Landmark Education and the Landmark Forum

September 3, 2009

What the heck is the Landmark Forum?

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 9:39 pm

In my attempting to explain what the Landmark Forum actually is by quoting a lot of different people, I sometimes run into a hurdle: everyone has a different idea of what the Landmark Forum actually is. In fact, people seem to report a huge range of what they actually get out of the courses, and you’ll see a wide range of different types of people that actually take the courses. I know lots of liberals, environmentalists and activists who swear by the programmes. At the same time I know religious conservatives have also gotten great value.

I read a blog post earlier today from a very religious woman from California in the United States, and she was writing at length at the difference the Landmark Forum made in her life and reinivigorating her faith. She sees the Landmark Forum as perfectly in line with her faith and what it espouses – “If you’re listening with your spiritual ear, you’ll hear the Word of God all up and through.”

At the same time, she is savvy enough to realize that the Landmark Forum itself isn’t religious at all:

“The Landmark Forum is not a religion nor is it a cult. It is not a forum by which to brainwash you, nor is it designed to diminish or erase your faith or belief system; but it will definitely serve to enhance it. It is an amazing program with a curriculum that requires you to look at your life—and the stories you’ve created that have kept you from living forward.

She adds a useful caveat:

“It’s intense and by no account will it be easy. You will be forced to look you in the past to uncover those ‘stories’ that have been keeping you from living life full out.”

I definitely recommend visiting her Livin’ Outloud blog to read the whole thing.

Coming back to my original question: why is it that people have a very diverse range of opinion as to what Landmark and its programmes are and what they provide? I think it’s simply because the point of the programmes is to focus on what’s important to you in your life. If you’re religious, it will be about one’s faith, if one is an environmentalist, it will be about how one can make a greater difference protecting the environment, etc. A common theme among a lot of people in taking the Landmark Forum is becoming closer to parents and families, probably because these are issues of importance to just about everyone. Until next time…

August 21, 2009

Landmark Education Cult

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 9:17 pm

I found another of these great blog posts that completely debunks the notion of Landmark Education as a cult, while persuasively persuading why some misguided souls continue to push this urban legend. I’m not sure if it will do much good, since myths such as Barack Obama’s “muslim” origin or his “foreign” birth seem to persists in the face of any and all evidence, but for those who actually want to read something beyond hysteria, here’s a bit of Eric Schlein’s excellent blog. I strongly recommend reading the whole thing – there’s a lot more there than the short excerpt I put below.

For people who have friends, co-workers, or family members who have taken the Landmark Forum and who have not take the course itself, a common question one will ask is “Is Landmark a Cult”.

The short answer is no it’s not. (There are plenty of reports of organizations who investigate cults as their main purpose as an organization who have not only said it wasn’t a cult but said how great of an education it was).

A Quick Comparison of General Results between Landmark and Cults

- Landmark doesn’t tell you to believe in anything, follow anything, practice anything, or how you should or shouldn’t live your life. They come up with different frameworks to see things in different ways that give one some choice in things they may have thought they had no choice about, allowing them to create breakthroughs in any areas their life that’s important to them in very short periods of time.

- Cults have something they believe in, practice, or have a way of living their life. Cults contain dogma or a system of how to live life.

- Landmark empowers you to live powerfully after taking the Forum or any other course they offer so you don’t have to keep coming back for more. Once you do the Forum, that’s it. You get what you are supposed to get and never need to come back to get the same thing over and over again. They push you back into the world and tell you to not come back. They “teach a man to fish”.

- Cults want you to become reliant on them for your satisfaction and make you addicted to them to validate your life. Consider what Scientologists would do without their church and reading materials. Consider what the Westboro Baptist Church would do without their church. Consider what a cult with a leader would do if they didn’t have a leader anymore.

So it Landmark a cult?

It’s as much of a cult as:

People who love Warren Buffett so much they nod their heads at everything they say, his company is certainly not a cult.

Famous researchers who become their research and anything different they take as an insult, the research in itself is just research and it is not a cult. A Christian saying Christianity is the only way to find God. Christianity in itself isn’t a cult and as a Jew I have found some wonderful insights from that religion. Someone practicing Zen who believes that “clearing your mind” is the only way to being grounded, and living in NYC becomes hard and living in a monastery is the only way to be happy. When that happens, Zen is a constraint.

August 5, 2009

Landmark Forum Review: cult, cult, cult?

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 9:40 pm

This might be the best Landmark Forum review I’ve ever come across, if the criteria are humor combined with insight combined with paranoia about joining a cult.

Landmark Forum review

I am joining a cult. My mind kept saying, Cult, Cult, Cult, Cult. Yes, okay so what if it’s a cult, does it hurt to go and see what they do for three days?

A friend of a friend of mine (let’s call him Bob) told me ever so briefly that I should do the Landmark Forum. I was a little hesitant at first simply because none of the other people I knew were going to do it with me.

Go on and read the whole thing on the Cognicology blog).

February 9, 2009

Stuft Expresses Disappointment at the Lack of Mind Control in the Landmark Forum

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 8:24 pm

If you’ve never read the “Stuft” blog, I recommend it highly – I’ve linked to it before, but I feel compelled to do so again-over the weekend author Samantha did a brilliant job at poking fun of alarmist websites that believe that personal development programs like the Landmark Forum somehow engage in mind control or spout lies about the so-called ‘Landmark Education Cult’. Here is some of that story. If you have time read the whole thing at STUFT-There’s a lot of great stuff over there on a wide variety of topics, particularly education.

Have I got the Cult for You!

For those of you who don’t know us well it may have slipped by you that my husband and I are in a cult. But don’t feel left out, you probably are too. There are several places you can do your research online to find out if you currently belong to a cult and don’t be suprised if you discover that your frequent trips around the drive through at McDonald’s means you are a victim of a cult too.

Chris and I, however, knew that we were participating in the activities of a registered cult when we began attending Landmark Education Seminars and quite frankly we were dissappointed by the lack of mind control and domination as was promised on various websites and blogs.

What we have experienced after now completing the Landmark Forum, Advanced Course and Landmark in Action seminar series is a pale shadow of the mind control we had anticipated. The Soviets would have been disappointed had they used Landmark’s brainwashing methods for trail.

Unfortunately we still have to think for ourselves, tie our own shoes and take responsibility for our own mistakes. The charismatic forum leaders were completely relatable and easy going folk and we feel no compulsion to carry and effigy of their image in our wallet or even mention their names on a daily basis. They presented not a single concept that was any more bizarre than mainstream philosophical insights presented in scientific or religious circles and they did it using totally secular curriculum that was well-structured and used all the principles of effective pedagogy administered in most state schools today.

January 22, 2009

Cult rumors

Filed under: Breakthrough Results — Tags: , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 3:41 pm

Whenever I see someone talk about Landmark Education being a cult or cultlike, it always makes me laugh – It strikes me as one of those urban legends that circulates endlessly, such as the lie about Tommy Hilfiger appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show and disparaging African Americans. It’s been disproven, but still it wanders around…

This blog post is particularly amusing because it speaks to one woman’s paranoia in this regard!

Is Landmark a Cult

About 5 years ago, my college roommate invited me to a Landmark Education meeting. She was in a cult in college (complete with baptism, bible study in our room, shunning of non-cult friends), so I was suspect. But late 2007, I dated a fellow with anger issues similar to my own who also recommended it to me. At first I was offended, cursed at him, locked myself in the bathroom and he didn’t mention it again. We broke up a bit after.

But I could tell that whatever Landmark had to offer, it helped two people who were quite dear to me. I’ve tried a lot of other self help, so I thought I’d go to an information session and decide for myself. Just be open to the experience.

I must admit, I’ve fought it all the way. But I signed up for the entire program, the Landmark Forum, the Advanced Course, and am finishing up the Self Expression and Leadership Program next week. The Landmark pitch is that the education will provide courage, self-confidence, freedom from resentment and regret, peace of mind, the ability to fully express your love, the clarity to make important choices, and happiness. To my surprise, all those outcomes have occured for me this past year.

The Landmark approach isn’t for everyone. And if its a cult, then just be careful about drinking the water. But it has gotten me to write and publish after at least 18 years of being silent. Go figure.

Examine this “Self-Helped” blog for more good stuff.

January 20, 2009

I thought I’d be brainwashed: Landmark Forum review

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, inspiration — Tags: , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 9:29 pm

This review is what is called an oldie but goodie: It appeared in the London Observer several years ago as one woman’s experience of the Landmark Forum, and it provides a professional, well-written account from an objective journalist of what the course is really like. Like a lot of people who see a lot of different things on the web, she wondered if Landmark Education was a cult or a con. Here’s an excerpt.

I thought I’d be brainwashed. But how wrong could I be…

by Amelia Hill

I don’t do epiphanies. I don’t make leaps of faith or have life-transforming realisations and I have never experienced anything even remotely resembling a breakthrough.

I have never read a self-help book and consider myself immune to out-of-body experiences. Meditation bores me and the few times I tried yoga, I ended up inexplicably angry.

Above all, what I most certainly do not do is stand up in front of 200 people who openly talk about sharing, loving and personal journeys, and apologise for getting it all wrong. Except, as of last Tuesday, I apparently do.

This is how it happened. When I signed up to a course held by Landmark Education, I wanted to investigate tales I had heard about a course that turned intelligent, predominantly middle-class professionals into strange automatons.

Students were said to lose all sense of themselves and take to phoning loved ones late at night to bring up long-forgotten arguments while excoriating themselves for real and imagined character flaws.

A quick look on the internet revealed even more dramatic claims. Since its creation in 1991, Landmark Education has been described variously as a cult, an exercise in brainwashing and a marketing trick cooked up by a conman to sap the vulnerable of their savings.

Read the rest of the review at the London Observer website.

January 16, 2009

Be Humble, Powerful, Courageous

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 4:47 pm

Sometimes it takes someone who hasn’t even done any of Landmark Education’s programs (and who professes absolutely no interest in any personal development courses) to clearly explain what people get out of the Landmark Forum in everyday language. The Snumbers blog, despite hearing some of the false rumors about Landmark, does it well, I think.

Snumbers

I recently heard about a self-help program called Landmark Education. It’s been called controversial, has been labeled as a cult in France, and has as many detractors as it does supporters. Apparently it is a weekend course in which you learn to eliminate mental barriers that keep you from seeing yourself as the rest of the world sees you, and breaks crutches that keep you separated from the real world. I’m not going to make any judgment calls about Landmark Education, other than to say that it sounds interesting. What works for each person is different, and surely this works for some people. I imagine that it leads many people (it did me, as a gut reaction) into the circular thinking of “if there is nothing wrong with me, I could take the course and be better knowing that there is nothing wrong with me, if there is something wrong with me, I could take the course and try to fix it,” essentially instilling enough doubt about one’s personality to at least be curious about the program.

In any case, I have no real interest of taking the course, but I did find the following (edited slightly to remove jargon used within the program) that now hangs on my office wall:

· Be Humble: give up being right, even when you know you were.
· Be Powerful: be straight in your communication and take what you get.
· Be Courageous: acknowledge your fear (not necessarily get rid of it) and then act.
· Be Peaceful: give up the interpretation that there’s something wrong.
· Be Charismatic: give up trying to get somewhere. Be entirely fulfilled in the present moment.
· Be Enrolling: share your new possibilities in such a way that others are touched, moved and inspired.
· Be Unreasonable: in expectations of yourself and others beyond what you would think they are capable of.

I’m not generally into the whole self-help thing, but we all need goals, and these, I think, are good general ones.

October 7, 2008

There has to be something wrong with something this good

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 10:00 pm

I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a long time. I was just reading the story of a woman whose husband did the Landmark Forum, and she and all of her husband’s co-workers were extremely suspicious of her husband’s supposed “transformation” — Until she did the course herself. It actually served as a reminder to me, that while I now accept extraordinary results and miracles in life as almost commonplace, that to most people achieving a change in outlook or a great result or becoming much happier in a short period of time is actually viewed with deep suspicion.

The husband took her suspicion quite amiably, which naturally made the woman more suspicious…I’ll be quiet now and put the post here.

Unstuft

A little over three months ago Chris went away for a weekend “business seminar” and came back with a new vocabulary, a bunch of apologies and big stupid smile on his face. I soon got the sense that they focused on more than just budget projections and marketing. In the days immediately following he went about trying to convince everyone that they had to do this thing he’d just done with a passion never before seen in him, and all they’d have to do was attend an information session with him that went for three hours on a Tuesday night.

Obviously he had snapped. He had been sucked into a pyramid sales scheme and in his blind enthusiasm couldn’t see how ridiculous he was being. Everyone around him took three large slow steps backwards, nodding and smiling politely and when he had finished his monologue about the life changing experience we would get from the seminar we all declared our complete satisfaction with our dysfunctional lives and gave him the room any man would need during a mid-life crisis.

Like a supportive wife I went along to the information session accompanied by fellow abductees, my mother and a guy who works with Chris, Darren. The information seminar, hosted by more smiling lunatics who, after just three days, now knew my husband well enough to kiss him, consisted of several other Forum disciples standing in front of microphones making ludicrously impossible declarations about the future of the lives while the rest of them sobbed in their seats like a Dr Phil audience. Then there was the question…the constant question between the disciples to each other…”Did you get it?”, ”Yeah, I got it”. Got fucking what? What? Nothing is so hard that it takes you 50 hours worth of seminar to get it!

As if this weren’t painful enough, after this, dozens of forum members descended on the abductees with registration forms and pens to sign us up for the next event.

With folded arms and pursed lips I firmly established that if I were ever going to do this thing (which was very unlikely) I would be doing it on my terms and not making any decisions inside this particularly uncomfortable pressure cooker. After placing ourselves in the corner of the room and making several jokes relating to animal sacrifice, Scientology and sex cults the torture came to an end and we took the long drive home, trying again to be as supportive as possible of my obviously misguided and confused husband.

While everyone else could achieve the safe recommended distance from my husbands obvious meltdown I of course was trapped in isolation with a madman. I began calling him “Teflon Man” as no matter how sticky the shit was that I was throwing at him nothing would stick. Certain phrases began being repeated by him in response to my tantrums and and frustration. ”Ok babe. I got it”, “Great, what ever you choose”, “I hear what your saying. I got it”. In short he had become untouchable.

He was already a well practiced passive aggressive before the forum so I took his new Teflon qualities to be a direct attack on my cyacism and proceeded to take my aggression to the next level. If he thought he could outwit, outplay and outlast me he had another thing coming. I would have to come down to his level and develop the same vocabulary as he is using so I can win this war. He thinks he so smart…and we both know I’m smarter.

So I signed up for the bloody course. I cursed every day in the lead up the thing and swore to god I was going to show these arseholes a thing or two. Abduct my husband and then return him to me as a fucking vegetable…I’ll learn your tricks and screw it up royally for the lot of you…Landmark Forum bullshit…brainwashing muthafuckers… ridiculous.

That was last week – before “I got it!”

I got it…I got it…I got it…and we’re signing up for the advanced course next year.

You can call us Mr and Mrs Teflon.

Almost forgot–Here’s a link back to the lady’s blog. I hope to read more from her about the specific results she’s accomplished, since she’s such a funny and talented writer.

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