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Streiker 1

verklaring Lowell D. Streiker

Lowell D. Streiker


February 16, 1993

Dear Herr Kristensen:
I have been informed that Landmark Education is listed by your organization as a "cult." For seven years, I have worked in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Africa, and Japan as a counselor and had occasions to come in contact with numerous cults and to deal with the damage they did to individuals and their families. I have also written several books on the subject of cults. I am considered a leading expert in the field. I first became aware of The Forum in 1985 and I personally participated in The Forum in 1987. I have also had an opportunity to examine very closely the work done by Landmark Education. The programs offered by Landmark Education provide individuals with a unique and valuable educational opportunity that allows them to thoughtfully inquire into their own lives. Nothing at all would lead to the conclusion that The Forum is a cult. On the contrary, what I have observed are people becoming more engaged with their family and community lives rather than removed from them. There is a strong emphasis on responsible behavior within one's family, business, and civic life. I can state unequivocally that The Forum is not a cult. I arrive at this conclusion by attempting to determine if a number of "cult" characteristics manifest themselves in The Forum/Landmark Education. While the term "cult" is pejorative and does not have a precise scientific meaning, I have dealt with families and individuals whose lives had been disrupted by involvement with certain kinds of religious movements. These movements shared common characteristics:
A cult is a nontraditional religious group based upon the teaching of an authoritarian leader. A cult is a highly structured, strictly disciplined group which demands the total time, dedication, and resources of its members. A cult sees itself as the only possessor of truth and see those outside the cult as enemies. Primary cult activities are recruitment of new members and the raising of funds for the group. Cult initiation techniques are frequently based upon deception and psychological coercion. Money is often obtained under false pretenses. Members of cults are encouraged to cut off communications with family members and friends. Cultists allow the cult leader to make important decisions concerning career and marriage for them. In many instances, cult members give their possessions and earnings to the group and, in turn, are totally dependent on the group. Most cults encourage systematic forms of consciousness altering practices which make individuals amenable to group direction rather than self-determination. None of these characteristics is to be found in The Forum or Landmark Education. The Forum is not a cult in any sense of the word, religious or otherwise.

Sincerely, Lowell D. Streiker, Ph.D.