My friend has been with the Master Path for several years and has taken three initiations graduating to various degrees within the group. My friend seems to buy a lot of tapes and literature from the organization.
My first "red flag" about the Master Path was when my friend said, I could not view group video tapes because I had not gone through an initiation. Members of the group apparently take an oath about this and/or are directed by Gary Olsen not to share such information. But I feel that such teachings should not be subject to secrecy.
I have attended a Master Path meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I went with an open mind, and had not heard anything derogatory about the group beforehand. But I quickly realized that Gary Olsen's organization is a cult by his own definition: "If you know Gargi [the inner master] you know me; if you know me you know Gargi."
I have studied many religions, and with Master Path, I found the message different but the tactics the same:
1. "Master Path is the only true path".
2. Lambasting of all other religions.
3. Attempt to shame people into paying the $25.00 for a monthly membership fee (with no mention of any free membership to those that really can't afford it).
Additionally, I found it quite interesting how Gary Olsen isolated himself from the 600 in attendance:
1. First appeared on stage, but later at other meetings only when people were meditating.
2. Never mingled with his followers at the hotel. Instead, he entered and left through a well guarded side entrance.
3. Gave followers his blessings from a "Darsha" line (reception line of sorts), while surrounded by male guards.
After passing through the Darsha line with my friend, we stopped approximately fifteen feet beyond where Gary Olsen was sitting--behind a strategically placed curtain. You could only see him once you were behind the curtain. We wanted to watch someone receive his blessings regarding their first meeting. But Gary's guards would not allow us to watch, even from a distance. What could possibly be happening that we weren't supposed to see?
Personally meeting Gary Olsen., I found him to be charismatic, while exuding warmth and compassion. And thus I can see why some people without a skeptical nature such as mine, could follow such a pseudo guru.
I read the articles on your Web site, but they are now eleven years old. The article titled "Parents Show Love, Courage," states, "If Master Path is legitimate, it should survive criticism and deprogrammers. But if it's the fraud some say it is, it will wither in the sometimes harsh light of public scrutiny." Master Path is still flourishing, but maybe it's time hasn't yet passed.
Note: The Master Path has not generated much media interest since its demise in North Dakota. Gary Olsen "wither[ed] away in Fargo because he could not survive either "criticism" or "deprogrammers." He then packed up and started over somewhere else. Mr. Olsen seems to be "flourishing" now largely within an environment of ignorance (i.e. people don't know his history). He has been exposed as a "fraud" ( e.g. Gary Olsen essentially plagiarized his teachings/material from the writings of Paul Twitchell the founder of Eckankar--another group, which has been called a "cult").