Modern Mystery School ~ Reflections on cultism by a former MMS cultist



Regarding the Modern Mystery School: I was in deep with this ‘school’. It is absolutely a cult.


Claims to the contrary come from people who are brainwashed and defensive. I feel for them because I know where they’re coming from.


There may also be some students who have not yet reached the higher levels and think these accusations sound insane, because so far MMS has treated them well.


I understand. MMS grooms its students, so allegations of abuse (psychological, financial, sexual) sound ridiculous, until you advance to the upper ranks and the mask falls off.


There’s a seduction process, and it can take years. When you finally see the rot, you feel like you’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone. Worse, you may ignore it because MMS trains people to ignore their instincts and follow orders.


I can’t speak for others. Here’s what I personally witnessed……..


People sacrifice marriages, children, homes, businesses, careers, and retirements for MMS. MMS actively encourages this. I can’t tell you how many people go into heavy debt for this cult. It’s a chronic problem. I know people who had to move into their car.


MMS claims to be a ‘school of abundance’, yet everyone is broke. Ironic? I witnessed the group suck so many victims dry and toss them away. I know people who drained life savings, inheritances, and bank accounts only to have MMS stop returning their calls once they could no longer wring anything else out of them. Even the master teachers were in debt despite making tens of thousands per course, because they have to constantly dump all they own back into the machine.


There’s defensive criticism in your comments section that the group ‘would NEVER encourage people to take on debt’, but that’s untrue. They do it all the time.


‘Just take out a credit card.’ ‘You need to spend money to make money.’ ‘The abundance will come if you allow it!’


Dave Lanyon insists that he charges such outrageous fees to teach students to overcome their fear of money, a moral lesson that conveniently lines his own pockets. Leadership spends a lot of time ranting about the evils of the world and sees greedy bogeymen everywhere, conveniently ignoring their own greed.


I know three people I could name who lost their homes as a direct result of spending the mortgage money on MMS programmes (those are only the ones I know about). As for destroyed marriages, the list is too long and includes most of leadership.


The cult creates a stark ‘us versus them’ mentality that makes it difficult to interact with outsiders. The endless fees, and disappearing for weeks at a time to attend another mandatory programme, don’t help either. For a place that prides itself on helping people step into their personal power, there sure are a lot of rules to obey.


MMS has a ‘break you down to rebuild you from the ground up’ process very similar to Scientology and POW camps. They use classic military tactics including sleep deprivation, protein deprivation, and keeping you off guard with psychological attacks. They will never admit this to outsiders or newer students. They’ve lost too much business over the years and need to keep people blissfully unaware until they reach the higher ranks and are locked in.


The founder Gudni Gudnason sexually preys on his students. It’s not uncommon for Gudni to proposition students at programmes. It’s considered an inside joke. He encourages the younger students to sleep with his friends and experiment with their sexualities. One person in leadership told me that sleeping with Gudni was considered a rite of passage for all the master teachers.


This reverence for Gudni is a problem. He’s treated as a god beyond reproach. There’s a double set of standards in the group: one for Gudni (and leadership in general) and one for everybody else.


Leadership saves its worst abuses for the advanced students. If you’re in the lower levels, of course they’ll be sweet to you. It’s classic grooming. It can take years before you notice something is wrong. By then, you’ve been taught not to question anything.


This is a school from which no one ever graduates. No one can know more than Gudni or Dave, who ‘channel’ new information all the time. MMS claims to be the only school you’ll ever need, because it helps you ‘find yourself’, but the only valid path in the group’s eyes is to become an MMS-certified teacher and healer and grow the cult on its behalf. When you succeed in life, you’re told it’s thanks to the group. When you struggle, you’re told it’s your fault.


There is never a legitimate reason to leave the group. If you do, you’ve obviously let your ego win or you’re possessed of the devil. Leadership can’t possibly be wrong and it must be your fault. Students are bullied into compliance, or else blacklisted and no one within the group will talk to them again. Others get fed up and walk away, even after investing their lives into the cult.


Most people leave anyway. If you look at any MMS photo from five years ago, at least 90% of the people in it have left. This is typical. Turnover is extremely high, yet none of these people graduated because graduation is not an option. They simply drop out. MMS won’t tell you that either. Once people leave, they’re never spoken of again as if they never existed (unless leadership is badmouthing defectors). There is no alumni recognition or outreach, no class reunions. People just vanish, and leadership says those people obviously failed.


Because of the high turnover, the only consistent members of the group are leadership (plus a few students who are lifers). This means collective memory in MMS is short, leadership can rewrite history at its leisure, and you can’t ask any older people for guidance once you notice something’s wrong.


Fresh blood constantly comes in to replace the people who constantly leave. Doesn’t anyone find it odd the group has been in business for 20 years yet their numbers stay the same, or have sharply dropped? They used to get 400 people per programme (paid in cash) but haven’t pulled numbers like that in years.


MMS would tell you that the defectors couldn’t hack it, as if MMS is a rigourous and elite curriculum. Dave claims he’s trying to make you quit (reverse psychology, I suppose, to make you work harder to stay). The truth is people get tired of being abused and finally realise this lifestyle isn’t sustainable if you want family or friends or a life.


If you leave, everything you studied will be taken from you, and you won’t be ‘allowed’ to use any of it. What other school on the planet does this? When you get a degree from a real university, it’s yours forever. MMS claims it’s different from other universities so it ‘chose’ not to get accredited, but Dave has admitted they were denied accreditation.


Legitimate organisations have boards of directors, trustees, customer services. They encourage feedback so they can serve their people better. MMS doesn’t. Criticisms and questions are severely punished.


MMS is structured as a pyramid, and you’re supposed to blindly trust all the time as proof of your faith no matter how ridiculous the situation. There are meetings for the advanced students to make management decisions, but it’s all for display and everyone knows the only people truly making decisions are Gudni and Dave.


Stepping out of line means you’ll be punished: tools (that you paid for!) will be stripped from you, or you’ll be demoted, or you’ll be harassed and bullied, or your work will be sabotaged, or you’ll be thrown out. Public humiliation is frequently used to keep subordinates in line.


If nothing else, the lack of meaningful feedback and inquiry should be alarming. People are scared to voice doubts because it means something’s wrong with you. That’s how deep the brainwashing gets into your head. It takes a lot to get someone in MMS to admit they’re upset or concerned about something. Most people learn to complain in private or ignore red flags. Or they gossip. The gossip mill in MMS is terrible. That’s what happens when people aren’t allowed to address issues like adults.


That’s why you see such angry/arrogant responses from initiates in your threads. You’re forcing them to confront things they’ve been brainwashed to ignore through constant reinforcement or punishment.


Leadership is hypocritical. I worked for leadership a long time, and trust when I say they’re all liars. They preach love, and claim that this work brings you joy and abundance, but they’re penniless and hate each other. They have no friends inside or outside the group and they’re barely paying their bills, but they will never admit that. You should be able to look up to your mentors, but if you stay in the group this is what you will become.


Another example of hypocrisy: leadership forbids gossip but does it themselves and will use any information against you they can get. The group operates like a big abusive family with scapegoats and favourites. If you’re a favourite of someone in leadership, expect opportunities to fall into your lap and protection from other people’s claws. If you don’t have a powerful patron, well, good luck, you’ll need it.


Yes, there are quotas.


Yes, they revolve around recruiting more people.


Yes, you’re expected to quit your job and devote yourself to recruiting.


Yes, there was at least one infamous programme where they locked all the Guides in a room and screamed at them for hours late into the night because they hadn’t met quotas.


Yes, expect to work for free. The Kabbalah apprentice teachers have been working gratis at MMS programmes for years (after paying through the nose for the privilege). They also had to do it on no sleep because they were working 20-hour days with Martina Coogan terrorising them the whole time.


The group is big on mind control. Not only with meditation and ritual, but working you to the bone on two hours of sleep. They say your ego is bad, your feelings are bad, you can’t trust your thoughts… in other words, don’t think for yourself. Individuality is punished. Leadership is among the first to criticise or make fun of people, so students fear saying anything.


Leadership wants to control you. It explains why they’ll tell you to quit your job and work for the group full time. Suddenly, you’re dependent on them to earn a living, so you can’t question them lest they sabotage your livelihood.


Not that the group gives you a salary… you’re selling their courses and services on your own, and of course you have to pay hundreds in yearly membership fees for the honour. (Ironic. A school that couldn’t get accreditation demands its students stay accredited with them.) This doesn’t count the thousands you’re spending for other mandatory courses every year. It never lets up.


MMS doesn’t tell you any of this. You’ll take a class and only learn later that yearly recertification is mandatory if you want to keep what you paid for. (Yes, read that again.) You’ll become a Guide and only learn later that there’s a quota you must meet and that you’re expected to quit your job. No one will ever allow you to make an informed decision. You get trickle truthed or outright lied to with regards to expectations. You know why? Because no one would stick around if they knew the truth.


I believe many of the students are good people who mean well, especially when they first enter the school. MMS attracts a lion’s share of the vulnerable. Leadership then manipulates followers to foster dependency, fear and powerlessness. They do this in part by creating no-win situations where people constantly fail so their spirits are kept low. I’ve talked with many people who left. All mentioned knowing they had to leave because their self-esteem was in shreds, and they couldn’t handle the mind games and politicking anymore.


It’s very telling when you see who stays and who goes. MMS has attracted a few big names over the years (CEOs, very successful people) but they leave so quickly it’s like they were never there. The people who hang on tend to have no life to return to or come from abusive upbringings. MMS has claimed to have initiated celebrities over the years but like many MMS promises, nothing ever comes of that.


Expect rules to change all the time, especially if you’re one of the scapegoats. Leadership is always moving goalposts so you can’t win. They’re never appreciative, but they reserve the bulk of their ire for people who have left. Gudni has repeatedly dismissed defectors as ‘tourists’, ‘losers’ and ‘parasites’. These are people who worked with him for years and considered him a friend. Dave threatens the students that they better not leave or vague terrible things will befall them. Both Gudni and Dave use these stories of defection and betrayal to scare the student body into compliance, because God forbid you leave.


If you wonder how successful the group is, consider how many people have left. Leadership (especially Gudni) is known within the school for torturing followers to the point it’s become a joke. People flee and never come back or speak to anyone in MMS again. I don’t know about you but it’s rare for me to cut contact with old bosses and colleagues, yet burnt bridges are the rule in MMS. They lost half their members in Japan a few years ago, and equal numbers in the west as well, but MMS won’t tell you that.


Ideology is emphasised over experience. If your experience doesn’t match what the group says, you’re wrong. Expect to be wrong a lot.


The group is very intrusive. Expect to have your relationships and personal life decisions questioned. Expect leadership to spy on you. Expect to be told you can’t drink alcohol or eat meat, but some of these rules have changed over the years at Gudni’s whim. Nothing is static. Don’t expect logic or consistency.


The insidious thing is how the misbehaviour of leadership filters into people as they move up the ranks and earn underlings of their own to abuse. People who would never lie, cheat, or steal begin to do exactly that. I can’t tell you how many people have borrowed money to attend an MMS programme and then skipped town, stolen from their fellow pupils (and their own families), or lied to new recruits to get them in the door.


I didn’t want to leave MMS for many reasons. I’d swallowed the party line, I felt a responsibility to my colleagues and didn’t want to abandon them, and I believed I could change things. Every organisation has flaws, right? Maybe if I toughed it out, we could fix the problems together. I didn’t even believe most of the rumours at first because some of them were too wild. For a long time, I thought the rumours were frivolous, sour grapes perhaps, or that I needed to ‘toughen up’.


The last straw for me was witnessing some of the abuses mentioned above (money mismanagement, sexual coercion, leadership psychologically terrorising/scapegoating people and throwing them out of the school). I finally understood that there was no saving the place, that the rot went to the top, that there was no one I could work with or recommend.


Integrity and business ethics in MMS are conspicuously absent. Honest people leave. The ones who stay become corrupted pets. I spoke with a classmate who quit before I did. He said the last straw for him was watching leadership berate a student and thinking, ‘I never want to become these people.’


But you know what’s tragic? You would expect a school to propel you to the next step of your development. Yet there’s nowhere within this group where one can grow. Leadership is so protective of their titles and their streams of income (yes, it’s a pyramid scheme with an upline, so I hope you’re not attached to your clients, because MMS will take them, but God forbid you do the same because everything you own belongs to MMS), and they will never want their subordinates becoming as big as them. They fight for scraps and sabotage each other. Do you really think they’ll share with you?


MMS is an MLM. I wish more people understood this. A job pays YOU. If you have to pay for a job, it’s a scam. There’s a reason so much of the MMS base comprises young people and soccer mums. It’s harder to hoodwink the students with more real world experience and common sense. Those people rarely stay long.


MMS doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint. It’s a bad case of ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’. As you build up an MMS fanbase in your geographic area, you put yourself out of business. How? Well, your students become healers and guides (because MMS wants everyone on the same money-making track), and these people will in turn compete for business in your area. They’ll probably steal your clients. At least 80% of the problems in the group come from turf disputes. Once you have a decent community, of course the master teachers will come in to teach … and they’ll steal your clients too. Oh, they’ll order the student body not to do this, but the master teachers do it all the time because the rules don’t apply to them.


The ‘reward’ for success in MMS is your own obsolescence, and you’ll be punished for that too. Even the top Guides, people working around the clock to meet quotas, end up taking on other jobs to make ends meet. They have to, because they’re constantly pouring everything they make back into the machine, and even that’s not enough. At least one person in MMS leadership hasn’t paid taxes in years and seems proud of it. I know others who are in bankruptcy levels of debt. MMS is designed for failure and if you stay, you’ll be sucked dry on every level.


The criminal thing is, no one will tell you. Everyone’s wearing a mask and pretending everything is great. They won’t tell you that they don’t pay taxes, that their houses are underwater, that they’re relying on credit and charity to survive. For years, MMS was a cash-run business. Their most expensive classes (Ritual Master and School of the Mage, which generate six to seven figures) are still ‘cash only’, and who knows what they’re doing with it all or how they’re getting it across international borders. Do you really want to be involved in this?


Other people have criticised MMS for stealing its content. It’s true. They lift information verbatim from other sources like BOTA, Israel Regardie and others, then slap their own copyright on it and repackage it in their student manuals. That’s bad enough, but then MMS claims they have the one truth and that you can’t go anywhere else. There are many reputable paths out there, but MMS really retards people’s growth in that respect by making you think nothing outside their doors is valid or worth your time.


You’re not entering an environment where people want you to succeed. You’re joining an insane asylum where everyone is bitter, broke, angry and jealous, and where no one will ever tell you what’s going on. There are always multiple levels of truth and which version you get depends on which level you’re at and who you’re friends with. It’s Game of Thrones on steroids. You have to figure it out on your own while you’re being manipulated. The process can take years, and the entire time, you think there’s something wrong with you instead of realising you’re not the problem.


If you leave, you’ll be threatened, told you can’t make it without the group, and shunned. I understand why so many stay. They have sacrificed careers, fortunes, friends, family, and identity for the group. It is terrifying to leave that and reenter the world naked and alone.


I know one student who committed suicide. I know others who tried to kill themselves after they left. People do not simply leave, they run. Then they have to spend a long time dealing with depression, rumours and harassment from MMS, relearning how to live in the real world, etcetera.


They also have to rebuild from the ground up since they’ve let relationships and careers go to pot. If leadership ever leaves MMS, they are beyond screwed because they’ve invested the last 20 years into a sinking ship and have no friends or marketable skills left. Maybe that’s why they’re so viciously protective of their share.


Once defectors have coped with the aftermath, most do very well, contrary to all MMS predictions of doom and gloom and eternal damnation. They have major life breakthroughs, they reconnect with loved ones, they recoup their financial losses, they get married, they’re happy. You will never find a career or friends or a foundation at MMS, regardless of what they tell you, nor will you find the inner peace and joy they promised.


Gudni, Dave, Verla Wade, Martina Coogan, and company are smart. Until the day the mask slips, you will think they’re good people. The seduction process is slow and they incrementally make more demands of you over time so your guard doesn’t go up. In the beginning, they’ll also lavish you with praise and advice so you come to trust them and turn a blind eye to lesser violations. Over time, your tolerance for bad behaviour grows. It’s a lot like an abusive marriage.


Yet if someone speaks up about a problem or has a nervous breakdown, leadership will very convincingly make the person look crazy, and they will be cast out before they can clue the student body in that there’s a problem. Many people vanish from the group and you barely notice they’re gone until much later, in part because the student body is such a revolving door and in part because leadership likes to make problems disappear.


Would you imagine this person was reacting to an abusive environment and that’s why they’re crazy? Of course not. You assume there’s something wrong with them, until you realise a lot of people in this place go mad, and why is that? Is it possible there’s something wrong with the system? That’s unthinkable. You never consider MMS is the problem until it’s your turn. Gudni could charm the pants off the devil. You’ll wonder why everyone around him is insane until the day you realise he made them that way.


If you ask Gudni how many people have ‘betrayed’ him, he’ll give you a list that runs the length of his arm. By his own admission, he has far more failed friendships than successes, and the people at his side fear or hate him even as they publicly claim to love him. Pay attention to how many people vanish from his life without explanation. It’s very telling.


I would describe Gudni as parasitic and paranoid. He makes friendships based on what he needs, and then those people vanish when he’s done with them. He also assumes the whole world is just as manipulative as he is, so he’s constantly testing his own people and playing them against each other. The result is endless chaos and drama. You see this mindset trickle down into MMS culture. The group demands strict loyalty from its followers yet gives no loyalty back. The students themselves are known to exploit people and then drop them, especially as the student rises up through the ranks and gains more clout. No one trusts each other.


MMS will deny everything I’ve said and try to spin this back on me, because of their ‘circle the wagons and don’t ask questions’ mentality. I denied the truth too until I couldn’t anymore. Cognitive dissonance is key to survival in MMS, because you won’t understand how people you trusted who claim to work for God are in fact so unethical, cruel, and deceptive. I’m not the first person to make many of these accusations, and I’m sorry to say I won’t be the last.


The smartest way to leave is to scarper out the back door without telling anyone. If you’re a small fish, they may not bother you. If you’re an advanced member, then announcing your resignation is the worst thing you could possibly do. MMS doesn’t take rejection well and tries to destroy defectors by any means possible including smear campaigns and frivolous legal action. They’ve lured back a few defectors with bribes, especially advanced students and people in leadership, but of course they won’t tell you that. They want you to think people return of their own volition, because they realised the error of their ways and the group is always right. Once you leave, you’ll suddenly understand why so many people have ghosted MMS over the years and you never heard from them again. They were smart.


I could go on, but I won’t. If this doesn’t dissuade someone from joining the Modern Mystery School, I don’t know what will.


Oh, an important P.S……


MMS likes to play loose with the facts and deny things, so here’s a screenshot of Gudni flirting with his followers. This kind of predation from leadership is typical and very normalised, especially toward the youngsters.
















6 Responses

  1. I was recruited into this group by someone doing my DNA activation for free and then I took the beginning course and it was so hokey — I did not get hooked but I did do the rituals for a while until I joined another “spiritual group”. In my 5 years in another “spiritual group” I experienced many of the things mentioned in this article. I am happy to see the writing of people being happy and moving on to real happiness after they leave the group. That has been my experience too!!!!!


  2. I was in the RMMS from 2005-2008- I left. There is life after the MMS as it is now called. I am pleased that you are choosing to share your experiences. I am not a wife of a leader of any member of the MMS or trying to groom or make pleasant anything about the MMS except to say that many light workers enter and are hurt. True teachings can and are manipulated. There are people out there who can help one to unhook should you need help. I apologise if you felt the need to remove my post – I could find no-way of editing it, so thank you for doing so. My comment about May 5th was – I wasn’t there in that school. I have heard from people in that place what they think went on. What went on in ceremonies held the world over celebrating 2012 was beautiful and not the BS I have heard spouted. Be glad you got out, thankful and grateful you saved yourselves and try to find a place in your hearts to help others who may need help untangling which was the purpose of my post yesterday. Many thanks


  3. We had the wife of a leader try to groom people here yesterday about the joys of her interpretation of the MMS. We had to bring in a surgeon immediately.


  4. So accurate it’s not even funny. I was in MMS for a decade and left for many of the reasons described in this post, especially the bullying.

    My Guide was promoted to leadership and quickly went power crazy, which sadly is a pattern as the school makes egomaniacs. I had a few of my own clients complain to me about her bullying, and the overall lack of professionalism from HQ. At least 3 people came to me complaining that they couldn’t register for programs because HQ wouldn’t reply to their emails or answer their calls (or was rude to them on the phone). MMS is unprofessional, yet it’s somehow our fault they’re losing money? Unreal.

    I left for good after a rape allegation was made at a program in Toronto. I didn’t witness this myself but I heard about it afterwards from witnesses. Apparently a student had accused another student of assault. Did management call the police? No. Dave and his people pulled everyone allegedly involved into a room and screamed at them for 12 hours trying to get to the bottom of it. During that time, no one was allowed to leave for food or bathroom breaks.

    Did a crime actually occur? Who knows? If it did, there will certainly never be justice, because leadership didn’t call the police and let the professionals investigate. If it didn’t, then innocent people were tortured under the guise of mob justice. No surprise, all these people left MMS after this.

    When I heard this, all the hair on the back of my neck went up. It reminded me of my own childhood where the family kept problems within the family and calling the police was considered snitching. It came down to me being unable to recommend MMS to anyone. My clients trust me. How can you send innocent people into the lion’s den, knowing what you know?

    To anyone who doubts, this isn’t about hurt feelings or people not making the grade. There is no gray area on this. MMS is evil.


  5. Thank you so much for sharing your story and experience. This is the most detailed and wide-ranging testimony I have come across and I certainly hope it is read by many people that are considering dipping their toe into the MMS. It is a pity those at the lower levels of the school will never read this or believe it, as the machine will already have convinced them if they hear anything negative about the MMS that is part of how the devil works against you.

    Samantha, I would love to hear about the events of May 5th. As the partner and funder of someone who was deeply invested in the school but who couldn’t travel to Japan in May 2012 due to the money running out, it was such a focus in the years leading up to it and caused many a fierce argument in my home. The money ran out after Canada the previous November, That was when my tolerance ended and I would not get into debt to fund the ridiculous egocentric extravagance of it all rather than concentrate on the kids needs. I know it was supposed to be a huge secret, on a ‘if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you basis’.

    Thankfully things have moved on for us but the years 2008 to 2012 for me will always be massively tarnished in my memory by the need to prepare for May 5th. Of course I was never supposed to know about May 5th or it’s significance but managed to glean a bit along the way through all the secrecy.

    Would love to hear your story of your experience of the school also.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for your honesty. I couldn’t have said it better myself. You have explained things accurately. I was a part of the machine for 8 years, left after May 5th. I read this and it made my heart sad for all those I have known who were hurt so badly and all those who are there being used and abused. If I knew who you were I would shake your hand!

    Liked by 1 person

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