Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
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bonsai
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby bonsai » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:50 pm

I'd say that is a result.

Bonsai

woodgreen
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby woodgreen » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:14 pm

Definitely a result ET. It shows that they took your letter seriously, which is a very good sign. Also your letter was genuine, not just a knee - jerk reaction.

regards

woodgreen
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

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morrigan
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby morrigan » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:21 pm

Yes, it's good they replied because they were very interested and seemed to understand.

Blissfully Sleeping
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby Blissfully Sleeping » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:58 am

Wow ET!
Your letter was very well constructed and argued, perfectly reasoned. It is great that the Editor responded.
I am very much looking forward to being proved wrong, if after the people at magazine have done their research (eg find out about the Sinclair et al connection) they are prepared to do something about the SES. Wouldn't a story be fantastic?
Looking forward to eating my words...Well Done ET!
Blissfull

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ET
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby ET » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:18 pm

I wouldn't eat your words too quickly, Blissfully Sleeping, although I do think we're getting somewhere! Below is the latest email I received yesterday from the owner of the magazine (which is a very small, free magazine which prides itself on being ethically and socially responsible). Where I've removed text, it's only to protect the magazine's identity, as I don't have their permission to post this on here:


"Thanks for getting in touch with us...and for raising this issue with us. It's always a major concern when one of our readers contacts us about an advertiser, especially when its over such a difficult, emotive and - for you and anyone else who suffered - distressing subject. It's important for me, as the owner of the business, that we take these things seriously but also that we deal with them in a tactful, respectful and ethical way.

I have spent some time over the last few days researching this issue and I see that most of this seems to stem from the School of Economic Science's (SES) connection with the St James' Schools. Having talked to our advertiser [NB from ET: the advertiser is the Bristol and Bath branch of the School of Philosophy] he tells me that he is aware of the problem, and of the reported abuse that has taken place in some of these schools in the past. He is, however, certain that these issues of abuse have now been dealt with and that there has been a major change in the way in which the schools conduct themselves. He also tells me that although the Bath and Bristol School of Philosophy is a branch of the SES, their only involvement in the schools is in helping to fund them.

I am desperately sorry for the ongoing trouble that you and other members of your family are suffering as a direct result of your experiences within the organisation. However I feel, as an atheist, unqualified to decide what does or does not constitute a religious cult. There are a number of people who would argue that Christianity is a cult, for example, and we accept advertising from many faith groups. Certainly many of the concerns raised over the St James' Schools are also true of other faith schools. My feeling is that [we] should allow space for people of all belief systems to express themselves, and unless I deny all of them the opportunity to advertise then it would be unfair of me to ban this particular organisation. I would be more than happy to reconsider this should you be able to point me towards any recent or current events at the schools or within the SES which are raising concerns.

I hope you don't feel I'm just 'brushing you off', your letter has in fact sparked a lot of discussion in the office. You've highlighted something which all of us within the...team were unaware of and we will certainly try to take this on board should we have any further dealings with other branches or representatives of the SES."

My thoughts:

I'm really pleased to have received such an apparently genuine and well thought out response - this is no form letter. However, I do think he has slightly missed the point - the SES doesn't advertise itself as a "faith" organisation at all, in fact it hides its true nature behind so-called philosophy courses, which are all about gaining knowledge, not enlightenment. Its religious nature doesn't become apparent until you are already a paid up member. This in itself is one of the classic indicators of a cult or NRM.
I can also well believe that anyone he talked to at the Bath and Bristol Branch was happy to reassure him that everything has changed and anyway they as a branch have nothing to do with the SES itself, they only give it money (I laughed out loud when I read this part!).

I want to reply and point both of these things out, but it would also help if I could put him in touch with someone who has more recent experience of being in the adult part of the SES in particular (as it's the adult school which is advertising). Obviously, I only ever went to St James, and my relatives left some thirty years ago now. If you'd be happy for me to pass your email or other contact details on to this man, then please PM me and I'll put you in touch with each other. Obviously, I'll quite understand if nobody on here wants to do this, it's taken a lot of guts for me to write to them in the first place. However, I do feel that we may actually be able to stop them allowing the SES to advertise in their publication, if we can put together a convincing argument.
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

woodgreen
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby woodgreen » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:50 pm

I am up for doing something ET. I have family in Bristol, and if the SES ever came near them then I would be there. No way did that explanation show that they cared about the damage the SES does to people. So we can try another tack. Can you name the Magazine on here - then we know, and we can spread the word? Would someone like to talk to me as an exit adult? PM me if they do and I will be happy to talk with them.
best regards
woodgreen
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

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ET
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby ET » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:43 am

Hi woodgreen,

Thanks for your response. To answer your questions:

I don't want to name the magazine on here, simply because I don't have their permission to do so, and so far they have been very open to a dialogue with me. They are a small, mostly volunteer run publication and it wouldn't be fair, and I suspect it would make them close down communication with me/us pretty quickly, which is not what I want.

I don't agree that their explanation doesn't show that they care, I think the very fact they have taken my original letter seriously enough both to get the owner to respond and also to speak to the advertiser shows that they care a great deal. If they didn't, they could just have ignored me after all. To be honest, I can see this from their point of view. Here I am, one woman complaining to them about an organisation they've had virtually no contact with. I was abused by this organisation over 20 years ago (my 30 year estimate in my last message was a little out, sorry!) and a very reasonable and charming man from the branch (and we all know how persuasive and charming they can be) has assured them that all that has been dealt with and doesn't happen any more. At the same time, even though they want to be ethically and socially responsible, they also have to think about their bottom line, and advertisers are essential for free publications like theirs. I am not saying any of this to excuse their response, however, only to explain it a bit.

I will PM you, woodgreen, about getting in touch with them to talk about your experiences. From your signature on here I see that you were a member for three years in the late nineties. This is still over a decade ago, sadly, but we can give it a try at least! If anyone else on here who has been a member in the last ten years or so would be happy to get in touch, let me know, but no pressure on anyone, I promise!
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.

woodgreen
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby woodgreen » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:22 am

No problem ET,I totally understand. I was only trying trying to help. Let us hope the magazine sees the error of it's way one day.

take care

woodgreen
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

Blissfully Sleeping
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby Blissfully Sleeping » Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:00 am

Hi ET,
Any more word on this recently?
Blissfully

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ET
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Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Postby ET » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:29 am

Sadly not, Blissfully. I am still waiting for their latest reply. I'm not holding my breath! I'll post on here as soon as something happens. Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it.

ET
Pupil at St James Girl's School from 1979-1989, from age 4-14. Parents ex-members of SES.


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