Report: #141181

Complaint Review: Landmark Forum

  • Submitted: Mon, May 02, 2005
  • Updated: Fri, February 22, 2013
  • Reported By: yucaipa California
  • Landmark Forum
    Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, California

Landmark Forum, landmark Education, fraud, cult, brainwashing ripoff, con artist, liar, dishonest, wanted criminal, thief, false, impersonator, sociopath Los Angeles California

*General Comment: Run from Landmark

*Consumer Comment: Do not participate in LEF if you are a victim of abuse!

*Consumer Comment: People who like the Forum

*Consumer Comment: Landmark Forum: Professional and Valuable

*Consumer Comment: Landmark Forum Makes Positive Difference

*General Comment: Family pressure to join

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: No Answers at Landmark

*Consumer Comment: Landmark is what you need it to be

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: No Answers at Landmark

*Consumer Comment: Landmark Forum does use Brainwashing techniques

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Donny in Philly

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Donny in Philly

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Mr

*Consumer Comment: Consider the following

*Consumer Comment: Landmark is a wolf (Werner Erhard - Est) in sheeps clothing. When I was 16 years old I was physically held hostage and mentally abused at a 'training' by fanatical followers using W.E. 'technology.'

*Consumer Comment: Manipulation

*Consumer Comment: Landmark Education -Why not?

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Nonsense about Landmark Education

*General Comment: NOT a scam...just PSYCHOLOGY! Read this...

*Consumer Comment: Landmark Forum is EST reinvented

*Consumer Comment: Forum training is worth every penny!

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: my brief experience with Landmark

*Consumer Comment: LANDMARK CULT

*Consumer Comment: Yes there were people who paid for the experience but did not fully participate. They all felt like victims I'm sure.

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Your anger says more about you than the Forum

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: I don't go out of my way to report, but iono, felt like somebody could use my input

*Consumer Suggestion: Please educate yourself

*Consumer Comment: just finished the advance course

*Consumer Comment: what a nonsense!

*Consumer Comment: Dangerous/Abusive Group

*Consumer Comment: Landmark Education is none of the things in the Ripoff report

*Consumer Comment: Landmark is very beneficial

*Consumer Comment: Aggressive and rude "recruitment" tactics; Landmark is a SCAM

*Consumer Comment: Mind Control

*Consumer Comment: Your experience was clearly different from mine

*Consumer Comment: Mind Control

*Consumer Comment: Information

*Consumer Comment: Information

*Consumer Comment: Public Exposure

*Consumer Suggestion: Landmark Psycho-Trickery

*Author of original report: Thanx You

*Consumer Comment: Landmark Forum Derived From Scientology

*Consumer Comment: Questons are more valuable than Answers

*Consumer Suggestion: Not my experience

*Consumer Suggestion: Why no answers

*Consumer Comment: No answers--just really powerful questions

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

please run away from anyone who invites you to a 3 day weekend to the FORUM. It is a brainwashing session and can ruin your life. The least that it would do in waste your time, and money. I know several people who have embraced this cult and they have no honesty, logic or sympathy for others. It is all about them. And if the people in thier lives don't like it, so what! There is no accountability, the pressure is incredible in the sessions , you are trapped for 3 days 12 hours a day and told what to do. If you question anything you are publicly ridiculed and chastized. I know that many people go there in search of a way to solve serious problems in their lives. The answers are not there. Please run from this place. They are secretive, controlling and deceitful. Very rude.

yucaipa, California
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/02/2005 07:12 AM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 General Comment

Run from Landmark

AUTHOR: Joterry - (USA)

Yes,  there are some where the medicine does not take.  Those who see transformation in doing this work lies mostly with Scorpio as they are about transforming from Mr. Anderson to Neo.  The 11 hours of straight downloads Neo recieved and follow up training from Morpheus came from the Wachowski bros in a Landmark seminar. 

Virgo benefits in their investigations,  Libra becomes much better in counciling,  Sagittarius loves this as it is a higher study in philosophy, Capricorn uses these studies to climb the corporate ladder, and Aquarius is Landmark in paradigm shifting out of the box.

So these courses are for those already successful but wish to impact their success,  being held down for brainwashing by staff members is ridiculous, or maybe how it shows up to some Pisces.  No astrology never comes up in class but Landmark does briefly comment on our throwness,  how we are thrown to be and with council we can get our hands on the controls of our thrown way of being and exercise our atrophied eternal spirit so as to change how the big happening comes at us,  more to our liking and control as we don't like when s**t happens,  when it does Landmark gives the tools to handle it better as we are more authentic.

So yes there are some astrology signs thrown to give Landmark a bad report,  but what are you going to do as you cannot please everyone.

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#2 Consumer Comment

Do not participate in LEF if you are a victim of abuse!

AUTHOR: Laura - ()

When I participated in the Forum, I was challenged to think about what I did to contribute to the fact that I did not have a loving relationship with my abusive father and what was the "story" I made up about it.  He physically abused my mother and she left him but he had visiting rights. When I was 11, my brother and I were visiting him and my stepmother. He was in a jealous rage. He locked me into his room and screamed at me for at least an hour that my mother was a s**t and a w***e. He refused to take us home and the sheriff had to come with my mother to get us. I told my mother that I never wanted to see him again and she made me tell him over the phone so he would not accuse her of putting me up to it. I never spoke to him again except for seeing him at my grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary.

Under pressure and guilt for what I "contributed" to our broken relationship by not wishing to see him again, the Forum Leader convinced me to call my father to get "complete." What became clear after a few discussions is that Dad only wanted a relationship if I renounced my mother in favor of him. Of course this was impossible and I once again had to deal with the pain that my father hated my mother more than he could ever love me.

This pain only sharpened upon his death. My brother did not have a relationship with Dad but he was favored because he was a boy. In fact when Dad showed up for the divorce he sought custody for my brother and not me. When the pastor shook hands with us at the gravesite he said to my brother that my dad loved him and talked about him often. He then turned to my brother waiting for him to introduce me. I watched as it registered on the pastor's face that in spite of knowing my father so well, he had no idea who I was or that Dad even had a daughter. Unlike my brother, I sought reconciliation under the guidance of The Forum and the idea that I could be humiliated in this manner by him after he was dead was unbelievable.

What I realize is that I made the right choice when I was 11. How does a woman who was once a brave child get suckered so badly by the Forum? Many children from abusive families suffer from over repsonsibility. As children, we take it upon ourselves to do everything we can to avert situations that can lead to anger and abuse. As adults we over funtion and over achieve to maintain harmony. We are the perfect candidates to be convinced that we are responsible for the abuse and be proud of sharing our shame over the "story" we invented about it. Do I have baggage? Yes. Does my past impact my current behavior? Yes. Is it good to forgive? Yes. But I am capable of moving on and pursuing my future - not because of the Forum - but because as an 11 year old girl I was brave and stood up to my father and now I honor her, protect her and keep her close to my heart. I will never reject her like my father did because she is the best part of me. 

If it were not for the Landmark Forum, I would have never engaged my father to be "complete." If you are the victim of abuse, do not go to Landmark. Parents are responsible for nurturing and loving their children. Children are not responsible for abuse and neglect. Reconnecting with abusive parents should be done with the support of a therapist and many times a therapist will discourage it. Be brave, face the truth, mourn it and make your own dreams come true sans undue pressure and guilt from strangers.

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#3 Consumer Comment

People who like the Forum

AUTHOR: Maia - ()

I think the ones who stay are people who are more easily prone to brainwashing. The people who go (and we, as Landmark consumers are shocked) are people who have healthier senses of themselves and they can sense something bad when they see it. Ask people 2 years after having completed a Landmark course if it still has an effect on their lives, I mean without having done any other course since then, meaning, have the teachings stayed with you once the short term "spell" has worn off? Don't ask people 2 days after the Forum if it worked because they are still nder the "spell". I did the Forum and the Advanced Forum and other courses. I can tell you that even though I thought it was great at the time, now I know I was being mislead. I think it is wrong to get people to be on "a high" in order to learn something. There's something wrong about it. And the fact that they use their own lingo that no one from the outside knows what it means is a sign that they are using cult techniques. It's not that they're so interested in their cause, it's just that they realize that if they use the cult techinque more people will take advantage of their classes, and the people up there will make more and more money. People who still believe in the Forum: Please!!!! open your eyes a little wider, please.

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#4 Consumer Comment

Landmark Forum: Professional and Valuable

AUTHOR: TomInc - ()

I am a software executive from Silicon Valley.  I took that Landmark Forum and found it to be quite valuable.  By quite valuable I mean that the things I learned led directly to a promotion and substantial increase in pay.  My father, a retired power plant executive, took the Landmark Forum, and developed a much stronger relationship with his children -- something that he wanted for years; an attorney I work with took the course and realized for the 1st time that he was undervalued -- he switched to a new position in another company shortly after taking the course.  Better position, more money, more autonomy.  

The people that I know who have taken the Landmark Forum are top-end business professionals who are looking for an opportunity to excel.

By the way, on the first day of the Landmark Forum, you are given an opportunity to leave and get a full, no questions asked refund.  Usually 1 person in about 150 does that.  It is done quietly and without confrontation.

Also, if you take the Landmark Forum and decide that it was not of value, you simply call the center and get a full refund.  No grilling, confrontation, no nothing.

All of the above I know to be fact.  Call any center and ask. 

I have seen many, many opinions about the Landmark Forum over the years.  When you hear a complaint, ask the person if they have DONE the Landmark Forum, or are just spouting an opinion.  I am sure that there are some out there who have complaints that HAVE done the Landmark Forum, but I have not yet met one.  Typically the complaints are from individuals who have not done the program.

If you DID do the program and though that it was a rip off, just get your money back.  It's that simple.  

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#5 Consumer Comment

Landmark Forum Makes Positive Difference

AUTHOR: Larry S - (United States of America)

I read the report against Landmark Forum.  To disclose, I took Landmark's courses in the early 90's.  I try to do some personal growth work every couple of years.  My wife and I found the training to be one of the best things we have ever done.  We have applied the principles in our careers and in our marriage.  

The principles of the training are SOLID.  The key is how they are applied.  It is not an answer to all of one's problems.  It is not therapy.  It is a positive framework to apply.  

Like all programs and theories, one can use it to help the world, or one can use it selfishly.  If you don't believe me, just look at people who say they have found the Lord, but are selfish and politically minded.
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#6 General Comment

Family pressure to join

AUTHOR: educatedRon - (United States of America)

My sister took landmark and realy enjoyed it.   She  tried to recruit me to tell me how great it was.   Said that I wll change my thinking, that all barriers would be gone.     So I mentioned to her.   That she is still over weight,  her diet is still poor, she is still single and unhappy being single and that her job that she is miserable doing is still her job.     She was offended and said its not that I changed any of those things.   Its that she's happier accepting those things.     

Bottom line is nothing changed accept she accepts the shortcomings.     After reading all the complaints here and also those comments praising it.   I have decided not to do it.    I don't like pressure sales and the guilt pressure of buying things.    I've been to enough seminars to know that its not about if they can help you or not,  but if they can make sales.     Good luck everyone.     Some people loved their marine basic training boot camp experience,  some people have been destroyed by it.    Human nature is that when one believes something strongly,  anyone who disagrees is considered incorrect, weak or even dumb.   From religion, diet, medicine or anything.  
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#7 UPDATE EX-employee responds

No Answers at Landmark

AUTHOR: Donny R - (USA)

Your question: Why would you do a course at Landmark or any other workshop if they have no answers? I can only assume that you're of the opinion that the answers to your personal issues are "out there" somewhere. And they're not. They're all within you.
As I said before, when you enrolled at Landmark if they failed to advise you of that, then, even though I'm not there anymore, I apologize if you were led to believe that Landmark could give you "answers."
But make no mis-take, over 30 years on staff and as an assistant, i've witnessed thousands of participants' startling breakthroughs who's lives will never be the same. Including my own. 
Donny Rothbardt (Life Coach)
Abington, Pennsylvania
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#8 Consumer Comment

Landmark is what you need it to be

AUTHOR: Sonny B - (U.S.A.)

I'm sorry Rebecca that you have such a negative outlook about Landmark and what they offer, thats your opinion. As for me I was pressured into doing the Forum for almost 5 years, I finally broke down and give it a shot when I realized that parts of my life weren't going the way I wanted them to. Yes the seminar is intense, yes it is long hours, yes they want you to bring people on the last day, yes I wanted to quit, yes I did get what I needed to get out of attending the Forum. You complain about money and the cost and I did the same thing asking "why does it cost so much?" After attending I can honestly say that if it cost $5,000 I would tell you its worth it. They didn't brainwash me, I was given the tools within myself to better handle my career, relationships, and even confrontation. If that is being brainwashed then why wouldn't everyone want it? The truth is your scared of something and that something controls your life and choices you make. I'm not any different as a person since starting Landmark, I'm just able to handle life a bit better. I'm not a zombie handing over bundles of cash to this evil corporation every month. I don't know if your a religious nut or what, but you fail to understand that Landmark isn't threatening you, harassing you (although the phone calls get a bit annoying), showing up at your job, posting things about you on the internet, if people are happy with it and they aren't hurting anybody why is it such a mission for you to trash talk it? I would think that your hostility comes from being afraid, but I'm sure your going to just figure out a way to get past it on your own. 

Good luck Rebecca
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#9 UPDATE EX-employee responds

No Answers at Landmark

AUTHOR: Donny R - (USA)

You're absolutely right about one thing. That there are no answers at the Landmark Forum. The only answers you seek are within you. By participating at Landmark you learn new tools with which to search within yourself for "answers." I would think before participating, someone would have made that clear to you. If not, I apologize for their having stepped over that.
Frankly, I have great compassion for you. After years of participating at Landmark, (including their former company), with 2 years on their staff, I found that most people who deny the good works I experienced there, are fearful...mainly about themselves. And so I do have a real compassion for your fears. And with all due respect...isn't fear something you'd like to overcome?
That said, and as a former registrar in Philadelphia, I'd like to close with...the Forum isn't for everybody.
I wish you well,
Donny Rothbardt (Life Coach)
Abington, PA
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#10 Consumer Comment

Landmark Forum does use Brainwashing techniques

AUTHOR: Virginia - (United States of America)

Donny, you used a brainwashing (manipulation) technique in your last post (Finger pointing) when you said that you were "loving and compassionate" while Rebecca was "angry and suffering."  You put her on the defensive while suggesting that you are somehow superior praying on an innate need for approval.  

Check out this website that I found on some common brainwashing techniques: 

A friend of mine invited me to a "Special Evening" at the Landmark Forum.  I was fortunate enough to have studied brainwashing techniques in a psych class in college, so I was able to recognize what was going on.

The "Special Evening" began by getting everyone's personal information and singling out who was a "member" from "non-members" with specially colored name tags so that they could use isolation and group peer pressure as a way to manipulate newcomers.   It's probably important to note that my friend who'd invited me was enticed to invite as many friends as possible by an instructor in one of her "classes" that had promised some sort of reward or punishment for bringing or not bringing people.  She and the Landmark Forum people all used the same repetitive doctrine and unique jargon, like accusing people of not being "authentic." (Metacommunication)  

At the "Special Evening" they went on to promise everyone there that the Landmark Forum was the answer to everything that was holding them back in life and that if they took their "classes" it would guarantee them happiness and success in life.  And if they didn't take their classes then they were depriving themselves of an invaluable tool that they were practically giving away.  Oh, but they couldn't just give it away because people don't appreciate things they get for free, so they had to charge you hundreds of dollars.  You should even go in to debt to take these classes because it was going to help you become so successful that you would have no problem paying off the debt.   They constantly took breaks where they encouraged people to flock to their tables to sign up for classes.  If you didn't follow the crowd to the sign up table then one of the representatives would come and ply you individually to get you to sign up.   And if you said "no thank you," they would send someone new to try.  They even had my friend call me after the "Evening" to see if she could get me to sign up.  

Members of the "classes" who'd found recent success such as a new movie or book deal would be asked to proselytize to the group.   Each of them gave stories of how they were beaten down and made to face childhood traumas, more brainwashing techniques - confession and controlled approval.  It was shocking and abhorrent.  

When my friend called me later to get me to sign up, she was surprised to find that I was not only NOT INTERESTED but upset.  I explained that I didn't want to bash this group if she felt she was getting something out of it, but it was hard for me to standby and watch my friend being taken advantage of by these people.  I went on to point out some of their brainwashing techniques and why I thought it was a scam, all the while letting her know that if she was getting something out of it then good for her.  She hasn't talked to me since.  

How's that for being "authentic"?  And who was it who said that Landmark Forum doesn't encourage their members to cut friends and family out of their lives?  No.  They'd rather you indoctrinate them, but if that doesn't work...  then make with the cutting.  

And yes Scientology and the Landmark Forum have a whole lot in common.   Sorry people, but you're better off with good friends, family and maybe a therapist if you really need help dealing with emotional trauma.  No one can help make you successful with "classes" that don't teach a tangible skill, and the harder the sales pitch the less real value you'll get out of what they're selling.   

You want to become a great actor then take a class with a legitimate acting coach.  You want to be a great writer, then take a class with a proven writer or publisher.  Don't let anyone say you "need them" because you're somehow broken or "suffering."  Don't give them power over you.   
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#11 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Donny in Philly

AUTHOR: Donny R - (USA)

As a former employee, Landmark doesn't claim to have "answers." If anything the main thrust is questions...questions about yourself and what drives you. Only you have the answer(s) you're looking for. And being responsible (not fault or blame) for your experience is always yourself...just like everybody else.
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#12 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Donny in Philly

AUTHOR: Donny R - (USA)

Rebecca, ironically my 30 years participation in the est Training and the Landmark Forum, has shown me that even though I disagree with your accusations, I can have empathy and compassion for you. Thanks to much of their methods and other transformational experiences I can now respond with love and understanding for people like yourself who are angry and suffering.

Donny (Life Coach)
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#13 UPDATE EX-employee responds


AUTHOR: Donny R - (USA)

I've been associated with Landmark Education for over 30 years as a volunteer and a former employee. And as the former registrar for Werner Erhard's est Training in Philadelphia (followed by the Forum), I would tell you (as I did back then), Rebecca, that the Forum isn't for everybody. And some did take that advice and decided not to do it.  Maybe you might have been in that category...I don't know.

Either way, for every person who claimed it didn't work for them, I directly know that about 100 people who either liked it or were completely satisfied with the results. But I never found the Forum to be a cult...which is defined by me as an organization who discouraged their clients from being with friends or family. And over the years I've been a part of probably 25-40,000 people who've done the work.

Whether it was est or the communication and intimacy was clearly and profoundly encouraged for participants to be with family...who were always invited to the completion. Lastly Rebecca, no one was ever "trapped" in any of Werner's workshops. The doors were never locked despite reports to the contrary.

And frankly, I would encourage you to have a talk with Landmark officials in San Francisco. I'm sure they'd want to know what you experienced and would certainly try to resolve any dispute.

Lastly, my life was turned 180 degrees 30 years ago. Their work is one of the top things I ever did in my entire life...and I'll be 80 in April. 

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#14 Consumer Comment

Consider the following

AUTHOR: rob_fl - (United States of America)

Putting aside the matter of is Landmark a scam, a cult or otherwise illegitimate.  Imagine that there really is an organization that is dedicated to enabling people to lead their lives with ultimate effectiveness and satisfaction.  This ideal organization is aimed at helping people find and keep the right attitude, and to develop the organizational and interpersonal skills to approach their own problems and challenges in the most constructive way.  What would that organization look like?  

Would the people who engage in the training or the classes take copious notes about some technical process that they would then apply to their personal lives?  No.  It's at least clear that highly effective people aren't effective because they're using some detailed process that the rest of us just haven't figured out.  Whatever it is that they're doing differently, it's not really that much different than what we all do.  It comes down to a quality in what they say and how they act.  Can this be taught like math, science or English Literature?  It seems unlikely.

If you were to design an organization that teaches people to be effective, would it emphasize integrity and personal responsibility?  Would it be a one-time thing or would it be an ongoing process?  Would people volunteer their time to get involved?  Would the people involved support each other?  Would they encourage their friends and family to get involved?

How does this ideal performance development organization differ in the way it looks from Landmark?

Personally, I have attended the forum a month ago and found nothing controversial.  I've been applying the techniques and ideas presented there to great effect in my own life.  It's uncomfortable to face our own fears and to clean up the messes in our lives.  It's uncomfortable to admit where we have been lying to ourselves and others.  It's uncomfortable to look at the cost of our complaining, our judgements and our righteousness.  The uncomfortability of taking on these old bugbears is a small cost for the freedom of clearing the way for open, honest and unblocked relationships with the people in your life.

Like everything in life, there is no one size fits all.  Probably 3 of the 75 people in my forum left after the first day.  The rest stayed, engaged and did the work.  Everyone got what they put into it and everyone that did it at all said that they experienced life-changing results.

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#15 Consumer Comment

Landmark is a wolf (Werner Erhard - Est) in sheeps clothing. When I was 16 years old I was physically held hostage and mentally abused at a 'training' by fanatical followers using W.E. 'technology.'

AUTHOR: DaisyChain - (United States of America)

Those of you reading this that support and or carry out the mission of the Landmark Education Corporation may want to ask yourself this question, "Have I ever chosen to uphold my commitments financial or otherwise and or affiliation to a Landmark LLC franchise representative at the expense of upholding my commitments and or affiliations to a family member or friend?" If you are unsure of the answer please ask your children, your spouse, your classmates, and your friends or former friends what they think.

28 years ago my parents took the est training and became so enamored with their experience of personal transformation that they dedicated all of their time and energy beyond their job responsibilities to continuing to take courses and to volunteer for the company, paying much money along the way for this 'privilege.' They 'got it' and wanted to continue to 'do the work' and they now knew how important it was to give 100% to whatever their 'intention' was at the time. All I knew was that my parents were rarely at home, never listened to me anymore and seemed almost like they were high on a drug most of the time. They tried to persuade me to take the training for months and I finally gave in reluctantly.

The 2 weekend long training and Wednesday recruitment night is engrained in my memory as if it were yesterday. I was asked to sign a waver and confidentiality papers saying I would never talk about what happened in the training outside of the conference center and I wouldn't hold Werner Erhard and Associates responsible for any physical or mental damages uncured during the course. I still have this paperwork to prove it. I was verbally given the opportunity to leave during the first hour. The trainer said if anyone was there against their will or because someone else had talked them into it they could go. I stood up and walked to the door realizing that I didn't want to be there, and that is when the nightmare began. Six volunteers came between me and the door and they physically WOULD NOT LET ME LEAVE.
So for all of you saying you are free to go it can be a lie, they all talked at me and asked me endless questions. The trainer even took me aside, when challenging me didn't work the insults began. I gave in and sat down and endured endless hours of psychological manipulation, along with fatigue and hunger cunningly calculated to weaken my resistance to new ideas. We could not wear watches and the bathroom breaks were timed to eliminate any possibility of contact with the outside world. I stayed only so that my parents would stop bothering me with the 'you don't get it' language.

 I give credit to my NOT giving in completely to the brilliant technology Werner developed  to my adolescent stage of rebellion being in full swing. I was also well read in several of the sources of Werner's philosophy and ancient religion references he disguised as original material. He considered himself to be 'at source' or the genesis of these concepts. He was a trainer for several hours, in the flesh one Saturday night.  In those days there was a joke about the disciples of Werner, all the men wanted to be him and the women wanted to 'do' him, it seemed to be true. I watched and listened and became overwhelmed with sadness by the suffering of those around me. Their defenses worn down until they were literally 'nothing' experiencing the 'nothingness' of everything. And then the trainers went into high gear filling their heads with all the catch phrases and empty words all shiny with a promise of a new life experience unlimited by their old 'stories' and 'rackets' but only after their individual transformation began. I noticed the trainers would only let up  when a poor soul had broken down and then either laughed and cried or hunched over or got a strange twinkle in their eyes.  So at one point I feigned the necessary paradigm shift needed to win them over. Then the powerful recruitment tactics began.

During my hours of enduring this humiliation and restraint I was one of the ones that fainted during a "fully being with others" exercise and was lifted up by strangers and forced to do it again until I got it right, and many other instances that I believe were abusive to the child of 16 I was. The training was nothing however compared to the loss of my parents, they were strangers to me for years. They have since gotten over the romance with Werner's work but I have never healed from the heartbreak and loss I suffered. Werner almost made me believed that I 'created my reality' when I was a child, that I had done something to make my parents abandon me and choose him. I later lost a boyfriend and roommate to LIFESPRING, a competing company. I have had a lifetime of suffering caused by the technology these corporations use, to the point of wanting to end my  life at times.

 You may be saying to yourself something about Landmark and the Forum being nothing like est or the early courses. This is just an internal defense mechanism you are using to justify the time, energy and money you have spent on the process of transformation. Due to criminal allegations and litigation, Erhard change the age requirements to over 18 shortly after my experience. But keep in mind, the technology used in Landmark coursework was intellectual property purchased from Werner Erhard. It may be a kinder gentler version but the goal is the same. The company needs to make a profit, and they are very good at it, they make recruiters out of all graduates and pay them nothing for the service. I am not saying that the consumer gets nothing in return but the very nature of profit is that they get more than they give, please keep this in mind when you are signing up yourself and your loved ones for more courses or volunteering. Is this in your families best interest? In 5 years will the company be there for you when you are in need or should you consider your family and friends first. Children do not create their own reality and it is a dangerous concept for many adults to fully consider. One day you may be high with the empowerment the idea generates and the next day crushed by the shame it can cause.
Sadly, Landmark Education and others will most likely continue to generate clients and make lots of money off of the inner conflicts of the human condition. The package may be different than est, the clients may be more business minded than individually focused but the cost is the same. So I challenge you to live in the question....'do I really need Landmark to create a reality of unlimited possibility?
Thank you Rebecca for your warning.
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#16 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Tom - (United States of America)

Sarah: "If learning to take responsibility for your actions
and behavior is something you find intimidating or offensive - YES BY ALL

Donny: the advice (which Rebecca writes) to "run
away" from looking at doing the Landmark Forum is only advice
for those who, again in my opinion, are running from looking at their own

Leif: "It's not for everybody. Some people are either perfect
or like every aspect of their lives or are just not ready to address things and
open up."

What do these three comments have in common? They all give you two choices: either you don't take responsibility/run away from looking at your life/are not ready to address things and open up, or you go to Landmark.

It is a false duality and is a classic manipulation technique. I take it that it has been used on these people and they are passing it on. A relative of mine has gotten 'hooked' into Landmark and has probably spent many thousands she can't afford. They've convinced her to make it a personal organized project to try to get me to go to classes. She's even invited me over, out of the blue, for a dinner. I cancelled at the last minute, and then found out that a bunch of Landmark people were there and were going to gang up on me. I smelled a rat and avoided that one! By hearing all the different approaches she tries on me I'm learning all their manipulation methods. I wish I had been writing them all down!
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#17 Consumer Comment

Landmark Education -Why not?

AUTHOR: Leif b - (U.S.A.)

I've completed both the Landmark Forum and Advanced course. Pre-Forum I was very skeptical of ANY self-help studies and had never thought I needed or could benefit from such a course/book.

For all the negative comments on Landmark Education I simply have this to say-

You can always take something away form information that is given to you. I went into the Forum skeptical and came out a little more educated on how we all fit into the world and each other. Sure, the Forum is a learning experience! If you think you are good they way you are and don't need it, or perhaps you're afraid of some "cult-ish" teachings, whatever! Use your head and take from it what you can. I figured the tuition is money well spent if I can take something away from it. If you haven't taken the course and talk bad about it, well, that's kind of like talking bad about a movie you haven't seen!

If you've taken the course and didn't like it, well, that happens too. But if you really did take it, and were in there and present to what was going on, you could see the profound affect the course had on MOST of the people. It's not for everybody. Some people are either perfect or like every aspect of their lives or are just not ready to address things and open up. Or, perhaps those people are just afraid or what other people think about them and sat there silent the whole time. For those, take it again in a few years and this time get involved, or not, its up to YOU.
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#18 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Nonsense about Landmark Education

AUTHOR: Donny R - (USA)

I did the est training (a forerunner of the Landmark Forum) 30 years ago. Since then I became a staff member lasting 2 years and I have also been an assistant at Landmark on and off for many years and I'm so sorry that this person feels the way he/she does about the Forum and the seminars that Landmark offers.

Over the 30 years I have found that the officers of Landmark Education are totally committed to the health and welfare of their participants. Even so, the Landmark Forum isn't for everybody...which I know the staff are very well conscious of.
Frankly, and in my own opinion, the advice (which Rebecca writes) to "run away" from looking at doing the Landmark Forum is only advice for those who, again in my opinion, are running from looking at their own lives. But that doesn't mean they are bad people. Not everyone wants to look inside themselves...which is perfectly understandable. And frankly, I have much compassion for people like Rebecca. But her report is based on her own fear...her description of Landmark is nothing like it really is. Just my opinion.
Donny R Abington, PA 
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#19 General Comment

NOT a scam...just PSYCHOLOGY! Read this...

AUTHOR: Clifton - (United States of America)

Listen Up!!!!

Landmark Education is not a scam, nor is it a cult, nor is it brainwashing - that's RIDICULOUS!!!

First of all, people have and always will like bad news.  How many times do you turn on your local news and hear about all the great things that actually do happen in this world??  VERY rare.  My point is that people LOVE to have something bad to say and then once ONE bad thing is said, the complaints come pouring in.

No, I don't work for Landmark, nor will I ever, I just see how something like this can really make a HUGE impact on the world and the way its inhabitants hold onto negative energy, infecting our collective consciousness, and keep us from spiritually evolving.  In other words, people hold onto baggage from previous experiences and relationships.  And that baggage makes it hard for us to be happy.  Landmark Education shows to how to let go and just be happy.  Simple as that.

Honestly, it's a just a big group therapy session.  I've never heard of a person calling a therapist a cult leader or scam artist.  Have you?  No.  Since it deals with the inner-workings of your deepest emotions, of course they have to "get in your head" - duh!  What do people expect?  Some sort of "cheat code" for happiness?  NOOO!!!  Happiness is ACQUIRED by identifying the root of discontent, releasing its hold on your emotions, and re-wiring your mind to accept a different form of thinking.  Change is good (my opinion) and if you don't invite change into life then this is NOT for you - but don't call it a scam just because it didn't work for YOU.

Psychologists are expensive - so is Landmark.  Don't forget that it's a BUSINESS.  With money, you reach people...with no money, you reach no one.  Duh again, my friend.  All the greatest motivational speakers change lives and are VERY wealthy.  RIGHT???  Right.  Look it up.  Success Coach Tony Robbins has a estimated net worth of $480 Million from getting in your head, fixing your flaws, and sending you on your way.  Scam artist?  I think not.  Brilliant man who figured out a way to make money by helping people?  YES!!!

Come on people.  Stop complaining about this and go complain about your government or something.  I love you all and I mean NO disrespect.  Now get off this website, stop b!tching and go do something fun.  Peace.
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#20 Consumer Comment

Landmark Forum is EST reinvented

AUTHOR: The Truth be known - (Virgin Islands (US))

Back in the days of Werner and EST I sold Knoll International furniture for his offices in San Francisco. He would arrive in the latest Ferrari and then enter his office to sit in a $1000 chair behind a $10,000 Knoll desk. He was despised by most of his office staff who knew of his nefarious activities and mistresses.

Now that he is hiding somewhere he has relegated this enhancement of EST to what is now called Landmark Forum.  More fraud preying on weak and spineless people. I call it the Tupperware of the search for spiritual knowledge. Some buy into it and others sell it. 

Whatever your belief it is a cult  and a scam, simple as that!

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#21 Consumer Comment

Forum training is worth every penny!

AUTHOR: Ingrid - (USA)

I first took the est training in 1978 and again in 1980.  I also participated in the very first Forum training, which was live-telecast to various est sites around the country for est graduates.  Unless the Forum training has changed significantly (and from what I have read, it has not) it is based upon the original est training.

It is not Scientology. It is not brainwashing. Its graduates are not cult members.  There is no belief system forced upon one, nor indeed, any belief system to follow at all. There is a new vocabulary learned, which helps one to re-examine life as it goes forward. There are ongoing seminars to expand upon what one gains from the basic Forum training. There is a lot of pressure to recruit friends and family to also take the training, but there is a two-fold reason for this. First--it would benefit your friends and family to participate. Secondly--it pushes you to put yourself forward, to break through your discomfort levels, and to honestly communicate about your experiences.

The training is all about honesty, reality, and going forward to live one's life with integrity and insight. The training was one of the most significant things I have ever done for myself. It was uncomfortable. At times it was emotionally distressing, but the breakthroughs gained have made an enormous difference in my life, and continue to do so thirty plus years later.  

There is prescreening for people with a history of mental illness. They are either declined participation, or discouraged, because of the intensity of the program. People do lie about their history...

One is also asked to take a look at why participation is desired and what one hopes to get out of the training. The more specific the reasoning and expectations, the more powerful the results will be.  A wishy-washy self-examination prior to the training, unfortunately can leave one with wishy-washy results.  I recall that I didn't want to really examine my issues and was skeptical of actually stating desired results. I said "I want more of everything".  That's exactly what I got.  Nothing specific, but more movement in my life, more success in my job, a better relationship with my mother, resolution with a faltering romantic relationship.  The "more" was vague--but then my desired results were vague. When I reviewed the training, and later the Forum training, I learned my lesson, and verbalized my desires much more specifically.

There is nothing to fear from the training. It can be physically and emotionally uncomfortable. It ultimately challenges and strengthens one. It makes one reexamine life to date and life going forward. It makes one look at the context of one's life, and the content that fills it.  No cult, no brain washing, just good solid common sense, and the space to acquire it. 

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#22 REBUTTAL Individual responds

my brief experience with Landmark

AUTHOR: ChasWat - (United States of America)

I recently attended a Landmark information session in New York city at the request of my good friend from college. I had no idea what to expect; I really knew nothing of the program. In fact, I was meeting my friend for lunch and he told me to stop in for a minute. Little did I know he was trying to recruit me to the first information session which is essentially a hard sell for the main program. Well that's all well and good, but unfortunately I wasn't a willing participant and did not take part in the excerices as others did the class. It seemed odd to me that people were willing to discuss very private issues in an open forum to complete strangers. I wasn't willing to do that- I have my best friends and family, people whom I trust, to do that with.

I think this program is not a cult BUT has cult-like attributes to it (recruitment,peer pressure, etc). I do believe this programcan be beneficial to certain personality-types, but for myself I didn't even make it through the first 45 minutes of the intro session. I walked out saying that I had an appointment to go to. Waste of my time. Now I am concerned my college friend has become somewhat brainwashed by the program. He talks constantly of it and about what it's doing for his life. I am certain of one thing- it's burning a hole in his pocket!! LOL.

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#23 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Olsen - (U.S.A.)

The Michigan Landmark forum is the worst they brainwash the weak and the Narcisstic leaders try and have sex with the all the girls after they pay the $400 fee. Its sad there are so many gullable people that are taken advantage of by these Carnies!!
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#24 Consumer Comment

Yes there were people who paid for the experience but did not fully participate. They all felt like victims I'm sure.

AUTHOR: Patti W. - (United States of America)

When you give your word but don't plan to keep it, you watch yourself resisting and getting angry about what YOU have agreed to do and it is easier to imagine that there is "SO MUCH PRESSURE" coming from these bad guys who like to take your money.  Landmark Forum teaches solid tools.  They aren't answers because all you really learn to do in landmark is to look at things again and again until you are not run by the meaning you put on things and all of these opinions expressed in this report meant to make Landmark Forum look like a cult.  Instead, businesses from all over the world send there gripey, complaining, victimy employees here to take a look at themselves and to see why they have been limiting themselves their entire lives living a story that they've been ridiculed every time someone calls them on their %^&*!  

I have met my share of loonies in my participation at Landmark but those are easily spotted people that I've met all over in every organization.  I've increased my income 800% and have had all sorts of breakthroughs completing assignments no one forced me to complete.  However, I was coached and was sometimes very confronted and angered by the coaching but I am not a weak-minded drone who can't be with the feeling of telling an annoying person that I don't want to be coached anymore and that I am fine with the progress I have made and that I'm disinterested in any further success ha ha.  If you sign up to be coached, you can bet they will keep their word and coach you.  If you give your word, you will soon find out that you are committed to either keeping it or breaking it all the time and feeling ridiculed is the usual consolation a person gives him/herself because it's much much easier than taking a look at your life.

If you want to take a look at your life and a look at the way your mind limits you on a sometimes hourly basis, it is the cheapest, fastest way I know.  There are only something like 50 Landmark Forum leaders.  They are the only ones who have a salary.  Leadership programs are taught and if you have someone who is leading a seminar (by the way there are seminars that last 10 or so weeks that only cost $125!), they are teaching that seminar simply to make a difference and have no incentive to get your money or to brainwash you.  They measure their success in effectiveness and are vigilant about that.  If that is a turn-off for you (and I'll admit it has been a turnoff at times for me depending on who is leading the seminar and their personality), you simply quit.  The feeling of anger or upset you'll have will probably feel like upset toward Landmark but it will actually be because you don't want to confront how difficult it was to effectively be in a room with hundreds of people all committed to you getting everything you possibly could ever want out of your life because THEN you would feel you'd have to confront the unknown and to do things that were uncomfortable like talk to people with difficult personalities and find a way to make things clean.  You WILL be taught how to do all of that and it WILL be very specific. Honestly, the only people I ever hear so disgruntled or the people who get turned off before even signing up, hear secondhand from someone who said they "couldn't" go to the bathroom (which isn't true.  There are no bathroom police.  You will make a choice to break your word or keep it and there is no punishment.  You will simply be aware of how often you DO not mean what you say nor do what you say you will do) or someone who quit halfway through before making a breakthrough in their listening.  

We don't hear what is being said.  We hear the penalty attached.  "Oh, I've been a victim of a angry lynchmob was gonna wrestle me down if I left and I was scared..."  Kind of ridiculous sounding?  It's all because until something like LF comes around (and it's not THE only thing that can help you realize this) sometimes we go on and on never taking ANY ownership of the harm we do.  Landmark Forum is about cleaning house and practicing something new for a new result and it teaches real tools not concepts.  Fruitloops can see them as "answers" but people who actually are transformed by the process use the tools effectively and are in charge of their choices.  Those people can most certainly go to the friggin' bathroom but they'll probably manage their honesty by going at the break and participating fully like they promised.  Those people keep their word no matter what.  Just depends on who you want to be but whatever you want to be, Landmark will definitely help expedite that.  No need to run away scared.  An empowered person doesn't fear being unplugged all the time.  That's actually kind of a whacko way to live in my opinion.
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#25 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Your anger says more about you than the Forum

AUTHOR: Sarah - (United States of America)

If learning to take responsibility for your actions and behavior is something you find intimidating or offensive - YES BY ALL MEANS, STAY AWAY FROM LANDMARK FORUM.  Their intensive methods are meant to make you actually think about how you operate, and in so doing, discover why your life isn't working for you.  A lot of people are not ready to do this, mostly because they tell themselves they can't - plain & simple. 

The forum is not a cult.  If you want to bolt out of the room, no one will stop you.  You may be asked to give a reason why you want to leave, but if being held accountable for your actions intimidates you (and apparently it does for a lot of people) then you are probably going to be upset with the Forum.  But if you want to break through your fears, there is a great, life-long value in its message.

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#26 REBUTTAL Owner of company

I don't go out of my way to report, but iono, felt like somebody could use my input

AUTHOR: Just a regular guy - (United States of America)

Just a little description of me: I'm a regular 25 year old that does what any other 25 year old does, party, chase girls, money driven, etc...  Anyways, I'm just saying for d**n sure I'm no different than any of the haters on this board.

I typically won't spend the time responding to stuff like this, but was just bored and decided to "google" landmark and scam just to see what was out there and came across this.

Landmark is a great seminar, seriously.  Well, I tell you what, after Landmark I was really on the hype.  Throughout the process I questioned whether I was getting anything out of it and in the end I really enjoyed it.  Made me more of a positive person and got some monkeys off of my back.  In the beginning I did what they asked, I went around and tried to "spread the word"... some people were interested while many of my close friends and family didn't want anything to do with it.  That's cool, it's been about a year now and well I'll have to admit, I really don't think too much about Landmark anymore.  The hype has definitely died down, you won't see me going around talking about my experience like how I was at the beginning.

Although I say this, I still won't turn my back on Landmark.  I still think about some of the positive things I got out of it and what's the worst thing I got from it??? Just me trying to be a better person and not want to go out there and start s**+$ with random people in this world, c'mmon, some of the haters on here need to take a chill pill and just walk away if they're not feeling it.  I still believe in God, family, love... you're telling me Landmark has me brainwashed, haha whatever you want to say.  Anyways, anybody want to try Landmark do it, if not, then go to Barnes and Nobles and get yourself a Tony Robbins book or do whatever else floats your boat, just my 2 cents.


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#27 Consumer Suggestion

Please educate yourself

AUTHOR: lalalita - (United States of America)

No cult or LGAT makes you feel bad initially.  It's only later, when they pry into your innermost shame and fear that they start to use their leverage.  They will seize on whatever information you give them, first to give you hope and later to dig your emotional grave.  They use sophisticated psychological tricks.  Don't be gulled.  If they think you will serve them, they will first ask you to volunteer to get the ball rolling.  If you like the atmosphere, are vulnerable to the camaraderie, and thrive with the social support, they know they have you and can do what they will with you -- usually getting you to take ever more expensive "seminars" and corralling in your friends.  Your future is not a "blank slate," despite the brainwashing.  And your possibilities are severely limited by many things, not the least of which is the damage they do emotionally and intellectually. 

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#28 Consumer Comment

just finished the advance course

AUTHOR: doug m. - (United States of America)

I have taken the first forum and the advance course just recently May 14-16, 2010. It did bring up many things that I was not happy with but because I didn't want to deal them- my dishonesty, my inability to allow others to get to know me, my anxiety and fear of public speaking, my shame about myself, etc. etc.. I am so happy that I allowed myself to view the things that I could improve and am a better person now; I recognize how my actions affected those that I love and who love me. I walked out with a deeper appreciation and love for my fellow human beings. My marriage is 100% improved (my spouse said it was we renewed our marriage vows), I have a brilliant relationship with my mother, my sister and love/communication like never before.

The sales pitch at Landmark is not bad- let's face it. It is a business but a business of helping people. Those that don't want to change will fight it and view it as negative. It also bad when you have told yourself a story like, "they can't sell me!"

The reality is that I am a better person because of this program with more confidence and peace of mind. I am not recruiting anyone and I am not a "cult" member. I have left Landmark freely and am living a better life now and nobody is hounding me. 

This will either work for people or it wont; some will make it their life's-blood and become Landmark groupies, and some will call it a cult. Others like me will walk out with a beautiful and peaceful view of life, understanding how our past colored our future but that we can change that easily to have everything we want. My life is a blank canvas now and I can make of it whatever I want.
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#29 Consumer Comment

what a nonsense!

AUTHOR: seek answer not just wait untill so - (United States of America)

please run away from anyone who invites you to a 3 day weekend to the FORUM.

- run where? to your pity party?

It is a brainwashing session and can ruin your life.

- why? because you said so? you could have said it is a maple syrup - that would be closer to the truth

The least that it would do in waste your time, and money.

- why? because you waste you money as a habit ... all the time and everywhere...? an can't stop doing that...

I know several people who have embraced this cult

- cult? so what did they want you to believe?

and they have no honesty, logic or sympathy for others.

- why? because you don't have logic?

 It is all about them. And if the people in thier lives don't like it, so what! There is no accountability, the pressure is incredible in the sessions , you are trapped for 3 days 12 hours a day and told what to do. If you question anything you are publicly ridiculed and chastized. I know that many people go there in search of a way to solve serious problems in their lives. The answers are not there. Please run from this place. They are secretive, controlling and deceitful. Very rude. Rebecca yucaipa, California U.S.A.

- I will tell you something - all you said about Landmark - is reflection of how you operate in life - deceitful and controlling... Landmark is amazing - and I am sorry you missed the point of what the teaching is about. I agree the teaching is not easy to grasp...


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#30 Consumer Comment

Dangerous/Abusive Group

AUTHOR: L. Troy - (U.S.A.)

I'm curious about those who say that Landmark is "beneficial" - how long have you been involved with the group? How many "outsiders" do you come in contact with every day?

I was involved with it for about 18 months and soon after I figured the racket out, I left.

I would suggest looking up to learn more about Large Group Awareness Seminars, dangerous/abusive groups, abusive relationships, etc. One thing that Landmark asks you to do is to suspend your ability to think critically and question things that are presented to you. That IS a characteristic of a cult or a dangerous/abusive group. Sleep deprivation is another. ... just check it out for youself ...
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#31 Consumer Comment

Landmark Education is none of the things in the Ripoff report

AUTHOR: Niloo - (U.S.A.)

Landmark Education gives you tools to live your life effectively. Don't believe the bad rep. It is not a cult, nor is it a scam.

The tools I have learned are ones that have benefited me immensly.
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#32 Consumer Comment

Landmark is very beneficial

AUTHOR: Richard - (U.S.A.)

I just wanted to counter the crazy hyped anti-Landmark hysteria being shoveled out here. I took the Landmark Forum and it has been very helpful. It's not a scam, it's not a cult, it's a seminar. You go there and bring your brain. I was very skeptical, in fact, many people who take it go in very skeptical and come out utterly transformed individuals. And of course, many don't.

What I got out of it was a tremendous amount of empathy and connectedness with other people, a possibility of being someone extraordinary even while admitting that I am in fact very ordinary. It's not about pie in the sky and delusions and promises of grandeur. It's about being the best person you can be RIGHT NOW in the moment, and finding out what exactly and specifically is it about who you are being that keeps you from being extraordinary if you want to be extraordinary and make a difference in life. It's about being loving, powerful, creative, peaceful, charismatic, authentic, generous, insightful, brave, happy, and anything else you want to create for yourself or your life.

There is no brainwashing. I am a scientist with two advanced degrees and I know how to think critically and to examine results for validity. You might want to look at

CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.

People with complaints against Landmark are in one place, and I respect it. Landmark Education makes a difference in people's lives, which means it challenges you to think in a new way, and some people just aren't comfortable with anything different. And guess what? There's nothing wrong with them! :-) That's something I learned in the Forum. Just because you and I disagree does not mean you are the enemy. LOL. But we tend to make it that way. What a joke. Get it?
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#33 Consumer Comment

Aggressive and rude "recruitment" tactics; Landmark is a SCAM

AUTHOR: Sunny123 - (U.S.A.)

Landmark Forum= cult like, very agressive 'recruitment' tactics

I co-worker that I was only an aquantiance with befriended me one day at work at said she would like to 'hang out outside of work sometime'. I assumed she meant go out for drinks or coffee or something. However, she was most interisted in having me come to sit in on her Landmark Forum class. I didn't really want to go, but said ok because she said it was in a cool part of San Francisco, and that we would go out for drinks afterward in the city. I didn't have a car at the time and enjoyed going to SF so I decided to attend just as a sit in, get it out of the way, and then enjoy our evening in San Francisco. I assumed I would just sit in as an observer, but I was instantly bombarded with people coming up and wanting 700$ for a 3 day class. I took their paperwork and said I would think about it just to patronize them and get them to shut up. However they kept insisting that a special oppurtunity had come for me tonight and that if I just signed up right now they money situation would work itself out ( I would basically be responsible for a bill right at that point). I held my ground and said no ( I was saving money for a car at the time, no freaking way was I handing my hard earned money over to these aggressive brain-washers). At one point I went outside and pretended to take an emergency phone call just to get a way for a moment. I had to come back in and get my co-worker who was still in there involved in their going ons. The people trying to recruit me were implying that I was not seeing through barriers and that I had a closed mind because I felt perfectly happy with my life and saw no need to give these people my hard earned money for classes I did not want. They then implied that I was confused and not seeing clearly and that I only thought I didn't want it but didn't really know and blah blah blah. I am very self aware and self confident therefore these people could only serve to annoy me until I could get away. However, I could see them making people who feel sad or have low self esteem feel horrible about themselves if they don't believe what they are told by the Landmark Forum reps. These people use strong arm tactics and psychological tricks to get peoples money. I could see right though them and they did not get my money, but they sure did try to make me feel bad. Didn't work.
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#34 Consumer Comment

Mind Control

AUTHOR: Moe - (U.S.A.)

I went to Landmark with the recommendation of my brother and my father. I sat through the initial "Recruitment". It is a 3 hour session where you listen to one of their "Leaders" for about an hour, and then they bring you into a different room in smaller groups with Landmark "volunteers", one of which is the designated speaker.

The booklet I was given, and the questions that were asked didn't make much sense to me. I am not a dumb guy. They used phrases like "Already Always Listening" and "we propose the view that in all human endeavors, context is decisive."
I am not familiar enough with mind control techniques to accuse them of brain washing, but I was put in a room and confused by what I considered to be nonsensical gibberish until I was mentally exhausted. Immediately after that I was approached by three "volunteers" with the obvious intention of trying to get me to register. They told stories of hardships they overcame because of Landmark. These stories were sad, and I have genuine sympathy for what these people had to overcome.

That seems like it may be a method of mind control. Exhaust someones mental capacity, and then try to sell something from all angles, including a very cute "volunteer", and a women suffering from an incurable illness since she was a very young child.

A lot of people seemed to be convinced that they were bettered by the whole experience. However, my brother and father can not explain how their lives have improved, nor can they explain the process used by Landmark that makes them feel this way.
That's my two cents.
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#35 Consumer Comment

Your experience was clearly different from mine

AUTHOR: Janetmermaid - (U.S.A.)

Let me tell you about my experience. It was life-transforming. It is three days of listening, learning, sharing, and exploring your own life. We all drag the past around with us. It shapes our future. It determines who we love (or let ourselves love), what we decide we will (or can) do for a living, what kinds of friends we'll have, EVERY aspect of our lives.

If we truly want to have the freedom, power, and ability to create the type of future we really want, then we must be able to leave the past where it belongs in the past.

But this isn't nearly as easily done as said. Have you ever dated/married the "same" person over and over? How about working for the "same" a-hole boss over and over, at different companies? How about having the same arguments with your spouse/SO, siblings, parents, or children over and over and over and over.

Explaining how Landmark works is where the difficulty comes in. To describe it either makes it sound like "pop psycho babble", "new age woo-woo", or even a cult. But it is none of those things. It is empowering and releasing. I have never in my life experienced something as amazing or transforming. And I have never in my life looked forward to the future with as much excitement as I do now.

When a friend first talked to me about attending, every red light, warning flag, and buzzer in my psyche went off. But she kept telling me how much I'd gain from it and how much she wanted me to have the kind of life and future out of it that she knew I could get.

After a rather crummy summer for a variety of reasons I decided it was cheaper than therapy, so I signed up. I spent the better part of the first day in a very skeptical frame of mind, but I figured I'd paid so I'd sit there and listen. But by the end of the second day I was excited at the possibilities I saw. And by the last night I was a new person with a whole new shot at life.

My friend's perseverance gave me back my life and gave me a chance to have the future I want, not the future I would have had based on the expectations I had and on the unrecognized limitations I'd set on myself.

The best comparison I can give is to look at a young child (4-6). The whole future for them is a blank slate -- they HAVE no past. So they live life full-out with no agendas, no baggage, no barriers. They just live life because it's joyous and fun and exciting. THAT'S what Landmark helps you rediscover -- how to live life that way.

It isn't EST -- not AT ALL -- and it isn't cultish. It is a set of tools. And once you "get it" it's amazing just how simple those tools are. But we are wired as humans to shape things based on past experiences. That's not a bad thing, but it IS a limiting thing. And it does take the 3 days for our stubborn selves to be willing to give up our baggage (after all, we've dragged it around for YEARS -- we know it, we're used to it, and in a way we're comforted by it). But what if you could have more just by letting the baggage go? What if you could have it all? Why WOULDN'T YOU want that?
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#36 Consumer Comment

Mind Control

AUTHOR: Fuzzy - (U.S.A.)

I find it amazing that almost every time I hear about Landmark or any other personal development / transformational organization by someone who doesn't them, there's a mention of "mind control".

What's interesting to me is that mind control -- or any such manipulation of people's beliefs, ideas, preferences, etc -- has been present in all societies ever since the dawn of time. Think about:

- charismatic political/religious/philosophical figures or communities
- powerfully written books
- the media
- marketing, adertizing, sales organizations

All of these have one thing in common: they have an agenda, ie something they would like you (or anyone falling under their influence) to do.

And how do they do it? By using any method they can.

Don't think for one minute that you're not influenced by "mind control" techniques every time you watch TV, read the paper, read a magazine, go to a mall, go to church, or do anything that puts you under the influence of any of the categories mentioned above.

Really, when you decide to go to a 3-day workshop such as Landmark, you not only get "mind control", you also get the whole explanation around it without anything hidden: they do want you to have a life you love. Does that mean that each person who leads or assists in the class does it well, such that you're left inspired to actually go about changing your life for the better? Well, not necessarily. Does that mean that someone who just did the workshop will be able to communicate what they learned and "got" well? Well, very possibly not.

But that doesn't mean all of these folks don't mean well.

But don't get me wrong. All the research I've done shows that what they do, they do it really well and they keep learning from their mistakes.

They really have people's life at heart.

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#37 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Nell - (U.S.A.)

Hi Rebecca,

There's a ton of information available. Just google Landmark and cult. Also, I recommend Steve Pressman's "Outrageous Betrayal" about Werner Erhard. It's out of print but you can get a cheap used copy fairly easily. People have been saying the same thing you've said going back all the way to the beginning.

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#38 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Nell - (U.S.A.)

Hi Rebecca,

There's a ton of information available. Just google Landmark and cult. Also, I recommend Steve Pressman's "Outrageous Betrayal" about Werner Erhard. It's out of print but you can get a cheap used copy fairly easily. People have been saying the same thing you've said going back all the way to the beginning.

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#39 Consumer Comment

Public Exposure

AUTHOR: Rebecca - (U.S.A.)

Hi Erin,

You are the only person except for one who has agreed with me. I am just amazed how far these creeps have been able to go without being exposed by the media. Do you know of any articles or books on these people. I would like to forward them to several individuals who have been affected and entrenched in this cult for years. Maybe if someone else besides me will tell them they will pay more attention.
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#40 Consumer Suggestion

Landmark Psycho-Trickery

AUTHOR: Nell - (U.S.A.)

Hi Rebecca,

You are right about this group. They are dangerous because they use sophisticated and manipulative techniques to alter people's minds, thinking, emotions, and beliefs. They have lots of tricks up their sleeves, including taking more and more "classes," getting you to recruit your friends and family, and defending them to everyone who expresses a criticism, as these poor people above who are unaware of what has been done to their minds, (all the while they think they are in possession of special superior intellectual powers). Landmark is categorized as a Large Group Awareness Training but awareness is the last thing they want for you. They want to maintain their hidden agenda so that they can use you to do free advertising and proselytizing. They need to be exposed.

(You might be interested to know that the guy who stabbed his wife to death and then shot the judge who was presiding over his divorce hearings was a Landmark "instructor." His name is Darren Mack.)

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#41 Author of original report

Thanx You

AUTHOR: Rebecca - (U.S.A.)

Finally someone has come forward with the truth. I knew about "EST" but did not pay much attention to where it comes from. Thank you so much for your comment. Many people are deceived and ripped off by "Landmark". Just in my experience I could see how the adherence to this teaching can strip one of reality and causes one to live in a dream world expecting others to cater to them. I know not of one person who is successful because of this teaching and I know of several who have lost families, businesses, homes, assets, and self respect due to this garbage. It is very dangerous. I cannot warn against it enough
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#42 Consumer Comment

Landmark Forum Derived From Scientology

AUTHOR: Nell - (U.S.A.)

I am amazed. Has no one done their homework? The Landmark Forum used to be Werner Erhard's "est" and was derived, in part, from Scientology. I wouldn't think you'd need to know anything more. They can call it "Socratic" but it's closer to "Hubbardarian." Oh, and by the way, no cult member has ever considered his own chosen group to be a cult.

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#43 Consumer Comment

Questons are more valuable than Answers

AUTHOR: Elizabeth - (U.S.A.)

Hello! I am an INtroduction Leader for Landmark Education and I have participated in their courses and programs since 2001. My life has been immeasurably enriched by my experiences with this educational institution. I have healed many relationships and have become a stronger person and empowered others to do the same. I have two masters degrees: in nursing and psych counseling. I am pursuing a third degree as a Psychiatric nurse practitioner: I only mention that so you will know that I am very much acquainted with courses that give answers. They have their place.

HOwever, in the area of personal growth, itis what you don't know and the questions you have never asked yourself or even considered that can take you places you can only dream about now. Landmark is dedicated to providing people with the fascinating questions they need to create themselves for themselves. to live the commitments they declare are right for them and live their dreams as free people. One of the reasons that they certainly are NOT a cult, is that they do NOT provide answers to people on how to live their lives.

It seems to me that the "cults" Ihave read about are very narrow and rigid and fanatical about THEIR answers. Landmark is an Inquiry, in the spirit of Socrates: and like Socrates, the organization may have to endure some social resistence to what they are up to. I encourage anyone to check the organization out for themselves and make their own decisionfrom a free place.

Sincerely ELizabeth
San Antonio, Texas
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#44 Consumer Suggestion

Not my experience

AUTHOR: Derek - (United Kingdom)

I did the Landmark Forum in March 2002, and found the experience very constructive and useful.

My impression is that about 90% of the participants felt this way too. I found the Forum Leader sensitive and respectful. I know that about 1% - 2% of the participants did not find the experience useful to them but they were definitely in a tiny minority.

I found that the insights I gained in the Forum had a really positive impact on my family life, my business success, and my sporting activities.

Reading the original complaint, it looks to me to be very vague and devoid of concrete specific content.

It is nothing like brainwashing, and has none of the characteristics of a cult. Anyone who wants to leave can do so. They go home each evening, and if they don't want to come back there is no way they have to. After several hours they are given two opportunities to leave and get all their money back if they don't think it is the thing for them. I don't see how anything could be fairer than that.

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#45 Consumer Suggestion

Why no answers

AUTHOR: Rebecca - (U.S.A.)

Why would I waste my time and money on something that has no answers.
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#46 Consumer Comment

No answers--just really powerful questions

AUTHOR: Carol - (U.S.A.)

I am a graduate of the Landmark Forum and have taken other courses and programs offered by Landmark Education. I am also a retired Clinical Psychologist and currently a small-business consultant. I have a few short observations to make in response to the very angry and accusatory letter that Rebecca wrote?her experiences in this education are radically different from mine.

There are no answers in the Landmark Forum?but there are some very powerful questions asked, questions that can take you into unknown territories and result in an alteration of how and who you are in life. And that's a very good thing. And as a mental health professional, I have a deep appreciation for what it takes for a Landmark Forum Leader to do the job they are charged with: 1. to respect deeply and genuinely each person's humanity, and 2. to deliver a course that is designed to disrupt what people take for granted and asks that they take an honest look at how they have been operating in life. That latter can sometimes be uncomfortable for people?they may struggle with some issues and some questions for a while. And that, too, is a good thing?as in a powerful and freeing engagement with some of the things that really matter in life for people.

Certainly I've seen people in the Landmark Forum cry or get angry?and I've seen people really resist looking at some aspect of an issue despite the fact that they came to the course for just that purpose. This is all just human?and to be expected. This is not a course to be taken lightly (although it can also be a fun course to do, and, indeed, there is often laughter along the way?the laughter of recognition and relief as well as that of deep satisfaction and enjoyment).

People come into the course with whatever they come in with?and they start out dealing with things in their usual, long-established ways. The Landmark Forum Leader is devoted to prying people away from the points of view that may be keeping them stuck in complaints and dissatisfaction with some areas of life?but the request is only that you try something on for a while and see what that provides you. If you engage with the content and exercises of the course, you begin to see things about yourself that may have been hidden from your view?and you may discover that the way you have mapped out reality over the years is no longer a very workable representation of the reality you currently live in. That's a great discovery! It can also be disorienting at first.

I found the whole process exhilarating.
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