By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
But based on more recent writings and accounts from later classes, Access has taken a distinctive turn.
One woman, whom we'll call Tammy because she didn't want her name used, told the Press that Douglas was "verbally abusive" at a workshop she attended within the past year.
"I was horrified by his style of facilitating — which is shaming," Tammy says, later comparing Douglas's style to Heer's. "I mean, Dain is really sweet and openhearted, and Gary can be really vicious...I think he has a lot of unresolved anger toward women...He would talk very disparagingly about his ex-wives and how they did this to him and that to him. He just sounded like a victim the way he talked about it."
Tammy says he showed a real dark side, referring to his ex-wives as "controlling bitches," and sharing an anecdote about how he dealt with a little girl who picked on his daughter Grace when she was a child: "Gary told us that he pulled the little girl aside and he called her a little cunt." (Douglas's first wife, Laurie Alexander, a minister and life coach in Santa Barbara, told the Press that she loves Gary. "He's a great guy, really good person, really lots of integrity...That's all I can say." His second wife, Patricia O'Hara, also praised Douglas and Access to the Press, which is odd, since Douglas told a group of Accessories in 2004 that, because of her, "You were not allowed to talk about Access in the house." Douglas meekly bowed to her demands, as in all aspects of the marriage: "I said nothing...I just made the money and gave it to her." To illustrate what an emasculating shrew she was, he told a story of how she chided him in front of Heer and other dinner guests one evening, snidely asking him if he remembered to turn off the barbecue grill because he had forgotten to the last time. At this point in Douglas's story, Heer chimed in about how he was even more upset than Douglas, saying, "She was about to get kicked in the cunt.")
Tammy says that Douglas's rantings were so different from the Access teachings that appealed to her in the first place, explaining that "I'm grappling with that, because I don't want to throw it out completely — because there are good things."
Another former Accessory, whom we'll call Liz, said she left the group after noticing what she called a darker streak in Douglas's teachings. What had started out as a call for "oneness" and just generally being a better person, led by a genuinely sweet man who had empathy for others, had taken a dark turn — especially in how he spoke about women. Simply put, Liz says Douglas's "perspective on women lacks development." She says he didn't think women were inferior; he just wanted to focus more on helping men explore their consciousness. (She says the only female who had any sway over Douglas was his biological daughter, Grace. In Liz's estimation, Douglas's stepdaughter Shannon threw herself into Access and worked hard for Douglas's approval, while Grace walked on water.)
Liz was also slightly uncomfortable with how Douglas "created Dain [Heer] as his little mini-me" and "[posed] Dain as Prince Charming." Prior to Heer, she says, Douglas was grooming two men in Australia to be his VIPs, but they didn't last. Liz says that, for Douglas, Heer was a perfect, impressionable acolyte — someone who was "perhaps not a self-thinker" and was "willing to follow Gary blindly."
These women's recounting of Douglas's behavior describes a man radically different from the Douglas in the 2004 workshops reviewed by the Press. That was a man who advocated self-reliance, and swapping a low-confidence victim mentality for one of empowerment. That Douglas even encouraged skepticism, saying at a workshop that one sign Access isn't a cult is that "I ask and request of you one thing: Know that you know. Whatever makes you feel light is right and true. Whatever makes you feel heavy is a lie — don't buy a lie from anybody. Not me. Not the guy I channel, Rasputin. Not anybody."
That sentiment is lacking in the most recent Access manuals. Some of these puzzling changes in Access dogma were first revealed by the administrator of a site called Accessschism.com, and explored in a more irreverent manner by a blogger outside of Houston, Connie Schmidt, whose brilliant "Whirled Musings" blog at cosmicconnie.blogspot.com tackles what she calls "the New-Age/New-Wage crowd."
Andrew Blanford explains on Accessschism.com that he took a basic Access class and has "read much of the material."
He writes that, while "there are some good things in Access," much of the material "is confusing, convoluted and contradictory at best." According to Blanford, "Most of the deceit and coercion you won't discover until you are invested to the point that you don't want to admit to yourself that you were duped."
He told the Press in an e-mail, "One of the foundational elements of Access Consciousness is accepting and allowing everything, therefore Access Consciousness should be in total acceptance and allowance of any critical discernment of their teachings or writings."
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.