Title: My Personal Story of Escaping a Cult – Part 3: Surviving the Aftermath & Questions for the Cult Leader
For the past 2 weeks I have chronicled my experience in escaping a cult that I was a top member of for 12 years. The previous 2 blogs dealing with the cult have garnered nearly 1,000 views - I am ecstatic the word is spreading; thank you for sharing the blogs & reading them.
I have received several emails and calls asking for me to identify who the cult leader is and what the name of his organization is. I even had a friend who isn't close to the situation email me and say, "Can you tell me who this person is so I make sure to avoid them and never do business with them?" I answered him privately but I believe that you have the right to know who this man is and what his group is named. If you want to know who the cult leader is and what the group name is, email me at info@AlexLanshe.com
Today in part 3, I want to share some of what has happened in the aftermath of me leaving the cult and I share my list of specific questions for the cult leader.
I made my withdrawal from the cult public and well-known. This was done via an email that over 50 members in the cult could see. I did this to ensure that the leader could not make up some story about why I left. I left of my own free will and not at the coercion or prodding of anyone within the cult.
Initially, I received many "best-wishes" from other members who did not know the precise reasons for my exit (all I said in the email was that I was leaving for "personal and professional reasons"). I received these messages until the cult leader contacted me, then those well-wishes disappeared. The cult leader left me one voicemail and 1 text message - he has not contacted me since. Here is the voicemail transcript:
"Alex, this is ______ calling, I need you to call me back, we need to talk as soon as possible. Don't pause and hesitate on the call, I need to know what's going on."
I then received an angry email from one high ranking member who told me that I "owed the cult leader an explanation". If only he knew the explanation the cult leader owes him and how much the leader has ripped him off for years.
Despite this, the feedback I have received has been overwhelmingly positive. Many current members have reached out to me to hear why I left and what my thoughts on the situation are - many of these same people told me that I was confirming their own doubts and suspicions about the "Collective" and the leader. Some members have left the cult entirely, others have said they want to stick around to see what the cult leader will do and how he will respond. I do not envy being in the cult leader's position - he has told so many lies to so many different people and he has no way of knowing exactly who I have spoken to and who I have not. He best choose his words carefully when speaking to the members lest he expose himself...
The cult has 4 main satellite branches (martial arts schools) - Ohio, Maine, Arizona & Michigan. Two higher ranking members (the satellite leader of the Arizona school & a high ranking instructor from Michigan) both asked me to remove them from this blog email list but did not respond to my challenge of telling me how what I wrote was wrong, incorrect, or exaggerated. They did not respond because they cannot win that debate and they know it - the cult leader's behavior is indefensible and I wouldn't want to be caught defending a man who has sexually taken advantage of female students, attempted to break up marriages of female students, scammed students out of thousands of dollars, committed consumer fraud & run several prominent martial arts schools out of business (my instructor's school in Ohio and a school in Maine which, I've been told, is in its death throes now). Be advised, if your martial arts school is supporting this leader, your school will die the same death as the one in Ohio - it is only a matter of time. It might be a slow and painful death, but it will die just the same.
Ok, off my soap box. Moving on! After having gone through this aftermath, I had time to ponder things. I came up with some very specific questions to ask the cult leader. **Hint, Hint ... you have my permission to ask the cult leader these questions yourself**
1) You constantly stress the importance of being "zeroed" yet all 4 of the main instructors of Ohio, Maine, Arizona and Michigan still teach and instruct what they want and not in the "zeroed" sequence. Why are they all not teaching the same thing in the same sequence? Why would one instructor who teaches Aikido receive a “commission to instruct Sogobujutsu from Japan” when this instructor does not teach Sogobujutsu? How is he “zeroed” and doing things in the “proper sequence”?
2) You claim your instructor training programs are very elite yet you have recently allowed people into them who have only 1-2 years of training & no formal rank or position in any of the branch schools. Why? What changed that allowed for the lowering of the standards?
3) You claim your old school had 900 students at one point. Where are all these students now? Why don't we see more of them training on a remote broadcast?
4) You claim your organization has international chapters, branches and schools. Why have we never cross-trained with them via video technology? Why don't the students from your school in Japan train with us and why don't we see any other satellite schools in England, Australia, China or Canada? If one of your members was taking a trip to Japan and wanted to train at your school there, could you give them the address, phone number and email address of the man in charge?
5) You claim to have written a book that sold 1.5 million copies. Why haven't you shown it to us? Why haven't you given us the information required to look it up (like an ISBN) so we can have a copy for our personal library?
6) Your website claims you were "presented with commendation from a member of the Japanese Imperial family at a Toyamaryu grand meeting". Why have we not seen any proof of this and why can we not find any media validating this claim? Surely such a big deal as this would have been covered by Japanese media as well as American media with you being American.
7) Why do the martial arts schools you gain leadership of always seem to lose all their students? Why was my home school in Ohio reduced from needing 4 hours a night, 4 nights a week to accommodate all the students, to now having only 2 regular trainees who train in an apartment? If your training is so great and your information so "potent" why did the Ohio school lose all its students?
8) You claim the perfect class scripts and sequences already exist for all grade levels of any practitioner. Why have your "Jokyo" not been given them yet even though that's what they were promised? Do they need to wait for Renshi before they receive them and if so, when did Jokyo become not enough?
9) You claim no one is a real "Sensei" unless they have been through your instructor training programs. What validation do you have to prove this claim? What proof do you have this is true other than you words?
10) Why is there basically ZERO information about you online except what you have put out through your own website? You claim to have been doing non-stop training and teaching for 50 years yet your students have more Google hits than you. Why is this?
11) You claim that one of the main reasons you won't find many internet results when we search you or the cult is because it has been scrubbed and moved to the deep web. Fellow expats have done the digging on the deep web and it isn't there either. Can you please provide us with the deep web links that prove your claims are true?
12) Why have you still not set up a Paypal account for out of state members to pay with a credit or debit card? Why must they still pay in cash or mail you a check?
13) You claim that much (if not most) of our instructor training program tuition fees and licensure fees go to Japan and not to you personally. However, due to the fact that all members must pay with cash or a check, I find this doubtful at best. Can you offer documented proof that our tuition and licensure fees do in fact go to Japan?
14) Why will you not call a public meeting and/or video broadcast to settle these questions? If you are as legit as you claim you are, you would have no problem proving me to be a liar and solidifying the loyalty of your followers forever. If you can prove I am a liar, you could also prove that the dozens of expats who left you are also liars. Why can’t we all jump on one, big video broadcast and settle this debate?
15) Why are so many great students and members from the past just gone and never return? Why are people like me who paid for Jokyo and spent 2.5 years in the program no longer members? If you and the information were so amazing, why would all these people leave?
That is plenty for now. In part 4 I will share how I have been healing and why I have hope for the future after leaving the cult. I encourage anyone who wants to know who this cult and its leader are to email me at info@AlexLanshe.com.
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National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.