(est ERHARD SEMINARS TRAINING)
Our Western Society with its emphasis on materialism lacked only a religion to match its lifestyle. "Do your own thing" has become a catch-phrase, and the founder and director of est has developed a religion to go along with it.
Who is Werner Erhard (formerly Jack Rosenberg)? Erhard comes out of a background of Scientology and Mind Dynamics, mixed with extensive occult involvement. He studied Zen Buddhism, hypnosis, Subud, Yoga, Silva Mind Control, psycho-cybernetics, Gestalt, encounter therapy, and transpersonal psychology. His own brand of this mixture turned out to be est, now updated to "The Forum" by his followers.
The official biographer of Werner Erhard, a W. W. Bartley, made this statement, "The responsible person does not hunger and thirst after righteousness." Compare this with the statement of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 56,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
Although est claims to be non-religious, it is, in fact, thinly-veiled Hinduism mixed with mind control.
The Erhard Seminars Training (or est) are an intensive sixty-hour time of psychological indoctrination designed to restructure a person's world view. Est seminars have been held in prisons and police forces, and Clergy receive a 50% discount. What happens at these intense seminars?
The sixty-hour experience transforms people, because through intensive, and at times brutal and cruel physical and mental conditioning, the individual undergoes a "conversion episode" where the old way of viewing reality is supplanted with the est way. As one est trainer so aptly put it, "we're gonna throw away your whole belief system--we're gonna tear you down and put you back together". (Psychology Today, Aug. 1975, p.39).
In the est Seminar, participants are subjected to tensions, harassment, deliberately foul language, and trauma. The bombarding with foul language is kept up until the person becomes numb, and after a period of time, ceases to be shocked by it, and in fact, becomes passively, wearily, open to it. Compare this to Ephesians 4:29-32,
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Est does mention Jesus Christ, even going so far as to say statements similar to those of the founder Erhard,
"I consider myself one of Christ's staunchest supporters".
In stark contrast to this we find statements like the one in the East-West Journal of September 1974, where Erhard implies that Jesus Christ is dog excrement, except that he uses the four-letter equivalent. No wonder the Bible says in James 1:8 that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. One unsuspecting Christian who found himself locked in at a seminar and shocked by the goings-on, raised his hand and asked "What about God?" The instructor replied, "I don't know if there is a God, but if there is, she's black!" The Christian faith takes a lot of mocking at these seminars, and its values are ridiculed.
Erhard publishes a list called "Rules About Life". Number one states that life has no rules, and all the other numbers are blank. Persons attending are told that they must become gods themselves. Est denies that there is evil and claims the universe is perfect.
Christians will recognize the original lie of Satan the Devil to Eve in the garden where he promised her she could become "as gods" or "like God". Erhard goes on to admit in his writings that he finds it difficult to deal with people who have a belief in God.
Although a Christian believer is told est will not interfere with his religious beliefs, this is simply not true. Est claims to be non-religious, but upon examination, its concept is totally religious, attempting to replace belief in a personal God who loves and cares for us, with the impersonal, pantheistic, god of Hinduism.
William Greene states, "In the est training you are God...Therefore you cannot look to any supreme being for special treatment, goodness, or award." (Greene p. 131).
Looking to the Bible, we find this opposite statement in Hebrews 1:16,
"and without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him".
Est teaches that each person controls his own universe and destiny. This teaching automatically turns hearers away from Christ. Est believers would see no need whatsoever to turn to a Savior, since they believe they are God, there is no sin, and anything goes.
Est devotees are behind a movement called the "Hunger Project". These est devotees have stated that they are accepting responsibility for the world's hunger. This responsibility consists of est followers meeting across the country in comfortable banquet rooms of hotels etc. and having everyone direct their THINKING against world hunger. They claim, "a context will be created in which hunger cannot exist." The Hunger Project, which insists it is separate from est, but which is run by est graduates, has collected in the millions for "hunger", but very little of that has gone into empty stomachs!
In contrast, our Lord Jesus Christ fed the multitudes when they were hungry. (See Matthew 25:31-46).
The est or Forum seminars are no place for a Christian to be. Other people are drawn there because there is a spiritual hunger in their lives. Others seek to be more assertive, or to control their lives by being more aggressive. Est is not the answer to lasting satisfaction, but Jesus Christ is.
Every person is looking for peace in their lives and wants to live life abundantly, not just exist. Christ invites us to be true sons of God by receiving Him into our lives and hearts (John 1:12,13). Only then will we know real peace within, the kind God provides (John 14:27).
Please write to us if we can assist you further in seeking an abundant life in Christ.
Comments from another source.
If you have questions on this topic below email the author.
From: "Rich Holmes" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com>
Subject: Info from website re: Forum/est
Date: January 2, 2003 8:27 PM
I stumbled on your website and found the information on est/Forum . Although I have been out of the "cult" loop the past few years, I am glad that this is one organization we are hearing less of.
I was involved in helping several people leave this cult; it was one of the first I encountered "by accident" I had never heard of it, though I had read much about destructive cults and recognized what was happening within this group. It was also the most persistant group I ever encountered; if one makes the mistake of giving this or any cult personal information (Which I have learned no longer to do) one will be subject to numerous midnight calls, mails and persistant sales from cult recriutees. Most cults I have found will stop after a few weeks or even if asked to; this group did not.
I finanlly threatened a member of this group face to face with bodily harm if she ever contacted me again in any way; and never heard from them again after that.
Your information left out a very important aspect of this cult: " the holiday project." "The Holiday project" was something Warner invented under the guise of community charity. The cult members will go, on holidays, to various organizations such as half-way houses, nursing homes, etc and spend an entire day, often from 6 AM to Midnight offering goods and services to those who would not be able to get out and enjpy the holiday otherwise. The members themselves spend the money to provide food, gifts and items for these residents. A bragging point here by many cult members is that "Many people give charitably through the holidays, but we are the only group that actually spends the holiday itself with these people." Further insight revealed the how and why behind this. Most cults, est/Forum included, want to seek ways to isolate their recruitees and members from friends and family who may be outside the cult or opposed to it. Since holidays such as
Thanksgiving or Christmas are traditionally times spent with family and friends, and some members of cults like Scientology and est might have family members that do not approve of such involvement, then what better way to keep people from their families than by creating a cult event for those days and forcing the members to participate. I knew several people who were involved in this; I do not nelieve personally that any of them did any of this under their own free will and accord; rather, I believe that they did it out of subservience and submission to the cult. While the Holiday Project might look like a nice charity, it is in fact, only a method used by the est cult to isolate it's members from friends and families, to downplay the importance of the traditional holiday and to instead thus instill in the members a further devotion to cult principals.
Note again that est does not provide any supplies goods or funds for this project; the individual members are expected to provide that. And participation, as I have alluded to, is not optional but mandatory.
Now I do not promote violence or harm to anyone; to defeat cults, we must be a better Christian example, and show that enlightenment, happiness and anything one wishes to achieve in life can and does come from God. By being better than others and by having answers that cults like scientology and est only pretend to have, we can weaken these groups. But of all the cults I have dealt with only very rarely have I had to use any physical force or threaten such; this is one such group. Again it was once in self defense and once after repeated "stalking" by a cult member. Cultic organizations can be very dangerous, as the leaders have no true love or respect for outside members. Safety is always an issue when dealing with cults. One would think that a self help cult would be relatively safe but my experience has not been so. I have felt safer in a den of ISKON followers or Unification Camps than in est special guest seminars. If needed,
Physical force is effective with this group, although I do not suggest or encouraging anything illegal or harmful and would do so only as a last resort. Since these followers believe themselves to be "gods" already, and they believe that anything that happens to them happens because of their own choice, threats of harm or violence are very effective because the member believes that he or she is creating a situation that is self destructive. Again do not go out and test this, but remember that most members of this group fell that they are the creators of the world around them, and will quickly back off when they see the creation around them is not going according to their plan. This group also, according to activity when we were rescuing people from it, in the 1980's, did not keep arms at events, but would use dozens of human "guards" to forcefully contain and intimidate recruitees. I am not sure of arms situations now. I know of several groups that do keep arms present now (you might be surprised) but since I no longer follow or deal with anyone in this cult, I could not say for certain now.
Anyway I hope you found this interesting. I enjoyed your website too. EMail me anytime to discuss cults , religion or anything else.