This is a report on the cult led by Frederick Lenz, III, who styles
himself as "Zen Master Rama". This is a destructive cult. Lenz has
not claimed tax exemption as a religious organization as many other
destructive cults have. However, he does conduct the cult under a
veneer of Buddhism. This enables him to counter any comment or
criticism or his activities by accusing the critic of commentator of
regligious bigotry and interfering with the 1st Amendment rights of
his followers. The cult, started by Lenz, commenced as a group
dedicated to increasing the human potential of the student-members
through study of Hinduism. Over the course of time it has evolved
into an extremely effective and profitable scheme for extorting large
sums of money from the "student-members". Using the techniques of
mind control, alternatively called mind abuse or thought reform, and
acting under the guise of their spiritual teacher, Lenz has
established a strong hold over a group of some 250 people. In this
fashion, and using both psychic and physical threats, Lenz is
extorting sums estimated to range from $4,000,000 to $10,000,000 per
year from the group as donations or payment for his instruction.
This report has been prepared to correlate and consolidate as much as possible of the currently available information on Lenz and his activities to serve as the basis for further investigation and action by appropriate public and private agencies. An attempt has been made to include enough detail to make this an effective source for further investigation, and, at the same time, make it a readable narrative.
The existence and activities of this cult and its leader should be of serious concern to -
The most spectacular and frightening example of mind control in recent years was when Jim Jones convinced more than nine hundred members of the Peoples' Temple commune in Guyana to commit suicide by drinking cyanide-laced Kool Aid. It is difficult for most Americans, accustomed as they are to the idea of independent thought, to believe that one man, using the techniques of mind control, can establish overpowering domination of the thoughts and actions of others. To many people, the Jonestown case was an exception, something that could only happen to a group of people who may have been deficient in some respect.
Today more and more Americans have come to realize that the Jonestown tragedy was not an isolated incident but only one manifestation of an ever-growing problem. There are some 3,000 cults in the United States today. Some of the more well known are the Moonies, the Hare Krishnas and the Church of Scientology. Some of them are relatively benign and harmless, but there are many more that are as vicious and destructive as the Peoples' Temple.
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Frederick Lenz, or, as he styles himself, "Zen Master Rama", launched
his own group when he commenced giving self improvement seminars based
on Eastern religions about 1980 in San Diego. Earlier he had been
associated with a human potential group led by Sri Chinmoy in New
Initially the group was small. They all lived together, and had, as one former member describes it, "a lot of love and family, a very happy period". Initially Lenz called himself Atmananda. His organization was incorporated as Lakshmi and his teachings were based on Hinduism. His following grew steadily. In 1983 he began to call himself "Zen Master Rama" and began to emphasize Zen more.
During the next ten years Lenz' methods evolved. What had started as a small and relaxed group of people studying Eastern religions turned into a large, impersonal and extremely effective mechanism for extracting large sums of money from the followers, all led by a man who appeared to become increasingly obsessed with power. Changes between 1980 and 1990 were characterized by the following:
His following continued to grow and he conducted publicly advertised seminars in various cities in the United States until about January 1988 when there was considerable adverse publicity originating with members who had left the movement. As a result he left California, moved most of the members of his group to New York and lay low. There was another spurt of publicity in late 1989 when Brenda Kerber, one of those who had followed him to New York, disappeared. Since that publicity has died down he has again given semi-public seminars and commenced recruiting. The seminars now are not open to the public, instead being aimed at a smaller group specifically invited as potential recruits. A more complete history is contained in the appendices.
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Estimates of membership in the group vary widely. Membership appears
to have varied from an estimated high of more than 900 followers to
what is believed to be the current estimated size of 250 to 350. In
the mid-1980s when he was in Malibu there were as many as 900 students
in Los Angeles and San Francisco paying regular tuition. He would get
rid of 30 or 40 at a time, saying they were flunking spiritually. In
May 1987 at the meeting in Los Angeles it was estimated that the
innner circle increased to 300 or 400. By January 1988 it was
estimated at 1,000 but this seems much too high. Currently one person
who attended recent seminars has estimated that up to 400 people
attended the seminars, with about 250 of them being members and 150
guests. It is believed that there are many others, closely
associated, who do not attend the regular seminars. In addition,
there are a large number of former members who have been expelled from
the regular group by Lenz for various failures and shortcomings. Many
of these are working intensely and contributing liberally to the
organization in an effort to be readmitted to the regular group.
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3. METHODS AND DOCTRINE
As with many cult leaders there may be a great difference between what
they preach and what they actually believe. The evolution of Lenz's
espoused doctrine seems to indicate it is based more on what will be
most effective in insuring the obedience and subservience of his
followers than on any recognizable philosophy. However, like many who
become obsessed with their own personal power, he may begin to believe
what he is preaching.
Early in his career Lenz described his creed as "Buddhism without the bull." He claims to have been a high priest at the Temple of Light in Atlantis, a teacher in ancient Egypt, in India and in Japan, and the head of a monastic order in Tibet, all in previous incarnations. Lenz claims to be one of twelve truly enlightened people on the earth. The only other person he has cited as being "enlightened" is another fraudulent Eastern mystic, Sai Baba.
Lenz's promise to his student/followers was "Gain the competetive edge through Zen. Material success, if it's part of a balanced approach to life, is very healthy. I don't consider poverty to be spiritual. In my opinion, as a person who is psychic, money is important. A great deal of the teaching that I do is about money." Actually, in his lectures, power, particularly power over others, is heavily emphasized with money a close second.
What he promises is an easy way to Nirvana. Buddhist tradition holds that there are two paths to enlightenment, the fast and the slow - the slow one takes thousands of lifetimes, while the quick one can lead to enlightenment in just one. Lenz's path, a third, might be called the express lane. He claims techniques so powerful that an hour with him is worth 100 years of traditional meditation.
Lenz' creed, as well as his methods, is continually evolving. Originally he based his teaching on Hindu mysticism. Then he changed it to Zen Buddhism. He now appears to be emphasizing Tantric Buddhism. Actually his teachings have little resemblance to traditional Buddhism. Instead he has mixed in ideas from Carlos Castenada and Stephen King and any other ideas he thinks might have an impact upon his group.
Over the years there has been increasing emphasis on the occult, on demons and astral beings, on the fear of lower occult forces. Lenz claims to be able to give members the power to control these things. "If someone gets in your way, if anyone is blocking your path, get rid of them!" Power over enemies is stressed.
According to ex-follower Steve Putnam "The basic premise of Lenz is you are born with a certain amount of energy life force. As you grow older you lose it. The name of the game is scarcity. People trying to take it from each other. Everything is contingent upon your supply of life energy, your success athletically, in business, in school. The game, then, is he is the teacher who is going to show you how to patch up the leaks and to build up a good store so you will have success."
By 1983 Lenz was proclaiming, "Whenever you make a mistake, remember that you are God. God doesn't make mistakes. God only has experiences."
According to Putnam intermediate meditators were warned constantly that they were becoming entangled with dark forces that only Lenz could see. Putnam said it was the way Lenz kept followers and raised money. "If we dropped out now, we would spend thousands of lives in the hell worlds because we were so screwed up. We had to rehabilitate and the only way was through him."
Currently his biggest hold over his followers seems to be the fear he has instilled in them, fear that if they drop out they will suffer. He has told them if they drop out and he quits protecting them they will suffer forever in the sixteenth level of hell. To people who have come to rely on his advice and teaching, this is a terrifying prospect.
In 1989 at dinner in Greenwich, Connecticut, for between fifty and seventy five member of his inner group called Advanced Systems, Inc., Lenz raised their tuition to $2,500 per month. He said he was angry because he had "busted his ass for them in the last spring and summer protecting them from the lower order occult demons". He said he almost killed himself for them because there had been so much drain on him from the occult forces. This gave him the right to raise tuition. "You are going to have to pay for it."
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4. MEETING FORMAT
According to the most current information available, Lenz conducts one
"Tantric Buddhist Meditation Seminar" each month. There are two
sessions, one Saturday and one on Sunday from 7 to midnight each
evening. The meetings are held in Westchester County in a motel or,
recently, at the Performing Arts Center, State University New York at
The very tight screening reflects the increasing paranoia of the group. Non-member must be invited by a member. Enrollees have to be entered into a computer file which is checked at each successive meeting. First time members must execute a hold harmless agreement releasing Lenz from all responsibility. There are husky, dour-looking guards at all doorways, member of his security team. Full members sit in back of the room. Prospective members sit in front with no one at all in the first row. There is very little intermingling of the two groups.
At the seminars all members come dressed as if they were going for a job interview. Men look "well heeled". Although he has advised the women to be well groomed, buy expensive clothes, (some have spent more than $500 for make-up sessions), they are treated as subservient. This is very interesting and is a definite change from his earlier format when he made a special, and successful, effort to appeal to women. One of Lenz's several books was titled Why Don't More Women Attain Enlightenment (Lakshmi Publications, Malibu, California). Currently it almost appears as if Lenz hates all women and generally treats them as second class citizens within the group. This may reflect a reaction to the problems and adverse publicity he received as a result of the revelations of Mercedes Hughes and Anny Eastwood, among others.
The meeting format has apparently changed very little over the years. For the first hour Zazen music is played on compact discs. This is an unstructured kind of electronic music recorded by a trio which Lenz produces. The copyright and trademark to the music is held by Advanced Systems, Inc, which has the same World Trade Center mail drop as his National Personal and Professional Development Seminars, Inc. It is somewhat like a combination of sounds - wind chimes, rushing water and cow bells. There is some belief that there might be some subliminal message contained in the music. During this time people may converse while seated.
At 8:30, an hour after the start of the meeting, Lenz enters wearing a very expensive Italian cut suit. His hair is still curly, but less bushy. He settles himself ritualistically and commences his lecture.
The lecture begins with some form of humor to "open people up." At one seminar there were some dancing flowers on stage. Although Lenz tried a variety of antics he could not make the flowers stop dancing.
In lectures he talks a great deal about movies and books. The movies used to emphasize the occult. Now there is a disturbing trend toward straight violence. They include The Hitcher, the Rambo series, Poltergeist II, Thunderdome and the Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies. Lenz says everyone must read Journey to Ladahk written by a Tibetian monk. There are also references to Gothic literature and the "need to bridge the gap between heaven and hell." Also there is frequent mention of grids -"everything goes back to a grid."
A good deal of swearing takes place during the lectures and ranting and raving tirades on almost any subject. "I don't give a shit what you want." "Get rid of anybody in your way!" There is much dialogue about the stupidity of the general population and derogatory references to Southern California.
Members are often upbraided. One tactic is to give the line from a movie and then point to a specific member who would need to recite the next line from the movie. If the member did not respond correctly he would be verbally attacked and humiliated. As a result members spend days seeing the same movies over and over again in order to memorize the dialogue.
A former member reported he had gone to India and found that Buddhism there was entirely different from what Lenz had taught. He wrote him a letter and told Lenz he wanted to leave as a student for six months. Lenz called him at three o'clock in the morning and talked him into coming back. Then he held him up in front of the group and belittled him, twisting and putting down everything he said.
Lenz's teachings extend to every portion of a student's life. He dictates dress, eating habits, what one does for recreation or relaxation, dictates their daily regime, their choice of automobiles, their attitudes toward health care and even their careers. More appalling is his control over their basic beliefs. Issues such as honesty, tolerance, respect for others and even consideration and love for one's family are against his teaching. Because of his skill at manipulation and mind control Lenz soon is able to make all the basic decisions for his followers.
Lenz preaches against intimacy, against having serious or lasting relationships. "Screw anybody....sleep around." Prior to disclosure of his affairs with various women students Lenz promoted Buddhist celibacy and proclaimed himself to be chaste. This advocacy of frivolous sex is unaccompanied by any admonition for safe sex. He is exceptionally negative about marriage and children. "Why bother to have children? They cry and keep you awake. I'd rather stomp one into the ground and go out and buy a new prayer rug." This is consistent with his efforts to keep all members isolated and dependent upon him.
The lecture is then followed by a fifteen minute meditation session. Zazen music is played from CDs. The lighting is changed. The heat in the room seems to increase. One attendee felt her throat constrict. She felt like she was choking. She said a number of people began coughing. Lenz says that his power and group energy will give the audience the potential for the best meditation they have ever had and can take them to Nirvana. This is a group buzz word. He states that while most people meditate with their eyes closed it is "Ok to keep your eyes open and watch me. You might see a change." He then tells them what change they might expect to see, such as light, levitation, and similar effects.
Group members have reported seeing such phenomena. According to Anny Eastwood, a former member, "There was always the implication that the more spiritually evolved you were the more you would see." Some believers relate that his aura makes the room glow with golden light, that he can make the moon change colors, the stars spin and the winds stop. Others recall his face transforming into a Tibetan Lama or a Japanese Zen teacher and his body levitating. Meditators attribute their "blissed out state" and "burst of powerful energy shooting up their spines" to Rama's power.
There is then a break at which junk food is served as snacks, then a question period.
Meetings are conducted under the name of Advanced Systems Inc. or National Personal Development Seminars. Most recently meetings were known to have been scheduled in November, December and January at the State University of New York in Purchase, New York. However, phone calls to the office which schedules use of their facilities insist ently denies that Lenz conducted meetings there.
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Contrary to general belief the people Lenz recruits into his group are
not maladjusted, dependent type personalities, or of below average
intelligence. Almost the opposite is the case. He has successfuly
sought and recruited bright, idealistic and generally well educated
young people. He has, however, had his greatest success in recruiting
people when they have some temporary problem in their lives - job
problems, marital difficulties, relocation or other situations when
they don't have the normal family and social support, when they are
vulnerable. In the past he has focused on college campus recruiting
since most young people there are separated from their families and in
a time of transition and are more vulnerable.
Lenz has recently renewed a selective recruiting drive. Rather than advertising the seminars and recruiting from a large audience he has based his recruiting on quotas established by regular members. One member reported having a quota of bringing three people per month to the seminars. For potential members six months is the time allowed for them to decide whether or not to join the group. After attendance at several seminars one must either join or be dropped. Lenz maintains that he personally screens all membership applications. To become a member you must submit a five by seven color photo, a resume including job and earning history, and an essay describing your "intent concerning meditation, occult and metaphysical motivation." It is believed there is an initiation fee but the amount is not known. Membership dues of various amounts have been reported. One prospective member reported them as $1,000, but other have reported amounts from $2,500 to $5,000 per month. The amounts may vary depending on the "seniority" of the members.
In recruiting and retention of members, great emphasis is placed upon computer skills. In May, 1987 Lenz called the group together, including those who had earlier been rejected, and told them to get serious. The intermediate students were required to move to Palo Alto, would have to go into some aspect of the computer industry and would have to take martial arts classes four times a week. Those new recruits who do not have computer skills are required to take computer classes. Brenda Kerber, who was a secretary at the Stanford Medical Center, was required to take a computer class after she joined and moved to New York. She was able to develop only modest skills as a computer programer and was unable to find a job which would allow her to pay the monthly membership fee.
Over the years Lenz has established several companies with computer-related interests. Few of these have prospered as regular businesses. Vishnu Systems which he established in the middle eighties has been liquidated. Currently it is unknown whether or not any of his corporations is actively engaged in computer consulting or development. The probablility is that most are used as vehicles for channeling his money into other areas.
Lenz has a mandatory course which senior members, that is those with five years or more of membership, must attend. It is called Data Base II. The cost is $1,500. It is believed the course runs for ten four hour sessions. Various other members or ex members have mentioned emphasis on dBase III or IV. Teams of members are working intensively on something related to DBII. This work may take place in teams in the evening. It also consumes members' time on Saturday and Sunday during the day of the weekend in which the monthly seminars are held. It is believed this is for internal use, but one member said "We are going to get rich out of it." A recent departure from the group stated that there was an inner group called "ASI" consisting of about 50 to 75 "students". ASI is the acronym for Advanced Systems, Inc. which is the company currently supposed to be conducting the seminars. It may be this "ASI" group which is working on the software project.
One person who recently departed from the group said that Lenz encouraged all of his followers to become proficient in the ADA programming language which is used extensively in government work.
A list of the companies believed to be associated with Lenz is contained in the appendices.
The group has compiled a list of temporary employment agencies specializing in the data processing field and has the names of companies regularly using them. It is unknown if the agencies are used just to help get employment or if they are used to place people in specific companies.
Most of the members work through temporary employment agencies as temporary help or independent contractors, rather than establish any permanent employee relationship. It is considered a "no no" to have a listed telephone. They also receive their mail through mail box services rather than at street addresses. This makes it exceedingly difficult to trace or locate them.
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6. MIND CONTROL METHODS
Cult experts say Lenz uses more mass-hypnosis techniques than most -
employing long, rhythmic, trance-inducing monologues, vague language,
meditation, hand manipulation, lighting and music that tend to make
people more open to suggestion. Mercedes Hughes, who lived with Lenz
for some time, believes that he also uses mind altering drugs such as
An exit counselor with nine years experience, says that Lenz also uses some unusual icons. Two ex-members he counselled had very barren rooms. One had a small altar with a 8x10 picture of Lenz on it. He also had the whole series of 30 or so tapes Lenz puts out. There were also stuffed animals they call "blisses" strategically placed around his apartment so they could watch him. "It was eerie how he handled them - like they were alive. When he was packing them up it was like he was putting a child to bed." "They believe that Freddy touches them and gives them life." They are sold by Lenz to his followers.
Another woman had several blisses. She was living like a pauper with just the bare necessities for any disciple - a thin futon to sleep on, a computer, a small tape player so she could listen to his lectures, and two beach chairs. She was working at temporary jobs and giving all her money to Rama.
Lenz instructs his followers that they should never acquire more material goods than they can pack up and move by car. Since they average only about six months in each location, moving is simplified, and that money goes into Lenz's pocket instead. Members earning $100,000 per year sleep on a futon and live in barren houses, though the houses may look lovely on the outside.
Lenz has consistently insisted that his members sever all ties with their former friends and families and focus on him. He tells them the people who know him best will more easily be able to drain them of their psychic energy. He tells them to be wary in crowds, as they are vibrating at a much faster rate than non-members and are more sensitive,so it is painful and will hurt to be around the average person vibrating at a slower rate. They are made to feel that other people will try to steal their power, and that when this life force leaves us we will die.
Contact with anyone outside the group is taught as dangerous to his follower's spiritual well being. Said one former member, "Rama said you're supposed to separate yourself from everyone else - your friends, your family, and anyone you had any ties with." So basically Rama is the only person you trust.
Followers develop a fear of outsiders, and even of fellow members. Demons play an important role in Lenz' teaching and activities. In the past Lenz would tell his students they were full of demons trying to kill him, that they were psychic abusers possessed by demons. Some of the circle would get up and confess they were possessed by demons. Said one former member, "After several people confessed we started to believe maybe we were possessed." He reached such a state that he wore sunglasses to group gatherings in order to ward off "psychic attacks" from fellow students who were trying to drain his energy. People would avoid eye contact and not talk to each other so no one could get their hooks into you. The group became so paranoid that few students knew each other's last names, addresses or phone numbers.
Lenz reinforces this by telling his members that former friends and family members may bring demons to attack them, draining their psychic energy. In addition, a considerable amount of organizational paranoia is induced. When the adverse publicity in 1988 occurred Lenz blamed the Cult Awarness Network and told his members they were fundamentalist religious bigots out to get them.
The daily routine he requires from followers further isolates them from conventional social contacts. They are encouraged to meditate at least two hours a day. In addition they are required to listen to his lecture tapes regularly. In the past he required members to take martial arts classes, but Yoga now seems to be emphasized. When this is coupled with the fact that most of them are engaged in computer programming and engineering, with a relatively limited amount of social interaction, the followers are left fairly well isolated from other people even if they go to an office each day.
A particularly effective control method is rejection. As an exit counselor put it, "Freddy plays the guru game well. He controls them by kicking them out of the group and they'll do anything to get back in. It's reverse psychology." He periodically expells members saying they are not progressing spiritually, that they don't deserve to be close to him. Those remaining feel as if they are very special and belong to an ultra-elite club. The rejectees (who are not coming up with the proper amount of money) will redouble their efforts to get back in.
About a year ago he expelled eighteen women, called "The Debs", from the group in New York and told them to go to Seattle. During one six month period one of those expelled sent him two $5,000 checks in an attempt to regain favor. An appended report gives more details on the "Debs" and on the death of <deleted>.
The use of all the above methods, and including sleep deprivation due to the intensive demands he makes on their time and the fact that they are kept off base, fearful of rejection, has resulted in an exceptionally effective system of control in a group that is not physically sequestered. At one period in the eighties Lenz would use fatigue as a way of inducing hallucinations. The members would be instructed to climb a hill to meet him. They would arrive exhausted while he would arrive fresh, having driven. Then he would harrangue them. Their state of fatigue would make them susceptible to hallucinations.
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7. MENTAL DAMAGE TO MEMBERS
"They want to believe in the magical world that Rama presents.
They seem to function okay on the outside, but their internal world is
very paranoid and fearful." Joe Szimhart - Exit counsellor -
All the followers who have left the group have suffered serious mental damage and disorientation. Some have reported agonizing months and years recovering from ill effects they blame on Lenz's methods. Anny Eastwood says she remained a hermit cleaning houses in Malibu for nearly a year until she got into therapy and began to heal. Nancy Knupfer suffered what she now believes was a nervous breakdown. She had been a $50,000 a year bank executive when she joined the group. When she left she was so shaken by the experience that she could no longer function as she had. A $4.29 per hour security job was all she was capable of doing.
Nearly all ex-members have been quiet about their experiences and are extremely reluctant to talk about it. Some of them fear retribution from other members of the group. Others are genuinely disturbed and require extensive counselling and therapy. For many of them the fear is based on their belief that Lenz has the power to make psychic attacks on them.
Brenda Kerber, mentioned above, was so distraught at not being able to meet Lenz's demands for money that she disappeared from her aparment in White Plains in the fall of 1989 leaving all of her personal possessions, her credit cards, and her identification behind. She has not been seen again. He parents believe that she may have committed suicide.
Donald Cole was a young college student who became a Rama follower. He committed suicide by stabbing himself in February 1984 just after returning from a birthday party for Lenz in San Francisco. He left a note which said "I didn't do well enough to remember. Bye Rama, see you next time."
There are a number of psychiatrists and counsellors who have treated former members who want to remain anonymous. All of them report that the ex-members have suffered some serious mental problems, some becoming psychologically unbalanced, or insane. Parents are advised that they should arrange counseling for ex-members of the group. The reluctance of former members to speak has made it difficult to obtain detailed or up to date information on the total effect of the experience.
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8. LENZ PERSONAL
Frederick Lenz is currently living at 183 Old Field Point Road,
Setauket, New York. This is a waterfront home on approximately two
acres which he purchased in February, 1988 for approximately one
million dollars. The mortgage on the house in the original amount of
some $600,000 is held by Prudential Mortgage Company. The house was
extensively re-modelled by Lenz after he purchased it. From all
information is appears that no cult related activities take place here
and that he uses the house as a personal residence and hideaway.
According to both men and women who have left the group, Lenz invited
the most beautiful girls individually to his home for spiritual help.
About the time they realized they were alone, he told them they could
help them attain enlightenment faster by having special sexual
experience with him, that God would want that for them. Later the
same girls felt they had been rapped or ripped off. Currently it is
probable that one very young female follower may be living there with
him on the days she is not attending college.
One person who was intensively recruited believes that Lenz is using drugs heavily, probably LSD and cocaine. She based this on his pasty complexion, skin tone, other factors, and one his behavior, especially at seminars.
Mercedes Hughes who lived with Lenz from May to September of 1987 reported that he used LSD and gave her LSD on occasion. Others who knew Lenz in earlier years reported that he used LSD. Hughes said that Lenz would periodically go on a demon-cleaning spree, donning yellow rain gear and swatting at demons in the cellar and on the cellar stairs. He also accused Hughes of being infested with demons which were out to get him.
Lenz relationship with women is unconventional. Allan Buchman, a long time Sri Chinmoy devotee, recalls Lenz. He remembers that when it came to women Fred had no qualms about using "deception" to seduce them. Lenz was forming meditation groups at the campus at Stony Brook, N.Y. He used to encourage infatuations with his female students. A responsible spiritual person never would have done that."
Lenz made a practice in the late '80s of sexually exploiting some of his women followers. Anny Eastwood says she talked to at least three other women who reported similar experiences of being sexually exploited, two of them saying Lenz waved a gun about.
There is no question that Lenz has developed great skill at mind control. Most of his skill and his techniques were probably developed as much through trial and error as they were on purpose. But they do exert a powerful hold on his followers.
It appears that Lenz is becoming an increasingly disturbed personality. An interesting sidelight was related by the contractor who remodelled his current house in Stony Brook. At the conclusion of the job Lenz asked the contractor if any of the workmen had used any of the toilets. The contractor said they had used one in the upstairs bathroom. Lenz make the contractor replace the entire toilet. He may be succumbing to the paranoia that he has induced in his followers. A reading of the attached "Statement to the Press" which he issued at the time of his problems with Mercedes Hughes certainly displays a mind which is not well balanced.
One newspaper report titled Lenz as the "Cosmic Seducer". A more accurate name would be "Psychic Predator".
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9. ORGANIZATION AND FINANCE
It appears that there are three levels of membership.
We have been unable to find the physical location of any office or staff for any supporting activity of any Lenz organization. All of the addresses given in any communication or publication are mail drops. The address in the World Trade Center for his National Personal and Professional Development Seminars is a mail drop. So is the address on Gayley Avenue in Los Angeles which was used earlier. The only physical address of anyone connected with Lenz we have been able to find is the office address of his personal accountant, Roger Makemson, who has played a role in most of the shell corporations Lenz has formed over the past ten years.
Prior to the initial publicity created by the airing of "A Current Affair" on television Lenz charged only $100 per month for his sessions. After that he raised it to $1,000 per month, saying that he wanted to have enough to protect him from lawsuits and that he needed $3,000,000 per year to spread his teaching. In 1989 he raised the monthly fee to $2,500. Then, in 1990 it was increased to $4,000. It is now believed to be at least $5,000 per month for the inner inner group. Senior members are permitted to have dinner with him once a month paying $1,000 each for the privilege. The newer members may be left with as little as $10,000 to live on; those who cannot come up with the proper tuition are asked to leave. It is considered rude not to give him money on his birthday. It is believed the group bought him a Bentley for his birthday this month.
Last year Lenz told his members he was tired of hearing about their good intentions and how hard they worked and wanted them to show they were serious by coming up with $250,00 by March 21, 1991. He wanted all of them to set up computer companies and all to become millionaires by using their occult powers. He wanted them to start taking occultism seriously. Our records show that quite a number of members did incorporate businesses at that time. He expects 120 to come up with $250,000 and has another group designation for those who come up with a lesser $50,000 by then. If they don't come up with the money, when they die they will go to hell. Payments must be by untraceable cashier checks or cash in large denominations. Small bills, i.e. $100, have bad vibrations; personal checks are unacceptable.
Assuming 250 steady followers contributing a minimum of $2,500 per month this would amount to $7,500,000 per year. There is no way of telling how many members are contributing $5,000 per month, but at least some of them are. In addition, some members make one-time contributions of quite a bit more. One person who had been out of the group for nearly a year was found to have contributed two separate $5,000 checks in a six month period. On this basis the total income could easily be as much as $10,000,000 a year. The biggest mystery of the entire cult is where the money is going since, other than the house, there is no external evidence of it.
If this is so then the National Personal Development Seminars Inc. is no more than a massive extortion operation, extorting money from the "members" through psychic rather than physical threats, although to them the threat of physical harm must be nearly as powerful.
Some financial details concerning the purchase of his first house in Stony Brook have been obtained. The house was purchased in February, 1987 with four cashier's checks dated that day and totalling $247,500. Two of these checks were from the Shawmut Needham Bank, Needham, Massachusetts - one for $90,000 and one for $10,000 with numbers 85274 and 85275. A cashier's check for $47,500 , number 2027042 was issued by the First National Bank of Boston and a check for $100,000 was issued by the Boston Federal Savings Bank, check number 34144. Copies of the checks are available. According to persons present at the closing the checks were presented by four different women on behalf of Lenz.
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As mentioned earlier, Lenz has no identifiable office premises for his fairly extensive operations. Nor is there is phone with a receptionist who can connect you with any responsible person in the organization. Like his followers, he uses mail drops and answering services. You can reach Lenz, or get a message to him, through the following addresses and phone numbers.
There is some information that indicates that some of his bills are being paid through the accounting firm of Ernst and Whinney. Roger Makemson of Tarzana, CA. who appears to be his personal accountant, is an associate of long standing who has participated in the formation of several Lenz entities is Roger Makemson, Tarzana, CA.
He has credit cards with American Express, with an outstanding balance of some $30,000 as of October, 1990, and Pacific Bank Master Charge with a $30,000 limit.
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Cults, particularly small one-man cults such as this, seem to be
inherently unstable. Lenz' history over the past ten years certainly
shows a good deal of movement and change. Both Lenz's methods of mind
control and his doctrine seem to have evolved in several distinct
phases. His format is based on whatever works at the time. For
example extensive advertising and nationwide lecture tours worked well
until the adverse publicity caught up with him. Currently more
intensive work with a smaller and more selective group seems to work
well. So there is more than ample reason to expect that further
changes will occur. Some of these possible changes or new plans might
One possibility might arise as a result of the increasing pressure he is placing on some of his followers. A person recently leaving the group reported that Lenz was urging his followers to raise as much as $250,000 this year - "Just to show you can do it." If the pressure on his followers is as great as believed this may very well tempt some followers to commit a criminal act. Alternatively it may put so much pressure on some followers that they will have a genuine mental breakdown.
Through his attorney in New York, Jonathon Lubell, and his attorney in Los Angeles, Warren Ettenger, Lenz has regularly threatened legal action for anyone who publicizes and criticizes his operations and activities. He has used this tactic frequently as a method of attempting to bully anyone causing him incovenience. There is more than ample reason to believe that Lenz would not be well advises to file a lawsuit and subject himself to the dangers of discovery and the dangers of the publicity which would accompany such a suit. However, since it is believed that Lenz may not be entirely rational in his decisions that he might file such a suit against the advice of this attorney.
There should be no question that Lenz's activities have involved some criminal activity such as possible mail fraud, condoning fraudulent use of resume's and credentials, us of drugs, and sexaul assaults. The problem is that none of these, in themselves, seem to be sufficient to gain the attention of law enforcement agencies, so far. The objective of this study is to make the activities of Lenz as widely known as possible so that individuals, private companies and law enforcement agencies will be aware of his activites and be prepared to act if evidence of criminal conduct arises.
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NOTE ON SOURCES
The material in this report includes a compilation of published
material and information which has been collected by individuals who
have family members who are current or past followers of Frederick
Because of concern these parent may have for their own children, who may be sources of some of this information, and in other cases concern for former members of the Rama cult who wish privacy, the sources of the additional information have not been given. It is understood that this is an obstacle to evaluation of the information and confirmation of its authenticity.
However, should any reliable organization or government entity be prepared to undertake to pursue this inquiry in a serious fashion, and be willing to respect the confidentiality of the sources, those who contributed to this report would be more than willing to provide details and sources and to cooperate in any reasonable way.
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(Some of the appendices are not included on this website. -