By Cassandra Yorgey
Last night James Ray made his first public statement regarding the tragedy and today he had a conference call that was only for the victims of his latest retreat-gone-wrong. Why does James Ray want to have private communication with his victims? What is he hiding? It would appear that he is psychologically tampering with witnesses as well as continuing to hit them up for money, trying to enroll them into more of his programs, and giving them bad advice.
Another catch-phrase James Ray and staff kept using is “remember your teachings” and “remind you of what you know” which he used a lot while saying “just be good to yourself. This is the most important time, its always important, to practice what you know, eat right… You gotta eat and you gotta eat healthy. You gotta get your workouts in, speaking from experience, sometimes you don't feel like it but you gotta get rest and eat right.” That’s strange advice coming from James Ray, the very same person who deprived them of food, water, and sleep for 36+ hours right before shutting them in the sweat lodge.
This, I think, is the worst part of the entire conference call. Barb is one of James Ray’s staff members and she goes on to talk “of the two that had passed and they left their bodies during the ceremony and had so much fun they chose not to come back and that was their choice that they made.” This is going to be really hard for James Ray and his people to explain when the autopsy results are released, because people do not cook themselves to death. They just don’t. Barb implying they do is asserting James Ray’s innocence and falsely supporting that the survivors are alive because they chose to live. In actuality, James Ray had to be interrupted and the participants were physically removed from the sweat lodge because they were not capable of transporting themselves.
By Felicia Fonseca
"We find it offensive that anyone would classify their death as a choice," McFeeley said. "We don't believe she chose to suffocate in a sweat lodge. We don't think she chose to fast for 36 hours without food or water and then have improper nutritional care. She did not choose to have improper medical care on site."
Fewer than a dozen callers were identified in the transcript, all of whom praised Ray and described his intentions as "pure" and their experiences as "profound." They also expressed sympathy for the families of the victims but suggested that the deaths of Brown and Shore were by choice.
"It breaks my heart to know that the families are suffering," said one caller identified as Brent. "I think that the people that left, I do believe they made their own choices, whether on this level or the next, but I do feel really for the families."
McFeeley said the comments on the call solidify his belief that Ray is controlling the people involved in his self-help program.
"There were reasonable people at this event, and it shows the power one man can have when you combine physical and mental mistreatment," McFeeley said. "Everything in this retreat seems to have been taken too far, and those statements were hurtful to hear and probably more hurtful to communicate them to the family last night."
For more on the subject, see Ray Speaks on Sweat Lodge Tragedy and Ray Retreats from Tweets.