Yes, definitely a cult. Speaking from my own experience as being the part of then a very small inner circle – back in the early 90s.
But it’s quite simple… designed for those – mostly women – who have no self-confidence or center. They are conditioned to draw their “life energy from Keith” with quite simple but very effective techniques.
His tactics were almost too simple and yet classic for a cult leader. He stripped the women – and at times men – around him of their identity, then, their relationships, money, etc. It could be as simple as telling his women repeatedly they “could lose a couple of pounds”.
Karen’s skin tone was literally grey and the texture uneven and so unhealthy. Pam and Kristin were pale, and all of them were very thin. This sleeplessness, no doubt, had a major effect on their nervous system. Physically exhausted people are easier to control. Their reaction and ability to analyze are far gone. Have you ever had so little sleep that the next day you felt like you had Styrofoam for a brain? Well, imagine that scenario for days, weeks, months…
I spent numerous weekends at their townhome just hanging out. Keith would “talk” to the women one on one sometimes. For some it involved discussing their place in the universe, their spiritual progress; for others it was a psychoanalysis session; and for some it was purely physical. But in any case, it was his time to exert his influence on an individual level. And we all waited impatiently for his time for us. And he used that as well. He’d postpone meetings with us, tell a person “it’s not time yet”, sending that person into a wild spin, trying to figure out “what am I doing wrong??”.
This is a classic method of control: we were like hungry mice waiting for “scraps” of his precious attention and when we were rewarded with even a passing look, touch or word, we felt as though we finally had a huge meal after months of starvation. Our time was spent searching for his attention and reveling in our happiness once we received even a minuscule amount of it. We were so involved in that process, there was little room left for anything else: his attention was our means for survival like food for conditioned lab animals.
Luckily, something in me told me to do things to “shock” him, so I did. He did not approve, then was almost frightened of me and we parted ways. He did mess me up a bit, I won’t lie. I had a series of unworthy and unsuccessful relationships after. It took me a while to heal and I wasn’t even CLOSE to lacking self-confidence the way the others did.
So, imagine how damaged they are at this point… My heart goes out to them and yet… we all make our own life choices.