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An excerpt from "The Politics of Transformation: Recruitment - Indoctrination Processes In a Mass Marathon Psychology Organization"
By PHILIP CUSHMAN
Note: The use of the term "Vitality Initial Training" refers to the Basic Training of a well-known LGAT.
Neither "behavior" nor "experience" subjects gave much information about the post-training interview except to say it was vpry unpleasant and a very hard sell. Two of 3 "behavior" subjects (67%) refused to attend. One "experience'' subject reported that
Oh, God they were hard-assed about it (we call it 'lazer' in Vitality). She Sure had my number! She knew just where to push; I signed up right there at the interview, and I didn't think I wanted to before it started.
Another subject didn't like the hard sell, so her interviewers were flexible.
They Just wouldn't take no for an answer, and I just wouldn't say yes. So then they brought in a very nice guy who was kind of quiet and softer. He didn't push and I said "sure. I'll enroll." I Just didn't like to be pushed.
One of 3 "behavior" subjects (33%) and 10 of 15 "experience" subjects (672) reported that participants first bring their guests (i.e., potential recruits) to the guest event that is scheduled for the same night. They share with them how important Vitality was to them. Then they go to a separate room for the remainder of the night. The trainer starts with two paradoxical interventions: he tells them (a) they won't get "high" from this session like they did the training, and (b) the negative consequences they have suffered since the training are the fault of the participant, not the fault of Vitality.
[COMMENTS: It appears as though he is trying to reframe an uncomfortable occurrence, the loss of the "high" of the training. He does this in a way characteristic of Vitality: he blames the victim. ] One "behavior" subject remembered the trainer saying: "Remember that people create their own problems. You can disappear your problems as easily as you can create them."
The participants are then led in a dyad exercise about love. Then the trainer leads an important, climactic trance induction. Participants are to imagine they are standing in a small beam of light. The light cleanses their whole body. Then they visit their workshops. Participants go to the director's chair which is covered in white light. One "experience" subject reports that the trainer says "you can accomplish anything." They are instructed to get "reacquainted" with the male and female assistants from the last workshop exercise. Then they are instructed to "merge energies" with the two assistants, looking into their eyes and "acknowledging first the male and then the female inside of them." The child. also from the last "workshop" exercise is sitting in the director's chair. Everyone is engulfed in white light and energy. The participant is instructed to merge with the child. Somehow a wall disappears and the participants stand on the "brink of the universe!" The trainer says "You are the creator of your life."
[COMMENTS: This is the final merging of the training. They merge with the archetypal male, female, and child figures. They merge with the universe. In a way they merge with or become God. The grandiosity, exhibiting, and self-preoccupation is clear.]
The trainer once again vigorously encourages future participation in Vitality trainings. Participants are instructed to hold hands in a circle, and then they are instructed to go back to the guest event to "support your friends" (i.e., encourage their recruits to enroll in the training).
[COMMENT: The 'Initial Training is then complete. The merging, grandiosity, and identity confusion that has been encouraged and then exploited in order to control participants is now used to tie them to Vitality in the future by enrolling them in new trainings and enlisting them as recruiters.]
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