A few months ago,
I signed up to partake in the Landmark Forum here in downtown Philadelphia.
I did not complete the forum. You may already have assumed
that I am now a Landmark hater, but I am not. After reading many
articles on the Internet with many positive and a few negative reviews,
I want to share with you my own personal Landmark experiences.
My discovery of Landmark
surfaced through my friend Erica. Erica casually mentioned to me
over a couple of weeks about a program that brought a lot of goodness to
her life. She wanted to bring as many of her friends as possible
to an this amazing introductory workshop that changed and inspired her
life. It naturally piqued my interest because I am often looking
for ways to improve myself and explore new ideas. Consequently, I
strolled along with Erica to the public introductory session to find out
more about this program that she is really excited about and believes
in till this day!
I arrived at my introductory
session with Erica to find the room full of people of a variety of ages.
It was a simple room with a big chalkboard with three upcoming Landmark
Forum session dates listed for Philadelphia clearly written in bright white
The introductory session
began, and I curiously listened to what my evening leader and Landmark
had to offer me. During the first half I was a little turned off
because it felt like a big sales pitch. However, the second half
was much better because when the session came to the end I was really surprised
three hours had already passed. Overall, I enjoyed my speaker's heartwarming
Why did I enjoy the
seminar? Mainly I enjoyed sharing and hearing heart-felt stories
from others. I also enjoyed when the speaker would stop and encourage
you to share issues that were troubling you with a partner. I did
There was one point
during our discussions that Erica told me that I was having a “breakthrough”
and I should get up and go to the pay phones to call the person that I
was in conflict with during the evening pause and tell them I love/forgive
them. I felt that was a little extreme and I did not do it.
However, the introductory session made me realize that my issue was troubling
me and I resolved it my own way.
I wound up signing
up and forking over $350 for the Landmark Forum. I was curious enough
to sign up because I liked the ideas of personal empowerment and success
through keeping your commitments that Landmark expressed. Erica encouraged
me to take the forum as soon as possible to reap the benefits right away,
but it wound up taking me three months (after moving and a wedding) to
make a monthly scheduled forum weekend of the summertime.
Several people called
me within the three-month period to ask me if I had any questions about
the forum. I kind of liked that, but I really did not have anything
I wanted to share.
The forum weekend
was only a week away when I started chatting away about Landmark.
In turn, I found nothing but Landmark and EST haters. Granted, none
of the people I talked to actually attended the forum. However, I
was surprised at the some of the thoughts I heard from various friends/family
“I lost one of my best friends to the program [EST]...
the program changed him”
“One of my friends that took that program only
wanted to hang out with other Landmark people”
“One of my friends got to thinking he could do
whatever he wanted after taking the program”
“The programs make you more self-centered and selfish
“My friend really did not get anything from it.
It did not change her really and she stopped going”
“It’s better to have an idea where some of these
thoughts can come from… [some Eastern religions] … before going”
Being completely confused
after dissuasion in attending the forum by friends and family that I love
and trust, I went down to Landmark Education building in downtown Philadelphia
to discuss what I heard about them. I was already convinced at this
time that I should not go and I wanted to try to get my money back.
However, I thought my visit to Landmark was rather interesting. . .
The woman at Landmark
spent more than a half-hour with me answering all my questions and trying
to dispel some of the friend and family comments stated above.
She was clear, confident, and believed what she said from her heart.
She wondered why I bothered to come down to the Landmark office.
At the end of our conversation I told her that my incentive was the hope
of getting my money back. I was surprised to discover that $300
of the $350 was returned ($50 deposit is lost if you do not take the
forum)! She went right into the computer and told me my money was
in the process of being refunded to my credit card as of the previous Friday
(the first day of the forum I was expected to attend and did not).
I received one follow-up
phone call from a representative of Landmark's Philadelphia branch.
I told her briefly and firmly of my reasons for not attending the forum.
She accepted what I had to say. Most importantly, she did not
try to coerce me into taking the forum.
I am uncertain
whether Landmark is a good idea for you, but it is not for me. It
seems to me that it is better for people to learn values from friends,
family, religion, and themselves. Individuality defines us
as human beings. In this corporately owned and regulated world,
I think Landmark may make us “forget what we know about what we think we
know” and possibly think even less for ourselves. Out of respect
for a person that loves me, I choose not to take the Forum. Out of
respect for you, the reader, please think for yourself.