I am sending the following message to several news groups to warn all readers about a pair of cult leaders which fled the Central Florida area and may be trying to start up another cult group at a different location.
I myself was a member of the "Cosmic Light Center" which was operating out of Florida. This Center basically offered instruction in matters which could be classified as "new age" or metaphysical, and included a considerable amount of material, which as it turns out, was stolen from other sources and used without their permission.
I am posting this because I want to do everything in my power to try and prevent what happened to me from happening to someone else.
The two individuals who acted as the cults leaders are a husband and wife team who go by the names of Don and Laura Wilson. Don is in his 50s and has white hair. He speaks with a southern accent, and claims to be a native of Florida. His skin shows signs of considerable exposure to the sun, and his nose shows signs of skin cancer. He is blue eyed, approx 5'10 to 5'11, and of medium build. Laura is about 5'5 - 5'6 has red hair, and has two different colored eyes, one blue, the other green. She is petite in build.
These two ran a number of different study groups from their Cosmic Light Center over the course of the Last 3 Years, and only recently fled the central Florida area. The material which Don and Laura taught consisted mostly of class lessons used without permission from another organization which conducts a correspondence course in metaphysics. Don and Laura presented many of these teachings out of sequence to make the information fragmented, and harder to assimilate. They undoubtedly added material of their own to help create a cult-like atmosphere and break down the self autonomy of those attending their classes.
Four of the women who attended the classes have now stated that Don had sex with them under the premise that the activity was necessary for spiritual reasons. One of the men who attended the group claims to have been offered the opportunity to have sex with Laura in order to help "cure" impotency. These acts occurred over a wide span of time, but were never discussed by the people involved because of the constant brain washing about the importance of "silence." In addition Don utilized his influence to sow discord with married individuals, giving contradictory instructions to each partner individually.
The study groups went on for over three years, during which time many of the classical cult techniques were made use of in a very gradual and disarming manner.
The teachings they were giving eventually started to include talk of an Apocalypse that would be coming upon the world shortly. The couple eventually declared their intent to purchase land for the building of a spiritual retreat in the country that would also serve as a place where the group members could go in the event of a disaster. After retrieving the actual county records of the land sale, it was discovered that the land had cost much less than expected, and there are currently members of this cult which are still helping to pay a mortgage on the Cosmic Light Center which, according to the records, is owned in full by Don & Laura (No mortgage exists.) Some of the former cult members are still diligently following the instructions given to them by Don and Laura prior to their departure, and are now buying the land for the retreat back from Don. (Many of these people gave money towards its purchase in the first place.)
The following is a description of the cult-like "techniques" and teachings specifically used in this case to break down the critical thinking and personal autonomy of those who were involved in the cult.
Under the guise of teaching on the importance of silence in spiritual traditions, Don and Laura taught silence as an outer activity. Students were expected to withhold information and explanations from family members who pried into their affairs, and could not discuss the classes they were receiving with anyone not attending those classes. The aim here in part was to encourage the student to discuss the most intimate issues of their life primarily with the teacher's of the class.
This teaching was probably the most effective in isolating the students of the study groups from each other. While this teaching was given on the one hand, the students were also told how they had to learn to work together as a group.
In a similar manner, students were told that anything shared with them by Don should be held in the strictest confidence, and should not be revealed to other members of the group. This tactic then allowed him to sow dissent amongst the students by making comments about students to other students. This behavior may have alson contributed to the break up of several marriages.
Discouraged Critical Thinking
Don and Laura preached a number of classes and instructions which you just weren't going to be able to understand with the outer mind until you went within and meditated upon them. These teachings were sometimes contradictory with each other, and almost always involved having to make a leap of faith to understand them. They required belief, and very few of them were well supported by any fact or research accessible to the student.
People who openly admitted that they didn't understand the material were publicly ostracized in the class on more than one occasion. When the group as a whole didn't understand the material, it was blamed on the group, who had allowed their "negative thinking" to spread like wildfire amongst them.
To think negatively was taught openly as one of the worst things you could do for your own spiritual growth. As a consequence of this, class members made the effort "not to think negatively." It seems to me that one of the side effects of this effort was a tendency not to analyze the behavior of the teachers in a critical manner. Any idea that something bad might be going on within the group was almost automatically dismissed as "those pesky negative thoughts." Of course it is also well known that trying to suppress negative aspects of your own character often presents them with an opportunity to become a dominant aspect of your personality.
Much of the material in the class focused on the devastation that would come upon mankind in the near future during the wars of light vs. darkness or Armageddon. The forces of darkness, I.E. "the black brotherhood," were always waiting for the opportunity to indoctrinate students of the right handed path who faltered. They also greatly outnumbered the students of the right handed path. Many of the teachings presented in this regard were very black and white, absolute in their teachings. While Don and Laura constantly made mention of the notion that nothing they're teaching should scare you, they none the less presented a wealth of things to be scared of, and then sat back and allowed it to do its work.
Extreme amounts of Intellectual Material
The group members attended as many as 5 classes in a week, while still trying to meet the responsibilities of family, job, etc. For myself, this degree of participation made it impossible to really ever study or even go over the lessons from previous classes. This was compounded by the fact that students had to take their own notes from the class materials, and were encouraged to keep those notes in chronological order and NOT group them together by subject or otherwise try to fit everything together. In addition to the study material, a great deal of "occult" work was given out to do. It would not have been hard to spend all free time just doing these exercises, as there were so many of them. Those attending the classes were told to exercise common sense in doing these, but on other days, everyone was made to "rate" themselves with regards to how well they thought they were doing.
Attacks against Established Religions and Organizations (Including most
other paths towards spiritual attainment.)
Crystals were taught as an old system that hasn't worked since Atlantis. All chanelling activities were taught as likely to get you posessed by an elemental, which would gradually take control of you and drive you crazy. The Catholic church would desire to return mankind to the dark ages right now if only they could regain the power and influence they once held. Kundalini is playing with fire, because there are other centers you have to open first to make it work, otherwise you will screw yourself up spiritually. Virtually every other outlet a student might look to for their spirituality was shot down or demeaned by the teachers. They often referred to themselves as having the only teachings that really worked. (Another variation of the my way is the only way syndrome.)
Teaching Emotional Numbness
The Concept of "Emotional Mastery" was presented to the student on many occasions. More often than not, what was actually taught here was to separate yourself from your own emotional nature, and/or to suppress your emotions and adopt a stern countenance.
There are probably a number of other examples I could give, as I think Don and Laura used just about every technique described by Steve Hassan as being used for cult mind control. (Rituals, sleep deprevation, enco