Over the past week I have received many messages from people asking me about Zen Gardner’s recent “confession”. He was a member of the Children of God (The Family) cult for 27 years, including being in leadership position.
I have kept quiet over the past week since the news broke and wanted to talk to Zen personally about it since I had some questions. I have “known” Zen since April this year. He liked my work, reposted some of my blogs on his site and I was on his “Now and Zen” show in May. We stayed in contact, changed a few Skype messages and had two Skype video chats. The last time I talked to him via Skype was when he was in Spain last month, hanging out with my friend Benny Wills (from Joy Camp) and others.
I was quite shocked when I first read his article “My Missing Years”. At first I was glad to see that he shared this hidden aspect of his personal life and opened up. It triggered empathy and compassion within me. However, as I was doing more research into the COG cult and also discovered why and how his “confession” actually came about, many things he talked about (and especially the way he handled it) didn’t add up. There was a lot of avoidance, white-washing and not addressing big questions that sit like multiple “elephants in the living room”.
At first I tried to connect with him via Skype, offering my support but also pointing out that I had questions and I felt his articles (especially the second one “A Few Replies”) were coming from a victim/avoidance/missionary stance, lacking sincere accountability and full disclosure. I also connected with Benny to talk about this situation since we both know (or knew) Zen personally (although I never met him in person). We both tried to confront him on some questions we had via Skype message and wanted to talk to him in person eye to eye via Skype. He dodged and avoided our questions and kept responding with “testimonials” of other people who support him during this time. He never made an effort to connect with us via Skype video.
This lead me to write a long email to him, being very direct as I would be to any “friend” who’d be in the same situation. In my view good “friends” call each other out when needed to help each other grow. I was not interested in ego-stroking him and “showering” him will all kinds of New Age/Pop-spiritual lingo as I saw so many of his fans do in the comment section of his two articles. The lack of critical thinking and not spotting the obvious red flags by so many people was actually sad and shocking to see. However, I’m also not interested in a public “which hunt” and just screaming out “sick Pedophile” or “Sociopath” as I have seen some people do as well. I wanted to be direct but also supportive and help him to come fully “clean”.
I sent the email to him four days ago (and a copy to Benny as well since he helped me with this email and agrees with everything written in it) and haven’t heard back from him since then. Sadly and very telling he only wrote Benny a message yesterday with ANOTHER testimonial of someone else stating how great of a guy Zen is and AGAIN dodging Benny’s simple and direct questions, while Benny tried to refer to the email I sent him. Since then he also has not replied to any of Benny’s questions.
I think it says a lot that he didn’t even message me after I sent this email (even just to acknowledge that he received it) in which I expressed that I wanted to talk to him face to face; but instead he tried to convince my friend Benny that he’s such a “great guy” who is exposed to an “unfair witch-hunt”, telling him that he simply doesn’t remember everything that happened (if that is not a red flag, then I don’t know what is). The continuing excessive need for validation from others is also a huge and big red flag in itself, let alone the avoidance of answering simple and direct questions from people he knows personally, calling us “friends” and “brothers”.
The reason why I make this email public here (with minor edits due to privacy and for context) has various reasons.
For one, it basically answers the many questions I have received from other people about my “opinion” and stand on that issue.
Secondly, I need to do this out of my own conscience and be very open and clear about it. The last few days have been hard on me to digest all the research I’ve done into the COG cult and the “betrayal”/disillusionment I experienced, realizing that I really do not know who the persona Zen Gardner is. Part of me didn’t want to get into it all or even write this blog but just let “others” deal with it since the cat is out of the bag anyway. I just wanted to keep focusing on my own work. I also didn’t want to fuel a “witch hunt” against Zen Gardner and also give him time to respond to my email.
However, as I was taking some time for myself, staying off the computer for a few days and just letting the information digest within me, contemplating and meditating on it, I got the strong message from within that I do need to make this public statement and let it all out. I can’t stand on the sideline about this. It’s like my conscience doesn’t leave me any other choice and I tried the best I could to speak to Zen in person to no avail. I also consulted with a few friends besides Benny for some feedback (to check my own possible blind spots and/or reactive behavior) and I also sent them the email I sent to Zen. All of them agreed with what I wrote and encouraged me to post it publicly, especially since there are some issues addressed that most of his “followers” don’t seem to see or address or “don’t want to see”.
In the end it ties into what I wrote about in my last essay. We are in the times of “unveiling” and “splitting” as the dark is coming to light to be transmuted and transcended and there is no hiding from it. There have been also other synchronicities and signs in my life over the past week, confirming that this is the right step to take. Some people, including Zen Gardner himself, will maybe see this blog as part of the “which hunt” (while others may even think that I’m too “easy” on him), but I trust that anyone with some grounded and embodied awareness knows and sees the true intention of it in light of the Time of Transition that we are in. One thing I can say for sure, this email/article is not coming from a reactive-projecting place, but from a place of consciously responding, even if I do call a spade a spade as you’ll see and I am very direct in parts. Call it “fiery compassion”.
Thirdly, I realize more and more that all this goes way deeper than most people are aware of and I’m still wrapping “my head” around it as new information is coming out, including possible CIA/MK Ultra connections to the COG cult, tying into SRA since most of these cults (especially when sexual trauma is involved) are also “fronts” for MK Ultra operations (which the cult members/leaders themselves are usually not aware of whatsoever), hence they get away with these kind of “practices” for all these years, because it is being “allowed” from behind the scenes. However, there is no factual confirmation or proof of any of that which I’m aware of as of yet. It affects the so-called “truth movement” (whatever that is anyway in this day and age) in more ways than most people seem to be aware of; let alone looking at it all from a hyperdimensional “archonic” perspective which I haven’t even gotten into (yet).“Real compassion kicks butt and takes names and is not pleasant on certain days. If you are not ready for this fire, then find a new-age, sweetness and light, perpetually smiling teacher and learn to relabel your ego with spiritual sounding terms. But, stay away from those who practice real compassion, because they will fry your ass, my friend.”
~ Ken Wilber
And lastly, it is also to counter-act this “guilt of association” fallacy/nonsense that seems to go around, affecting many people who have even just talked to Zen or were on his show at some point, which is ridiculous to say the least. I don’t know anyone personally who actually had any idea of Zen’s past, including the ones I know who have been in contact with him personally.
However, my own difficulties of dealing with this topic over the past week (it’s not a pity-plea but simply about stating my own process) is NOTHING compared to the many children that suffered and still suffer as adults under the consequences of being in the COG cult.
Before you continue reading please watch 8 minutes of this video (from 50min to 58min) to see what The Children of God cult does to people and keep in mind that this young woman did NOT have a choice as a young child and didn’t join the cult as an adult as Zen Gardner did, who was a member of it from age 22 until age 49, even in leadership position. If you don’t have tears coming up watching this, then you need to check your ability to actually truly FEEL compassion/empathy as opposed to just an “intellectual” acknowledgement of “compassion”.
What is interesting to note is that this Anthony Robbins documentary apparently just came out last month on Netflix and was just uploaded last week on YouTube. It’s a very interesting “coincidence”/synchronicity in light of the revelations about Zen Gardner, as if there is a “higher force” that wants this information to come to awareness to help make the darkness conscious for healing and transmutation. The video should start at the 49m42s mark if you hit play:
o, here’s the email. There are resources for further reading/watching at the end, just a small selection. There is way more out there (and more will come out) but it will get you started to do your own research and make your own conclusions:
I’d rather address you by your real name to cut through the “image” of the public “Zen Gardner”. My intention is to write to you as a friend and how I would communicate to any good friend I have who’d be in the situation you are in and the way you have handled it so far. What I write here I’ll also Cc to Benny (he has read it before I sent it anyway). I want it to be completely open between friends. It also comes from a place of support. However, to set the “stage” of my letter to you, I’d like to share this quote, which resembles to me what TRUE friendship is all about between “friends” who are engaged in the same work during these times we are in:
First of all, when I first read your “My Missing Years” article I was obviously shocked, surprised but also glad that you finally came out of the closet so to speak. It also triggered empathy, compassion, and support for you.“According to the Great Work, a friend is one in which you support and encourage the other’s expansion in either the mind or the spirit. Otherwise they are people you are sentimentally attached to it because they would eat cinnamon bun with you. And they will say ‘hee, hee, hee’ aren’t we having fun”. Drug addicts do the same thing. Drug addicts want to be around people who will support them and be away from real friends. Do you know why? Because it feels good. To be a member of a mystery school can be catastrophic to the ego and to the ego’s habits and to the propensity for mediocrity. No one ever cried striving for excellence. They only cried when their mediocrity was taken away from them and pointed out to them.”
However, there were also certain things you wrote in that article that didn’t sit well with me. So, what I do in this kind of situation is to refrain from judgment (nor answer any questions of people who have contacted me about that) but contacted you via Skype message to talk to you personally face to face (video) and address some questions I have. That hasn’t happened yet and while I understand that you are busy with your life and this whole situation I also sense some “avoidance” in our Skype message interaction, hence my letter to you in a more direct manner.
Since you published your first article about this, I’ve done some research into the Children of God cult. I’ve heard of this cult before but I wasn’t aware to what extent it operates and what it is actually based on. Naively I believed in the past that it was just a hedonistic hippy cult but I had no idea what was truly happening. The sexual molestation/pedophilia aspect is not just a “side show” of this cult, it is literally based on it.
“I practice what I preach. And I preach sex, boys and girls… IT’S A PERFECTLY NORMAL APPETITE like any other appetite. It needs satisfaction just like any other, & you really really really get frustrated if you can’t have it. You can get such guilt complexes, too, for having any. But why did the Lord make you able to have children at the age of 11, 12 & 13 if you weren’t supposed to have sex then?”
~ David “Moses” Berg, founder of Children of God
“QUESTION: MY LITTLE BOY (5 YEARS OLD) IS VERY SEXY! He cannot even hug his mother without getting a hard on. So I thought it was bad because it makes him too familiar with his mother if she takes care of him. I believe somebody else would take care of him, but until now, no one in the Home has the burden to do this. What do you, Dad, think of this kind of mother & child relationship?” – Sammy, Europe
“ANSWER(David Berg): What’s wrong with it? It’s perfectly natural!—What better person to learn about sex from than his own dear mother? God’s only Law is Love! Are you a jealous father?” (—See Nos.605:4, 779, 782, 815 & SD “My Little Fish”)”
– from http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Berg_on_Incest and http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Berg_on_Pedophilia
As you said yourself, you were part of it in Brazil as well. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg which you know very well.“What characterizes the COG? Sex. From earliest infancy, the cult’s children are taught the basic principle of sexual freedom. Children are encouraged to stimulate each other sexually and to take part in sexual acts with adults.[…]In Brazil the COG found an oasis. Despite the bad publicity generated by the media around ten years ago, the cult has flourished. Members expelled by other countries flee to Brazil, and here the group extends liberties not granted anywhere else — thanks not only to Brazil’s highly permissive society, but also (and principally) to the unrestrictive laws on freedom of worship. Though the AIDS epidemic caused the cult to cut back on some of its extreme sexual practices elsewhere in the world, in Brazil things continued unabated….As noted earlier, Brazil is also a key destination for members in other countries who flee when their activities are threatened or banned.”
– from http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Christian_Research_Journal:_Inside_the_%22Heavenly_Elite%22
I want to point out first how I’ve seen people react to your revelations so far. There are basically two main camps. On the one hand there are people projecting their shadow and go on a “Shame on Zen” witch hunt, calling you Sociopath and Pedophile. On the other side you have many people ego-stroking you (including Jon Rappoport’s message to you. More on that later…) in the comments of your two articles, i.e. offering you “cinnamon buns”. It seems fairly obvious that these people have not done any sincere research themselves into what you were actually involved in and just take what you wrote/said on face value without spotting the many red flags. They also seem to lack basic psychological knowledge since there is a lot one can see “behind” your words.
Reading the comments on your article, most people fall into the latter category. Most of it can be summarized as “spiritual bypassing” or even “spiritualizing” things with New Age lingo, ironically what you accused […] of doing. It also ties into hive mind/group thinking based on your followers who put you on a pedestal and project all kinds of stuff into you. This is very cultish in itself, as if their chosen leader/idol/guru cannot do wrong and if so, he’s being excused right away without further questioning.
I have had a few long phone talks with Benny about this situation. He comes from the same place as I do with the same questions and issues we see in your two recent articles about all that. We both do NOT fall in either camps or black and white approach. There is a third option. Personally speaking I’m not interested in going on a public “shame on Zen” witch hunt, however I’m also not just stroking your ego (as many of your readers do) and just let this go under the “appearance” that you have “come clean” based on these two short “white-wash” articles, nor do I buy into the “spiritual bypass” of “fuck it and onward with the mission” avoidance and self-importance strategy.
I (and others who care for you) want to know the truth and whatever the truth is with all its details and your own involvement based on a 27 year membership (almost half of your life!) in a “sex cult” where you even were in leadership position. To be clear, I would never project hate on you (even if you participated in questionable sex-acts yourself) but you need to truly own it, take accountability, come clean and stop being vague and playing this victim/martyr card that is coming through your articles on that issue. This requires way more than these two short articles, ending with:
That is a cop-out and does not speak for your level of awareness and conscience, but more like spiritual bypassing. Pride also only comes from ego and self-importance. The point is not to get stuck in shame/guilt mode but also not avoid any of these unpleasant feelings. So far, your commitment to do “everything I can to help free a very bound and confused world” in particular in light of your two recent “coming clean” articles are just empty words to me that I cannot take serious considering of how you are handling the situation and how you avoid truly owning it and revealing everything WITHOUT playing the victim/martyr card and WITHOUT feeding off of all the superficial “New Age” type support you get from your followers (which doesn’t speak for their level of awareness) which in itself has a cultish undertone to it all as mentioned before.“I’m a very free man, free of guilt and shame, and owe no apologies. I’ve paid my dues more times than you could count…….I’m fully committed to doing everything I can to help free a very bound and confused world. Of that I am very proud, and deeply honored to be part of, whatever the cost.”
On a basic psychological level one can see clearly that deep down inside you are very insecure (hence the excessive need for external validation) and have something to hide and there is a dark shadow that still needs to be addressed. In fact, especially your last article has “I’m guilty” written all over, seeing through the words you use (more on that later). If you’d truly had a clear conscience and were “free” as you say, you wouldn’t need all this validation to the point that you send me Jon Rappoport’s message and then even use it in your article to “pamper” yourself up, including another “testimonial” of one of your fans of how great of a person you are.
When I first read Jon’s message you sent me on Skype I was in shock to see that he would write such nonsense. Even though I agree with some people wanting to feed off of your guilt/shame (people in the first category that I mentioned before) as I told you, the rest of it was such a massive ego-stroke with lack of conscience to buffer up the truth and put you falsely “at ease”. I like Jon’s work and he’s done great work, but I also know that he has blind spots, no awareness of deeper workings of the (hyperdimensional) matrix, lack of awareness/knowledge of esoteric self-work in light of soul evolution, nor knowledge about basic psychology apparently.
Benny and other close friends I talked to had the same reaction to Jon’s message and it’s disappointing to see that you actually used it to “prop” yourself up in your last article. Here is Jon’s message from your last article with my comments:
Jon Rappoport: “Here is what I have to say: Under the trying and trapping circumstances, you did what you could. You owe no apologies to anyone.”
How in god’s name would Jon know that “you did what you could”? Have you revealed EVERYTHING to him, talked to him in person, eye to eye?
You do owe an apology, not only to your readers who have deceived (and apparently keep manipulating with they way you handle all this), but more importantly to the hundreds of children (including your OWN) that suffered in that cult, a cult you were part of for 27 years including leadership position. Moreover, you owe it to your own soul in terms of your own soul evolution and embodying “higher frequencies” (the whole point of “awakening”!), which doesn’t happen by merely talking/writing about it or intellectualizing it.
It is very clear that there is lack of embodiment and knowledge is over-riding Being. Ironically, it all ties in with what I wrote in my last essay which you published on your site as well. If you don’t understand all that (the work to be done in the process of “awakening”) and don’t apply it to yourself, how can you write about “Awakening” anything during these times we are in?
“Your voice is strong. It needs no guilt threaded through it.”
Jon doesn’t get it. Has nothing to do with wallowing in guilt. Your “voice” is not real and just empty words as long as you don’t come fully clean and make the darkness conscious.
“The multitudes of people you address every day—the responsibility is on their shoulders to wake up if they can. You’re giving everything you can to bring this about.”
See first point. How can Jon say that you are “giving everything”? How would he know? Just because you have a website with articles on “awakening” and wrote two very short articles about your “confession”? And what about YOUR responsibility?
“If there are nitpickers and “gotcha idiots” out there, ignore them. They have no lives.”
Sounds like I’m a nitpicker and “gotcha idiot” and so is Benny. Thanks Jon, but I have a good life.
“There are many people in this world who ought to confess to what they’ve done and what they’ve failed to do. You are not one of them.”
All I can say is WTF? Seriously?
“You’ve cleared that hurdle. You’re way past that.”
More WTF? How did you clear that hurdle? By these two half-hearted articles you wrote, playing the victim/martyr/missionary for the most part while avoiding obvious issues and questions that sit like multiple elephants in the living room? And past what? Again, does Jon know everything that happened in those 27 years? Does he actually know what COG is? Has he researched it? Is Jon a motivational speaker now, blowing up your ego?
“What we’re dealing with here are the sleeping billions. That’s the target. That’s the work and the game and the cosmic joke. And in the process, we wake up more.”
I recommend to work on your own (inner) awakening process, Jon, because based on what you wrote so far it doesn’t seem that you are really awake nor understand (or embody) what the work actually ENTAILS to become “awake”. Nice savior/missionary-ego as well there, Jon.
“One way or another, people suck on the teat of guilt and use it for their own ends. They need to see a man who won’t. They don’t know that, but that’s what they need.”
Sure, some people do, but that is completely beside the point and does not justify the cop-out you are suggesting here, Jon. Who is “they”? Everyone who has questions as I do?
“You’re on the high, high end of consciousness. Way on the plus end.”
Seriously? I don’t know anyone who is on the “high, high…plus end of consciousness”. Certainly not me. Maybe Gurdjieff or Sri Aruobindo in the recent past but contemporary, no one I know…apparently we have very different ideas about what “high end of consciousness” actually means. Nice ego-stroke too.
“So fuck it, and onward!
…and swallow the pill of “self-calming”.
The first thing to point out is that you made that “confession” not based on a sudden flash of “conscience” or preparation out of your own “free will” but because you were forced to do it. You failed to mention that to your readers and hence were not honest from the get-go.
I wonder how much longer you would have to keep silent if Steve Seymour wouldn’t have confronted you on it. Maybe deep inside you’d also have just wished to never mention this and have hoped that it would all just go away. It’s not going to, for this is the “apocalypse” we are in right now, the “unveiling” and everything from the shadows needs to come out and will be forced to come out, collectively and individually in order to be transmuted through the light of Truth.
Now I’m not necessarily agreeing with this “blackmailing” approach (but then again I don’t know the details of the interaction between you two and maybe it was necessary to bring the truth to light), however he did give you the chance to come fully clean. In light of everything else I have uncovered about this cult and the little you have shared based on your 27 year involvement in it, even in leadership position, I have to agree with Steve Seymour. It is a half-hearted attempt on your end, regardless who Steve Seymour is, whom you just brushed away as a disgruntled “ex-friend” as you told me. He makes many valid points in his article which need to be addressed. Most importantly this one:“I had to confront the man. I tried to get him to reveal his shameful past without telling him the extent of what I already knew, wanting to protect the initial source as much as possible. But after he failed to open up, I emailed Zen with an ultimatum – either he’d come clean, confess what he’d revealed – or I would do it for him. I felt the fairest thing to do was to give Zen a chance to explain himself – in his words, even though I (and others that know him who I subsequently spoke to) thought “the wordsmith” would try and paint himself to be the hero – and/or play the victim card. His halfhearted attempt can be found here.“
~ Steve Seymour, The Cult of Zen Gardner: A Monster in Disguise
And that’s what it comes down to, Don. What have YOU personally seen, witnessed and allowed or even promoted and god-forbid engaged in 27 years? In your article you just brush it off with:“I will point out though – that you don’t get to be a leader and teacher in such a sick and perverted cult and stay for 27 years without at the very least being aware of the modus operandi, teaching and enforcing the doctrine and by his own admission, having to “share the love” and deal with the jealousy of having his partners do the same.”
“Learned later?” as an adult member/leader in 27 years in a sex cult? You cannot possibly expect me to believe that or anyone else for that matter. I’m ready, bring on the nasty tragic stuff, bring the dark to light and especially YOUR involvement in it without playing the victim/ignorance card. I also would like you to tell me face to face, eye to eye that you had no hand in all that and no idea of the “extent”. Eyes, your energy and body language reveal way more than whatever you type on a computer.“I was aware there were incidences and went after abuses in the area I was supervising. But I had no idea of the extent it was going on in top leadership and specialized “training centers”, the horrific details of which I later learned about like many others have in the documentaries and books covering detailed incidences which are available online. Brace yourself, there’s some very nasty, tragic stuff.”
On that note, since our first talk on Skype which I very much enjoyed, as well as our podcast and Skype with Benny and you, I always noticed a certain nervous energy, not grounded, scattered, very head-centric, at times not very present and not embodied (not “Zen” at all). I’m good at reading people to an extent. It’s what I do for a living. But I didn’t say anything since it was none of my business and I cannot just go around telling people what I see through their mask of personality and armor they have built around themselves unless they come for a session to me. An obviously we all have our own masks and shadows since everyone is “wounded” to one degree or another.
I also intuitively knew that there is fear and a deep shadow lurking within you (even possibly entity attachments). Now I know why and what I saw and felt but I certainly didn’t expect these revelations. I’m not denouncing your well-meaning intentions and good-hearted nature that I see as well (or maybe is that a mask as well?). But “intention” is not enough, nor just having a “nice” personality.
Yes, I’m being very direct and calling you out but I’m also here to support. As I said, personally I’m not interested on going on a witch hunt and “burn you at the stake” even if you have molested children or “just” let it happen and knew about it. But there needs to be accountability and full disclosure and destroying the “buffers” that are in the way to truly feel your conscience and tell it all, expose everything without trying to “save face” or your brand name “Zen Gardner” or fear of losing your followers and the money you make off of your site. As long as you are attached to any of that, including what you think your “mission” is, your soul won’t find peace no matter how much you suppress and avoid it. And the soul is all that matters. Nothing else you can take with you.
This also doesn’t happen by posting short articles every other day about this. In fact, if you had true conscience you would put “Zen Gardner” to rest for now, stop posting anything and really go inside and do the work you clearly have not fully done over the past 17 years since you left the cult. If you would have, you wouldn’t have waited for so long to “come out” and it was not even out of your own conscience but because someone else found out and called you out on it. Ironically Steve Seymour is actually doing you a favor, giving you an opportunity. So far you are not handling it very well and I do not care what all your followers praise you with or what Jon Rappoport wrote or anyone else who just says “Beautiful Zen. Thank you for sharing and being open. You are so wise and humble. You have paid your Karma. You can let it go now and keep up the good work” (as I’ve seen on the comments on your two articles).
Well, that explains a lot, especially how you have used your “skills” as “PR image manager” to create the persona/mask “Zen Gardner” to cover up the truth and it also explains how you use words and language in your last two articles to vector people away from the truth and even manipulate them. It also has strong overtones of NLP.“Zen Gardner spent nearly three decades working his way into a leadership position of a child abuse cult. Not only that, but his primary job was that of media chief; in charge of public relations, “image management” and press releases.”
– from “When Heroes Fall”