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February 22, 2007

Gentle Wind changes direction

Readers of this blog will be more than familiar with the Gentle Wind Project, a sordid little mind-control cult that for more than two de-
cades defrauded mem-
bers by selling them “healing instruments” such as the “Trauma Card”—a small, $600+ card covered in colorful squiggles. Or, if you believe Gentle Wind, an “elaborate sentinel system,” based on a design from the spirit world, “which prevents anyone from ‘breaking into’ or corrupting the [human energy] system in any way.” Right.

Maine-based Gentle Wind took its members for millions of dollars over the years, most of which supported the lavish lifestyle of founders John “Tubby” Miller and Mary “Moe” Miller. (Or again, if you believe the Millers, paid for extensive “research”—which, mysteriously, included a $67,000 sailboat.) The cult also ruined its members’ lives. Gentle Wind’s mind-control practices allegedly included coercing female cult members to engage in sex rituals that, uh, “helped” John Miller create his healing instruments. All this has been catalogued by former cult members Jim Bergin and Judy Garvey, whose Wind of Changes Web site details more than 15 years spent as part of Gentle Wind. As Jim Bergin explains:

We were told that John (“Tubby”) Miller was one of the highest initiates ever incarnated; that Jesus was a 4th level initiate and (as of about ten years ago) “Tubby” was purportedly at the 7th level. Because of his “high vibration” “Tubby” could often be found sitting on a sofa, with two or more women from his inner circle touching various points on his body in order to direct energy to “bring him into balance,” since it was so difficult for him to maintain health and “grounding” in such a “low vibration” as planet earth.

The visuals here are not pretty.

Last summer Gentle Wind was effectively shut down—at least in its home state—by Maine’s attorney general. As part of the consent decree, the cult’s founders were forbidden from making false claims about its so-called healing instruments—claims that even the Millers admitted were totally false:

[T]he directors of the Gentle Wind Project admitted that they made false claims about their products, which they said could cure anything from alcoholism to paralysis. They admitted making false claims on their Web site, at public appearances and in written literature that the instruments had been scientifically proven to be effective.

Gentle Wind also dropped a lawsuit against the Bergins, and agreed to reimburse them for the “donations” they had made to the cult over the years. In fact Gentle Wind has lost every one of the (many) lawsuits it brought against its (many) critics.

So has Gentle Wind been blown away?

Not exactly. In the wake of the Maine lawsuit, the cult vowed to “continue its efforts” in the 49 other states, and also around the world. It immediately set up a new Web site, with an alleged physical address in Sparks, Nevada, that repeated at least some of the false claims forbidden by Maine’s AG. The site, however, also claimed that Gentle Wind had morphed into an “all new, all volunteer organization. We are not a non-profit nor are we a profit making company. We do not accept donations or payment in any form. We are a group of people who want to make the world a better, easier place.”

Turns out this was a feint.

Gentle Wind has in reality been reincarnated as the Family Systems Research Group (FSRG), whose motto is “Engineering for the Human Spirit.” FSRG claims to be:

… a research and consultation company that offers services and products aimed at aligning and balancing the human consciousness. For more than 25 years, FSRG staff have studied the human consciousness from an energetic perspective. We have sought to develop energetic solutions to emotional imbalances utilizing many of the principles found in Tibetan medicine including the concept of the meridian system, basic to acupuncture and acupressure. FSRG offers both individual consultation services and alignment instruments.

And, lo and behold, FSRG (which as yet has no Website) is offering “healing instruments” in the guise of “I Ching alignment instruments” that sell for $365 to $6,260; “telepathic healings” (now known as “distant alignments”); and “phone consultations” that mirror the “soul readings” Gentle Wind hawked in the early 1980s (and which it claimed to channel from “the spirit world”). And then there are the hair samples and $250-$700 astrology readings (now called “behavioral astronomy” and “hexagram profiles”) that, according to the Bergins, hark back to where John and Mary Miller (AKA Claudia Panuthos AKA Mary Elizabeth Carreiro) first began their scam. Some of FSRG’s astrology instruments appear to have been “borrowed” from an unrelated astrology site. With an appropriate mark-up, of course.

In its brochure, FSRG is brazenly forthcoming about its links to Gentle Wind:

If you are familiar with The Gentle Wind Project technology, you may know that GWP technology was designed to work on the damaging effects of the hurts and wounds on the energetic structure. The structure is the context in which the energy patterns are held. The idea behind the technology is that if the damaged structure can be repaired, the person’s system can be restored to balance. For a large number of people, The Gentle Wind technology has proven to be successful.
The work of Family Systems Research Group picks up where the GWP technology leaves off. While the Gentle Wind technology works on the structure, the context in which energy patterns are held, Family Systems is working on both the context and the content of the energy patterns.

FSRG also notes that “a portion of each fee goes directly to the work of The Gentle Wind Project,” and claims to donate its “trauma technology” to everyone from cancer patients to Tsunami survivors. All the cash, however, goes straight into the Millers’ pockets “research.”

FSRG can be reached via the same Portsmouth, New Hampshire, mail-drop that the Millers used during their various failed lawsuits—a mail-drop located just across the river from Maine (where the Millers are banned for life from running a “non-profit”). The details: FSRG, 1465 Woodbury Avenue PMB # 319, Portsmouth, NH 03801. Telephone (603) 365-1102 and (603) 580-5516; email famresearch@earthlink.net.

You might prefer to email New Hampshire attorney general Kelly Ayotte, and ask her to look into FSRG’s activities. She can also be contacted at New Hampshire Department of Justice, 33 Capitol St., Concord, NH 03301, or by phone via (603) 271-1202. You can contact other DOJ staff here.

More about the Gentle Wind Project here and here.

Posted by Stephen at 12:04 AM in Religion + cults | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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And yet, isn't it eerily similar to the entire Large Group Awareness Training movement??

When one group, such as Lifespring or Est got some bad press and or lawsuits - there was a tendency for the associated instructors to close up shop - and reopen in another location with a different name for their new "company" - albeit with the same mysterious jargon...

Posted by: lgattruth [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2007 5:10 AM