Limitless Seminar Review And LDS Church Statements

It seems there is always a new self-awareness group coming and going in Utah. Currently there is a group called “Limitless” that does seminars in Utah. Many Mormons have wondered if such organizations are good to attend. Whatever your choice may be, it’s helpful to know that the LDS Church has published many official statements about these types of organizations. Simply search “Self-awareness” on the LDS.org website. Here is a collection of LDS statements regarding such organizations. If the self-awareness group you are considering seems to contradict even a couple of these points, then it might be wise to reconsider the option. You may want to skip to the end of this article to read what issues Limitless might have with these statements.

Elder M. Russel Ballard in General Conference

“The Brethren also have expressed “concern regarding Church members’ involvement in groups [which are often very expensive] that purport to increase self-awareness, raise self-esteem, and enhance individual agency.” Church leaders and members should not become involved in such groups. Instead, “local leaders should counsel those desiring self-improvement to anchor themselves in gospel principles and to adopt wholesome practices that strengthen one’s ability to cope with challenges” (Counseling with Our Councils, M. Russell Ballard)

“Today I repeat earlier counsel from Church leaders […] Be aware of organizations or groups or individuals claiming secret answers to doctrinal questions that they say todays apostles or prophets do not have or understand. Do not listen to those who entice you with get rich schemes. Our members have lost far too much money, so be careful. In some places, too many of our people are looking beyond the mark, and seeking secret knowledge in expensive and questionable practices to provide healing and support. An official church statement issued one year ago states, ‘We urge church members to be cautious, about participating in any group that promises, in exchange for money, miraculous healings, or that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside properly ordained priesthood holders.'” (The Trek Continues! By Elder M. Russell Ballard)

President Russell M. Nelson

Speaking about the importance of thinking about others more than yourself, he said, “in the world today many religious denominations and other well-meaning groups focus attention on concepts such as “wholeness of self,” “self-realization,” “self-fulfillment,” or “self-awareness.” But such slogans cause me to wonder whether the two great commandments are ignored or forgotten. Jesus said:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

“This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”

(Shepherds, Lambs, and Home Teachers, Russell M. Nelson)

Ensign 1989
(“Questionable Self-awareness Groups”)

“Many resources in the community provide effective help for members experiencing social or emotional problems. However, some questionable groups that purport to increase self-awareness, self-esteem, or self-actualization often use methods that may result in added stress, marital discord, and even divorce.

Members should avoid participation in groups that challenge religious and moral values or advocate unwarranted confrontation with spouse or family members in order to reach one’s potential. Beware of groups that meet late into the evening or early morning hours over several days. This approach tends to lower inhibitions and encourage confession and disclosure of personal information in ways that may later be damaging to the individual. It may foster unnecessary physical contact among participants. Groups advocating such techniques are often expensive. They tend to promise quick solutions to problems that normally require time and personal effort to resolve. Although participants may feel some initial relief, they often find their old problems returning.

Members should be reminded that the process of finding one’s self comes through living gospel principles. Members experiencing social or emotional problems may wish to consult with priesthood leaders for guidance in identifying resources that are in harmony with gospel principles. Priesthood leaders should inform members for whom this counsel might be needful or of interest.” (Ensign, Policies and Announcements, 1989)

Ensign 1994
(“Caution Concerning Self-Awareness Groups

There is increasing concern regarding Church members’ involvement in groups that purport to increase self-awareness, raise self-esteem, and enhance individual agency. Many of these groups advocate concepts and use methods that can be harmful. Some falsely claim Church endorsement, actively recruit Church members, charge exorbitant fees, and encourage long-term commitments. Some intermingle worldly concepts with gospel principles in ways that can undermine spirituality and faith. Although participants may experience temporary emotional relief or exhilaration, old problems often return, leading to added disappointment and despair.

Church leaders and members should not become involved in self-awareness groups or any other groups that imitate sacred rites or ceremonies. Similarly, members should avoid groups that meet late into the night or encourage open confession or disclosure of personal information normally discussed only in confidential settings.

Church leaders are not to pay for, encourage participation in, or promote such groups or practices. Also, Church facilities are not to be used for these types of activities. Local leaders should counsel those desiring self-improvement to anchor themselves in gospel principles and to adopt wholesome practices that strengthen one’s abilities to cope with challenges. Members are invited to consult with their bishops or stake presidents when seeking appropriate sources of counseling.” (Ensign, News of the Church, 1994)

Ensign 1999
“Self-Awareness Groups

The First Presidency sent the following letter, dated 21 June 1999, to priesthood leaders in the United States and Canada:

We again remind Church members to be cautious in seeking help from groups that purport to increase self-awareness, raise self-esteem, or enhance individual agency. Some such groups falsely claim or imply Church endorsement. Some charge exorbitant fees or encourage long-term commitments. Some intermingle worldly concepts with gospel principles in ways that can undermine spirituality and faith. We call your attention to guidelines regarding self-awareness groups found in the Church Handbook of Instructions, page 157, and reprinted on the reverse side of this letter [see Self-Awareness Group Guidelines].

There is usually no quick solution to social or emotional difficulties. Those who suffer from such difficulties should exercise great care in choosing appropriate professionals to assist them. As always, members may consult with priesthood leaders for guidance in identifying sources of help that are fully consistent with gospel principles.

Ward and branch councils should consider carefully whether members in their units are being drawn into such groups. If so, the bishop or branch president should take necessary steps to acquaint these members with the foregoing principles and enclosed guidelines. Where appropriate, the guidelines may be published in ward/branch bulletins. Bishops and branch presidents should use them in counseling members as they deem advisable.

Self-Awareness Group Guidelines

Church members should not participate in groups that:

Challenge religious and moral values or advocate unwarranted confrontation with spouse or family members as a means of reaching one’s potential.
Imitate sacred rites or ceremonies.
Foster physical contact among participants.
Meet late into the evening or in the early-morning hours.
Encourage open confession or disclosure of personal information normally discussed only in confidential settings.
Cause a husband and wife to be paired with other partners.
(Ensign, Policies and Announcements, 1999)

Letter From the First Presidency 2010
In a letter dated Oct. 13, the First Presidency wrote:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

We have repeatedly warned of the risks inherent in participating in so-called “self-awareness” groups sponsored by commercial enterprises that promise heightened self-esteem, improved family relationships, and increased spirituality. It has come to our attention that some of these enterprises continue to express or imply Church endorsement, thereby attracting members of the Church to their programs.

The Church has not endorsed any such enterprise. We warn that these programs are not in harmony with Church doctrine or gospel principles. Church members should not participate in groups that:

Challenge religious and moral values.
Advocate confrontation with spouse or family members as a means of reaching one’s potential.
Imitate sacred rites or ceremonies.
Foster physical contact among participants.
Meet late into the evening or in the early-morning hours.
Encourage open confession or disclosure of personal information normally discussed only in confidential settings.
Cause a husband or wife to be paired with other partners.
Once again, we counsel members against participating in such “self-awareness” activities.

Signed by the First Presidency:

Thomas S. Monson

Henry B. Eyring

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

(From the First Presidency, Self-awareness groups)

Official Church Handbook
“Self-Awareness Groups

“Many private groups and commercial organizations have programs that purport to increase self-awareness, self-esteem, and spirituality. Some groups promise to enhance individual agency or improve family relationships. Some offer “experiential” or “empowerment” training.

Some of these groups falsely claim or imply that the Church or individual General Authorities have endorsed their programs. However, the Church has not endorsed any such enterprise, and members are warned against believing such claims. The fact that the Church has not formally challenged such an enterprise should not be perceived as a tacit endorsement or approval.

Church members are also warned that some of these groups advocate concepts and use methods that can be harmful. In addition, many such groups charge exorbitant fees and encourage long-term commitments. Some intermingle worldly concepts with gospel principles in ways that can undermine spirituality and faith.

These groups tend to promise quick solutions to problems that normally require time and personal effort to resolve. Although participants may experience temporary emotional relief or exhilaration, old problems often return, leading to added disappointment and despair.

Church leaders are not to pay for, encourage participation in, or promote such groups or practices. Also, Church facilities may not be used for these activities.

Leaders should counsel members that true self-improvement comes through living gospel principles. Members who have social or emotional problems may consult with priesthood leaders for guidance in identifying sources of help that are in harmony with gospel principles.” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church)

Limitless

As you can tell from the abundance of statements, this is an ongoing concern that has come up a lot. Here are some statements that can be related to Limitless:

“Many private groups and commercial organizations have programs that purport to increase self-awareness, self-esteem, and spirituality. Some groups promise to enhance individual agency or improve family relationships. Some offer “experiential” or “empowerment” training.”

  • Limitless claims it is not a church or self-awareness group, but a company that teaches business and life skills. We recommend participants decide for themselves if it is in fact a self-awareness group. Due to the points listed below, we consider it a self-awareness group. The fact that some activities practiced by Limitless falls directly under this category should throw up warning sings. These concerns are worth consideration.

Elder Ballard said, “The Brethren also have expressed “concern regarding Church members’ involvement in groups [which are often very expensive] that purport to increase self-awareness, raise self-esteem, and enhance individual agency.” Church leaders and members should not become involved in such groups. Instead, “local leaders should counsel those desiring self-improvement to anchor themselves in gospel principles and to adopt wholesome practices that strengthen one’s ability to cope with challenges”

“Very Expensive”

  • Currently, it’s “Inner Circle” package starts at $15,000 for a period of time. Limitless used to charge about $25,000. There are other offers, such as a $6000 package. While prices are subjective, this is worth consideration. Their three day seminar is sometimes $100 or free.

“not become involved”

  • Church leaders say that members should not to be involved in such groups.

True self-improvement comes from “gospel principles and wholesome practices”.

  • It should not require so much money to achieve self-improvement.
    Limitless leaves some of it’s participants with an urge to use their expensive services. The founder of Limitless is known to build his organizations around MLM models.
  • The Founder of Limitless, Kris Krohns, realty business (Strongbrooks) was sued by The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for “fraudulent offers and sales.” They settled, which doesn’t always imply guilt or innocence. While this isn’t a strong issue against Limitless, it’s something to consider. The legal claims in the lawsuit may not have been substantiated.

“methods that can be harmful”

  • Walking on glass, or breaking arrows against the chest, can be considered harmful. There have been reports of small bruises. They laid a man on a bed of nails, put another plate of nails on top of them, added a cinderblock, then smashed it with a sledgehammer.
  • Limitless uses these practices to help participants get past fear.
  • It’s worth knowing that there is a well-known trick to walking on glass. It looks real, but if walked on slowly, nothing will happen. Visit this link for a demo of this trick. Similar tricks might be used with other practices.
  • Furthermore, if you pay the tens of thousands of dollars to enter their “Inner Circle”, there are opportunities given to walk on fire. Second degree burns have been reported.

“Beware of groups that meet late into the evening or early morning hours over several days.”

  • This is something Limitless obviously does. They have meetings from 9am to 9pm, for two to three days in a row. And as the Church statement says, it “tends to lower inhibitions.” They directly invite participants to become “vulnerable”

“encourage confession and disclosure of personal information”

  • While limitless may make this optional, they make sure the option and setting is there. Personal experiences can be discussed with strangers.
    Possibly extreme psychological practices: They ask you to close your eyes, deeply meditate, open yourself up, and think about experiences from your past that “limits” you. Sometimes, participates share personal experiences to get it out. Every participant signs a waiver expressly communicating that open confession is never necessary for them to go through the experience.
  • A type of testimonial meeting happens later on where people share their experiences of the training.

“foster unnecessary physical contact among participants”

  • Limitless encourages optional touching, hugging, holding hands, etc. You may be asked to hug others before leaving. There are sometimes group hugs after activities. While hugging may seem like nothing, readers should consider if it is necessary, what effects it might have, and whether it should be suggested or optional.
  • While this is not physical contact, they do have activities where you look into the other persons eyes.

“They tend to promise quick solutions”

  • While Limitless says that solutions take time, and that buying their packages might help with full achievement, they do optionally promote “breakthroughs”, or powerful emotional experiences, to help make things feel quicker. These “breakthroughs” happen one-on-one, or in front of groups on a stage.

“the process of finding one’s self comes through living gospel principles”

  • This means that Limitless isn’t needed for self achievement, and that answers can come from free sources to explore. Many times, participants leave feeling like they need Limitless to achieve self-achievement. Many of the experiments, activities, and practices might create a strong connection to the organization.

“Church leaders and members should not become involved in self-awareness groups or any other groups that imitate sacred rites or ceremonies”

  • It is true that Limitless does not seek to directly copy sacred LDS rituals. But rituals or practices are used to enforce concepts. They are more than mere activities. Whispering in others ears, holding hands, chants or shouts. They do use terms such as calling team leaders “Angels”, “Guardian Angels”, etc.

“Members are invited to consult with their bishops or stake presidents when seeking appropriate sources of counseling”

  • This is an option that members should explore before doing anything with Limitless or any other organization. Their bishop should consult the Church Handbook section about self-awareness groups, which is quoted above.

“Those who suffer from such difficulties should exercise great care in choosing appropriate professionals to assist them”

  • It is recommended paying a trained, qualified therapist rather than a Limitless mentor. Their “mentors” don’t have the same qualifications as professional therapists.
  • There are other things in the Church’s statements that might not apply to the beginner seminar but that might apply to the “inner circle”. They have stated that their basic seminar has to be “kid friendly”. This implies that the inner circle has things that might break more of the Church’s guidelines, or make some issues worse.

Additional Considerations

The power of touch. The power of sharing. The power of ritual. The power of making yourself vulnerable to others. The power of group think. The power of emotion. All these powers, and more, seem to be masterfully combined and used at the Limitless seminars. These practices should be considered with great caution.

There may be some truth to the concepts they teach. Many of these organizations use material similar to the “7 habits of highly effective people” book. They may use psychological practices that do work. Participants might be able to take the good concepts from these groups, but avoid the iffy things. Some more vulnerable participants might have a harder time. The big question is if you really do trust and support them. Hopefully this article gives you a perspective that’ll help if you encounter such organizations.

Christ should be the source for all our self-achievements. Where some might charge money, Christ says, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1). While some self-awareness organizations might take inward self-achievement too far, Christ says, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt 10:39). While there may be some good in a few self-help organizations, and a temptation to get involved, it’s wise to keep in mind what Christ said, “For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt 24:24). Ultimately, in the end, the reader should consider Christ’s teaching that “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt 7:20). This blog was written in response to negative feedback from people who attended the Limitless Seminar. Some Limitless supporters say they have positively gained from Limitless. We hope you will consider every perspective when making a decision about Limitless. The Deseret News published a detailed and long article that is worth reading about self-awareness groups and it’s negative or positive affects. It is titled “SELF HELP OR LOST HOPE?”

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