MMS International

Perspectives on the MMS from a former cult deprogrammer

Christina Lozano

by James St. Michael

I have heard that at times Modern Mystery School has been called a cult. I’d like to share my perspective on this topic from of my own experience with deprogramming and helping individuals get out of real cults such as multi-generational fertility cults, generational Satanism, and death and domination cults, to name a few.

My background as a deprogrammer

I currently work as an emergency mental health professional at a hospital; however, I have Doctor of Ministry in Group Discipleship, another in Christian Counseling, and third in Metaphysical Healing.  I was a pastor and missionary for 20 years and then became a Licensed Professional Counselor. In my role as pastor and then counselor, I began to have individuals come to me who were trying to get out of different cults or trying to understand why they lost time, were accused of saying and doing things they don’t remember saying or doing, why they woke in places they did not remember.

Deprogramming is not counseling. Cult programming is behavioral control taken to a negative extreme to control aspects of one’s mind and life, effectively taking away the victim’s free will. Deprogramming is removing or undoing that installed life and mind control, thereby returning free will to the victim, and allowing them to be themselves.

For several years I did this work exclusively, travelling to South Africa and within the US and served over 50 individuals who survived cults. The deprogramming process is an intensive undertaking that could last several consecutive days. I worked for many 5-day weeks or 3-day long weekends doing this work.  I then moved more into counseling but would continue to do deprogramming with one or two clients. (My wife, Ellie, also did deprogramming work; she continues to do it to this day.)

There were a number of victims I worked with who only went part-way through the process of deprogramming — which still changed their lives a lot — whereas others decided to stop completely due to cult pressure, and for some they found they could not financially afford the program at the time. Back then I was charging approximately $50 an hour (which may not seem too expensive on the surface-but remember we were doing days at a time, up to 5 days in a row, which can seem too expensive for those in that position.) However, I can tell you getting free of life and mind control is worth the cost.

My view on the Modern Mystery School and it being called a cult

 I have been associated with the Modern Mystery School (MMS) since about 2015 when I received a Life Activation.  Since then, I have gone on to receive several activations:  Full Spirit Activation, Galactic Activations 1 and 2, attended many more classes, completed Healers Academy 1 and 2 to become a spiritual healer, and began the Ritual Master path, plus more.

I am always amazed when someone or some group accuses the Modern Mystery School of being a cult.  My amazement is because it is relatively simple to answer that question: if only you know what a true cult is like. 

Here are a few questions that you could ask yourself if you are concerned about MMS (or any organization) being a cult:

Are you free to leave the school or class at any time you want to without threat of punishment, physical harm or other dire consequences?
If you are, you are not in a cult.

Are you free to stop at any time and just walk away?
If you are, you are not in a cult.

Are you free to hold opinions other than your teachers’ or MMS leadership’s?
If you are, you are not in a cult.

Are you required to attend ceremonies throughout the year with threat of punishment, physical harm, death to yourself or your family members if you do not?
If you are not, then you are not part of a cult.

Are all your classes geared to empower the leader, founder, or teacher?
If not, you are not part of a cult.

Are you required to work for MMS and turn over what you make to the MMS?
If not, you are not part of a cult.

Are you sexually, physically, and emotionally controlled or abused in your classes?
If not, you are not in a cult.

Are you deprived of food and sleep in the MMS?
If not, you are not in a cult.

Are you required to worship a leader or leaders and hold them in awe and do whatever they say?
If not, you are not in a cult.

Are you held to any promises you make if you change your mind? Or if you change your mind and decide to not follow through on a previous promise, are you or your family threatened with financial, physical, or even spiritual harm?
If not, then you are not in a cult.

Allow me to dive in even further into some of these concepts….

On Leadership

Cult leaders are demanding and often narcissistic. Cult leaders are not tolerant of weakness and mistakes. They do not accept or allow individuality, creativity, or acting without permission in their members. They demand instantaneous and unquestioning obedience and have punishments in place (definite, measurable punishment) for any slight perceived disobedience.  They are not interested in a follower’s well-being at all except to take advantage of them.  If the follower cannot be of benefit or be a tool for the leader(s), they will get rid of them.  If a cult leader is displeased with someone, they will ridicule them publicly and demean them to the rest of the group.  There is very little humor and if there is humor at all, it is cruel and abnormal.

In the MMS, humor is often used by the leaders to laugh at themselves and to make others feel better.  This is a big point, at least for me:  Those who are International Instructors, and the Leadership of MMS are:

  1. Of high integrity.
  2. Have good humour.

Why is that important? Leaders in true cults would never be that way. They cannot hold high integrity because they always have secrets, are always watching their backs, and scheming how to get ahead. They tend not to be able to laugh at themselves and certainly cannot handle being laughed at.

While I know there are three men called the Third Order, the MMS lineage holders, and a Council of 12 Women who watch over and run the school, I have only personally met a few of them, though I have seen most of them in videos or as they were introduced to groups or in classes.

My closest association is with Ipsissimus Dave Lanyon, one of the men in the Third Order because he trains all the Ritual Masters.  I have found him to be humorous, intelligent, straight-forward, with a zeal to help those men and women who want more, who want to be more and who want to make a positive difference on our planet.  He can be intimidating because if you ask him a real question, he will give you a real answer.  I have also met and been taught by a few of the ladies on the Council of 12.  All I can say is that they are impressive.  They are articulate, kind, compassionate, intelligent, with a deep true caring for each student they teach.

Yet, for the most part, except twice a year (prior to COVID) and now maybe once a year, the leadership of MMS having the most impact in my life is my Guide.  When you are initiated into the lineage of King Solomon as part of the Empower Thyself Class, your teacher for that class becomes your Guide.

As your Guide, he or she “leads” you as much as you choose to be led, on a spiritual journey and/or help you enter a path that gives you purpose, direction, and empowers you to become all that you can be.  They are not there for you to empower them, but they work tirelessly and diligently to help empower you and help you learn how to make your dreams come true.

On Community

The MMS helps foster community.  Each Guide brings those students they are teaching, guiding, and directing together to form a community.  These communities help support the students get to know others who are on “the path” or simply taking classes with the MMS.  Many groups come together often (in person or by video) for meditation, fun, food, encouragement, direction, and to inform about classes being offered. The MMS groups are local groups, but as a student or teacher within MMS you are part of a larger community that spans the world.  If you are traveling you can locate larger groups to visit and meet others taking classes in the school and/or who are on “the path.”

In a cult, they would manipulate community for their own benefit, not for the good of the members. This can be financially, sexually, emotionally, and for control.  The key is that the community is “used” for the leader(s), the followers are only helped, taught, or given gifts and tools if the using of them again benefits the leader(s).

In a real cult, it is not a class or seminar that someone consciously pays for and chooses to attend. There is a price to pay for being in a cult, but it is not an exchange entered into with full awareness on the part of the receiver.

On Finances

 Some have accused the MMS of being too expensive, that the classes cost too much.  I have several degrees that were very expensive, but the value I received from the classes made up for the cost.  The things MMS teaches you will not be found anywhere else.  In addition, it provides two invaluable concepts that offset the cost.  First, as you take the classes, you learn who you truly are and how you can call in your dreams and desires and make them a reality.  Second, with the tools you are taught, you can begin businesses and ministries to pay for the cost of the classes (often on the side of a regular job); Though some go on to open healing centers and spiritual training centers.  The further you go along the path, the more you have to offer others.

This is not so in a true cult. In fact, in cults, expanded education is frowned upon, except for the leaders, and those who reach out for more learning not sanctioned by leadership are disciplined. Most cult leaders are very conscientious about controlling the amount and type of education or information available to their members.

In a real cult, it is not a class or seminar that someone consciously pays for and chooses to attend. There is a price to pay for being in a cult, but it is not an exchange entered into with full awareness on the part of the receiver. Also whenever a cult programmer is brought in to program a member (most times a child) they will end up having to “pay” for the cost of hiring the programmer through forced sex (porn, child prostitution), forced manual labor, or by being so heavily programmed that they are the good kid of the family to the outside world, ie: telling anyone who asks, “I don’t know what my sister is talking about, our parents loved us.” Some cult groups are involved in drug running or child trafficking.

A very different kind of price to pay.

In the Modern Mystery School, you freely choose how far you want to go.  Even after being initiated into the Lineage of King Solomon, you are not required to go any further.

On Ethics

As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I take a lot of Ethic classes on many separate issues such as proper boundaries, proper sexual behavior, proper record keepings, and proper financial procedures.  In the years I have been associated with MMS I have been impressed at their ethical environment across the board (finances, teacher/student boundaries, record keeping, administration, etc.).

In MMS, I signed a Code of Ethics, as well as a Statement of Understanding (Informed Consent) when I received the Ritual Master initiation.  I did so of my own free will as part of taking part in the Modern Mystery School.  Like most organizations there is a standard of conduct.  If I want to be part of the organization, then I must adhere to their code of conduct.

Almost every university, club, church, etc. has “rules” or “expectations” of its members. It is not unlike going to the hospital. Most hospitals have a big sign saying: “No weapons allowed.” You have a choice! You may freely carry a weapon, however you cannot carry a weapon and come into the hospital for services. You don’t have to go to the hospital if you don’t want to.  But if you do, you cannot carry a weapon inside. The hospital isn’t a cult, it’s has a standard of safety that you must abide by.

Or, if you join a church, you normally sign or agree to believing certain things and agree to adhere to some rules, often certain rules of behavior. You don’t have to join the church and you can leave anytime you want. But to remain a member of the church, you have to abide by the rules. If you don’t, you may have your membership withdrawn.

When I wanted to become a Ritual Master, there were some more agreements I agreed to, to be able to take that path, and some choices I had to make. I didn’t have to make them. I only had to agree to them if I wanted to become a Ritual Master. At any time I choose, if I no longer want to keep or abide by the rules, I could choose to step off the path. I would still be part of the Modern Mystery School, I just would not be continuing on the Ritual Master Path.

In the Modern Mystery School, you freely choose how far you want to go.  Even after being initiated into the Lineage of King Solomon, you are not required to go any further.

In a cult, you don’t have a free choice to leave. Most true victims of real cults don’t have choice to join either. Victims can choose to try to leave a cult, but they will be followed, hounded, threatened, and depending upon the cult, may even be picked up off the street forcefully. There are consequences in leaving a cult ranging from losing all your friends and your family, to being physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abused.

In a cult, you don’t have a free choice to leave. Most true victims of real cults don’t have choice to join either. Victims can choose to try to leave a cult, but they will be followed, hounded, threatened, and depending upon the cult, may even be picked up off the street forcefully. There are consequences in leaving a cult ranging from losing all your friends and your family, to being physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abused.

On The Ability to Leave a Cult

Cults will threaten you if you choose to leave. In a real cult, there is always a threat of punishment. That threat of punishment is often death or violent abuse to the person and/or family members.  The punishments are almost always physical and painful but may also include a tremendous emotional cost.  This type of physical and mental abuse is beyond what a normal person can believe one person can do to another.  (Even with all that, many survivors have gotten free.)

In my experience, cults don’t readily allow their members to leave the cult and a lot of pressure is put upon their members not to leave by the leader, which I’ve already brought out. However, the pressure to stay inside a cult often comes from the victims’ own families either due to fear of reprisal or dread at “rocking the boat” for the entire family. Remember, most real cults involve the entire family.

Part of the problem about speaking of cults is most people do not really know about the multi-generation and transgenerational cults. All cults are not equal. In multi-generational cults and transgenerational cults, and others like them, a child experiences life control from the moment of conception. Later, they most often have mind control installed which causes dissociation (created parts) who are cult-loyal, cult-punished, and threatened.  There is something called DID (Dissociative Identify Disorder), where a part(s) of a person has a separate identity unknown to the host personality who may be completely unconscious of themselves engaging in other behaviors or activities.

At times, I had someone come to me because they had been told things by their friends that they apparently said or did, but they do not remember saying or doing them.  Also, they begin to realize they “lose” — or cannot remember — stretches of time where they don’t know what happened for minutes, hours, or even days.

At the Modern Mystery School, no one is forced to stay, continue on, or even take another course if they don’t want to.  It is completely voluntary.  MMS does, like most institutions, require one to take some classes before they can take others.  These are called pre-requisites, just like in college or other places of learning.  You must have the basics before going on with more advanced teachings.

In cults there are no pre-requisites for learning as the cult leader is not interested in the victim’s educational status.

MMS also, because of its integrity to the lineage and to those served, goes to great lengths to make sure what is taught is remembered and given in the way it is taught.  So, there are refresher courses that are required for those who want to continue moving forward.

In a cult, the leader only cares that the victims remember and do the cult leader’s desires and commands only.

Again, in MMS, no one is forced to take classes if they do not want to, only if they want to keep moving forward on one of the offered paths. Again, in MMS at any time a person can simply decide they are done and take no more classes without threats or coercion of any kind, though their Guide may remind them of why they began and the good the classes have done for the person. No threats, no negative consequences if a person just wants to walk away.

Cults do not offer such freedom. They do not offer freedom of thought, freedom of movement, or freedom of choice once the victim is in their hooks, part of the cult.

Through MMS, students become stronger not weaker, gain more control over their thinking and emotions in life, not less; become more empowered, gain greater control of their lives, and learn to challenge more, think more, and most of all – experience true freedom.  Not something a real cult is interested in.

On The Mental and Emotional State of Individuals Involved

In the Modern Mystery School, it is taught that you are in control of your own mind, and that you choose what you wish to think about in your life. You are taught that your emotions are your responsibility. All the tools and teachings of the Modern Mystery School are in support of this very concept, so that individuals can be empowered to control their own mind and emotions. By controlling your thoughts (your mind and emotions) you begin to control your life.

At MMS, for students who continue on a path, they tend to attract individuals around them, in their lives, who are searching for more, and who have some internal connection to Spirit that gets activated.  For those who keep going and are most successful in MMS, they end up motivated to help others, help bring healing to others and find purpose in their lives. MMS brings out the best in those who continue on and trains them to create their own realities through spiritual understandings. MMS trains individuals to be leaders and know who they are as gods and goddesses and what is possible from that knowledge. (As above so below, as within so without.)

MMS, through its programs and classes, offers help for those who may be in a cult (knowingly or unknowingly) because of the emphasis of individual freedom and the power of choice and the power of one’s own mind.  Individuals in MMS are taught to question what they have been taught, even what MMS teaches them and to think.  Through classes such as the Kabbalah class, students begin to experience personal healing from many of the emotional issues caused by being in a cult, such as anxiety and depression. They learn to trust themselves and others as they open up to look within themselves at the parts of themselves that judge, criticize, hate, get angry (those internal voices), get triggered and/or lash out (inwards and outwards) in unhealthy ways.

Through MMS, students become stronger not weaker, gain more control over their thinking and emotions in life, not less; become more empowered, gain greater control of their lives, and learn to challenge more, think more, and most of all – experience true freedom.  Not something a real cult is interested in.

 

So, is MMS a cult? No, not in my experience.

The teachings, trainings, and personal attention available through MMS, its guides, leaders, and teachers can help free a victim of a cult from life and mind control. And there are other ways a victim of cult programming can gain freedom. It is possible to get free! And MMS champions freedom for all.

If anything, the Modern Mystery School is the antithesis and extreme opposite of being in cult!

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James St. Michael

James St. Michael is a guest author contributing to Modern Mystery School’s collection of articles and resources to support all initiates and those curious about the mystery school tradition. James is a Licensed Professional Counselor currently living and working in Alaska as . In his decades of therapeutic experience, James facilitated the deprogramming and rehabilitation of over 50 former cult members who left manipulative, abusive and life-threatening situations. In addition to working in emergency mental health in a hospital, for the last several years, he has been pursuing spiritual study and service with the Modern Mystery School. He is an initiated Ritual Master Apprentice of Practical Magick and a Certified Life Activation Practitioner and Healer.

Alaska, United States

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