s group therapy wrapped up in pseudo-psychology sold to people in increments of $500.

    And that’s the crux and after several months after taking the Forum, red flags abound for me.

    Cults don’t need to be malicious and I believe the term is used so freely that it’s lost any significance of meaning.

    I had many of my own philosophical questions to which anyone I asked at Landmark, paid or volunteer, were unable to answer to me directly. For example:

    - If it’s an ‘education’, what happens when Landmark itself ceases one day to exist? Does the education itself hold any value? Can the employees rebuild the company as some new iteration?

    - Jargon and ‘special language’, terms, etc. are a red flag for any group as it’s proprietary and invokes solid “buy-in”. In this case, if I’m unable to adequately explain the logic of the Forum to anyone that hasn’t taken it, it loses credence. In order for the other person to ‘get it’, they need to take courses. Have an issue you can’t resolve? Take more courses.

    The dependency is what’s risky here. Everything is always maintained in the “context” of a ‘discussion’ (derived from the Forum); so again, if you’re having a conversation and working through an issue with someone that hasn’t been through it, you might not get what’s desired. The answer? Suggest that that person take the Forum so that they too, can ‘get it’. Rinse repeat.

    But what they also do is build a dependency. I would ask anyone that’s done the courses over a long period of time to just “give it up” cold turkey. What do you when a real life disaster hits and you don’t have Landmark to go to?

    Addictions work because the payoff is random. You can press the lever (take a course) and the success doesn’t show up in time or at all, even if you do put in the work. Then what? What do you do? More than likely (that is the expectation) you’re then inclined to take another course and see if it helps. If not, then again…

    The cost of attracting and keeping a ‘customer’ for Landmark is very low and once you’re taking course, feeding your innate desire for validation from the Leaders or anthropomorphizing the course itself because you want it to really give you what you came there to get.

    There is some manipulation going on to be certain, else it wouldn’t work: Out of the 200 or so people that were in my Forum, only 1 didn’t show up the next day to finish. When they give you an ‘opportunity’ to leave, they also present you with the paradoxical dilemma of not ‘missing out’ (it’s the same reason why people in our current world are addicted to the internet by refreshing email every 5 minutes, checking Facebook all the time, can’t miss out their favorite shows/artists, etc). MBA courses should review Landmark as a case study in group marketing done extremely well.

    I get it’s lauded as transformative, but even when the caterpillar changed into a butterfly and can’t go back; however, it didn’t depend on the coccoon any longer.

    I also get that this could apply to other such groups/’educations’, so for me, the red flag abounds for those too.

    - Allyson’s comment of “..Interesting, isn’t it, that the confidentiality expectations among psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc, falls upon the practitioner, rather than the participant. That tells us something very critical..” struck a chord and reminded me why I’ve decided not be involved with Landmark again.

    - Similarly, who are the psychologists? What are their credentials? Are they published? Why not disclose who they are? Fear? Are they staff? Why not just state their credentials…universities, institutions, etc? I understand that they are a privately held company and of course would not disclose that readily, but if they make such a big deal of how well supported their programs are, why not just be clear who stated as such?

    - People fret over a single page terms and conditions loan application for a car, but have no qualms about signing a 3-page release before taking the Forum. Most (all?) of these Forum leaders have been through Landmark’s training that makes all of their scripted dialogue consistent – people like consistency (by happenstance, I sat in on a Session 1 of a 10 week seminar and when reading a type out page, the ‘leader’ made one pronounciation mistake – everyone spoke up in unison to correct her. I found that eerie as all out).

    Of course they have a 3-page release to protect their interests (what right minded company doesn’t nowadays?).

    - Someone made comment that Landmark spent money to find out if they are a cult or not. That doesn’t even make sense; conflict of interest anyone? Further, not that I’m accusing them of being a cult, but they’ve gone so far as to sue individuals for defamation; contrasting example: People call Apple a cult frequently in the press, but I have yet to hear Apple suing anyone for defamation and they have arguably the largest to lose for such an accusation – being so large and all. For me, if they truly want to stop this stigma from following them: open yourself up and be transparent (as much as possible).

    - The article references made, such as to the NY Times, WSJ, etc are just that: articles. They are one journalist’s view of their time taking the Forum or other Landmark functions. They’re not scientific or industry journals. It’s not going to be an expose in any pro or con direction. It’s like listing several dozen articles extoling the fact that you want validation that the car you just bought is really, a great deal/value/amazing/epic/best car ever. Stop seeking validation.

    - Regarding volunteers, I personally have an issue with the employee-to-volunteer ratio. They have approximately 300 employees, but have over 7000 volunteers who, by the nature of them needing to be ‘graduates’ to volunteer, effectively paid for their own training. I get that they’re a business (I’m an engineer of the sort that helps companies make more money), but this irks me. Again, yes, be an ‘evangelist’ for the cause (much like one would be for their team, car brand, personal technology, prefered brand of underwear), but this throws the balance way too far off. I’ve ‘lost’ some friends to this volunteering (putting in 20+ hours of their own time to a for-profit company that, based on just simple estimates of what their income/balance sheets may look like), is a little incredulous for this company to allow for that (as a contrast, a non-profit such as the Red Cross, which obviously much larger and exists with different goals, has a healthier 30,000 employees to a million volunteer ratio.

    - Finally, it’s also not true that Landmark is company owned (the “technology” may be). Ernhard’s brother is running the show, with Werner growing older every day and pulling the strings from whatever remote location he happens to find himself at any given time.

    If you read this far; thanks.

    J

  31. onerous says:

    It is easy to say things on the internet. I look up my favourite hotels on the website TRIPADVISOR.COM or my favourite movies on IMDB.COM. On those two message boards I find people saying things that I know from experience are outright lies and see them ranting just because they can and because it is unmoderated.

    Internet people seem to morph into these all knowing experts on any subject and proceed to let their shadows run amok and talk and casually call places and people and things all kinds of names.

    Group of people? money? transformation? DEFINITELY A “CULT”.

    Forget the fact that most communities, teams associations, businesses schools and groups and clubs share most if not all of the qualities associated with Landmark Education and share the same types of risks that one is exposed to when leaving the safety of their own house. Skiing and parachuting and sports and relationships and new jobs are risky – that is life.

    I did the Landmark Forum. I heard it was for already healthy already successful people and that people found it useful. I found this to be true – best thing I ever did, best money I ever spent. 90% of the people in my life did it after that and most found it to be amazing. A few did not and even left in the middle. That is life. It is not for everybody, nothing is.

  32. JustAFool says:

    I will say after many years of participation, i feel stupid in one regard. They are NOT a community. Once you are into taking their seminars, they say it over and over and over again but they are not! So you are letting these people into your life to know you on a very personal level but if someone needs something boy does it get pathetic. We are just classmates and don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking otherwise. Everyone just walks away after a seminar and you don’t see them again until the next seminar. That’s just weird. A love fest one week. Forget everyone the next. I have had FOUR Landmark Leaders tell me it has always been like that. They don’t know why and it appears they don’t really care as long as the next course goes off. I don’t think those same leaders have the right to paint the picture of this strong, caring community. It’s just a course. They need to stick to the word Graduate.

  33. TOM says:

    Onerous, you stated:

    “You mention his early jobs as if they are somehow significant”

    John Rosenberg’s career as a high pressure salesman is VERY significant, that’s where all of the Landmark high pressure sales techniques originated. Don’t you see, the forum venue is in the exact same format as that of a time share condominum sales event – the idea is to mentally fatigue you and then apply group pressure to get you to register for the next course when you’re vulnerable. Also, their goal is to make everyone work for free as their unpaid salesmen and they get all the commision (every salesmen’s dream). Also, this cheezy salemen really just advanced to embark on his most ambitious sales pursuit of all: he’s not selling a car, or a condo, or any physical item, HE’S SELLING NOTHING, THAT’S EMPTY AND MEANINGLESS for $500.

    “You mention two divorces as if they are somehow significant.”

    Werner’s (John Rosenberg’s) TWO divorses are VERY significant. He flat out left his wife and children to run off with another woman (that he married and later divorsed too). Then he makes a company where he sells courses based on “INTEGRITY” (much laughter). Landmark Cult devotees are purchasing these programs that are supposed to help out with their relationships (Ha Ha).

  34. TOM says:

    Has anyone every noticed that during the whole 40 hours of the forum that an actual PROCEDURE to become “transformed” never really materializes, they just keep pressuring (helping, ha) you to sign up for the next course and to recruit for them.

  35. TOM says:

    Does anyone recall the “ASSIGNMENT” on the first night of the forum? You are supposed to “SHARE” the forum with someone – anyone, just share it. They spring this on you after over 15 hours of mental fatigue. Sharing is recruiting, getting sales, promoting, they just substitute in the word “sharing”. This is a tactic that a cheezy used car salesman would use to get free advertising and try to make more sales.

  36. nom-deplume says:

    a family member of mine had been asking me to attend a Landmark meeting with him for over two years, after seeing how it had actually made a positive change in his life I reluctantly agreed to accompany him, thinking I would play purely a supportive role in the meeting itself.

    After a half hour meeting with a large group, I was taken to a smaller room with the few other guests that had come to support other friends and family. There we did a 3 hour exercise and breakdown of there method.

    During the entire seminar I was told that anything I didn’t want to participate in, or if I didn’t want to share or speak to the group it was perfectly okay. This was an outright lie. I felt incredibly pressured into speaking with the group, there were multiple points where the seminar leader literally stood over me until I spoke.

    After the actual meeting was finished, we were asked to open our provided booklets to find registration forms to join Landmark Education. At that point I realized I was very cleverly rounded up into this small group so they could target us in a situation where you feel intensely vulnerable. After then seeing the huge fee for the course and learning that the seminar leaders I had met were all working voluntarily, I instantly wondered where all this revenue was going.

    Now finally the worst of it all. The other guests who had participated left. After it was noticed by the seminar leader that I had not filled in my registration form, 4 other leader were brought into the small room I was in and berated me for 3 hours (until midnight) to join. Each of the group leaders were completely and utterly relentless! Every tactic was used in an attempt to get to to sign, until finally one of them said “Just sign it!” They twisted everything I was saying into a reason why I should join, and even when I said this to them they told me it was my own perception which was wrong and another clear sign I really needed the course. By the end of this you’re tired, you just want to go home, you’re sick of people talking at you, and you reach the point where you think “just sign the fucking thing and you can leave.” I’m glad I stuck to my guns and refused.

    It was one of the most stressful and negative experiences of my life. I’m disgusted knowing how people seeking help are preyed on and exploited like this. I will not be attending again.

    • Eddie says:

      Got the same thing. And, unfortunately, the family member did not improve her life. We came because we were worried about her, she had been getting worse since getting involved with Landmark.

      In working with them, she basically fabricated a story of her upbringing that just wasn’t true, and blamed how she was treated as the source of all problems.

      Yes, some of this stuff is generic self-help stuff. But you add it in with troubled folks, and it can be a recipe for disaster.

  37. melanie says:

    This whole debate about the value of Landmark is so futile and unecessary. You don’t need the likes of Landmark – learn instead self-awareness through self-observation. Read the extraordinary GI Gurdjieff and his Work!

  38. Tom says:

    Great post nom-deplume!!! You are right! Does anyone ever notice how very, VERY important it is for Landmark to get you to their place. That way they can surround you by their people and supporters, talk about what they want to talk about, and apply group pressure to get your money.

  39. Tom says:

    Onerous, where did you go??? Did you get stumped? Was it too much for you????

  40. sher says:

    How about someone who says I’ll only marry you if you take the forum? That sounds…odd.

    Does anyone have a copy of this release folks have to sign? I can’t find it anywhere.

    • That sounds very very odd, but then again I’ve never been a fan of ultimatums. It almost makes me want to meet the person though, you know, to meet the type of person who would give that type of ultimatum “Take the forum or we won’t get married.” ridiculous.

      • Tom says:

        Michael, that’s exactly the type of stuff the landmark cult tries to do: they say things like, “I would question anyone who would get involved with someone who hasn’t had this valuable training”. Landmark wants to create cult couples and cult families to make everyone a Landmark cult diciple.

  41. Casey says:

    My experience with Landmark comes from a so called good friend of 20 years who just recently attended the Landmark Forum. I received a strange text from her saying”Sorry for never listening to your opinions” I thought okay. And then each conversation I had with her was “Landmark would sort that out” Her husband took the course and also asked me to come along to the bring a friend night. I declined and said it was not for me. Then I got asked again by my friend to come to the completion. I declined and she seemed to somewhat get a little angry and said to me ” Well I am not going to listen to your complaining anymore!” I said “How I am going to be myself with you then?” her reply was” You can complain but I just wont listen’ I thought gees I do your average human complaining nothing excessive and I am really happy at the moment why are you having a go at me?” Prior to this she was using the usual jargon and the word racket would come up at least twice in a conversation.

    It was weird it was as if I did not know this person anymore. I then received a text ‘Hi -just wanted to say that I will not ask you to do Landmark again, and you can continue to complain! My “not colluding” will probalby look like a blank stare o sound like”hmmm”when you do want to complain just so clear. Sound fair.

    I received other texts and phone call which were plain weird. In all I felt she had gone on the course it had brainwashed her , she became a hard selfish person within a couple of months and had lost her long term good friend.

    Some people need a set of rules to live by and maybe this course suits them. Some people are looking for answers to why they have not achieved much in life.

    • Eddie says:

      This experience seems similar to what I experienced with the family member in question.

    • Vic says:

      Casey, your friend definitely did not “get it”. I did the Forum last month and I cannot say it has dramatically transformed me but the new view I have of life and other people IS somewhat dramatic. It was worth the time and money.

      I can tell you one thing though your friend did not understand how the Forum concepts work or she would not have been so pushy and she would not have been offended that you did not want to go. She’s running her own ‘rackets’.

      Go on your own to one of the “guest” nights. Leave your checkbook and your credit cards behind and check it out. You’ll be asked to sign up but you don’t have to.

      Best to you.

    • Rohit says:

      I fully agree with you.
      I have done landmark and i find that people who ask us to join it are our best friends who in fact are acting loyal to landmark and not to their friends since non-landmarkians are viewed to be people frm ‘septic tank’ and only landmarkians are in reality ‘transformed ‘ people.

      better leave such friends to be ourselves at least

  42. Tom says:

    Ellen Snortland, Brian Keeting, Onerous, WHERE ARE YOU???? Did you come up to a barrier and get scared and had to turn away? Did you get overwhelmed with the truth about the Landmark cheezy used car salesman’s CULT?

  43. Mina says:

    Hi, does anyone know a man called Mohammed who did Landmark in April 2011? I really need to find him… If anyone has got any information, please don’t hesitate to email me at minna@live.co.uk

  44. Braxton says:

    Hello,
    I had a similar experience of a long-term friend harassing me, trying to ‘enroll’ me in Landmark Education until she finally declared that her ‘commitment’ to Landmark meant more to her than our friendship. I hate Landmark with a passion. That’s my ‘racket’, and I’m proud of it. Landmark employs unfair practices and preys on human insecurity to make a buck. They make me sick.
    Braxton

  45. Danny says:

    Thanks for the excellent review of Landmark Forum. Your perceptions are extremely accurate and well stated.

  46. Curious says:

    just curious, if landmark is so awesome, and the speakers are volunteers, since apparently no one gets paid…… why does the course cost $650 and why are they now coming out with a course for children? i also heard that people are being put down in these seminars and stripped of their identity. Is that not abusive?! And why are people not allowed to record these seminars?? AND WHY ARE they required and expected to bring friends and family after??

  47. Rohit says:

    Few questions to be answered:
    1. Landmark teaches that you always make story out of facts!!! Is it the universal truth for all human beings and in all circumstances in life whatsoever that in every situation our perceptions can never be equal to the facts? i.e. is it always true that whatever we conclude about any fact is always a story and human being can never perceive the facts as it is?

    2.Landmark teaches that life is empty and meaningless and you always give meaning to your life and the entire program is designed and aimed to make you believe that whatever meaning you gave to your life is a story!!! and the truth is emptiness and meaninglessness!!!
    Are the meanings we give not the facts and it is wrong to live with the meaning we give to our life? If its not wrong then what s the need to deprogram those meanings by landmark!!!!!!

    3. Landmark teaches There is nothing right nothing wrong in this world and right wrong is just a state of mind and perception.
    Beliving this, why is it concerned to cure humanities taking it to be sick and it is concerned about removing problems in society including terrorism, drug abuse etc. Is it not landmark’s perception that it is wrong inspite of teaching the facts the there is nothing right nothing wrong!!!!

    4. People inside the closed and controled environement are taught that they are assholes from the ground and they need to be cured for the problem they have to make stories and make judgements about people and not maintining relationship in pure and true form
    Believing this fact, why does landmark shouts the world is a septic tank and then urges people to call the non landmarkian people to become landmarkian to get transformed!!! this is inspite of the fact that they teach there is nothing right nothing wrong and all is perception!!!!

    5. They teach that any claims about oneself to have the values of honesty, truth, integrity etc are all justifications and only reasons for the problem in life is that they come from past of life and they make stories . nothing else!!!!!!!!!!!!

    6. Everyone who has come to landmark either called under some relationship compulsion, obligation or for any reason, are all sick people psychologically (they claim this indirectly) and hence one cannot say that they do not have any serious problem in their life. Everyone has a problem and they need a coach and training to identify and cure that problem and the solution given is that all participants are making story of life and life is meaningless and there is no trut anywhere. beliving this wihout any “justification’ thereby finally solves all the problems!!!!!!!!

    6. Landmark teaches there is no truth anywhre across the world but shockigly whatever coaches of landmark will say or guide are always truth and facts without any story!!!!!!!!

    Great cult, great force, great psycholgically tested brainwashing technique to creat guilt fear and to control human mind!!!!!!

    Those pigs will for sure rot in hell

    Rohit

  48. Nina Sughrue says:

    Hi Michael,
    I was just doing some googling on landmark and found your blog. I went to the forum yesterday and decided not to go back. I was there for free (through work) and I have to say I found the whole experience quite reckless. I work as a conflict resolution trainer with people that have a lot of trauma and that forum is unethical. It’s not a cult — it’s a total scam.

    First – why can’t you take notes? they say it’s because they want you to be ‘present’ and not distracted by notes. That is total BS. As a trainer/teacher you want your students to learn and if taking notes helps they great. They don’t want you to take notes so you won’t remember things and therefore will encourage others to take the program since you have no notes to share.

    Second -why is the session SO LONG? 13 hours in an uncomfortable chair. Again, you want students to be physically comfortable when learning. This, in my view, it to make people tired, weak, and vulnerable

    Three – why is there no coffee? There wasn’t even a place to buy coffee. My feeling about this is related to my second point.

    Fourth – why are we in a windowless room — again related to the second point.

    Basically, my feeling from day one is that there is a lot of manipulation there. I left at 10:15pm and the session was still going on. One of the landmark leaders started to give me a guilt trip about leaving at 10:15pm! This totally ticked me off (clearly!) and I decided not to return.

    It’s a scam folks — if you have a real problem see a licensed professional, not someone who went through the landmark curricula to ‘coach’ people to a breakthrough.

    Nina

    • Rohit says:

      Yes you are right Nina but it is more than scam. It is course based on neurolinguistic programming that aims to control your mind by brainwashing it. therefore the methods they adopt the points they teach and the way participants are supposed to behave and act are totally designed to control the mind thought actions and behaviour. Hence some becomes emotional criminal kind of people to expolit others by taking them to landmark and some just become ‘free slaves’ of landmark to serve them for search of somthing whihc they never get since they cant get at all. after all it is scam and fake!!!

      Rohit

      • Redfin says:

        Hi Rohit, your view is probably the most extreme I’ve read posted here. However in my opinion it’s the closest to the truth.
        I had a massive breakdown about 3 years ago and this is my first post about it, I’m sick of doubting myself and trying to deal with it my own-it’s living hell. I’ve seen two professionals, one in cult counciling, neither of which could clear things up for me, somewhat due to trust issues at the time, and their lack of comprehension of knowledge. Searching online is risky as half the posts are from poor brainwashed bastards like me, but who didnt have enough of a pre-life to realize something’s gone wrong, and therefore make it their new life’s goal to convince you that landmark is right and you are not! Some of them are pretty good at it too.. The Poor bastards…

        Anyway, I was wondering how you would feel about keeping in touch for some mutual support? I’m not sure what the best way to do this confidentially is as I’m not keen on putting my email up tho.. Any ideas?

        Cheers.

    • Ravi says:

      I never had any problem with my life and was just curious when I attended the forum.

      Simply put, after the forum I ended up doing so many things I would have never dreamt of doing in my life.

      I see that the Landmark Forum really challenges you to confront yourself and the pretense we always live with like it is all normal. And everybody who confronts has some real takeaways from that course., in terms of new possibilities they never imagined before.

      I knew a lot of people who were not ready to confront themselves and just wanted to be in comfort zone not stretching themselves, and I see them talking how the course was bad, or hypnotic whatever.

      • shradha says:

        I did Landmark last month. I have just started with seminar.
        No big issues just that I created issues in my life. Its Landmark which made me realize it . Now after 1 month I have applied very few of it learning’s. I am still learning in seminars, as most of the thing u are unable to comprehend once u are out of the forum. But I am more relaxed, happier, frowns on my forehead has disappeared and I am glowing. Yes, it will create results only when you are ready to confront yourself, your attitude and ready to take responsibility of your life.

    • Brett says:

      Nina, your second point is a vert valid one. Why do interrogations take a long time? They sit a person down, keep them awake, deprive them of sustenance and keep them feeling uncomfortable to wear them down.

      Landmark do the same thing. They seal you ina room with very little natural light, sit you in an uncomfortable chair, command your undivided attention for very long stretches of time, and wear down your resistance, and ability to critically think.

      In a weakened state, you’ll buy into anything, which is why the big buy ins come on Day two and three.

  49. Brijesh says:

    Interesting discussion :-)

    My name is Brijesh and I have completed forum in 2004(in Irvine, LA) Advanced course, SELP(from Bangalore, India). Attended some of the seminars. Also assisted in many programs.

    In my opinion(it’s just my opinion :-) ), for me it was a very good experience, life changing conversations. The friend, my manager, who introduced me to this program told me to go there with an open mind. There was no big issues in my life. Life was smooth. Landmark helped me to make it better. I don’t think i have shared anything during the Forum but I got lot of things. There are few distinctions/points, were i don’t agree with landmark. I think I did not get it properly. But that’s ok. There are many other points I completely agree with Landmark.

    Even today, there are moments in my life, where I use some of those techniques I learned from Landmark to handle some of the situations in my life. And it gives me great results. I have introduced many friends to landmark. Some of them were very happy, some were totally against it, some were neutral (including my wife  ). And I am perfectly fine with that. They are free to accept/reject it. My intention behind introducing them to landmark was- I want them to be happy as I am or more than that. It’s not that they are not happy now. But it helps them to take it to the next level.

    Landmark distinctions gives me lot of energy, new way of handling things, another perspective to anything in life. Now a days, when I think I need some positive energy, I will take the small notebook where I have jotted down some of things happened/learned in Landmark and it has always provided me the required energy. I can go on…

    Have a nice day.

  50. Ravi says:

    I never had any problem with my life and was just curious when I attended the forum.
    Simply put, after the forum I ended up doing so many things I would have never dreamt of doing in my life.
    I see that the Landmark Forum really challenges you to confront yourself and the pretense we always live with like it is all normal. And everybody who confronts has some real takeaways from that course., in terms of new possibilities they never imagined before.
    I knew a lot of people who were not ready to confront themselves and just wanted to be in comfort zone not stretching themselves, and I see them talking how the course was bad, or hypnotic whatever.

  51. Tatiana says:

    My experience with Landmark has been a mixture of good and bad.

    I did my Forum last November. In the month before I did it I was crying three times a day and was anxious to the point of nearly vomiting – I had just come out of a relationship and had quite a meltdown.

    During the Forum I ended up calling my ex and telling him that I loved him – I hadn’t spoken to him for months and it was the most enormously freeing thing I’d ever done. The discussion about being authentic prompted this. I also ended up calling my girlfriends who I used to sit around and bitch about men with and said, “The truth is I do want to fall in love and be in a relationship with someone but all this beating on men is a cover-up.” Because of that we started actually being honest about what we all wanted and one of my friends is now in a long term relationship, and I know while it may have happened anyway, me being less cynical and actually supporting her it has definitely helped.

    Also, my friendships became closer. In the Forum I distinguished that I had been living my life thinking that I wasn’t loved enough, and since then I experience way more love and happiness in my life. I actually woke up and saw how many friends I really had and I was able to express my love for people more freely.

    My relationship with my parents has also improved dramatically. After completing the Forum I did a four day roadtrip with my father and we didn’t fight once – I used to argue with my Dad all the time. I used to think my Dad was a massive burden and would get so irritated being around him but after the Forum I realised I was listening to him that way, and when I listened from a place of love I actually saw how much my Dad gave up his life for me. My appreciation for my parents grew very quickly.

    I also made a huge difference in my workplace – I went to work and realised all I was doing was complaining, and I made the drastic move of emailing the company CEO and letting him know directly what was going on – morale was dropping, the middle level executives were making poor decisions that were affecting our performance and there was a total lack of communication. I was bar staff in a performing arts centre and I went over around 6 levels of management to do what I did. When I met with him he praised my initiative and gave me the paid task of compiling feedback from my colleagues and generating suggestions of how to improve the place. I had just completed a Bachelor of Social Science and a Bachelor of Economics and had some experience doing this sort of research. I went around my workplace and instead of talking about what was wrong and who was to blame, we talked about what was missing and what we could do about it. It was a very powerful experience.

    I also became a musician – I thought I was would just be one of those people who sang and played guitar in their bedroom, but a few months after the forum I formed a band with the best musicians in the small town I was living in and we made quite a splash. That was due to kind of.. I guess “taking the lid off” what I thought was possible for myself. I now pursue music more openly and get a lot of good feedback and support.

    That was all just from doing the Forum. Then I did the two Communication courses available and from that I had open conversations with my sister in law and my relationship with her has improved greatly, as has my relationship with my brother and their children. My relationship with my friends has also gotten even better since I’ve learnt to communicate myself more effectively and I’ve become a better listener.

    THAT’S ALL THE GOOD STUFF. Please read it – even skim over if it’s a lot. It’s important that people know that the tools and distinctions in the Landmark Forum do provide a lot of value for a lot of people. I’ve had a few friends do it after me and they say they got a lot from it. One of my friends was failing uni and a couple months after he did the Forum he called me and he had gotten credits and distinctions and was extremely happy.

    NOW THE BAD STUFF. This is my experience and it’s one version of the truth, and I stand by it.

    Because of the word-of-mouth marketing, SO MUCH of the training is training people to talk about the Landmark Forum to their friends and family. They tie it in like it’s really important and necessary. It’s like they’re not straight about it – “The survival of our business comes from you sharing this with your friends.”

    From what I’ve seen, the effects of the Forum LIKE THEY PROMISE are not long term… I still get value from it until now, but it’s like they say, “Don’t you want your friends and family to have an extraordinary life?” I don’t know, it just feels like manipulation.

    Anyway, I was all gun-ho about Landmark until I did their Introduction Leaders program. In all fairness, I did get a lot from this program as well, and the best thing I got from it was actually leaving it. I don’t think it’s designed this way but I was told very little about it and it took me a while to realise that the commitment for SEVEN MONTHS would be to assist twice a week and call my friends and family and get them to do the Landmark Forum. At one point in our training I said, “How is this any different from sales?” and the classroom leader couldn’t answer.

    So eventually I left saying, “I’ve been paying you to train me into a Landmark salesperson, no thanks”. I had to be really firm about my stance and I told them that noone at Landmark has my permission to contact me about my participation in the ILP. A big part of my decision to leave was that my friend who did it was a recovering alcoholic and after he did the Advanced Course he started drinking again. He is still glad he did the courses but we both agreed that we should just take what we can from it but not put too much weight on Landmark solving all of lifes problems.

    LONG STORY SHORT – I got a lot of really great stuff from the Landmark Forum and Communication courses, but the marketing is way too much and in their Leadership program my experience was that I was paying them to train me to be a free salesperson. A lot of manipulation goes on. The tools and distinctions are awesome but there is a lot that Landmark Education as a company is not straight about. They don’t accept feedback very well.

  52. Observer says:

    After taking the Landmark Forum, I have made a number of observations. Their philosophy is sound. It has been sound for millennia called by many other names. After creating their own titles for common tenets generally understood by individuals with a strong sense of self, they brilliantly use our own natural instinctual tendencies against us. While I agree that the majority of people require to be shaken and screamed out of their apathy, being subject first-hand to this was an absolutely stomach-churning and gruelling endeavor akin to watching an endless Dr. Phil marathon. It is in my belief though, strangely enough, that there are actually people I know who should take this course, simply because people unable to escape their first-world problems require this transformative learning model (designed by Werner Erhard – also used by Scientology), to wake the fuck up. Even resilient minds will find this “transformative learning model” difficult to resist. It is only a matter of time before a mind will break.

    But this course offended my greater sensibilities by continually making sweeping generalizations of human nature and constantly suggesting that each person in that room was all the same. Not only that, but who in this world can argue against the idea that anything one does is for the purpose of looking good? It’s the truth. But they ingeniously use this to ensnare minds to coalesce with one another through exhaustive repetition. Why else would a course run for 3 consecutive days straight from 9 am to 10 pm? The 150 or so individuals share the same experience together, feeding off of others’ energies and creating an environment that consumes everyone within it. It was difficult to breathe. The air was thick with emotion and only someone with incredible composure and the ability to think rationally in the face of overwhelming barrages of attacks can come out unscathed. Even then, I am doubtful as to how much a mind can take. Over time, every mind will crack. It is inconceivably genius, and dangerous. The average mind simply cannot handle the intensity presented by the overconfident speaker who cleverly points out that language is the medium in which we make distinctions and interpretations, and then goes on to constantly create scenarios in which the landmark material becomes a double standard. It only applies to those not subscribed to the landmark dogma. The speaker will effortlessly appeal once in a while to those being judged in their seats by animating himself with humor or tugging at their heartstrings by reiterating a tear-jerking story. Incredibly effective. This is INDOCTRINATION at an incredible level using sound philosophical notions of self improvement and transformative change to better your life all for what purpose?

    To make money. Period. The Landmark Academy is first and foremost a business plain and simple. Their business revolves around the ideology that anyone is capable of anything. This is nothing new. Churches have been using it for millennia. It is the basic business model of institutionalized religion. The product is transformation of the self, and the business is perpetuated through the recruitment of friends and family by those that have become “enlightened” and have a new perspective of life—all thanks to the Landmark Academy. Like Christ. Like Allah. Like reaching Nirvana. Except of course, you have to pay $600 to get a tongue-lashing in your chair first. Then once you drink the kool-aid you can pay another $800 for the advanced course, and another $900 for the leadership. Then you go out and try to gain more recruits. Your children. Your parents. Your loved ones. Then you can all be happy living free of “rackets” and “inauthenticities” and stop creating “stories” about the events that “really happened”. You can tune out the “Already / Always listening” sea of opinions that we live in to “Look Good and Avoid Looking Bad” and become AUTHENTIC with yourself. What brilliant dogma. Almost no material costs. All volunteers. 13 hour days and no lunch or dinner provided. It is absolutely brilliant. The leaders are trained and prepared to combat and appropriately respond to any form of instinctual behavior a human being might experience, and manipulate it into a favorable outcome for them. The leaders of the Forums do not even attempt to hide their disgust for people and the fact that people are being manipulated. They say it outright. It’s that effective. All volunteers become indoctrinated to such a high degree that they become slaves to the Transformation Ideology. You can’t even have a real conversation with them without them spitting out kool-aid. But I almost drank it. It’s THAT powerful.

    To think that a business could be operated using such manipulative techniques and on such a high understanding of how human being are wired to react is remarkable. Someone’s done his homework. That someone (Werner Erhard) is a multi-millionaire.

    Here’s a better alternative: read The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill. It’s about $40 and if you follow the doctrine to the letter, it is well worth the investment. Or find God. That will cost you nothing.

  53. vin says:

    Some interesting comments here.

    As a graduate I appreciate that the forum has helped many people who were completely asleep at the wheel beforehand – this is unfortunately the state of consciousness for most humans who are programmed, not by the Landmark forum, but by growing up in our rigid society all across the earth.

    Strangely enough, this societal programming is what makes the Landmark Forum seem sooo incredibly amazing to most graduates who have been exposed to nearly nothing like what they experience in that weekend. To learn that you have a little voice talking in your head and that you should be skeptical in the least of what it says, to hear that your stories of the past are only stories and not facts themselves, to be encouraged to be honest with your family and friends for once in your life and to actually take responsibility rather than blaming them, to hear that you have the ability to create anything you want . . . these are extremely radical concepts for most people who have heard only their opposites their entire lives.

    However, let’s not be naive here. The landmark forum didn’t come up with this stuff out of the blue, nor is any of their content truly novel or unique. If you’ve studied buddhism, taoism, even some ancient greek and roman philosophy – these are all apart of all of those teachings. If anything, my only critique would be that the landmark forum waters down some of this content. Sadly, most people who have never been exposed to such teachings walk away believing, as the forum would like them to, that this stuff is absolutely revolutionary and can’t be found anywhere else (as my forum leader actually said at one point :) This is simply not the case.

    I appreciate the forum’s intense approach and I believe that for many people who don’t have the patience to spend 10 years studying buddhism or meditating, a forum weekend may be just the right medicine to kick their butt into some level of awakening. On the other hand, I’ve gone through non-landmark programs of transformation that made the landmark seem less like a roller coaster and more like peaceful stroll on the beach. My point is that there are lots of places to find transformation, and if you happen to be someone who seeks it, know that you can find it in numerous places outside of the forum – whether forum graduates tell you that or not.

    Nonetheless, I think it can be a very powerful and helpful program for some.

  54. Tom says:

    Is anybody involved in the “Assisting Program”? This is where they con you into working for them for free and they make millions of dollars off of unpaid labor. Also, has anyone heard of Cafe Gratitude? Google it up, it’s one of Landmarks legal defeats.

    • Derek says:

      Hi Tom – to answer your question: yes, I’ve been involved in assisting at Landmark now and then over the past few years and I always found it enjoyable, rewarding, and beneficial.

      I don’t know where you got your information, but it is factually wide of the mark in several respects.

      Firstly, no-one “conned” me – I chose freely when to assist and when not to.

      Secondly, there is no “they” who are making “millions of dollars”; the company is owned by its staff who pay themselves no dividends and who work long hours for salaries far less than they could command elsewhere.

      Thirdly, my experience is not one of providing “unpaid labour”, but of expressing myself in serving the participants in Landmark’s courses (who are getting excellent training at well below market rates as a result of the arrangement). Also getting worthwhile training for myself in the process.

      Finally, Cafe Gratitude is nothing to do with LE, apart from the fact that its owners had completed some of Landmark’s seminars and were enthusiastic about them.

      • Tom says:

        Derek, you’ve been bamboozeled. You got conned you just don’t realize it because of the mental fatigue and group pressure. The “They” that I’m referring to is John Rosenberg (Werner Erhard) and his brother Harry Rosenberg. John sold the company to his brother Harry to avoid paying more alimony to his second ex-wife. On the “staff” of the owners of Landmark are John and Harry’s sister. And they do make millions in profit – between 50 and 90 million a year, and Landmark has 95% voluteer unpaid workforce.
        Cafe Gratitude’s owners pressured all their employees (waiters/waitresses, dish washers, etc.) to attend the Forum, telling the employees they will pay half and that it will make them so much better at work (Ha) they just had to attend. Then the cafe’s managers had a “tip pooling” rule where ALL of the tips customers left went into a common tip jar and the managers would divide the tips up evenly among all of the waiters/waitresses. The waiters sensed a Landmark scam and realized that the managers were skimming from the tip pool and keeping a big portion of the money. They proved it in court and won. The enthusiastic managers of Cafe Gratitude were paying for half of the forum tuition for the workers from money they stole from the workers.

  55. Eileen says:

    Cult – no. By definition, Landmark Education isn’t a cult. Everything is a choice including the opportunity to leave the Forum early on without penalty – all money is returned – if you decide it’s not for you.

    Do people take the Forum because someone they knew took the Forum – yes. It’s called a referral in every other business. If referrals equal a cult, then I’m out of business. 99 percent of my business is off of referrals.

  56. Tom says:

    Eileen, where have you been? You haven’t posted since February. Good job in identifying the “list of people who would benefit from this program” as a list of referrals. That’s exactly what it is and is called in the sales world – referrals, and salesmen love them. Landmark makes you do the work of an unpaid salesman by having you make a list of referrals for them. Then you have to contact the people on the list and recruit them for a sale – Landmark calls it “inviting” not recruiting because they just switch terminology. Also on the list of unpaid salesman tasks are lining up the pens and registration forms nice and neat on the table and performing telemarketing work calling people to “SHARE” this “wonderful technology” to make sales for them and make them money.
    At the forum I attended, they had us write down the names of 10 people that you are going to “INVITE” (recruit) to the “Graduation” (sales pitch). Don’t you see, Landmark makes their customers perform all of the functions of a salesman and they get all the commission. What a scam.

  57. Tom says:

    Does anyone remember the assignment at the end of the first day of the forum? Your assignment is to “SHARE” the forum with someone – anyone, just share. The first step is “sharing” (advertising and promoting), the next step is “inviting” (recruiting for a sale).

    • Mark Driscoll says:

      It’s amazing how they get people to work for free.

      People get so sucked in that they will literally clean toilets. I had a volunteer tell me that the Forum’s standards are so high that occasionally volunteers have to clean the restrooms which Forum participants will use while attending the Forum, because the hotel cleaning crew simply does not live up to the high standards demanded by the Forum. Everything needs to be perfect for a Forum. Name tags must be perfectly aligned and evenly spaced, and everything else must be perfect. If a Forum volunteer does not do their job perfectly, they are berated. It’s amazing how they get away with this. All of this under the guise of having people achieve their highest potential!

  58. Mark Driscoll says:

    I attended the Forum in the 1990′s with a Forum Leader by the name of Bill Palmer. The Forum Leader went through a list of Forum “requirements” and asked that all stand and promise to abide by these requirements. All did, and the Forum leader went up and down each aisle to confirm that all were in fact standing. All were.

    In addition, the Forum Leader went through a list of Forum “recommendations”. The Forum Leader acknowledged that all Forum participants would not be able to abide by the Forum recommendations. For example, those with bladder problems might need to make a trip to the bathroom during one of the unusually long Forum sessions, not being able to wait until the
    designated Forum break when all others would be able to relieve themselves. When it came time for the Forum leader to request that Forum participants stand to make a promise to abide by the recommendations (a eemingly strange request, as one typically accepts a
    recommendation by one’s actions without having to stand to make a promise), he specifically instructed those who had openly acknowledged their bladder problems or other issues which prevented them from complying with the recommendations to remain seated. The Forum Leader then went up and down the aisles to see who was seated and who was standing, recognizing along the way those who had sought permission to be exempted from the recommendations
    (strange again, as one should not have to seek permission to be exempted from a mere recommendation). As the Forum leader went up and down the aisles he spotted one participant who was seated but who had not been previously made himself known or sought an exemption from the so-called “recommendations”. He asked this Forum participant what specific problem or issue he had with the recommendations, and the Forum participant simply responded that he “in general” did not promise to abide by the so-called “recommendations”. The Forum leader then commanded this participant, “Leave, leave immediately; go to the back of the room, get your $395.00 (or so) back, and go”. When the Forum participant did not immediately do as commanded the Forum leader once again commanded (again in a very
    authoritarian tone), “Leave immediately or I’ll call the police and have you removed!”

    Now you tell me there is not some mind control going on with the Forum! It may not meet the definition of a cult, but there is definitely some mind control involved!

  59. Tom says:

    They have a strick rule on attendance, and they have 3 hour sessions with very short breaks inbetween. They used to have the session go for 6 hours, but too many people complained about having to go to the bathroom. It’s important for them to keep you for a long, extended period of time in order to induce MENTAL FATIGUE. Along with group pressure, mental fatigue is one of their brainwashing/pressuring techniques. They wear you out and then pounce on you with a shameless hard sell using group pressure when you are tired and vulnerable. Remember, they’re trying to get you to purchase NOTHING that’s empty and meaningless.

  60. Mark says:

    Some people thought they had a “breakthrough” overcoming public speaking, but it seems to me the breakthrough was short-lived and mostly just in the context of the Forum where there was intense pressure to speak. I’d say they created a “substitute” fear of not speaking which exceeded these individuals’ fears of public speaking. If you didn’t speak, you were told you would lose the benefit of the Forum and even destroy the benefit of the Forum for other participants. A great deal of pressure for most people!

    Yes, there did seem to be strict rules on attendance, but strangely they characterized the attendance rules as “recommendations”. For an organization which prides itself on the use of language, it was a bit peculiar that they called the attendance rules “recommendations” rather than “requirements”, particularly since they had a list of requirements which one had to accept in order to participate (actually had to stand and promise to abide by the requirements).

    In point of fact the “recommendations” became “requirements” if you refused to accept them without giving the Forum leader an acceptable explanation as to why you would not accept the recommendations. Mind control big time! And yes, they definitely tried to make sure people became mentally fatigued to ensure that their tactics worked on the participants.

  61. Mark says:

    I found their definition of “integrity” extremely objectionable. As part of the Forum, the Forum leader taught that words have integrity if they accomplish the objective for which they were intended. Integrity has nothing to do with the truthfulness of the words, according to the Forum leader.

    So, for example, if you go to the grocery store and pay with a 10 dollar bill and then as the change is being given to you, you say, “No I gave you a 20″, your words have “integrity” if they accomplish your intended objective of getting an extra 10 dollars back in change. The Forum leader did not give this specific example, but this example illustrates the point of just how immoral their teachings can be.

    • Tom says:

      Mark, isn’t it funny that Landmark was created by a Used Car Salesman, hence their definition of integrity. They even have a course called “INTEGRITY – THE BOTTOM LINE” (much laughter). They stress integrity and their creator has been divorsed twice!!! It’s a used car saleman pretending to be a therapist – and he keeps up-selling you, imagine that.

  62. Tom says:

    I cannot believe all of the Landmark supporting Cult worshipping Cowards got scared and ran away, leaving me with the last comment on this website. That proves what a cult Landmark is.

  63. B says:

    This has been an interesting discussion, and I’ve enjoyed the robust debate.

    I completed the forum earlier in the year. I went into it knowing very little about it, sans what my partner at the time had told me. She’d had a hard time as a child and I know it plagued her. Counselling and a little therapy had some effect, but she was looking for more. Landmark supposedly provided that, and as she’d found something to occupt her time, she thought I should be involved too, as it would improve our relationship.

    And so I sat there on day one and listened. I questioned internally several of the definitions of the terms used, and wondered how they’d come up with these specific, grammatically-poor definitions, but like a good boy, I kept my mouth shut and listened further.

    The first break came round and we were urged to call someone we’d been inauthentic (sigh…) with. I’ve always endeavored to have open and honest relationships with people and struggled to think of someone to call, so I called my girlfriend and just had a chat to her. She broke down and cried that I’d chosen her and said it was my breakthrough.

    This was definitely news to me.

    Anyway, after she settled we had a bit of a chat about things that had been discussed. She was so excited that I was on board, but really, I was questioning what the hell I was doing there, and why I wasn’t outside enjoying more of this glorious day?

    Back into the flourescantly lit, windowless room we went, and there were some people crying about the breakthrough they’d had already. These people were so eager to have these breathroughs that I reckon had the forum leader farted two or three times it would’ve been enough to compel them to make a phone call to report to their estranged friends what it smelled like.

    So the day continued, and I started to get tired. I was uncomfortable, restless and losing focus – this is how they get you. You become more susceptible and suggestable when you’re not entirely with it. I decided to go to the bathroom but was stopped at the door by a volunteer who advised me not to go, as I’d miss something vital to my transformation. I used the “when you’ve gotta go…” argument but she was adamant that I should stay. I had to look her in the eye and tell her in no uncertain terms that I was going to the bathroom. She then allowed me to pass.

    So I was having a wonderful time in the toilet, alone with my thoughts, thinking about things like the upcoming football season, how this was marginally better than going to work on a Friday, but far less than enjoyable than a day off, when two blokes came into the toilet and one asked if I was OK. I can’t remember the exact conversation, but I wasn’t too pleased about being followed to the toilet.

    I must stress, that at this point I had every intention of heading back in and continuing with the forum, but this really set alarm bells off for me. I exited the cubicle and let the guys know that following me to the toilet wasn’t on, and that if anything, it was damn creepy. One of them began yapping away about my “rackets” and really, I wasn’t too pleased with his take on me needing to take a dump.

    I walked out of the toilets, back into the forum, got lovely smiles from all the volunteers as I re-entered. I walked over, grabbed my beanie from next to my chair, turned around and walked back out.

    FIVE people followed me out. A mix of volunteers, and one worker, I believe, as she made the introduction to the presenter. She spoke about commitments and living up to my word, reminding me that I signed a contract, and so on. I think it was important that I never broke momentum, and continued walking. For those in Melbourne, they’ll know that the office is on Sturt Street. By the time they finally stopped walking with me, I was about five blocks away. Two of them were raising their voice, berating me and using Landmark speak to make me seem as though I was the worst person in the world. So, I walked into the pub there, ordered a beer and had a ripping night.

    Got home just after midnight and found a fuming girlfriend waiting for me. She said that she couldn’t be with someone who wasn’t serious about Landmark. We had a long chat where I said I was happy that she’d found something that worked for her, but that doesn’t mean I had to get involved too. She said that if I cared for her I would go back and do the forum. If I placed value on our relationship, and wanted it to be better, I would do Landmark. I told her that she was being manipulative to put money in Landmark’s coffers. I asked her what landmark had done for her, besides offer more courses and suck money from her (my) wallet? She gave me Landmark speak back. I asked her to speak in a way that someone who has not done Landmark would understand. Her defence was that if I’d done Landmark we could communicate on the same level.

    I’m rambling here, so the upshot is that we stopped seeing her… though she did text me and ask me for a “loan”. When I questioned why, I found it was to attend another Landmark course. I didn’t give it to her – I likened it to buying drugs for a junkie.

    We have/had mutual friends who have confessed to me they’re worried about her. She barely communicates without a reference to Landmark, or using Landmark speak in a conversation, and is constantly on our friends to attend. She even called my mother and told her to attend.

    I look at it like a ‘Ponzi’ scheme. You start at the bottom, do more courses and become a leader, you work your way up, and the goal is to be a presenter where you make the money. But most of it still finds its way to the Rosenbergs.

    Good luck to anyone who does it – I hope you’re one of the people who it works for. I, however, am definitely not.

    • B says:

      And when I say completed, I mean completed my involvement in it, not completed it as in finishing it :P

      • Tom says:

        isn’t it creapy they would follow you to the bathroom so that you won’t make a break for it? Landmarks game is to mentally fatigue you, that’s the reason for the extra long marathon sessions and the strict rule on attendance. They hate breaks and many people leave at breaks – then they re-arrange the chairs to disguise the fact that people are dropping out.

  64. I took the Landmark Forum.

    I have a background in Psychology, and I have experienced cult situations in all my years and Landmark is a self development program that has many certified individuals teaching and support people helping out. Landmark isn’t a cult. I repeat, Landmark isn’t a cult. This is my opinion of course. After the three day course you then choose to attend a once a week follow-up for three months with others and you continue with self development. No one forces anyone to do anything ever.

    • Tom says:

      “Many certified individuals teaching”???? They’re used car salemen, Gary. Ask Rick Ross, one of the world’s leading cult intervention experts, if it’s a Cult. “No one forces anyone to do anything ever”, HA! Landmark applies HEAVY group pressure to get you to work for them for free and to keep purchasing more seminars. They rag on you hard if you don’t conform.

  65. Tim Fairbank says:

    I’ve been around Landmark for 20 years, and one thing I can tell you is that no one there WANTS it to be a cult.

  66. Laura says:

    WOW…I did landmark forum once in 2001 and once in 2008. I never did anything else but those two. I wasn’t pressured in to any other seminars or the advanced course. I JUST SAID NO. A cult breaks you up into small groups and makes you believe what they believe…. LM did NONE OF THAT! Seriously, people who believe it is a cult, either you are mentally ill yourself and get off on making things up or you just like to start problems. Get Lives.

    I am 36 and experienced nothing but great things from it. I let go of petty things i was holding on to, i cleared up relationships, i stop myself from judging people, i feel peace and relatedness to every kind of person. We go through battles or changes in life all the time, and all landmark does is help you NOT stop yourself from achieving the things you want to achieve.

    I disagree with this article that anyone who has an addiction should do this. Someone who abuses drugs or alcohol should seek help specialized for dealing with this.

    You don’t necessarily have to have PROBLEMS to do this..Maybe you want to communicate better with your staff..maybe you feel like you want to start a business but something is stopping you, maybe you want to be the best parent, maybe you are sick of being shy and insecure and you don’t know where it started, maybe you complain all the stinking time and nobody likes you! Whatever it is….Landmark helps you get past all this junk… and get over it.

    Trust me, i am a Chicago native and stubborn as hell. I am a socialite, with an art degree and active in the Chicago event community. I thought it was stupid too…forever! But i stepped of a cliff. I did it and it was profound and eye-opening.

    Integrity, doesn’t mean stay in a relationship you are miserable in and stay married or stay with the wrong person. This goes for friendships too… Integrity means facing the facts that something may be over or it may be something you want to save. Relationships end, come and go, stay forever and people change. That is life.

    Obviously, many get off on bashing this because they were confronted by something they didn’t want to deal with and got defensive. My advice is go solve that issue and start living. -LR

    • Tom says:

      Think about how versatile the product of Snake Oil is – it will make you start a new business, be the best parent, overcome being shy and insecure, stop complaining, have people like you, etc. etc. Don’t you see, the cheezy saleman will promise you “ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING” just to make that sale! Laura, have you ever noticed that during the entire 40 cult Forum that an actual PROCEDURE to accomplish anything never really materializes. They just keep telling you how great it is and that the real transformation happens in the next program (upselling). It’s the brain child of a cheezy used car salesman named John that changed his name to Werner Erhard.

      • laura says:

        Actually, everything materialized for me. Tom, I think your point in life is to be combative. That is fine if you couldn’t find value in the forum. I don’t think anyone really cares if you did or not. I sure do not. We can sit here and say any company is a cult..I don’t know what problems you have encountered, but live and let live man. We don’t care that you don’t agree. Nobody is asking you to do so and it is pretty ridiculous that you think you have all the answers. Every company sells. That’s how businesses survive. I make and sell jewelry…I want people to like it. Call me a cult. Call me a cheesy salesman. Get over it. Who cares…now go live your life and let go man. It’s sad you have been arguing on here since…geez… 2011 or something. Me? I’ve got better things to do.

        • Tom says:

          Actually, Laura, my point in life is to be combative against Cults, especially ones that are created by twice divorced used car salesmen. Geez Laura, can’t you see you’re sitting through a long, drawn out sales pitch and that the forum venue is identical to a time share condominium sales event – they place you in a classic interrogation setting: bright lights, no windows, no art work, long fatiguing sessions with short breaks, and heavy group pressure to get the next sale. Salesmen have learned that this type of scenario is effective to pressure people into a sale.

        • Tom says:

          When you sell your jewelry, do you apply group pressure on your customers to make them buy more jewelry and do you make them work for you for free as your unpaid salesmen? Do you make your customers write down the names of 10 people who have not bought any jewelry from you and invite them to a Tuesday night guest sales event where they will be pressured into buying jewelry that they don’t want?

  67. Dean says:

    Anyone who calls the organization a cult is clearly angry at either how they were treated by someone who did the program, how they perceived someone was treated in the program, or how they felt they were (or would be) treated in the program.

    I found a lot of extraordinary value out of doing several of the courses. I went on to lead programs. I can see how people can be weirded out by the clique-y lingo, processes, etc. I have also found it very awkward when people complete a course and come out sounding very different (which can have an alienating effect). It is an unfortunate byproduct, and it probably happens a lot, but it should not take away from the value that is available in doing the work of the Landmark Forum.

    • Carolyn says:

      I really enjoyed Landmark as well Dean. In fact, my entire immediate family has taken the Forum and 3 of us have gone into the ILP or SELP. I tell you this, because my Dad is heavily involved and yes, the language does get strange at times – to which I respond, “Dad, stop speaking in Landmark, I don’t understand what you’re saying.” haha. The great thing about it though is that my response is a completely acceptable response. I called it out that I didn’t understand, he acknowledges that, and then he rewords it. There are no hurt feelings or getting angry – the truth of the matter is I didn’t understand, so he reworded it, so I would understand. That is one piece of Landmark magic.

  68. Sheila says:

    Best class I’ve taken and I utilize the program to this day .

  69. Chris says:

    Michael,
    Thanks for your participation and observations, I mostly agree with them.
    I first want to echo what you said about Landmark not being a cult. I am an Army officer (Iraq veteran) and a civilian police officer; so, you can imagine I’m not going to be sold with hocus-pocus and cult-like techniques.
    To those who believe it is a cult – define what you mean by cult. I say it’s not – you are encouraged to genuinely connect with family and friends and be part of your community. Yes, the days are long, but when is the last time you sat for any significant amount of time and gave deep thought to who you are and what is your purpose in life? You are also given ample meal breaks, not prevented from using the facilities, and the programs are scheduled so you can get a full night sleep. Yep, they do pitch their other programs and encourage you to show the Landmark program to your friends – you got them ;) They are a for-profit business, and do not present themselves as anything else. I also try to remember, just like sports clubs, churches, schools – you can come across a few “over enthusiastic” – people who can say the wrong thing or present themselves in a way which is a turn-off.
    I would take issue with your observation that Landmark is not for someone who has no issues or life is working for them. I manage two successful careers and have a wonderful family – life works for me. Since I have participated in Landmark I have become a more effective leader, better husband, better friend and a more genuine person overall. I have continued in the Landmark curriculum and completed the “Landmark Curriculum for Living”. During the last program, the Self Expression and Leadership Program (SELP) I created a Wounded Warrior Internship program (providing wounded soldier’s intern positions) where I work which continues to this day. Had I not done Landmark, the opportunity I created for the veterans would not exist. Michael – I challenge you to do this program also, you will surprise yourself.
    Anyway – just a few of my thoughts. I personally endorse the Landmark programs.

    • Tom says:

      “encouraged to genuinely connect with family and friends”, oh AND invite them to your Tuesday night “Graduation”, which is really a sales pitch that they have to sit through. The days are long in order to induce MENTAL FATIGUE, this makes most people vulnerable to the upsell to the next course and to work for them for free as their unpaid salesman.

  70. Mark says:

    This may be a little late – but it was only posted to Facebook a few hours ago. That’s my STORY anyway.
    I was also very sceptical and wary of LANDMARK – but nonetheless, having seen the tremendous, positive results for a good friend of mine going thru a divorce, I agreed to the first course. Reluctantly.
    All I want to say is that:
    NO, it is NOT a cult.
    YES, I had breakthroughs, breakdowns.
    Finally I honestly believe that what LANDMARK taught me about myself (back in 2002) is still with me today.
    I use the TECHNOLOGY every day.
    Sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
    Someone in my group accused the group leader of ‘brain-washing’. He replied: “Absolutely, it’s brain-washing. We take your brain, give it a good wash and hand it back to you”.
    That’s what happens.
    Following the first weekend course and its impact on me, I signed up for the second and after that the third.
    I wish I could do another.
    I can. And someday I will.
    Be fiercer than your fears and face up to yourself (that’s MY phrase, not theirs).
    The results are clear and indisputable.

  71. nick1000 says:

    If you think Landmark Education used hypnosis on you, than you can easily state the phases of hypnotic trance and then detail how and where they were induced during The Forum. Don’t accuse if you don’t really know what your talking about.

    I’ve taken the curriculum, and if you NEED to think of them as a cult, then think of them as a cult who wants to teach you to take responsibility for your life, love your friends and family and put aside the bullsh*t stories you make up. If that’s a cult…sign me up!

  72. sally says:

    I did the forum 13 years ago, along with some short courses. I STILL continue to have powerful insights into my own motives and actions. I have not been in touch with the group for about 5 years, no mind control, just more self control and personal awareness. Were those that claim mind control so weak willed that they couldn’t walk out of the room if they felt like that??!!

  73. Tom says:

    “Absolutely, it’s brain-washing” because they mentally fatigue you and then take advantage of you to get you to purchase the next seminar (it’s essential, it’s necessary, you’re incomplete without it, etc. etc.”) and to work for them for free (assisting and training). Anytime a saleman can present their product as a “Technology” or a “Breakthrough”, it’s going to help them with sales. Don’t you see, all these buzzwords actually come from the world of high pressure sales – oh only it’s not “Pressuring” it’s “Helping”, and it’s not Recruiting/Selling/Advertising for free, it’s “Sharing”. You see, that’s the mentality of a cheezy, high pressure salesman. The creator of Landmark, Werner Erhard, was a saleman, here’s some background:

    Born Jack Rosenberg in 1935, high school was the extent of Erhard’s formal education. Married at age eighteen, he worked several jobs before leaving his wife and four children and running off with the
    woman he was later to marry and, subsequently, divorce. Simultaneously, he changed his name from John Paul (Jack) Rosenberg to Werner (from Werner Heisenberg, physicist, philosopher) Hans (from
    Bishop Hanns Lilje) Erhard (from economics minister and, later, Chancellor Ludwig Erhard).*16 His lover changed her name simultaneously from June Bryde to Ellen Virginia Erhard. They settled for a while in St. Louis, where Erhard sold used cards. Later, they were to relocate further west and he sold correspondence courses, encyclopedias and later trained door-to-door sales personnel. He worked in this capacity until 1971 with Grolier Society, Inc., which then was undergoing legal actions for fraudulent and deceptive sales
    techniques.

  74. Tom says:

    Here is a great example of the group pressure landmark uses at the end of the second seminar in order to pressure you into purchasing their third seminar. This is not from me, but from another dissatisfied customer of lanmark:

    “During the Advanced Course you are encouraged to do the Self Expression Leadership Program where you develop a community programme and enrol people to join you in developing it. During the advanced course they start by saying it’s the next step in your education, by the end of the weekend you are harrassed into registering for it. At the end of the course on a Sunday night, we were told that as a group we did not complete our advanced course because there were people who had not registered for SELP, those who had registered were asked to take a break and leave the conference room while those who had not registered were basically bullied as to why they had not registered and coerced to register. I registered purely to avoid the harrassment from the course leader, the staff and from others on the course. When I expressed during the course I did not want to do SELP, I was shot down and belittled. ”

    Look at the statement, ” we were told that as a group we did not complete our advanced course because there were people who had not registered for SELP” – as a GROUP we are incomplete, you see that is a clear cut illustration of group pressure. That is why it’s so very important for them to get you to their place, that way they can surrond you by their people and apply group pressure on you to get your money.

  75. Fred says:

    Wow, Tom you really have to be “right” on this one! Okay, you are “right”! It is a cult and all of us are brainwashed zombies! Speaking for myself, and I have had no contact with LEC for 12-13 years, I am still “hooked” on the distinctions they forced into my brain after 4 days of the Forum, 10 weeks of the FIA, 4 days of the Advanced Class, and 10 weeks of the SELP. (I am so weak I took them all, woe is me) I suspect this makes me a helpless loser in your eyes and, of course, you would be “right” again. (I am such a “loser” that I coached and assisted and participated in other programs for about 3 years). I just wish someone with such clear thinking and obviously superior intellect like you have had reached out to me before I succumbed to the allure of closer relationships with family and friends, of not being tied to my past and being able to see a different future that called to my heart that has allowed me to enjoy the past 17 years with greater ease, greater satisfaction and less “dis”-stress (Selye, not LEC).

    There now Tom, you are right and LEC and the majority of the rest of us are wrong, thank you for playing. The rest of us will now continue to wallow in our delusions.

    Michael,

    I would suggest to you that perhaps you could have a greater understanding of the benefits to those of us without major issues going into curriculum if you completed more than the the first third of the “elementary school” (my term, not LEC) portion of the curriculum including the completion Tuesday evenings. My suggestion, as commented on by others several times above, is to open your mind to hearing what is being said in these evenings without a preconceived idea of “why” the leader is trying to “enroll” you in the possibility of participating in the seminar, advanced class or SELP. I don’t think it’s the money, $0 from you signing up for the 10 week seminar and (I could be wrong here) no percentage of the fee from you signing up for the other classes. They won’t even be here for your completion of the CFL. I think you would find benefit from this completion, but then again I am “brainwashed” according to Tom.

    In closing, I think LEC has some flaws or “missings”, but even with these flaws it is the least expensive, fastest, most effective program out there to help people realize their full potential, even for someone that may have achieved great success already.

    • Tom says:

      “clear thinking and obviously superior intellect” – thanks for the complements Fred, you’re on the mark. Review my remarks and comments ever since Oct 2011: I have never ever used the words “zombie” and/or “helpless loser”, those are words you must have heard others use to describe you and you reiterated them. What happened to you is mental fatigue and group pressure to brainwash you into “wallowing in your delusions” as you said.

    • Tom says:

      “closer relationships with family and friends” – so these used car salesmen are family counselors and relationship experts – HAHAHAHA The benefits Landmark promises to achieve in their courses are issues that have to be handled by certified pyschologists and therapists – NOT USED CAR SALEMEN!!!!! Please google up Darren Mack Landmark Education to see what results are really possible (and that actually happened).

    • Tom says:

      Landmarks “Cirriculum for Living” involves working for free as their unpaid salesman. You perform all of the functions of a saleman, including meeting sales quotas and deadlines, only you don’t get paid. If you don’t, then you’re “not being coachable” and you “won’t get it”. Gosh, to become “transformed” you have to make them money by signing up for more courses and working for them for free by recruiting others (sharing) for sales.

    • Tom says:

      Fred, during the 3 years you worked for them for free, how many people did you successfully recruit to purchase and pay for a seminar? How many sales did you make (correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the sales quota 10 people for the forum and 25 people for the Leadership program?).

  76. Tom says:

    All the Landmark Cult supporting COWARDS got frightened of the truth and ran away in hiding leaving me with the last comment on this website. That proves Landmark is a CULT.

    • Fred says:

      Tom, see above if the moderator ever approves my comment. But for now, I have proven LEC is not a cult by being the last comment on the subject. (your rules)

      Isn’t this fun Tom, you being “right” , LEC and me being “wrong” and nobody cares what you think, but you get to “win”.

      • Tom says:

        Actually Fred I get to win if I can warn people of this scam that was created by a twice divorsed used car salesman (Harry Rosenberg’s brother) that just simply set up shop as an unlicensed psychotherapist who keeps upselling you to the next course.

      • Tom says:

        “Closer relationships with family and friends”???? Fred, you do know the fact that the inventor of this cult (Harry Rosenberg’s brother) has been divorsed twice????

      • Tom says:

        Fred, where did you go? Did you get scared of the truth and run away? Did you come up to a barrier of truth that you couldn’t face so you turned around and ran away?

  77. Tom says:

    Once again, everyone supporting this cult, created by a twice divorced used car salesman, got stumped by the truth and ran away in cowardice, leaving me with the last comment on this website. No rebuttle possible, the truth rules. That proves that Landmark is a CULT.

  78. Vallerie Malkin says:

    Michael Anthony, your response to Landmark Education was similar to mine; somewhat skeptical, you went in eyes open, acclimated to the cult-ish conditions of the program, submitted to them in order to process the program as intended, while never giving up your own free will which is what happens when people are damaged or have a bad experience at Landmark. Ultimately what you learn there among the sea of faces in what looks like a democracy to me (i.e., people of all ilks there, some with minor issues and some with major and some just simply curious and searching which is the basic human inclination) is that you are responsible for yourself, even when you are victimized, and at cause in your life. Scary isn’t that! As much as I disliked certain Landmark-ish traditions like the heavy recruitment tactics, the being held in a room for many hours (yes, a cult tactic, but also an instrument in getting people to really sit with and be with the material in a very intense way so that they can truly digest the experience without distraction) – and some of the Landmark carriers of messages (like those ridiculously sunny/happy/super-authentic, Landmark-tripped out volunteers) I absolutely 100 percent believe that Landmark is a better tool for self improvement and for opening doors and for getting people to get out of their way, than any therapy or extended yoga session one could do. I went in wanting to rip Landmark to pieces, and finding all of the evidence there that I would do this, when it was over and prove the people who recommended it to me, wrong. Instead, with a strong Landmark Forum leader who was super-humble, super confident, and super intellectual and super compassionate, I absorbed the material, and was left with one thing at the end: if I’m to have even a reasonably happy life, I have to take responsibility for every single thing in it, even for moving forward after somebody has screwed me over, or something very awful has happened situationally. It sounds like a boring lesson to learn, and one that could just be learned by writing it down in a sentence – however, the brilliance of this program IS what appears to be this cult-like intensity – the knowledge seeps in and with the dialogue between you and the leader and you and each other, you come to the conclusion that is oh so benign and oh so empowering: you’re in charge. So ultimately to say it’s a cult is hilarious because cults seek to weaken the mind so that it will follow the instructions of the collective. There are no instructions here. It all comes back to you, and although I did a few Landmark programs afterward that were also excellent, I haven’t gone back to it – but what I learned there has helped me exponentially. My life isn’t perfect and it isn’t great but it’s something I call my own now.

    • Tom says:

      “ultimately to say it’s a cult is hilarious because cults seek to weaken the mind so that it will follow the instructions of the collective. ”

      Vallerie, to say that Landmark is a cult is accurate because they seek to weaken the mind (through long hours of mental fatigue) so that it will follow the instructions of the collective (using group pressure), and the instructions of the collective are to recruit for them, work for them for free, and sign up for more programs.

      There are instructions there, you remember the assignment the first night you are supposed to “SHARE” the forum with someone/anyone – they are instructing you to adveretise for them. The last night of the forum when they tell you to bring people to Tuesday night – they are instructing you to bring people to their sales pitch. Obviously they give you instructions, and they claim that if you don’t follow their instructions you don’t have any right to expect any benefits. They also take your time and money, leaving you without those resources.

    • Tom says:

      But Vallerie, you are NOT in charge, you are following Landmark’s “Curriculum for Living” (created by a twice divorsed, greedy, used car saleman), which involves working for them for free by making sales for them. If you don’t meet your recruitment quota, they rag on you hard using group pressure. They are actually in charge of you. “Freedom and Awareness” are actually the opposite what truly is happening.

  79. Vallerie Malkin says:

    @Tom: I agree that the founder of Landmark is morally bankrupt and nobody anyone should want to emulate. But he had the intellectual resources to put together a very true program about humanity. What’s scary about Landmark isn’t the program itself, it’s what some people might do with it (i.e., people all hopped up on it, trying to change the people around them – Landmark warns people NOT to do this. In my mind doing this is typical boundaryless behavior.) But just like in real life you have all kinds of people at all levels of enlightenment and dysfunction, you can’t expect this won’t happen. I think you’re really cynical about a program that is implemented in schools would reduce a lot of dysfunction in adults. Again, I was turned off by several things at Landmark which I simply discarded; and I grabbed on to the innate wisdom of the at-cause logic, which I think is sound. P.S. Why are people ripping each other apart on this strand?

    • Tom says:

      Vallerie, in your statement, ‘I think you’re really cynical about a program that is implemented in schools would reduce a lot of dysfunction in adults” – do you “IF” and not “IS” right before “implemented”? Do you think they should implement this cult in public schools? OMG

      • Tom says:

        “Morally Bankrupt” is an understatement. Do you know that this ex used car saleman is hiding out in the Caymen Islands from Scientology because they’re after him for stealing their “Technology”. His brother, Harry Rosenberg and his sister now own and operate this cult.

      • Tom says:

        Oops, I meant “do you MEAN “IF” and not “IS”, sorry for the omission of the word mean.

  80. Tom says:

    Has anyone heard of “Project Hunger”? It was a big scam where John Rosenberg (Warner Erhard) promised to stop death by starvation (end world hunger) by the year 2000. Obviously that failed miserably. It turns out the Rosenbergs donated very little to food banks and kept millions of dollars for themselves, claiming they need to change people’s perception of hunger and “awareness” to fight hunger and that they had a lot of “administrative expenses” for people trying to increase “awareness”.

  81. Mark says:

    To all who think that the *reports* of Werner Erhard’s behavior have anything to do – good or bad – with the est or Landmark training: so what? How many of you have Iphones? How many are using one right now? How many are familiar with the reports of Steve Jobs’s character?

    As for the “cult” aspect: what a bunch of sound and fury, signifying BS! They train people how to RESIST cults for crying out loud: I did the est training in ’80. I consider it the best 400 bucks ever spent. Did I experience major pressure to continue taking seminars? You betcha! One time, they called me at my parents’ house, out-of-state, to get me to enroll in a seminar. I told them we had just returned from my mother’s burial at the cemetery, which was true. Unaffected, the volunteer pressed on. So I thanked her for sharing, invited her to create a context in which she would find me more receptive to discussing the matter, bid her a nice day, and said goodbye. Simple as that! And don’t get me started on that bathroom BS…

    • Tom says:

      The person that called you at your parents house is performing unpaid telemarketing salesmen work for Landmark, as instructed by them, it’s part of the “cirriculum for living”. She reads you a high pressure sales pitch from a script Landmark provides her She is told to not take no for an answer, to keep pressing hard for the sale no matter what. She is performing the work of a salesman and Landmark gets all of the commission when there’s a sale.

  82. Mark says:

    Whups – I forgot this part: First of all, I was never an affectionate person. I was very reserved, very stoic (aka “scared”).
    No way would I have gone near anything like est had my best friend not raved about it. Even so, I was skeptical of it, and I resisted a lot of it. When it was over, I was disappointed, but not surprised in the least.

    When my friend called me the next morning to see if I’d “gotten it”, I said “Umm… maybe?” He told me not to worry; I would. Then he said “I love you”, which made me VERY uncomfortable, but I dutifully mumbled “Love you too”, and hung the hell up. That left me feeling uncomfortable, AND guilty, and just really bummed. Of course I loved him, but c’mon…

    THAT’S when I “got it”: what an a**hole I was to be embarrassed about that! I called him right back and for the first time in my life, experienced how good it felt to tell a loved one you loved them! Then I called my mother and told her. Shocked the heck out of her – I had to convince her nothing was wrong. And that wasn’t some one-time thing. I kept that “attitude” or whatever you want to call it – which turned out to be a very good thing, because she died less than a year later.

    Was I “transformed”? “Empowered”? I neither know nor care. I just felt better. I became more open, less snippy with others.
    And at least for a short while, my mom had a son that was a little bit less of an a**hole than he had been, thanks to that “cult”. Maybe not earth-shattering, but definitely something to call home about.

    • Tom says:

      So these used car salesmen are family therapists? You needed mental fatigue and group pressure from a cult in order tell your mom you love her?? You’re buying group psychotherapy from a used car salesman who’s been divorsed twice!!!

  83. Mark says:

    “Ellen Snortland, Brian Keeting, Onerous, WHERE ARE YOU???? Did you come up to a barrier and get scared and had to turn away? Did you get overwhelmed with the truth about the Landmark cheezy used car salesman’s CULT?”

    Wow, Tom, you supposedly took some form of the training? Didn’t it occur to you that maybe they’re not wasting time and energy on being “right”?

    If you want it to be a cult, then have at it. For you, it’s a cult.

    For me:
    “Arguments only confirm people in their own opinions.”
    Booth Tarkington

  84. Tom says:

    Wow Mark, I did go through the 3 days of mental fatigue and group pressure called the forum and they gave everyone a piece of paper and told us to write down the names of 10 people that we were going to bring to the Tuesday night guest event. They actually made us write down a list of referrals for them. It did occur to me that Ellen Snortland, Brian Keeting, and Onerous are embarressed because they’ve been bamboozled by a cult created by a twice divorsed used car salesman.

  85. Tom says:

    Wow Mark, I did sit through the 3 day forum and at the end of the third day they gave us all a piece of paper and told us to write down the names of 10 people we were going to bring to the Tuesday night guest event. They actually made us write down a list of referrals. Ellen Snortland, Brian Keeting, and Onerous ran away because they are embarrassed about getting bamboozled by a twice divorsed used car salesman. Mark you commented on a comment I made in Sep 2012, over a year ago. Do you have anything to say about any of my more recent comments?

  86. Tom says:

    How many people here think that Landmark has plants in their audience?

    • Wow Tom! says:

      Wow Tom, you are certainly carrying some disdain for Landmark and the cheesy, twice divorced ex-used car salesman who is responsible for its teachings. I don’t know what happened back in 1991, but it was significant enough for you carry it with you for 20 years. I hope you find peace and serenity.

      • Tom says:

        I have disdain for all cults: Jonestown, Scientology, Heavens Gate, Branch Dividians, etc. They all use group pressure to get you to give them large amounts of time and money. That’s why it’s so very important for them to get you to their place – that way they can surround you by their people and apply group pressure to get you to commit to long hours of mental fatigue. Step by step they take your money and make you work for them for free (training and assisting – HAHA). It amazes me that certain people are just vulnerable to this type of scam. Please go to Rick Ross’s anti cult website to read some actual testimonials that Landmark doesn’t want you to see.

      • Tom says:

        You commented on a post I made exactly two years ago today – Oct 16 2011. Have you read all of posts since then?

  87. Tom says:

    How many people here have seen the French documentary film where a group of reporters took hidden cameras into a forum to show the world what really secretly happens behind the closed doors of this cult? You can search for it here on the web, there’s no need to sit through 40 hours of mental fatigue at their cult forum venue, just kick back and watch youtube to see the actual truth.

  88. Bec says:

    Yep I’m in the “cult”, along with almost all my close family, husband, and surprisingly many of my friends – many of which found their own path to the forum without any intervention from me. The results have been brilliant for all of the people I know who’ve completed the forum. Surprisingly I even get asked out socially with people who’ve never done Landmark and they still keep turning up on my door. A friend once said to me “It’s weird right, but you and just seem to talk ‘differently’ and sort your differences out really quickly, I’ve just done my forum – your LM grads right?”. Yup, he was right. Best course I’ve ever done!

    • Tom says:

      Yep, you are in a cult. It’s weird the way Landmark Cult people talk – that’s because they’ve been mentally fatigued with hour after hour of this Cult’s buzzwords. But when you think about it, a lot of these buzzwords are right off of the used car lot: Don’t like this make and model, we have other POSSIBILITIES. This is AUTHENTIC German engineering. Don’t buy a car from that car lot down the road, they’re a RACKET. You’re not going to go forward? What’s holding you back? Etc. Etc. You see the person that invented this cult, John Rosenberg, started his career as a used car salesman, then went on to sell other products and wound up teaching sales seminars. Notice how hard they upsell.

  89. Tom says:

    So, how many people here think that Landmark uses plants in their audience?

  90. Chetan N says:

    My wife took this course more than a year ago and today we are going through a divorce. I could notice immediate change in her post the graduation and this led to increased differences and complete detachment over a period of time. We had differences like every other couple, but we still could find some happiness end of the day. But post landmark things changed dramatically and things kept on drifting away. The body language and the language changed and she started looking down upon me. Over a period of time we decided that we cannot live together and decided to move on.

    Now, some landmarked souls suggested me to take up the course too…but I didn’t. Is it necessary that if husband jumps into a well, wife should jump too?

    While my wife has done really well on the career front with the help of Landmark, but on the family front it turned out to be a curse.

    Its quite debatable if this a cult or not, but one should be careful in choosing courses like Landmark, since they can deeply impact a person’s psych either way.

    From my point of view Landmark will always remain a cult that broke my marriage….

    Btw, I recently met another guy, who went through his divorce, courtesy Landmark…

    • Tom says:

      Cult marriages are toxic. Everyone please, please, please type “Darren Mack Landmark Education” into google and find out how Landmark Cult marriages really turn out. And Landmark highly encourages marriages between its cult members saying things like, “I’d question anyone who would get involved with someone who hasn’t had this valuable training.” When people get suckered into this, their marriages turn out horrible because they’re based on doctrines of a TWICE DIVORSED used car salesman.

  91. Tom says:

    Here Culty Culty Cult, here Culty Culty Cult. Where did all of the Cult worshipping cowards go? Did you finally realize that you’re buying self help courses from a used car salesman and now you’re embarrassed? It must be difficult to find out that you’ve been bamboozled by a scam. All Landmark supporting cult followers will now remain in hiding. That proves that Landmark is a CULT.

  92. Ralph says:

    As I read all the comments I felt I had to make a statement.
    As a cult Landmark is definitely not one, not that many of cult callers wouldn’t know one if it landed on their door steps.
    Did I get something out of the forum I went to, yes I did. Would every one, hard to tell after all it’s all about who you are.
    Was it expensive, no, actually I’ve spent more on wheels for my bicycle.
    Do they pressure you to enroll in additional courses, yes they do, so what Tupperware wants you to buy more.
    Do they want you to get others to enroll, yes they do.
    What they did not do to me was tag team me for hours to get me to enroll or enroll others.
    Any one could get up and go to the bathroom I did. No one said anything to me about it. Bing late, I got lost on a break and was late (strange city) no one really cared.
    The room was pleasant and there were windows, the seats were annoying but I’ve sat in worse for longer.
    Overall It was a great experience. I have heard many more positive things than negative. I’d recommend it to anyone but I certainly am not going to let it run my life. Nor am I going to force anyone to go. If asked I’d just say I got a lot out of it and you might too. Nothing more or less.
    As for the guy who has cult and used car salesmen on his mind, so what? I’m not buying a used car, I’m not buying anything. I paid for a service that for me at least I got something for it. Why be so negative? IT didn’t work for you but it worked for others, just let it go it’s not worth all the negativity. Let people find out for themselves. If they want to try something what’s wrong with that. Maybe you should direct your energy and something useful like politics. Now there is a real cult.

    • Tom says:

      It’s definitely not a Cult??? It’s interesting that the world’s leading cult intervention experts all say it is, including Rick Ross, The Cultic Studies Journal, American Family Foundation (the world’s largest, secular counter-cult org.) and ReFoCuS — Recovering Former Cultists’ Support Network. Ralph, did you know that the used car salesman who created Landmark used to be in Scientology?

    • Tom says:

      “Do they pressure you to enroll in additional courses, yes they do” – you nailed it! Only they tell you it’s not pressuring, it’s HELPING you – HaHa “Do they want you to get others to enroll, yes they do.” – Every salesmen’s dream is to make his customers work for him for free as his unpaid salesmen, I can’t believe some people are vulnerable to this obvious tactic thinking it’s going to benefit them if they recruit people to come to the Tus night sales pitch.

    • Tom says:

      “Any one could get up and go to the bathroom I did. No one said anything to me about it. Bing late, I got lost on a break and was late (strange city) no one really cared.” Ralph, did you read the sign at the front of the stage right before the 1st day started? Leaving during the three fifteen-hour days is discouraged — a posterboard sign warns, IF YOU LEAVE THE ROOM FOR ANY REASON, EVEN FOR A FEW MINUTES, YOU MAY GET THE RESULT BUT HAVE NO RIGHT TO EXPECT IT.

      Ralph, they ping you with a lack of integrity guilt trip if you are the least bit late in the morning or from breaks. Also, to disguise the fact that people drop out during breaks, they re-arrange the chairs and/or have forum “supervisors” sit in empty chairs. They know how many people did not come back from break because they make every one put their name tag on a table before leaving the room.

    • Tom says:

      ” Let people find out for themselves.” That is a very common Landmark cheezy line. You see, it is VERY important for them to get you to their place. That way they can surround you by their people to apply group pressure on you. That’s really why they can’t tell you about it you just have to come for yourself. It’s a step by step sales coersion process. First step is to get the people to their sales pitch. Then make them have to sit through the whole entire sales pitch claiming you can’t walk out before the end just because you know it’s a sales pitch to get you to buy something, you have to hear them out. The next step is mental fatigue – to keep you there 15 hours straight for 3 days so you are TIRED AND VULNERABLE to the group pressure of purchasing the next seminar.

  93. Tom says:

    “As for the guy who has cult and used car salesmen on his mind, so what? I’m not buying a used car, I’m not buying anything.” Actually you are buying NOTHING that’s empty and meaningless for $500. Think of how big the mark up is on Snake Oil. You are actually paying to sit through a 40 hour sales pitch for the next course. And then they tell you that it’s essential to take the third course (SELP) that’s 6 months long. During all of the courses you are pressured into recruiting for them (unpaid saleman work).

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