"Almost sucked into going to an introductory meeting"

December 1999
By a young man from New England

I would like to share with you my recent experience in almost being sucked into the "empowerment" "racket" called Landmark (LEC) and The Forum.

I also am writing to thank you for presenting the other side of Landmark Education Corporation's "Landmark Forum".

I was ALMOST sucked into going to an introductory meeting by a now former friend. She actually ended our friendship after I decided to do a little background check on LEC and The Forum and I presented her with what I found out. She immediately began some high-pressure tactics. I told her plainly that I was not interested. It seems like saying "no" elicited an even heavier handed response.

She wrote a visceral e-mail. She then began blaming me for the failure of our friendship--claiming that I was somehow personally attacking her. She laid out a HUGE guilt trip and asked key Landmark buzz phrases like--"Don't you want to live a life of endless possibilities?" She was obviously employing some of the "mind games" she had learned at The Forum. It all makes perfect sense. It seems that the only reason she became my friend was to suck me into this.

I hit the LEC web site first. It sounded too good to be true. You have heard that old consumer cliche: "If it's too good to be true, then it probably isn't." It was that phrase that stuck in my mind as I did another Net Search. I came across an article linked to your web site titled "With Landmark Education, There is no meeting of the minds." I was shocked that my now ex-friend could turn a blind eye to all this nefarious publicity and the true stories behind the greed--of what really amounts to a huge money making scheme at the expense of others [sic].

I've seen how The Forum has affected my ex-friend. She bought into it so much that it was impossible to have a truly meaningful conversation. Any questions about past occurrences, former acquaintances, family, even illness are IGNORED as if she never heard the question. This is the reaction of someone who has been "mind-shaped." I don't know if I'd officially call it brainwashing --but it's close. You look in their eyes and you don't see anything, or you see a glimmer of something--like their real self is in there somewhere. It's all so cleverly hidden and there is a mindset that prevents exposure to who these people really are (a "plausible deniability"). She even DENIED to me that she was ever planning to sign me up for anything. I think that this was just to ease my mind enough to go. Then once in the door the sales pitch begins--right?

I have been wary ever since I got mixed up with an independent fundamentalist Baptist church--most happily I extracted myself from it. Ironically, the LEC and this church seemed to embody an uncanny similarity. That is, someone who seems ALWAYS happy approaches you and they have ALL the answers. Such groups seem to find people in weakened states that are vulnerable--people who may be searching for friendship, love or an answer to life's nagging questions.

There is also the fact that both the venues I have mentioned do actually help people out. But more often then not, the people who are "employed" to "lead" are led by their own personal agendas. The true purpose and message often then gets lost. Greed or personal ego then often gets in the way and because of the "Group Think" mentality that organizations such as The Forum and my former church teach--people just seem to follow.

I don't know if I heard this somewhere before--but true happiness cannot be begged for, bought or stolen and the same goes for true friends.

Copyright © Rick Ross

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