A man sought by authorities for the murder of his wife and questioning concerning a sniper attack on a Reno family court judge was deeply involved for many years in Landmark Education, a controversial large group awareness training (LGAT) program.

Darren MackDarren Roy Mack, 45, reportedly “traveled extensively to lead the courses” for Landmark. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that until 2002, Mack and his estranged wife worked for the privately owned for-profit company.

The LGAT Mack attended called the “Forum” was first concocted essentially by est founder Werner Erhard (a.k.a. “Jack” Rosenberg).

Amidst a flurry of bad press and legal problems Erhard reportedly sold out in 1992 and the company then became “Landmark Education,” which is run by Erhard’s brother Harry Rosenberg.

Four minutes after Reno Judge Chuck Weller was shot in a sniper attack, Darren Mack called his cousin and said, “If anything happens to me, don’t forget your promise — put out to the press the word on Judge Weller…The rest of the world has to know just how oppressive he is.”

Before that Mack reportedly engaged in an Internet campaign to discredit the judge. The respected jurist was presiding over Mack’s bitter divorce.

Paranoid delusions?

Darren Mack sounds like a madman, but his cousin told the press that he was “the kindest, gentlest, nonviolent person you would ever want to meet.” That same relative also told the San Francisco Chronicle that Mack could be responsible for his wife’s death.

Charla Mack, 39, was brutally stabbed to death and an arrest warrant has been issued her husband with murder.

What could have possibly changed this once successful and “nonviolent” person into a suspected sniper and wanted killer?

Charla Mack’s mother said the couple both were devoted to Landmark Education, which “was a big part of their lives.” Ms. Mack was a five-year staffer for the company and in 2002 was sent to launch its LGAT program in the Philippines.

“I know these two…It doesn’t make sense to me — it’s not who I know them to be,” said the alleged murderer’s mother-in-law.

One of Mack’s Landmark friends named “Gidget” wanted this statement posted on his Myspace site.

Charla Mack, 4th from right front row“Darren, I know you from Landmark Education…I just wanted to remind you about what you used to teach others – about integrity and completion of the past and affinity. Remember? You know you’re driving yourself crazy with all the things you’re telling yourself. You also know the only way through this is through it. I know you have the ability to get this complete – as hard as it’s going to be for you. You can do it. Turn yourself in and start the process of getting it complete. Get in communication, Darren.”

This “loaded language” filled with Landmark jargon like “communication,” “completion” and “integrity,” begs a question; how could someone as advanced in Landmark’s curriculum for self-improvement, end up “driving [himself] crazy”?

After all, according to Landmark its LGAT provides “major positive results,” and graduates claim they experience “permanent shifts in the quality of their relationships.”

What happened to Landmark veteran Darren Mack and the relationship he had with his wife Charla?

Landmark also touts that its courses will make a “profound lasting difference in the way [people] live their lives.

Mack’s life has profoundly changed, but it can’t possibly be the “shift” he wanted.

Instead, after years of Landmark training Darren Mack’s life is a disaster.

Critics of Landmark have called its leaders “mindbreakers” and described its seminar as an “extraordinary scene of humiliation and control” where its said that the course and its leaders must “break them and remake them.”

But what if some people are broken, and never quite come back together again?

In 2002 Dr. Donna Marie Anderson was charged with stabbing her 13-year-old son to death in California. Described as a “bright, accomplished and highly motivated woman” the 48-year-old obstetrician participated in “multiple sessions” of Landmark’s training reported the Pioneer Press.

Much like Darren Mack’s mother-in-law the doctor’s friends described her as “very nice” and a “perfectly normal-appearing individual.” Anderson’s sister-in-law said the woman that murdered her son “was not the woman we knew.”

At the time Landmark spokesman Mark Kamin said, “We have a requirement that people must be emotionally stable at that time to participate in our programs.”

Landmark claimed that Anderson was asked not to participate anymore when she seemed unstable.

Kamin explained that Landmark participants must pass a screening process devised by a board of psychiatrists, including a series of questions aimed at assessing mental stability before they are allowed to participate in its programs.

Kamin’s concerns are understandable given the history of est, Landmark’s predecessor.

In 1977 doctors warned about possible serious psychiatric disturbances suffered by those that participate in the est program. These psychiatrists alerted their professional colleagues about the possibility that such LGATs might have devastating effects on some people.

The psychiatrists may have been prophetic. A year before Dr. Anderson murdered her son Landmark participant Jason Weed shot and killed an Oklahoma mailman Robert Jenkins. His surviving family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Landmark Education.

In that lawsuit plaintiffs stated that the murderer Weed attended “Landmark’s classes” and that “Landmark knew, because of their prior experiences, that [his] type of disorder¬¶was a likely and foreseeable result of attendance of their classes.”

The plaintiff’s attorneys then specifically cite a supposed “screening process and tests” used by Landmark “to eliminate person[s] who were likely to develop mental disorders as a result of their seminars.”

Apparently, the “screening process” either wasn’t done or failed to prevent Weed from attending Landmark’s LGAT.

This is also not the first time that a Landmark leader like Darren Mack has been sought by law enforcement for heinous and violent crimes.

In 1995 David Grill, the executive director of Landmark’s offices in Dallas, sexually assaulted a Landmark volunteer. In the lawsuit subsequently filed against Landmark the plaintiff stated that the company “should have been aware, of Grill’s propensity to commit criminal sexual assaults with students from a time preceding his assignment as executive director.”

Grill was convicted and sent to prison for his crimes. Landmark later settled with the plaintiff for an undisclosed, but substantial sum.

Werner Erhard 1970sLandmark now seems anxious to erase any record or memory of the Macks.

Charla Mack can be seen standing front row in a photo of Manila Forum graduates, but her name has been removed.

It seems like Landmark wants everyone to forget about the Macks and what happened to them.

Landmark may also hope that hope David Grill, Dr. Donna Marie Anderson, Jason Weed and their victims will also be forgotten.

Perhaps this is because according to Werner Erhard’s philosophy there are no “victims.”

Erhard preached that we create our own reality and therefore are responsible for whatever happens to us.

This realization is what est and Landmark devotees claim as a sort of epiphany at the end of the LGAT, that’s when they say you “get it.”

So perhaps within Werner’s world there may be no mourning for the victims of Darren Mack, Donna Anderson, David Grill or Jason Weed.

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4 comments untill now

  1. angelface8140 @ 2006-06-21 20:19

    Landmark is a bunch of quacks. They were sued by Jason Weed and settled out of court with him for an undisclosed amount of money. But our family has a lawsuit pending with them and they have dragged us from lawyer office to lawyer office, getting subpoenas and testimony and treating us like crap! That place should be shut down for good. They have alot of problems and it seems that the trail of Landmark killers is getting longer every year.

    The family of Robert Jenkins

  2. Landmark’s personality screening is nil. I have an acquaintance who is suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and waltzed right in to his Forum. They were soon on his shit list, but then again, so is everybody.
    An ex-boss gave us all the Forum for a bonus. I got a lot out of the LGAT, socratic experience of the Forum, it definitely creates a big ol’ primate high. I even did the Advanced Course with my own money.
    While the charismatic teachers and group dynamic of the classes are enjoyable, the sleazy, creepy organization that is Landmark is something else altogether. As participants, I came to realize (using distinctions I learned in the Forum actually) that we were nothing but “registration bots”, drones who’s ultimate purpose was do duplicate ourselves through the distinction “enrollment”. This nasty perversion of “enrollment” with “registration” is something they just don’t want you to see and outright deny. After my last experience at the Advanced Course, I actually called our fearless Landmark leader on it. She got this sort of shocked sad-cow look on her face and said with lip quavering “why are you trying to make Landmark wrong?” It was only then that I “got it”.

    Like dog poop on a pair of heavily treaded hiking boots, Landmark is hard to get rid of. It took me several months of metaphoric scraping and hosing-off with lots of “take me off your list” demands and more “why are you making Landmark wrong” whininess before I heard the last of them.

    So in the end, I can’t really reccommend anyone go through the Forum until they hire an ad agency, buy ads like everybody else and stop with the hard-sell tactics. But then Harry and Werner wouldn’t make as much money then, would they?

  3. Personally, in my opinion, I think this article is a piece of crap, but you’re certainly entitled to
    your views and your opinions.

    I took the Forum and several other Landmark courses before volunteering as a Course Supervisor and even
    apprenticed under Charla for a course or two. She was an amazingly wonderful human. I never met or knew
    Darren, so I don’t feel qualified to comment on who he is as a person (something you apparently have
    never experienced.)

    I haven’t participated in Landmark Programs for over 5 years now, so again, I’m not qualified to speak
    for the organization now and I don’t necessarily know exactly how they do business now, but I can speak
    for how it was when I did participate.

    I can tell you there was, indeed, a “screening process,” as I would personally call every person who
    participated in the courses that I supervised to get a sense of whom they were and what they were
    looking to get out of the course, but the fact of the matter is that you can’t infallibly tell the state
    of a person’s mental health from a phone conversation or two.

    All the supervisors and the course leaders would also screen participant’s applications, looking for
    possible issues and statements that might cause us to believe that a person might be unstable, or might
    be someone we should keep an eye on during the program. We did this from a physical well-being
    standpoint as well as a mental one.

    As for the comment above that states a person with Bipolar disorder “waltzed right in,” well then that
    means he lied, as there were specific questions about specific mental disorders on the application
    everyone filled out and signed. Unfortunately, there is no insanity meter you can wave over someone’s
    head as they come through the door. You can bet, however, that if a Forum Leader got a sense that you
    were mentally disturbed or ill, you would be asked to leave and not allowed to continue.

    Every course that I took or supervised had people that weren’t happy and left, there were those that
    had bad experiences and there were those that got absolutely nothing, but then there were those, and it
    seemed to me that these people were the majority, that had positive experiences and even those that
    completed altered their life for the better, in ways that they never expected.

    I’ll use myself as an example. I went to the Forum with the expressed desire to be more effective at
    work, and I really just made that up at the time, because the truth of the matter was that I was an
    amphetamine addict and it was just something to do to keep busy.

    Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t what I would consider a complete tweeker, I had jobs with Fortune 100
    companies and I was completely functional (I thought), and no one that I asked later had any idea that
    I was on speed, but by day 2 it became brutally apparent to me that drugs and alcohol were using me,
    not the other way round.

    I had made a promise not to use drugs or alcohol for that weekend and I couldn’t even last 2 days.
    I went out and did speed at lunch on day 2, thus breaking my promise. It was amazing how the course
    changed for me at that point. I saw my whole life was a lie, every single breath I took and every word
    I said were complete bullshit.

    In tears, I went out and flushed all the speed I had and I went up in front of the room of about 100
    people and told them all what I had done and what I was. After I finished talking I expected to be
    thrown out, but the course leader just asked me, “well, what are you going to do?” I told him, “I’m
    going to stop.” he said great, go sit down. It was like I had been given my life back and I haven’t
    done speed since.

    Now it’s not like I’m magically fixed or anything. I still have an addictive personality, and whether
    its food or sex or even Landmark, I still have the potential to become addicted, but now I know I have
    the ability to see when I do and choose something other.

    An important thing for people to realize is that Landmark and other similar programs are not the way to
    fix yourself when you’re “broken,” regardless if they claim to or not. They are NOT substitutes for 12
    step programs or mental health professionals. They’re meant for healthy people who are looking to
    improve their life or impact areas of their lives where they might feel they lack power or success, but, luckily for me, this one time it quite possibly saved me from an early demise.

    As for Darren Mack, it’s easy to blame his participation with Landmark as the cause of his instability
    and what I would call his mental breakdown, but the fact of the matter is that it’s just as possible that
    participating in Landmark delayed that eventual breakdown. We really have no way of knowing.

    All I know is that I hate him for what he did to Charla and for leaving her daughter without a mother,
    and while it wouldn’t be what anyone officially with Landmark would call transformed, I would gladly
    press the switch that ended that scumbag’s life.

    Anyway, thank you for the opportunity to offer an alternative standpoint.

  4. […] other individuals who had previously been involved in the Landmark Forum training, in the article: Alleged murderer and sniper linked to Landmark Education. This article discusses incidents of psychosis reported after Werner Erhard’s est Training, […]