A number of such groups have been sued for their practices, either by traumatized attendees or former employees. Often they will change names and restructure under a different title, yet still offer the exact same training.
Unfortunately, some of these splinter New-Age-based Self-Awareness groups have been especially successful in Utah since the late 1980’s – appealing to and staunchly defended by a significant number of members of the LDS Church. On January 14th, 1990, the Deseret News published an article investigating these groups, which is included in the supporting material 25.
Repeated Warnings by Church Leaders
to Reject Self-Awareness Groups
The leadership of the LDS Church has issued clear and unmistakable warnings to avoid such groups no less than five times.
The following warning was issued from the First Presidency on May 11th, 2001. Additionally, it was published in the official LDS Church magazine, Ensign, in the September 2001 issue (emphasis added):
“To General Authorities; Area Authority Seventies; stake, mission, and district presidents; and bishops and branch presidents, to be read in sacrament meeting:
“It has come to our attention that some commercial enterprises promising heightened self-esteem, improved family relationships, increased spirituality and the like by participating in their programs are implying Church endorsement. Such claims are untrue and unfounded. The Church has not endorsed any such enterprise. Neither should the Church’s failure to formally challenge any such enterprise coming to its attention be construed as a tacit endorsement or stamp of approval. We repeat the counsel set forth in the Church Handbook of Instructions, page 157:
“Church members should not participate in groups that:
- Challenge religious and moral values or advocate unwarranted confrontation with spouse or family members as a means of reaching one’s potential.
- Imitate sacred rites or ceremonies.
- Foster physical contact among participants.
- Meet late into the evening or in the early-morning hours.
- Encourage open confession or disclosure of personal information normally discussed only in confidential settings.
- Cause a husband and wife to be paired with other parties.
“We strongly counsel against affiliation with any such group