As noted, the Gentle Wind Project has some enthousiastic believers.
On the other hand, it is faced with a largely skeptical media, and by former followers who are less enthused.
Two former members, Jim Bergin and Judy Garvey, have set up Wind of Changes - a website at which they provide information about their involvement with the Gentle Wind Project:
As a member of the group now known as the Gentle Wind Project or Gentle Wind (GWP or GW), I firmly believed that I was involved in something very unique and that, as a result, I was a "spiritually evolved" individual. We were told that the GW project was "a small community of people…act[ing] as a distribution center for healing instruments designed by the Brotherhood and guided by the Planetary Logos," and that, "…the technology is available to all of humanity and is distributed only through Gentle Wind.for aiding souls back to the path of evolution which some ninety-eight percent of the souls in this planet are now not following." (Carreiro:1987: 6, 122).
The mystical manipulation (Lifton:1989) that I experienced during my tenure with GW, namely that the leaders were communicating with the highest level souls in the "spirit world," and that they were healing individuals and the world through mystical "telepathic healings" and "healing instruments," the design of which was "engineered" by the "brothers and sisters of the inner world," enthralled and seduced me, along with many others, to take on this strange belief system.
After becoming convinced that GW’s way was the only way, I unwittingly allowed myself, my wife (who was sexually manipulated later, while a dedicated member of the group), and my children to be influenced in what turned out, for us, to be very destructive ways.
Following my final exit, after many years, from Gentle Wind’s influence, and after four years of reading, meeting former members of other high-control groups and cults, and generally recovering, I now realize that I didn’t allow this to take place. It happened so slowly and subtly that I was not cognizant of the process at the conscious level. Had someone asked me early on whether I would submit to handing over a large part of my income and life’s savings, give up a nurturing and valued relationship with my wife, take a back seat to seeing and parenting my children, sell the business I loved, and live in greatly reduced circumstances, I would have laughed at the idea. But, as I will describe here, the process was deceptively subtle, pervasive, and persistent.
In my experience, although these types of organizations, like GW, are always changing, one thing that remains the same is the claim to have exclusive access to a person’s "soul" information" or "thoughts" or "life’s purpose," and to use this as a subtle means of manipulation and domination.
In this story, I am just touching on the most salient part of my experiences as a member of the Gentle Wind Project, for to fully understand the complex human dynamics, converging personalities, interactions, and backgrounds of participants would take a lifetime of study and the insights of many other former members who have freed themselves from the GW belief system. The only thing that I can be certain of is that, for many years, the Gentle Wind Project leaders, in the name of the "spirit world," usurped who we are.
Once I became free of the belief system that had layered itself over my mind – the mystical manipulation – the whole structure and ideas of GW collapsed for me like a deck of cards into a fascinating, yet meaningless, heap. Since that point, each day has been a welcome exercise of freedom of expression. Be it a comfortable or an uncomfortable day, it is filled with my unique self-expression.
The Gentle Wind Project’s leaders offered a contrived experience that seemed above all that is common and normal, causing me to feel special or chosen. However, these experiences, resulting from mystical manipulation, distortion, and external pressure, also created an equally intense opposition once I broke free of the restrictive thinking and reignited my inner capacity to grow and develop, turning what was a debilitating experience into strength, and the pain of realization about the immoral use of my wife's body and "energy" into a stronger bond of matrimony.
It has now been over four years since my wife and I began parting company with GW. Our separation was in phases, from growing disbelief in the superiority and intentions of the GW leaders to, finally, a realization that the "healing instruments" were not needed for spiritual growth and survival, and that they were, indeed, in the nineteenth century sense, a form of "snake oil." This marked the end of the mystical manipulation and broke the power of the mind-control. At that point, our sons could move forward as young adults with parents whose minds were finally intact once again, and my wife and I could reclaim our marriage and our chosen paths of service to each other and to the world.
In This Entry