est, now known as Landmark Forum, was founded by Werner Erhard. Erhard was a former Scientologist and a member of the “Human Potential Movement,” who synthesised Scientology, Zen Buddhism, and a number of other philosophies to produce est (Erhard Seminar Training). When the Church of Scientology got wind of this, Erhard and est as a whole were placed on their list of “suppressive persons” and groups. In Scientology, a key crime involves “squirreling the tech,” which could be roughly compared to heresy in other religions. To this day, Scientology retains an “EST [sic] Repair Rundown”, described as follows:
EST Repair Rundown
If you attended Erhard Seminar Training (EST) or Forum (one of its off-shoots), this rundown can repair any damage done by this off-beat activity. EST practices contained just enough truth, “borrowed” from Scientology processes, to get a case into restimulation — and then left it in that state without any means to repair it. This rundown undoes the damage and removes any stops so you can get everything Scientology has to offer.
Having been declared a suppressive person, Erhard was subjected to relentless harassment and intimidation under Scientology’s fair game policy. He would eventually flee the US for Moscow, claiming Scientologists were trying to kill him. est, for its part, would go on to be regarded as a cult in its own right, with numerous tales of psychological abuse of members surfacing over the years.
est is one of the many groups used in Agent Orange’s “Cult Test” as an example of the way cults work. In this video, a former member of Landmark Forum speaks about his experiences with the group. He also in part two discusses Scientology’s treatment of Erhard, including the fair game policy and its consequences.
– The Cult Test
– Wikipedia on Scientology and Werner Erhard
– FACTNet bulletin
– Affidavit of a Scientologist involved in the fair gaming of Werner Erhard
– List of documents from whyaretheydead.net
– Outrageous Betrayal – a book written on est.
– 2003 article on Landmark Forum