Landmark Forum

Has anyone heard of this before? I recently got duped into attending one of their intro courses (I didn’t registers since it was 670) and hearing them speak I heard a lot of stuff that sounded fishy or just odd. When they handed me a syllabus of their “course” it read like a lot of other ideas I previously read about but I didn’t have to play 670 dollars for that.

So of the things they said sounded deliberately confusing or psychobabble and I listened closely to hear what they meant but it sounded just as foolish as before. I noticed their syllabus mentioned the word freedom like hundreds of times, but every description was trying to get at being unlimited and how we hold ourselves back with the stories we make and the beliefs we hold. I mean that wasn’t really a new concept, being your own worst enemy is a trope as old as time. But sometimes the stories are rooted in truth and evidence and not mistaken beliefs. It just sounded weird.

When they took me and the guests into a room and asked us what we wanted I told them I don’t know. When they asked me about a probable almost certain future I said I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know what tomorrow may bring. When they asked what possibility I created myself I left it blank and tried to tell them that we don’t have that much control over the future. Something might happen tomorrow that could change everything or maybe factors change years from now. I can’t be sure. All she could say was “I get that” but it sounded like a response people give when you don’t say what they want to hear.

I hear them say that being present and letting go of the past allows for infinite possibilities. But that isn’t true. Infinity isn’t a number for one, and second how can there be infinite possibilities of we humans have limited senses and knowledge.

All in all the whole thing just raised a lot of flags for me.

I did Landmark before it was Landmark. In 1938 its was called est, then later, The Forum. I haven’t been in a workshop for 25 years or so. On their website somewhere is survey results, showing that most people benefit from it. I’m not sure it’s for you though. It uses Buddhist and other philosophies, but they don’t always reference them, they just add them to their own mix.

I don’t know if they still use it, but they talked about forms, and how our words create them. This is some old Plato and was improved upon by Aristotle, but it still sounds cool if you take it out of context and don’t mention everything we know now. So, sometimes it’s helpful, but sometimes it’s crap. They’ve hadn’t had any major scandals since the founder left. The people are genuine and aren’t getting rich off it. They don’t cut you off from your friends and family like a cult, in fact they encourage you to engage in your community. In that way, it might be good for you.

If you remember that YouTube I put up about “Being Right”, that was the founder. You could listen to all the stuff on the web and maybe save yourself $670. Although you wouldn’t get the support group with that.



I didn’t even realize they’re still around!!

I guess the bottom line would be, it’s not a “cult,” but “cultic.” Some people are thankful for the experience, while others have claimed psychological damage.

Dismissed, but:


The Defendant’s courses are not skills training events, but instead resemble intense indoctrination or brain-washing programs. Defendant Landmark’s authoritarian-style program leader then proceeds to persuade their unwitting consumer (who has paid a considerable sum to attend) to believe that (a) their lives are not working, (b) that they have caused every deleterious event that has ever happened to them, (c) that salvation is based upon accepting the belief system being offered, (d) learning to talk in the jargon of the trainers, and (e) remaining connected with the organization by being an unpaid volunteer/helper and (f) recruiting other customers for the organization.,_Plaintiff%27s_Response_to_Defendant_Landmark_Motion_Dismiss_Plaintiff


Question on Quora: Why do some people, during the Landmark Forum, have acute mental health episodes?


This course has transformed me. And the funny thing is, I didn't know I even had it in me to transform. The Landmark Forum is not magic. It is not scary or insidious. It is, in fact, simple common sense delivered in an environment of startling intensity.



Part of it is the in-your-face, hard-sell ethos embedded in the corporate DNA it inherited from est. Forum grads are urged to stay involved and “invite” friends and family. After finishing the Forum, I received calls asking me to volunteer at the Landmark call center and come in for one-on-one coaching. The company also vigorously guards its reputation from critics. After I told Beroset I’d be writing an article on my mixed feelings about the Forum, she called several times and sent me an email that might be described as threatening—but in the most benign, centered kind of way.


You can do what you want, but you might just wind up substituting one obsession with another.

Not gonna argue with the links Tee. Anyone checking in, be sure to read them, not just the headlines.

At the time, it probably saved me from further deterioration into my various addictions, but at a cost of learning some over simplified coping mechanisms and social skills. The skills worked great within the group, and they crossed over with other similar Reiki and Course In Miracles groups. Plenty of successful people endorse the central courses, but that can be said of Scientology too, so, anyway. The continual push to do another seminar, another of the short courses like time management or whatever eventually wears on you. They don’t do shunning, but there isn’t an easy path out either. One of the main premises (then, maybe not now) is constantly challenging yourself. That’s fine, but getting more “guests” and doing more seminars are the most likely challenges, so it’s feeding on itself. More than one person said to me something like “hey, I just cut my first album, or I went to Spain, but no one acknowledged me for that.”

IOW, more crappola. Again, Xain, you find some pop-guru philosophy to try to learn from. It’s okay. There is no sin. Only longer paths to enlightenment.

I honestly sounds like a scam to me. I think the transformations it gives is rooted in filling people with a false view of reality that they have more power than they actually do.

The thing is that we are not always responsible for what happens to us. Some events, how we were raised and brought up, what we like and dislike, these we have no control over. Sometimes the story is true and we don’t create barricades or problems but recognize them.

I noticed the people there seemed to have issues in their lives and I figured that’s why they picked me. I was vulnerable and they tried to sell me salvation at the cost of critical thinking.

I knew it was fishy when they couldn’t reply to my questions about what was actually my problem. I kept trying to tell them that the problem I have is that I don’t know what I want, so no amount of “possibility” thinking or whatever else they have is gonna help. You can’t have road problems or problems to your goals if you don’t have any.

THE MYTH OF IS AND I. In this section, we explore the nature of what we think of as reality, which includes an objective world independent of us, where cause and effect are key operators; where I, as an identity, is a collection of characteristics, attributes, and experiences from the past. In exploring the nature of reality and taking apart these myths something else becomes possible. Here we observe not so much the particulars of the realities we construct, but that it is human to construct such realities and then to forget that we are the ones who constructed them. As a result, we see that we no longer need to be confined to living within this limited range, and we gain the freedom to express ourselves fully.
This is an excerpt from their new syllabus, it’s just one of many things that raised my eyebrows.

It sounds like Berger’s Social Construction of Reality. Pretty standard science.

I don’t know enough of their teachings to judge, but I wonder if their impact (both positive & negative, depending on the people) has more to do with their ideas, or just their delivery.

Their method of delivery involves extremes of emotion. The military and cults use intense emotion to solidify ideas. Adding a high price (financial output) also increases the odds of “buying in,” as when you pay money you feel more invested.

It makes me curious about whether you could make ANY idea seem life-changing if you delivered it with those same techniques.

You might be right in that it is the delivery more than the ideas. I know because I have had the same approach done to me by different ideas. The whole Landmark thing seems like it works as long as your don’t think too hard about it. My guess is that these people believe this to be a novel and radical approach when it’s not, it’s a bunch of cobbled ideas from past philosophies.

But the red flags where everywhere, especially when they made a remark about the past influencing the present. What followed was essentially the most butchered sentence that made no sense at all but people ate it up. I would loosely define it as your past is your future (or something like that, it was really hard to follow or remember) but she prefaced it with saying “I’m gonna say something radical”. During the whole intro I felt some kind of intensity inside me and I didn’t know why. Much of what I heard was old news.

But my whole experience was soured because I was kind of duped into going (from what I gathered). A coworker where I work hooked me up with one of his friends, who was also gay. This was on a day when I decided to be more social and not just be business as usual, you know…take a chance. So we ended up talking, i told him I was gay, he put me through. I talked with his friend and he told me this was a money seminar. I thought “oh” since I would be studying accounting this seems like a good idea. When I get there he leads me in and I see the boards in the conference room and see nothing about money or anything else, just super vague talks about “transformation”. The meeting starts and he gets up to share and points me out and starts the “love bombing” saying how I’m great and strong, etc, and how I can transform my life. I just smiled and waved since this guy barely knew me and was saying all this stuff.

It was also suspicious that the day of this he asked me to bring a friend. Which I found odd since I thought we were gonna be hanging out, why would I bring a friend?

I don’t like to call people liars or snakes, but the whole thing felt less than honest to me and I have the sinking feeling I was preyed upon.

My guess is that these people believe this to be a novel and radical approach when it’s not, it’s a bunch of cobbled ideas from past philosophies.
You sound like a different person in this thread. Here, you've identified the very thing we talk about everywhere else, but you don't seem get. That when people find something that they like and seems somewhat rational and maybe helps them a little, they stop worrying about the details. It's much easier to accept the community thoughts and support each other. I could go into more detail on parallels with "costly rituals" and "signalling" in religion, but you see it with this group. The hard thing is seeing it in the groups or websites that you like. You have the skepticism, but I think you aren't doing the work of looking up the sources of the philosophies. Landmark, or Buddhist meditation centers, or random websites aren't going to give you sources, they might not even know them, they are going to say, "we figured this out, here's the master, give him money". There still might be something good in the data they have, but it's up to you to sort it out.

What’s good in their stuff isn’t news and I’ve heard it before.

When it came to their “nature of reality” stuff I just shook my head. I could see how it would be easy for others to fall into it. Stating that the reality as you know it is a myth is a hook that lots of people fall for. It baits you by offering insight that “no one else knows” which is the root of many conspiracy websites or spiritual stuff.”

And you are right, the heavy sum is that sunk cost. It ain’t cheap. But I ignored the red flags because I wanted to give people a chance. But at some point in the night I just couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t want to say he guy lied to me, as I can’t prove it, and it might just have been miscommunication. But I noticed that among the guests in the room I didn’t get called on again after I spoke, I also didn’t get an apology from the guy who brought me there. So at this juncture I have to conclude that I dodged a bullet.

But it’s usually hard to do this, because I get so easily sucked in by believing I am missing out on something great or wonderful or the truth, or even freedom.

But looking at it now I see that is the same bait other movements, religions, and groups do too. Having taken college level psychology courses I see how we aren’t “infinite or unlimited”, that we are flawed. That something we aren’t aware off can influence us and that there is a lot we aren’t aware of. So their speech of “infinite possibilities” fell dead on my ears because…well I knew better.

So I guess what I learned from this, and what I will apply, is “be wary of those selling truth and/or salvation.”

That was an amazing string of cliches

True. But I guess it helped me realize how similar these “selling salvation” schemes are. The Broward Meditation said the same thing and their approach was similar.