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Impact Trainings / Misrepresentation/LGAT

Fo Jan 7, 2015 Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: (801) 572-9700

I enrolled in the Impact Trainings several years ago and watched my quality of life decline dramatically until I finally pulled out. All the while my bank account was being drained as I paid for trainings that not only failed to add value but encouraged me to live and act in ways that tied me to Impact while disregarding everything else in my life.

No rational or sane person would choose to be involved with the Impact Trainings if they were able to see what went on behind those doors before having to pay a fee and allow the trainers and staff to slowly condition them over a period of several days. When I finally realized what was going on around me I was forced to choose between continued involvement with the group or severing several close family relationships. Impact's marketing strategy makes it very difficult to leave because every trainee is enrolled by someone close to them and severing contact with the training means (in most cases) that the relationship will be severed as well.

Impact begins initiating trainees into its community in the Quest training. When I attended the Quest training it cost $550. Quest consists of four days of mostly intense and degrading activities that are designed to teach trainees obedience to the trainer. Once that obedience has been established the trainers and staff are able to manipulate the trainees emotions at will. This emotional control is used repeatedly through out the rest of the series to keep people paying for more training and enrolling their family and friends. After several days of degradation and a final day where the Impact trainers begin to espouse the early stages of their religious beliefs, the Quest training ends with a "graduation" and a final activity where all of the Quest trainees are either enrolled into the next stage of the training or publicly chastised for "selling out".

Summit is the second stage and cost $795 at the time that I took the training. Summit begins with a day of degradation where trainees are assigned "alternate names" such as "Daddy's Joy Toy", "Womb for Rent", "Still Nursing", "Pee wee pervert", etc and then required to visualize themselves dying and being placed in coffins because they do not deserve to live. The next 3 days involve building the trainees back up and further creating a strong sense of community inside the center by assigning people to small groups and requiring them to act out embarrassing skits (for example a group of heavy set women may be required to dress as cows, whales or belly dancers). Like Quest, the Summit Training ends with a graduation and hard-sell commitment activity designed to get people to pay for the next level. At this stage in my training there were several trainees who's finances were so tight that they resorted to begging for money from other people in the group.

Lift-Off was the third stage of the training and cost $695 at the time that I was involved. Unlike the first two trainings, which were conducted over a 4 day period, Lift-Off consisted of 4 weekends that were spread over a 13 week period. The four weekends all had different themes, one of which was "enrollment weekend" where trainees went out as groups in an effort to fill seats at the next Quest training. Each Trainee in Lift-Off was assigned a specific staff member that they were required to call 3 times a week. Lift-Off was not as dramatic as the other trainings and as a result there were not as many break downs among the trainees. Lift-Off seemed to solidify much of the conditioning that occurred in Quest and Summit as well as provide a bridge between the first two trainings and the next series.

After Lift-Off, trainees are encouraged to "keep their training alive" by volunteering to work on the staff in future Quest, Summit and Lift-Off trainings. Impact Trainings does not screen their volunteer staff at all. I was aware of several registered sex offenders that were allowed to be leaders over new trainees, one of them even staffed a training for teens. I knew of 4 staff members, in my 2 years with the company, who engaged in sexual relationships with trainees. Despite these egregious actions by staff members, I never saw Impact make any effort to screen their staff members for the protection of the new trainees. Since the Impact community claims to value love and forgiveness above all else, the lack of screening is justified by the "everyone deserves a second chance" philosophy.

The next step for the trainees is to begin the "Trainer in Training" (Now called Life Mastery Training) program. Trainer in Training 1 cost $1500 and was the first training specifically designed to influence the trainees' religious beliefs and spirituality. Hans Berger spoke openly in my training of his alleged communications with spirits. He also claimed to have worked in "Intelligence" for the US government. One of the processes in this training involves Hans giving detailed, non-biblical, accounts of the life of Jesus. Later on in the Trainer in Training series Hans claimed to have learned this information and the processes of the Impact Trainings themselves through face to face communicatons with Jesus, Buddha and other "Ascended Masters".

Trainer in Training 2 cost $1800 and further developed the trainees belief that they had the power to create miracles and talk with the deceased. Many trainees at this stage begin to revere Hans Berger as a prophet. The Impact trainers would periodically make statements such as "Hans is not a Prophet" or "Impact Trainings is not a religion" but those statements only served to change the trainees' language as they still continue to build their lives around every word that came out of Hans' mouth.

The Impact Trainings is a manipulative self improvement training that grows into a religious cult where the trainers revere themselves as infallible deities (this is not hyperbole, statements like "I am Perfect" and "I am God' were stated regularly by Impact Trainings staff at the time that I was involved). I personally heard Hans (the owner) state on several occasions "I am God". If you are considering attending the Impact Trainings I highly recommend consulting a trained and licensed therapist. In my 2 years of involvement with the training I never saw anyone leave the group in a state of emotional health. Those that stayed continued to pay large amounts of money to the group and spend several weeks each year providing free labor on the volunteer staff.

In regard to the positive reviews on the company it is worth noting that Yelp has excluded many negative ratings that can still be viewed but do not factor into the rating score. Additionally it is worth nothing that Impact is a Large Group Awareness Training with processes and procedures largely taken from a company called LifeSpring. In regard to LifeSpring participants, it was reported that while participants claimed to have a heightened sense of well being, the phenomenon was largely pathological. I submit to you that Impact Trainings positive reviews are similarly flawed.

Haaken, J. and Adams, R., "Pathology as 'Personal Growth': A Participant-Observation Study of Lifespring Training", Psychiatry, vol 46, August 1983.

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Comments

  • St
      8th of Jan, 2015

    I was involved with Impact Trainings for five years, which included the mastery trainings described in the above complaint. I echo the sentiment presented here and can attest to the life-destroying nature of this greater Salt Lake area LGAT cult. Impact nearly ruined my healthy marriage while I watched other people's lives disintegrate around me as well. Please avoid this company like the virulent plague it is. I have found this forum to be an incredible resource for information that increased my awareness and aided in my recovery: http://forum.culteducation.com/read.php?4, 15925, page=174

    +3 Votes
  • Fo
      8th of Jan, 2015

    For anyone that wants to read the full text of the article that I referenced at the end of my complaint, it can be found here:

    http://www.culteducation.com/group/1026-lifespring/12660-pathology-as-personal-growth-a-participant-observation-study-of-lifespring-training.html

    While the report is about LifeSpring, the early phases (and possible even the later phases) of the Impact Trainings are a virtual clone of Lifespring. Every single Lifespring process outlined in the article including (but not limited to), trust exercises, Red Black Game, Language Changes, sitting before the loud music ended, etc were a part of my experience with the impact trainings. I also observed breakdowns among participants similar to the one experienced by "Patrick" in the link. Please take a look, it explains LGATs (and specifically Impact Trainings) much better than I ever could.

    0 Votes
  • An
      9th of Jan, 2015

    Impact Trainings in the SLC, UT area promises self improvement and happiness, but the real goals of the cult are to line the pockets of the Bergers and create and maintain brainwashed attendees. That's it. Their methods condition the desperate and/or uninformed to become heavily dependent on the training and shun outsiders. There is a secret religion of staffs and crystals at the heart of the cult. They break people down through lack of food and social pressure and then build them up as a Hans follower. I've seen these results happen to close family members and friends. The leaders of the group are truly despicable, pathetic people who seek power, money, control and even worship. They will lie and cover up their true intentions and attack anyone who even suggests a hint of logic. I strongly urge against anyone joining this group

    +1 Votes
  • Ca
      22nd of Feb, 2019

    I'm familiar with Impact Trainings, have recently completed their initial Quest program, and am going to intend to proceed with the trainings through the Life Mastery courses. My reasoning for this is simple - I have seen profound results in the lives of others who have gone through this training, and in myself as much as can be expected for the initial 3-day training session.

    I think that it is correct to say this fits the definition of an LGAT, but that LGAT's are not inherently bad - there is a human tendency to abuse knowledge and power, and this has happened with some LGAT's, but I do not believe this to be the case with Impact Trainings. I'm very familiar with the negative techniques and connotations commonly associated with the word "cult", and I do not, thus far (and I've looked pretty hard), see that happening here.

    Per Wikipedia, the term "cult" has usually refers to a social group defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or its common interest in a particular personality, object or goal. By this definition, Impact Trainings is a cult. So is nearly every church or social group. "Cult" comes from the word "culture", and refers to a group that has cultural commonality. "Cult" does not imply anything negative. It has become associated more with negative because of the human tendency for someone in the leadership position to set themselves up as a strong man, "the only way", etc. to try to claim the knowledge and power they have been graced with for themselves.

    There's a lot of details in the first post which are factually accurate about the process. But you can only get so much out of dry facts. Had I known the dry facts of what Quest involved, I would have likely not given it a chance. But since I allowed myself to give it a real chance without knowing in advance what would be involved (which meant going in with quite a bit of hesitation), I've seen the results it had on me and others who made it through the training, which are tremendous!

    I'd like to specifically address one of the criticisms above - "Hans claimed to have learned this information and the processes of the Impact Trainings themselves through face to face communications with Jesus, Buddha and other "Ascended Masters"." Why doubt this? Does it really even matter? If it works to provide positive results, who cares where it came from? Furthermore, I find it very ironic that here in Utah, where the predominant religion is based on a founding principle that every individual is capable of receiving revelation from God as preached by Joseph Smith, Jr., modern-day followers of this religion find such claims absurd. I have been fortunate enough in my life, to have received by personal revelation knowledge that could be used to benefit humanity. Furthermore, I think that sort of knowledge is coming at everybody all the time - the question is how receptive we are to hearing it. I have no idea whether Hans actually makes that claim or whether it is true, but I am absolutely certain that it is possible, and it ultimately doesn't matter to me - truth is truth and my experience is that this process truly works based on the results I've seen.

    If you want to hear the voice of the Spirit better, I can say with absolute surety that Impact Trainings' Quest program helps with this! It took me a lot of years of work to start being able to hear that voice sometimes; since going through Quest it has been significantly more clear and constant, as I'm able to act from my heart more readily.

    Impact Trainings has never pressured me nor anyone I know into anything outside of the context of the short training sessions. I've always been greeted with love and kindness, and not seen a trace of inauthenticity in any of the staff.

    Also mentioned above are statements like "I am Perfect" and "I am God". The person above claims that these were statements made by the staff, implying that the staff feel superior to trainees. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Such statements are made by EVERYONE in the training, but not exactly as this reads either. It's more that when you realize God, you realize that God is the great "I AM". It's the realization that we are of the same quality and substance as God, as God's creation. It doesn't mean "I am your God, worship me!" or anything like that, to realize your own perfection and capability of godliness does not take anything away from God. Nothing I've heard here thus far disagrees with scriptures, and I'm well-versed in numerous religions and spiritual paths.

    Again, I find this criticism very ironic given that we're in Utah, where a fundamental principle of the predominant religion is that we can each become a God one day.

    To be clear, if at any step along the way I see anything that suggests that the leadership of this group is abusing the knowledge and power they have, I will stop attending the trainings and publicly recount everything positive that I've said regarding this group. I'm still early in the process, but I know what I'm getting myself into and how to step out of it if that's where it's heading.

    My personal belief is that what Impact Trainings is offering is an extremely valuable service to humanity, and the cost is really not much at all when you realize how much they put into this and how much you get out of it. Even if I were to later find out some unfavorable information and turned away from Impact, I have already gotten such an incredible value out of what I've done that I will have no regret.

    They promise self-improvement and happiness, and I have definitely realized that from attending Quest. The only people I've seen not realize that, are those who chose to quit out the training in the middle of it. I've formed deep friendships with and appreciation for many people I would have never talked to prior. I've applied the tools taught to realize major improvements in my life.

    Remember, nobody can ever take your power away from you. If you chose to play victim, then you'll end up in victim situations. I'm heading into these trainings not as a willing victim, but as a genuine seeker of knowledge that can help me learn and grow. If that is your intent, I highly recommend overlooking the scare tactics here and checking this out. You choose what you want to accept for yourself or believe, you choose how far you want to take it, you choose what lessons to keep applying to your ongoing life. Somebody can tell you to do something, but the choice is always yours. Impact is no different than anyone else in that they cannot take away your free agency.

    0 Votes

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