How it all began

There are a number of ways that people of all walks of life get recruited into cults. Share your experience here.
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How it all began

Unread post by journeythroughramthaland »

Note to the moderators:
I was not exactly sure where to put this, if you feel it should be better off somewhere else, please feel free to move it. And thanks once again for doing a wonderful job!!!

This has been a long time coming. While never having been a student of RSE I hope this narrative will give you all some insight into my interest and how it came about with regard to RSE as well as my interests with regard to the concepts of mind control, influence and persuasion. I hope that my story will help those wondering how someone can become in a position and have their mind messed with.

One other thing, my experience is more then likely atypical from an x-member, in duration and non-participation in a group. What we do share is that we ended up in a position where each one of us trusted someone and our trust was betrayed and our thinking processes suffered as a result.

First, a bit about myself: Currently 55 years old. I was brought up in NYC. My father had been a Madison Avenue ad executive for over 25 years at the time of my birth. He continued on with a career in the ad industry for over 50 years, even while the average age of the ad biz was getting less and less. He was extremely open to new ideas and younger thought, which is one of the reasons he did so well in his field until his retirement.

I mention this as a preface to my understanding of persuasive techniques. My dad thoroughly explained (in the best terms of his time) what advertising was, how it worked, why it worked and gave me the tools to know when and where it was working on me.

Regardless of my knowledge of being persuaded against ones better judgment, I became enmeshed in a world in which I had only read or seen in the movies.

I had spent the better part of my adult years self employed as a model and fortunately was quite successful. This is how I came to know Charles Williamson, Most of those reading, if they knew him would know him under the name of Bodhananda. We were colleges and he was enjoying success as well.

I also took self-defense classes with a gentleman named Dwight. Bodhananda (I will refer to him as Bo from here on in) was a long time student of Dwight.

*A note on theses classes that will become important to understanding what occurred later.

The concept behind Dwight's self-defense classes (one which he reached from having studied and gained proficiency in a number of martial arts) was that in order to defend ones self, one must have some knowledge of what it was they were defending (self).

For the most part done in an isometric manner, i.e. push-ups, sit ups, ballet plie's. These would be done in a specific form; the form added an intense degree of difficulty to them. A push up would not start with one on the ground but in the air and then lower down slowly; a sit up would start in the up position as well.

The purpose of the exercises would be to attempt to put every single bit of energy into it from the beginning. Ideally, one could possibly be finished with the exercise the moment they started if they had done that. (I never saw anyone do that nor was it proposed that anyone ever had).

In doing the exercises, one would gain a perspective about where they held back and come to their own conclusions as to why. If one uses all their energy, they end up helpless and unable to move any more.

In most cases, one would do anywhere from 4-5 repetitions of the exercise before reaching an exhausted state. For example, in the push up, if one poured all their energy into going down, they never came up. One would be exhausted and basically fall asleep. Dwight the instructor would then wake you after a few minutes, and then move on to the next exercise. Classes could last from 2 hours to 6 hours sometimes on an individual level.

I will insert here, that at no time did Dwight ever attempt to indoctrinate a philosophy or concept more then what I have stated here.

The expected results for myself and most that participated was learning a different method to perceive how much one holds back in ones efforts and why. These were lessons that can be applied at times to life, and becomes more important and applicable in determining and acting in life and death situations.

Basically, one would on a continuing basis have breakthroughs, physically, emotionally as well as intellectually. I for one always felt it necessary to stop the classes at certain points so that I had some time to process my personal breakthroughs so as to not be caught in the process of the exercises themselves. I would leave for some times months at a time. I never felt any pressure from Dwight about this; in fact, he expressed understanding for my need to do so.

Bo on the other hand, was there almost every day for many years, and was Dwight's protoge.

During the time I knew Bo, not only was I his college, we became friends. Not that we spent a lot of time together outside the industry or the self defense classes, but we would have quite an intellectual dialogue together about various things. I often found myself on the other side of the equation when having discussions with him but we were able to agree to disagree.

I spent a couple of years as the director of a major modeling agency in NYC and had persuaded Bo to leave his agency and join the agency I was with. It was a bit prior to this and during that he became involved with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. He changed radically at this time. Besides the wearing of the colors of the commune and the portrait of the leader around his neck at all times, things that had mattered to him previously no longer seemed to matter

He would constantly try to get me to go up to the ranch in Oregon. When questioned as to what goes on, I was always told ;"I would have to experience it for myself". That is one line I have never fallen for. Besides telling me that I would only be able to understand what was happening would be to go there, Bo also told me that I would love it because there were so many women up there. As far as I was concerned, living in NYC and being in the modeling industry seemed to me to be the best outlet for my desires for women at the time.

As his involvement with the ranch proceeded and as his agent, I witnessed several changes both in his business as well as his personal life; He sold a condo he had bought and gave the proceeds to the organization, he demanded that his name be changed (for business} to Bodhananda a name which was given to him by Rajneesh to replace his own.

I spent several hours trying to persuade him not to do that and to also reconsider if he wanted to continue going to his calls and bookings in full regalia of Rajneesh. I explained that I felt that both of those things would and were affecting his business in a negative way. I explained that while I understood that in a perfect world it shouldn't I was cognizant of the fact that it was. His bookings nosed dived as his involvement deepened. (He did by the way, eventually go back to his modeling name of Charles Williamson and it helped his business).

This has just been some background in order to give some depth of the extent of time I had known Bo prior to the incident I am about to describe. About 15 years in all. Putting aside his tendency for arrogance which had increased during his time in Rajneesh as well as his time in RSE I had always found him a gentle soul, caring for humanity, generous, charismatic as well as humorous.

By 1990,I had stopped being an agent, had gone back to modeling as well as having an architectural woodworking company specializing in high end renovations in NYC.

My daughter was living with me having come over from living with her mom in Germany since she was 4 years old (her mom and I had separated). Prior to this, she had come over to spend her summers and we had split the holidays. For me, I was certainly in a transitional stage, becoming the full time single parent for the first time.

She applied and was accepted to The High School for Performing arts in the acting department and she seemed to me and her instructors to be doing extremely well.

I hadn't seen Bo in a few years. One day, I ran into him on the street and we grabbed a cup of coffee to catch up. He was not working in the industry any more, he was not involved with Rajneesh, he alluded to something he was involved with but I didn't press him on the details since he didn't seem eager to speak of it. I asked him how Dwight was and found out that Dwight had passed away the year before. Bo asked me why I would go in and out of the classes and I explained as I have above. He asked me if I would like to start taking the classes with him one on one. I said yes and asked him if he would be interested in bartering and I would teach him to swim (I was aware he had a dreadful fear of the water yet always wanted to overcome it).

And so, I began taking the classes with Bo. For the most part, the classes themselves were exactly the same. After a few classes, Bo said that he had learned something new, that instead of falling asleep when one reached exhaustion, that you should "just stay above consciousness, because that was when you were learning". Apparently this is the jz/r version of twilight?

Over the next couple of months, I continued taking the classes 2-3 times a week and would give him swimming classes in return. Bo also had no money at this time, they had turned off his electricity in his apartment and he was facing eviction. I was working on a restaurant project at the time and was able to hire him to help me out in the shop. For what I had for him to do he did incredibly well. I say this because he basically worked like a machine, which was what the work required.

During this time, he was coming over to my apartment for meals quite often. I had also learned by this time that he was involved in something that he could not tell me about (secret knowledge, bound by a written agreement). In his own apartment, he would sit for hours thinking that he was going to somehow get the electricity on without paying the bill. I finally got tired of watching him go through this and brought an extension cord and wired him up to the electricity from the hall of the building. I remember saying something like "If you really want it on without paying the bill, this is how it is done." Crazily enough, Bo felt that he had thought the electricity into being, not acknowledging that I had just robbed the power from the building!

In any case, during the times Bo was at our apartment, he met my daughter. Before, during and after meals, he would usually steer the conversation around to some controversial subject, aliens, UFO's, the "grey" men, trilateral commission, Buildibergers, Bill Cooper's book "beyond a pale horse", etc.

Almost all of what he was speaking of, I had heard over the years and I mean 20 years prior. So this was not news to me and I told him so. My daughter witnessed and participated in the discussions and I felt since I was there to contradict most of the supposed evidence that Bo tried to support his beliefs with that there would be no harm done.

In addition, at this time my girlfriend was involved in another "spiritual organization" of the eastern mysticism type. I had gone to a couple of meetings with her before letting her know it was not for me.

Back to the exercises for a moment: when the classes were over, it could take upwards of an hour just to have the strength to move up from the floor. During this time, waiting to get up, Bo and I would have conversations. I might say something like, "I had a taxi driver who pissed me off today." He would reply with "Did he piss you off? Or are you pissed off. Go back to that place (the place in the exercises when instead of going to sleep I would just stay above consciousness). Look at it from there."

I found I was immediately able to go back to that state. The best way I have found to describe that state is, it is like the split second before one goes to sleep and then snaps awake from. Only it is stretched out from a period of 2- 30 min.

As I was in this internal state, There seemed to be no way that I could examine anything that was external from myself, and so, I would be self examining what would be normal statements, i.e. the taxi driver and such until I came to some new resolution as to what had happened (My part in it).

Over the next couple of months, continuing the classes, (this is in hindsight) Almost anytime I experienced any strong emotion, I found myself examining it, very often "discovering" what was unseen in the experience. My girlfriend at the time was the first to notice something had changed. (I had become cold and seemingly uncaring because I was selfishly being self conscious). She told me that she thought it was due to the time I spent with Bodhananda.

I vehemently rejected her observations. At the time, I thought I was all my own invention.

About a month and a half after starting the classes, I had an experience that awoke me from my sleep. It certainly felt more then a dream and most definitely nothing like I had ever experienced before in my life. I had been speaking with a "being" telepathically.

When I woke up I had a phrase in my head clearer then any thought I had previously had.

This happened on several other occasions and each time language was involved. I am saving the dialogue for the book.

I can say this much, that the experience was so extra-ordinary that it left me with no answers, a state that I am usually comfortable with, but in this case it nagged at me.

My daughter was aware of these experiences and must have thought that I may have flipped my lid but never told me so if she did. I am sure it did not go very far to create a stable environment.

That is a peep into my head at the time.

Also, around the same time, my daughter asked me if she could take the classes with Bo. I remember so distinctly, my immediate bodily reaction. It was one of rapid heartbeat, ears ringing, blood rushing, which I immediately shut down by asking myself "Why am I reacting this way, what does it have to do with me? "

I gave an affirmative nod to her taking the classes, I don't remember but will not forget to ask, but I can't remember if we ever took them together, that?s how hollow of memory my mind is of that time.

About 3 weeks into her taking the classes, I was informed that the 2 of them were an item.

Once again, I felt like someone had reached inside me and twisted my guts, some part of me knew this was terribly wrong, yet, I was not able to get a critical handle on it, my mind would make feeble attempts but I would end up back in that state and self examine, "Why am I feeling like this? Is it because he is black? Because he is so much older? Why does it make me feel insecure" Me, me, me......

But a rift had happened inside of me and the feeble part of my mind was whispering things I could not seem to hear.

Several weeks later, my daughter came home and told me that she wanted to drop out of high school (high school of performing arts). This threw me for a loop and I was much less what did it have to do with me and tried to get her to explain what and why she had come to this decision. She would only give me few words. "Because I want to" ,"I KNOW I want to" That was the extent of it.

I tried to speak with her over the next couple of days, I could not get anywhere, she was spending more time with Bo. Eventually, it came out that she wanted to go to Yelm with Bo and to go to RSE.

This time the whispering was louder in my head, it was flashing WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!. I contacted her mom in Germany and pleaded with her to come over so that we could present a united front against her leaving school for RSE.

Her mom came over, we were unsuccessful and in the end her mom acquiesced to our daughter's bull headedness. Yet neither of us could get any sort of meaningful explanation other then this is because she "wants it".

The week before she was going to leave, I understood something had happened to me, I had no idea what, but I knew something was just not right, this time I felt the need to separate myself not just from Bo but also my daughter while I tried to work it out. I was not going into that state any more or not so deeply at least, but my abilities to reason and make sense of the situation did not seem able to surface.

A few days before she was set to leave, I hear her speaking with her best friends on the phone. She had already been cutting her ties with virtually anyone she had had a relationship with except this friend. I overheard her say "Oh, her, she just an angry person!".

It was as if someone had thrown a hand grenade in my head. I had heard her and seen her out of the corner of my eye. I recognized this as being a statement Bo had made in conversation about this particular friend. The frightening part was, not only had she used the same words, the intonation was his, and the hand movements were his as well.

Instantaneously I remembered having discussions with some of my friends as well as my girlfriend where I had said something and a voice inside my head had not questioned the veracity of what I was saying but recognized that I had not used my own words.

It was if a blanket had been removed from my mind and this all occurred in a split second. I felt that somehow Bo had gotten into my head. And if he had, then it had something to do with the exercises and there was no way my daughter would be a match for that.

The fear and horror of somehow having ones mind fucked with is difficult to describe let alone believe. I followed the fear this time instead of questioning it away.

Fortunately for me, very fortunately, probably the only thing that kept me from losing it all together was that since the time my daughter had come to live with me, I had kept a journal. The first time I had ever done so. I knew if what I thought had happened to me really had and was indeed happening to her, it would show up in my writing.

I opened it up and began reading. There it was, after a couple of weeks of taking the classes, a complete personality change. Not gradual, but overnight!

My fright and horror turned to shock and anger with the fact that my mind had been accessed without my knowledge. I felt dirty in a way that could not be cleansed, Just recalling it as I write gives me the heebe-jeebees.

So there I was, a few days before she is going to leave, I know what has happened to me, what is worse I know what was happening to her. That was not all, the dynamic of her and Bo being intimate as well as her natural conflict of just being a teenager was a difficult mix to contend with. Knowing what had happened though did not give me any insight into how to handle it (except murderously, which while entertained, I refrained from pursuing).

I spent the next couple of days in the library, reading everything I could on brainwashing. I came across and read Lifton's work on thought reform first. Once understanding the dynamics of what had happened, I also was coming to understand the complexity in how to prevent my daughter from damage and also how I should not play into his (Bo's) hand by creating a scene in which would enable him to make a break and allow my daughter to break ties with me.

I urgently tried to explain to her mom what I had discovered. I think she may have looked at me a bit like I was out of my mind. She had not only acquiesced to my daughter, but was paying for both of their tickets back to Yelm! I am sure rather then thinking that he had taken advantage of a 16 year old girl and her mother, Bo thought that he had manifested his trip back to the ranch that he had been trying to manifest for the last couple of months.

The next to last day before she left, I got in touch with a couple of cult resources, I had an intimate knowledge of what was occurring. Feeling like it was imminent that I make some plan of action, I related my story to the "experts" I received replies that range from "If it were my daughter, I would tie her up to keep her from going". To, "She's in the honeymoon stage now, there is nothing you can do for her now."

There was little consensus on an action plan. I did get a consensus on making sure to stay in touch, from some they suggested that I appear open to the group, I can understand that approach but for myself it would have meant too drastic a change from myself to play plausibly.

Through a bit of research, I came across an essay by Joe Szimhart, and contacted him. He appeared to be one who would have current and extensive knowledge on the group. Joe and I communicated over the next couple of months; I went down to Philly once or twice to meet with him and another exit counselor.

From the first day my daughter was gone, I started gathering info for action plans, they ranged from Ramboesque, to full scale Mission Impossible. Eventually, I planned an "exit-counseling" in which Joe and several others participated. While unsuccessful, it is a story in itself.

I had so much rage, I felt like Bronson, in "Death Wish" in spades! The only thing that kept me from going there was Bodhananda, who while arrogant, narcissistic, opinionated, and pompous, was not conniving, or one who enjoys inflicting harm on another. I understood he had had his mind messed with and as a result I don't think he understood the mechanics of what had occurred nor would he have cared to know. I knew whom to hold responsible and that meant follow the money!!

Prior to Bo joining RSE, he had different character, one that I would have never thought him to behave as he did in such a selfish, non-caring manner. Still, I regret his passing and the way in which he died. For R/JZ to have gone up on the stage and spoken of him/her (R/JZ) having been dancing with Bo in the 32nd universe makes me want to puke!!

My girlfriend had gone up to the Ashram to live a week before my daughter left because one of the swamis had told her it was time. I think it had a bit more to do with the fact my girlfriend had just received $250,000 settlement from an insurance claim. 3 weeks after my daughter had left, I had found an x member from my girlfriends group that had the inside info. We did an informal exit counseling, she said she would think about it and went back to the Ashram. Later that week I got the call to come and sneak her out in the middle of the night. The groups "financial advisor had just been about to invest her settlement" for her.

So, I hope this gives you somewhat of an idea of how I have come to all this. Even though I was never a member, my pattern of thinking was restructured in a short period of time, without my knowledge and helped lead to devastating consequences. I feel one of the primary reasons this happened was because I trusted and assumed my trust would be respected and returned which turned out not to be the case. I can sincerely say that had I not realized what had been going on with my daughter, I have no idea how long I might have remained in my altered personality.
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Unread post by ignatious »

Going to come back later to read more thoroughly. Quite a story.
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Unread post by Diane »

Unbelievable! What hell you must have gone through. This would make an incredible movie. If for no other reason, it would expose how these cults recruit their members.
I look forward to your book......
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Unread post by journeythroughramthaland »


In all fairness, I don't have the impression that there is any overt recruiting by RSE students similar to some other groups out there.

Yes, one may attempt to bring another into the fold but would virtually never say they were recruiting. They may sincerely believe that RSE is the best thing since sliced bread and want the best for their friends and family. It also may be partially a result of "misery loving company".

This type of mental contagion as I call it as opposed to recruiting, is much more subtle and within its subtlety lies its effectiveness and ability to convert more rapidly and covertly even if it is not on purpose.

It would be similar to having a flu. Prior to ones symptoms, they might end up spreading it because they were not aware that they had anything wrong with them, normally, if one has the flu, they would avoid spreading it to others.

Most in RSE are not willing to acknowledge the symptoms that something is wrong, without the acknowledging of the symptoms they are not aware they are spreading something. If any current or x-members feel I am off-base here please chime in.

I would imagine there is personal recruiting or "lobbying" by the inner circle and jz of the wealthy, famous and in some cases the infamous as well as people in recognized fields of science and health so that they can use them to give the school the appearance of legitimacy in those communities.

I find one of the symptoms fostered by RSE very similar to one of alcoholism, that symptom being the inability to recognize the symptoms of ones disease.
"I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education."
-William Mizner
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Unread post by David McCarthy »

Very well put journeythroughramthaland,

Thank you...

I see the recruitment aspect happening in a clever and covert way.
Pseudo science mixed with religion is one of them.
Then there is the?
Come to Yelm?where students are living remarkable lives....
RSE is overflowing with miracles...
Become a ?Master? of your destiny, or perhaps even a ?Christ?.
If that doesn?t suit you, how about becoming a billionaire... Young again and Free..
And while you are at it, you will be helping to save the world from its own ignorance and imminent destruction..
Oh.. and don?t forget..
You will also learn to heal every disease known to man.

After they enter the gates of RSE, the really covert ?grooming? begins.
As Derren Brown demonstrates....

With the use of electronic and human surveillance, deception, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship...
Judith's prey is precisely selected on their social standing of fame and fortune, looks and influence.
The so called "Great Hall" is one massive chess board of Judith?s making?.
Where the lives of others are mere pawns in her cleverly insane and destructive game.

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Unread post by Whatchamacallit »

Diane & JTR,

I can add something to this 'conversation'.

I hesitate to say it quite this way, but you'll understand - you're both "right".

I am sure there are students who are unaware that they are "contagious" and because they believe they've found something wonderful in RSE, in those initial "honeymoon" times, they may very well share with friends and family, excited to tell them about what they've found/learned.

ALSO, quite a few times, "Ramtha" has told students to TELL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO COME HERE. I don't recall hearing that at any beginner events, however. Not to say it hasn't happened.

However, to keep the teachings "pure", students are cautioned $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ not to $$$$$$$$$$ taint the teachings by prematurely filtering them through one's neuronet of understanding, onto a naive student $$$$$$$$$$ because it's unfair to the new student, who should only get the pure teachings $$$$$$$$$$ directly $$$$$$$ from $$$$$$$ Ramtha $$$$$$$$$$.

Cool, huh ? Students are too stupid to repeat what they've heard ? They're not to stupid to pay to hear it, though ! Imagine that !!!
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Unread post by journeythroughramthaland »


I totally agree, that JZ and some of the inner circle understand full well the influence they are capable of wielding especially within their own closed environment. I was comparing it more to other groups who actually include the recruiting process as a part of members daily life, be it "to save others" or to increase the collective consciousness or some such purpose.

In fact, one clear example of JZ's knowledge of tactics would would be the "preferred seating" for those who can afford it. The Milgram study (see Obedience to Authority, Stanley Milgram, Harper and Row, 1974) One of the findings in his ground breaking research had to do with the effect of the proximity of the target subject to the authority figure.

His study found a direct relationship to the proximity of the authority figure and the degree in which the subjects of the experiment would increase the voltage to shock the "test subjects " (actors).

In speaking about this he said:

"This series of experiments showed that the physical presence of an authority was an important force contributing to the subject's obedience or defiance. Obedience to destructive commands was in some degree dependent on the proximal relations between authority and subject, and any theory of obedience must take account of that fact. " [Obedience to Authority pg. 61]

Her agenda is to have authority over the wallets, so, she wants to have them the closest to her. She even has the greedy nerve to have them pay for the fleecing!!![/i]
"I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education."
-William Mizner
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Unread post by zyxwv »

holy s....!!! that story is one of the craziest things i've ever read! i'd love to hear the rest of it!
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Unread post by David McCarthy »


I highly recommend watching Derren Browns experiment called "The Heist."
It has so many parallels to RSE... its chilling.

Here is an excerpt..

"Derren Brown reproduces the Milgram experiment on the episode, "The Heist." In this episode, Derren Brown subconciously influences middle management buisness men and women with no previous criminal record to pull an armed robbery without ever directly mentioning the idea to them.

Video link....

Milgram Experiment (Derren Brown) link ... TfAw&hl=en
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Unread post by swamibinton »

Yes quite a story.

I have never witnessed any acts of this nature and dare not to,I am very cautious of money I have spent at RSE and i also do question some of the money issues but i dont dissmiss the knowledge learnt and experiences which have followed but will keep my eye on any such instances which occurr. some students dive in head over heels na dloose a lot but I am aware and dont seek too plunge my fortunes away when more knowlege is within in not without. i have atleast come to that wisdom.

Like i said in "missed the boat" the buisness side is curupting the most important message "behold God"
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Re: How it all began

Unread post by Heyoka »

You're a survivor too, in your own way. 😊 It isnt something to minimize. Thank you🌈
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