When we face challenges in life, we seek answers from people we believe can help us. When tragedy strikes an exclusive retreat with a self-help superstar, many people are left to wonder: how far is too far? James Arthur Ray was an Oprah-endorsed self-help teacher who achieved fame, fortune, and influence. But friends and family members of his followers questioned his unorthodox methods, and tried to stop him. From Wondery, the makers of “Dirty John,” “Dr. Death,” and “The Shrink Next Door,” comes a story about the dark side of enlightenment. Hosted by journalist Matt Stroud.
Listen today at wondery.fm/DirtyJohn_Guru
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
In the mid two thousand James, Arthur RE was a charismatic self help, Guru who promised his followers a path to wealth and happiness, but not all who followed him finished their journey. This is the story told in a new, true crime, many serious from wondering called guru. The dark side of enlightenment, James, Arthur RE, wasn't really well known until he was in that movie the secret and then was a guest on Opus TV show a few times soon. After that, thousands of people started attending a seminars and he was pegged to be the next great self help guru. But what many didn't know about where his more extreme methods methods that pushed his pupils to their limits, giving some transformative life experience they dreamed of and killing others all right. I'm about to play you a brief clip from the show, but while you're listening be sure to subscribe to wonder is new many serious guru, the dark side of enlightenment on Apple podcast, or you can binge all six episodes ad free right now on the wondering at
It was March, two thousand nine and in a big chain hotel in New Jersey, a crowd milled around waiting once the doors open everyone headed for the same place. It was a large auditorium with a big stage in front. The event was called the harmonic wealth weekend, a rigorous to day, seminar that promise to get participants on the fast track to personal and professional success. It wasn't the kind of thing Jenny Brown was normally into, but her daughter Kirby had insisted that they go together as they were
then she had to admit the atmosphere was exciting. We had a walk through a gaunt, let's say Chile,
who would jump
up and down running up the energy in the room. Then I remember saying to one moment then you you, girls, really had your coffee this morning and she said to me: we don't drink coffee like that's poison, a cable. I do my love, as everyone took their seats, the lights dimmed James,
Arthur RE, stepped onto the stage and began a version of a speech. He often gave less
now in your world. You see. I firmly believe that you,
in the most exciting time in our world history to Time
where science and spirituality are realising that their sister studies, James
hand with a bright white smile wearing a bright white shirt.
Eddie trim athletic builds fairly good. Looking just
You're goin in the morning with my car may african brain photo command the audience. People laughed
nodded their heads like yeah. You know that higher energy kind of environment is just kind of fun. You you want
part of it. You want to belong, you dont want to stand down and be kind of again
what's going on,
James RE was a star
the practices like attracts lie.
And ass. You love your attention upon that. Then another Portugal, which is in harmony with it, is attractive and others a dragon another's vascular. Bang. You ve got a Mercedes onstage. He talked
reflecting on yourself in your position in life, then he be.
Nepal audience members onto the stage and ask them questions, and I like to have four to volunteer
They help me. I need a couple volunteers. Ok come on I'll, give him a hand giving up
first Jenny was impressed. I was fascinated by his
ability to really reach
someone, you know he read, people really well
but ass. She watched something
began to Daggett her. There are a couple of times where he brought people up on the stage and,
them reveal very deep personal troubling
things in their life. Jenny,
clinical social worker and I sat there. Thinking now is a train therapists. Those are the kinds of questions that I would ask. If someone was sitting in my office not in front of hundreds of people, I was both fascinated. An uncomfortable. She turned
daughter Kirby, who is
Morocco just said
That's you know. That's that's really not such a great thing to do, but Kirby
is focused on James
B, was in her late thirties and had bounced around careers and relationships.
She wanted more success. Instability in her life
Jenny knew that Kirby had been doing her own soul searching and the James is teachings had already helped.
And she was gonna stay there to get the most out of the experience whether she believed everything or not, but neither of us ever thought he was dangerous.
Later that year after
attending another James RE event, with her father, Kirby Brown,
would get in her car and drive dissident Arizona for a five day. Intensive retreat with James Called
spiritual warrior for joy.
His followers. It was the pinnacle event of their journey and curbing
and her life savings near
ten thousand dollars to be there. The retreat started on October.
Fourth, two thousand nine
Five days later, Jenny was at home and upstate New York
around eight a m. The door Bell rang
at a fifteen
becomes to the door and asked me if I know Kirby Brown in my first thought,
was, oh, my God machine some kind of trouble.
More than trouble. Jenny,
would never see. Her daughter again subscribe to wonder, is new many series guru on Apple podcast or binge all six episodes and listen ad free on the wandering app.
Transcript generated on 2020-07-24.