Having recruited the susceptible by exploiting their sensitivities to past traumas and using healing as a front for his deception, Serge intensifies his thought reform regime, keeping students in a chronic state of trancelike dissociation. In some cases the ensuing dependency on his persona, teachings, practices and the group turns to full blown addiction. We look at how students spend their days saturated with Serge.
When I was alerted to Universal Medicine’s expansion about 2 months ago, and began to gather information, I was astounded to hear of profound personality changes among students. Some had developed eating disorders and severe anxieties about food, alcohol, sex and socializing. They were engaging in odd rituals throughout their daily life, using clearing symbols and burning clearing candles to rid themselves, their loved ones and their environments of all pervading ‘PRANIC’ energy, developing strange sleeping patterns and abandoning exercise. The students had become uncommunicative and cold toward loved ones and I heard reports of zombie like mannerisms and glazed eyes. Good relationships had broken, stable families had fractured, children were developing separation anxieties – for instance I was told an eleven year old began wetting the bed. Not only had students abandoned any pretence of openness and loyalty to partners and other loved ones, but they’d developed an uncritical and unshakeable loyalty to Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine regardless of increased media scrutiny and revelations Serge was not the man or messiah he presented himself to be.
Repeatedly, I heard loved ones expressing bewilderment over how the students could change so radically, how intelligent and loving people could become judgemental and cold, while persistently repeating stock phrases about being ‘self loving’ and ‘living their truth’. I was alarmed this occurrence had become so uniform and widespread.
It was the diet that led me to Serge’s comprehensive mind control regime. The bizarre dietary classifications, the meticulous instructions, the elaborate rituals and the constantly changing requirements told me Serge was teaching his students to become neurotically obsessed. The purpose of this manipulation was to occupy student’s minds with trivial details to distract their attention and curtail their critical evaluation of Serge Benhayon’s true character and the fact he is controlling students and parasitically draining their funds.
In effect, their minds are focussed on Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine and their fellow students most of the time, and it’s evident the activities keep students in a state of trancelike dissociation, susceptible to the ongoing programming that has Serge telling them they need to do as he says to ensure the ‘ascendance’ of their souls.
That was the conclusion I came to after sending out a set of questions to a group of ex students and loved ones of students who were able to tell me how students go about their daily lives. The responses gave me a clear and disturbing picture of Serge’s enveloping presence. From there I worked backward through the practices to deconstruct the precise thought reform methods being used. The findings from my questionnaire are summarized as follows, with quotes from loved ones:
How often do students receive emails from UM?
Depending on the student’s level of commitment, they receive them at least once per week ranging up to multiple times, with different mailouts for different sub groups of followers. Practitioners receive their own dedicated emails. The emails advertise courses and invite them to talks, groups and meetings, or feature some teachings.
Do students own and read all of Serge’s 6 books?
All students in our sample own all the books, which vary in length from 400 to 750 pages each. Some have read only small amounts of them, while others have read all of them repeatedly. All of the students in the sample have or had the books beside the bed or placed around the house, so they are always in the line of sight. Additional reading materials include manuals from the healing workshops and notes distributed from Esoteric Development Group meetings.
Some comments from partners:
My partner used to sit there with the book on their lap or in bed, reading Serge’s convoluted words and staring into space like it meant something.
My partner has read most of the books. Reading is constant – every, morning, evening and any time that is free in between.
The books are read over and over. It is obsessive.
My ex read all the books. There was always one or two by the bed, that were referred to most nights before sleep. Particularly ‘Esoteric and Exoteric Philosophy: The Sayings’ which consists of sound bite sized chunks of Serge’s drivel.
Ex-student Y testified to reading each book at least three times and reading them for around an hour every day.
I think it important to note that seven years ago, when I was briefly involved with UM, Serge had not yet released any books, and was only selling those by Alice Bailey. A student’s partner told us Bailey’s books appear to have been discarded as ‘from the past’ since Serge has published his own (and has tightened his monopoly on students’ minds). It also appears his recruitment has grown in proportion to the number of books he has put out, and they appear to be a vital element in UM indoctrination.
A critical reader invariably finds the books uniformly poorly written and organized. The doctrine itself is dualistic and polarizing and sets an impossible standard for ‘soulfulness’, which defines any physical, mental or emotional activity as counter to being ‘oneself’ or being in ‘innermost love’. A highly critical reader who has researched thought reform techniques, including covert hypnosis, will find students are not so much attracted to the substance of the doctrines as drawn in by the confusional linguistic techniques and loaded language characteristic of SergeSpeak as described in the previous post.
Are there study groups for discussing or reciting the written doctrines?
With this question I wanted to know whether Serge’s doctrine is regarded as ‘Sacred Science’, which means it is not to be debated, discussed or disputed, seeing it has been passed down directly from the Ascended Masters or whatever Serge reckons. As I expected, there are no discussion groups. There are only meditation groups, Esoteric yoga groups etc., and theological debates aren’t encouraged. Even if they were, the ‘loaded language’ or limitations of SergeSpeak would counteract any meaningful analysis. It also explains why the propaganda blogs lack any intellectual or theological sophistication. The contributors use the same terms and parrot the same themes and phrases over and over again.
Cult expert, Margaret Thaler Singer, describes the direction and degree of exchange of information in an educational environment as a two way exchange between teacher and pupil. In an environment of indoctrination, however, the exchange is limited and communication is one sided, while in a thought reform environment, there is no exchange, communication is one sided, deception is employed and the body of knowledge is aimed to change people without their knowledge.
Are affirmations part of the Esoteric practice – reciting certain statements?
Recitation and repeating affirmations is a dissociative technique and when done uncritically becomes a technique for indoctrination and thought reform.
The previously mentioned ‘Esoteric and Exoteric Philosophy’ book leans in that direction. More recently students have been given magic ‘healing’ words to focus on, apparently.
They read his ‘sayings’ which are from him and the ‘hierarchy’ and ‘ponder them’. He backs that up with gentle breath meditation, trying to avoid pranic emotions or ‘constellating’ with those that have them, such as partners/friends. Recently he started a new thing called ‘the word’ which is special word for the students to consider which tells them the truth of themselves. Serge tells them the word.
Gee, one whole word to tell you the truth of yourself. Serge is so GENEROUS.
How often are podcasts released? How long is each podcast? How often do students listen to them and do they do so repeatedly?
Serge’s podcasts are recordings of certain lectures, released monthly, with the lecture preceded by a ‘gentle meditation’ to enhance student’s receptivity to the content. I’ve listened to a few and haven’t heard any audience members ask questions. The lectures themselves are more subtle than what he delivered seven years ago at the Esoteric Healing workshop I attended, however Serge’s oratory style is still highly ambiguous and the talks are saturated with mixed messages characteristic of SergeSpeak. Serge talks about being in harmony and the ‘right energy’ in order to be soulful and loving etc. Yet, according to him, any activity related to real life, such as earning a living and negotiating and engaging in interpersonal relationships, runs counter to our ‘being’ ourselves. He says we can’t ‘be’ ourselves if we are attending to real life obligations or representing ourselves to other human beings. Sorry, dear Serge, but it’s actually impossible to go about your life in a state of perfectly inert submission, whether or not under directions from the voices of the ascended masters.
He also regularly chastises the group for not doing their practices properly, and that the practices won’t work unless they’re done with the ‘right energy’. According to Serge, if you don’t do them with the right energy you’ll get sick, usually with cancer or some horrific degenerative condition. So all of his students, knocking themselves out to restrict their diets and avoid PRANIC! people and environments, still can’t do anything right. In other words, Serge’s transcendent aspirations aren’t compatible with living your life, no matter how austerely you’re trying. They are impossible to achieve.
Yet, each student in the sample, bar one, who appears to be the least seriously involved with UM, await the release of podcasts and listen to them repeatedly, at least once per day. Ex-student Y was listening to the podcasts for an hour daily for several years. Therefore, commonly, students can listen to the same one hour podcast at least thirty times – the same gently presented yet polarized mixed messages (aka head-fuck) repeated for an hour per day for years.
The only comparable activity outside a thought reform milieu would be listening to your favourite music repeatedly. For example, I’d hate to count how many times my brother listened to Meatloaf’s ‘Bat Outta Hell’, and I’m a big fan of the TV show, Seinfeld, but I doubt I’ve ever seen a single episode in entirety more than twice, and don’t feel any compulsion to. Yet, even compulsive use of Meatloaf and Seinfeld isn’t delivering dismal messages about your environment, your relationships and your body, whilst programming you to carry out extreme asceticism in the hope of getting a bite of an unattainable mystical dangling carrot.
Any new release is listened to as soon as it arrives, and with the meditation, listening is frequent and repeated. After listening (my partner) is distant and hard to communicate with, almost like she is under a blanket and unable to connect to the real world.
They listen to them very often – bath, in bed, after dinner. How I have no idea. It is such mind numbing and infuriating BS. But they sit there and listen to it laughing and nodding at times when we’d rather they were spending time with us.
My conclusion about the podcasts is that they’re one of the most potent mind control techniques in Serge’s arsenal, and the key is the preparatory, hypnotic meditation, followed by the hypnotic programming techniques of SergeSpeak discussed previously – using confusional loaded language, employing emotive words to harness students’ attention and emotional energy, then switching between polarizing themes of redemption and damnation – redemption in relation to himself and UM, damnation in relation to one’s untrustworthy, pranically polluted body, and anything and anyone outside UM.
Are you or your loved one asked to provide testimony to post on the websites? If so how often? Who asks? Or is it a group reinforcement deal where they compete to give glowing praise to Serge?
Yes, most definitely. The Facebook Women’s group is very active in requesting new material and each member posts up to the others when they have made a new submission, almost like a badge of honour. Members also comment on the actual blogs when any new post is made. They are encouraged what to write and what to comment on – i.e. given journalists names and specific articles to refute.
They are invited if they ‘feel’ to – Serge sends out emails along those lines. I am sure the majority would think by doing so they are buying dispensations and get some approval from the master himself. Defending him is defence of themselves. I imagine this also happens at the workshops. Egging each other on and rewarding each other for affirmative statements.
Lately, since media scrutiny has intensified the propaganda blogs have been spinning the usual mantras at greater volume and frequency. A small amount of impetus would come via decree from ‘The One’, but more is generated via groupthink and peer pressure, which is so well established Serge can rely on it to maintain its own momentum. Note that the UM sites and blogs never post our comments or questions.
I doubt all of the effort to paint a glowing picture convinces anyone outside of UM. It’s more an exercise in collectively enforced cognitive dissonance (seeking to prove a faulty belief in spite of factual evidence to the contrary). In other words, the truth about Serge is becoming clearer and to many followers who have invested years of their time, money and energy in UM, that truth may prove to be unbearable. Hence, they look to each other to validate their denial. They keep telling each other the allegations aren’t true, and Serge is all about ‘innermost love’ and ‘gentleness’, and critics like me, disgruntled partners, friends, family and the media are loveless, PRANIC! and Lords of Form etc. They hope if they repeat it often enough to each other, it will be true.
In addition to the loveblogging, an increasing number of UM students are living together in shared housing, where they follow the diet, imbibe UniMed herbs, wear the Esoteric symbols around their necks, place symbol cards all over the space, sit on them, lie on them, place Esoteric eyepillows over their eyes, smear themselves in UniMed healing creams, burn clearing candles, hang portraits of Serge on the wall beside the Da Vinci prints, listen to the ‘allowed’ music, meditate, read Serge’s books, listen to the podcasts together and give each other hands on Esoteric healing treatments, in between the ones they regularly receive from Esoteric healing pracitioners. Again, this is an intensive mind control environment where students reinforce the thought reform practices to each other and police each other’s commitment. We have reports of students being expelled from such households and ostracized when they question Serge’s ways and UM or if they leave the group voluntarily (scroll to the bottom of forum page).
Either way, the groupthink in UM stifles critical thinking, crushes dissent and is highly effective at perpetuating the deceptions which keep students signing up for workshops, lining up for ineffective, bogus treatments, and keeps the cash rolling in to Serge’s coffers.
One of the thought reform methods I didn’t ask about, but which respondents pointed out was the use of clearing cards and healing symbols.
A husband told me his wife would lie on top of symbols in bed before sleep most nights with symbols and the little UniMed pillows placed on her body, with her hand over her heart to ‘protect it’ listening to the podcasts.
My partner never travels without these and immediately burns a candle on top of the clearing card when we go somewhere new. The cards are also placed all over the house, in bedrooms, kitchen etc. The supply of them is ever growing (she has at least 15 that are in stack and not placed anywhere – so far). No questioning of them is permitted and they are viewed as sacred. This also applies to Leonardo da Vinci artworks of which she has many copies (all of the Mona Lisa). These are placed by the bed and in other places around the house.
Putting symbols under my children’s pillows to remove bad energy etc was just weird, not required and just did not work. The children were asking what the cards were…how do you explain this shit to an innocent child?!
Again, the use of symbols is a technique for inducing dissociation – designed to keep the students occupied with ethereal anxieties so they remain dependent on Serge’s transcendental practices rather than engage their critical minds and wake up to the fact they’re being manipulated and robbed.
As a whole, Serge’s teachings and practices keep students’ focus scattered. They live anywhere but in present concrete reality. In a constant state of dependency and dread, they remain fixated on eliminating bad energy from their bodies, repelling it from the environment and trying to avoid absorbing it from other people. Simultaneously, they’re preoccupied with traumas from past lives, whilst projecting to the promise of improved reincarnations. Hence the metaphor of the Esoteric bell jar. The Universal Medicine student lives divorced from reality, slowly suffocated by intangible anxieties, dependent on Serge’s redemptive allusions for their oxygen.
To conclude, I’d like to review the above revelations, the daily all consuming possession of students’ minds by Serge and Universal Medicine, in the light of these definitions of behavioural addiction.
From Medilexicon: Behavioural addiction is the habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control.
From Wikipedia: Increasingly referred to as process addiction or non-substance-related addiction behavioral addiction includes a compulsion to repeatedly engage in an action until said action causes serious negative consequences to the person’s physical, mental, social, and/or financial well-being. One sign that a behavior has become addictive is if it persists despite these consequences.