By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
By Angelica Leicht
"Hey, thanks," Douglas says. "Thanks for being on here, Eli...This has been one of my hopes for a long time."
"So you're coming at it from a sex-cult point of view," an Accessory says over the phone when asked about the "young children are incredibly sexy" line.
"You know what's interesting?" she says, "is that I have not experienced anything like that from any class I have ever taken with any facilitator. So I think that that completely is taken out of context." When asked what the context might be, she says, "I don't gain anything out of it by giving that to you." She doesn't want to talk for this story. (The most recent Access Level One manual states that, while "children are highly sexual beings," "it is certainly not appropriate for adults to have sex with children" — a sentiment that contradicts Access's bedrock principle that there is no right or wrong).
Access is most certainly not a "sex cult." It's conceivable it could be one day, since Douglas seems to add new tenets with each update of the secret manuals, which Accessories have to buy. Access is anything Douglas wants it to be. He's said that no two Access workshops are the same; the energy in the room at the time dictates whatever direction Access is going to take. And up until very recently, Access was simply too boring to be suspected of being a sex cult.
In hours of CDs and DVDs of Access classes from 2003 to 2005 reviewed by the Press, there's barely any talk about sex, and what talk there is, is focused on how to be "one" with your partner, just delivered in the maddeningly esoteric jargon of Access-speak in an attempt to sound new and profound.
The Accessory on the phone, because she is aware and unencumbered by simpleminded human judgment, only has to hear one question about sexy children to realize that this story is going to be a hatchet job. Like she said, there's nothing in it for her. And that's what it's all about.
And she's no doubt right. She's probably never heard anything about sex and kids in any of her classes. It might be such a fresh concept that it hasn't spread to all Accessories yet.
The thing is, Access might never have been born had Gary Major Douglas gotten out of real estate.
He'd done well for a while — by his estimation, making $100,000 a year. But by 1990, according to Santa Barbara court records, his business went belly up. He was sued by collection agencies, then filed for bankruptcy in 1993. His host of creditors included the IRS and the U.S. Department of Justice's tax division. He'd be paying off those federal liens for the next eight years. After real estate, he had a short stint in the United Way, but nothing seemed to be working for him.
That's when Douglas surveyed the metaphysical landscape of Santa Barbara and found an opening.
For years, Douglas had flitted on the outskirts of Scientology. His first wife, Laurie Alexander, ran a "field group" in the city — pulling in new recruits through Scientology's "auditing" process. The whole point of Scientology was to get "clear," to rid your body of subconscious memories of tragic events, which are called "engrams." People paid good money for this. Scientology had its own language, and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, had something of a fetish for dictionaries and what he considered to be the true definitions of everyday words.
After Douglas divorced Alexander in 1983, he married an ex-Scientologist named Patricia O'Hara. The two were close friends with another former Scientologist, named Mary Wernicke, who was roughly 40 years their senior. The English-born Wernicke rose up the Scientology ranks, working for the church's exclusive "Sea Org" unit. But after dedicating years of her life to the church, Wernicke and others grew disenchanted when Hubbard passed the reins to David Miscavige in the early 1980s. Miscavige began to restructure the organization, creating a rift. Wernicke was one of many higher-ups who left the church for the short-lived offshoot, the Advanced Ability Center. Douglas grew very close to Wernicke and even cared for her as her health began to fail in older age. He moved her into his Santa Barbara home and hired nurses to tend to her.
According to mutual friend Kathleen Martin, Wernicke had a profound influence on Douglas. She made Douglas the executor of her will. She wasn't a wealthy woman and she had no surviving relatives, so she left her jewelry and books to a handful of friends, including Douglas, his wife and his daughter Grace. She left $10,000 for one friend, and any remaining money (including the proceeds of any household items sold) to Douglas, which amounted to around $100,000. Martin says that Douglas gave her a portion of the money, even though Wernicke hadn't willed any to her; it was simply in Douglas's nature to be generous, she says.
Not only was Douglas exposed to key elements of Scientology through Wernicke and others, he was tapped into the growing popularity in Santa Barbara of "channels," people who claimed to be able to allow spirits to enter their bodies. It was always a hit at parties. Though channels no doubt were serious about these supernatural powers, Douglas was not without a sense of humor.
An interesting article other than many things were taken out of context. I have enjoyed Access Classes for the past several years and have found the tools that I have learned to be very helpful in my life. I attend about one class per year, and I use many of the tools; Asking questions rather than coming to conclusions, choosing to have an "Interesting Point of View" about things rather than using judgment, not being in competition with others or excluding others, and have found that the Bars really work to calm my mind and body. I am more aware, healthier, happier, successful in my marriage, my business, being a Mother and a good friend.
I had tried many other systems, trainings, and modalities that never worked for me long-term. I had never found tools that I could use on a daily basis that helped me become more present and aware. I feel I have more choices and abundance in my life as a result of these classes, and that I contribute more to others because I am kinder, have more allowance, and less judgment.
I am grateful for Gary Douglas, Dain Heer, and the Access Team for these tools and have found them to be very valuable in my life.
If the AccessBARS healing modality didn't work as well as it does with clearing emotional garbage, I would be inclined to agree with some of the points in your article. Craig, if you closet-pedophiles at Houston Press could only get over Gary's "children are sexy comment", by that I mean resist to urge to incessantly take it out of context, this might have been one fine and perhaps un-biased (lofty wish) article. Now stop being barking dogs for your right-wing media conglomerate culture-manipulating masters, and go learn how to be true journalists. As for those that spent too much money on Access Consciousness classes, well, was anyone pointing a gun to your head, forcing you to give up your credit card number?
Began using AC tools a few years ago. Learned through the level of "Certified Facilitator." AC is no different than many other 'courses' in awakening awareness, only different in form. It's quite a scam though when you get to spending the money in order to make the money. Of course if you have a problem with that, or a question or a criticism you can just destroy and uncreate it, lol! I'm not broke by it, but I've spent way more than I've made and the continuing education requirements are far greater than any license I've ever held before. It can be upwards of 4000 just to hold your certification each year. That doesn't include travel, lodging and other incidentals. Gary is, in many ways a crock who asks for feedback (sometimes) but can't receive it. He's crassly profane and thinks he's class. He's full of judgments in his own right and no master by a long shot. Gary also believes that he's far more aware than other people. He's not. Dain is incredibly loving and talented. There are many truly lovely, authentic people in this group. But really, I'm done paying thousands for all of this. I already have everything I want and need, am extraordinary happy and at peace. Access tools helped me some along the way, but by no means were the foundation, for me anyway. For some, it's just the ticket, and they're not crazy or scary at all. Super healing talent going on among those active in this group. And a lot of crock too. I wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot pole if I had it to do again. There's equally and more effective healing for free or pennies compared to what you'll spend here. And you will spend it.
Wonderful article! I'm so glad to see an exposé like this in mainstream media. People get scammed by the Access Consciousness group and others like them all the time. The teachings are not helpful and in many cases are harmful. Relationships are destroyed, people ignore reality and find themselves in a state of financial ruin, and ignore serious illness. Some wake up from the spell, others do not. (I'd love to se an Abraham-Hicks exposé someday, hint hint.)
My bartender should start his own religion. He exudes a welcoming spirit; I can't sit down in front of the guy without confessing my sins. And no matter how lousy I felt when I walked into the bar, I always feel better when I leave, especially after five or six rounds of the communion cup.
Read the first page. Reminded me of when I started my own religion, the Brotherhood of Dasypus, just on a lark. I was preaching all kinds of nonsense, thinking everybody was in on the joke. I quit when I started getting converts. Made me realize just how gullible people are. Actually, it scared the shit out of me that people were so stupid and that I might wind up somehow responsible for them. These days, I'm a Zen Presbyterian, something else I invented, but I don't accept converts and never, ever explain what it's all about.
I am at the moment an unemployed single Swedish guy that started using tools from Access Consciousness 3.5 years ago. 4 years ago when I was unemployed, I was constantly worrying if everything would turn out well, I would have loads of hard work getting a new job and if money was getting low I would complain to/with my parents and they would help me. Today I am enjoying life, not judging myself for not having a job and talking with women is 5-50 easier than before Access. The self esteem and self value are so much higher, and if the women I talk to do not like me, I do not care (because I couldnt force them to like me anyway). Craig, thank you for writing the article. It made me be even more grateful for where I am today. And you know what, since you are probably a humanoid, I guess we will see you in Access Consciousness within 5-10 years from now.... Good luck resisting!Regards
Power of positive thinking, Scientology (and Elron was Totally Evil), some mass hypnosis and feelgood social grouping, and Wallah - another Zombie.
The method of raising consciousness is very old, free, works, and is free of any trappings - simple meditation (also good for lowering blood pressure).
I am a Christian that has practiced AC for a few years now and I am very grateful for their life changing tools. I have been climbing out of abuse, emotional and addiction issues since childhood and have found the clearing tools and BARS techniques to be very transforming and mind opening. The AC philosophies offer very different point of views to approaching life which has helped me break though and out of abusive "operating systems" and into more ease, joy and glory. Thank you Gary Douglas and Dain Heer. Keep being you. How does it get better than this?
Great article. A first-rate take down of this pernicious group. I hope that as scientology continues to burn to the ground there's a flash point - a point in time that generates such public interest that the media can take a long breath and explain how ALL cults work.
Got a friend whose lost in this cult, she sounds like a parrot repeating the same Access mantras all over. Not sure how much she has spent on it, but she has really bought in and lost many of her closest friends. The article sounds like it's all very obvious, but they are quite subte, targeting health and NLP professionals to spread the beliefs. Worrying...
One manipulative, quackery-pushing, profit-driven cult (Scientology) begets another (Access). Not really surprising. The most important lesson one learns in Scientology is that there's a sucker born every minute.
@Swede Yeah, nothing scary about this at all.