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My Experience with Landmark Education

HomeReligion, Atheism, and Odd TheologyMy Experience with Landmark Education

There is no truth, no meaning, no value.

That’s what I learned at last night’s Landmark Education meeting. My friend invited me because she’s excited about what Landmark has done to help her. I spent a couple of hours with her and a mutual friend and the gentleman who led the discussion.

Landmark Education provides educational opportunities that purport to help people all over the world reach their potential. They do this primarily at a 3-day meeting called Landmark Forum.

I wasn’t taught this meaningful truth about no truth or meaning or value during the introductory meeting, but in a subsequent three-hour personal discussion with the leader. I had a good time, and I like everyone I met that night. They all seem like genuinely nice people who care about others.

And that’s part of the problem.

What’s that? Oh. You’re wondering how being nice is a problem, aren’t you? I don’t normally think of niceness that way, but it appears to be a problem for Landmark devotees.

You see, one test of a belief system is internal consistency. I didn’t find much consistency in our discussions. A foundational tenet of Landmark Education, from what I gathered, is that nothing has meaning or value beyond the meaning and value that we individually give. That seems to fly in the face of statements like the one that opened our introductory session: they were committed to giving us something of value before we left. This value statement is echoed on their website, of course…they’re a business:

The Landmark Forum is specifically designed to bring about positive and permanent shifts in the quality of your life. These shifts are the direct cause for a new and unique kind of freedom and power.

Participants overwhelmingly report that their participation in The Landmark Forum yields not mere insights or improvements, but provides lasting results that expand and unfold over time.

Landmark Education Website

Do you see the contradiction? Landmark has no value of its own, but they want to convince me to take part because it will help me. The leader (a very nice guy with whom I hope to have more contact) believes that the statement “there is no truth” is true. I find such self-refuting statements both funny and fascinating, like this one:

I’m sure I’d remember having amnesia.
See? In making the statement, you also break it open and expose it as nonsense. Here’s another:

No sentence has more than six words.
That sentence has more than six words, so saying it invalidates the claim. My time learning about Landmark Forum was filled with contradictions like those. Check out these paraphrased bits:

Landmark Leader: What we teach can help you.
Me: And helping me is good?
Landmark Leader: No.
Me: It’s not?
Landmark Leader: No.
Me: Why should I be involved with Landmark Forum?
Landmark Leader: There’s no reason you should.
Me: So what was all that talking you did in that meeting?
Landmark Leader: I don’t know what you mean.
Me: You said that your program could help me, and now you’re saying that helping me isn’t better than not helping me. You’re saying that being involved isn’t better than not being involved.
Landmark Leader: Now you’re getting it!
Me: Why are you involved with Landmark?
Landmark Leader: I’m going to do something with my life, so I might as well do this.
Me: You choose this instead of other things?
Landmark Leader: Yes!
Me: So it’s better to do this than to not do this.
Landmark Leader: No. There’s no value or meaning in Landmark Forum beyond the meaning and value that I give it.

Did you see what I saw? It’s the age-old idea that truth is relative to the observer. Landmark Forum apparently has no meaning or value of its own. If I consider it valueless, it is…for me. If someone places great value on it, then it’s valuable…for them. It’s perfectly okay, by the way, to place no value on it. To do otherwise would be to make a value judgment, which is – I guess – taboo. It gets in the way of being “in the now”.

The truth is that they do make value judgments. It’s at the core of what they do, and why they exist. The three-day seminar costs hundreds of dollars, and Landmark appears to guard both their reputation and their “technology” zealously. Like their (maybe not-so) distant cousin Scientology, they file lawsuits against people who talk bad about the program. For a group that makes no value judgments, that seems pretty inconsistent.

In the final analysis, Landmark is part of the Human Potential Movement. That puts them in the company of people like Norman Vincent Peale, Napoleon Hill, L. Ron Hubbard, and even Joel Osteen and Jesse Duplantis. The idea is that, with the proper application of certain bits of knowledge, we can be all we can be.

Call me cynical and jaded, but I have a serious problem with the idea that humanity is intrinsically good, pure, and complete…and that we only lack ‘technology’ to unlock that potential. Everywhere we look we see another person being raped or murdered or lied to or cheated. The idea that we’re good at heart doesn’t match what I see around me.

The clear message of the Bible is that man does have intrinsic goodness. We were made in God’s image, but that image has been corrupted. It teaches that our potential will be reached when God restores all of creation to the state of perfection that was lost at the beginning of time. The idea that man is both godly and insufferably wicked matches what I see around me, what I read in history books, and what I see when I look in the mirror.

That’s not a latent self-image problem to be overcome by separating my conscious mind from my unconscious…it’s a recognition of reality. For those who buy Landmark Education’s message, Hitler’s murder of millions has no intrinsic value. If we consider it good, then it’s good for us. Stalin killed many more, but that can’t be considered a negative by those who believe that good and bad and truth and error are false distinctions.

I’d love to hear from you. Have you been to a Landmark Forum? Did you “get it” at 4:00 on Sunday afternoon? Have I missed the boat entirely? Fortunately for me, I love to talk about this sort of thing…even if I’m not inclined to believe it.


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Comments

89 responses to “My Experience with Landmark Education”

  1. Sasha arms says:

    I’m in the forum now and your articles have been so helpful to me. I came into the forum with the full armor of God on, knowing that I would be weakened by idea after idea after idea that they slung at me.
    Day one I was stiff. I refused to believe a word. But by day two I noticed how it started to get to me. I had to continually be in prayer and be aware or “present” to the fact that however some of LM may be good, it’s ultimately not from God therefore it’s evil.

    Thanks for writing this. I can finish the forum in my faith and stick to HIS TRUTH.

  2. Tony says:

    Sasha:

    Thanks for the update…I’m so happy to have been helpful to you. Spread the Word!

  3. Poppy Wilson says:

    I am completing LM tonight I did gain insight and clarity with my personal life. I have not put my arms around the whole philosophy. I can use much of what I received.

    • Tony says:

      Please be careful, Poppy. As with EST, Landmark is very adept at manipulation. We all like to think we’re immune to such tactics, but we’re not. Certainly there are some helpful parts to every religion, philosophy, or belief system…but they’re not all created equal. You might want to read another GodWords article on Landmark: Should Christians go to Landmark Forum?

      I wish you well…and thanks for commenting!

  4. Kim says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’m in forum now and have been completely skeptical. After I signed up I felt like I had been pressured into doing it but then I began to convince myself it was what I needed. A friend who had taken the Forum encouraged me to sign up and she was someone I saw as “spiritual enough”, someone in close relationship with God… so I pushed away my feelings. THEN I began to get phone calls from them asking me the same questions over and over again and I began to regret my decision. I was no longer interested in going but I felt compelled to go after shelling out that money. I went on Fri completely guarded determined not to come back on Sat but compelled again because of the money but annoyed with the sign up for the seminars.
    I’m going back tomorrow but completely prayed up. As a previous commenter said I can stick to “His truth”.

    • Monica says:

      So call me Duped.
      I am surprised by these comments.
      I have completed the Landmark Forum. I never lost my love of God, I found my faith was stronger when I understood that I was the one adding meaning to events that had happened in my life that kept me from being able to relate to my fellow Christians in a Christian way. I found that as I was able to fully recover and restore relationships with my mother and father my profound love of the Lord was more and more real and my strength and joy more lasting. Rather that becoming one who has no value in right or wrong, I find that my standards prevail regardless of who is looking on or what another might think. Perhaps you have had the experience of loss of value/meaning in life, I have only had the experience in a deepening of value of people and relationships – and perhaps you are right – many of the things I once valued that had great meaning have fallen away – my concern for the good opinion of other people, my judgements of the value of things – what type of car I drive, my judgement of another by how they look, their accent, what they are wearing, ect.
      I too had a conversation with my Landmark Forum Leader about where God fit in there programs. His response was quite different. His response was – “God is too big for this conversation. God created you whole, complete, and over time things happened in your life, in your past, you are the one who has allowed those events to limit who you are and who you could become in your own eyes. You gave those events the meaning that now limits what you can do with the gifts and talents you were created with. That someone treated you poorly at a point in time doesn’t mean you have to treat everyone with suspicion – yet you do.
      The conversation went on.
      The Landmark Forum was very valuable to me and to my family and to my faith.
      I am grateful that I didn’t read your comments before I had completed their program. At that point in time, I was very influence by the good opinion of other well meaning people. Now, I trust in my God and my ability to understand and discern who I am in my faith.

      • Tony Scialdone says:

        Monica:

        Thanks for sharing your perspective! I’m a bit confused by what you’ve written, so I’d like to ask you a few questions…

        1. If what LF teaches is true, why would keeping or losing your love for God matter?

        2. If what LF teaches is true, why is stronger faith of any value at all?

        3. If what LF teaches is true, why is being able to relate to your fellow Christians in a Christian way important?

        4. If what LF teaches is true, my comments have no value beyond what you give them…right? Why would my words matter at all?

        I think you see where I’m going. Landmark Forum specifically and officially teaches that nothing has any intrinsic value…that things only have the value we give them, which is what causes us trouble. Dropping the imaginary value is how you clear up the struggle. If you say that LF has helped you, you’re giving it value that it doesn’t have by itself…right? If I say that LF is a pack of lies that can destroy you, wouldn’t you have to say (from LF’s point of view) that I’m giving it value that it doesn’t have by itself?

        If what LF teaches is true, you shouldn’t consider LF valuable. You shouldn’t consider my words right or wrong. You should drop the preconceptions and just BE…right?

        Or maybe, just maybe, you recognize that right and wrong do exist, that things are either true or false, and you don’t like what I’ve written because it conflicts with what you currently believe. Is that possible?

    • Tony Scialdone says:

      How are things going now, Kim?

      • beauty4ashes says:

        My husband is on his way to a forum tonight with a man who has badgered him about going for a year now. We are both Christians, leaders in the church and I have talked to friends who have attended and knew the philosophies being shared. My concern fell on deaf ears. Since agreeing to go my husband has been arrogant and unlike himself. All i will say is there is a way that seems right to a man but God’s truth is TRUTH. Scary to me that even before he has set foot in LF his personality has changed.

        • Tony Scialdone says:

          My family will be praying for your family, beauty4ashes. Landmark Forum is a VERY effective tool for our adversary, and I hope that the Holy Spirit will help your husband see through their lies.

          Will other GodWords readers join me in praying?

        • Shannon says:

          I’ve gone&just pray pray pray for your husband. I was pressured too&at 1st was so excited about it but one day shortly after God began to show me things like your in or your out, your pregnant or your not there’s not a little bit pregnant&hot nor cold…..see I thought it was ok to go and keep throwing out the pieces of their philosophy I didn’t agree with but God was saying pick a side any side but do not strattle the fence.

  5. Shannon says:

    I went to LMF due to someone kept telling me if I’d get out of my own way my business would explode etc….after talking to the person that registered me for Landmark kept talking about the universe like it opened up for me since we were moving. So I went and I did get alot out of it when they discussed practical matters etc…but there was alot of universe talk etc…at first I was so excited but God began to speak to me about the importance of truth and if it’s even tainted just lil bit then it’s tainted plain and simple. There’s no such thing as lil bit pregnant you either are or not. I immediately let the instructors kno I would not be proceeding because of my faith in Jesus and this was a compromise to contine.

  6. Claire says:

    The father of my child is going to landmark and like someone said above he has become arrogant and protective about landmark even before he has set foot there. I am worried about it and praying. He is young in his faith and is already quoting this rubbish about nothing has value and nothing is real from his boss who is paying for him to go. He also talks about his boss like he idolizes him. God is to be idolized and I know the things landmark is teaching is not biblical. I have a terrible feeling about it. However I have to know that God is more powerful and have enlisted some people to pray that God’s truth shine over him. This is a battle for his soul and this false idol and belief system that is definately not from God therefore it’s the enemy will not win!

  7. Tony says:

    Claire:

    I’m praying for your child’s father, and for you. Landmark Forum is serious business, and not to be taken lightly. It can seriously mess with your head. Please let us know how things go.

    • Melanie says:

      Please advise… I have a family member who has been pressuring me to go to the forum and he is refusing to have any further communication with me until I go. I have experienced very unsettling feelings about attending, and also do not currently have the funds, or the time available to take off from work to go. I am a Christian and have been for 20 years, and have a pretty sound biblical knowledge. This particular family member is actually the only immediate family I have left as the rest of my family has passed away from cancers of various kinds… I was also diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago and went through treatments… this relative refused to visit me or help with transportation to treatments because I had not yet attended the forum… he also feels that any problems I may be having at work or with my health may be because I have not attended the forum. He has completed the leadership training… please advise…

  8. David says:

    I trained to be a landmark leader last year – a total of 500 to 600 hours of training and development – including communication skilll and a community project. Ultimately I couldn’t bring myself to take up leadership in the organisation as it went counter to my core beliefs and values. It is really important to realise we all make meaning insessently and as has been pointed out above that is a core landmark teaching. However Landmark stops there and doesn’t teach that we also have the ability to discern truth. Having both those skills makes life wonderful – the ability to deconstruct and the ability to construct. Denying the that we can discern (construct) lies people up in knots – which ultimately leads to blind followers. I’d recommend Landmark to help people develop some key skills with the understanding they are a fairly benevolent cult that doesn’t have truth as one of its values and that staying long term may not be a great idea.

    • Amy says:

      Hey David. I trained to be landmark leader as well and am feeling very confronted. Maybe we can connect on the issue. I have found that the distinctions have been helpful of my life but that ultimately it leads people away from God being the answer to our sins and into the idea that we are all connected. I have felt horrible about myself and my faith since leaving and am wondering how you’ve found it. I was tired of deconstructing myself. Have you found this as well? It’s so hard to find people who are Christian and left due to the obvious conflict.

      • Tony says:

        Amy:

        Thanks for your comment. Because Landmark is a ‘programming’ kind of organization, there may be some long-term effects of your time there. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. I’m here if you need me.

  9. Bill says:

    There are zero contradictions between the education at Landmark and religion. It’s like saying that mathematics contradicts religion. They simply don’t live in the same domain of knowledge.

    If you take a knife and stab me how you and I would look at that act would depend on the context in which that act had taken place. Did I just harm someone? Did I steal something? Did I make an sarcastic statement? Did I do nothing?

    Anyone of those contexts will change how we view the very same act. Whether we view it as as good thing or a bad thing? Humans could have decided that the taking of human life in any context was wrong (and some actually choose too live that way). The point is that human beings add the meaning. Even if there is a word of God, human beings interpret that word.

    But look at all I’ve written and can be said about one act: you stabbing me. If I die from the wound, the consequence is the same regardless of the interpretation we add including any interpretation we bring based on our religion. I’m dead.

    To say that you value one thing over another or choose to live this way versus that is totally 100% your choice. Landmark is not saying you shouldn’t believe in God. It’s simply empowering you as the believer. You get to say how you live your life including you making the choice to put your life in the hands of God.

    It gives people the opportunity to love God as a choice rather than love God as a burden or obligation or by default because it’s just something that you’ve been handed down to you by your parents.

    Imagine if you’re whole life you believed in God because there was nothing else. It’s just what your parents believed. You went to church because your parents when to church. You practice your faith because it was just what there was to do by default.

    Now imagine getting that you have choice about that. Imagine the depths of love for God that would become available if you were in relationship with God out of choice.

    I know some would be afraid to give that choice, even think that people shouldn’t have it. Guess what? You have no choice about others choice.

    And here’s the thing, the principle of landmark that is the subject of this this post is simply saying that all that I just wrote is meaning that I created.

    And you week either hear what I just said and have it open you up to another possibility or you will continue to believe that landmark is anti-Christian. Either way it’s your choice.

    • Tony says:

      Bill:

      Thanks for writing. I appreciate hearing from you.

      Your logic breaks down. Let me show you where. You say that Landmark and “religion” are different and separate domains of knowledge. If we examine this even a very little bit, we can see this isn’t so. All religions make truth claims about the nature of the universe, humanity, and “the way things work”. Landmark does the same thing, of course. When Hinduism teaches that the atman is distinct from the body, it makes a claim about the way things are. When Landmark teaches that there is no right or wrong beyond the value we provide, it makes a truth claim. Almost every religion has a concept of right and wrong to which every individual is accountable. In this way – the most basic example – Landmark’s teaching is entirely incompatible with most religions because it makes a truth claim that contradicts their truth claims.

      Landmark is incompatible with Christianity for this specific reason (among others). If Adolph Hitler’s genocidal actions during the Holocaust have only the value that we give them, and so were neither right nor wrong, then everything in the Bible is a sick joke, twisting the nature of reality to convince us that right and wrong are objective when they’re really not. As both a Christian, a philosopher, a skeptic, and a truth-seeker, it’s apparent that Landmark is not compatible with Christianity…not at all.

      The fact that you’re even writing to me, making value statements about the nature of what Landmark teaches, proves that you “don’t get it”. According to Landmark, these things are only meaningful to me if I choose to make them meaningful in the now…but you’re trying to convince me to share your values, from the beginning of your comment to the end.

      Thanks for writing. I hope you’ll take a moment to examine the nature of truth for yourself. While I’m glad that you feel Landmark has helped you (and so you feel compelled to defend them), it’s clear that you misunderstand the relationship between competing truth claims. Contradictory views can’t both be right. Christianity teaches that truth is objective, and Landmark teaches that truth is subjective. It’s impossible for both claims to be true.

      • Melanie says:

        I am in need of help. I have a cousin who has been pressuring me to go to the Landmark forum. He has completed the many hours of leadership training and he feels that I will not be able to have effective relationships with my family until I attend. He has instructed our family members to not communicate with me until I attend. I am a Christian and have been for 20 years. I have a pretty sound biblical knowledge and have experienced very unsettling feelings about becoming involved in this very expensive program that doesn’t mention any Christian principles. My cousin has become very materialistic, arrogant, and distant since becoming involved in this program. He as shared with me twice that we will only be able to continue our relationship if I choose to attend. Advise if you are able…

        • Tony says:

          Melanie:

          I’m sorry that your cousin has put you in this position. His ultimatum would be childish regardless of whether he was demanding that you attend Landmark Forum, or his local church, or the county fair. It reminds me of the dumb politics of elementary school girls, who might say “if you don’t stop being friends with Susan, you can’t be friends with me.” What you’re experiencing is emotional blackmail, plain and simple. He’s being hurtful and petty. He might think that he’s helping you by trying to force you to go, but that’s just silly. I understand your concern…you’re afraid that your relationship with your cousin will be broken if you don’t go, but his demand shows that your relationship is already broken.

          Stand strong. Do not go to Landmark Forum. Instead, make it a daily habit to pray for your cousin. Ask God to help him get out of this cult, and to prepare you for Spirit-led opportunities to share your faith with him. Pray that God will convict him of his pride, convince him of his need for a savior, and that one day your cousin will also be your brother in Christ. If you’re not deeply involved in a community of believers that will help you and support you, let me encourage you to make a change in your own life. We are called to be Jesus’ disciples, and our commitment to living what He taught is the best defense against the lies of groups like Landmark Forum. If there’s anything I can do for you in the meantime, please let me know.

          • Melanie says:

            Thank you so much for this valuable advice… I have been praying for him, but your advice is very helpful as to specifically what I should be praying. I have let my anger toward him get into the way at times, and a few days ago I told him that I didn’t feel comfortable going to the forum. Apparently my name came up a lot when he talked at the forum, because we never have been close…and they told him to invite me… he and his wife have made insulting comments about my faith and even the area of Atlanta where I choose to live because they feel people are too “consersative and closed minded”…my hope is that I will have the opportunity to share my faith with him in a way that will begin to open his eyes to the Truth and his need for Jesus… thank you again!!! This is a very helpful site!

          • Tony says:

            I’m here to help, Melanie. Keep in touch.

  10. Bill says:

    Sorry you’re wrong. Landmark does not teach the truth is subjective. Your statement in fact proves the point. There’s what landmark teaches which is the objective truth. To be clear I’m not saying that what landmark teaches is the objective truth. I’m saying that they teach something that something is in their facilitator guides written on pieces of paper. Then there’s your interpretation of what they teach.

    You think your interpretation of what they teach is what they teach. It’s not.

    I’m not as you call it defending them because of the value I did or didn’t receive (which by the way you don’t even know if I received any value. You’re making that up). I’m simply telling you that landmark is not incompatible with religion. At least not upon the basis that you’ve put forth.

    If I put forth the idea that Christianity wants to make women suffer by making them have babies they don’t want, you might say “that is not what we teach. We teach that babies are life and are sacred in the eyes of God (or something along those lines).”

    So I’m not defending Landmark (again as you call it) because of my belief in it or because of the value. I’m saying you have it wrong 100%. I just thought you might be interested in getting it right.

    To your point about truth claims. There may in fact be a truth but you still have to subjectively say that for you it is the truth. If I say it’s not the truth for me, you get to say that my soul be damned for rejecting the truth. And it may be the case that my soul is damned i.e. Your truth is THE truth.

    Nevertheless it’s also true that you cannot choose for me. You can’t. The church can’t. God can’t even. God may in fact have a say in the consequences if I reject his word. But the fact that I have choice to subjectively accept or reject an objective truth is also a truth. My subjective choice does not make my point of view true

    Point is there is a truth and anyone at Landmark will tell you that. That’s why I know you have it wrong because you’re saying that landmark disputes that and it is simply not accurate.

    • Tony says:

      Okay, Bill. I’ll play along. Please provide for us something that Landmark teaches as objectively true. Thanks!

  11. Amanda says:

    Hi Tony. So you’ve given Landmark a negative meaning in your life. I got it. How is that impacting you? Does it give you more meaningful relationships with your loved ones and your God? Does it help you be more effective in dealing with what comes up in this mortal experience ? I am genuinely interested in what it’s like for you. Thank you!

    • Tony says:

      Hello, Amanda…thanks for writing!

      Yes, it’s true. I have indeed given Landmark a negative meaning. It’s not because I have anything against Landmark people personally, and it’s not like I run around criticizing people all day. I was invited to attend, and I spent many hours of my free time discussing Landmark’s teaching with the local leader. My impressions of Landmark come less from my experience in meetings and more from my intense, in-depth conversations about the philosophy behind Landmark.

      I’m not sure I understand your questions, though. How could my criticisms of Landmark’s principles help with my relationships? That’s kind of like asking how someone’s dislike of cheese helps their cousin’s job prospects. They’re entirely unrelated. What’s related? My understanding of reality and my understanding of Landmark’s principles. Is there any good at all in Landmark? Of course there is…or nobody would go! The question isn’t whether there’s any good in it, but in whether Landmark’s teachings can truly provide the help that people need. I have a couple of questions for you, Amanda:

      1. Do you believe that it’s okay to torture babies for sport?
      2. Do you believe that Adolph Hitler did evil things?
      3. Do you believe that there are real consequences to what we believe?

      You see, my understanding of Landmark’s principles are clear: there is no right or wrong, no good or bad. Things only have the value – for us – that we give them. So, the Holocaust is only bad if we consider it bad. Torturing babies for sport is okay if we consider it okay – for us. We can’t say whether anything is wrong for another person, I’m told…we can only do that for ourselves. Tell me where I’ve missed the boat on Landmark’s teachings, please.

      You see, I believe that it’s objectively, intrinsically, eternally morally wrong to torture babies for sport. There are no circumstances in which such an act could be considered anything but wrong, bad, and evil. I believe that Hitler did the wrong thing when he killed millions of people in the 1930’s and 1940’s…and that ISIS is morally wrong when they torture and kill people today. I have a feeling that you believe, as I do, that good and evil DO exist. The problem is that Landmark not only denies this fundamental truth, but teaches people to abandon the whole idea of good and bad, right and wrong.

      I’m genuinely interested in hearing from you too. Thanks!

      • Sarah says:

        Tony,
        I was so excited to find your commentaries on Landmark. I adore Landmark, you see, BUT I mean than in a purely emotional sense. I had a ball participating in their classes, volunteering and getting other people in my life to participate. Ultimately, I stayed away from Landmark, because, after becoming a Christian, I noticed that, as a result of their courses, I would be overcome by my emotions and fail to be led by the Spirit. As far as giving things value, I choose to give them the value the Bible does. I think Landmark’s point is more about being aware that we are assigning value to things. I do agree, though, that is not a Biblical way of looking at things, and it does lean into making truth relative. I wish you and I could have coffee and chat about this. I don’t have the time to parse these things apart as much as I would like to. To return to my earlier statement, I think my adoring Landmark is about adoring the idea of unlimited possibility, but, now that I think about it, it may be because their philosophy allowed me to follow fleshly desires unfettered by the Spirit. That would have to be broken down further as well though. I did not make inherently unbiblical decisions as a result of Landmark. As I said, I just did not allow the Spirit to check my decisions. I’m not sure if this is making sense anymore, and I don’t have time to clarify. I’m sorry.

        • Tony says:

          Thanks for sharing, Sarah. I would love to sit down and chat with you. If you’re ever in the Denver area, just look me up…coffee is on me!

          • Sarah says:

            Funny….my friend from Boulder, who just happens to be the pwrson who introduced me to Landmark just invited me this morning to go visit her. That’s thw first time she’s done that in about 20 years!! That was put of the blue. So I had a heart to heart with Jesus. I believe the answer I got was to dig into the Bible before I dig into Landmark more. I’ll be auditing my first Bible school class in about a month. The plan is unfolding. I’ll still makes sone comments on here, but I guess coffee will have to wait. Otherwise, I might have showed up just for that talk.

      • Mike says:

        Very interesting. I fear that you are stuck on a very myopic aspect of Landmark, it’s relativism. I see the idea that things have zero meaning until we give them meaning as more a tool.. One that gives people a heuristic to apply to various aspects of life.. The idea that there isn’t any right or wrong and the examples you have presented depends on the observer, the actor and their motives. Of course hitler must be used on the internet. For people on his side the means justified the end. For those who see liberty and choice that doesn’t infringe on others as a primary belief murder is often wrong. I don’t agree with your valueless frame because it is not properly framed and handed down by a group leader who didn’t properly frame the concept.

        • Tony says:

          Mike:

          Thanks for your comment. Landmark Forum is essentially a counseling group. They teach things that are supposed to help people. In discussions about LF, it would be silly to avoid examining what they teach. Let me give you two examples:

          1. Christianity is a belief system based on the life and teachings of the historical person Jesus of Nazareth. One of the earliest followers of Jesus wrote that if Jesus had not risen from the dead, as His followers claimed, then the faith of Christians is useless. Therefore, any discussion of what Christianity teaches should include the question about whether Jesus DID rise again.
          2. Mormonism is a belief system based on the teachings of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, supposedly translated from golden plates that came directly from God. A typical LDS testimony is that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is true. If Smith was not a prophet, but was instead a liar who didn’t receive golden plates from God and never received any revelations from Him, then the entire Mormon religion falls apart. So, any discussion of the doctrines of Mormonism should include the question about whether Joseph Smith told the truth.

          In the same way, Landmark Forum deserves scrutiny. If the truth claims on which it rests are true, good. If the truth claims on which it rests are false, bad. The core teaching of LF is this relativism that you mention. It’s the most basic concept of LF: nothing has meaning outside of the meaning we give it. Therefore…and by “therefore” I mean “as a direct result” of this idea, because everything that LF teaches depends on this idea, it’s important to note whether the idea itself is true or false.

          LF wasn’t developed or discovered or received in the same way as most other belief systems claim. It was purchased. When Werner Erhard wanted to retire, he sold the EST system (Erhard Seminars Training). He still consults for LF, as I understand it. EST and LF are LGATs (Large Group Awareness Training) and, as such, have been the subject of much criticism over the years for their use of techniques that make people more susceptible to suggestion, for emotional manipulation, and for putting undue pressure on participants for financial gain. More specifically, LF repeats the core “truth” of EST: that there is no truth. In case anyone wants to dismiss this as hyperbole on my part, here’s a straightforward quote:

          “In any case, even the truth, when believed, is a lie.”

          Warner Erhard, founder of Erhard Seminars Training (EST) and Landmark Forum

          Even the truth is a lie. You can’t believe the truth, because it is then untrue. That’s the kind of nonsense garbage that people passing off as help these days. Yes, I’m myopically stuck on the relativism of Landmark Forum…but for a good reason: their ability to help – or to hurt – depends on the accuracy of their message. Their message is simply false, as virtually everyone not involved with them can see. Truth exists, and is reliable. Right and Wrong exist, as do Good and Evil.

          If the foundational truth claim of a person or group is false, the rest should be, at best, ignored and, at worst, combated. I choose to combat the ideas taught by Landmark Forum because so many have been duped by them into spending time and money and emotional investment in a system that teaches lies.

  12. Gung says:

    Bill
    thanks for your insights
    Have done landmark all the way
    Its has brought me back to Christ
    My relationship was broken with him due to an abortion one relationship. It repeated. we got pregnant out of wedlock. We did not abort. But the church kicked us out. I could not get past it and the church abandoned my wife and i and did not allow us to get married in church under the cross.
    No amount of prayer taught me how to forgive the church. The church did not forgive us. Now i accept my role in the sin and now I “invite as a choice” God in my life. I choose God
    Landmark teaches me that i am whole and complete (as God sees us) and creates a space for God work to occur in me

    Tony – did you do Landmark or just the intro?
    thanks

    • Tony says:

      Gung:

      First, let me say that I admire you for hanging tough in difficult circumstances. I’m sorry that some who call themselves Christians have been less than Christlike toward you. That shouldn’t happen, but it does…too often. I hope you consider our disagreement over Landmark’s value to be two people working to help each other.

      I’m grateful to God that He allowed Landmark to help you. I truly am. That God can use an organization like Landmark is not a testimony to the value of Landmark’s teaching, but to the persistence and creativity of God. Landmark’s teachings may overlap the truth in many ways, but they deny the truth (or even the existence of truth) in the process. Jesus said that HE is the Truth…and while God might use Landmark to reach out to you, let me recommend that you spend some time considering whether God did this because of Landmark, or in spite of it. God’s Word is full of warnings about people who deny the truth, and Landmark certainly does that.

      I’m praying for you, Gung. I hope that God continues to bless you, and that you find your way out of Landmark. Let me know how I can help.

    • Tony says:

      Gung:

      I’d like to follow up with you. You’ve suggested that Landmark has helped you. I don’t doubt that. If none of it were true, nobody would believe it at all. The question is whether Landmark is compatible with Christianity. I say that they are not compatible. I’ve given some plain reason why this is so.

      Would you take a moment to reply and let me (and my readers) know why you believe that Landmark and Christianity are compatible? I would sincerely appreciate it. Thanks!

  13. Jeff says:

    Have you read the Bible. Maybe you should do that before protesting to inconsistency. You missed what Landmark was trying to teach. People put meaning to everything. We live in a world of made up meaning. Landmark is not anti-religion and it provides insight for those who can free themselves from the prison of our inner self.

    • Tony says:

      Wow, Jeff. You’ve hit the nail on the head. You disagree with me, so I’ve either not read the Bible or completely misunderstood Landmark, or both. Nice work, Sherlock.

      Because we add meaning to things, you seem to think that nothing has any meaning of its own. Let me suggest that the Biblical perspective on this is that God has provided meaning for many things. Removing that meaning on the basis that we should ‘live in the now’ is to suggest either that there is no God, or that God’s application of meaning is irrelevant. I reiterate: Christianity and Landmark Forum are incompatible.

  14. Adrian says:

    I think that landmark teaching there is no truth is valuable because then we get to choose what the truth is for us instead of being blind believers. For the man, who got kicked out of the church, his church goers who were being bad Christians thought they were doing the right thing and their interpretation of it was the truth. Ill use your example of Hitler. The nazis who killed all those people had to think its the right thing to do. It was just their interpretation of something and their agreement with each other. You are interpreting the man getting kicked out differently and I agree with you and I am with you but again it is an interpretation. If we look at certain interpretations of the bible in history we can see how people have distorted it to further their agenda. So having this structure to choose, we can really choose to love the same way God loves us for ourselves. And everyone having choice means people will not go along blindly killing millions of people because someone says its ok, people don’t get kicked out of their church community. I Beleive it cherishes our differences. We are all beautiful in our own way. This is how I see it. It is just my truth and what I choose to Beleive. Take what works for you from it or just leave it all. It is just your interpretetion of it. Lots of wars and unrest in the world happens because the way we interpret something.

    God bless

    • Tony says:

      Adrian:

      Thanks for writing. I’m about to disagree with you…I hope you don’t mind.

      >> I think that landmark teaching there is no truth is valuable because then we get to choose what the truth is for us instead of being blind believers.

      Let’s think this through a bit more carefully.

      First: nobody – and I mean that literally – really believes that anybody should believe anything blindly, of course. That’s just silly.

      Second: either truth exists or it does not…right? Here’s an example: the planet we live on has a moon that circles it roughly every 28 days. Is that True or False? It’s true, of course. How valuable is it to pretend that “we get to choose what the truth is for us”? It’s not valuable at all. In fact, we would tell someone who said this that they’re being silly. We don’t get to decide what’s true. Things are either true or they’re not.

      When Landmark teaches that there is no truth, THEY LIE. Truth exists, and those who deny it are kidding themselves. We all know this is true, but we sometimes prefer to act as if it’s not true. Why would anybody deny the truth? That’s easy: because they don’t want to be accountable to the truth.

      Do different people understand the truth differently? Of course, but that doesn’t change the truth. Go back to the moon example…there either is a moon or there isn’t. You can be wrong about the moon, but your “interpretation of the truth” doesn’t change the moon at all. What it does is cause you to act in ways that contradict reality. This is why Landmark’s teaching is dangerous: it causes people to misunderstand, and contradict, reality. That’s not helpful.

      You wrote “God bless”, and I want to challenge you on that. I do appreciate the sentiment, of course…but when you write it, you’re expressing that God exists and that He might bless me. Is that true, or is that just your flawed interpretation? The God I read about in the Bible certainly believes in truth. When you say “God bless” do you mean it, or do you mean something more like “may the God who may or may not exist, depending on your point of view, bless you based on your own decision about what blessings might mean and how those blessings should be granted”? I’m guessing that it’s simply “God bless”, of course…but you might take a moment to ask God for His opinion on truth. If the answer you get matches what Landmark Forum teaches, you’re listening to the wrong voice.

      Let me know if you have any questions, or there’s anything I can do for you.

  15. smilee says:

    Wow. What great discussion points everyone. I’m in a business partnership for 20yrs and my partner who originally participated in EST wants to begin having all our leaders attend Landmark Forum. Where I have attended myself over a decade ago and was able to take from it some of the good and leave parts of it I do not agree with behind, I do NOT agree with my partner to begin having our employees attend and I do not know how to resolve this. I feel as tho LF takes the heart out of everything and removes true understanding of another human being and denies compassion and empathy. It troubles me how to move forward in business with such a disagreement about values in life. Any perspective here is appreciated.

    • Tony says:

      Smilee:

      Thanks for your comment! This is indeed a difficult situation. The solution probably depends on the nature of your partnership. If it’s an equal partnership (50/50), you each should be able to veto the other…that is, you should both agree on all important matters. If you’re a minority partner, your position is probably much weaker. Considering that your partner was in EST (Erhard Seminars Training, from which we get Landmark Forum), you may not be able to appeal to reason alone.

      This is a textbook case of what Paul wrote about when He said to “not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” You and your partner should be hitched together like two oxen, pulling in the same direction and working toward the same goal. Instead – in this situation – you have a conflict about a fundamental issue that may not be resolved. The difficult truth is that you may have found that you no longer can remain partners.

      I know that’s harsh, but it’s logical. What should be the foundation of your partnership? If it’s simply to make money, then any method that makes money would be acceptable. If it’s to create a product or service, then anything that aids you in this would be acceptable. If it’s that you want to be a servant of Jesus in all you do, and if your partner disagrees, I don’t see many options. One or both of you could compromise your principles, or you could simply go your separate ways. You are at a crossroads, and I am praying for you…asking God to help you do exactly what He leads you to do.

  16. PrayerWarrior77 says:

    My heart is so filled with sadness right now. I too have a very dear and life long friend heavily involved in this. Please, please pray for him. Pray for his Salvation through our Savoir Jesus Christ. Pray for his mind to be released from this brainwashing so that the Holy Spirit can take off his blinders and open his ears to the only truth which is Christ JESUS. Please pray that all of the stones around his heart be removed so he can feel again and so that the Holy Spirit can effectively work to bring him out of the lies.
    Please pray for him and don’t stop. He’s not in good health and he needs prayers of healing not just of his mind and heart but his body. Pray for Almighty God to Let him see the people who truly love him standing right in front him and also to see the lies and dangerous thoughts that these people in this forum have put into his head. Please don’t stop praying for him. I have given him information on Biblical principals that work better than anything this group could teach. Please pray that he looks at them that scripture speaks truth into his ears and starts to take place over all the lies and that the Holy Spirit will pour himself out on him, that he will be led to a Bible Believing Church that can help him.

    • Tony says:

      I’ve prayed for your friend, and hope that GodWords readers will take the time to pray as well. Please let us know how we might be more helpful.

  17. PrayerWarrior77 says:

    Thank you very much for praying for him. I will let you if there is anything more. But prayer is powerful and I know our Heavenly Father hears our cries of help to him on all matters. He wants us to always stand in the gap for our friends, loved ones and strangers.

  18. Soaptoaster says:

    Tony, your answers are absolutely spot on. I had never heard of LF until tonight and only did because a friend attended and felt so transformed. I immediately began some research and began to spot immediate contradictions after just reading a few articles. I then did a search, seeking a Christian take on LF and was so blessed by your sound, logical analysis and appreciated your patient kind answers. Please keep up this great work and know you really are benefiting many! Awesome work brother.

  19. melinda says:

    Please pray for my 24 year old daughter as well who has been blinded by the teachings of LF and has turned her back on Christianity.

  20. Tea says:

    I am glad to have done my research. I am currently leaving an abusive relationship. I have tried marriage counseling and I go to individual. When I let my inlaws know that I have made the decision to separate because of the abuse, they quickly suggested landmark because of their daughter and the change they saw in her.
    My father and mother in law are Christians as am I. After doing the research, I felt a bit surprised (and admittedly hurt) that they would suggest this. I know that they do not want me to separate, however LF is not the answer; Jesus is the answer. Only he can make the transformation we truly desire and need.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. And I hope they will understand when I decline their offer to go.

    P.S.
    on thing that came to mind was how intense this seminar is. I have read that snacks were not permitted and the meal break is later in the day. I know fasting is used to hear from the Lord and I believe that by doing this in this situation, folks are opening themselves to things that are not of God.

    • Tony says:

      Thanks for sharing, Tea. Others have mentioned how intense the seminars are, and that’s one of the reasons that the group is considered problematic. When you throw in demeaning behaviors from leadership, the tight control over schedule, long hours, a lack of sleep and food, and the authoritarian nature of the meetings, you have the makings of a very manipulative situation. My family will pray that your counseling goes well. Have a great day!

  21. Sue says:

    Hi Tony, thank you for your postings and responses.

    My husband has just completed the LF training and is insisting that I experience it too. I’m a Christian; he is not. He recounted his experiences and how liberating they were. I replied that I get the same freedom and transformation by just accepting the forgiveness and love of Christ, obeying His commandments and passing love and forgiveness along to everyone in my life.

    Jesus is the TRUTH. We are taught not to create our own meaning out of our experiences (tree of knowledge of good and evil), but to accept the TRUTH. Instead of trying to interpret life through our distorted vision, based on incomplete evidence, the Word of God tells us to just accept the revelation from the One who knows all things.

    If the Church of God would start to teach and act as Jesus directed, we would not have people, even His people, looking for answers in all the wrong places. It is our fault for not standing boldly and proclaiming clearly (and sharing!) the amazing gift of His free and freedom-giving love.

    Thank you for your loving approach as you help others like myself. I will NOT go to LF. I have just been delivered from Yoga practice. I don’t want to fall into idolatry again.

  22. Bruce Pahl says:

    I was invited to a Landmark presentation from a client who is also a Heart Math coach. She claims to be a “Christian” but she puts her faith into her new age philosophies instead of the Word of God. I told her that I did some online research and Landmark does not line up with my Biblical world view.

    Thanks for writing about Landmark and revealing their deception to others. If anyone preaches any message other than the word of God then it is a lie.

  23. Rob Kramarz says:

    Faith on God is a gift I have not yet received, yet I do have faith that reality exists and that inside reality, truth and falsehood exist and that good and bad exist. It’s not up to us to create them out of nothing, it’s up to us to discover them.

    • Tony says:

      Rob:

      Thanks for your comment! I appreciate your thoughts. I wonder about your response to this question: who decides what is good and what is bad?

  24. Sarah says:

    I thought a bit more about it since my previous comment, and there is something or some things I got from Landmark that were fantastic, like the ability to be totaly present to and with people. I miss that so much. I think Jesus must have been that way. I would love to discuss what made the cool things I got there possible and see why I’m not getting that from Christianity. I do think it has to do, at least in part, with the suspension of judgement. I think that is throwing the baby put with the bathwater though. We need to be able to retain the ability to “judge” things (in the logical not pejorative sense) and still be present with people.

    • Tony says:

      I’m with you, Sarah. It’s not that Landmark doesn’t have any good ideas…it’s that the ideas that are good are connected to a philosophy and system that are destructive. I too would like to see more training in local churches, in many areas.

  25. Susan says:

    I attended LF and feel I took away some good and rejected the bad. The good was to realize how much I react to just words and take them to heart because I am a sensitive person. It helped me clear up strongholds from my past. The bad was for example a statement from the leader “You are empty, nothing, and meaningless.” Say what????
    I still can’t understand this statement.

    • Tony says:

      Thanks, Susan. Of course, you’re NOT empty, nothing, or meaningless. You’re a precious person, created by God in His own image, and worth living and dying for. Can you imagine the damage done to a person who goes to Landmark and doesn’t question that statement? How devastating!

      The good that Landmark Forum can provide simply isn’t worth the risk. There are lots of places where one can learn better life skills and coping skills, and nobody – ever – needs to hear the lie that they are nothing.

  26. Christine says:

    How can you speak on something you have never attended?

    You went to an introduction to the Landmark Forum. You did not actually attend the weekend.

    I am a born again Christian. Baptized in water and in spirit.

    This work has expanded my relationship with Christ and His love for His creation.

    There is nothing new under the sun. And when we study to be approved we can individually rightly divide the word of truth.

    Landmark does not advocate their distinctions as “truth”. Only a view that can empower and open up new possibilities for what is possible.

    Landmarks commitment is to empower another in what is important to them.

    • Tony says:

      Christine:

      Yes, I understand that there’s a big weekend thingy. I wasn’t about to spend money to attend an LGAT (Large-Group Awareness Training). Like its predecessor EST, Landmark is known for using mind-control techniques. I can control my mind just fine by myself, and I don’t need someone else telling me when I can sleep, eat, or go to the bathroom. Maybe you think I “don’t get it.” I’m okay with that. What I do get is that Landmark teaches that nothing has value beyond the value we assign it. You’re free to believe that if you wish, of course. My goal isn’t to tell you you’re wrong. My goal is to compare Landmark’s teachings with Jesus’ teachings. Where they contradict, I take Jesus’ word over theirs. As someone who claims to be a born-again Christian, filled with the Holy Spirit, I’m sure you share that view.

      You see, the problem isn’t that LF teaches something. It’s that it teaches something contrary to what God has revealed. We value human life, for example, because God values human life. We’re free to place on humanity whatever value we choose, but we’re not free to avoid the comparison between our thoughts and God’s thoughts. I would recommend that you spend some time comparing what LF teaches with what the Bible says. I hope you’ll bring your beliefs in line with Scripture. I work to do the same.

      Two final thoughts:

      1. Saying you’re a born-again, baptized believer holds no water when disagreeing with someone. Why is that? Well…it’s not because those things have no value. It’s that your claim of spirituality changes nothing. I too am a born-again, baptized believer. That hasn’t swayed you, and there’s no reason it should. Our disagreement on this issue can’t be solved by one of us proving that the other is somehow lacking spiritually. Instead, we need to look at the facts.
      2. You say that Landmark doesn’t claim to be about truth. I hope you’ll examine that more closely, so you can see that it’s entirely, completely, 100% utter nonsense. The plain and simple fact is that every single claim that they – or anyone – makes is a truth claim. When they say that Landmark can be beneficial, that’s a truth claim. When they say that nothing has value on its own, but only the value we assign it, that’s a truth claim. Were they to say that there is no truth, that too is a truth claim. Literally everything you’ve written is a truth claim, as is everything I’ve written in response. They wouldn’t teach it, and you wouldn’t write it, unless you believed it to be true. Neither would I. Landmark Forum absolutely claims that what they teach is true, else they would teach something else or nothing at all.

      I look forward to hearing from you, sister. Please don’t mistake my disagreement as dislike. I’m sure you and I might get along great, were we to meet in person. Have a great day!

      • Christine says:

        My reasoning for saying I am a born again believer is because I actually have skin in the game, a relationship with God (who is The Word) and committed to my salvation and seeing Him one day in the heavens! Versus my lifestyle before Christianity and having a SEA of opinions about WHAT Christianity was, who Christians were, and my assertions of IT ALL without having an actual experience for myself.
        ,
        What I am saying to you is that you are casting assertions. You have not participated in the weekend therefore you can only make assumptions as to what YOU think it actually is …. which has zero to do with what it ACTUALLY is and/or the communication you have been sharing about what happens in the Landmark Forum.

        And I am always amazed that people – believers- get so tied up in legalism. God works in SO many ways. If He brought Landmark to you, it was for a reason. We send our children to school from kindergarten to high school. Culture claims life is made easier with an education, some form of degree. We advocate higher education in the form of college or a trade. These teachings have nothing to do with the bible (truly, for the most part). Why can we be ok with formal education and so opposed to anything else?

        And the Lord’s promise is that He came to give us life and that more abundantly. And that is the eternal promise in salvation yet also “heaven on earth”.

        He nourished His prophet using ravens. Why not His subjects with any thing He pleases?

        I have zero idea as to your meaning for point #2, btw. If you are saying that what I write is “my truth” what you write is “your truth” and what they say/write is “their truth” then there is some validity in that … haha … but not as validity = truth. I hope you would agree with me that the only truth is God’s word. Like literally. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. We only know in part, and even that part is SO minimal.

        But hey! If you fear your salvation is at stake because of your participation in the Landmark Forum, so be it.
        … continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, I ‘aint mad.

        The Lord bless you, and keep you [protect you, sustain you, and guard you];
        The Lord make His face shine upon you [with favor],
        And be gracious to you [surrounding you with lovingkindness];
        The Lord lift up His countenance (face) upon you [with divine approval],
        And give you peace [a tranquil heart and life].’

        • Tony says:

          Christine:

          First, thanks for clarifying. You do have skin in the game as a believer. You might be surprised to learn that a lot of people write to me to disagree, and the only argument they have is the suggestion that they’re simply more spiritual than I am, so I should just bow to their superior wisdom and knowledge. I’m happy to read that that’s not your approach.

          While we’re in the process of disagreeing, you may want to read my other articles that mention Landmark. I have no doubt you’ll continue to disagree, but at least you’ll have a bit more context.

          You say I’m casting assertions. You probably mean aspersions, which is true. I’m critical of Landmark because of what I know about Landmark. I’ve never claimed to know things I don’t know. My knowledge is more limited than that of people like yourself, who have spent more time with them. That’s fine. Because this is one of the more popular topics on GodWords, I’ve been through a few dozen email exchanges on the topic. Not a single person who has emailed me – or commented here – has come straight out and addressed the issue. Maybe you’ll be the first. I hope so. Here’s the issue: I believe that Landmark teachings contradict the Bible. That’s the point, and that’s what nobody has actually addressed. Instead, they’ve all retreated to “you just don’t understand Landmark.” Well, I’m as open-minded as anyone. Just show me.

          My understanding of Landmark’s teaching comes primarily from one of their teachers. I spent around 15 hours with him, asking probing questions about what’s taught, and about the implications. Here’s the takeaway (again…because maybe somebody missed it): nothing has value of its own. Things, people, and events only have the value we assign them. Therefore – to quote this LF leader – the Holocaust is only bad for people who consider it bad. Torturing children for sport is only bad for people who assign that value to it. Believe me, I was all over this idea for several hours. Anyone is free to believe this if they wish, but they’re wrong if they think it’s compatible with what God has revealed in His word.

          How do we know which things are bad, and which are good? God tells us. We judge our actions by whether they align with God’s character and purposes, or oppose them. People are intrinsically valuable, for example…else God would not have come and died for us. You’re not valuable to me because I’ve assigned you some value…you’re valuable to me because you’re valuable to God. According to Landmark, you’re free to change the values you give to things. You might take a look at those other articles, especially the part where this LF leader tells me that LF has no value. That directly contradicts the claims on their website, and in every meeting. It’s simply nonsense.

          In spite of my obvious lack of experience with LF, can you address the issue? Not to be offensive, but I believe that the only people who believe LF and Christianity to be compatible are people who either misunderstand LF, misunderstand Christianity, or both. Maybe you can show me where I’ve gone wrong. I’m listening.

  27. Maria Termotto says:

    Please pray for me and my boyfriend. We’re very involved with Landmark. I’m in the Introduction Leaders Program and he’s in the Course Supervision Program. While I got some useful tools, overall I feel like it contradicts my beliefs. The majority of our friends and family have done it because of us too now. Pray for us!

    • Tony says:

      Maria:

      I’m praying for you and your boyfriend. I hope that you will make sure to put your relationship with God first, before anything and everything else. Like I’ve said elsewhere: there are some good things to learn in Landmark…but they can be learned elsewhere, and without the incredibly negative problems that come with being part of a mind-controlling, mentally-manipulative group. Let me know if I can help.

  28. Nina says:

    Hi Tony, i have a friend who is a new Christian. She is obviously searching for meaning and some peace in her life. She has been married to an alcoholic and through the escalating events of her husbands drinking problems she came to Christ and got baptized at my church.
    Her husband tried to get sober but relapsed a few times and through this process of relapse, she decided to devorce her husband.
    While sje start seeing her lawyers, someone introduce LM to her and she went. She tried to get me to join her, but after researching what they do and teach i knew straight away that it was not Biblical teaching.
    She just got hwr husband into it too and they are both at such a desperate place in their lives ..
    As a friend and outsider looking in, i know this will lead them away from the truth that Jesus came to teach us.
    I guess my question to you as a fellow believer is, how do i address my concern to her? I do not want to judge her as i can see her seeking heart and her excitement.
    Any suggestions? Im praying for her. Who am i to judge? I am just so concerned fir her soul.

    • Tony says:

      Nina:

      First, I’m glad you’re there for your friend. The key is to continue to be there. If you can’t easily sway her and her husband away from Landmark, you can be there to help when it’s clear that Landmark isn’t good enough to give her the peace she seeks. It may be that she sees no conflict between Landmark and going with you to church. See if you can bring her along. Maybe a few of your sisters at church can have a fun night out where she can build relationships with them. If you can connect her with enough people, you may minimize the damage done by Landmark. I would share your concerns with your sisters at church, and try to develop a strategy to get your friend involved.

      As for your question – ‘who am I to judge?’ – you’re in a fine position to judge. Judge the teachings of Landmark. It won’t do to judge anyone for seeking peace, of course…but there’s a vast difference between being a concerned friend and ‘judging’ someone for doing what you disagree with. Stay in touch with her and be there for her long term. Keep me posted. I live in Denver, so let me know if there’s some other way I can help.

      • Christine Headlee says:

        Seriously. Landmark is NOT faith based.
        But it is an ontologically based discovery.
        And you really do not know what you do not know. Everything you say about Landmark is based in opinion, not facts.

        I am baptized in the name of Jesus and filled with the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues as the Lord gives as evidence. I teach and I preach the living word of God. And Jesus brought Landmark to me. Twice I denied it. The third time I surrendered to the Lords ultimate wisdom and discovered one of the most profound (SECOND to salvation) experiences.

        So unless you go. Unless you stay the three days and one night. Unless you do the work. You have no idea and are relying on someone else’s testimony.

        Again. Not. Faith. Based.
        It. Is. Not. A. Religion.
        Nor. Does. The. Company. Tout. That.

        • Tony says:

          Christine:

          First, thanks for writing.

          Seriously. I never claimed that Landmark is faith-based. What I said was that Landmark makes truth claims, and that those truth claims – statements about the nature of reality – should be tested. It is not unwise to examine those truth claims, but wise. Being a Christian, and writing about things that Christians are concerned about, I can say that Landmark’s claims about reality are in direct conflict with what the Bible teaches…so Landmark is incompatible with Christianity.

          Everything I’ve said about Landmark is based in fact. Your experience with Landmark may differ from mine, but you’re exactly wrong to suggest that I’m inaccurately reporting my experiences. If you can do what nobody else has done, I’d be grateful: show me. If you can provide evidence that my experience, or my interpretation of my experience, is an inaccurate reflection of Landmark’s official teaching, I will amend my statements. That evidence must be in the form of official Landmark statements, of course.

          As for your spiritual credentials, I have two things to say. On a personal level, I’m very glad that you are a follower of Jesus. If that’s true, you are my sister in Christ. However: those credentials carry no weight here. Why? It’s simple: I too have been baptized and Spirit-filled…and we still disagree. When others read this part of our conversation, who should they believe? You, a baptized and Spirit-filled Christian, or me…a baptized and Spirit-filled Christian? I would suggest neither, of course. I’m not asking anyone to believe me, as if I have any credibility at all. You are, of course…but that’s not worth much in this situation. If you want to claim that your experiences differ from mine, nobody will argue with you. If you’re going to argue that my experiences didn’t happen, then you go too far. If you want to claim that Landmark doesn’t teach what I’ve actually said they teach, there’s one thing that will settle the issue: FACTS.

          Believe me: I’ve had a LOT of conversations, just like this one, with a LOT of people. Just look at the number of comments, and then triple or quadruple it to include all of the direct emails I get on this subject. I’ve never claimed to be an expert on Landmark, or that everybody will experience what I experienced. What I do claim is what happened to me, and what I’ve learned by talking to Landmark devotees and reading Landmark materials. Again, I invite you to provide me with some facts that contradict my conclusions. With respect, I have reason to doubt that 1) you’ll bother trying, and 2) you’ll actually find any. So far, all I’ve been given are personal opinions, ad hominem condemnations, threats of lawsuits, inaccurate and inadequate judgements about me, my website, and my family, and silly dismissals of my own faith. Maybe you’ll surprise me. I’ll be in your debt if you can.

  29. Christine Headlee says:

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    Did you pay money and attend the first course which is the Landmark Forum?
    OR, based upon your original post/blog, did you attend someone’s Tuesday evening and choose not to register into the course?

    • Tony says:

      Did you actually read the article?

      What difference would it make, anyway? I haven’t made any claims about what happens in meetings I’m not privy to. I only made claims about what I’ve seen and heard and experienced, and what I’ve learned from studying official Landmark information. I don’t have to be a practitioner of Zoroastrianism to examine the claims of Zoroastrianism, do I? In the same way, my personal experiences with Landmark are largely irrelevant when it comes to examining the truth claims of Landmark. As so many others have, you can say things like, “You can’t understand if you haven’t done XY and Z”…but that’s nonsense. Using that logic, nobody can examine the truth claims of anyone, ever.

      Again: if you can provide some facts to contradict what I’ve said, please feel free to do so. I’m open to correction. What I’m not open to is people disagreeing without providing me with some way to change my mind. Trying to discredit my experiences by telling me I need more experience isn’t helpful. FACTS are helpful. Do you have any of those, Christine? I’m listening.

  30. Christine Headlee says:

    Hey Tony,
    I do have a lot to contribute. And I went and re-read your initial blog post. There is A LOT in there. ? So much I actually have zero clue as to where to start.

    I get that you went to a home introduction. Awesome.

    So let’s just start here. Wherever the heck that is? When you ask for facts, what specifically are you asking for? And forgive me when I am straight with you in saying that I am apprehensive when my occurring world, based upon your literary writings, is that it probably won’t matter what I say because my short experience is that you are listening to respond about how tight you already are. Which, in fact, you are right for you, and I am totes cool with that. However, why should I participate if you are not open to the possibility of discovering something newly.

    Oh, one “fact” I will say is that the business we know called Landmark certainly does NOT purport that whatever they crate and share is the “truth”. What they would say is consider it is a place one could stand. A new view. But most definitely not/never the “truth”.

    I have been saved for 20 years.
    I have participated in Landmark for 11 years.

    I am no master of either, but I am also not a neophyte.

    What do you say? Do you wish to engage in a conversation and be open? ??

    • Tony says:

      Christine:

      I appreciate your tone, but you may have missed a crucial point. Were you and I to sit down over lunch and talk as friends, I would certainly want to hear you out, and I would listen intently while you told me your story. We’re not at lunch. It’s not that I’m not interested in your story, or in a protracted conversation. I’m interested in facts. I’ll explain, as you don’t know quite what I mean.

      I went to a Tuesday meeting. I spent hours grilling the leader in the parking lot afterwards, trying to get a handle on what he was trying to communicate. We met a few times more over coffee, as he liked me and I liked him and I wanted to keep asking him questions about how Landmark works. I wrote about my experiences on my blog, and now you’re here. Like so many others before, you’ve simply suggested that I don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s fine. I could be wrong about Landmark, and I’m willing to be shown where I’m wrong.

      The trouble is that nobody – not one single Landmark fan in more than 15 years – has been able to show me that what I learned about Landmark is in any way inaccurate. Now, you might suggest that 15 years of disagreements shows that a whole bunch of people see things differently…and you’d be right. The question, of course, is not whether we see things differently. The question is whether I’m right or wrong in my assessments of Landmark. Despite so many disagreements, not one single person has been able to provide me with any actual evidence – of any sort – that I’m wrong. Make no mistake: it’s not because I’m closed-minded. It’s because not one single person has actually tried. Nobody has shown me anything official from Landmark that contradicts anything I’ve written…not here on my blog, and not in hundreds of emails. Nobody. Not ever.

      You see, I have no more reason to trust my own opinion than to trust yours. I can be as blind as the next person, I’m sure. However: I need some evidence to show that I’m off-base. Not someone else’s experience. Not a counter-balancing opinion. Not a personal attack, or some story about how beneficial Landmark has been to this person or that. I need actual, fact-checkable, demonstrable evidence. As far as I can tell, from that meeting and those conversations, from reading Landmark’s website and being argued at with tens of thousands of words, my understanding of what Landmark teaches is accurate. Certainly not complete, but not inaccurate. Nobody has even tried to show me otherwise…they’ve only tried to tell me otherwise.

      I have my story, and you have yours. I’m not arguing with your story, and I won’t listen to you argue with mine. What I’m abundantly open to, of course, are FACTS about what Landmark actually teaches. I don’t ask anyone to take my word as truth. I ask them to do their own homework…to use what I write as a starting point, not an ending point. You know, like the Bereans. In the same way, I wouldn’t just take your word as truth, either. I’m sure that makes sense to you.

      So: if you think I’m wrong about Landmark, please point out what I’ve said, and how that’s contradicted by official Landmark teaching. This is not a trick or a dodge. Some have suggested that my experiences are not an accurate reflection of what Landmark actually teaches. I could buy that…if someone will show me what they teach, so I can compare. Again – and it’s shocking – nobody has been willing. They seem to think that their experiences trump my experiences, and that what they personally consider true about Landmark somehow erases my own experience and research.

      You’ve twice mentioned your own credentials, as if that somehow carries weight. It carries none with me. In case it does with you, here are mine: I’ve been saved for over 45 years, studied religion and philosophy (and broadcasting) in college, have been a licensed minister, have been on staff at a number of churches, and have been having these discussions in person for most of my life and online since 1997. I’m no neophyte either…but please: pay no attention to my supposed credentials. They shouldn’t matter to you any more than yours matter to me. I’ve met men and women with doctorates in theology who can’t tell a burrow from their burro, if you know what I mean. The question is not whose credentials are more impressive, but which point of view matches up with reality. If you’re convinced that what you say won’t matter to me, don’t bother responding. Take me at face value or don’t waste my time. I’m taking you at face value, assuming that you could succeed where others have failed. I don’t mean to be harsh, but I’ve already told you that I’m willing to be convinced…not by personal anecdotes, but by facts.

      Can you show me, using official Landmark materials of some kind, that I’ve misunderstood what Landmark teaches? Thanks.

  31. Christine says:

    Hey Tony,
    WHAT do you want to know?
    How about we start there.

    • Tony says:

      Christine:

      You have it backward, I’m afraid. I simply gave an honest account of my experience, and of how I see Landmark. I’m not actively looking for more answers, or purposefully seeking more information. I’m just writing stuff, hoping that it helps those who read it. I believe that what I’ve written is true, of course…or I wouldn’t have written it. Now, out of the blue, you’ve come along to tell me I’ve missed something important. You started this conversation by telling me I’m wrong. Here are some of your words:

      Everything you say about Landmark is based in opinion, not facts.

      Okay…so show me the facts. Opinions can be right or wrong, but facts cannot. If I’m wrong, give me the facts that will set me straight.

  32. Christine says:

    I will retract all I have written.
    And we can start here, if you’d like.
    You continuously ask for facts.
    What specific “facts” do you want to know?

    • Tony says:

      Good afternoon! What specific facts (not “facts”) would you like to share with me, to correct my misunderstandings about Landmark?

  33. Christine says:

    Good afternoon ?
    What facts about Landmark do you desire to have me share about?

    • Tony says:

      Okay, Christine. We’ve now exchanged a half-dozen messages, and you still misunderstand. I will try to be a bit more straight-forward, to clear up the confusion:

      I’m not asking.

      I was just going about my business when you stopped by, and you told me that I didn’t have the facts. You said that I’ve misunderstood Landmark. You, not me. I didn’t come to your website, you came to mine. I didn’t ask you to tell me I’m wrong, you offered. In other words, the ball is entirely in your court. If you think I’m wrong, show me I’m wrong. I’m waiting for you. There’s no sense in you waiting for me, since I’m not doing anything but responding to you.

      To put it more plainly: the one making the claim is always the one who needs to back up the claim. I’ve written about my experiences, and what I conclude from them. You claim I’m wrong…so you need to show me I’m wrong. I have no idea what you might come up with that could show me I’m wrong. That’s up to you. You say I’m wrong, so prove it.

      The reason I keep saying “facts” is that no amount of “nuh-uh” will be enough to change anyone’s mind. Your experience might be different than mine, but that doesn’t invalidate mine. To know that I’m wrong, I simply need official Landmark stuff that shows I’ve misrepresented what they teach. In a decade and a half, nobody has bothered. Now you come along and ask ME what I’d like to know. I already know what I’d like to know, unless I’m wrong…then I’d like to know that I’m wrong. You’ve told me I’m wrong, so please explain.

      This is the last comment I’ll post that contains nothing more than you asking me what I want to know and me telling you to show me I’m wrong.

      No offense. I’m not mad or anything…it just seems you’ve misunderstood the situation. If you have no interest in providing that kind of information, feel free to move along as so many others have. I will be disappointed, but I won’t be surprised. Have a great day!

  34. Christine says:

    You are so right. ?

  35. Jeanne says:

    I am so happy to have found this article and conversation. I recently attended the Landmark Forum and am now in the Advanced Training as requested by one of my bosses. I am struggling a lot as a believer. I left the course early. Thank you for your share.

  36. Elsa says:

    I have read this whole thread and would like to throw this in here. I have a friend who I spoke to for years about Jesus and Christianity. She has a science background and didn’t ascribe to any religious faith. I challenged her one day that she had never researched Christianity for herself, with an open mind, to discover what it was really about, so that she could make an informed decision. She responded that she would never make value judgements in other areas without researching them fully, so she started coming to church and reading the bible.

    For me this feels like a similar situation. I would value your insights after your attendance at the Landmark Forum. You will then have facts rather than personal anecdotes of others.

    • Tony says:

      Elsa:

      Thanks for weighing in. There’s some truth in what you’re suggesting, of course. Were we talking about tasting someone’s favorite ice cream, or visiting someone’s favorite beach, I could agree. We’re not talking about opinions, or about preferences, or about the difference between one person’s experiences and another’s. We’re talking about truth. I don’t need to experience Muslim ceremonies to examine their truth claims. You don’t need to visit my church to ask whether our truth claims are rational. You suggest that further exposure to the experiences provided by LF would change my mind about the truths they express, but that’s not necessary. If I told you that eating mint chip ice cream would turn you into a hedgehog, you wouldn’t need to test my claim with a spoon.

      It’s okay with me if you don’t value my insights after only about 10 hours of personal experience with LF. I appreciate your interest in the truth, and encourage you to keep searching. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

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