The Landmark Forum: behind the scenes of this worldwide “transformation conference”
everyone wants a breakthrough…but at what cost?
could your job be a little better? your family? your dreams? your living space? When you go to sleep at night to you feel you’ve met your potential?
questions we all ask — because we’re human. We’re the uniquelly designed spirit breathed people that desire at our core to contribute to society in a meaningful way. We want to know our purpose and we want our time to matter. The Landmark Forum attempts to give us peace about these questions by stripping emotions from reality, telling us to create a new reality and charging a steep $625 each person…all while deeply encouraging us to share with our friends on breaks how the Forum is helping us invent new possibilities for ourselves.
*note* my attempt in this writing is not to discourage those who were impacted by the Forum. There were beautiful stories of mending broken relationships and taking steps into personal healing were moving…however, I think people need to know what this conference really is before they sign up…and I would argue that this business simply charges and yells at you to do the thing you already know in your gut to do. The details of this Forum that I am about to share may help some people, but I believe at the core of this whole organization is a business that thrives on the emotional exploitation of perfectly lovely people.
Basically this sums up their doctrine
1. don’t care what people think of you
2. create your own story
3. you’re the most powerful person in the world
To get this across to people they yell at you to let things go, emotionally exploit people in front of everyone, and take you through a bizzare and somewhat traumatic fear excercise.
I made this little video to synopsis what the Landmark doctrine is. The voice in the background is a memo of a conversation between the Forum leader and myself about humans perseption of reality (is my dad my dad or is a man and I decided he’s my dad?). Consider this as the free version of their story minus the yelling…we technically weren’t allowed to have phones in the conference so I hope this doesn’t get me in trouble O.o
I have 3 major problems with the Forum
promising people tangible healing from their scars by charging them $625 is the first red flag to me. Last year Landmark Education Corporation spent $13 million on salaries and bonuses for its 451 employees, dedicated $4 million to travel and made $2.5 million in profit. More and more companies are sending their employees to the Forum to find healing and costs ranges from $250,000 to $4 million for a given corporation. On the last night 39 people sign up for the $700 advanced course — a $27,000 drop in the $48 million-a-year bucket of Landmark revenues.
I believe in healing and love soul seeking opportunities but when you enter the industry of emotional healing you must tread very lightly, filled with grace and wisdom and be extremely cautious of price tags.
if there is no trauma, no damage, no pain (like the Forum suggests)— then there is no joy, hope or love. there is nothing. Believing there is nothing will heal some people, but it will strip us of humanity…And inspiring me to be amazing by telling me I’m the most powerful person in the world is just dumb. First off, I know I’m not, and I don’t want to be.
the next sketchy component is the foundation of the Forum…it was birthed out of EST, the Erhard Seminars Training, an organization founded by Werner H. Erhard. In the 1990’s, Erhard was accused of incest and tax fraud and they renamed the course,“The Forum”, a seminar focused on “goal-oriented breakthroughs”. A group of Erhard’s associates formed the company Landmark Education in 1991, purchasing The Forum’s course “technology” from Erhard. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against Landmark for psychological abuse and the Department of Labor is currently investigating the Forum.
this was the biggest no-no to me…and I actually stepped out after this…
an hour long exercise had us all sit with our eyes closed and the coach walked us through feeling intense terrorizing fear. We were told to be truly terrified of the people sitting next to us — everyone in the room — everyone in california — everyone in the states — everyone on the globe. He dramatically dragged it out for roughly 30 minutes telling us to think of being traumatized, to think of our childhood and to truly meet fear. People in the room were screaming, crying, belting out “help me.” To be honest, I tried to participate because I wanted to know if there was somehting here but I ended up just feeling frustrated by the insensitivity and emotional abuse this was to people.
after traumatizing probably a dozen of 150 people, he then said, “look beyond the fear and see what’s there….this whole time you thought you were afraid of people, they are actually afraid of YOU. everyone in the world is afraid of YOU. you are the most powerful person in the world.”
bottom line is emotional abuse — they can’t keep doing this.
I believe very deeply in healing, in searching within ourselves to mend broken relationships, discover where we are looking at the world or ourselves wrong and seek light and truth. We can do that…now. And we can walk through healing without elminating the existance of situations & people. Pain is real, fear is real — but so is hope and love. The answer is not to ignore our traumas, but to forgive and look up.
I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, I hope it brings light and I hope it encourages you to find your own healing wherever you are (free of charge ;)