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EST - the human empowerment movement

The founder of Erhard Seminar Training (EST), Werner Erhard, was born Jack Rosenberg. Was he related to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg? Is that why he changed his name?

Back in the 70s and 80s, did any of you geezers attend his seminars? Did they help you achieve things?

by Anonymousreply 4910/14/2013

I know some of you geezers remember him.

by Anonymousreply 110/13/2013

They brainwashed a philosophy professor of mine. And he was a Ph.D from Yale and pretty smart. But none of that was any protection. Once they get their hands on you....

Also, in college I had a classmate who got captured by a Baptist group that targets and brainwashes religious minorities. They used a similar isolating technique as the ESTers.

But being an ex-Baptist myself, I guess I was inoculated against it. Anyway, why spend thousands of dollars being brainwashed? Just watch FOXNews.

by Anonymousreply 210/13/2013

Named himself after a German neocon economics minister.

by Anonymousreply 310/13/2013

Apparently, he stole a lot of his "technology" from the Scientologists and now they're enemies.

by Anonymousreply 410/13/2013

Yes. Way too late in the evening to post about this. Not even sure if I could go there. It was that bad.

by Anonymousreply 510/13/2013

Thanks, OP, for guaranteeing nightmares all night long.

by Anonymousreply 610/13/2013

I've seen footage of the seminars and I wished somebody had punched him in the face when he was screaming.

by Anonymousreply 710/13/2013

Not related to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Like R5, it's too late to go into what I know. I'll try to post in the AM.

by Anonymousreply 810/13/2013

I attended an EST seminar with a guy I was dating and he was into it. He convinced me to go with him to a seminar and I stupidly did. When we got there they closed the doors to the lobby of the hotel it was at. We were into it for about 45 minutes and I thought it was bullshit. The guy next to me had to take a piss (and so did I) but they would not let him out. He took his dick out and pissed all over the floor and I went to the door and furiously kicked it open and got out. I went to the toilet and pissed, left the hotel in my car along with the guy I was seeing and went directly to a disco. I never called, heard from or saw my date ever again. The organization it full of programmed wackos who are still trying to "get it.'

by Anonymousreply 1010/13/2013

just so you know this EST seminar was in L.A. back in '78 when EST was at it's height. It's a precursor to Kabbalah. I also meant to write that the organization IS full of programmed wackos who are still trying to "get it."

by Anonymousreply 1110/13/2013

It's metamorphosed into Landmark Education now. My mum and aunt have been sucked in, unfortunately.

by Anonymousreply 1210/13/2013

I knew people who got involved in it. They were very annoying folks.

by Anonymousreply 1310/13/2013

I knew a gay guy who got very into it way back, and one time he invited tons of us to a party. He was very into The Scene--this was in New York, at the time of Studio 54, etc.--and we all went thinking it would be cruise party and we'd all get lucky. Well, it wasn't a party at all: it was a pest recruitment meeting, complete with "handlers," or whatever they were. Also name tags. Mine read "Crabby Hayes." And they told us to sit on the floor in orderly lines and tell why we were interested in pest. Interested? I got out of there lickety-split and never spoke to Rhodes Cox again.

by Anonymousreply 1410/13/2013

more please

by Anonymousreply 1510/13/2013

Erhard's acolytes are still around, creating new organizations that litter the country. These people are all power hungry -- that's really all EST was about, how much power Erhard and his minions could accumulate. Well, power and money.

Terrible people, terrible ideas.

by Anonymousreply 1610/13/2013

I second r13, it seemed like a club for bitches.

by Anonymousreply 1710/13/2013

Anyone ever read "Cities on a Hill" by Frances Fitzgerald? She went to a bunch of places and kind of exposed the hypocrisy of these little "Utopias." It was very readable, and funny. So many sheeple, so little time. The shelf life of the Guru in Oregon with the Rolls Royces was short and fascinating. He came over from India, bought a town, and, boom, he has all these rich white Americans who delight in doing all the manual labor while he buys a different Rolls for each day of the year with their money. But then his right hand power hungry goddess, Ma Anand Sheila took control, poisoned some salad bars, and the whole racket was exposed.

Fitzgerald also visited The Castro district in SF during the era of the "Clone" years, just before AIDS. It's a brilliant exploration.

by Anonymousreply 1810/13/2013

Not much different than in-house training at any investment bank.

by Anonymousreply 1910/13/2013

Alec Baldwin's speech in "Glengarry Glen Ross." Breaking down people's self-esteem is a basic tactic in mind control, whether in cults or the corporate world.

It's amazing how many people admire this scene, thinking Baldwin's character is revealing some great wisdom. Replace "closing" with "killing" and see what you get.

by Anonymousreply 2010/13/2013

Had to different friends get sucked into one of the groups that grew out of EST.

Female friend went to Landmark Forum. After first weekend long session, she was so jazzed, like she'd found the answer to all her life's mysteries. She wouldn't talk about any details, despite my asking, but was super enthusiastic. She went to another weekend long session, a repeat of the introductory, and then became very reclusive. About a month later, she went to another weekend long thing, this one the next level up. Shortly after that, I got an email from her telling me that she had always hated me and listed every infraction she perceived I'd ever done against her. Sent similar emails to several other friends. Have never heard from her since.

A gay male friend went to a gay version of Landmark Forum (don't remember the name it went under). He was similarly jazzed after the first one and started trying to recruit people to go. He went to as many sessions as he could in the next year. Finally, a last minute cancellation (literally 12 hours before the session) opened up for a week-long ultra intense high level session. He dropped everything to attend it and didn't even notify his workplace he'd be gone. He was fired from his job because of that. Soon after that, he ran out of money. Had to move out of state to find a cheaper living arrangement. I still hear from him periodically but he never shares much info about his current situation. What little bit I do get, sounds like he's really unhappy and really struggling.

by Anonymousreply 2110/13/2013

Went with two others and we had taken a tab of acid before hand. We all got the giggles and rather than lock us in like a poster up thread related, we got kicked out.

Good Geeze times.

by Anonymousreply 2210/13/2013

R21, I'm so sorry that happened.

I lost a friend to the LF also.

You never know how much the people around you are totally lost and easily influenced by something like this.

I almost lost another friend to the secret; I said horrible things to him when he believed in it deeply.

I just waited till something bad happened to him and said: "Just imagine it not being this way."

He got it.

by Anonymousreply 2310/13/2013

R21 that was The Advocate Experience in the 80s. From Wikipedia: [QUOTE]David Goodstein and Dr. Rob Eichberg created "The Advocate Experience". Loosely based on the then-popular EST (Erhardt Seminars Training), it was a two-weekend, all-day series of extensive self-realization workshops to bring self-acceptance, awareness and tolerance within the LGBT community. Goodstein and Eichberg facilitated the workshops for much of their duration.

by Anonymousreply 2410/13/2013

R10, I remember reading some expose on it years ago and the thing that struck me is that they wouldn't let anyone go to the bathroom and people wet their pants. Why wouldn't they let people use the bathroom? What was the point of that?

Supposedly Cher and Diana Ross attended. I have a hard time imagining either of them not being allowed to use the bathroom.

by Anonymousreply 2510/13/2013

r24 Thanks. It may well have been that. I don't recall the name.

My friend's time there would have been circa 2004-2006 in LA. Was the Advocate Experience still going on at that time?

by Anonymousreply 2610/13/2013

Thank you so much for that book recommendation, r18.

Was "ested" in the mid-1970s with my mother and short-lived step-father at age 13 in Berkeley.

All I could think about was that I was like Patty Hearst locked in some closet with Cinque.

Thought it was total bullshit. At the end, I was the last person in the room to be allowed released because I refused to say "I got it". I finally said "I get that this is a total rip-off. Goodbye".

Mom divorced the est-hole a few months later. Those damned handlers would forever harass us by phone to con us into taking more "seminars". This was way before call screening technology was created.

While in college, I lived in shared house near The Castro with a bunch of women who became Rajneeshes. Oh, that silly Bagwhan and his silly followers and the stories I could tell! One day when I came home from class, I discovered that my entire wardrobe -- much of it from my high school years -- had been dyed red, orange, purple. I thought it was cool. No more 70's earth tones pour moi.

Definitely going to order that book.

by Anonymousreply 2710/13/2013

When one becomes a disciple of this group one is obliged to recruit others. The last twenty minutes or so of whatever class/seminar one is obliged to stand and relate what one has done to bring others into the fold.

Landmark Education has been shut down in France by the government. No BS for us, thank god. The gov found that LE was engaging in forms of brainwashing and intimidation.

Werner E is the biggest phony you could possibly meet. He's got homes all over the globe, makes videos of himself and group members are obliged to buy these things.

by Anonymousreply 2810/13/2013

I knew a guy in the early '70s who became fairly powerful in the est movement. His big selling point while trying to recruit me was that, since he'd learned whatever it was est taught, he was always able to find a good parking space.

We lived in the San Francisco Bay area, where parking places of any kind were more valuable than gold, but I remained stubbornly unconvinced. Everything he preached sounded just like Zen Buddhism, which could be learned for free & without stress from Alan Watts' books at the public library.

by Anonymousreply 2910/13/2013

It's a pyramid scheme, isn't it?

by Anonymousreply 3010/13/2013

[quote]My friend's time there would have been circa 2004-2006 in LA. Was the Advocate Experience still going on at that time?

I worked for that magazine in the early 1990s and some people still talked about it, but it wasn't going on for current employees. Nevertheless, the groupthink and weird cult environment was firmly in place. We had retreats, and there was definitely a core group that socialized and closed ranks at the retreats.

I lasted less than a year, and after I gave my two weeks' notice people who I thought were my friends cut me dead in the halls. You were either with them or against them. I finally stopped showing up, and they sent me a check for my final two weeks' pay.

by Anonymousreply 3110/13/2013

I once talked to a Landmark salesperson/presenter who thought I was a regular attendee, and he gave me the lowdown on their techniques. Essentially, the "effect" on the initial course is intended to last only about two years after which it wears off, people tend to feel depressed and people want to come back for more to get the same feeling they did the first time. They then sell them more. The salesperson told me he attends them every few years himself because he starts losing his "belief" in them. Essentially, it's like a communal drug.

by Anonymousreply 3210/13/2013

R27, I think you'll like the book "Cities on a Hill." I was living in SF when I read it (years after it was published) and ran into a guy I knew from NYC who was following the Bhagwan dude. He had been M2F and then went back to M. He was now living in the old Hotel Allerton down on Market St. and told me that he was expecting $40,000 to show up in his bank account any day, from chanting or something. I gave him the book to read, and wished him well. I never got the book back.

My father was a hippie and lived in communes and alternative schools in the 70s all over the world. I saw the hypocrisy of the lifestyle just like Frances Fitzgerald. I was just glad she vocalized it so well. She goes to Jerry Falwell's Lynchburg. She goes to a retirement community. It's great. Five Stars.

by Anonymousreply 3310/13/2013

Thank you for the book recommendation, R18;I am definitely going to get a copy.

by Anonymousreply 3410/13/2013

Can't wait to read it, r18. I've heard of that title.

Am still in SF, which feels resistant to cults now. There was est, then Jonestown was, like, a total bummer... the Bhagwan, and others came and left.

That Shelia was a bitch. I remember hearing inside stories about her from my roomates who visited "The Ranch" in Oregon. MANY of his followers were white Europeans, especially from Germany. I married one. For her green card. Better not go there. Also, my sister's best friend from childhood became a bigwig in the group. I think she was arrested in the salad bar scheme as well. She became an extremely weird follower. Not going to mention her name but she appeared in news stories.

I have one positive thing to say about my est "training" experience. The guided meditations introduced me to that technique. Of course, it was essentially another brainwashing/hypnosis technique from Warner, whom I actually met.

Became an adult, came out, and moved to The City during the last pre-AIDS years while living with a bunch of Rashneeshie women who turned our house into a massage parlor. Very wild times.

Thanks again. Really looking forward to reading that book.

by Anonymousreply 3510/13/2013

What is 'the salad bar scheme' ?

by Anonymousreply 3610/14/2013

Did the Rajneesh people have orgies all the time? A kid from high school was into it and I overheard him say something about free sex. He always wore red too and he had cold sores.

I have a friend who does the Psi seminars. They have a strong hold in Hawaii. I went to a few intro sessions but never signed up. They use hard sell and then they try to wow you with their "technology" which allowed them to be so successful and confident, of course they don't give specifics on the technology. You have to ay $500 for that. My friend was cool though and stopped asking me to go and we still remained friends. She went to some of the sessions at the California ranch too and did some goal setting workshop. I have to admit she met her goals. But maybe having the psi group kept her conscious and focused on her goals.

Another friend was in Landmark and tried to ge me to go but I never did. She eventually dropped me as a friend with no explanation. Just would not return my emails.

Lululemon and cafe gratitude a raw food restaurant makes their employees do landmark training. I think the cafe got in trouble because they made the employees pay for all or part of the trainings. I stopped patronizing both of those places after finding out about their connection to Landmark.

You'd be surprised the people that are in Landmark. I went to a presentation in honolulu and it was at these rich gay doctors house in a gated community. After the presentation I tried to talk to the presenter and hosts but they dissed me and would only talk to the people that signed up on the spot. Right then and there I new my intuition was right and to stay away.

I also used to listen to Michael beckwith from Agape and The Secret. I knew people that knew him and they kept saying how cool and nice he was. I was in LA and went to the service. I tried to say hello to him after the service but he literally slithered by me, mumbled hello and avoided eye contact and just kept walking, leaving me in the dust. He also had a handler with him to block me like I was some crazed fan. All I said was hello and I wanted to let him know I was visiting and really liked listening to his sermons online. I saw him later alone in the hall and he was looking straight ahead but I could tell he was looking at me with his "peripherals" this time I just kept walking straight to the exit. I deleted all of his sermons and haven't listened to a word since. I literally cringe if I hear anything about him. Preachers talk a good game but those ones seeking fame and global recognition are puta de madre.

I hate mega churches because they are all about entertainment and tithing and you cant even shake the pastors hand. One mega church I went to had a conference with all the other famous glib preachers and they passed the plate 5 times. After the second time I was like wtf? At Agape beckwith used to pass the plate before the sermon, ain't that a bitch? At least pump me up before I cut the check. I guess like any pro they want the money upfront. Maybe he was scared people would sneak out before the last song without "paying."

by Anonymousreply 3710/14/2013

I went to university with one of Erhard's daughters. She was the first to say he'd abused the kids. Since she was the first, he was constantly harassing her and her room mates over the phone. Calling every 15 minutes from midnight to six a.m.--that kind of thing. Unbelievable scum bag.

by Anonymousreply 3810/14/2013

My mother, then a freelance journalist, visited Rajneeshpuram, Oregon.

There were no orgies, it was more like Jim Jones.

Ma Anand Sheela ran the place, with an iron hand. The bhagwan was in hiding or, by then, had already left the US.

It's lucky that it didn't end up like Guyana.

by Anonymousreply 3910/14/2013

R36 The salad bar scheme also called the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack was the food poisoning of 751 individuals in The Dalles, Oregon, United States, through the deliberate contamination of salad bars at ten local restaurants with salmonella. A leading group of followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho) had hoped to incapacitate the voting population of the city so that their own candidates would win the 1984 Wasco County elections.[2] The incident was the first and single largest bioterrorist attack in United States history.[3][4] The attack is one of only two confirmed terrorist uses of biological weapons to harm humans since 1945.[5] Having previously gained political control of Antelope, Oregon, Rajneesh's followers based in nearby Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, sought election to two of the three seats on the Wasco County Circuit Court that were up for election in November 1984. Fearing they would not gain enough votes, Rajneeshpuram officials decided to incapacitate voters in The Dalles, the largest population center in Wasco County. The chosen biological agent was Salmonella enterica Typhimurium, which was first delivered through glasses of water to two County Commissioners and then, on a larger scale, at salad bars and in salad dressing.

751 people contracted salmonellosis as a result of the attack; 45 of them were hospitalized. There were no fatalities. Although an initial investigation by the Oregon Public Health Division and the Centers for Disease Control did not rule out deliberate contamination, the actual source of the contamination was only discovered a year later. On February 28, 1985, Congressman James H. Weaver gave a speech in the United States House of Representatives in which he "accused the Rajneeshees of sprinkling salmonella culture on salad bar ingredients in eight restaurants".[6] At a press conference in September 1985, Rajneesh accused several of his followers of involvement in this and other crimes, including an aborted plan to assassinate a United States Attorney, and he asked State and Federal authorities to investigate.[7] Oregon Attorney General David B. Frohnmayer set up an Interagency Task Force, composed of Oregon State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and executed search warrants in Rajneeshpuram. A sample of bacteria matching the contaminant that had sickened the town residents was found in a Rajneeshpuram medical laboratory. Two leading Rajneeshpuram officials were indicted and served 29 months in a minimum-security federal prison.

More at the link

by Anonymousreply 4010/14/2013

I have taken EST like seminars that I bought into completely and they completely changed my life. I could use a good seminar like that righ now. Something to energize me.

by Anonymousreply 4110/14/2013

sad clown

by Anonymousreply 4210/14/2013

Not a pyramid scheme in the true sense of the term. Most of the money filters directly up to Werner (the wannabe German?? he's an American Jew). Often office phones are manned by volunteers or those paid less than minimum wage.

There's an army of staff who do nothing but phone people day and night to intimidate them to sign up for more classes. The underlying message is that if you drop out your life will go to hell.

Class/seminar leaders are paid handsomely - they travel all over the States to conduct weekend seminars so it seems to "students" that there are thousands of them.

by Anonymousreply 4310/14/2013

Geezer here. I remember hearing about EST from a bartender in 1972. He asks "Do you know about E. S. T. ?" I thought he said E.S.P.. We knew many nice people who were turned into assholes. Did you get it? Was the question of the day for graduates. They spent a lot of time calling people assholes. I forget which comedian at the time said. "If you pay $300 to be locked in a gym for 3 days, and not allowed to go to the bathroom, You are an asshole!"

by Anonymousreply 4410/14/2013

[quote]Did the Rajneesh people have orgies all the time? A kid from high school was into it and I overheard him say something about free sex. He always wore red too and he had cold sores.

Actually, they did. Part of the reason so many of these movements became popular was the sexual freedom that came with them. Many times, the "head guru in charge" would decide who should sleep with whom and this goes all the way back to when the Beatles went to India back in the 60s. John Lennon saw through the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi when he started diddling all the women he could. Lennon allegedly wrote "Dear Prudence" (about Tisha Farrow) and "Sexy Sadie" (about the Maharishi) about his experiences there.

by Anonymousreply 4510/14/2013

One of my best friends from college, a brilliant, type-A lesbian, became involved with Landmark after graduation. She tried to drag another close friend into it -- tricked the friend into attending. None of us speaks to her anymore. It's so surprising and sad to see such "successful" people drawn into a cult. I hope she's found her way out of it, but I have no desire to check in with her and find out.

by Anonymousreply 4610/14/2013

awful

by Anonymousreply 4710/14/2013

I can't help but judge people who fall into these kinds of things very harshly.

Talk about stupid!

by Anonymousreply 4810/14/2013

Cut-rate Budahist teaching reimagined as an Encyclopedia Sales Technique. Where the Ehrhard Seminar Training perfected its shtick.

And I made it all the way to IFLP before even I said this is hooey!

by Anonymousreply 4910/14/2013
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