Landmark: Journey to the Land of the New Gurus ~ France 3 documentary:

Journey to the Land of the New Gurus ~  France 3 documentary: “Voyage Au Pays Des Nouveaux Gourous”.

This is a French documentary with English sub-titles.

This French documentary goes inside the Landmark Education Forum in Paris to film it first hand with hidden cameras. After this documentary was broadcast nationally in France Landmark left the country.

Landmark Education (sometimes referred to ‘The Forum’), a private company, reputes to be able to offer a variety of education and transformative programs capable of bringing about tremendous positive benefits, ranging from increased confidence to better relationships skills, in those who partake in such courses.

http://www.landmarkeducation.com/The_Landmark_Forum/Introduction_to_The_Landmark_Forum.aspx

As an organisation Landmark has come in for quite a lot of criticism, and over the years Dialogue Ireland has received numerous testimonies from course participants who have slammed the group for high-pressure sales tactics and cult like behaviour.

Originally invented by Werner Hans Erhard and first offered through Erhard Seminars Training Inc., better known by its acronym EST, the core concepts behind Landmark are claimed to allow “people to produce extraordinary results and enhance the quality of their lives.” Erhard’s most controversial source for his ideas was Scientology and is quoted as regarding L. Ron Hubbard a genius in the book ‘Odd gods: new religions & the cult controversy’.

As part of the training, Landmark introduces a whole new nomenclature. A ‘Racket’, a term used in Landmark training, is a cycle that people can be stuck in, resulting in those people wanting things to be different than they are and complaining to that effect. Related to Rackets are ‘Vicious Circles’, which occur when our interpretation of a given set of events replaces our memory of those events. ‘Transformation’, another concept, is the invention something new within a person, and is considered distinct from mere ‘past-based’ changes. To help achieve Transformation the concept of ‘Breakdowns’ is introduced, which are barriers that prevent us from achieving our goals – the Landmark twist being that such ‘Breakdowns’ should, instead, be seen as a pathway toward achieving our goals. The Landmark concept of ‘Reality’ differs from the traditional meaning of ‘that which exists’ to take on connotations of ‘that which we ourselves create’. Our personal filters and biases, according to Landmark, be more effectively reduced in their negative influence through the concept of ‘Already Always Listening’, which reputes to help us bypass our inbuilt notions and pre-existing ideas.

Those who have familiarity with Scientology concepts such Obnosis, ARC, Motivators, Service Facsimiles, Postulates, 3P, the creation of worlds, etc. will immediately recognise parallels with the Landmark terminology.

The discussions of origins is certainly interesting from an academic viewpoint, but Dialogue Ireland’s main concern is over whether the actions of Landmark have a detrimental effect over its staff and those who participate in its courses. While both Scientology and Landmark use conceptual frameworks that share many striking parallels, their respective uses could not be more different. Within Scientology people undergoing auditing sessions are forbidden from discussing their case, and well as discussing the Scientology teachings themselves (as detailed in the policy letter titled “Verbal Tech: Penalties”). This isolation seems to be a key base from which the Scientology organisation operates on the individual. By complete contrast, in Landmark course participants are forced to confess their short comings publically – and this public humiliation seems to be the key base of influence that organisation uses.

We direct the readers’ attention to the documentary “Journey to the Land of the New Gurus”. This French piece features undercover footage of taken during a Landmark course, and its contents reflect the complaints Dialogue Ireland has received over the years:

http://vimeo.com/41757861
This documentary can also be viewed on the Cult Awareness and Information Library here, and we include this link in case the above video is removed: (It has been removed as of March 27, 2014)

Use this link to watch it now below:

http://www.caic.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1243&Itemid=12

The official Landmark response to the documentary can be found from the same website here:

http://www.culthelp.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2387&Itemid=12

The video in question in has been the subject of extensive litigation (hence why we have included an extra link in addition to embedding it). The Electronic Freedom Frontier, a non-profit organisation that champions the protection of digital rights, has had dealings with Landmark, and in particular Landmark’s flagrant misuse of copyright law to attempt to identify its critics:

https://www.eff.org/cases/landmark-and-internet-archive

A detailed description of Landmark’s attempts to use litigation to uncover and silence critics is described on the Rick Ross website. This description also includes the details of Landmark’s suit against Ross, and discusses some of the very interesting exhibits which were uncovered during the discovery phase of the trial:

http://www.culteducation.com/

https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/category/landmark/

http://dialogueireland.org/dicontent/a2z/landmark/index.html

2 Responses

  1. Thanks Dialogue for the opportunity to watch the French programme. I was not surprised at all it would remind me of Tony Quinn’s and his boast about being the only one who can change peoples lives is laughable. In my book anyone who promises to do this, having seen the evidence of cults, creates suspicion and questions about what their motive is. Whatever reality they concoct to gain control of our minds we need to be very aware of their agenda and avoid them like the plague.

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  2. The Landmark Education videos are a softly softly approach that uses normal situations in life that may be problematic and the content simply contrived to give the impression they have unique answers to teach them if they avail of further seminars. The French programme (subtitled in English) and qualified guests on cults give an excellent analysis of what constitutes a cult.

    Roth, the leader of Landmark, claims to teach people to be authentic and to achieve this he puts the participants in a very vulnerable position by asking them to talk about problems they have in their lives. He breaks them down and advises them, literally putting words in their mouths on how to, for instance, communicate to have a better relationship with your daughter.

    It was quite telling to see Roth work on a woman who was initially adamant about being harassed by members of this cult to change her feelings and thoughts about it when he pinpointed her inability to let people support her. He is some smooth operator.

    The effect of how he operates is explained by an expert in brainwashing:

    “It’s very simple. Clearly there is a guru who destabilises people to enslave them, to make them subservient, which has been said by witnesses. You also see they make you relinquish critical thought and break the person down so they (in this case Roth) can pick up the pieces.”

    Moreover, “You can see there is a network of money. The ultimate goal is to press its power and clean out the student’s wallet and by using the students, to attempt to earn more. So there are the criteria of domination, a network of money, subordination and brainwashing.”

    “You have a pyramid structure.” “have jargon that separates you from your family and society” and “have the element of money from people that are victims.”

    Roth set them up to recall fears and abusive memories and the reason for this is explained by Lujan (a member of the panel) who is a psycho-sociologist and psychoanalyst.

    “He is in a position of total power” and “individuals are objects, objects of this total power. Everything is coded language. Everything is organised, everything is structured. The goal is to destabilise the individual, and to negate – and I emphasise this – the notion of the subject. The individual does not own his past. Only they know what’s good for him. At any moment, an exercise like this can take away a person’s introspection.”

    To protect themselves from criticism they get educated people like Dr. Norbert Nedopil, Head of the Department of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Munich, to do a study of Landmark Education and in 1996 he concluded that he “could not discern any form of behavior which would put The Landmark Forum near a so-called [psycho] sect. On the basis of empirical investigation, it can be said that to the largest extent, Landmark Education does not present risks to the health, free will and legal integrity of its participants.” Dr. Nedopil further said that “there is no evidence that The Landmark Forum is harmful.”

    When interviewed he denied saying whether it was a cult or not. I would advise him to watch the programme as it is obvious Landmark does interfere with a person life. He makes no mention of constant harassment about attending or cost of seminars, voluntary work or the fact they target members family.

    What strikes me is how insidious their operation is and how people tend to trust them because of the initial simple approach, not realising what they are getting themselves into.

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