October 15, 2009

Sweat lodge victims chose to die?!

Breaking news:  Transcript of private call between James Ray and sweat lodge victims

By Cassandra YorgeyMind control is a subject commonly found in works of speculative fiction, but rarely in reality. Self-help guru James Arthur Ray is the latest to use mind-control, called coercive persuasion among psychologists, in the sweat lodge tragedy that occurred last week. James Ray is currently under investigation for two deaths and 19 additional hospitalizations that occurred at his Spiritual Warrior Retreat last week in Sedona, AZ during the sweat lodge portion.

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.
And:He goes on to say “I just kept thinking ‘I have to take care of my people’.” How he could even utter those words after his gross failure to take care of them during the retreat when they needed it is beyond me. James Ray insists to the callers that “this is something I have never been confronted with before” and George and Amayra Hamilton, the owners of Angel Valley Retreat (where the sweat lodge was held), have repeatedly backed him in news reports. However, “not been confronted” is not the same as “never happened before” and the fire department released information that something exactly like this has happened before. In 2005 a call was placed to 911 because of another sweat lodge being run by James Ray at the same Angel Valley Retreat center. Furthermore, the police are investigating James Ray’s retreats at multiple other locations.

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.
And:“Barb, will you now tell us a little about what you experienced during the closing ceremony?”

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.
Sheriff says sweat lodge deaths "not accidental"

By Felicia FonsecaThe recording of the conference call was made and transcribed by one of the listeners, said Tom McFeeley, who also listened to the call and provided the transcript to the AP. McFeeley is Brown's cousin and has been acting as the Brown family spokesman.

"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."
Comment:  On Facebook, Lise Balk King wrote:This is really disturbing. What a mess! These people are taking bits and pieces of several different traditions, and making a spiritual soup. Smells like CULT to me.To which I added: Yep. Listen to the attendees parrot Barb's line about the victims choosing to die. They're ready to drink the Kool-Aid for Ray.

For more on the subject, see Ray Speaks on Sweat Lodge Tragedy and Ray Retreats from Tweets.


Anonymous said...

I wrote a comment in the early hours of this morning. Had to get out of bed while it was still dark because I felt so pressed to write about Sedona and the Sweat Lodge deaths. The comment I wrote is under the October 13 article "Ray speaks on sweat lodge tragedy"; it's in 2 parts. I hope it doesnt get lost in the blog archives before someone that needs to read it does read it. Non-native AND Native scam artists are no different....Indian regalia or smooth polished suits...there are scammers and con artists in every race and culture...especially in Sedona; one of the most beautiful places on Grandfathers Earth. There is even in Sedona a former AIM leader who is using his history with AIM (without the 'ousted' part...)to put on regalia, build a sweat lodge and masquerade as an Elder; a Shaman. He speaks against White people stealing "his Indian Way" and profiting off of Old Native Traditions as he himself lines his filthy pocket doing the same things. He gets interviewed by people like Anderson Cooper and is actually presented as the real deal Native Elder when countless locals know him as just another con artist. Investigative reporters need to investigate who they are interviewing and whose opinions they are reporting and whose sweat lodges they are going into (Native and Non native)...they may find they have been unwittingly dupped (spelled?) by a bigger con artist then the one they are reporting on....and everybody needs to look at who's doing the teaching; no matter the race, color, culture! Scam artists can be quite the sociopathic personalities, eh?

Anonymous said...

This tragic event should never have happened. James Ray should have stuck to his fine mentoring lectures like fellow teachers Randy Gage and Dov Baron.
Sadly, the tragic unstudied version of the fine native american traditions is what was wrong, not the law of attraction.
The media has now caused a pigpile of people upon the entire self-development arena by people, may of whom, couldn't tell you one sentence about the law of attraction.
Joel Osteen delivers the same message every Sunday to a totally filled compaq center, is this all a giant fraud ?
Charles Haanel taught it as a course called the masterkey system in the early 1900's to businessmen. They liked it so much they tried to buy it and keep it a secret. Were these already successful businessmen fraud victims?
Check any list of the traits/habits/beliefs of very successful people and they will boil down to what is being taught by mentors about the law of attraction.
Are all these successful people like Donald Trump and/or Mother Theresa victims of fraud?
If so, this is the best and most beneficial fraud in the history of man.
Sadly, critical thinking is becoming more and more of a lost art in our world as people get dumbed down to 15 second sound bites and tweets.