Landmark Education/Cirt/Quotes

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Placed here for archival and educational purposes, originally located at q:Landmark Forum.

Landmark Forum, also known as The Forum and simply Forum, is the first course delivered by Landmark Worldwide (formerly Landmark Education), or simply Landmark, a limited liability company headquartered in San Francisco, California. The Company offers programs in personal development. The company claims that more than 2.2 million people have taken Landmark's programs since its founding in 1991, and that it hosts courses in approximately 115 locations across more than 20 countries.

The company started with the purchase of intellectual property rights developed by Werner Erhard, creator of the est training. Landmark has developed and delivered over 40 personal development programs. Its subsidiary, the Vanto Group, markets and delivers training and consulting to organizations.

Sourced[edit | edit source]

Quotes by CEO[edit | edit source]

  • In the United States, we have altered the public conversation about our work and our enterprise. For example, it is no longer possible for informed people or publications in the United States to pin pejorative labels on us.
    • Harry Rosenberg, CEO of Landmark Worldwide, and brother of Werner Erhard, quoted in — Traci Hukill (July 9, 1998). "The est of Friends: Werner Erhard's protégés and siblings carry the torch for a '90s incarnation of the '70s 'training' that some of us just didn't get". Metro News. San Francisco, California.

About[edit | edit source]

Alphabetized by author
Landmark Forum is analyzed in the book Outrageous Betrayal, which is referenced in testimony to the United States House of Representatives, 1995
  • There are scores of modern religious cults and sects that have been influenced by Hinduism to varying degrees. Werner Erhard, founder of 'Landmark Education's 'The Forum',' and 'est' seminars, which have about 700,000 graduates, was influenced by Hinduism through Swami Muktananda, one of Erhard's principal gurus.
  • Another term coined by Haack is Psychokulte (therapy cults), of which he distinguished two kinds: those with techniques which promise self-discovery or self-realization and establishments with therapies (Therapie-Institutionene)—Heelas's 'self-religions'. The followers of both types show the effects of Psychomutation, a distinct personality change (Haack, 1990a:191). Schneider (1995:189–190) lists organizations, such as Landmark Education, Verein zur Förderung der Psychologischen Menschenkenntnis (VPM), Scientology/Dianetics, Ontologische Einweihungsschule (Hannes Scholl), EAP and Die Bewegung (Silo) as examples of 'therapy cults'. These groups do not immediately suggest religion of Weltanschauung, but reveal ideological and religious elements on closer inspection. Their slogans are 'We have the saving principle' or 'We enable those who are able' and they offer Lebenshilfe (advice on how to live). Such advice is a commodity which is sold in very expensive seminars. The ideologies involved often lie in the grey areas between the humanities, psychotherapies, Lebenshilfe, 'mental hygiene' (Psychohygiene), and religion.
    • Arweck, Elisabeth (2004). Researching New Religious Movements: Responses and Redefinitions. Leiden: Brill. pp. 145–146. ISBN 0203642376.
  • There has been an enormous growth of the phenomenon known as Large Group Awareness Training represented by such companies as Landmark Forum. Its former iteration was EST, begun by the famous and infamous Werner Erhard. He retired it in 1985 and started The Forum. One of several cults categorized as examples of the human potential movement that started in the 1970s, it focused on exploring and actualizing the self. It has gained great traction in recent decades with professionals working within highly demanding occupations—entrepreneurs, business managers, the fields of acting, advertising, and marketing. EST and The Landmark Forum have had over a million customers.
    • Atkin, Douglas (2004). "What Is Required of a Belief System?". The Culting of Brands: Turn Your Customers Into True Believers. New York: Penguin/Portfolio. p. 101. ISBN 9781591840275.
  • The first connection between New Age and business life started with the founding of Erhard Seminar Training (EST) in the US, California in 1971. In 1984 EST became known as Forum and nowadays it operates under the name Landmark. The founder of EST, a former member of the Scientology church called Werner Erhard, based the program on a combination of Zen meditation, gestalt therapy, psychosynthesis and management, but the main goal was self-spirituality. In the seminars people were trained to 'drop their former beliefs and go beyond their 'ego-operations', in order to get in touch with their deeper selves.
    • Aupers, Stef (2005). "'We Are All Gods': New Age in the Netherlands 1960-2000". In Sengers, Erik (ed.). The Dutch and Their Gods: Secularization and Transformation of Religion in the Netherlands. Studies in Dutch Religious History. 3. Hilversum: Verloren. p. 193. ISBN 9065508678.
  • Perhaps one should start by asking 'what is a new religion?' I believe that too precise a definition is constraining and unnecessary for our present purposes; several of the movements about which we shall be talking are not obviously new or religions. ... many associated with the New Age or the so-called Human Potential movement, who deny that they are in any way religious. These may, however, be included in so far as they help their followers to search for, discover and develop 'the god within' or to get in contact with cosmic forces, or explore 'the spiritual'; indeed, any movement that offers in some way to provide answers to some of the ultimate questions about 'meaning' and 'the purpose of life' that have traditionally been addressed by mainstream religions would be included in this broad understanding of the term 'NRM'.") ... To illustrate rather than to define: among the better-known NRMs are the Brahma Kumaris, the Church of Scientology, the Divine Light Mission (now known as Elan Vital), est (erhard Seminar Training, now known as the Landmark Forum), the Family (originally known as the Children of God), ISKCON (the Hare Krishna), Rajneeshism (now know as Osho International), Sahaja Yoga, the Soka Gakkai, Trandscendental Mediations, the Unification Church (known as the Moonies) and the Way International. One might also include Neo-Paganism, Occultism, Wicca (or witchcraft) and several movements that are within mainstream traditions, such as part of the House Church (Restoration) movement from within Protestant traditions, and Folkolare, the Neo-Catechumenates, Communione e Liberazione and perhaps even Opus Dei from within the Roman Catholic traditions.
    • Barker, Eileen (1996). "New Religions and Mental Health". In Bhugra, Dinesh (ed.). Psychiatry and Religion: Context, Consensus and Controversies. London and New York: Routledge. p. 126. ISBN 0415089557. More than one of |pages= and |page= specified (help)
  • The majority of NRMs are, however, not indigenous to Europe. Many can be traced to the United States (frequently to California), including offshoots of the Jesus Movement (such as the Children of God, later known as the Family); the Way International; International Churches of Christ; the Church Universal and Triumphant (known as Summit Lighthouse in England); and much of the human potential movement (such as est, which gave rise to the Landmark Forum, and various practices developed through the Esalen Institute). Several of the movements came from Asia, mainly India (Rajneesh; ISKCON; Brahma Kumaris; Divine Light Mission [later called Élan Vital]; Sathya Sai Baba, Transcendental Meditation; Sahaja Yoga; Ananda Marga; and various practices associated with Tantra, kundalini, and other types of yoga), but also from Japan (Soka Gakkai; Rissho Kosei Kai; Agon Shu; Mahikari; Tenrikyo); Korea (the Unification Church); and other parts of Asia (Caodaism from Vietnam; Fo Guang from Taiwan; Falun Gong from China). There are also groups from the Caribbean (Rastafarianism) and Africa (Cherubim and Seraphim; the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star), most of these finding their home among the black populations residing in Europe. Another development has been the growth of a number of Islamic groups (Hizb ut-Tahrir; the Nation of Islam; Al-Muhajiroun; Murabitun).
    • Barker, Eileen (2005). "New Religious Movements in Europe". In Jones, Lindsay (ed.). Encyclopedia of Religion. Detroit: Macmillan Reference. p. 6568. ISBN 9780028657431.
  • The prospect of a new global order is also central to many variants of the Human Potential and New Age movements and Scientology. All these very different kinds of NRM nevertheless share a conviction that human beings have, perhaps for the first time, come into possession of the knowledge required to free them from traditional structures of thought and action. Hence, the confidence of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation, and of Werner Erhard, the founder of est (now largely reconfigured as the Landmark Trust), that the state of the entire world would improve if a sufficient number of people became sufficiently energetic and disciplined about their spiritual practice.
    • Beckford, James A. (2004). "New Religious Movements and Globalization". In Lucas, Phillip Charles; Robbins, Thomas (eds.). New Religious Movements in the 21st Century. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. p. 208. ISBN 0-415-96576-4.
  • Landmark Education, as it's formally known, is hardly alone. There are any number of groups that foster change in an intense, supportive environment. Formally, they are gathered under the rubric 'large group awareness training.' A few groups are relatively new. some have been around for decades. Almost all owe a major debt to a Unity minister named Alexander Everett.
    • Black, Jonathan (2006). Yes You Can!: Behind the Hype and Hustle of the Motivation Biz. New York: Bloomsbury. p. 133. ISBN 9781596910003.
  • The vast majority of groups termed 'sects' by the Government are small organizations with fewer than 100 members. Among the larger groups is the Church of Scientology, with between 5,000 and 6,000 members, and the Unification Church, with approximately 700 adherents throughout the country. Other groups found in the country include Divine Light Mission, Eckankar, Hare Krishna, the Holosophic community, the Osho movement, Sahaja Yoga, Sai Baba, Sri Chinmoy, Transcendental Meditation, Landmark Education, the Center for Experimental Society Formation, Fiat Lux, Universal Life, and The Family.
  • Although est and the Forum are frequently characterized as NRMs or 'cults' (q.v.), leaders and participants have typically denied that undergoing the seminars involves following a religion.
  • New Age communities appear to be driven more by a concern for individual spiritual growth than by collective concerns. A majority focus on teaching the various techniques for improving the quality of one's life and greater effectiveness by kindling the divine spark within. Transcendental meditation, the Self-religions (see Self-religion, The Self, and self) including The Forum, formerly est, Insight, The Life Training, the Silva Method of Mind Control, based largely on New Thought, Mind Dynamics, an offshoot of Silva Mind Control fall into this category.
  • In 1985, riding the waves of the eighties, Erhard changed est's name to the more businesslike handle 'The Forum' and raised the price to $525. He replaced est's boot-camp encounters and harsh training rules with more accomodating 'dialogues' and training 'requests.' But according to many customers, the new package contained essentially the same product. Forum participants were often given sickness bags in case of vomiting. Some trainees were designated 'body-catchers' to catch those who fainted, and there were more serious casualties. A 25-year-old Connecticut man dropped dead during a Forum session. His attorney said the otherwise healthy man died of fright. In 1992, a federal judge ordered Erhard to pay $380,000 to a Maryland woman who, like Jean Turner, suffered bouts of euphoria, anxiety, manic behavior and, then, a full-fledged mental breakdown after her Forum training.
  • ...the human potential and psychotherapy movements, as well as the more 'life-affirming' New Religious Movements and religions of the self. This was the complex world of the Californian 'psychobabble', of Scientology and est (Erhard Seminars Training, later called Forums Network), of Encounter Groups, meditation techniques and self-help manuals designed to assist individuals 'realise their potential'.
  • est and Large-Group Awareness Seminars: Arising out of the human potential movement in the 1960s were a number of workshops, seminars and training programs. The most famous human potential program was erhard seminars training known as est. est was an intensive 60-hour workshop designed to alter a person's life view. There are a number of est clones including Life Spring, Actualizations and Forum, which is a successor to est. All of these workshops have several features in common. Participants are verbally attacked. The idea is to break down emotional defenses in order to allow new beliefs and attitudes to take over. There is a significant cathartic element in that emotional release is generated by the est techniques.
    • Eisner, Donald A. (2000). The Death of Psychotherapy: From Freud to Alien Abductions. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. p. 60. ISBN 0275964132.
  • Years ago recruitment for cultic groups was far more obvious than today because extreme religious groups were easy to identify. They lived isolated from the general population, and the public had become aware of their deceptive recruiting techniques. Today many are attracted to organizations that are less overtly cultic, not overtly religious, and are often linked with the human potential movement, while others operate as businesses, with their tactics focused around financial success. Landmark Forum, for example, is a human potential/business hybrid.
    • Farber, Sharon Klayman (2012). Hungry for Ecstasy: Trauma, the Brain, and the Influence of the Sixties. Lanham, Maryland: Jason Aronson/Rowman & Littlefield. p. 139. ISBN 9780765708588.
  • More direct evidence comes from a careful study of Large Group Awareness Training programs, variously known as Erhard Seminars Training (est), Lifespring, or simply the Forum. The basic procedure of these courses parallels the group training workshops ... but the emphasis shifts from group effectiveness to personal development. By talking through life challenges, aspirations, fears, and the like with fellow participants and professional counselors/teachers, individuals hope to change how they view themselves, their family and friends, and their prospects for a fulfilling life.
    • Gastil, John (2010). The Group in Society. Los Angeles: SAGE. pp. 228–229. ISBN 9781412924689.
  • In the most rigorous independent study to date, a team of researchers led by psychologist Jeffrey Fisher obtained permission to study the impact of participation in a training process sponsored by Werner Erhard and Associates. The investigators assembled a sample of eighty-three people who took part in the Forum, along with fifty-two comparison groups of nonparticipants with comparable baseline characteristics. Fisher and his team assessed the Forum participant's traits and beliefs four to six weeks before taking part in the Forum, four to six weeks afterward, and eighteen months later. Based on the wide range of the Forum's purported benefits, Fisher's surveys measured life satisfaction, social competence, self-esteem, physical and emotional health, and a variety of character traits. In the short term, average Forum participants experienced a small but significant increase in their sense that the course of their life was under their own control—what psychologists call an 'internal locus of control.' In the eighteen-month follow-up, however, even this slight boost had disappeared and no other changes emerged. This suggests that even when participants subjectively sense self-transformation through a group process such as the Forum, one may not actually have occurred.
    • Gastil, John (2010). The Group in Society. Los Angeles: SAGE. pp. 228–229. ISBN 9781412924689.
  • Paul Heelas, for example, includes a significant number of what he calls the 'self religions': groups like Landmark Forum (also known simply as The Forum, formerly est or Erhard Seminar Training) and Programmes Limited (formerly Exegesis).
  • In 1985, est was discontinued and replaced by a program called The Forum, which is very similar to est.
  • Dennison's dissertation, which categorizes the Landmark Forum as a 'large group awareness training' is a qualitative study based on interviews with Forum graduates. He also reports predominantly positive outcomes and in addition, briefly summarizes philosophical components of the Forum.
  • The extensive research literature on 'large group awareness training' published in the 1970s and 80s (summarized in Finkelstein, Wenegrat, and Yalom) is framed in psychological more than philosophical terms, albeit there is some reference to the training as existential psychotherapy.
  • L. Ron Hubbard repackaged Scientology from occultism, and est/Forum was a repackaging of Scientology by Werner Erhard, but few Scientologists or estians ever see the connections, and both leaders seem to have gained little from their teachings. This is what the followers of Erhard found so unsettling; he was the great pop artist of spirituality, yet was unable to apply his insights to himself.
    • Oakes, Len (1997). Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. p. 189. ISBN 0815627009.
  • Scientology is thus one of several groups that form part of the Human Potential Movement (HPM) - an umbrella term for organization that offer enhanced quality of life. Werner Erhard, founder of Erhard Seminar Training (est - now Landmark Forum) previously studied Scientology, but other groups have no such influence: for example Silva Method, PSI Mind Development and the School of Economic Science (SES), the last of which is influenced by TM.
  • Both est and Landmark Forum could be classified as LGATs (large group awareness trainings), a sociological grouping that includes neuro-linguistic programming, Insight Training Seminars (see the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness), and a whole plethora of sales and motivational courses.
    • Puttick, Elizabeth (2004). "Landmark Forum (est)". In Partridge, Christopher (ed.). New Religions: A Guide: New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 407. ISBN 0195220420.
  • Some spiritual management trainings, aiming at the self-actualisation—or rather self-realisation—in the corporate world, have advocated a rather authoritarian treatment of their trainees. A well-known example is Landmark Education International, Inc., a management-oriented derivate of Werner Erhard's famous seminars called est (an acronym for Erhard Seminars Training) developed in the 1970s. Participants of Erhard's seminars were typically treated as follows [...] In an article of the German management magazine Wirtschaftswoche, Landmark was indeed accused of 'brainwashing' [...] The trainings of Landmark, Block Training and UP Hans Schuster und Partner thus display strong similarities with the self-improvement seminars of Scientology, which are incidentally called 'auditing sessions', a term taken from the business world.
    • Ramstedt, Martin (2007). "New Age and Business: Corporations as Cultic Milieus?". In Kemp, Daren; Lewis, James R. (eds.). Handbook of the New Age. Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion. 1. Leiden: BRILL. pp. 196–197. ISBN 9789004153554.
  • Erhard has become a controversial figure, with many lawsuits against him, mostly by the Internal Revenue Service but including some by his own family members. The controversies have contributed to Erhard reestablishing his enterprise under a new name—The Forum—which is the organizational form under which he operates currently.
    • Richardson, James T. (1998). "est (THE FORUM)". In Swatos, Jr., William H. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Religion and Society. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira. pp. 167–168. ISBN 0761989560.
  • Many of the new religions attract individuals by the promise of peace of mind, spiritual well-being, gratifying experiences, and material success. In doing so they stress their concern for the individual and highlight one's personal worth and self-development. This is especially so in human growth movements such as Scientology, The Forum (previously known as Erhard Seminar Training [EST]), and quasi-religious encounter groups.
  • Between 1971 and 1985, in particular, a number of LGAT groups gained large followings and subsequent notoriety and some are still active in the 1990s. LGAT groups included est and its offshoots such as Transformation Technologies and the Forum (Werner Erhard); Lifespring (John Hanley); Silva Mind Control (Jose Silva); Direct Centering (Gavin Barnes, aka Bayard Hora); Actualizations (Stewart Emery); ONE (Oury Engolz); Life Training (W.R. Whitten and K.B Brown); Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) and Insight Seminars (John-Roger Hinkins); PSI World (Thomas D. Whilhite); and Arica Institute (Oscar Ichazo). This particular brand of New Age group gained significant access into the business world.
  • On federal court orders, I have attended six large group awareness training sessions (sponsored by est, the Forum, Lifespring, and PSI World) and have interviewed dozens of persons who have attended these and such other programs as Silva Mind Control, Actualizations, and Direct Centering, as well as the myriad of other programs now available, some started by former employees and even, on occasion, attendees of the larger well-known LGATs. I have studied the training manuals and videos used to train trainers and have interviewed a number of trainers.
  • Like the NAM, many of the Self-religions (Heelas 1991) have been heavily influenced by Asian, and more generally Eastern, ideas of spirituality and divinity and do not acknowledge an external theistic being but, rather, use spiritual and psychological techniques to reveal the god within and/or the divine self. The Forum and/or est, whose origins are in the United States (Tipton 1982) holds to the belief that the self itself is god.
  • The seminar and organization have undergone numerous transformations and name changes through the years. Est was discontinued and replaced with The Forum, and in 1991, Werner Erhard and Associates (WE&A) was dissolved. In its place, Landmark Education was incorporated, with Erhard's brother, Harry Rosenberg, serving as CEO and overseeing the current seminar, which is called the Landmark Forum.
    • James K. Walker (2007). The Concise Guide to Today's Religions and Spirituality. Harvest House Publishers. pp. 137–138. ISBN 0736920110.