Monday 29 October 2012

Cult Awareness - Desteni Doomed - 2

Ivan Rauscher

(continued from Desteni Doomed - 1: The Voice of a Sane Organization?)

In a talk entitled, Cult Bashers are Con Artists, the main spokesperson for the Desteni organisation, Bernard Poolman tells listeners to be aware that exit counselor / cult expert, Rick Ross and others express ideas about Desteni being a cult in a confident way and can thereby instill fear. 

The Desteni thread at the Cult Education Forum run by the Rick A. Ross Institute began in 2008 and is over 100 pages long. Like many groups before them, Desteni dish the dirt on Rick Ross, but Mr Ross has in fact only ever made a very few public statements about Desteni, probably the most significant being:

Desteni seems to be an enterprise essentially dominated by Poolman and personality-driven. It apparently contains his conspiracy theories, seemingly denigrates the outside world and perhaps ultimately serves as a 'cash cow', which Poolman seems to milk for his income. In my opinion Desteni can easily be seen as a 'cult-like' and potentially unsafe group.

But it doesn't take an expert to figure it out: anyone can see Desteni is quite obviously a New Age-style 'channeling' cult running a Multi-Level Marketing scheme. At the Soulpancake website recently one concerned individual wrote that the Desteni website 'screams "CULT"'. Another describes it as 'a poor man's Scientology'. Similar observations have been made on countless other websites and forums: the Skeptic Project, David Icke's Official Forums, the 2012 Hoax, the Ex Scientologist Message Board, Above Top Secret, Godlike Productions and many more.

Mr Poolman repeats his catch phrase, 'what is best for all', as if Desteni has to be 'what is best for all'. It is common knowledge that cults always claim to be best for all. That is partly what makes them cults. Naturally, being cult members, those persons identifying themselves as 'Destonians' will tend to resist awareness of how cults operate. That is, in this instance with repeated use of jargon and catch phrases and claims towards being the only group in the world that is for the universal greater good.

Cults usually present themselves as unfairly persecuted by fear-mongers and liars. At the Destonian Wiki, this blog is described as 'Internet Bullying, Propagation of Lies, Individual Harassment'. URLs of this blog and many but not all of the YouTube channels criticising Desteni are listed with the warning that the reader may visit these sites 'at your own risk', as if it is somehow dangerous to read a blog or website or watch a video that merely criticises, mocks or satirises Desteni.

Criticising, mocking or satirising statements of a group or individual in blogs, forums or videos is not the same thing as 'internet bullying' or 'individual harassment'. Neither is it perpetrating a scam or hoax, as Desteni also claim.

In Cult Bashers are Con Artists, Poolman repeats another of his tiresome slogans, 'the actual practical message of Jesus', which is what he says his group represents. Then he makes an even more ludicrous statement: that atheism is also 'the message of Jesus'.

Cult leaders have very often claimed their groups represent the message of Jesus. And cults like Jim Jones' People's Temple, Heaven's Gate, Aum Shinrikyo, The Order of the Solar Temple also made doomsday predictions.

Desteni doomsday predictions -- 2007

In 2007, Desteni released a document stating that 'Heaven will withdraw World Leaders, Political Leaders, Religious Leaders, Corporate Leaders and Crime Leaders in months to come' and that 'Children will be able to see Beings from Heaven everywhere and communicate freely'.

In a supposed 'portalling' of Edgar Cayce (1877–1945), doomsday prophecies were made by the Desteni group about world-wide tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, massive earthquakes, snowstorms, volcanic eruptions. 

After their main channels were terminated in 2011 by YouTube for 'spam, scams and commercially deceptive content', and Vimeo for violation of the terms of contract, and they had become known for sporting skinheads, the 'principles of equality and oneness' group abandoned their FaceWorldFaceOff campaign to 'get at least 100 million people to shave off their hair as a statement of Standing up in no longer participation in the hair industry'.

They voluntarily removed content pertaining to Adolf Hitler from their website. They began blogging about their need for self-forgiveness on a daily basis, branding it as a 'seven-year Journey to Life'.

After initially predicting that their 'Equal Money System' would by 2020 start to become the inevitable outcome of everyone in the world voting for it, they reduced it to a 'research and development Project to formulate and investigate responses to general policies'.  

They launched an offshoot business selling the Techno Tutor software at an extortionate price. They have published numerous translations of their material in various languages. They have offered cut-price and 'blogging for sponsorship' deals for courses in Desteni 'self-mastery'.

None of this seems to have made any difference to their membership count. Their free Desteni I Process Lite course is another attempt to increase numbers but as with their other schemes typically lacks both the potential for popular appeal and any business acumen. 

Not only do Destonians appear incapable of addressing the question of the cult-like attributes of their group, they fail to recognise that 'Desteni' has no social, cultural or political credibility.

Unsurprisingly, since 2007, after publishing thousands of videos, articles and hundreds of blogs, Desteni have still only recruited around 100-150 active participants world-wide.

Desteni Doomed - 3: Cultish Behaviour Patterns

Monday 22 October 2012

The Voice of a Sane Organization? - Desteni Doomed - 1

Ivan Rauscher

In a recent recording published on YouTube entitled Spoon Bending Secrets in the Matrix, spokesman for 'Desteni', a 'Group of People Exploring Equality & Oneness Principles', Bernard Poolman claims all forms of group activity and mass movements run on ectoplasm. He describes ectoplasm as 'a phenomena' that was 'prevalent in the 1950s – big-time'.

Ectoplasm was not prevalent in the 1950s. The apparent phenomenon began dying out in the 1930s. This is because ectoplasm and so-called 'materialisations', which had never been prevalent but took place in Spiritualist séances of the 19th to early 20th Centuries, were proven by scientific and psychical researchers to be fraudulent, as was Uri Geller's spoon-bending.  

If, as Poolman suggests, ectoplasm is in every human body and the driving force behind all groups and mass movements we would still be none the wiser. Although he claims no-one understands it, he fails to define what it is and offers no evidence it exists.  

Ectoplasm was a spectral trail of goo that appeared to issue from the orifices of Spiritualist deep trance mediums. It was said to be the 'life force' connecting them to 'spirit realms' and was faked by use of muslin, paper, egg white and trick photography.

Ectoplasm and spoon-bending are charlatanry, as is 'deep trance mediumship', which is synonymous with 'channeling'. That is, pretending to be a conduit for otherworldly entities, as practised throughout New Age religion and having its roots in 19th Century Theosophy, Spiritualism and prior religions or forms of spirituality.

The term, 'channeling' became popular in the 1970s along with the advent of Jane Roberts' 'Seth Speaks' act in which she went on about 'multidimensional reality'.

Sunette Spies is supposed to communicate 'interdimensionally' and be able to 'interview' the so-called 'mind consciousness systems' of entities or things. 'Mind consciousness systems' is an invented phrase of Poolman's Desteni. It practically means the same as 'spirits', just as 'dimensions' would be an alternative name for 'spirit realms'.  

After Spies' videos appeared on the web in 2007 many commentators described them as a prank, evidence of multiple personality disorder, possession by demonic forces, some form of mind control or schizophrenia. 

The Desteni material states that Spies trained with Poolman for at least two years prior to releasing her videos, originally described as 'channelings' on the Desteni-Universe website in 2007. This was later changed to 'portal messages'.

Desteni tried to define Spies as different to a channeler. Their reasons were nonsensical or futile, such as that she never got as tired as easily as a channeler would, spoke for a wider range of entities than any channeler, or had no prior background or training.  

Someone calling herself a 'Destonian' recently made a remark typical of inhabitants of the universe of 'desteni':

it also doesn't really matter 'who' comes through the Portal -- if you watch the videos on YouTube you will notice that every being in every video conveys the same message, the same principle -- and so you're really just dealing with 'one voice' coming through the portal.

As Poolman said: Understand that the message from Desteni is not really the message from the portal. The portal is a demonstration of what is possible in the physical. The message is actually from me.

Bernard Poolman has as yet only ever published audio recordings and a few still photos of himself, but there are thousands of videos of Sunette Spies acting as a 'portal' to his 'mind consciousness system'.

Apparently to offset the chance that he might be perceived as some kind of crank, he states that Desteni is 'one of the most sane organizations the world has ever seen'. If this is the case and Poolman's idea about ectoplasm is in fact true and only he really understands it then why is Desteni not a mass movement?

Desteni Doomed - 2: Cult Awareness