SOP in Toronto

Discussion of the SES's satellite organisations in the USA.
KitsBay
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:52 am
Location: Canada

SOP in Toronto

Postby KitsBay » Tue Sep 13, 2005 3:47 am

I recently came across the Anti-SES/SOP website quite by "accident". The comments on The School have been helpful in clarifying my own personal experiences at SOP both in NYC and later in Toronto (a total of 11+ years). I've always wondered whether the practices there constituted a "cult", and now I can safely conclude that that is exactly what it was.

I've read relatively few comments from former students in Canada, however after viewing the current Toronto SOP website, I was shocked to realise that many of the same men are still there, now promoted to leadership roles.

As a woman, it would be an extreme understatement to say that I experienced great agitation while attending The School. When I first started in the mid 70's, we were taught to "pay attention" in the present moment and to make an informed choice. I have to say that this practice has served me well in taking "right action". I felt then that 'The Practice' was pure magic, however when I returned to the Toronto School in the early 90's I noticed that The School had evolved subtly, though profoundly, into what I can only term a sexist snobbery. I was shocked at the subservient role that women were expected to play, particularly as Miss Dillingham, the head of the NY School had been my tutor for many of the years I was there (7 years).

At the Toronto School we did all of the same things, scrubbed floors in our long skirts, served the tea, passed the sandwiches etc. Due to my previous training at the NYC School, I was quickly promoted to the Senior Ladies Group, however the demands on my time began to conflict with my role as a single parent managing a full time job (which I found very rewarding and had no intention of giving up!) I was told I was tutor material, and was asked to lead a group which I refused to do being so conflicted.

When I tried to talk about these conflicts, I was told that it was not natural for a woman to be so independent. Taking vacations with my child were discouraged, as was my relationship with my parents when they did not condone the School's philosophy and expectations. I was encouraged to have my 7 year old child attend the Youth Group which he did on one occasion, absolutely refusing to return after spending one freeezing afternoon (-30C) playing badminton in the park without food or adequate clothing.

When I mentioned to a senior tutor that I had a suite in my home for rent, she sent along Bernd Fritzlar who agreed to rent for a reduced rate in return for maintenance. That began a long period of stalking, entering my rooms to read my journals and spying on me in the shower. While claiming that he cared for me as a "sister in The School", he attempted to initiate a sexual relationship by climbing into bed with me - while my son was sleeping in the same room!!!

This man did not keep his word on maintaining the house, he did very little paid work and therefore ate dinner every night contributing nothing. He took my car without permission, and later, after being pulled over by the NY State Police on the way home from Walkill, revealed that he didn't have a valid drivers license. He broke my computer, my bicycle was stolen after he borrowed it - all again without permission. He boasted of having had sexual relations with other women in the School, including a married tutor! This person was all 'round bad news!!

Wrestling with the "guilt" of this situation, I confided to a senior tutor all that had taken place. BF was instructed to apologise to me, which he did, however I began to notice that I was being shut out by others in the School. Children were not allowed to serve tea or be alone with me. In one situation I was embarassed to be held up as an example of "woman as seductress" by the head of the School, Ron Fox, and another time as someone who disapproved of men getting drunk and acting rudely at a tutor's dinner. Who wouldn't! It was obvious that boys will be boys, and women who disagreed will be frowned upon.

Another time I was told by a senior tutor in the NY School that I needed to be beaten for my attitude regarding equal opportunities for women, particularly as I had recently been promoted to a corporate leadership role.

The final straw took place at a Walkill retreat. I had been forwarned by a male student in the NY School that McLaren and Lambie, as heads of the School, had been observed demanding kisses from certain young ladies. I dismissed this as some kind of exaggeration, after all how could any man in a role of power make such a demand in light of the recent allegations concerning the abuse in the Catholic Church. But sure enough, I observed this behaviour for myself during my week in Walkill. In fact a close woman friend revealed that she'd been forced twice by Lambie to "kiss on demand".

I had had enough of the double values of the school! During my time there I had witnessed one woman suffer a complete nervous breakdown and subsequent commitment to a mental institution after two weeks in Waterperry (she couldn't handle the power of The Teachings!), another left after being told that she must submit to the School rather than follow her life's dream to be an artist (too much ego for a woman!), another good friend suffered greatly when her School husband walked out leaving her with three children to support, she was told simply that she "had not chosen wisely" (not that her husband was a shit), and I was censured again after refusing to condone suicide for distraught wives after reading Othello in the Ladies Group. This all sounds laughable now, but trust me, it wore me down at the time. The original joy of being in the 'present moment' was turning into pure hell.

Fortunately I made my decision to leave independent of two other Senior women who left at the same time. The friendship they offered afterwards was the souce of support I needed to readjust to being outside the School. I have to say that the BS I absorbed re: the dutiful roles of women/wives and men/husbands has coloured my relationships for a long time since. Happily I can now say that I have found a wonderful man who's listened patiently and who offers support when needed to get past all the emotional baggage. Despite my perceived inadequacies as a "School mother" my son has grown into a wonderful man who is following his own dreams as a film director.

So it has all worked out well, although it's been a long climb out of the madness, Oddly enough, while I never studied economics in the School, I've left the corporate world and now act as an management consultant focusing on building sustainable resources and micro-economic enterprise here on the West Coast. As a woman, mother and business consultant I feel I have equal access to intuition and reason, as well as every right to determine the best future for myself and my family.

I continue to meditate, returning to my former TM mantra, as I've found this to be key in maintaining equilibrium. In fact that I continue to use many of the practices I learned at The School. They are not inherently bad, I simply see The School as an example of "too much power corrupts absolutely". I do not know the extent of the changes that may have taken place since I left, however I sincerely hope that they will consider "building equal partnership" with women rather than domination and control.

I have not told this story to anyone outside the School, there's no one who would believe me. However after reading all of the entries on this site, I've decided to share these experiences with the hope that the telling may spare another woman the torture of guilt I felt during my time there.

ross nolan
Posts: 184
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 5:10 am
Location: Melbourne Australia

to kitsbay

Postby ross nolan » Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:45 am

Dear Kitsbay,, maybe I am wrong but I think your posting is somehow in the scientology part of the forum -- if so I think you should transfer it to the general SOP site.

Your experience is indeed a valuable testimony and one of very few from Canada -- if you have any interest in trying to reform or shut down the SOP in Canada I would like to know -- many people seem to realize the loss of control and damage to their own lives then get out and say "Whew, glad I got out of THAT" .... and walk away, leaving someone else to be entrapped. I can appreciate that point of view and I only had a brief exposure but got really annoyed at their being able to continue to advertise falsely and get away with hiding a nasty hindu based cult in official community premises and even the Royal Society Building here in Melbourne Australia -- if interested please see my thread "investigation into the SES/SOP ....."

Good luck, Ross Nolan
Skeptic

mgormez
Posts: 501
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2003 9:33 pm
Location: Amsterdam
Contact:

Re: to kitsbay

Postby mgormez » Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:24 pm

ross nolan wrote:Dear Kitsbay,, maybe I am wrong but I think your posting is somehow in the scientology part of the forum -- if so I think you should transfer it to the general SOP site.


I've moved it to the proper topic for Kitsbay. Thanks for the heads up!
Mike Gormez

NYC
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 10:17 pm

Postby NYC » Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:23 pm

Another time I was told by a senior tutor in the NY School that I needed to be beaten for my attitude regarding equal opportunities for women, particularly as I had recently been promoted to a corporate leadership role.


The final straw took place at a Walkill retreat. I had been forwarned by a male student in the NY School that McLaren and Lambie, as heads of the School, had been observed demanding kisses from certain young ladies. I dismissed this as some kind of exaggeration, after all how could any man in a role of power make such a demand in light of the recent allegations concerning the abuse in the Catholic Church. But sure enough, I observed this behaviour for myself during my week in Walkill. In fact a close woman friend revealed that she'd been forced twice by Lambie to "kiss on demand".


Hello Kitsbay,
That is atrocious. I attended the first year (Part 1, 2 & 3) from Sept last year to May, here in NY, and I'm totally appalled that attitudes like this are flourishing in Manhattan in 2005.

I would like to question the schoolhead in New York about the tutor advocating beating women. Can you recall the exact wording of what the tutor said to you? The year? where it was? Any supporting detail would be helpful.

As far as the kissing you say you observed between Lambie and (young?) women students, I would urge you to please not just leave it lie. If you witnessed sexually coercive behavior you have a responsibility to stop it. You've left the org, so what are you afraid of?


NYC


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