"Landmark...IS brainwashing"

November 12, 2007

I have not returned back to the Landmark Forum today and I feel the need to spread my opinion.

All due respect to those who have found high levels of personal growth from it, I don't want to take that away from them. Some people need "boot camp" to get into themselves.

First let me start by saying that Landmark...IS brainwashing its enrollees, if only by the most basic of definitions.

You sit like sardines in a room for 12 hours with low ceilings, gray walls,gray carpet, florescent lights, and drawn blinds so that you have not idea what time of day its is. Your legs ache, bathroom breaks are discouraged (but allowed, thank god), and the pressure to "share" with the group and/or your neighbor is (according to The Leader) essential in becoming "complete" with yourself.

Your meal breaks are short and during them you are assigned to discuss Forum topics (so as to not stray from the ideals).

After breaks you are encouraged to sit next to someone other than before (just in case the last people you sat with didn't like The Forum, perhaps?), and at the end of the night you are given multiple homework assignments (including calling people and telling them about Landmark in one way or another) even though you must be back in your chair in not much more than 9 hours.




All this would be fine and dandy if it was groundbreaking information. Instead its stuff that you could get by going to see a shrink, going to Alanon, etc, reading The Secret, or just meditating on the meaning of life.

But I was waiting. Waiting to be moved. Instead it was repetitive. Again and again The Leader repeats the concept, all the while making statements like, "There IS something wrong with you" "You don't belong" "You are fearful" "Being on your own scares you" "You are incomplete" "You must have transformation." "You've been resenting" "You regret." Oh and with tears in his eyes "I love you."

You need to beloved? You'll find it at Landmark!

Not to be overlooked is the main reason " Why Landmark Works." Through getting others to be enrolled in what you have gotten from Landmark. Also, continuing to take more classes with Landmark is pushed hard!

Note taking is not allowed but I managed to write down some of the main dogma they had posted up on the wall

Why Landmark works

1. Anything you want for yourself or your life is available out of your participation in The Forum.

2. You can have any result for yourself or your life that you invent as a possibility and enroll others in your having gotten.

3. Enrollment is causing a new possibility to be present for another such that you are touched, moved, and inspired by that possibility.

4. The results you get out of your participation in The Forum are the products of the possibilities that you invent for yourself and enroll others in your having gotten.



Why such an emphasis on enrollment?

Well according to Landmark; words are powerful (duh ...) and some words like enroll, "transform," "breakdown," "racket," "authenticity," "genesis," "invention," "identity," "complete," and "commitment" are used to mean something else even though their true definition means nothing other than that.

For example, "Enroll" in Landmark means to believe, to agree with, and to realize - basically.

But if you look it up in Webster's it ONLY means to sign up, really.

So you are left using the side of you brain that knows the real definition while coating it with the candy coating that is Landmark language. Thus more confusion, and you are compelled to "enroll others in your having gotten."


Because its all part of being "complete."


Prolonged stress, the room is hot, then freezing, confusion, fatigue, being up in each other's faces about Landmark topics, tick-tock punctuality (one minute late and you are chastised, tho not publicly), peer pressure, repetition, "transforming" attitudes from your current to another, are all techniques to "break down" your physical and mental defenses.

All to get you dependent on Landmark and its language.

There is a constant reference to Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.and the worldly impact they have made. All so that when you think of Landmark you think of grandeur.

Heartwarming and heartbreaking stories are shared and told, people are moved to tears, myself included! All so that when you think of Landmark you think of deep emotion, upset, and revelation when all the while you are learning basic techniques to analyze yourself and those around you.

If you express that you are not interested in further coaching or classes (most of which are taught by unpaid volunteers) one of the minions in the back of the room (also unpaid volunteers) will take you aside and pressure you.

I didn't sign up and they took me aside!


I can't finish without mentioning my two most favorite (note sarcasm) moments of The Forum.

One, being that The Leader cured someones headache with Landmark techniques (wow!). You are encouraged not to take any over the counter drugs or drink any alcohol while doing The Forum (can you say, Scientology?).

Second, being the lovely fear exercise we all did. You experience your fears and face them.


Well, we all sit with our eyes closed and arms by our sides and visualize that you are afraid to death of the people next to you and that the whole room sees your fear. Then the whole city sees your fear, then state, country, world!

Ooooh, scary!

Meanwhile you hear the whimpering, sobbing, and panting of people around you. And The Leader is yelling "You are afraid!" "You can't control your fear!" "Your heart is pounding!" "Don't be anesthetized!"

Eye's still closed. All of a sudden it is instructed that everyone is actually afraid of, guess who?



Then you are instructed to visualize that at the end of your scare tunnel is something very funny. People start to laugh, some are cracking up! Eye's are still closed. This goes on for so f--king long.

I have to pee and I ain't scared.

The girl next to me wants to leave, but is not allowed.

By the end, person after person gets up to share their scare story.

I was impressed with their ability to get in touch with their emotions.

This was my turning point -- turning toward the door!

The Leader even says that its OK if you didn't feel what you wanted to or expected to (in other words; it didn't work for you).

This is just another tactic to make sure that if you aren't getting it, they still get you!

You see - you CAN'T not be experiencing The Landmark Forum. It HAS to be for everybody.

This way you don't feel like it won't work on you.

All that said there are great nuggets of perspective that are discussed. The way we work and think socially, morally (that's a Landmark no-no word), and logically are broken down in a very easy to relate to way. For example; you cannot have love in your life unless you are being loving.

So sweet, I know.

A lot of the people I talked to this weekend that have found salvation through Landmark and have taken the courses again and again.

What does that tell you?

I decided I wasn't going to go back on Sunday. One lady attending brought to my attention that when you turn in your name tag (plastic sleeve with a pin, turned in after the meal break and at end of the night), they use them to see who is in attendance the next day when they are retrieved by us. She schemed up the idea to turn in blank name tags so we can an anonymously slip out of the program.

Didn't work.

I got called this morning by one of the Landmark soldiers. She said in her message that she wanted to get "complete" with me.


Again, some people have serious fears and issues that stemmed from horrible things like molestation and abandonment.

So more power to those people who find solitude and serenity with Landmark Education!

Just not a pathway that works for me.

Copyright © 2007 Rick Ross

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