Dutch panic over infiltration of an apostate Scientology-alike into education and government


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/03/31/sektesignaal.html


Here is a picture of the leader:


A friend of mine fell prey to this cult. It destroyed his marriage and most of his friendships, including ours. There are only so many times someone can try to sell you on a pyramid of woo before you stop answering his calls.


A guy named Harry Palmer, offering a wizard course. Hmm. Seems legit.


It wouldn’t be the first time.


He seemed like such a promising young man.

Why does a wizard need your money? Can’t he just magic up whatever he needs? If not - why be one?


Everyone knows fairly gold turns back into rubbish the next day.


That’s why you dump it on some mark & go make some more.


They should team up with NXIVM and brand people with wizard lightning bolts.


It doesn’t help that there is no clear dividing line between the corporate and cult worlds. Office workers are routinely in seminars about “golden threads” and “triangles of excellence” and what not; why would they see this course as any different?





Few people appreciate how many of the bloody battles waged during the Protestant Reformation were fought over trademark disputes.




Grand Master?
Grand Wizard?


I wish the Dutch psych professional board would sue for practicing without a license and misappropriation of material. Because that’s a valid exercise to practice both empathy and foster social connection (especially useful in clients with the varieties of social anxiety characterized by anger and demonization of others). But using it for scam/MLM/recruiting purposes is the opposite of the tool’s intention.


Avatar: The Last of the Ear Benders.


While it’s OK that we can’t tax churches in the USA, I wonder if we can make it illegal for religious institutions to require their devotees to buy training courses for them to reach whatever “enlightenment” they preach.

That kind of thing stinks of the old Catholic practice of buying “indulgences.”

Any kind of tithing should be voluntary and not have bearing on whether you get to paradise or not.


I don’t think that’s the case. The US doesn’t tax charities, and most churches get a free pass as a charity, but not if the IRS catches them breaking the rules. (Like running it to benefit the leader.)

However, the IRS’ power to investigate religious organizations was gutted over a decade ago, and it’s going to be a major job to fix that.

That doesn’t matter for Avatar or Star’s Edge, Inc because they’re operating as a regular company, rather than a religious charity.


I don’t know crap about Avatar other than the “Compassion Exercise” above, but I can tell you for sure that it’s a watered-down version of a Mahayana Buddhist practice, what they’d call an “analytical meditation.”

Compassion and Wisdom are the two big things in Mahayana (and many in that sect take the Boddhisattva Vows to help all other sentient beings reach enlightenment).


Substance-abuse rehab seems to be an increasingly popular recruiting tool for these MLM cults. One is counseled (in exhange for $$s), “cured” via whatever dangerous woo is being peddled, then immediately trained (in exchange for $$$$s) to become an entry-level counselor himself. Access to the inner knowledge and accessories required to become a higher-level and better-paid counselor requires outlays of yet more money, of course.

I know an elderly person whose daughter is caught up in one of these scams, and have warned him not to give her any money directly lest it end up in the hands of these snake-oil salesmen.