Until Jon Peniel can prove the claims in his book, I consider him a fraud and charlatan. If he would simply PROVE his accomplishments via an
autobiography with credible sources, all criticisms would become moot. In fact, if he did come forward with definitive proof of his life story, it
would be one of, if not THE, greatest story of any one man's life. But since he is unwilling to come forward with proof of his training in Tibet,
working extensively with The Moody Blues, Neil Young, The Beatles, John Lennon (including the song "Imagine"), invited to be a Grammy Award judge,
his academic research at UCLA and other institutions, etc., all he really has to show for his life is an ability to conglomerate new age/spiritual
material and make it clear and easy to read -- possibly catering to the uneducated new age market.
For those of us who have been through college and beyond we have learned the tenets the LTA presents, and more, in our philosophy, humanities, other
related classes, and through life itself. We've also learned about true science and how experimental proof is king. Peniel expects us to instead
"feel the truth" without providing and real, provable, physical evidence of *anything* he professes. Of course, if you have doubts or concerns and
approach him with them you're chastised and considered "lower consciousness" because you can't "feel the truth". This type of teaching is an
earmark of a cult leader and described extensively in Singer's book (more on that below).
I think Jon Peniel truly DOES want to live the utopian lifestyle described in the book and lives by the teachings he presents. However, this lifestyle
treads on delicate ground because the CLO does accept "students" under Jon's authoritarian direction. In fact, many techniques used by the CLO
easily pass many of the criteria of being a cult. Marget Singer's (UC-Berkeley Emeritus Professor) book, "Cults in our Midst". It's is a GREAT
book and you will find many parallels between the CLO and destructive cult behavior within it. One of many examples is the Star Exercise (talked about
above by some people in this thread and is highly touted by the CLO). The Star Exercise is just a form of hyperventilation which many cults commonly
employ in different ways. There's absolutely nothing spiritual or profound about it, it's just simple hyperventilation which can cause tingling,
fainting, euphoric feelings and other symptoms.
Additionally, I believe part of the "real story" of Jon Peniel is that he was born in LA and at some point came in contact with the Source Family,
which was a popular cult in the 60's in the LA area. He was known as "Zoroaster" within their group, and played guitar in their band. Check out
for more information on the Source Family. Also check out their newly released (2007) book and DVD documenting their history --
very interesting. Interestingly, the back of their book says that they are confident that one of their former members who left the group in 1971 --
Zoroaster -- a great guitarist, wrote the Lost Teachings of Atlantis book using Source Family history (i.e., no hidden Tibet Monastery, etc). It seems
Peniel used the utopian Tibetan setting as an allegory for his time spent in the Source Family. Jim Baker, the "Father" of the Source Family is most
certainly the "Zain" Peniel describes in LTA.
As of right now nobody knows who "Jon Peniel" is. We don't know his real name, we don't know where he is located (the CLO changes location every
couple of months) we don't know if his book is truly non-fiction because of the lack of proof, and Peniel has resisted to divulge any corroborating
information under the guise of "the teachings are what matter". That is a big red flag to me. You can't have it both ways.
[edit on 25-10-2007 by jbond007]