The Mankind Project
Aside from the obvious physical differences there is a marked contrast in how men and women relate to their friends. For example, if Laura, Suzanne, Debra and Rose go out for lunch, they will call each other Laura, Suzanne, Debra and Rose. But if Mike, Charlie, Bob and John go out to grab a bite, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut-Head and Useless. When the bill arrives, Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut-Head and Useless will each throw in $20, even though the tab is only for $22.50. None of them will have anything smaller, and none will actually admit they want change back. When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.
A man has six items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from the Holiday Inn. The average number of items in the typical woman’s bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify most of these items.
When it comes to children a women seems to be all knowing. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears, hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house. (1)
The Vanishing Manly Man
Over the last 30 years or so there seems to be an increasing concern that men have forgotten or more to the point not having role models to demonstrate manhood. To solve this “crisis” both inside and outside the church, books have been written and groups have arisen to guide and train men in being manly.
One such group is the Mankind Project (MKP)which is an international men’s network of interdependent centers with members in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. The primary instruction tool of this organization is called “New Warrior Training Adventure” (NWTA) which is a weekend retreat where the supposed goal is to empower men to regain their masculinity. In 1985 three men came together Rich Tosi, Bill Kauth, and Ron Hering whose collective backgrounds and influences contributed to the creation of the Mankind Project.
Richard Tosi’s background was in the United States Marine as a captain who served in Vietnam. He brought a military influence to the MKP training. Bill Kauth who has a master’s degree in psychology and was a self styled feminist is the author of the training manual for men’s support groups called A Circle of Men:TheOriginal Manual for Men’s Support Groups . Ron Hering’s contribution was his ability to instruct others to become effective leaders. He had a doctorate in education and was a teacher, seminar leader and professional coach.
The New Warrior Training Adventure weekend is the compilation of several other human potential seminars spanning four decades. Bill Kauth attended a seminar called Understanding Yourself and Others (UYO), where he met Rich Tosi who was one of the facilitators. (UYO) was started by David Durovy and his wife Patricia. David became an initiate of the first New Warrior Training Adventure. Kauth, Kosi, and Hering together attended a workshop called Men, Sex, and Power in California offered by Justin Sterling. These weekends are currently called (Sterling Seminars) the techniques learned there are a major part of the NWTA. Sterling was an early disciple of Werner Erhard who founded what was then known as EST “Erhard Seminars Training”, today it has transformed itself into the Landmark Forum. Men, Sex, and Power (Sterling Seminars) was the outgrowth of Sterling’s training with EST. Bill Kauth’s experience with Gestalt psychology was added to the NWTA.(2)
Training the Trainers
MKP history comes through a long line of Human Potential Movements that began in the 1960’s. It started with Mind Dynamics by Alexander Everett who arrived in America in 1962 from England and lived in Missouri for a year and then moved to Forth Worth, Texas where he helped establish a private boarding school. Everett’s Mind Dynamics was influenced through his involvement with Unity Ministry in England, Edgar Casey’s work, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Egyptology, and Silva Mind Control.(3)
William Penn Patrick was a student of Everett he used both Mind Dynamics and the Silva Mind Control Method in his pyramid sales organization called Holiday Magic. He also started another organization called Leadership Dynamics which proved to be detrimental to people. The information on this is detailed in a book called The Pit: A Group Encounter Defiled by Gene Church. According to Church the hard hitting confrontational group encounters went out of control. As a result lawsuits were filed which caused both organizations to shut down.(4)
Many of the instructors from these two groups went on to found their own:
“organizations using many of the same behavior modification techniques. The goals were to bring people to their highest potential and to overcome their fears. Their method was to break them down by screaming insults at them in order to have them face their fears. The theory behind this abusiveness was that in order to change ones behavior they must be brought down to zero in order to build them up again.”(5)
The following list of instructors from Mind dynamics illustrates the flow of how these groups began and the direct influence each had on the other. Bob White, Randy Revell, Charlene Afremow, John Hanley founded Lifespring in 1974.(6) Werner Erhard, founded EST in 1971 which evolved into The Forum. Bob White left Lifespring, went to Japan, and started a training organization there called Life Dynamics. Randy Revell left Lifespring and founded the Context Trainings. Charlene Afremow joined Erhard’s organization as a trainer. She later left in a dispute and is now back at Lifespring. Howard Nease founded Personal Dynamics. Jim Quinn founded Lifestream. Thomas Willhite founded PSI World Seminars. Stewart Emery worked for EST and later founded Actualizations. William Penn Patrick’s training organization recovered and is known today as Leadership Dynamics.(6) Justin Sterling was an early disciple of Werner Erhard who started the weekend conference (Men, Sex, and Power), today known as Sterling Seminars.
Embracing the New Age
Another major influence for the New Warrior Training Adventure for MKP is Robert Bly’s writings and his influence on the men’s movement. On the Back cover of the training manual for leaders on the NWTA called, The Circle of Men Bill Kauth credits Bly’s influence. It states that the “wild man weekends” are inspired by the mythopoetic writings and personal testimonies of Robert Bly, Sam Keen and John Lee. It goes on to say that they followed Robert Bly’s practical advice he gave to gatherings of men to form small groups. Robert Bly is quoted extensively in their writings. Bly has attended several of the weekends and continues to support MKP. Much of the Native American Indian Spiritualism and rituals performed at the NWTA weekends comes directly from Robert Bly and the works of Carl G. Jung. Several books written by Robert Bly are also used, Iron John, Little Book on the Human Shadow, and The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart Poems for Men.
Some men are introduced to the weekend through informational classes that were held at Christian churches. In most cases the church rented out their facility and were likely not aware of what this group is about. Inquiries from spouses and families came in due to personality changes that occurred in the men after they became involved with MKP.
In April 2003 three separate interviews were conducted with men who were participants a NWTA weekend and then spent time in MKP attending the small groups. One of these men was a facilitator and assisted at several weekend trainings. All these men requested that their names not be mentioned as every man must sign an agreement stating that nothing can be said about what goes on. (This should be a giant red flag). The current price for the NWTA weekend is $650.00 with a $100.00 deposit in advance. In Colorado and around the country these trainings take place in the mountains at various retreat places.
Introduction to Warrior Work
The Mankind Project: A non-profit organization and network of independent centers working together to heal the world one man at a time.
Mission…We empower men to missions to service.
Identity Statement… We are an order of men called to reclaim the sacred masculine for our time; through initiation, training and action in the world.
Core Organizing and Guiding Principle … We empower the evolution of consciousness in each man in our culture.
Principles of Our Order
1. I create my own perception of reality.
2. My outer reality exists as a reflection of my inner world.
3. Higher states of consciousness exist and reflect greater abilities to
manifest my inner reality.
4. Higher states of consciousness embody a life of service, compassion,
and unconditional love.
5. My work towards higher consciousness starts within.
6. My inner work begins with awareness of feelings which become the
doorway for discovering and owning my shadows and wounds.
7. Healing of my wounds comes from releasing my judgments and
forgiving from my heart.
8. My personal life mission becomes my guiding force that transcends
my wounds and moves me beyond healing into joyous service.
9. I take personal responsibility and am accountable for living in
integrity with my mission.
Principles Poetically Put:
We empower men to manifest their potential fully and joyfully, trusting that they will create the healthy solutions needed by our society and planet.(7)
A Typical Men’s Weekend
Upon arrival on Friday evening each man is SMUDGED with burned incense that is placed on sage sticks. This is an American Indian ritual that is done to cleanse and keep the evil sprits away. It is claimed this ritual washes away the cares and negative energy of the day. As the men arrive the facilitators greet them by shouting several times the question, “WHY ARE YOU HERE?” The facilitators look directly into their eyes and tell each man they have power you don’t even know about. All who were interviewed related that it seemed to be very similar to a recruit’s introduction to boot camp. The men arrive on Friday at different times due to their own schedules ranging from late afternoon until evening. While the men wait for the others to arrive they are directed to sit in a dark room, told to be silent, and not to grin or laugh. Some of the men sat in this room for over two hours as they waited for all to arrive.
Once everyone arrived each man had to go through two stations. At the first station they were asked in a loud voice, are you ready to change your life forever? They were told that they had to give up all jewelry and electronic devices they brought with them. At the second station each man was told that they were no longer to be called by their name. They were given a number and told they would be called that number throughout the weekend. They were then asked if they had given up all their jewelry and electronic devices at the first station. They were told if they still had any of these things to empty their pockets and place the items on the table. Several times men had electric razors in their possession; they were called liars and loudly ridiculed. The facilitators were yelling at them saying can’t you understand? There were times when the group leaders would let someone go past the first station purposely with jewelry and electronic devices and set them up to be humiliated at the second station.
There was a one to one ratio of a group leaders and new participants. The new recruits to manhood had very little time alone. Very little food was provided the first two days except for snacks such as apples and nuts. On Sunday just before they left a banquet was provided in honor of their graduation. The activities went well in to the night which did not leave much time for sleep.
On Saturday there were classes centered on the philosophy of what it means to be a man and a warrior. They were told how men have been emasculated by society and by the women in their lives. It was explained that this was because many of our fathers abandoned us emotionally the result is that men were raised by their mothers who also emasculated them. They said that women do not know how to raise a boy to be a man, that they should taught and raised by men. The claim is that the real goal of a man is to be a warrior and in many cases their mothers and wives held them back from their full potential to be a man. The main objective then is to regain the power that was taken away from men. Women it seems, are the ever present enemy.
They are encouraged in sessions to share about times they were shamed while growing up. These are wounds that were hidden that now need to be dealt with. At one session a male phallic symbol was passed around signifying what is means to be a man, they were encouraged to talk about sexual experiences.
Saturday afternoon the “Trust Walk” takes place. This involves the men going on a walk in the nude wearing only shoes and a blindfold. This is to promote trust in the leaders in following someone blindly for about an hour. When they returned from the walk many of the previous graduates of the NWTA showed up. The men still nude were now dancing to the sound of drums. The object of this is to get all your inhibitions out. If you could do this you can do anything and regain your lost power. Every man was given an Indian neck pouch along with an animal name that best described each man’s character. They were called by this name from this point on.
Several times over the weekend the men formed a circle and ritual invocations were repeated out loud welcoming the energy of the East, South, West, North and Mother earth. The purpose of the Invocation as defined in the Facilitators Guide Protocol Manual (The New Warrior Initiation Adventure) is to extend a ritual invitation for ancestral, archetypal, energies to join with and strengthen the container (the man making the invocation). This ritual’s purpose is to bring men to a place where they can do “inner” work. To affectively do inner work requires a departure from the normal limits of our rational minds. To accomplish this, the participants invite the energies of those who passed on, their ancestors, their fathers and grandfathers. They call on the energies of the masculine archetypes, the Lover, the Warrior, the Magician, and the King to ground them in the sacred masculine. They call on the seven energies represented by the seven directions of the medicine wheel. This is derived from the tradition of Native American Indians, which is believed to renew our experience with the ancient wisdom of the relatedness of all beings, the unity of all things.(8)
Test all things
It is plain to see that this is not a movement a Christian man should be involved in. Mankind project does not present itself as Christian but does insist that men from all faiths can benefit from the training. The whole premise is based on man regaining his power that was lost and finding his masculinity. Some men after being involved with MKP for some time understandably developed an attitude against their mothers and wives. They blamed them for being the cause of not reaching their full potential as men.
In Scripture we are told in John 8:31,32- “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” For the believer this should be our hearts desire to abide and focus on Jesus not focusing on ourselves. We should not dwell on the things of our pasts but looking to Christ. Paul says in relation to himself, in Phil. 3:13, 14 – “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” Also Hebrews 12:1,2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(9)
(2)Klegman, Hal. “An Introduction to the Founding of the New Warrior Training Adventure” , Mankind Project Indiana Newsletter, January 2002.
(3)Vahle, Neal. “Alexander Everett and Complete Centering” , New Realities Magazine, May/June 1987.
(4)Church, Gene. The Pit: A Group Encounter Defiled , Outerbridge & Lazard; distributed by Dutton; (1972).
(6) From an article on the web. Mind Dynamics – Alexander Everett , http://perso.wanadoo.fr/eldon.braun/ awareness/mind.htm
(7) Facilitators Guide Protocol Manual (The New Warrior Initiation” Adventure) 29
(8) Pedigo, Mark. MPK-Colorado- I-Group 8 Week Protocol-Facilitators Guide Protocol Manual (The New Warrior Initiation Adventure),1998
(10) Holy Bible, New King James Version: Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, 1988,1997.
Bio: Mark Roggeman has been involved in outreach to those affected by cults and other high demand groups for a period of thirty years. He has assisted with exit-counseling individuals trapped in cults and provides support for the families with loved ones that are currently involved in
a cult. He has served as a police officer in Denver,
Colorado for the past thirty-four years and assists other law enforcement agencies with information and training on cults.
Mark is currently a part time missionary with Haven Ministry located in the Denver Area. He has a degree in Criminal Justice and has attended Calvary Chapel Bible College.