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Personal-Growth Sector

Candles. Classes. E-meters. From Kabbalah to the Landmark Forum, self-improvement doesn’t come cheap.

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Madonna won’t just be hawking concert tees at her Madison Square Garden “Re-Invention Tour” engagements this week. She’ll also be pushing Kabbalah merch, in particular the group’s line of signature literature. Indeed, spirituality seekers can run up quite a tab purchasing the extras of Kabbalah—and that’s to say nothing of the donations that are routinely requested. A look at the costs of membership in three trendy personal-empowerment groups.


Scientology
Testing the waters of Scientology is pretty cheap: New students receive a free personality test (with 200 questions, such as “Do you make thoughtless remarks or accusations which later you regret?”), and church founder L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics is only $7.99 in paperback. But get hooked on the organization’s teachings, and prices start to soar.

Introductory course at the New York chapter on subjects like “personal efficiency”...............................$35

“Purification Rundown,” designed to rid the body of drugs and environmental toxins.................$1,200–$1,800

Life membership, which guarantees extensive discounts on courses and products ..........................................$3,000


The E-Meter, a polygraph-like device that “measures the spiritual state or change of state of a person,” rate for life member............................$3,400

“Auditing Sessions,” intensive, all-day courses at the church’s Clearwater, Florida, facility, the goal of which is “helping the individual rid himself of any spiritual disabilities”.........$6,776

“Organization Executive” course...........................$25,600

“The New Life Rundown,” which “kicks general ability, perception, and memory up through the roof,” 50 hours of training...........................$42,350

The Landmark Forum
The Landmark Forum aims to teach its adherents “the art and mastery of playing the game of life” and the “freedom to be at ease no matter what the circumstance.” To that end it offers mainly coursework, with a few add-ons available as well.

Three-day introductory seminar teaching the fundamentals of the program ...............................................$395

“Relationships: Love, Intimacy & Freedom,” a four-CD or -cassette audio course.......................................$58

“Self-Expression and Leadership” course, which “provides the know-how to establish an environment that invites and welcomes your self expression”...............................................$200

“Communication: Performance and Power,” which teaches “the structures and tools that provide powerful access to new ways of building relatedness, generating possibilities, designing opportunities, and moving your commitments to fulfillment”...........................$650

The advanced course, which explains how one’s past need not shape one’s future ...............................................$795

Kabbalah
As far as paraphernalia goes, nothing compares to Kabbalah, which boasts more accessories than a socialite at a Costume Institute gala. And once you’ve bought the extras, you may be encouraged to make a more substantial donation: Some former members have accused guru Philip “Rav” Berg of pressuring them to give 10 percent of their income to the center, and the group’s most famous adherent, Madonna, reportedly provided $5 million to open a new center in London.

Red string bracelet, to protect from the “evil eye” ...................................................$26

Kabbalah water, one liter ..............................................$2.65

Books like The 72 Names of God and The Power of Kabbalah..............................$17.95–$19.95


New line of Kabbalah candles with names like Sexual Energy, Spiritual Cleansing, Dream State, and DNA of the Soul.................................................$20

“How to Date Your Soul Mate,” a six-week course ...............................................$150

Introductory course at the Kabbalah Centre on 48th Street...............................................$270

The Zohar, a 2,000-year-old, 23-volume spiritual text ................................................$415


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