James Arthur Ray: Just A Seminar Schmuck Who Killed People

Why I’m blogging about James Ray. My agenda and angle.

schmuckI personally don’t care about James Arthur Ray or his business. He just happens a Seminar Schmuck who killed people. It’s the seminar industry and coaching business I want reformed.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving in the US and we’re all about gratitude, giving thanks and family. And all of this the day before the biggest shopping day of the year! America is all about making money, spending money and peak experiences. But four families this year will have empty seats at their Thanksgiving Tables. There are countless thousands of others with physical and financial losses caused by the $11,000,000 (billion) seminar industry that aren’t in the headlines.

For the past 2 decades, the seminar industry has exploded. Promising a world of results from making money, love, happiness, business success and getting laid. From 2001 until 2007, I was part of the industry. I signed people up, delivered seminars and sold the next program.

Before 2001, I was a Real Estate Broker in Orange County, CA a very speculative time. The  Real Estate Investment Guru’s were having a field day and any a**hole who owned real property in the OC at the time made money. I got 3 types of calls every week for about 2 years.

  1. I want to refi out my equity to buy real estate
  2. I want to buy your clients house “creatively”
  3. You’re a RE Broker and a deal killer.

I watched people go to a high priced seminar, paid for on credit. Buy a higher priced seminar, on credit, to learn how to make money in real estate. As a RE Broker, I was the bad guy when I shed light on the insanity of over leverage. Of course as a RE Broker, I was the only one that could be sued for giving advice that didn’t work out. The seminar companies were disclaimed “for educational purposes only” with “do not try this at home” disclosures, no licensing and no registration process.

I will be sharing more about what goes on back stage in the seminar industry as we move forward. But here’s what I want to see happen and my specific agenda for picking on poor ole James Arthur Ray and his “Mission”:

  • I want to see seminar companies licensed & regulated.
  • I want to see “coaches” licensed.
  • I want to see accurate results reflected in seminar advertising.
  • I want to see “fair business practices” defined for the seminar industry.
  • I want full disclosure of credentials, certificates, licenses and methods used during seminar programs.

That’s a start. I’m grateful that this is America and I am free to share my opinions about whatever I choose. My final thoughts are this. I have compassion for James Ray as a fellow human being. In my opinion, he’s a man who made a mistake that killed 4 people this year and caused physical harm to many others over the years. He pushed people as hard as he pushes himself, but in doing so people were killed and hurt.

James Ray stepping foot into the sweat tent in Sedona to lead the sweat lodge ceremony, was exactly the same as a person with 2 or 3 drinks getting behind the wheel of a car and driving. Let me explain… Ray and his staff had full knowledge that over the past four years, on a consistent basis, people got sick and needed medical attention as a result of being in their sweat lodge at Spiritual Warrior. Ray and his staff, even though he knew about the danger of his sweat lodge chose to NOT have medical personnel and resources (ie. nurses, EMT’s, ambulances equipped to handle medical emergencies) on the scene. (He had 1 nurse for the 60 attendees.  A much better ratio of medical personnel to attendee would have been 1 to 20, 1 nurse or EMT for every 20 attendees and that is probably too few.)

Bottom line is that Ray and his staff  knew there was a prior history of injuries at the event and specifically at the sweat lodge, knew there would be injuries at the event and especially at the sweat lodge and Ray and his staff chose not to adequately staff or equip medical personal for the event and especially the sweat lodge, where all of the injuries had occurred in prior years. How is that different than when a person, who has been drinking and knows that they are ‘tipsy’ and over the legal blood alcohol limit, gets into their car and drives? They deliberately,  knowingly and willfully get into a car and drive even though society and the LAW says that driving while you’re intoxicated is not tolerated.  Even though it is commonly known that driving while you’re intoxicated kills people. Oh that’s right, the difference is that there are no LAWS governing the seminar industry or James Ray and his staff.    I say James Ray and his staff willfully, deliberately and directly caused the deaths and injuries in Sedona on October 8, 2009. The only difference is Ray was impaired by his ego and arrogance instead of alcohol.

7 thoughts on “James Arthur Ray: Just A Seminar Schmuck Who Killed People

  1. Thanks for the article. I’m going to cross-post it on my blog later today. I too am trying to agitate the “status quo” (that are being sold, en masse, they they are in the upper 5%). The seminar industry is nuts. What I specifically object to is the sub-industry that springing up underneath it. People get taken by the expensive gurus and then think that they can emulate their success with a mini-version of it. That’s who I was taken by. And I wasn’t even aware of something called “The Law of Attraction” at the time.

    Anyways, thanks for fighting the good fight! A rounded education/awareness really is everything.


  2. I just read your remarks about the seminar industry, and think you have some good ideas there. Hopefully things will head in that direction.

    You said that JAR pushed people as hard as he pushed himself, but he pushed them harder on that day. I doubt he’d been fasting or dehydrating himself, but at any rate, he was near the door. Therefore, he had regular access to cool and fresh air, whereas the people in the back of the structured did not. Brains (and other organs)work better when they get enough oxygen and aren’t overheated.

    A lot of attention has been paid to the temperature in the lodge, and not much to oxygenation. I did a little rough math involving the amount of air, number of people, tidal lung volume, and breathing rate, and figured there might have been enough oxygen for everyone for 15 – 20 minutes. But when the door was opened, the air inside was not completely refreshed, so the subsequent rounds would have had increasingly reduced oxygen content, especially in the back. The people in the back were not just cooked, they were suffocated as well. Also, I don’t know if they did those special breathing exercises for which they were required to purchase a book; that would probably have increased oxygen consumption.

    Thanks for your thoughtful suggestions. I hope some people take action on them.

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Liz, You’re accurate in that during his seminars JAR pushed people beyond their physical limits with disastrous results. I didn’t communicate clearly my point. JAR traveled most of the year building his business. He claims to have a very rigid diet and supplementation regime. He states he will “do what it takes” in like and business to get results.
      I believe your most telling point is that Ray taught from books. It’s been reported that he was not trained or certified in the Holotropic Breathing Methods and it can not be proven he ever even took a course from the company that owns the technology.

  3. I completely agree with your last two goals – disclosure of credentials and methods is *extremely important* and fair business practice is obviously a good idea.

    I don’t think that MORE licensing is really the answer here though. James Ray was practicing psychology and there are already laws governing that. Also, Dr. Grof and his assosciates are quite quick to point out that James Ray was not certified to be doing Holotropic Breathwork either.

    James Ray actually pushes participants quite a bit harder than he pushes himself. He did not go without water, food, or sleep and in the death lodge he sat at the door, the only place that got any draft. He also knew full well people were dying and he not only allowed it to happen but encouraged it and then stopped every resuscitation effort. These actions are extremely illegal – homicide in fact.

    I think a Roofie metaphor would be more appropriate here – James Ray psychologically drugged participants and then mentally raped them before cooking them to death. The thing is, psychological drugging is not as effective as *actual* drugging and it doesn’t have consistant enough results to protect James Ray because the participants know exactly what he did to them.

    Another fact, James Ray did not hire a nurse or any other medical staff. The nurse was not hired but participating in the retreat. I suspect it may have been her medical training that allowed her to finally recognize the situation for what it was. The point being James Ray did not take ANY safety measures at all. Every single effort to save lives came from participants while James Ray and his staff interfered. Those survivors made a heroic effort to save as many people as possible, many pushing past their own injuries to rescue unconscious participants from the death lodge and help wherever they could.

    I also agree on your bottom line – James Ray KNEW.

    • Hi Cassandra, I trust you had an awesome holiday.Your latter points are exactly why I feel the Arizona Authorities may come down with murder charges. I can Visualize the headlines NOW: James Arthur Ray Charged with Murder in Sedona Sweat Lodge Deaths.Regarding Licensing these Schmucks, I had rather not have it required, but that is the typical state method to manage Business and Professional Codes where “ethical mal-practice” is common. As it stands now Anyone can deliver a seminar or workshop on anything because they want to… Anyone can call themselves a “coach” and start screwing with people’s minds and thinking.I personally tend to be Libertarian in my political views and feel Government is that last folks I want handling my money and my interests. Having said that, I was a Licensed as a Real Estate Broker in California for 8 years. Most people seem to agree that the “barrier” of entry into Real Estate is very low did little to help in keeping unethical people out of the industry. However, consumers have a place to complain when they’ve been dealt with unethically. Until James Ray killed people, a person could only report him to the BBB which is simply a trumped up version of a Chamber of Commerce. (He had a grade of C with the BBB in San Diego.) State Licensing would provide consumers with a place to have their complaints heard and incentive for Seminar Companies to Operate Fairly.As it stands now, Seminar Companies can sell anything as long as they call it “educational” without recourse or specific expertise… And until now, have acted with impunity for their physical, financial and mental damages suffered by their customers.

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