[Note: Although I didn’t include this in my email response to this person, here’s the link . As I noted to my new friend Citizen Noir on a recent thread, I may have erred on the side of civility in my response to Gary, but commenters who followed were more direct.
I think the main point here is that an organization doesn’t have to be a classic “cult” in order to be silly at best and harmful at worst — harmful to relationships, harmful to one’s financial stability, and possibly harmful to one’s health
. Access may not be a “cult” in the classic sense of requiring that members leave home, shave their heads, dress a certain way, or recite some holy scripture or whatever. But there are many cult-like aspects to Access, not to mention a lot of utter nonsense that is being taught in those very expensive classes.
Also, while Access doesn’t require that you give up all of your worldly goods to join (as many classic cults do), they apparently DO try to dip into your bank account as much as possible. Like so many similar organizations, Access is good at the upsell — at manipulating members into believing they “need” the next [and more expensive] level.
Furthermore, there does seem to be a lot of “hero worship” of Gary Douglas and, especially, his younger sidekick Dain Heer. Dain apparently has his own constantly changing harem of very willing women; it would appear that, like so many New-Wage or pseudo-spiritual leaders, he is taking advantage of his position of “leadership,” such as it is.
So, although some may argue with my use of the word, I’ve frequently referred to Access as a “cult” on my blog, or, alternatively, as a “cult-like” organization (or something similar to that description).
(From what I have heard, for example, some Accessories don’t believe “safe sex” practices are necessary; they apparently believe that the mind tricks they learn through Access will keep them from unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.)
Although everyone’s experiences are different, it seems to me that the effects of Access are a big deal to those who have been hurt in some way by it
Not surprisingly, I have been told by Access believers that I am making too big a deal out of all of this, and that I am being too judgmental, and so forth.
[ Here, for example, is one recent comment from someone who claims to be having a positive experience with Access . This person wrote in response to my 2009 post, “The Incredible lightness of boinking,” in which I shared the story of a man who believes Access had rung the death knell for his already challenged marriage.
I have a feeling that as Access gets more popular, which seems to be happening now, I will be hearing from more disillusioned ex-Access members, and worried friends and relatives of Access members such as you. I wish I could give you advice about what to do about a family member who is apparently getting sucked into the big Access money machine. But perhaps this is just a passing fancy and your relative will tire of it. Meanwhile, even though a lot of what I’ve written about Access is pure snark, you might be able to get some insight from my blog posts. If you haven’t read all of my Access-related posts, here’s the link to the Google search results (which seem to work better than Blogger’s internal search or the post labels):