Recruitment reports and those who thrive after leaving …

I love fall and it’s feeling like fall, here in the Boston area. So happy almost fall and … I want to quickly address a few things:

1) first and foremost, thank those who contributed to the crowdfunding for Cult Confessions: the CD! I now have enough $$$, to finish the recording and producing and get this thing out.

2) I will be piloting Cult Confessions: the Presentation! for feedback, discussion & suggestions on 12/11. Please let me know if you’re interested in attending the pilot run.

3) a fellow evil “disgruntled ex-student” observed  “school” recruitment activity in Central Square, Cambridge recently — just a couple of essence friends, out to “make new friends”, probably hanging out in front of 7 Stars Bookstore, accosting random people on the street with some kind of “book project”, or such. We don’t know the details, but I’m sure it’s just another version of the same old tactic: fabricate a reason to engage a stranger in conversation. Pretend like you’ve just met a “new friend” and obtain contact info … pursue, patiently. Anyway, Boston-branch “disgruntled(s)” might want to be on the lookout.

4) A fellow “disgruntled” & “ex-classmate” told me recently that he plans on spending Christmas in Paris, France. I said, “What a shame when you could be in Billerica, planning a Christmas party! Finding Robert the perfect chair; ignoring your family, while you squeeze Christmas party plan and prep into every moment in between work & ‘class’, to the detriment of everything else.”

When we left the hallowed halls, we ruined our lives! I could be cleaning houses, scrambling around on a never-ending job search, failing as a barista and getting divorced right now. Instead, my marriage is intact; I’m recording a CD, writing a book, loving my work & life. What a shame. Did I say what a shame, yet?

I would really love to hear other stories of such post-“school” doom & gloom … what happened to you when you cut yourself off from “the source”?
Most of the ex-“students” I know started to thrive. That’s not to say it has been easy; but it is to say that we “needed ‘school'” like we need a bullet in the head.

Ok, done now. Thanks for reading and I wish you a happy Friday! GSR

Crowdfunding … the Wrap Up!

cult_conf_video_imageGood Morning, Cult Confessions: The CD!!! Supporters: Thanks to your generosity, this campaign garnered $5415!!! That’s definitely enough to finish the CD project!  Thanks so much for contributing and cheer leading and sharing and encouraging – I appreciate it very much!!! 🙂

I admit, I often think I must be crazy for donning ex-member poster child cape. One purpose of this project is to counter the stigma, the victim blame and shame that comes with admitting the dreaded cult membership. It keeps people silent and I see that silence as damaging in many ways — for individuals and for families and communities. Luckily, my particular experience provides lots of opportunity for snarky and sarcastic humor — and I love snark!

On a more serious note, I’m committed to exposing this bizarre, societal phenomenon and blight. I’m lucky — I left the little cult called “school” before anything terrible, or irreversible, happened. Many people aren’t so lucky.

Three practical things to wrap up:

1) If you donated w/o ordering a perk, but want a copy of Eve’s Lament, my first record, please email a mailing address to I will send.

2) If you are interested in attending the pilot run of Cult Confessions on 10/16 (I will confirm date once venue verifies final approval) please let me know!

3) If you want the whole illustrious tale, visit the My Story page.

Thank you, again!!! Happy almost fall, Esther

Cult Confessions: The CD!!! Crowdfunding Update

Here’s the scoop: 2 days, $1215 to go … is that possible??? The good news, looks like Sunday, 10/16 will be the next pilot run of Cult Confessions – I will confirm, asap. Anything you can kick in will serve as *admission* so to speak. Here’s the link: Cult Confessions: The CD!!!

Those of you who’ve donated already, and know you want to attend and participate in a feedback/discussion group, please let me know via comments, or email:

Otherwise, I hope that you’re enjoying your weekend! Esther

Holy Hell – Cult Confessions endorsement

Good Morning Readers,

Happy Labor Day weekend! I’m actually a little chilly! Summer’s winding into fall. Last week, CNN aired the documentary, Holy Hell. If you want to understand cults, watch this film. It presents normal people drawn to a community, and leader, by normal vulnerabilities. The ex-members interviewed, and shown, were once young, idealistic and searching. They ached for substance, community, meaning. And I could relate.

Other cult films depict members as freaks. People you would run away from in a NY minute. My “school” mates were educated, normal people with friends, families and jobs. Most of the time, we sat around discussing ideas. The freaky cult factor seeped in slowly, imperceptibly, over time.

Predictably, lifted curtains expose two cults with two systems of bizarre deception in desperate attempts to bury allegations of abuse. Leaving groups of intelligent humans asking, how did I fall for this con job?

That question drives my crusade. There’s something innately human about seeking guidance, meaning, substance. When we embrace and care for those emotional & spiritual vulnerabilities, the cult market will dry up. Narcissists will have to find something else to do … maybe they’ll become real estate moguls who run for president …

Today, though, both groups still exist in some form. Andre, the one exposed in Holy Hell, moved operations to Hawaii.”School’s” corporate HQ in NYC and its Boston branch are hanging on (though struggling, I’ve heard). Thousands of other predatory groups inflict damage on individuals, families and communities and — it appears — often with impunity.

So, I’m gonna keep on speaking out, singing out, talking about this and encouraging others to do the same, until either I kick, or predatory groups become unacceptable, the consumer base dries up and cults can no longer sustain themselves. If you’d like to see that happen, contributing to Cult Confessions: The CD! is a good place to start!

Here’s the link:

Thanks, and happy, cult-free, fall! Esther

Snapping out of the Cult Coma

Recently I thought about the 6 bullet points, 6 alarms, that snapped me out of my cult coma. Just about five years ago, the dawn yanked me out of bed. I watched the sunrise at a neighborhood park. These realizations rolled out — germane to all present-day efforts  — the CD, the crowdfunding, the presentation, the future book, the healing arts practice — all shaped by the following:

My Question, Love or Fear: I saw that I was miserable – hating “school”. Like a good parasite, it was sucking the life from me & gleaning many benefits: my money (really, my husband’s money), my time, my energy, were all siphoned out of my lagging to non-existent dignity. My marriage was next on the docket. I was only staying out of fear — what would happen if I left??? Would my life fall apart? How ironic.  “What the fuck?” I asked myself, “Do I want to continue living and making decisions from  fear?”

First Independent Decision in Five Years: No, I didn’t. I knew that my “teachers” would oppose that “No” — how would “school” continue micromanaging my existence, if I could say “No”. Like an alcoholic who suddenly wakes up to the fact that the whiskey is killing her — I put the bottle down.  The level of dependence revealed, I was horrified. I thought, “If my life’s gonna get fucked up — if my marriage is going to fall apart — I’d rather fuck it up on my own, thanks.” Then I laughed out loud.

“The Source”… of what? : “School” lets “students” stew in love-bombing (love that term … it’s so groovy 70s) for a couple years before it floats its claim to be “The Source”.  ALL CULTS employ some version of claiming to be THE SOURCE of some extraordinary, elusive, indefinable, magical thing. I watched the sun’s slow rise. It illuminated treetops. Darkness disintegrated. I thought, “How dare Robert call ‘school’ ‘The Source’. What bullshit.” I said, out loud, “Fuck Robert” and flipped off the sky.

The Irony: I needed “school” like a bullet in the head. It turned out, of course, that “school” needed me. They hate when people leave. Others may question, follow (that’s why most disappearances go unacknowledged) Without members, there is no “school”. No members means no income, no retirement fund, no $8million Park Plaza condo, without minions to prop up the queen.

The Secrecy: as all of this dawned on me (so to speak) I saw “school” slowly sucking my identity away. How did I allow this? The secrecy. Secrecy isolates, spreads and infects. Secrecy equals cancer. Cults are a social cancer. The antidote — No More Secrets.

That policy keeps expanding – this blog, new songs, a CD project, a presentation/one-woman show, a book project and — most importantly — a healing arts practice for those hurt by cults. No More Secrets is, has been, and will always be critical to my healing. Secrecy equals an invisible and bizarre prison. Speaking out equals freedom. Every time I expose this vast deception and con job, I am more free. There are many, many nefarious “schools”, i.e. cults. Different names, same game. What if we all spoke out …

The “Superiority”: why did I agree to this secret? Because it made me feel special and superior. It was exclusive … I was seduced by a “secret” idea called “Magnetic Center” (only “special people” have magnetic center). I was privy to “secret (NOT) knowledge”  that “school” whispered & insinuated — ALL is possible, if you follow our prescription.

I was done. I recognize that I was lucky. My exit was immediate and clean. Most cult exits are more painful and confusing, because cults damage psychology — your perceptions, your thought process, your emotional wiring get infected, or broken.

But its not irreparable. My healing began with “No More Secrets” and it continues. The more I reveal, the more I’m free to reveal. The more free I am to reveal, the more empowered I am to embrace my life, my way, free of cult prescriptions. And that, my friends, is what I was seeking from “school” in the first place.

As a lucky woman, who is free, I’m donning the cult cape, with a mission to expose the blight and help others heal from bizarre, difficult to articulate and often shame-ridden experiences. If you are inclined to support me in this mission, please visit my Indiegogo/crowdfunding campaign, Cult Confessions: The CD!!!, or leave a kind word in comments here, or both …

Thanks for reading & enjoy your holiday weekend!