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Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:32 pm
by ET
I wondered if anyone on here knows if the SES has ever been officially classified as a cult in the United Kingdom, and if so, by whom?
I'm currently writing a letter to a magazine which carries adverts for the part 1 courses asking them to warn their readers. It would help a great deal to be able to say that the SES has been officially classified as a cult by someone official sounding!
I can't find anything online through search engines, despite being fairly sure I once found a list of officially recognised cults in the UK with the SES on it. Annoyingly, it was so long ago, I now can't remember the name of the site/organisation.
Can anyone help?

Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:11 pm
by actuallythere
I can understand why you would want to use the c-word, to raise the alarm in no uncertain terms.

But I suggest you don't use it because it plays into SES hands. Members are emotionally dependent on the group like children are to their parents: they have precisely the same reaction as they would to a stranger calling one of their parents by the other, more notorious c-word. It prompts a defence reaction, and pushes them closer. Members are also brainwashed into thinking that the outside world is in some way an inferior or hostile place, and the use of this word is taken as proof of that. We have to avoid contributing to the brainwashing process. This approach is common in the 'exit-counselling' community.

My recommendation is that 'officialdom' is irrelevant anyway. What is relevant is witness testimony. First of all yours, that you can testify to in your letter, then everything in this forum, plus all the verifiable published sources linked at

You might want to highlight a couple of these sources, including the C4 News investigation that featured admissions of child abuse, plus the Laura Wilson interview in which she said one of her SES peers committed suicide.

You should also gently and kindly suggest to them that if they do not cancel this advertising you will pass your letter (including who it is addressed to) to the rest of the media.

As an alternative to the c-word, I suggest the phrase 'dangerous spiritual group with a well-documented history of psychological manipulation that has allegedly caused family breakdown, child abuse and suicide.'

Good luck. And thanks.

Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:10 pm
by woodgreen
Hi ET.

You might find something on the thread entitled "SES is a New Religious Movement according to the CofE." I think it does mention the c word on there, but chooses to brand them NRM's.
(The thread is on this page)


Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:39 am
by ET
Thanks for both your messages.

actuallythere - I can see your point completely. I have been loath to use the c word myself in the past, as it immediately marks you out as a "crank" in some circles.
I'm not keen to write a long letter detailing my experiences, as I don't feel they would bother to read it, particularly as so much of it seems far fetched when read in isolation. Neither to I want to threaten them with exposure in the media if they don't stop advertising the courses - I now believe that if people really want to get involved with the organisation by taking the Part 1 course, then that's their right. All I want to do it make sure they go into it all with their eyes open. Of course, I do hope to put them off completely, but my main goal is to warn them.
I may well use your quoted definition as I agree, it's much less inflammatory.

woodgreen - thanks, I've had a look at the CofE's guidance on NRMs. I'll definitely mention in my letter that they classify the SES as such.

Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:29 pm
by bluegreen ... _cults_are
This page is interesting. It does actually say that the societies in the list are not necessarily cults, but does list SES as an example of a group which has been investigated as a cult.

Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:11 am
by Blissfully Sleeping
Hi ET,
While I admire your determination, I think your quest will be fruitless and pretty pointless. At a time when papers are desperate for advertising dollars/pounds/euros, the Advertising Dept will not give one jot if we think there is a problem with the SES/SOP/SOPP/Lucca Leadership. We are not able to fight against the power of Sinclair (M&C Saatchi)/Boddy et al. in their own spheres of influence. The place for us to mobilise, is here, on this forum and on the internet in general.
The more active this community is here, with more relevant Subject titles (such as using "School of Philosophy" and "School of Economic Science" and "School of Practical Philosophy") the more people will come. So the greater the chance we have to effect the agenda. The internet is the only place where the Advertisers, the Political Machines and Religious Extremists can't (totally) control the great unwashed!
I'm not calling for any type of civil disobidence, and lets face we all know that "they" read this forum as much as we do...But if we want our message heard, it will not be through newspapers. It is through this forum and comments on other's blogs who write about the School of Philosophy, the School of Practical Philosophy and the SES. If you want to tell the world what you believe is really happening, comment on every blog you can find!! It may not make it past the blogger's computer...but there is a chance it will. Write to the papers and no one will ever hear.

Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:40 pm
by woodgreen
Hi Blissfully

Surely we can do both? By which I mean if we come across something that we feel we do can do something about, as ET is doing, then we should. As well as posting on the Forum. We should do both because they both count in the long run. When I joined the SES they used to advertise in the Guardian . A copy of their ad was left suggestively in the school's meeting place I recall, which added to my believing that they were OK. i.e. if the Guardian carried their adverts, and they were a registered Charity, then they must be OK. As we all know from experience, hindsight and the Forum, they were not. I don't think they advertise in the Guardian anymore and they have had to improve their act with the Charity Commission, so the old-fashioned methods can still carry weight. We all have ways in which we can influence other organisations who may not know or care about the SES and it's activities, and we should continue to do all we can across the many opportunities available. Sometimes it does appear a little futile, but I believe the messages, and warnings get through. Magazines and other facilitators are not likely to write back and say "oh dear we got that wrong, thank you" but they will, money or no money, in the end at least want to protect their reputations. And maybe slowly decide they will change their ways. Or be careful in how they report anything to do with the SES. (The Hugh Jackman article comes to mind). They would not in the bigger picture want to be associated with " something bad" even if they do not take time to fully check out the association that is the SES. (After all they may have to face their karma one day!!!)

So what I am saying is - we cannot just rely on the internet and this Forum- because the SES have some ways of getting round it, but not many- and we should do all we can at all levels to continue to expose what they are. Small things, that take a lot of effort from the likes of us, do often make a difference.
Hope this comes across as I intend Blissfully, especially as we are all on the same side here. What would we really like to happen. What is our objective - a ban on the SES in Britain, the World, the Universe? I know I would aim for that, but if it cannot happen we can at least lessen their tentacles. I've given up thinking they could change into some nice new age religion. Their reform will never happen, they have too much to lose.
And yes you are right the www. does have a very big role to play.

kind regards


Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:20 pm
by Blissfully Sleeping
Yes, you're right woodgreen, many paths are better.
In hindsight I was a litle strident in my post. I forget that my writting style can appear somewhat agressive. And I apologise if I upset anyone, that wasn't my intention.
Having worked in Advertising and related industries for many years, I just don't believe that any corporation is going to respond to a couple of letters over the might of a multinational Advertising Agency. M&C Saatchi would buy millions of pounds/dollars etc of advertising space with newspapers around the world. They hold the power, not a handfull of "punters". I would love to be proved wrong....perhaps the drip effect can work in the long run.
I'd be interested what the long term effect of the Channel 4 story has been.
Can anyone tell me?

Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:52 pm
by woodgreen
Hi Blissfully Sleeping - no prob about your posting for me. Our tone often reflects the hazard of trying to deal with the enormous issues that c's like the SES pose to us, and the frustration of feeling that no one in higher places either cares, or is able to do anything (because, as you say,money seems to rule so much in some industries). As to the impact of the C4 expose, I think it did a lot, but these things take time to work through the system. We are seeing it now in the real world in terms of the Sky/hacking inquiry, the banking scandals and other issues. The cult problem will one day have to be put on the table and faced by those who profess to be our leaders ( for me our democratic leaders plus the bona fide religions) who exist across Europe and the world.

I think the difficulty is that there are so many people caught up in the cults who may actually be reasonably happy in there that authorities do not want to tar them all with the same brush or cause them harm. The majority of people in cults are good law abiding people, it is only the leaders who are taking advantage. That is where the focus needs to be. And on the cults methods that keep people in when they really want to leave.

sorry for the c word but fed up being politically correct when it is just a word.


The letter I have sent

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:17 pm
by ET
Below is the letter I sent to the magazine. I have deliberately kept the tone polite, and tried not to be too emotional, as I have found this to be counter productive in the past. I will of course post on here if I receive a reply.

"Dear Editor,

I recently picked up a copy of your new summer issue (no 69) and have been very much enjoying it. However, I do feel I need to warn your readers about an organisation which has a half page advert on page 21, headed "Philosophy for living". This is a local branch of a larger, nationwide organisation known as the "School of Economic Science" (SES), as can be seen from the small print at the bottom of the advert.

This organisation is officially recognised by the Church of England, among others, as a New Religious Movement (NRM). On the Church of England website, they give the following definition of a NRM:

"New Religious Movement (NRM) is the name used for groups, movements or gatherings which claim to have, or appear to have, a religious character, and which fall outside the major historic world religions. Some of these groups are sometimes called 'cults' or 'sects'."

My family has been badly affected by our involvement with the SES, which lasted for several decades. I don't wish to be emotive in this letter, but the abuse that took place at the children's schools they ran (and which still exist) in London has been well documented online - my siblings and I went to those schools. The techniques they use to gain total devotion from their members are also recognised by many exit counselling organisations (which help people who want to leave NRMs) as mind-controlling and brainwashing. Several members of my family still suffer from the after effects of this, which have included eating disorders and severe depression.

I would urge anyone thinking of going along to one of their "philosophy" courses to think seriously about it and do some thorough online research on the SES before they go along. Of course, it is every person's right to get involved in whatever courses or organisations they wish to, but I would not be able to sleep easily if I did not warn other readers about this extremely harmful organisation.

Yours sincerely,

For the editor - I would appreciate it if you didn't print my name or address in the magazine. I would also be very grateful if you would consider no longer allowing the School of Economic Science to advertise in your publication in the future, although I recognise that you are under no obligation to do so."

Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:53 pm
by morrigan
That's a good one to send, and not in any way a "nasty" one that wouldn't be correct. Well done!

Re: The letter I have sent

Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:11 am
by bonsai
ET wrote:Below is the letter I sent to the magazine.

Excellent letter. Well done.


Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:43 pm
by woodgreen
Very well put ET - and others of us may be able to write in similar vein if we spot more adverts.

Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:33 pm
by ET
Thanks, everyone. Nothing may come of this, but I do feel that if we stay silent, then nothing will happen, period. I'm happy for anyone on here to copy and use parts of my letter if it will help.

Re: Has SES been officially classified as a cult in the UK?

Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:08 pm
by ET
I can't quite believe it, but I actually got a reply! I post the relevant part of it below:

"Thank you for getting in touch with us. We were not aware of any of this, and so we will look into your concerns immediately... I will get back to you in due course when we are clearer about our position in relation to these advertisers."

They also apologised for not getting back to me sooner. I think this could be considered a result, although it remains to be seen if they will do anything about it. I'll keep you posted!