Landmark forum – cult, scam, or path to enlightenment?

by Jack on February 2011

Just over a year ago, I heard about a three-day weekend program called Landmark Forum, an educational experience presented by a “Forum Leader” to large groups of people (50-200) who sought to improve their life situations by going through this experience. Delivered by a company known as Landmark Education, the Forum is their flagship course and is presented to over 100 000 people worldwide every year.

Over the past year, I encountered many different opinions, both online and in person. These opinions ranged from extremely positive (“The most important three days of my life, bar none.”) to extremely negative (“They are a cult – all they want is your money, and they’ll never stop calling you once you’re on their list.”).

I figured that anything that elicited such polarized reactions from people had to have something interesting and potentially exciting at its core. I decided to keep learning more, and perhaps even to consider experiencing the Forum for myself.

I finally decided to try out the Forum for myself after two different conversations with a couple of intelligent and well-balanced friends. I respected – and respect – these men. They are both strong individuals who have experienced both triumph and tragedy in their lives. They described their own Forum experiences in simple language, and explained to me what the process was all about. And so, with some trepidation, I signed up. This is the review of my Landmark Forum experience.

The Experience

Landmark is extremely well-organized. A few weeks before the Forum, I got a postcard asking me to confirm my registration by phone. I called and a friendly man at the other end of the line indicated that my registration was confirmed. Having paid the full amount by credit card, I wasn’t sure why this step was necessary. (Apparently, I later learned, some people put down a deposit or pay in full, and then chicken out and decide not to show up.)

When you arrive, smiling volunteers give you a name tag and direct you to the conference room where the Forum takes place. The conference room is clean and organized with military precision. Chairs are ordered in neat, equally spaced rows and spaces between chairs are measured via the width of a Kleenex box. Everything is intentional, and nothing distracts participants from the business at hand. The focal point of the room is a low stage riser with chalkboards, a table, and a tall chair for the Forum leader. Microphones flank the stage, where the participants go to share their stories and receive live coaching from the Forum leader.

The rules are equally precise: the Forum starts at exactly 9:00 AM; no food or drinks are allowed in the Forum room, aside from water; time out consists of two 30 minute pauses for toilet, snacks and phone calls, and one 90 minute dinner period; note taking is discouraged during Forum time, not because of confidentiality of the course material, but because participants are encouraged to give full attention to the Forum leader and the participant “sharing” his or her story at the front of the room.

Online rumors that I had read about “not being allowed to go to the bathroom” were totally unfounded. The Forum leader explained that he couldn’t guarantee any results (“getting it”, in Forum lingo) to a participant if he wasn’t there for the full experience. That being said, anyone was permitted, though not encouraged, to walk out of the room at any time for whatever reason (e.g. cigarette, phone, bathroom, emotional overwhelm).

The process is described as experiential learning, as distinguished from informational learning. Informational learning is primarily based on moving things from the category “we know that we don’t know” into the category “we know that we know”. Examples include acquiring a new language or learning calculus – we can figure out in an instant whether we don’t know Hindi or calculus, and determine how to get from A to B.

On the other hand, the Forum is described as a means for getting access to the category “we don’t know that we don’t know” – those blind spots in interpersonal relations, habits, or behaviors that keep tripping us up because we don’t even know that they are there.

The Forum cycles between a few main activities. The leader presents concepts in a high-energy, theatrical fashion, sometimes acting out scenes of interpersonal conflict, parental mistreatment, and other human drama, and sometimes scribbling and sketching on the chalkboards to illustrate a concept or principle being taught. After a topic is presented, the leader often asks the participants to share in conversation with the person next to them what they’ve learned, and how it might apply in their own life.

The most intense parts of the Forum occur when people go to the front of the room to “share” with the whole group, and receive coaching from the leader. The intention of this is to help the participant observe blind spots and contradictions in their own thoughts and actions – primarily in their interpersonal relationships, thought other areas can also be examined. In turn, this is intended to help them to achieve a “breakthrough” that will interrupt their habitual reactions, help them imagine other options, and empower them with greater flexibility to choose their behavior in the future.

The “sharing / coaching” segments of the Forum often wind up with participant in tears, and / or the leader shouting at the participant. Well, not at the participant, exactly, but at the mental cage of bullshit and lies in which they are trapped. (“I’m not shouting at you, I’m shouting at your stuff. I’m on your side. Do you want to let this go or do you want to let the past run your life?”)

It becomes clear at these points why we signed a waiver stating that we are emotionally healthy – these confrontations can be intense and are likely to unpack difficult memories for both the person standing at the microphone, and those sitting in the audience. My own life coaches never got in my face this way, or this aggressively, that’s for sure.

By observing the process of a person confronting a difficult situation in his life, in real time, and then beginning (and sometimes even completing) the process of forgiving others and forgiving himself, the members of the audience find themselves able to imagine themselves going through that same process. And it’s a good thing, too, because now it’s time for the phone calls!

In the Forum, all of us participants are encouraged to do our own work of “completing the past”, by calling those people with whom we have conflicts and apologizing for our own contribution to that conflict. To my mind, this has a two-fold purpose. First, it allows the participant to get a lot more value from his participation in the forum, by taking tangible action instead of just thinking about it. Second, it is a brilliant viral marketing strategy that gets participants to communicate to loved ones (or former loved ones), in their own language, how the Forum is helping them interrupt some of their destructive behavior patterns of the past.

I know that if I received a tearful and apologetic phone call from a person with whom I had a conflict, I’d be curious about how they arrived at the decision to take that action. (“Well, I appreciate your apology. You say you’re at some sort of ‘forum’ this weekend, huh? What’s that all about?”) In the Tuesday follow-up session after the weekend, graduates are encouraged to bring friends and family and persuade them to sign up for the course. Since Landmark doesn’t advertise, word of mouth is the main way that people hear of them.

After a 13 hour day of emotional roller-coaster rides, it’s time for some homework. We’re encouraged to draft letters to other people in our lives, taking responsibility for areas in which we have been inauthentic or untruthful. We’re urged to examine our “rackets” – the situations where we execute habitual, disempowering behavior patterns by complaining that something or someone should be different from how it actually is. And in place of all this bad stuff, we’re asked to draft new ways of behaving and being through the phrase “the possibility I am creating for myself and my life is the possibility of being…”.

The Basics

The specific knowledge I acquired was relatively simple and straightforward. It didn’t seem to be the main point of the experience. Landmark itself makes the syllabus available on their web site so there’s no big mystery about the specific learnings that one will acquire at the Forum.

Some of the key messages that I received are:

  • We are all concerned with looking good to others and fitting in with others. The reality is that most people are too afraid of other people – i.e. of being judged and criticized – to do any judging themselves. And if they do judge us, so what? Everyone winds up in the same place eventually – dead.
  • We are all inauthentic assholes who lie and cheat our way through life, take the easy way out, and blame other people for our own problems.
  • There’s no meaning intrinsic to events that happened in our lives. Humans act like “meaning making machines” and construct the meaning of everything in our lives. (Yes, everything.)
  • There’s “what happened” and there’s “my story about what happened”. Assuming these two things to be the same is the source of much pain and conflict.
  • If we don’t “complete” the past, we bring the injuries and complaints of the past – i.e. the meanings that we have created – into the present and the future. In that case, we are literally “living into a future” that is polluted with the complaints and baggage of the past.
  • Completing the past consists of: forgiving ourselves for what happened (even if it wasn’t our fault), and forgiving others whom we have been blaming and “making wrong” for their roles in past events; and consciously choosing to let go of stories and meanings that we have previously attributed to those events.
  • Our use of language constructs our experience of reality. When we use change-based language, we take what’s pre-existing (and, presumably, “wrong”) and attempt to change it. When we use possibility-based / transformation-based language, and complete the past, we create a new future into which we can live with excitement, optimism, and passion.

The Forum in popular culture

My experience was also filtered through my past experience of movies and books that were known to have been influenced or inspired by the Forum.

It’s well known, for example, that Chuck Palahniuk attended a Forum before writing Fight Club, the novel that was turned into the greatest and most inspirational movie ever. This inspiration is clear in a lot of the language that I encountered in the Forum – “thank you for sharing yourself with us”, “let’s acknowledge so-and-so”, and so on. Many of these phrases – word for word – turned up repeatedly in the support groups attended by the main character of that movie.

Within the movie, the structure of the fight club itself also owes a debt to the Forum. The rules-based, tough-love framework, guided and led by a theatrical and charismatic leader, is reminiscent of the Forum experience. Of course, in contrast to Rules 1 and 2 – “do not talk about Fight Club” – we were strongly encouraged to talk about the Forum to anyone and everyone who would listen (as well as those who wouldn’t).

In contrast to the maudlin, sappy support groups, the aggressive and confrontational nature of the underground fight club helps the men who participate in it connect to something exciting, inspiring, primal, and truly empowering. In a very similar way, the bracing (metaphorical) slap in the face of the Forum converts “poor me” stories of self-pity and victimhood, into strength of will and determination to live into an unknown future of bold power and possibility.

The uncomfortable and “unreasonable” homework assignments are another common theme between the Forum and the movie. They take what would otherwise be an inspiring but artificial exercise (whether it be a conversation in a conference room, or a bare-knuckle boxing match in a dive bar’s basement), and redirect that newly liberated energy into transforming participants lives and the environments around them.

The movie Revolver is another one that kept coming to mind during my Forum experience. Less well known than Fight Club, Revolver is about a gangster recently released from prison who finds himself in the middle of an intricate con game run by two mysterious strangers.

At one point, during a high-tension moment in a sharing session in my Forum, the leader shouted at the participant:

You don’t see that I’m on your side. I’m not shouting at you because I want to kill you. I’m trying to kill it.

(“it” being the disempowering story that the participant was telling that kept her trapped, more or less).

Upon hearing these words, I recalled a line from Revolver:

The greatest con that he ever pulled, was making you believe that he is you.

At this, I felt something in my mind strain and then give way, with a little click. Tears followed. In the movie, “he” is the ego, the story that you make up and then tell in order to make things make sense, make yourself right and others wrong, and make yourself look good.

Another line from Revolver is relevant:

One thing I’ve learned in the last seven years: in every game and con there’s always an opponent, and there’s always a victim. The trick is to know when you’re the latter, so you can become the former.

In our lives, we’re all the victim of a con (in Forum-speak, a “racket”), that is set up and run by our ego. Until we realize this, we’re at his mercy, but once we do, we can turn the tables on the opponent and liberate ourselves. We recognize that we only have an ego – our egos are not us.

Most people, however, don’t realize this, since they are knee deep in the games of creating conflict, impressing others, and being right. And of course, in the words of Caesar (echoed by the movie):

The greatest enemy will hide in the last place you would ever look.

You can probably guess where that is.

Reflections and conclusions

The experience itself was epic and fun, even as it was emotionally draining. Jerry Baden, the leader of the Forum I attended, was an exuberant and entertaining guy. He had a faint physical resemblance to the actor Gilbert Gottfried, but with a much nicer voice (something for which I was very grateful, given that he was speaking to us the whole time). His performance was rich with humor and personal anecdotes. As he put it:

You’ll go back to your families on Sunday night and they’ll ask you what happened, and you’ll say “I spent the whole weekend getting yelled at by some Jew with no eyes and all teeth”.

Jerry’s energy level was immense – being the hub of the forum experience for well over 100 people, he was always either listening, speaking, writing on the chalkboards, or running around the stage (and once in a while, around the entire conference room). For 13 hours a day. At age 60.

It wasn’t just entertaining, of course. This kind of stuff has a Very Important Purpose, dammit. And I did acquire and practice a number of useful thought patterns such as:

  • Asking myself if I was blaming other people or situations (“making them wrong”) rather than taking responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings.
  • Being more playful and irreverent about things (as though I needed help with that!), and taking all situations in life far less seriously.
  • Knowing that any hesitation and anxiety in social or interpersonal situations is pointless – life is short, after all – and reminding myself that others are at least as scared of me as I am of them. Probably even more so, since I’m so powerful and intimidating. ;)
  • Feeling more courageous about setting audacious and exciting life goals, and bringing others on board to help me achieve them.

Because of the experiential learning model, instead of writing these things down in a notebook, I managed to install and experience them as the seeds of new habits. With ongoing practice, they are likely to strengthen and take hold over time, but I definitely feel as though being able to experience these states directly during the learning process was worthwhile. A lot of this stuff, I already agreed with or “knew”, but the Forum experience helped me solidify it in a more visceral way.

So what does this all mean? Should you do the Forum yourself? Well, of course, I can’t answer that question for anyone else.

Think about it this way, though. As with so many experiences, a person’s expectations will guide what results he receives. (Put another way, in the words of Robert A. Wilson, “what the thinker thinks, the prover proves”.) If a person expects to encounter a bunch of scam artists and salesmen looking for his money, that’s what he will see. If a person expects to encounter some unusual and interesting experiences that can help with goals, communication, and interpersonal relationships, that’s what he will get.

Speaking for myself, I went in cautiously optimistic, and I found it valuable, entertaining, and worth my $485. And I expect to put the experiences and learnings into practice in my life in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

And you? If you choose to go to the Forum, you’ll receive whatever meaning you create out of it.


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{ 1226 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Adams March 27, 2015 at 08:17

I attended a forum last week because a friend has pressured me to attend since attending a few months ago. I finally gave in and attended. After listen to the leader talk about the program, I found some positive things about the program and some negative things about the program.
The biggest thing was that my friend did not tell me is how they will attack you to register after listening to the leader for 1.5 hours. I felt they were pressuring me and finding every reason to negate my reasons why I could not or did not want to register. I felt this was not being honest nor truthful. This friend did not experience this introduction because they registered on-line.
I personally felt like they do their best to break you down and then go in for the prey on the weak and attack. I had 5 people trying to convince me to register – each time telling them no, I wanted to think about it. I did not go there with the intention of registering, I wanted to listen to their concept. I even had one of their assistant leaders offer to pay my $150 deposit so I could register. I felt violated and used! WTH was that all that about! Really. They did get me to break down however, I held true to myself and DID NOT register.
What my friend did not tell me nor does Landmark that there is a 100% money back guarantee if the program does not work for you. WHY is this not mentioned in the program. It should be told to you when the vultures are doing their best to get you to register. All I heard is you have 3 days to cancel and you would receive your $150 deposit back. They preach integrity…this was not integrity, this was pure dishonesty!!!!!!!
Due to their practices of trying to get you to register, I will not be attending one of these forums and pay the $585. I have decided to sit down with the person who talks to me about this all the time, that I will NOT be attending and I wish them the best in this new venture.
Thank you,


Victor Gagnon March 28, 2015 at 10:38

I will give you the benefit of the doubt but your story does not add up.


Gerri March 29, 2015 at 13:38

Really, you were not there. I would like you to explain to me why my story does not add up. Just so you know as I do not owe you an explanation however, The person who offered to pay the $150 deposit called and texted me to apologize because that is what they needed to do for their integrity. Please do not patronize and tell me this does not add up as this a true story. The more research I do about Landmsrk the more I can confirm my decision not to register. Now after being firm with all that I am not, will not be a part of this, they still do not understand the meaning of No! All of these recruiters need to understand and respect the word No!!! So I will await for explaination as to why you believe my story does not add up, Victor.


Victor Gagnon April 1, 2015 at 19:33

Susan Adams, or Gerri not sure who I am talking to.
Why does it matter why I think your story does not add up it just does not add up. Its just my opinion and if you don’t like it than don’t like it.


Dan April 4, 2015 at 17:09

Not Giving In is a great strategy and it will give you a certain set of results. If you look, you’ll see you do it a lot. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. If that’s fine, really fine, then stick with it. If you want to try something new, you could do a lot worse than a few hundred bucks and three days. It works, the evidence is there, if you aren’t interested it isn’t necessary to make them wrong.

Em gee May 15, 2015 at 20:11

It adds up Beautifully. the brainwashed Landmark monkeys did not stop calling me for two weeks….One of them CRYING on the phone cause I said “no” to her and the rest of you weaklings..
Landmark = CULT


diane March 30, 2015 at 15:06

Gheez, what a blog. I find it funny that the people who took the Forum are so filled with anger whenever someone has a different opinion about it. I think that people who believe the forum is the reason for their life change are just weak, and I am sorry to say that to you; however, some people have dealt with their issues in life, and everyone in this world has issues to deal with, everyone has problems, and everyone has goals and dreams. For many people who do not believe in the Forum, it just appears sad that a group and a three day course is what you attribute your goals to and what you give credit to for everything good and for any changes you may have accomplished. Maybe right now you do not see where other people are coming from; and maybe you need to take more courses with the Forum to figure out what is evident to others. If it works for you, then that is wonderful and you should keep doing it; but I guarantee you that one day you will wake up and realize that your mind is what caused everything…not the Forum. Many of the people who feel they “need” the Forum, I found to be lost in life, not knowing where to turn, easily manipulated souls who needed something, anything, that would stimulate certain emaotions and beliefs that they probably have not felt from loved ones…people who desire to be a part of something and who jump at the chance at preaching to others. If you took the Forum, then be nice to people who perhaps don’t believe in it and see it in a totally different way. The Forum should teach you not to be so aggressive and agry when others aren’t interested in it, or when others are scared of being near it or even when others call it an occult. The people who are part of it seem robotic and all the same; it’s scary honestly. But we are all entitled to our opinions; so instead of getting so angry with people who oppose it, try to understand that G-d gives us free of charge what you pay a lot of money for…and most people who oppose it, are believers in G-D; and have a relationship with G-d. G-d gave us a mind… you really need to learn how to use it; and use it with peace…I feel very bad for the people who believe the Forum is who should be credited for the good changes in their life; because it is sad to know that such a course can take so much credit away from G-d, and from your mind, which is where He is. I am not religious, but I do know that you will realize this one day. Again, you should consider being a bit nicer to people on this blog who have different opionions; especially if you want us to see something good in the Forum; instead of something so calculated. G-d bless you all… and remember you will wake up one day and realize. I promise. Just stop pounding people down with it, telling them they are wrong, and speaking to them as if you were G-d. Everyone has a right to their opinion, and if you experienced a wonderful enlightenment, then yelling at people or telling them that they are wrong and you are right (because of a three day course), is not in your hands. Leave that up to G-d, and instead of trying to encourage taking the course, why don’t you instead teach us some of this wonderful enlightenment or even write a book so that the rest of us can try to see or understand it, and why not spread the word freely instead of hammering normal people who don’t want or feel they need it. It’s just a suggestion…G-d Bless again.


Ross March 30, 2015 at 22:57

I have taken the basic forum and did not feel the desire to carry on with Landmark even though I definitely benefited from it. I agree – I alway have felt attraction, rather than promotion is the way people should come to any self-help group. Yes, a for-profit group like Landmark can take advantage of people who have poor self esteem and milk them, but most people I found taking the forum were normal people sincerely interested in bettering their lives. I will share my experience of Landmark if someone’s interested, but I will not promote them outright. Like I have said, if taking a three day seminar challenges the ruts you’re stuck in, encourages you to make amends with people you’ve built walls with, encourages you to be take chances and live to your full potential, it’s kool aid that I’ll drink! God bless you Diane


Victor Gagnon April 3, 2015 at 20:54

You see for most comments coming on this blog there is seldom a what happened,”I did not get anything from Landmark” end of conversation but lots of story around the what happened, your story, susan’s story, G’s story and these stories don’t add up. It must really bug you all to know that I know that.
So Diane you din’t say if you took the forum but you had a lot to say about those who took it. You say be nice to people if you have taken the forum but what about those who have not taken the forum and who love to bash the forum. Is that OK with you? Do you think all comments are sincere or are they inflated a bit? Its an opinion and certainly allowed. Why is it so important to make negative comments about the Forum. What has the Forum done to any of you personally because the forum does nothing to you. The forum is like anyone going to a school class, English/math class and blaming the teacher because they do not understand.
Should I tell you that you are wrong because you believe in God, (my assumption from your comments) and I don’t. If you are allowed to believe in what you want to believe in then am I not allowed to believe in Landmark or whatever I want to believe in. Why the double standards. That is why most of your stories don’t add up because you are ok with bashing but we get the angry card or a judgement if we speak up for ourselves. Why is that?
Could that just be your own opinion. Your assessment of what I have said. Most of you who bash Landmark you speak of it as if its the truth. Its not a truth, its simply your truth however you have configured it.. Your are tantamount to Gossiping. Stories are Gossip even if you think they are true to you, but maybe not true to others. But that is ok because you have been trained by social media that Gossip is ok.
Just another person’s opinion


diane April 7, 2015 at 15:18

LOL, this coming from someone who was trained by a “leader”…. You have just become the comedian of this blog.. I swear to you, it’s just quite funny how you came at me with this ridiculousness. Bravo for giving me a chuckle… Oh wait, that probably “doesn’t add up” LMAOOOOOOOO

I have to get off this subscription before Landmarc comes after me… G-d Bless again to everyone (even you, you comical Victor person…G-d Bless to all…)


Victor Gagnon April 8, 2015 at 10:49

So Diane you are absolutely correct in everything you have said.
Laughter is so very good for the body.
Thank you


Em gee May 15, 2015 at 20:14

“Most of you who bash Landmark you speak of it as if its the truth. Its not a truth, its simply your truth however you have configured it.. ” Cult Speak at its finest..:)


Anne April 16, 2015 at 03:32

I have been reading articles about Landmark to figure out if it’s legitimate or a scam or cult. Victor’s persistent comments (your story doesn’t add up) have convinced me this is a way to brainwash people and separate them from their money. Thanks for the insight!


Em gee May 15, 2015 at 20:16

Very good Anne. I agree with your observations…
It appears that Victor IS Brainwashed…


Susan March 30, 2015 at 20:41

Thank you Diane. I appreciate your comment. I believe everything you said above. I even had this friend tell me over the weekend that they may not be able to have relationships with people who do not attend the forum. This speaks volumes to me and realize that they were never really a friend. I am okay with all of this and agree with you that hopefully these people will wake up and realize what they have been doing and it really did not work. I also have noticed they all speak the same language. Use of the same words.
Again Diane -it was nice and refreshing that someone agreed as I did.


Em gee May 15, 2015 at 20:20

I have a few friends in the cult who simply cannot comprehend I want nothing to do with this Fiasco called Landmark.. ..They do not hang out with me anymore …Only other cult members..


J May 15, 2015 at 20:55

Em gee–judging from your comments here, it seems more likely to me that your friends don’t want to hang out with you any more not because you aren’t interested in Landmark, but because you sound like an asshole.


peter h March 30, 2015 at 21:14

@Diane – just some comments
1) your quote “people who believe believe the forum is the reason for their life change are just weak” – doesn’t that sound a bit condescending
2) “your mind is what caused everything…not the Forum.” Well it is “your mind” that creates prejudice, intolerance and the conversation within the Foum allows one the opportunity to see their “intolerance” e.g. for what it is.
3) ” because it is sad to know that such a course can take so much credit away from G-d, and from your mind” – Landmark is TOTALLY non-demoninational – what one hears has NOTHING to do with religion and has no “anti-religious” stance in any way.
4) You say you are not religious, yet you mention G-d on more than one occasion.

1) Indeed, some people realise that some of their relationships have been unworkable (although they appeared no so before completing the Forum) e.g. a woman/man who comes out of the Forum unprepared to go on with an abusive relationship.
2) There are MANY ways of “improving” oneself, and each person has a different experience. Clearly, from responses in this blog, Landmark doesn’t work for some people, yet for those people, it appears they have a tendency to label Landmark as a scam/cult. Equally, clearly, it has had a life-altering transformational experience for many people – so just get that that is what is so.
3) Yup – Landmark “people” speak the same language – in certain instances they do – just as certain words have a specific definition in a certain field and different in another, so Landmark has (re)defined certain words just to facilitate communication.


Irony March 30, 2015 at 21:26

@Diane, do you think it is hypocritical to claim that “people who believe the forum is the reason for their life change are just weak” while instructing those same people to “be nice”?


diane April 7, 2015 at 14:54

Not at all, being nice has nothing to do with being weak. Weak people vs. strong people has nothing to do with nice people vs. mean people…


Parker April 16, 2015 at 16:36

Several of my wifes family members are supporters of Landmark and constantly promote the supposed benefits and encourage my wife and I to attend. However, on observing these family members over the past 15 years or so that they have been supposedly transforming their lives via Landmark, it appears they have not “transformed” themselves in any tangibly meaningful way. Which is to say they have not improved their situation by becoming more successful or happy and their relationships have suffered in most cases.

The only real change is that now these people are obnoxious and boorish. Loud, offensive and opinionated. If the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, I think I’ll pass.


G March 30, 2015 at 23:11

Can landmark publish statistics on number of people that achieved breakthroughs? How much better are those number compared to same sample size of people that didn’t attend the forum?
I have attended forum – people get emotional and attached to forum then. Many try to dig down and find faults with themselves.
Even though forum leaders patronize them, they fall in love with the forum. Look up “stockholm syndrome” please.

Don’t get me wrong, forum has good things in it but out of 3 days combined, the essence of forum can be covered in one day or less. Ofcourse you also get to listen to experiences of many people who have had real problems in life.

For me, all the good things from forum evaporated every time they pushed to enroll others. I personally was told by forum leader to call 20 people at my workplace and tell how enlightened I was.
Also they call it forum but it’s only one way communication. Forum leaders are trained to discourage any analysis from participants. I guess for them, analysis stops you from doing the right thing (enrolling others).

On the other note, the friend that introduced me to forum initially apologized for something she did and said she is doing this course and hence calling. To be honest, I didn’t think anything of that apology because for me, it came from forum (indirectly) and not heart felt.

About forum people being nice pr not – they use language like “look at you, you are leading pathetic life” and “I’ll let you suffer” if you refuse their advances course.

People, grow a spine and don’t make yourself small, you take good things from forum if it worked, don’t pretend or force others to pretend that forum worked. If forum worked for you, let it show, people will come and ask what you did – tell them then.


Lara April 3, 2015 at 07:23

Thank you Diane, I agree with what you said. People who took the coarse seem too robotic. Something about it is scary. Like they want you to be weak and manipulated so you can attend more classes and bring more people to their classes.


diane April 7, 2015 at 15:12

My pleasure. The teachers are not even certified to teach…that’s not what a teacher or an educational system is about and usually there are books in any educational institute.. But I am not going to say anything more on this blog because the fact of the matter is, these people scare me and I do not want them to harm me in any way. I really fear they could after seeing the anger that exists here. Anyway, happy I could help you and try not to get sucked into this blog because it is scary and who knows… G-D Bless again.


Uncertified April 7, 2015 at 15:34

@diane, neither Plato nor Socrates nor Aristotle were “certified to teach” either…does that make what they had to contribute any less valuable? I chuckle to myself when you call Landmark supporters “weak” but admit to being so timid you are afraid of being harmed by people exchanging comments on the internet.


christine jones April 4, 2015 at 16:59

I did the LF back in 1999 in Amsterdam, it totally changed my life for the better on every level. I did various courses over about 5 years, mainly in London and I can say hand on heart that the people I met, the experiences I had and shared have alot to do with the happiness and fulfilment I have now.
I have been through alot of ups and downs in the 15 years since then but every step, what I took from the LF and various courses and seminars on offer, has given me the humility, courage and sense of humour to break through what had always stopped me in the past. I left with the possibility of being sexy, energetic and fulfilled.

It can’t make you into someone else, it can’t ‘fix’ you but you can learn to love yourself and like yourself. I can admit I can be an asshole but I also know and choose that I can be a total force of nature and trouble maker (by trouble maker, I mean I stand up for others and what I believe in – in my case alot to do with giving my kids the best possible start)
I like being a trouble maker and I can aim to misbehave with love, integrity and full self expression, whatever the day throws at me.


Em gee May 15, 2015 at 19:53

You do not sound ‘humble’ at all. More like a Cheerleader.


Ross April 4, 2015 at 19:24

One of the reasons I did not continue with landmark was the language. I was getting tired of having to translate ” landspeak” into English my mind could understand – I didn’t see this new language as enlightening, but opposite – frustrating! I have many ideas for making Landmark less cultish and more accessible, but they’ve yet to consult with me- lol


Sandra May 1, 2015 at 18:30

Ross – I do have mixed feelings – I did like some of the trainings but by the time i got to final (3rd) course – yeah, like you – I got really tired of the “landspeak” or I call it Jargon – what does Jargon do? It separates us from others – Who hasn’t done transformational courses like this – making it similar to a cult… excluding others…..I never agree with the Jargon and refused to speak it……I am not a great Kool Aid drinker……. LOL


Victor Gagnon April 4, 2015 at 21:15

First of all I am not knocking you for not continuing Landmark education but simply to make a comment about Language.
Don’t you think that the Landmark language, though I must admit is quite different, it does speak to the bottom line of conversation. It does not leave any guessing, or assuming.
Our language what we call the social language leaves us hanging all the time. Lot of assumptions and judgements as to what the other is saying. I don’t think we have to use the Landmark language but instead we may want to pay attention to what it is we want to say so that its clear to the listener. Also in Language we have a speaker and we have a listener so even if I think I am clear in my language the listener may not be. Hence the training then might be to think about the language we use and also to become a better listener. Its called communication.


basak April 14, 2015 at 07:57

Hi Victor,
When you try to understand a concept and go through reviews, the most annoying thing is seeing the same people again and again commenting defensively the cause I am searching for.

Why dont you stop attacking everyone with landmark “words” and let people share their thoughts. I believe landmark can survive without you defending it as you irritate people reading as i keep skipping your very biased comments now.



Victor Gagnon April 21, 2015 at 20:52

Thanks Basak, but is it not just your opinion that I am defending Landmark. Did I ever say I was defending Landmark. Landmark does not have to be defended. Maybe I am defending myself. So are you saying I am not allowed an opinion. So your comment about me is your reality but it is not my reality. You are allowed to think whatever you want and say whatever you want.


Em gee May 15, 2015 at 20:28

Like ALL Cults
Landmark Definitely has to be defended…with certain language of course. that gives new and special meaning to ordinary words that ONLY the special Landmark trained (brainwashed ) understand.


Susan April 5, 2015 at 11:36

I have held back from responding to any of these posts for many reasons. I am one who based my opinions on my actual interactions with the free introduction to Landmark and how their members pressure the ones they brought to be totally attacked. I felt violated by this person who at the time was one of my best friends would allow this to occur however, this what Landmark instructs their members to do. Their response to me via text when we discussed what happened was I should not have left feeling like that. WTH was that. I was also told that they may not be able to have a relationship with someone who will not commit and attend the forum. A dagger pierced my heart and began me to question our relationship and what it was based on from the beginning. I can tell you I had their back and loved them unconditionally. I believe through my daily interactions with this person they have choisen to pull away (note we work very close together at work) because they were able to have another one our employees register who has now become a friend who will begin on this same new life that landmark can offer them.
My conclusion to all of this BS is I have accepted and respect the decision they have both made to make their life better and all I ask of them is to accept and respect my decision as Landmark is not for me. I am not sure this is an option as their actions are speaking louder than words. I can just wait to see if this person who I love unconditionally can still choose to want me as a friend and if not I will accept that and will mourn the loss of what I thought was an everlasting friendship. People change when the choose paths like this. I must say you are correct when you mentioned Landmark’s own language. I am so tired of hearing the word integrity and for them to speak about everyone in the office who has no integrity. Ummmm I ask myself where is yours. I am ending this conversation as it just confirms what I felt deep inside and that is Landmark is not for me.
Diane I agree with you. I will obtain what I need to be a loving, honest, have integrity and the understanding of accepting others decisions even if I do not think it may be the right path and that is through GOD. He doesn’t charge me a penney. I know I can lay my head down each night knowing I was a good person and I am happy for my day.
This is not a bash on landmark this is just confirmation of knowing I have made the right decision for me especially after doing hours and hours of research on Landmark.
My conclusion now I WILL NEVER GIVE IN!!


Ross April 5, 2015 at 11:51

Like I’ve commented, Landmark could be so much more than it is, but they settle for a style of teaching and promotion that works for them. It is what it is. I do challenge each and every person here to ask themselves: is your life progressing? Are you stuck in a rut with the same self image and limiting set of beliefs you’ve held for years? In my experience people rarely get breakthrough insights sitting at home watching TV. I encourage people do something, anything to break their routine and challenge fixed beliefs. Step out of your comfort zone. Take classes, go to workshops, go to church, do volunteer work, travel, get a new hobby, read, improve your physical body, etc etc. Many possibilities out there!


Susan April 5, 2015 at 12:41

I believe at times no matter what someone may have done or may be doing to make ones life better you can fall back into a rut. I do many of the challenges you have mentioned and am enjoying my life. Everyone have had things happened to them in their lifetime and yes, we have the power to either accept or change it. Everyone has a mind to think, make choices, make changes and to know the difference between right and wrong.
I am happy in my life and believe I have worked through them however when you confide in someone who makes a change to better their lives they try to use situations you told them in confidence to bring you into this new awakening. That is what turned me away from Landmark in a nut shell. I must confess I did learn a few things during the night of attack: 1. Never let someone try to force you into something over a period of time and then give-in to make them happy! 2. Never let others feel they can attack me and tell me it is my story. They were not there and one item they told me that is was my story and the way I preceived was not and agreed when I told them more. Boy the apologizes began. 3. To always try to be happy and accept others for who and what they believe because no one has the real answer. Do they?
Thanks for your time however I need to let this go and remove myself from this and maybe even the friendship I so cherished. We as individuals can become weak at times and that is the best time when someone/something can maybe make you believe they have what you need to make you a happy person and your life can change. As you said “it is what it is”.


Victor Gagnon April 5, 2015 at 20:19

Without sounding presumptuous what if I told you that I had the real answer to life and no Landmark education is simply a tool to get you their. The real answer is simply you. So if I give you the tools and you don’t want to use them, then is it my fault or is it yours or is your responsibility for not wanting that change in your life because that is what it will take to create a new life. Now to be clear no one, absolutely no one has to change but if your life is turbulent most times, like many, than should you not look at your life and not blame others. What you are feeling during those times is your own creation, your emotions. If you want happiness always, the greatest relationships ever, then you have to have a hard look at your yourself and decide for yourself what needs, or does not need to be changed in your life. That is why most people want to blame Landmark but they only give you the tools if you choose. In what I call social consciousness of this world they always teach you that happiness belongs to another, in other words someone has to make you happy. That is a great falsehood. If you want to be happy, and have an incredible life than start looking close up at your world and see if it is you who is making you happy or is it something or someone else. We should not depend on anyone to make us happy. We should simply choose to be always happy.
Now those who will respond to this comment will give me all kinds of excuses justifying their limitations. If you can’t see a future possibility of total happiness than you are done and you will live the life you have chosen. Certainly not wrong, but why choose a limited life, why not choose a new possibility. Why not create something you have never lived before. Get outside of that box you are stuck in.
If you have any questions than I am more than willing to give you my opinion. Remember I don’t make you happy, or sad, or angry you do that by yourself. These are emotions that are familiar to all of us.
Just another man’s opinion


Cori April 5, 2015 at 20:32

I am glad my opinion is not a stand alone. I agree with the nay-sayers and feel for susan. I had the same experience with my son’s father. It was almost like a brainwashing type event. And his sister was the one that had him do the forum and turned on me once I decided not to try it. I don’t knock people for doing it but don’t try to change me or berate and/or belittle me because I wont. I am a nay-sayers and proud of it. And if we can’t stay friends then so be it


Experience is Best Teacher April 5, 2015 at 21:08

@Cori, how can you agree or disagree with any “nay-sayers” without having actually experienced the course (not just the introduction to the course) first-hand? To anyone who decided this course wasn’t for them: whether the topic is Landmark or scuba diving, you can’t really intelligently knock something until you have actually tried it yourself. True, you can always formulate an opinion about anything, but the weight to be given to that opinion has to be measured against the experience upon which it is formed.


basak April 14, 2015 at 08:08

@Experience is Best Teacher -
i can disagree with many things without experiencing.
i disagree with killing without commiting a crime, i disagree with abuse without getting abused. I can share my feelings with anyone with knowledge and empathy. I found it hillarious to see all my friends attended this seminar has become so robotic and keep repeating the same thing like parrots. This is now making me question their intelligence.

On the other hand all these friends are easy to manipulate and in search of something to help themselves without realizing the strength is already inside them.

I think you all are lacking intelligence and programmed to attack any negative comment. Referencing philisophers like Aristoteles etc without knowing more or less nothing about them?

What you are doing is pyramid selling which i believe fraud.
What you try is bend the law as you cannot break it.

Shame on you people!


Experience is the Best Teacher April 17, 2015 at 01:32

@basak, first of all, if you are going to try to insult someone’s intelligence, you might want to try using complete, grammatically correct sentences. Here’s a hint: “which I believe fraud” is not a grammatically correct sentence. Second, you know nothing about me, my intelligence, or my knowledge of Aristotle or philosophy, but are presumptuous enough to assume that because I found value in attending the Landmark Forum I must lack intelligence and such knowledge. Shame on you! Third, simply because you can form a moral judgment or opinion about killing without having killed does not mean you can accurately describe what the experience of killing is like or the impact such an experience might have on one’s psyche (you can try to guess and can write about your guess all you want, but why should anyone listen to you?). Same is true with Landmark or any other life experience. You can make whatever assumptions you like and form whatever opinions you can imagine based on those assumptions, but if someone is trying to get a sense of what the impact of the course might be for them, why should they take the word of someone who has not done the course over that of someone who has?


Em gee May 15, 2015 at 20:07

Excellent selling points..You are a well trained Landmark Monkey ..Sell sell sell….what other tricks did they teach you?

Cori April 5, 2015 at 22:20

I can agree without taking the course. I know several people who have taken the course and I am an individual who support those I care about and I went to their final course and I went to that introductory day where they say if u do not feel that this is for u then you may go. And as I thought about it and decided I did not want to drink the kool-aid, I was chastise by an individual who decided he was determined to make me understand that I was making the wrong decision. There are many different ways that many people can come to the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak when it comes to realizing what is really meant for them in life and I don’t see someone or a company being the say all of those revaluations. I don’t have to take a course or do something to say “hey its not for me” and the sales pitch was the icing on the cake “you are living ur life wrong and we are here to show you the correct path” yeah bec everyone is just gonna agree to that. So I can be a nay-sayers and say I don’t agree with the forum. Nothing good has come anyone I knew who took the forum and a whole bunch a bad including the breakup of 2 relationships to people in considered family. So again I can say I’m a nay-sayers and I agree with the nay-sayers


Experience is Best Teacher April 5, 2015 at 22:55

Cori, nobody is saying you can’t be a “nay-sayer” about your experience of the introduction to the Landmark Forum. Lots of people report having had reactions similar to yours. Some of those people decide to take the actual Landmark Forum course anyway, and, of those, about 9 or 10 times their opinion of Landmark changes in a dramatically positive way once they see what the actual course provides. The introduction to the Landmark Forum and the actual Landmark Forum are two very different things. I have no issue with you being a “nay-sayer” about the former, but if you are being honest you have to admit you don’t know much about the latter.


Cori April 5, 2015 at 23:03

And that is my choice due to the fact that they make it seem with out it I will forever be a failure in life. U don’t expect someone to willing hand over that kind of money when people are breathing down ur throat pretty much saying “join us dave” like I said I don’t need the latter to formulate an opinion. And maybe the recruiter that day or the welcom that day was having a bad day. But if u can try to belittle and insult me before I get “the full effect” of what they have to offer, don’t u think the “welcoming” should be a Lil more welcoming. What’s that saying “you don’t have to eat the who cow before u know you’re eating beef” well dang Nabi it’s beef


Experience is Best Teacher April 6, 2015 at 00:17

That’s right, Cori; you don’t need to take the Landmark Forum to form an opinion about it, just like I don’t have to skydive to form an opinion about skydiving. You only need to take the Landmark Forum to be able to formulate an intelligent, informed opinion that other people might want to listen to about the Landmark Forum. And, even though you might take that as an insult, it isn’t…it is just a plain fact that opinions based on experience are more reliable than opinions based on what someone imagines an experience to be like.


Cori April 6, 2015 at 03:38

I will end this conversation with u whom ever you are right now bec you can say that u have not insulted me but I in fact believe u have and before I say something unintelligent u have a good day now


Cori April 6, 2015 at 03:51

I will form my opinion however I choose to formulate my opinion and after reading SEVERAL PEOPLE’S OPINIONS on this based on EACH INDIVIDUAL personal experience AND NOT ALL WHO HAVE IN FACT TAKEN the forum. It will be just that. An opinion! And as I HAVE INTELLIGENTLY READ THOUGH OUT THIS WEBSITE AND which caused me to state my opinion here in the first place, there are several others who have not been fortunate enough who had simular experiences that have that would appreciate MY OPINION. IF YOU DON’T WHOMEVER YOU MAY BE that is fine, just don’t comment on anything I have to say. And fortunately enough I don’t know who u are bec I can show u where to stick your intelligent opinion


Cori April 6, 2015 at 03:56

I have removed myself from receiving emails concerning ur response so if u having anything to I won’t see it


G April 6, 2015 at 07:19

Usually what you see in introduction is 75%of condensed course material. During the three days, you’d go through that plus humiliation, repetitions and marketing exercises :)
If you have money to burn, go and do it, if not, remember the struggles you had with them when attending introduction – you will have those at pretty much every course or introduction you attend till you become one of them.
I’d say, put on a tough hide and attend all their free introductions if you are short on money and want to learn more about it (but then you’d have to ferociously defend your point of view of why you don’t want to sign up)


Christine April 6, 2015 at 07:52

We are bombarded every day with pressure to buy things. Just try not owning a car and see how far you get.
The course is good value for money, much cheaper than therapists and life coaches.
Often people not accustomed to transformational paradigm shifts get evangelical, it’s natural, you have been released from a lifetime of fear. It’s not the hosts that are saying they will love you more or less if you do it. Most people do not posess the magical selling powers of spin doctors.
Maybe you can forgive their inept evangelical attempts and interpret it for what it is, they just want you to feel as happy as they do.


Kris April 6, 2015 at 09:06

Fascinating! The passion and fervor this thread has brought out in all of you (YEARS worth of “discussion”) is more important than any of the words herein. Please remember to be kind or at least respectful as you passionately present your unique point of view.

May we all find something to be passionate about. May we all feel peace in our hearts every day. May we all continue to learn from each other, regardless of the path we each follow to get there!

Namaste. <3


peter h April 6, 2015 at 11:46

Suddenly this thread has come alive – and I see some complaints, some misinformation, bias (both positive/negative).
I took the Forum back in 03, looking for a liferaft – my life occurred to me as s**t.
What I got from the LF was that I was my own liferaft. And frankly for only $500(ish) that was enough. I am 67, English and we don’t DO psychoanalysis (at least in my generation). My father( born in 1912) was iitially APPALLED that I was seeing a therapist – again we don’t DO that stuff.
The single most important thing that I got out of LF, is that I am accountable for everything that happens in my life. Can’t blame my parents, etc. And this knowledge is both gratifying and scary – mostly because the life I live is the life I have “chosen” and I realise that I have made some less than positive choices.
But the point is that I now realize that I have made those decisions, and free from blaming circumstances, it now gives me the freedom to make the choices that I want.
I have been involved in LF for over 10 years as a “robotic volunteer” and I have seen an incredible amount of people really “get their lives”. Yup, I know this sounds “hysterical” but for many people it does work.
I have slso seen many circumstances where it doesn’t – skydiving is not for everyone.
My best friend has spent 20K+ to get where she fortunately that was/is her path – nothing wrong, just a choice.
And LF IS pushy – at least it appears that way – and sometimes the “assistants” are a bit too messianic – looks like pushy – but they get that it works (at least for them
None of the leaders that I have ever seen are interested in “breaking you down”. They are focussed in YOU getting how YOU are. Discovering for YOU how YOU occur to other people and your life.

And for those who feel pressured, Yup I get it, your frined might have finally found access to the father etc. that he/she has dismissed for 20+ years, the disassociation from the actual fact of a rape (action) and the blame/shame that is attached to it.

And that freedom is something that one is compelled to share – and with ZEAL.

T’aint a cult – sure you might feel “pressure” to enroll in other courses – just as you might feel “pressure” to by THAT car – all made up.



Jessica April 6, 2015 at 23:15

Please know that Landmark is directly from the dev-l. Sounds harsh, but its true. If you are a Christian – please run far away from this mere distraction from G–d’s grace. Please find encouragement knowing that G-d wants to give you peace. A joy filled life is possible through Him. Don’t be deceived – this is a wolf in sheep clothing. Beware. …Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6


christine jones April 7, 2015 at 04:23

Nonsense. I know personally, participants who came out of Landmark better Christians and Muslims. Some it strengthened their faith, others it helped them come to terms with their beliefs.
There is an enormous freedom in knowing it’s empty and meaningless and that it’s empty and meaningless that it’s empty and meaningless.
Your are free to add any meaning you want with love, kindness, forgiveness and possibility at the core.


Em gee May 15, 2015 at 20:04

Christianity …Also another Zany Cult …Whew


Simran April 9, 2015 at 05:52

They are cheaters. I attended the 1st basic course and did not find any results. On the final day when they invite all guests, I told the trainer “Nagesh” or someone that I didn’t find any difference. He was so rude and responded saying “go attend the advanced training” these were the exact same words. I was pissed off but as my sister suggested I attended the advanded training, the training was ok but the trainer will ask you to get your friends for enrollment and he said he would want to meet everyone and talk for enrollment. But when i took my friend and introduced to the trainer, the trainer a fat fellow did not even greet my friend properly. So I decided to leave immediately. In that session, again people there are asking me to join SELP. Bullshit, they think they can cheat people very easily. They are theives, stealing the money in modern way.

So these people are not there for creating change but to just make money. And they think that they will make money without even treating people properly. They just want people to register, pay money and go. They are not bothered about anything else.


Volunteer April 9, 2015 at 08:33

Simran, you do realize that nearly everyone with whom you interact at Landmark events is an unpaid volunteer, and even the people who are leading the courses and are paid don’t make very much money, yes?


Tera May 3, 2015 at 07:02

It’s true, almost no-one is paid ..which is great for the owners of this enterprise. Apparently, Landmark makes $50 million a year. I lost a friend to Landmark. She became so obsessed with Landmark and repeatedly tried to get me to attend their program (see, Landmark had recruited her as another unpaid & persistent salesperson.) I insisted that I simply didn’t want to attend. Eventually, she became distant and we haven’t spoken in 6 months. Strange, considering that Landmark claims it will make you a better communicator when the real net result has been the opposite in my experience with my friend.


Em gee May 15, 2015 at 20:01

it only makes you a “better communicator” with those that comply ..;0 If you dont you are Wrong…In the Cult’s eyes.


David Bozic April 11, 2015 at 12:34

This sounds like EST by Werner Earhart. What goes around, comes around!


Victor Gagnon April 11, 2015 at 19:29

It is EST by Werner Earhart except the difference is that the W.Earhart sold the company to his leaders and they changed things a bit and they call the first course the Landmark Forum. There are three courses that they call the curriculum for living. For what I have researched its somewhat the same.


Champ April 12, 2015 at 13:47

Years ago, 1974, I attended a management conference.
We were put in groups of five and told to persuade the leader of our group, management, why the company needed a new truck.
We all presented our most persuasive arguments and management’s response, repeatedly, was that the company couldn’t afford, we didn’t see the big picture, etc. No matter what we threw at him he had a negative.
Finally, I said to him, you know, this sounds like the response I get at a partner’s meeting at my firm.
So we wrapped up and the leader let us in on what the message was. Namely that management had been instructed to talk us to death. He was instructed that no matter what we said would not be good enough. That, I suppose, being resolute is a virtue … or something.
That has always stuck with me, allowing me to spot straw men almost instantly.


Jim April 14, 2015 at 09:41

I enjoyed my Forum, and SELP that followed, but I do have some friends that did Landmark (through my inviting) and I don’t think it worked out for them, not because they didn’t do it. But because they did it too much, or too far, I guess. They both struggled with alcohol addiction and it was as though Landmark became their addiction, and sadly Landmark seemed all to willing to become their addiction. Giving them more and more classes, having them volunteer to work for free for more and more things. I get that Landmark is a business, and I did enjoy my seminars, but I think it might work best with a certain type of personality. What do you think?

Here’s another good review that I read:

I think it’s all about perspective and follow up. Does Landmark become your new crutch?
I also think that all the people who don’t like Landmark or who think it’s a cult probably focus on instances of the ones like my friends mentioned above. No matter where you go there’s always going to be fanatics and people who take things a little too far. It doesn’t mean all of Landmark is a cult; we’ve just got to be able to remain objective about these types of things.


Interesting April 15, 2015 at 09:15

I have a friend who has attended several Landmark classes. I never knew until I shared my experience with Life Skills International (a Christian organization) and she said it sounded similar to Landmark. She had nothing but positive things to say about Landmark .
As far as proselytizing goes, I just think people get excited about their own positive changes and want to help others. I see no difference between a person enthusiasticly encouraging someone to attend LS and a person enthusiasticly encouraging someone to go to church or even just to see a great movie, for that matter. People get excited about what touches them and they want to share it with others. That’s human nature.
As for lingo, all organizations and institutions have their own. Every place I’ve ever worked and every religion I’ve studied had their own acronyms, power words, and cliches.
In regards to marketing, it’s simply a sign of the times, nothing personal. It’s one way businesses make money. I don’t like it either, but it works. And Landmark is a business. However, this doesn’t mean their product isn’t beneficial to many.


Kris April 15, 2015 at 11:23


All quite well said. Thank you for that rational and balanced perspective. I think you have summarized the situation so well.

Our journeys are all so unique, as are the paths to getting where we’re headed, spiritually and otherwise. Those ascribing ill-intent to others could benefit from zooming out and considering the perspective that people are really trying simply to share and help one another.



Hunter April 15, 2015 at 12:44

Interesting, I hear what you’re saying about most organisations using specific jargon and people enthusiastically recommending things they enjoy to one another. Do you not think, however, that it’s simplistic to say “These people recommend stuff… we recommend stuff… we both recommend stuff, therefore we are both doing exactly the same thing. Do you not think that the degree to which a person recommends something plays a role? Consider the 2003 Documentary on Landmark – a woman complains to the trainer that she is, in spite of asking them to stop, being “harassed” by Landmark employees phoning her every day. A social constructionist can take the view that they were not harassing her but “supporting” her (which is the argument they made) , however this is completely disregarding the perspective of the participant. In this case it would seem that the enthusiasm of Landmark employees went beyond everyday enthusiasm to the point that it was construed as harassment. Do you not think that a distinction has to be made between various levels of enthusiasm and recommendations?


Interesting April 15, 2015 at 15:01

Hunter, I hear what you are saying. The “recommendations and enthusiasm” come from those who have attended, so they are not employees. It sounds like the harassment you are talking about comes from employees, and would, therefore, fall under the category of “marketing” which I addressed separately.


Kris April 15, 2015 at 15:25

We all have to also keep in mind that one experience with one employee (in a documentary filmed 12 years ago) cannot be generalized across “all” anything or anyone.

I don’t actually have a true stake in this game. I went to a Landmark session on my former boss’s recommendation, but first found this thread when I was exploring/researching and a little hesitant to attend.

There is absolutely some kookiness about this organization and the secrecy about certain aspects along with overly-evangelical volunteers from time to time, but as with all of life, take what you want and leave the rest.

The session I went to last April was intense and enlightening for me in many ways. I am glad I went. I also think it’s not for everyone . . . and this parable holds true for a Landmark session as it does for life in general:

“There is a story they tell of two dogs. Both dogs, at separate times, walk into the same room. One dog comes out wagging his tail while the other comes out growling.

A woman watching this goes into the room to see what could possibly make one dog so happy and the other dog so mad. To her surprise, she finds a room full of mirrors.

The happy dog found a thousand happy dogs looking back at him. The angry dog saw only angry growling dogs looking back at him. Meaning: What you see in the world around you is a reflection of who you are.”


The awesome news is that we are grown-ups and (in the U.S.) FREE to make our own decisions each day about how we act, where we spend our money and our time, and how to view the world around us. What a gift!

Hunter April 15, 2015 at 16:43

I think you missed my point?

Em gee May 15, 2015 at 19:58

try not to lie…Employees DO call and harass people to enroll in more courses. Im not saying that the cult members dont do it as well.

Interesting April 15, 2015 at 19:36

I’m sorry if I missed your point, Hunter. Maybe I misunderstood.
My point in a nut shell is this, if you want to attend Landmark, go. If you don’t, then don’t. It makes no difference to me. Its not necessary for anyone to scrutinize or judge anyone else’s choices or journey. It’s a personal choice made for personal reasons. That’s all I’m saying.


Interesting April 15, 2015 at 15:04

Thank you, Kris!


Interesting April 15, 2015 at 15:30

Kris, I love the parable! Thanks for sharing it and for your insights.


Hunter April 15, 2015 at 16:30

Kris, do you see how the dog parable – an extreme social constructionist perspective – can be used in a negative way? Say, for example, we take it to the extreme and say that LGAT marketers call a graduate ten times a day for six months, in spite of her pleading with them to leave her alone. Your dog parable could justify them saying “what you take as harassment can also be seen as support”. Please understand that I’m not necessarily saying that this is what Landmark etc. do, but just that this philosophy can be used in a negative way to effectively shut down objections to anything. Lifton (1961), who wrote on thought reform ten years before est appeared, spoke of thought terminating clichés – these are phrases that effectively minimise critical thought. I took part in a training (not the Forum) where the ‘dog parable’ logic was used to shut down any opposition to the trainer. Before long the only answers given by participants were those that fitted in with the group philosophy. Again, I have not personally attended the forum – I am simply commenting on the potential harm of such “wisdom”.

Ross May 3, 2015 at 10:45

I think Landmark could be so much more, but they have their program and marketing style that serves them, and I guess they’re satisfied with the market they serve and revenue they generate.


peter h April 18, 2015 at 18:46

for an example of what Landmark Graduates can do – check out this website – you may not like Landmark, you may have concerns, but for some people (and humanity) it sometimes works. Gashar is an amazing person.
And, you have to try it before you decide it doesn’t work for you. Don’t like brocolli on instinct – try it and thus become informed.


Curtis Coward April 23, 2015 at 19:45

I went to this program in 1995. Since then, I have never cheated in a relationship. My word, has become , most prized possession It opened my mind, and brought clarity. I can clearly see after beeing in a homeless shelter myself, how this program could turn many of thier lives around.I approached a homeless shelter that I stayed in, about a pilot project with Landmark and was informed that the homeless was a private business and that they would be out of business if it did work.


bangalore April 28, 2015 at 08:18

Two of the forum attendees names as Srushti developers duped me & 4 friends of 500k USD in name of selling land names Suresh & Harish,Conman Harish lured all into this plot & Suresh ran away with money ,yet another land scam in Bangalore & where did we meet at a cult meeting of landmark beware of these guys!!!


robert April 29, 2015 at 00:40

thanks this is the best review of Landmark that i have read. i am scheduled to do the forum this weekend.


Keith April 30, 2015 at 22:42

Good for you, Robert.

I will say the Forum is NOT for everyone. However, well over 80 (actually it might be over 90) percent of graduates say that it has made a significant and permanent difference in their lives. Nobody will tell you this is easy,though. You will come up against your own stuff and will need to sit with it. In fact, if you don’t have your act together, like if you are in therapy or being treated for some sort of mental illness, you will likely need a note from your doctor to be allowed to participate.

Years ago, I shared the Forum with an office mate, and he registered after an introduction. On his Tuesday night, he invited me to come. There, he told me, “sometime around the middle of my second day, I wanted to kill you for getting me into this, and now I just want you thank you”. And he really meant it.

Again, best wishes in your Forum. I did mine 20 years ago, and it has made a difference, and continues to. I wish everyone the level of freedom in their own lives that I have gotten.


Sandra May 1, 2015 at 18:24

I have done a lot of transformational growth programs during the past 20 years,…….I participated in the forum, the advanced and the last – leadership program – quit – (the last program in the series) SELP – met frequently – a 4 month program – almost every week – one of the main messages – to recruit friends / family to sign up – I did not sign up to be Landmark’s marketing arm. I also quit because the coach I got within our small group was controlling, demeaning and degrading when she coached me – I couldn’t stand it – when I left – several of the management – made me wrong for leaving – basically – taking care of myself and my sanity !


Ross May 3, 2015 at 10:42

I took and got benefit from the basic forum and seminar and I volunteered once. I was asked to come back and volunteer more. My response was what classes would I be comped for because of my volunteer hours (none of course). I’ve gladly done humdreds of hours of voluteer work for various charities – no problem. I just don’t do volunteer work for for-profit organizations without some form of reward.


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Aavo Taaler May 5, 2015 at 20:35

lost two daughters to this cult …………..just so fed up with them telling me that they are now enlightened and that they now get it – inferring that unless I take the 3 day brainwashing, I am in the dark ( un-enlightened ) and don’t get it. My opinion is they simply got taken for big bucks, got brainwashed and instead of getting it, they have lost it !!!! So sad ……… from this as fast as you can.


Experience is Best Teacher May 6, 2015 at 09:25

Aavo–I get that as a parent it can be grating for your kids to imply that you in any way don’t “get it” in the same way they do (especially given that you have been alive longer and experienced more than they have). But what if your daughters didn’t get “taken for big bucks” and simply had an experience they want to share with you out of their love for you? What if your daughters aren’t “lost” at all?


STEVE May 10, 2015 at 12:07

Just signed up for the Forum and going in August. Of course it was free for me due to exemption for military and first responders. Which I think is pretty cool, helping us out. I am both. I just question its authenticity. In my career and life experiences I am cynical and a skeptic. I enjoyed everyone’s blogs. Looking for positives and negatives?


Victor Gagnon May 10, 2015 at 19:54

So Steve, the only thing I can tell you is that I was never in military so I have no idea what that is all about and I only can say what I have read about the military, (movies and what not)but I have done the curriculum for living at Landmark and I got what I got out it. You will not get the same as I because you are not me. Make sense. I simply tell people who are taking any of these courses at Landmark to simply be open to all possibilities. So if you come in with a positive experience than I will tell you that you will have a positive experience. If you want some change in your life than be open to looking at who you are. Now positive does not explain anything. Its just a frame of mind. The analogy that you might understand is that I have never been in the military and have no idea what that is all about. I am a person who dislikes authority, very strongly, meaning someone telling me what to do or how do it, does not work for me, but that is just me and I am willing to be responsible for that. So if I was to enter the military today I would have problems because of my negative attitude toward authority and it might be an up hill battle for me. Now I am not trying to bash the military but what I am trying to do is to give you a comparison. Many will tell you what Landmark is all about and it will only be true for them. If you were to tell me about the military it would only be true for you but me. It would not be my experience. Good luck to you and just have an open. Its helps a lot.


James Amerson May 10, 2015 at 17:02

I first participated in the programs that Landmark Education offers in 1983 and continued to participate on a regular basis through the mid-1990s. I worked for Landmark Education in the early 1990s at the New York City center and can say without hesitation that participating in the Landmark programs is/was one of the best experiences of my life. I continue to ‘use’ the things I learned on a daily basis. Being a resident of New Orleans, I can safely say that the programs, especially the Advanced Course, helped me get through the devastation caused by the levee failures during Hurricane Katrina. I don’t know that I can point to an exact line item lesson from that course but the tools I formulated for myself while taking the AC assisted me with rebuilding 2 houses devastated by that storm as well as put my life back together which took almost 5 years. A catastrophic event is not required to get the lessons from Landmark Education but I use the tools I formulated for myself with everyday living. With regard to the complaints of pressure to enroll in other programs, I would much prefer to speak with a human than watch a dumb TV commercial AND the lessons I learned around choosing my life instead of letting it ‘happen’ to me are invaluable. I don’t let anyone pressure me to do anything. The answer is either yes or no (who can really make that choice without conditions). Another valuable tool I FINALLY understood. I could go on and on about how much I admire and appreciate Landmark Education but suffice (finally) to say is that the programs assisted me to be a better me, if that makes sense. No one needs it but the programs are certainly interesting and fun and completely worth a trip to a Landmark Center near you to find out if it is something you might like.


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robert May 17, 2015 at 00:40

as a follow up to my post above, i did end up doing the Forum two weeks ago. First of all, the comments about it being a cult etc. are BS. So what if the chairs are set the same distance apart? You really have to be grasping for negatives to point out such things. As for the persistent whining and complaining about the $645, cry me a river. I have done TONS of recovery work and $645 is the equivalent of 4-5 hours of therapy, which is nothing. Here you get 39 hours PLUS 10 free 3 hour sessions…if you amortize the cost over the hours it is minimal.

As for how it went, i did learn a few things but i am not sure i had a life altering transformation. The impact has been building gradually and the systems or programs they have in place are helping with that. I have stayed in touch with alumni and attended some events that have helped me build on the things i learned in the Forum.

One of the things that i learned in the Forum is that all the time and money that i have spent on recovery work have actually helped to build the story that i am now hoping to shed. I mentioned to a young participant that i was hoping this is the end of the recovery journey for me and it is interesting that it is the beginning for her. She responded with a very astute question, what if i started my journey with Landmark, how would things be different? a great question.

The bottom line is that i have no regrets. I signed up for the advanced course and i intend to take the seminars. I dont see Landmark as the end all and be all of recovery work, but i dont think such a thing exists. It is just another perspective and “toolkit”


Victor Gagnon May 17, 2015 at 12:04

Thank you for sharing robert,
Its such a pleasure to hear someone with an open mind. I agree that your journey is just beginning and only you know what that means.
From my experience it sounds like you will gain a lot from the balance of the curriculum. I can simply share that for me these courses where life changing for me. Many might say good luck, but luck has nothing to do with it. You are choosing. Have the experience of a life time.


robert May 17, 2015 at 22:49

thank you Victor.


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mona May 19, 2015 at 19:17

I attended the landmark forum and have never encounters such bullshit in all my life. A con…brainwashing mind techniques targeted at vulnerable people or people who are simply going through life situations. The leader Jerry was arrogant forceful and a bully no sensitivity just CONTROL.

I could go on but don’t want to waste my time. All I want to say to people is do not give up hope… Search for ways to help you and empower you but don’t let organisations such as these convince you for £460 in 3 Days that your life has changed.

I was disgusted at what people were going through and how they were pushed and manipulated to speak at the forum…. Jerry what’s his face should be locked up….. But I rest my case for what goes around comes around. People do anything for money….


mona May 19, 2015 at 19:22



Leoplodo Rios May 21, 2015 at 00:02

Manal was a speaker one night that I was attending and after when I was asked if I was joining and I said no and told her why I was not joining, she immediately got defensive and said ….. of course look at you, you’re that kind of person that would not join etc….right there proves that they are not even educated enough to make any humans life change for the better except for trying to brain wash people and get them into believing that the are really changing them for the better…. next time you attend a seminar or whatever they call it… you will always see a person that looks at you like they are confused on why you’re not joining,,,, they are ridiculously sad and I have been actually speaking with a few investors that are very interested in staring this kind of business…. its legal so why not… look for us i the same area while we solicit at the landmark…lol


Victor Gagnon May 21, 2015 at 10:54

Now Mona, because of the wording you are using in your comments I can only say it is suspect that you even took the LF course. Maybe an intro but not the course. You may still of had a bad experience but to speak of something you may not have experienced like taking the 3 day LF is tantamount to gossip. Of course I accept the fact that this is just amy opinion. Like you I will not now the facts of your experience because they are not my experience. If you actually took the course then feel free to give us more details, that would help your story.
So I would like to share with you my experience with LF. I took the full curriculum for living some 11 years ago and I practiced what I was taught. Lets see, I let go of anger, letting go anxiety, letting go of being jealous and never, ever worry about what people think of me. You should try that. Having compassion and love for all human beings including yourself. So I reached a height of peace in my life. So my experience is definitely not your experience would you not agree. This is the reason I respond to people like you and Rios because you have experienced a truth an experience that belongs to each one of you and I have experienced a truth but neither of us can say that our truth is or is not LF. They simply guide us.
I am sure you will have some comments so please feel free to speak your peace. I welcome it.


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