How to get my mom realize that she is being taken advantage of by a cult/scam organization?
June 1, 2010 9:30 AM   Subscribe

How do I get to my mother realize that she is being taken advantage of by a cult/scam organization? This is the second time it's happened with her, the first was when she got sucked into the Landmark Forum. Now she is attending the "university" of Santa Monica, an unacredited university which gives "masters degrees" in "spritual psychology".

It is painfully obvious to me that this type of organization is marketed towards middle aged, middle and upper class, spiritual new age types and designed to divorce them from their money.

The school was founded by this guy who seems almost as unscrupulous, evil and profit driven as L. Ron Hubbard:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Delano_Hinkins

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Santa_Monica

The reason it is so hard sway people from this type of scam is that they operate under the guise of self improvement and people who attend are convinced that that they are bettering themselves. She tells me I'm not old enough and in time I will learn to be open minded to believe in a higher power and auras and "living in the light" or whatever crap they teach her. In my opinion the only thing she is open minded towards is magical thinking.
posted by Charlie Lesoine to Religion & Philosophy (41 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you feel that she's competent to make her own decisions? Because if so, what she does with her time and her money is her business. Yes, what's she's doing is absurd, but adults are allowed to engage in magical thinking. I know it's frustrating to watch her literally throw money away, but since she's unwilling to listen to your opinions, there's nothing left for you to do except wait it out.
posted by crankylex at 9:42 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I sympathize with you, this is a frustrating situation. At the same time, your mom is an adult and is capable of making her own decisions. If she has the money to spend and it's not going to put her on the street/wreck her life, maybe the best option is to let her have her learning experience and see what kind of education she gets from it?
posted by Menthol at 9:42 AM on June 1, 2010


I also have a mom who is very "open minded towards magical thinking." Luckily she doesn't actually have enough money to waste it on spurious masters degrees; instead, she wastes it on getting psychic readings by various charlatans.

I don't think there is any way to get someone to realize that they're being taken advantage of. It is painful to see people led down a path that has nothing but wasted money and upset feelings at the end of it; unfortunately, I think that this sort of scam is so powerful because it gives people something that they really, really want: the ability to feel like they are bettering themselves and becoming a spiritual power/enlightened being/whatever, without doing the work (whether physically, psychologically, theologically, or what-have-you) that actually bettering yourself typically entails.

In my experience, the more you try to convince your mom not to fall for this scammer's fake university, the more tightly she will cling to the scam. All you really can do is not yell at her too much, so that when/if she comes to her senses, she won't be too ashamed to turn to you for comfort.
posted by kataclysm at 9:44 AM on June 1, 2010


The problem is that she's already made up her mind. Maybe it's just because she's invested in "being open minded", but she isn't thinking critically about this.

I'm sure she has ideas about what being taken advantage of looks like - probably a long laundry list of items she could point to. If you could get that from her, then you would at least be able to understand why she thinks that this particular scammy thing isn't a scam. Then maybe you can explain to her *your* laundry list of items about why this looks like a scam to you. Try to avoid language like "painfully obvious" - that will probably make her feel stupid and less likely to talk to you about things like this. She's excited, she thinks it's great. Getting on the same page will take a while.
posted by lriG rorriM at 9:45 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


You need to change your approach. If I understand you correctly, you are upset by the content of the courses as well as worried that the University of Santa Monica is a scam. Stop attacking the spirituality aspect, because your mom takes that as a personal attack on her interests. Whatever you think of her interest in spirituality, that bit is harmless IMHO. The non-harmless bit is fake universities that separate people from their money. Focus on digging up the dirt on the university.

I work in Santa Monica, anr there is no University of Santa Monica here!
posted by Joh at 9:45 AM on June 1, 2010


I'd feel very much as you do were my mother doing this.

However, I think you will have a hard time persuading her against the 'magical thinking'.

But you may have some luck trying to dig up stories where this organisation has been criticised/debunked in the media.
posted by selton at 9:47 AM on June 1, 2010


@Joh

Yeah it's hard to miss, but it's in a building on 21st and Wilshire. I haven't brought it up with her yet really, she just knows that I am an atheist and I don't believe in a soul.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 9:51 AM on June 1, 2010


While I agree that this sounds like a scam, I feel like I should point out that Spiritual Psychology is an actual, legit thing and includes things like Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs and Jungian psychology.

I think you may be confusing Spiritual Psychology with things like, say, Parasychology; which is pretty much as legit as it sounds. That's the one that deals with psychic crap.
posted by InsanePenguin at 9:54 AM on June 1, 2010


I am an atheist and I don't believe in a soul.

So am I. At least read the wiki page on Spiritual Psych. The "soul" as referenced in Spiritual Psych could better be described as the one distinct "you."
posted by InsanePenguin at 9:58 AM on June 1, 2010


There's a question of context here. The more of a financial burden this is on your mom, the farther I think you should go to try and change her mind. If she's like those older people who get wrapped up in TV preachers and send them their food money, then yes, I'd say you need to try to intervene.

But the sense I get here is that your mom can afford this without substantially harming herself. And in that case, I think you probably just have to grit your teeth and put up with it. Some people keep boats, some do civil war reenacting. Your mom does this stuff.

I'd stick to the level of, "we both know I don't have a very high opinion of these people, but I respect your choices," and maybe try to suggest more appropriate ways to indulge her interests.

If it's about learning and self-improvement for her, you might note that there are real courses she could take from real schools that would give her a more meaningful return on her investment. And if it's about the spirituality, there are plenty of ways to pursue that that aren't about giving someone a whole bunch of money.
posted by Naberius at 10:00 AM on June 1, 2010


The reason it is so hard sway people from this type of scam is that they operate under the guise of self improvement and people who attend are convinced that that they are bettering themselves.

Is she, in fact, bettering herself? By that I mean, does she seem happier and more content? As long as she doesn't expect to get a job with her "masters" degree, what exactly is your objection to her spending the money on something she gets value from? Without a coherent explanation of how she is harming herself, I don't see how you can convince her.

For the record, I am also an atheist.
posted by desjardins at 10:00 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once got a friend out of Scientology just by asking her questions that she couldn't answer, and encouraging her to ask her instructor those same questions. The key to it was to first establish that while I wasn't a big fan of Scientology, I WAS a big fan of her making her own decisions and doing stuff that made her happy, and that I was asking these questions only because I loved her and wanted the opportunity to correct my own misconceptions about Scientology.

And then, I only asked her legitimate questions, no "gotchas." Questions like "Most other evangelizing religions I'm familiar with, like Christianity, are so interested in getting people into the door that they distribute their spiritual literature for free. Heck, the Gideons go around leaving it hotel rooms. Why do the Scientologists charge money even for the basics, and why do they charge MORE money to learn more? I understand the notion about how only knowledge which is worked for is respected; in martial arts you need to master lower levels before you can even learn higher-level stuff, and in some sects of Hinduism, there are secrets that require years of volunteerism to gain access to. But it seems like in the Scientology heirarchy, the only sacrifice which counts is the ability to write increasingly fat checks, and I find that disturbing."

Anyway, the approach was really successful. I'd recommend something similar. "hey Mom, I was looking into this University of Santa Monica thing, and I found a couple of things that seem kind of disturbing to me. Can you explain them to me, or ask the administration to explain them? I'd hate to think you were getting caught up in some kind of scam." The trick is to 1) assume that you are wrong and that you just have some niggling concerns that can be cleared up in a jiffy, and 2) demonstrate that you trust her judgment and discernment. DO NOT focus on the truth or untruth of the classes; focus on the sleaziness of the business model.
posted by KathrynT at 10:05 AM on June 1, 2010 [26 favorites]


@InsanePenguin

Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs is part of regular psychology. I believe Jungian psychology has been debunked by cognitive behavioral therapy. Spiritual psychology as far as I can tell has nothing to do with the scientific method or science at all and has very little to do with real psychology.

@desjardins

I don't know if she is bettering herself. She is just convinced that she needs to keep "growing" as a person, even though she is past 50 years old, like she thinks there is something wrong with her.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 10:10 AM on June 1, 2010


She tells me I'm not old enough and in time I will learn to be open minded to believe in a higher power and auras and "living in the light" or whatever crap they teach her

Not to be argumentative, but she's absolutely right about you. You clearly have no understanding of what spiritual psychology is and not enough respect for your mother to try and legitimately find out. Get off your high horse and call the school yourself.

Higher powers, auras, and "living in the light" have nothing to do with what the school proposes to offer. Whether or not they actually teach spiritual psych and not some mumbo-jumbo is for them to prove.
posted by InsanePenguin at 10:10 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is she truly being scammed? There's a difference between paying a straight-up fee for instruction vs. a cult organization that has increasing, hidden costs members are pressured in to. It seems crazy to me to pay $1775 for Integrative Approaches to Radiant Health, but if that's all she's paying and she can afford it, I'm not sure it's fair to say she's being scammed.

Put another way: you may be more effective in talking to your mother from a position of respect. Accept that she finds this kind of "woo" meaningful. Focus on the financial question: does she know what it costs, can she afford it? Also focus on the goal: does she think a "Masters in Spiritual Psychology" is going to be valuable for more than the experience of it?
posted by Nelson at 10:16 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


@ InsanePenguin

Sorry I meant Chakras not auras. My mistake. I read the wikipedia page on spiritual psychology...why should I take it seriously as an academic field? And I have helped her type up her homework so I am familiar with the type of work she does there.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 10:21 AM on June 1, 2010


For the record, Jungian psychology has not been "debunked" by CBT. In fact, the APA published some fairly comprehensive research about psychodynamic theory's efficacy back in January. (Of course, Jungian =/= psychodynamic, but there are tons of similarities.)

But to the question at hand: this program looks like it may contain its fair share of crazysauce; however, it really is your mother's money to spend, and if she decides it's what she needs in life, more power to her. Wanting to keep growing past the age of 50 is something to be celebrated, not denigrated.
posted by harperpitt at 10:23 AM on June 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


@harperpitt

You are right I shouldn't put her down for wanting to keep growing, but I wish she could understand that you don't need to give people your money in order to do it.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 10:29 AM on June 1, 2010


I get the worried about a scam part. But I also feel like you have a vested interest in her having the same belief system as yours. That seems curious to me. You do get that her spirituality is not really any of your business, yes? I think you need to make that distinction first, and then look at if she is being financially damaged.

And why in the world would someone stop growing after 50?

(sorry, these things just seem like judgment from you, and might hinder you. I hope I am misinterpreting)
posted by Vaike at 10:31 AM on June 1, 2010


Try to avoid language like "painfully obvious" - that will probably make her feel stupid and less likely to talk to you about things like this.

Seconding this. It doesn't matter how right you are, you can't persuade anyone by telling them they're wrong and stupid. Consider that you're really arguing against an institution that is designed to pull people (e.g. your mother) in and make them feel welcome.

KathrynT's approach here is excellent. If you can nudge your mother a bit into thinking critically - without sounding like you're trying to start a debate - she may come around sooner, and if she does, she'll feel like it was her idea.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:32 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


but I wish she could understand that you don't need to give people your money in order to do it.

Maybe she does understand this, but wants the experience anyway? You don't NEED to travel, but the experience is certainly worthwhile.

I used to work at a university and I know full well that unaccredited degrees are absolutely worthless if you plan to transfer the credits or apply for another degree. I also think that if she has the money to spend and she's not harming anyone, then what difference does it make?
posted by desjardins at 10:35 AM on June 1, 2010


My grandmother was just like your mom, very into all sorts of new age things. It drove my dad crazy that she spent so much money on it. I think he cared a lot more than his siblings did.

I'm also pretty sure that his relationship with her was the most strained in the family, and I'm pretty sure their disagreements about this stuff were part of the reason why.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:38 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


She is just convinced that she needs to keep "growing" as a person, even though she is past 50 years old, like she thinks there is something wrong with her.

That doesn't have to be interpreted as her thinking there's something wrong with her - wanting to "grow" as a person is generally a good goal, at any age. No one's got all the answers.

These particular methods of growth may be disappointing to you - I can relate, and would probably be more excited to see art classes, or maybe some adult ed at the local community college, or that kind of thing. But it's up to her what she wants to get into. Unless she is spending money she doesn't have, or making really bad decisions in her life as a result of it, maybe you could try to support the underlying impetus, even while not fully endorsing the particulars.

Honestly, I understand what you're feeling - my mom got into the forum years ago, and I hated it. But it didn't help to be antagonistic, and I now think the better choice would have been to concentrate on supporting her, and just accepted that she might find different things useful as tools for achieving happiness than I do. It doesn't make her a bad person.

The forum is almost a kind of secular church - it makes the participants feel empowered and connected. It won't help to explain why it isn't rational... I imagine her new interest has similar benefits - your arguments are most likely going to fall on deaf ears, unless you can see that she isn't getting the emotional or personal benefits she hoped for.
posted by mdn at 10:39 AM on June 1, 2010


.why should I take it seriously as an academic field?

Well, to be honest, why should your mother's interests be confined to the things you take seriously? I spend $65/hr for voice lessons, and I promise you that my teacher doesn't belong to any sort of accredited institution. If you're going to be successful in disengaging her from a scam designed to separate her from her money, you're going to need to respect her interests in the subject. Attacking anything other than the institution, as opposed to the field of study, is a kind of morally bankrupt argument.
posted by KathrynT at 10:39 AM on June 1, 2010


"I don't know if she is bettering herself. She is just convinced that she needs to keep "growing" as a person, even though she is past 50 years old, like she thinks there is something wrong with her."

So you're saying you object to her spending money on something that interests her because she is over 50 and what... it's time for her to stagnate now because you think she should be past caring about personal growth? People want to learn and grow because it is enjoyable, not necessarily because they think there is something wrong with them. But even if she does think she has something wrong with her, it's not like over-fifty is too late to bother with fixing it! Middle age is not just the waiting room for death, you know.

I understand you think these things that interest her are bullshit, but it's her life and she's allowed to determine for herself what are the most satisfying ways to direct her time, money and attention. Unless she is spending money she needs to live or genuinely harming herself in some way, I think you should butt out.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:43 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Yeah it's hard to miss, but it's in a building on 21st and Wilshire. I haven't brought it up with her yet really, she just knows that I am an atheist and I don't believe in a soul."

I'm an atheist too. In fact, I'm so atheist that I don't even believe in atheism. That being said, if you're hoping to change your mother's views to match your own, you're going to fail just as she would fail if she tried to change yours to match hers. It's so easy to assume she is wrong and you are right, eh? That seems Painfully Obvious to me :)


"I shouldn't put her down for wanting to keep growing, but I wish she could understand that you don't need to give people your money in order to do it."

You don't "have to", but sometimes it helps. My college education wasn't free, nor have been any of the courses I've taken since.

Again, I am an atheist too, and I also am no fan of the cult-like aspects of Landmark Education (the forum is only one part of it). I completely agree with you on these things. But - and this is a really important point: You seem interested in changing your mother's beliefs. Who are you to decide what she should believe? Don't do it.
posted by 2oh1 at 10:49 AM on June 1, 2010


I'm guessing your mom is retired and is bored at home. I think that unless money is scarce and she's drawing from vital funds to do this, you should go ahead and let her "attend" this "university". She's an adult who has the power to make her own decisions.

If you're upset about what you see as a waste of money, try seeing it as a source of entertainment for her. Some people go on vacations, some order stuff from the home shopping channel. This is simply her preferred escape. As long as her "tuition" isn't putting the family in financial danger, by all means, let her do it.
posted by estlin at 10:52 AM on June 1, 2010


I feel like I should point out that Spiritual Psychology is an actual, legit thing and includes things like Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs and Jungian psychology.

Even if you buy that the field is a legitimate subfield of psychology*, the school is unaccredited. In higher education, "unaccredited" pretty transparently means "not legit". In some areas, it may be illegal to claim to have the "degrees" they are offering.

* I don't buy this, and the wikipedia page linked in the quoted comment, extensive though it is, doesn't do anything to help. For example, nearly the only journals cited in the "transpersonal psychology" entry (what "spiritual psychology" redirects to) are the journal of transpersonal psychology, and the international journal of transpersonal studies. Certainly no mainstream psych journals are there -- not a good sign. At best it is a fringe field of humanistic psychology, which itself I will refrain from commenting on here.

On preview: it is absurd to compare unaccredited voice lessons, which teach a skill, and presumably don't result in a degree that is called a "masters" or "PhD", with an unaccredited institution calling itself a university, that claims to offer such degrees.
posted by advil at 11:16 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"She is just convinced that she needs to keep "growing" as a person, even though she is past 50 years old, like she thinks there is something wrong with her."

is a very telling statement....

my simple advice... let it go.

If my son were getting between me and my quest for spiritual quest (fly fishing), I would get damn pissed.
posted by HuronBob at 11:24 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


"quest for spirtual quest" does not make sense... once I finish the fly fishing quest, I'm questing for grammer....
posted by HuronBob at 11:25 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


On preview: it is absurd to compare unaccredited voice lessons, which teach a skill, and presumably don't result in a degree that is called a "masters" or "PhD", with an unaccredited institution calling itself a university, that claims to offer such degrees.

Agreed, and I didn't mean to imply that. I only intended to show that you can pay money for training without having it be a waste of time.
posted by KathrynT at 11:29 AM on June 1, 2010


I've read most of the posts here and it seems like everyone is focusing on the "If she wants to and it makes her happy then let her do it" and the money side of things.

I've done a little searching around and noticed a few things that might be worth looking into. Start with the founder of the University, the Wikipedia article kicks off a few alarm bells already. A little more searching (A Google search for "Criticisms about the University of Santa Monica") comes up with this massive 4 page story. I haven't read the entire thing, but most of it looks quite worrying. This is a comparison about other cults and organised criminal groups to some of the tactics used by the MSIA group run by the founder of the "university". I can't find the final link, but I did read a small forum discussion about people who were currently in study at the "university" being encouraged to not talk about any group work they did at the "university" and a majority of the work is on profiling friends and family. (I don't know about any of you, but that certainly rings alarm bells for me, if it is true, of course).

When it comes down to it, I honestly don't know if this "university" is bonafide but just looking at the facts doesn't bode well for the institution.

I would agree also with KathrynT's techniques of how she got her friend out of Scientology. You need to make it perfectly clear that you completely support her bettering herself in any way she wants, and that she is an adult and is completely capable of making her own decisions but that in this case you have specific legitimate concerns about this institution and what she could possibly be getting involved with.
posted by Rax at 11:34 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Mom, I'm worried about you because I found out very sketchy information about the University of Santa Monica. It seems to be a criminal organisation (or whatever).
I researched a bit and found other programs and courses that you might be interested in, and that seem to be more trustworthy and serious. If you don't like them, I'll help you to look for other courses."

A similar approach might make your mother feel that you respect her spiritual quest and her need to grow as a person, and it might help you to accept, if not approve, her interests. The important thing is to search for resources that actually would be interesting for her, even if you hate them. This is not an opportunity to impose your opinions on her.
posted by clearlydemon at 12:04 PM on June 1, 2010


I'm so proud that for once the green near-consensus has gone against the easy response of "of course it is a cult" attitude which seems so prevalent, almost expected, here.

In fact, I'd wager that the OP expected a near-universal outpouring of support for the intolerant attitude. (Judgmental term, sorry, I'll try to do better) It must be odd to hear a nearly-universal call to let your mom be happy as long as she isn't hurting herself.

Look, people grow in different ways. Some like to consider and apply ideas that you may consider "woo-woo", without necessarily abandoning the ability to get stuff done in the world or the ability to care for themselves. I think it is a positive and I support your mom.
posted by Invoke at 12:08 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe Jungian psychology has been debunked by cognitive behavioral therapy.

I don't think that "debunked" is exactly the right word, at least not based on the answers I got to this question a while back.
posted by hermitosis at 12:31 PM on June 1, 2010


I shouldn't put her down for wanting to keep growing, but I wish she could understand that you don't need to give people your money in order to do it.

Skipping over the "University of Santa Monica" bit (which does sound extremely dubious but others have already addressed that), you're wrong in this assertion.

Many, many learning experiences require payment or some kind of contribution. Whether it's a degree at an accredited institution, a class from a knowledgeable but uncertified amateur, a retreat at a Zen monastery, pre-Cana classes through the Catholic church, sessions with a trained therapist or counselor, or even just buying a textbook to learn human anatomy — in most cases the person who wishes to learn will have to make some kind of monetary or other contribution. Teachers, doctors, priests, and other spiritual guides like to eat. Textbook writers and people who create class curricula like to pay their rent.

And it can be argued that it's a human tendency not to value that which one doesn't pay for. To quote Lois McMaster Bujold, "Never, ever suggest they don't have to pay you. What they pay for, they'll value. What they get for free, they'll take for granted, and then demand as a right."
posted by Lexica at 1:41 PM on June 1, 2010


Charlie, unfortunately you made some pretty poor choices in your wording and phrasing in the original question and your follow-up responses. I think a lot of the reaction you're getting here is due to those choices.

On the other hand, I'm surprised that the majority of mefites in this thread are ignoring the University of Santa Monica and Roger Hinkins. Both the "university" and the man/organization behind it look pretty bunk to me.

What do you need to do in order to get your mom to see their dubious nature? KathrynT gave some excellent advice above, and I'd suggest that you do some more research on LGAT, MSIA, est, NLP and other similar 'movements.' Other than that, I'd suggest that you read up on how to effectively communicate with family members who are involved in cults. I don't have specific recommendations, but I'm sure there are a number of legitimate books, websites and organizations devoted to exactly this topic.

Also, work on your attitude. You're coming across pretty negative about your mom, and I think it's going to hurt your chances to help her out (just look at how this question's gone for proof).
posted by syzygy at 2:11 PM on June 1, 2010


There are cheaper ways to learn about auras or spiritual growth or whatever (try a book? hanging out in the new age store?). But if this place is already reputed to be a scam, and you know she's prone to falling for scams, I'd print out that information proving it to be so and show it to her.

No need to slam on her desire to learn, just point out that this particular organization is fishy, and go find some Learning Exchange course listings in your area instead.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:53 PM on June 1, 2010


Yeah. It seems like you actually have two questions here. The first is "How do I stop my mother from wasting her money 'studying' about woo-woo nonsense?" The second is "How do I stop my mother from being pulled into a well-documented scam organization that appears to be quite efficiently poised to separate people from their money as fast as possible?"

The answer to the first question is, you don't. And until you can get comfortable with that fact, you're going to have a lot more trouble with the second question, because this scam organization will have extremely sharp ways of blurring the lines between questioning their business practices and questioning their courses' subject matter. You need to be able to throw unquestioning and enthusiastic support behind her following this course of study in order to lead her to open her eyes about the fauxniversity. So either learn to make your peace with your mother freely choosing to study something you consider to be nonsense, or learn to fake it real well.
posted by KathrynT at 3:22 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks everyone. I always end up sounding like an asshole on ask metafilter
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 4:36 PM on June 1, 2010


you don't sound like an asshole to me, charlie. you sound concerned about your momma. you should be, to an extent. MSIA is a cult, with all of the trappings, but they are not as bad or expensive as some others.

i spent some time studying with MSIA. they didn't ask for very much of my money (about $100 a year for discourses), and i found the reading material to be satisfying. i also attended a gathering and movie screening and i found the people to be very pleasant, warm, and genuine. the organization even gave out free books (if you're concerned about the $$ aspect). i got to meet john-roger himself and thought he was an odd one but not some seething kookmeister. however, i am a critical thinker and this is definitely a cult. i don't know if it's dangerous or what...i really don't think so. depends on how far you want to go. the good thing is that you've got your eye on your mom and can pull her out if things get weird. here's the main thing with MSIA: they try to push on you that if you don't read your discourses and don't get initiated into the "sound current" (they give you a "tone" when you are "ready"....and they can "disconnect" your "tone" if you are a major dissenter, etc), you may end up reincarnating on earth or another planet rather than on a higher spiritual plane. i just don't believe that shit. i believe in god and believe in the soul, and i just don't think that the key off of the wheel was handed to a bunch of californians. sorry.

the teachings are humorous and light and comforting, though. lots of good stuff in there. thing is, all of that stuff can be found in other places and spiritual evolution (a noble goal!!) is a great refuge and a great comfort and can be really powerful especially later in life. everything in moderation.
posted by bright and shiny at 6:56 PM on June 1, 2010


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