Dear CC Readers –
Most of you probably know about the “lectures”, aka the”presentations”! Some of you may have been recruited via this exalted “school” offering. Ever wonder how these works of wonder come together? The comment below (contributed recently) deserves GUEST-POST prominence because it lifts the curtain on how “school” spins information into cult propaganda & presents it as “esoteric knowledge” to the masses. It describes the associated “school”-perpetrated feeding frenzy, that can accompany such events, when they aren’t quite as successful as planned, and now this …
The “Lecture” (aka “Presentation” )
I remember working on the lectures in Boston. We got divided up into groups – ostensibly we were a part of a group that we had a “talent for” or an “interest in”. I don’t think we got to choose the group we were in or our opinion was only minimal in the decision. In each group, we divided up all the subgroupings of subject matter and we each did a whole bunch of research (or not) and then came back together and talked about it all (ad nauseam) and filtered it all through the “leader” (older student and exalted one) of the group.
Eventually, after many months of research and talk, talk, talk about it all, the “leader” wrote the lecture. And then came the fun part (the part that I had not known about): the “leader” or should we now call him the “lecturer”, or “presenter” (whatever it is now) got to practice the lecture (ad nauseam) for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks.
Here’s the funny part, as the lecturer would practice the lectures, Robert would listen and then he would say he wanted to take it home and work on it himself. So, in the end, Robert re-wrote all the lectures. He put in all the non-factual, non-researched points of view which made it all fit into the “work”. Instead of the work fitting into the world, Robert remade the world to substantiate the work. On top of that, everything that Robert put into each of the lectures was the same for all of them, so that by the end, they were all the same lecture except the subject matter was slightly different for each one.
I was in Josh’s group.
Well, the end result of it all (and yes, I do have a selective memory) was that after each one of those thrilling-identical-Robert-written-lectures we had one of those wonderful soul-bearing sessions known as “the impressions class”. This is the one that I remember. I have mostly forgotten all the others: It was a lecture that Lisa gave and she got the greatest honor anyone could get: Sharon was coming from NY just to hear her!!!!
The lecture was absolutely dreadful – the subject matter, the delivery, the plausibility of the lecturer, everything was totally off. It was an evening from hell. Then we get to the impressions class. Four or five people got up and said what a brilliant job Lisa had done, her delivery was flawless, her subject matter showed her pure intellectual superiority to all others, she was a marvel, a miracle, in fact she was just almost as good as the Virgin Mary.
Then Robert says: “Would you like to know what Sharon thought?” Everyone was eager to hear because they were expecting Robert to shine his bright sunlight on Lisa even more so she would be doubly blessed. Robert said “Sharon hated it.” Silence. Then he went on to expand upon exactly how horrible it was (and for the most part, she was actually correct, believe it or not). Not what he (Robert) thought (he loved it because he actually wrote it and coached Lisa on her presentation and on every step along the way) but what Sharon thought.
So, there’s the rub: by condemning Lisa, he was actually condemning himself as well. But he did it because Sharon showed him the evil of his ways and he was grateful to her for that and also because he did (and still does) whatever Sharon tells him to do. Not much free will out there in cult-land.
Then, like the good little lemmings they are, everyone else in the class who had not yet spoken, stood up one by one and told Lisa exactly what a horrible dreadful miserable god-forsaken itsy-bitsy person she was (and for the most part, they were actually correct).
Lisa was, of course, devastated and after that she was “out of favor” for months. This is what they do: build you up and then break you down. Send your whole world crashing down around you and leave you standing alone in the ruins for what seems like forever. What public humiliation does to a person’s psyche is horrendous. It is crushing. It is equal to soul rape. If you have been in “school” for a while, then you have experienced it and it’s effects. Not fun.
You might have guessed that I have no love for Lisa but I have been in that exact spot before and I don’t like watching it being done to others no matter who they are. I didn’t speak in that class, coward that I was then. But it hurt me and I think that it hurt everyone in that room. Everyone in that room. Not just the very few of us who might whisper the next day or the next week to someone we knew really really well that it was a real shitty thing that was done to Lisa. Everyone in that room. Maybe it hurt the people worst who are still there and still watching this scenario run over and over again in Robert’s capable hands. I got to the point, eventually, before I left altogether, when I had to walk out of the room when this sort of abuse started happening to someone in the room.
The Illustrious Aftermath
Often “disgruntled ex-students” can be very-very-very angry and hostile. They will also tell you that their lives are just wonderful – so much better than before they left the group. Here’s the thing — they would be telling you the truth. It’s a difficult thing, to be in a cult and very enmeshed for 20 or 30 years and it takes an amazing amount of courage to walk out the door. But the group takes its toll. It takes a long time to get over it and really return to “normalcy” (whatever that is) – if we ever really do return to some form of “normalcy”. It’s not something you will ever forget or leave behind you. Your experiences with Sharon and Robert are with you for the rest of your life. It’s normal to be angry and sad and hurt and broken for awhile. It’s hard but it does lessen over time. I’m not sure it ever really goes away totally.
I’m saying all of this partially because it’s true and needs to be said and partially because I know that Josh and Lisa and Robert will all read this and they will all disavow the truth of it. I am just asking you to look deeper into your hearts and try to see the truth of your predicament. It’s not your predicament alone, we are all in it to varying degrees. And if you should decide to leave – or are thrust out into the world again via Sharon’s death – just remember that it is not all sackcloth and ashes but its also not all roses but it is a little of each those. And you do have friends out here who will try to help you along your way. It’s a road that many many of us have been down.
Blessings on each and everyone of you.