Jul 1, 2010

James Arthur Ray Almost Killed Me

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

But I'd go back.

Interviews with survivors of the deadly sweat lodge on Primetime: Mind Games concluded there; with the disturbing revelation that some of Ray's followers are willing to overlook the deaths of three people. That a man one of them describes as "full of himself" was, at the very least, extremely negligent, doesn't trump the benefits they've gained. Brian Essad, for instance, has been learning how to visualize more money to pay bills he can't afford because he's spent so much on Ray's seminars. But he's ready and willing to cough up more dough, even after having witnessed people breaking their hands karate choppoing bricks at another seminar with no medical staff to attend to their injuries. Papa needs a new pair of shoes so he's ready to let it ride.

Whether it's the high pressure sales tactics combined with good, old-fashioned cult "snapping" at Ray's seminars, the lure of promised "wealth" for those who learn to "play full on," or the truthiness of the "law of attraction," Ray still has followers. Others have left in disgust, though, and figures such as Ray's former employee Melinda Martin will be familiar from previous media appearances following the disastrous sweat lodge.

Ray declined to be interviewed for the segment which should come as no surprise. But there is generous use of footage from past interviews and seminars. The more I experience of his personality, the more disturbed I am.

Early in the show, this snippet of one of his seminars jumped out at me for a couple of reasons. Says Ray to a packed auditorium:

When I talk to you from perspective of science, you can't argue with it. Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, HEH!

The farcical nature of his attempts to apply quantum mechanics to material wealth, I have addressed previously. So, yes, I can argue with it. It's absurd. Equally offensive is that common assertion of which I've grown so tired: that "science" is an unassailable authority. This idea that, "It's been scientifically proven," is the table slapper that stops all debate debases the process of science itself. But more than any of that, what is up with that juvenile cackling? Subtext: Nyah, nyah, nyah. I'm smarter than you!

I will be writing more about Ray's power trips and mind games in future but the show provides a glimpse into his dangerous grandiosity. It covers the creepy "Samurai" game in which Ray played God with the power of life and death over people and the way face time with him is used to bait people into spending more money. Ray infantilizes his followers and forces them into a situation in which he is the only authority. This doesn't just build trust. It creates dependency. This would be dangerous even if he knew what he was doing as he led people in potentially dangerous activities. That he doesn't have a clue has cost four people their lives.

I was somewhat surprised to see that Primetime took aim not only at Ray but at The Secret and raised troubling questions about the "law of attraction." Dan Harris, who previously asked Ray to explain horrors like the Holocaust, is continuing to pursue some explanation of why bad things happen to good people. Unable to get Ray to agree to an interview for the show, he called into his webcast. A partial transcript of the call can be found in the article on the ABC site:

James Ray: So who do we have on the line, I apologize I don't have the name…but I know you are holding?

Dan Harris: Hi James. My name is Dan Harris, I am from ABC News. And my question is, If the Law of Attraction really works -- and you know how to use it, why have so many bad things happened to you and your followers?

James Ray: Well, you know Dan, um, Mickey, I think we need to flush Dan right, right on down the stream, because, um, that's -- that's not something that we are going to talk to here. And if you had been following along, you would recognize that part of going down the stream is getting in the rapids.

So another non-answer and a brush off. As I said here, that we learn and grow through life's ups and downs doesn't answer the question of how we manifest those downs with our thoughts. If life is just going to continue to be a mixed bag, what are people getting for the thousands of dollars invested in classes that are supposed to be helping them get all those "negative" thoughts and manifestations under control?

Harris also took that question to Joe Vitale who currently offers his sage advice during very expensive rides in his limo. Vitale was more straightforward in his advice for earthquake survivors in Haiti. They need to take responsibility for the kinds of negative thoughts that magnetize their reality. Apparently, when the Haitians opened their universal "catalog" they ordered up a devastating quake. Or perhaps Pat Robertson was right and it was that pact with the devil.

Harris also points out that Ray is not maintaining his physique, in as much as he is, using the "law of attraction," but with a "veritable pharmaceutical cornucopia" of weight loss aids and steroids. Ray claims he was prescribed these drugs for a medical condition. But wait a minute.

Likewise, there are others who qualify as a creative genius, and they're physically sick all the time. That's not real wealth!

Ray has previously claimed that he hasn't had so much as a cold in years. This we're supposed to believe is because of his great "law of attraction" mindset and healthy diet. But now he claims that he has some ailment so serious it requires steroids.

I wish such hypocrisy was the worst of the crimes in this expose but it's not. The late Kirby Brown's mother Ginny says near the end of the show, "He needs to be stopped. How many more people have to die before he's stopped? He needs to be stopped." Hear. Hear.

The entire show can be viewed online here.


  1. Great post! How can James Ray spout off about being so perfect, when he has so many problems. He claimed to be a master when he was on top, but now he says that there are "rapids" in the stream. Is he claiming that he created those rapids? Did he kill people to experience the problems so that he could grow? Instead of accepting responsibility, and giving sincere regrets, he's just changing his tune--"rapids in going downstream." He's making excuses for his ignorance and unconcern.

  2. Well you see Windy, "Conditions have no primary cause only 'secondary causes'"... whatever that means. Basically, when a Secret author law of attracts adversity the laws of the universe are subject to some revision.


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