Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

James Ray arrested on manslaughter charges

Since the tragic events during a sweat lodge ceremony at James Ray’s Spiritual Warrior Seminar in Sedona, Arizona last October where 3 participants (Kirby Brown, James Shore & Liz Neuman) were killed and 18 injured, I have followed the progress of the story. Yesterday James Ray was arrested on 3 counts of manslaughter and this has been the hot topic on the news today.

Personally, I think that after the tragic event at Sedona, James Ray made a series of very bad decisions and have continued to do so up until his arrest. Initially carrying on with his seminars as if nothing had happened. It wasn’t until 20 days after the event that a post appeared on his blog confirming that all planned events for the remainder of 2009 would be postponed. I suspect these will now be postponed for longer than he initially anticipated!!

His focus then seemed to change and, with the aid of his legal team, worked very hard to convince everyone that it was an accident and not negligence on his part and published what they referred to as the White Papers 1 & White Papers 2 to clarify the events. A week later this was followed by another post on his blog titled Setting the Record Straight.

I have never read any of his books or attended any of his seminars and shall refrain from commenting on the quality of these, nor am I here to do repeat the story in depth. If you want to know more, google is the place to go.

What I am really interested in, is how a man like James Ray managed to convince people to happily part with almost $10,000 to attend his Spiritual Warrior event. He must have some skills in order to pull this off, especially when one factor the disclaimer participants had to sign before the even into the equation. I suspect that very few of the participants (if any) actually read exactly what they were signing for. Spiritual Warrior Participant Guide (Makes some rather disturbing reading, especially page 11 onwards).

I don’t have the answer to why anyone would sign this or part with that kind of money. I have been at a few seminars (not of that scale I might add) in my life where a large group of people are gathered and it doesn’t seem to take that much effort on the part of the speaker to somehow invoke a strange sort of “high” in the group of people. I have felt it myself and the only conclusion I have been able to draw from this so far is that I felt I belonged to a like minded group of people! That said, I think there is more to it than that for people to willingly part with that level of cash. Be it the expectation of a much better life after the event or perhaps something deeper. All I have at this point is questions and no answers.

It may also be worth remembering that while the focus is very much on James Ray at the moment, there are still people of similar caliber roaming free using their charisma and skill to con people out of money.

I have no idea what the future has in store for James Ray but I am eager to see what impact it may have on the self help industry as a whole. I am not a great fan of regulation as I believe it hinders more than it helps and could have a negative impact on the genuine people in the industry. I work in a heavy regulated industry which has only made my job more difficult. I do however hope that something will be put in place to stop the testimonial based selling and the endless promises of health, wealth and happiness so often promised on the packaging of so many of these products, but that would mean some kind of regulation and a contradiction of my previous statement!! Oh well. I never proclaimed to have all the answers!!!!

I do sincerely hope that this will serve as a reminder for people (including me) to approach some of these charismatic “gurus” with a degree of caution and common sense.


10 responses to “James Ray arrested on manslaughter charges

  1. tobeme February 5, 2010 at 1:27 am

    People are hungry for answers and like a man who thirsts in the desert will eventually see a mirage and attempt to drink the sand, people will seek out anyone who they can be made to believe have the answers and the love that they so desperately seek and they will pay any ransom for this privilege.

  2. mysoul February 5, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Reminds me of these Quotes of Buddha-

    “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

    “A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”

    • viv66 February 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      In other words listen with your bullshit monitor fully engaged!
      bullshit monitors are a small device, that can fit into the palm of the hand and may be worn like a bluetooth attachment in the ear. The ear piece device has recently been recalled to the factory to reduce the decibels of the alarm when it goes off as it may cause temporary hearing loss. Once these have been recalibrated to a more sensible level, they will all be returned to their proud owners who can continue to browse the world’s spiritual market place secure in the knowledge that the only shit they are gonna buy is…..(for more information please consult our online catalogue…)
      *sighs* I could be such a saleswoman if I ditched my morals….

    • J February 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm

      Mysoul, thank you for reminding me of these quotes, they make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, I think that in a lot of these seminars the speaker uses very subtle ways of ensuring that common sense is suppressed, which in a large group of people is easy as no one wants to be the outsider (generally speaking)

  3. J February 5, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Viv, surely that depends on whether or not the Mayans get their calendar back!!! If they do, then all you have to do is feel and act as if the website is already there and it will happen!!!

    • viv66 February 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm

      They can always have mine; we get a fabulous one every year from some maker of weapons and airplanes of destruction. The Mayans are welcome to ours for 2012…

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