In Reply to: Really helpful, thanks! posted by Christopher on January 09, 2003 at 03:02:34:
I can only talk about things I did personally, but I will say that I was typical for they type of graduate I was.
There really were four types:
1. Someone who took the training and thought it was good or bad, but never went back.
2. Someone who took it, and continued to take more seminars on occasion.
3. Someone who took it, and continued to take more seminars on a regular basis, and became an Assistant (unpaid volunteet) (this was me).
4. Someone who did all the above, and went on paid staff (very rare, since Landmark doesn't like to pay people).
Normally people do not cut off family and friends, especially if they are willing to take The Fourm. If they aren't willing to take it, the relationship will often become primarily about shooting down reasons the other person has for not taking it. This is a big reason I ended up in it. My girlfriend simply would not give up about it, so I did it to show her it was a load of crap. Then, to my surprise, I got sucked in!
A typical conversation between Joe, who has taken the Forum, and Sam, who has not:
Joe: So, Sam.... I'd like to sign up up for the Forum, it begins this Friday.
Sam: Joe, I really don't think so.
Joe: Sam, may I ask why not>
Sam: I really don't have the time.
Joe: I got that! And...what I also got is that, in your life, time is often a consideration. Is that correct?
Sam: Consideration? What do you mean by that.
Joe: Sam, what I'm saying is that you allow yourself to miss out on things that would be of great benefit for you, because you let time manage you, rather than you managing time.
Sam: I think you are jumping to conclusions.
Joe: I got that. I got that when someone points out to "Sam" that he misses opportunities because he lacks the technology to effectively manage his time, "Sam" has a mind that tells him to invalidate that other person because that person jumps to conclusions.
Sam: That is your opinion.
Joe: Yes, and it is based on personal observation at this very moment. Sam, wouldn't you like to experience the next step, where you actually call the shots in your life, not "time"?
Anyway... it goes like that, until Sam either tries to shut Joe up by signing up for the Training, or whacks Joe over the head with a brick and runs for the hills. Joe will never give up, and whatever Sam uses as a reason to not take The Forum will be used as THE reason Sam's life does not work. He could say that his mother has Lukemia, and he has to be there for her, and Joe would say, "When are you going to get that you live your Mother's life, and not your own? When are you going to get that you are the dying person in this relationship".
I've got a million of 'em.
If the firend or family member never comes around, there is danger that the person will stop seeing them. I ended up giving up on est before I gave up on my Friends and Family, but there was a huge percentage to took the training. My Mother, my Brother, my Cousin, probably something like fifty of my friends, including my future Wife and Son. The future wife was not the one who got me in. Once I was in, she went on to someone else. Maybe it was a mutation of ff'ing?
They do become elite minded. A person who has taken this training is told that they have achieved "enlightenment". So, you are enlightened and people who have not yet taken the Forum are NOT. Get how I prased that "people who have not YET taken The Forum". That is the textbook way of describing an outsider. Also my use of the word "get".
If you've taken this training, you are someone who "got it". You are "in on the joke". You also know the jargon, which makes you seem different. People hear the way you speak and ask why you speak that way, then you enroll them in The Forum.
As far as having a circle of friends make decisions. Yes and no. Part of the training is to condition you as "responsible for your own life". When I was into this, I would make wild on the spot decisions with little thought. Like starting the day at a seminar in L.A. and going to sleep that night on a bench at Las Vegas airport, because I "got" that I wanted to "be" in Vegas. Which meant I drove directly from the seminar to Burbank Airport, bought a ticket and flew over with no hotel reservations, or plans.
There were some spontaneous decisions that worked out well in the long term. My future wife Jane (a recently exited Ex-COG), was a strictly plutonic friend at the time. I was not attracted to her, and she was the single partent of two small children with no apparent fathers. She mentioned to me that she would like to date me. Normally, I would have run the other way very fast. But having taken the training and being told that I might miss out on some fantastic "experience" if I was not open to all things, I dated her.
We'll be married 20 years this year.
I can say with all certainty that I never would have dated Jane if I had not taken the training. So, there were really good things that came out of it too. But, I'm sure a lot of people in here can say that they never would have married their spouse had it not been for the COG. That in and of itself doesn't excuse the COG for its wrongness.
So, on one level group decisions are frowned upon, except as they apply to getting people to enroll others. Then they think with one mind. Your fiend might invite you to a guest seminar, and leave you after you arrive, because he has to attend another siminar for people who have taken the Forum. Once you are alone, you might be worked on by several very friendly strangers. I know this, I was one of those strangers on those nights, and I was very effective. I'd look at the name tags, and if Joe brought Sam, once Joe was gone, I'd go up to Sam:
"Hello Sam, I'm Joseph! I'm so glad you are here. Listen, Joe brought you here today, because he knows who you ARE. AND, what Joe knows about you is that this Forum is going to transform your life. Now, I've started filling out your enrollment forum, and we take credit cards and checks. If you haven't brought a credit card or a check, we have counter checks you can fill out. Do you want to pay for the entire Forum now? Or would you like to make a deposit".
Beleive it or not, this worked fairly often. God help this person if he told me he didn't have enough money...
"So, Sam... what I get is that you let your relationship with money control your life and who you are. How often to you miss out on really great things in your life because of money? What would you think If I told you that in The Fourm, you will have the opportunity to transform your experience of money, so that you will "get" that you are the person who "choses" how much money you will have?"
blah, blah, blah... but, it works a lot of the time.
If the poor sucker gives me even more resistance, then I would call in reinforcements, perhaps even the seminar leader, and we all work on poor Sam.
By the way, the only answer we were trained to respect was flat out "no". Not, No, I have a headache (you know what I'd say then). Just "No".
But, almost nobody knows how to say "no". Whatch yourself next time you are going to say "no" and see how often you attach an excuse to it. It was the excuses or "reasonableness" we were trained to attack.
As far as crisis relationships, and causing breakups... yes, I did.
I found an old girlfirend who had not yet taken the Training. She was married to a guy I had known of in high school. I went over to see them, and started to attempt to enroll them. They were receptive. After signing up, they asked me if I thought it would help their relationship. I told them that in the Training, they would either make a 100% committment to their marriage, or they would call if off.
They called it off. At the time, I was still enough of myself to be shocked by it.
My experience was that most of my firends that went into it married, divorced. But, at that time I was only in my early twenties and only had a few married friends, all who married probably way too young.
I did see older married people who both took the Training and became sort of an est tag team. But, if one person took it and the spouse did not, I would say that was a recipe for disaster in the marriage.