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June 23, 2004



Good stuff, Hugo.

I came across Iron John some time ago, and it really resonated, but I've been kind of hesitant to recommend it, as I thought it might be misunderstood by some. Good to see your recommendation. Now I won't be so hesitant.

Are you familiar with James Hillman? A bit tangential, as he doesn't write a lot about men, but I always connect Bly and Hillman, since Bly's work introduced me to Hillman.

Are you familiar with King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Moore and Gillette? I've found it exceptionally helpful when working with men.

I served in an area in which Promisekeepers was quite big. I got pressured into considering signing up for a pastor's conference. After doing some research, I declined.

I found two main issues (there are more, but these two were enough to say "no thank you"). First, one teacher (I think his last name was Green) encouraged the men to "take charge of their home." Possibly, viewed in its full context, this might not have been a damaging statement. But this is a parachurch outfit. They come in, teach this stuff, and leave. The local pastor has to deal with the result. If some men hear only that soundbyte, then I'll be swamped with marriage counseling sessions, as a result of men going home and inappropriately "taking charge."

The other factor was the pastor's conference, which was supposed to help us deal with the aftermath of their rallies, only allowed male pastors to atend. That meant that 25% of the Episcopal clergy would be stopped at the gate because they were the wrong gender. Never mind that they were going to have to counsel the families turned upside down by these teachings.

I know, it's a men's movement. But to be effective, there needs to be follow up, which will often fall on the shoulders of the local clergy. Refusing to offer the necessary tools for such follow up to women clergy seems to me to be a big hole in their pastoral care net.

Joe G.

I just recently found your blog and have enjoyed reading it. However, this entry was quite good. I've always been a bit baffled by how many "men's movements" there are. I tend to be more pro-feminist, but am sympathetic to the mytho-poetic. I also tend to view gender, as I do sexual orientation, as differing across individuals on the nature/nuture question. For some of us, our gender is truly more essential (nature), but for others of us, it tends to be more influenced by nurture. Thus, as times I tend to agree with pro-feminist thinking. But, then I've met some men who seem to experience their masculitnity as being much more essential than just a social prescribed "gender role". See! Your post got me thinking. Thanks!


Thanks, Joe! Yes, Jake, I have heard of Hillman, but no, I have never read him. I have read the Moore and Gillette book -- a bit superficial, but a nice introduction to archetypes and men's work.


Hey, this was excellent! I'm starting my own divorce service for men, based largely on my own considerable experiences as victim, father's rights activist and now as a valued member of society. lol I think that all movements contain a segment of beserkers, people who slash and burn with unequaled fervor (fever?). The misandrists are such a lot. But they have gone too far and have actually helped those they desire to hurt. Their big mistake was, I think, their indiscriminate sacrifice of the children. Fathers love their children every bit as much as mothers do.


Do you mean, rooman, "helped those they desired to hurt", or "hurt those they desired to help"? Or both??


I like PK. I've attended a few of their meetings, and they are very good. The racial reconciliation in particular is desperately needed here.
As for the "Mens Rights" movement, I also have a certain sympathy with them. I don't know about the US, but here, the Family Court is closed, and the mother is the default custodial parent. The Dad is ignored, marginalised and treated as unimportant, which is definitely not true. As you say, Hugo, boys need Men to help them grow, and they definitely need to see Dad. It is not suprising so many are angry and mysogynistic, given what they have been through-My heart goes out to any Dad and any child in the situation where they can't see each other.


Both works, now that I look at it. A pendulum swings both ways and I see it definitely swinging back towards the importance of dads. The feminazis simply couldn't stop being feminazis and after awhile, people caught on to them. You can only yell "Kill the all the men!" so many times before men and women realize the errors of fanaticism.
Beserkers were necessary during wartime because the enemy was equally beserk. Men were never against women's rights and certainly didn't see it as some kind of war. But when some nutcase fem wants to cut off your nuts just because you have them, well what's a guy supposed to do? Personally, if women want to run the world, let 'em have it. I've always been perfectly happy doing the child rearing.

Trish Wilson

I've written about and investigated the men's rights movement (and the related fathers' rights movement) for nearly a decade. It's very close to what you've described. The fathers' rights movement has proven to be quite harmful, especially since there are a lot of abusive men who are either sympathetic to or part of the fathers' rights movement. One thing you didn't mention is that Warren Farrell was quoted in a 1977 Penthouse article saying favorable things about "positive incest." He's been trying to keep that article under wraps for the past twenty years, and he has not been successful.

One movement you left out is the Fatherhood Movement. That's the conservative movement composed of groups like the National Fatherhood Initiative and the Institute for American Values. It is heavily involved with welfare reform marriage initiatives and "responsible" fatherhood programs. I've had some major disagreements with this movement and its members (like the way it promotes marriage and fatherhood initiatives despite the repeated failure of those programs), but David Blankenhorn, for instance, seems to support the primary caregiver when a divorce is unavoidable. I've noticed that some members of the Fatherhood Movement have been in disagreement with the Fathers' Rights Movement. There has been a bit of competition between the two movements since the mid-'90s.

gary hyde

I facilitated my first men's group as a young 35yr.old. Two years previous to this I had taken a specially arranged seminar/ experience in my Masters program with Robert Bly. Yes something in the soul had been activated. This was 1982. Had 20 yrs. gone by already.? Now 53 I have recently married for the third and last time. The last men's group I facilitated was 8yrs.ago.I'mready again.There is no
substitute for experience, wisdom, grace and a personal relationship with God.


I see you are positive about The Mankind Project (also New warriors).
My experience of The Mankind Project has been very bad. I find them to be an abusive, anger based cult. My experience of them has been the worst of my life.
I find the abusive Mankind Project very different from the normal supportive mens group.


Chris: This is the first time that I have ever heard such statements about MKP. I, and many men that I know, have felt empowered and validated by this work, beyond anything they imagined prior. For me, it definitely saved my marriage. My wife acknowledges this as well. Indeed, she has recruited as many men to this work as I have myself, by promoting it to the women she knows, who in turn send their husbands and boyfriends.

May I ask in what way you were abused? I sincerely wish to know this, because, as a member of MKP who is actively enrolling men into the work, I have a responsibility both inside the organization and to the men coming in. If men are being abused, then I am responsible to either address and end the abuse, or else, if this is not possible, to separate myself from the organization and stop bringing men inside.

One more thing - I honor you for being true to your personal experience and doing what you needed to do in leaving the organization if it was not serving you. And I also respect your right/duty to speak your truth about your experience there. And I pray that everyone involved can grow and be stronger as a result of this.



I'm impressed.


Hi Stanton,

Thanks for your interest. I was in a mens support group that changed into a new Warriors recruiting group, as most of the members went on the training weekend. Over several months I had lots of small reservations about the worship of anger and adherence to New Warriors dogma. I could go into a lot of small issues I had, but the key thing was that the group was UNSAFE and DAMAGING.
One night in the group I shared a deeply personal story from my childhood, that I had never told anyone else. I expected to work on this personal issue gently, as I was in a very vulnerable state. Instead I was shouted at and verbally abused in a number of ways. I was told that I was "verbally jerking off".
There was no support from the group and I was left to confront my attacker alone. As a result of this I have suffered a trauma that I am still trying to recover from, 6 months later.


i am truly concerned about my boyfriend going to the MKP this weekend. i have heard mixed reviews about it...it bothers me that they do not reveal exactly what they do for ninitiating, using "the element of suprise" as to the reason...
AA meetings are free, open to the public for others to observe...and apparently helpful. I am very worried for him

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george tyler

As someone who went to a Mankind Project weekend - and then continued with approximately 25 weeks of "I-Group" meetings - before I stopped going (for a variety of reasons)... I'd
like to make the following comments.

Specifically I'd like to reply to the person above who said "Please
tell me what's broken - because I'm obligated to fix it - or leave"
(my paraphrase - not his exact words).

1.) I believe your request is genuine - but I think you are biting
off on a problem that is bigger than one person. Nevertheless,
I wish you good luck. I would have been happy to provide this
feedback to the group - but the whole thing is so confusing,
its not clear who needed to hear my story.

2.) One thing that was said on my weekend is that the mankind
project discourages its members from entering into any sort of
business or personal relationship with another member for at least
6 months (possibly even one year - I forget exactly) AFTER the
weekend. Good rule - but not enough.

3.) My suggestion is that they enforce the same sort of rule on
the FRONT end. Specifically, they need to REJECT applications from men who are sponsored by people where there is an existing business relationship and/or a relatively brief personal
relationship. In other words, its not a good idea to run around
work recruiting people. Similarly, inviting someone that sat next
to you at a football game is verbotten as well (one guy actually
bragged that he had done this)

4.) In my case, the suggestion that I should attend the weekend
was made by a lawyer who was contractually obligated to pursue
a medical malpractice lawsuit when he suggested I go. During the
course of the lawsuit, the lawyer spent most of his time dealing
with my wife and I believe his recommendation that I should attend
was colored mostly by comments that she had made. What he
didnt realize is my wife probably belongs in four different
"12 step" programs and her comments about ME spoke volumes
about HER. If anyone needed that weekend, it was HER !

5.) I went to this thing because I thought the lawyer was
convinced it would help our lawsuit. I didn't even feel like
I had the ability to decline the invitation. It was somewhat
like being bullied into it by your boss.

6.) Eventually, I concluded he sent me to this thing because he felt bad that our lawsuit did not succeed. The reality is the lawyer had met me twice and had spoken to me for perhaps a total of
15-20 minutes and was COMPLETELY UNQUALIFIED to tell others
about my personality.

7.) I don't know exactly what happened - but apparently every
new person there has a corresponding "sponser" that preps the
group concerning the background of the person who he sponsored.
In my case, it was a joke, because my "sponser" projected
all of his anxiety and fear about how HE would have felt if
he had been in my situation (with a sick wife who almost
died due to a surgeon's incompetence). He assumed I
was an angry man, simply because HE would have been angry
if our roles had been reversed.

8.) I think trying to understand a person's background
is a good idea - but I think the mankind project should
NOT have trusted this guy's word. He was a horrible
"sponser" (my word - not theirs).

9.) If the paperwork had asked a simple question
"Do you know anyone in the mankind project? If so, how long
have you known this person?" I should have had my application rejected becaue I would have answered it as follows:
"Yes. I know one person. He is my lawyer and
I do not know him on a personal level".
The reality is I dont think the mankind project rejects ANY applications.

10.) My lawyer had NO CLUE who I am or what I'm
like. My guess is he described me to the group as a
powder keg ready to explode - because he hated the
situation I was in (my wife was very sick for over two years
and our medical bills were in the millions).

11.) I was treated by the elders in this group as a guy who
had an anger problem and a potential menance to society.
The reality is I was probably more angry at my lawyer
than the doctor whose scalpel accidently ran amuck on my wife's
innards. The reason being that the doctor DID keep my wife
alive but our lawyer eventually decided that our lawsuit
should die (probably because he sensed that it would cost
his firm more money than they originally anticipated).
And if he had spent more time at work and less time
running around the woods training new warriors, perhaps
things might have turned out differently.

12.) In the end, the fact that everyone appeared to be
"warned" that I was an angry guy that might "lash out"
eventually caused a situation where I almost DID get
seriously hurt. In retrospect, the whole situation
was completely out of control.

13.) Without proper safeguards in place (such as an honest evaluation BEFORE accepting an application), some poor
unsuspecting soul WILL eventually get hurt (or worse).
And I'm not talking about psychological trauma.


The problem with the "Men's Movement" - as should be obvious by now - is that it has been inspired, motivated, and even led by the perverted and dysfunctional "Feminist Movement." With 'values' like: get in touch with your inner self, don't shut down, and be respectful of feminist values - has put men right back where we started - in Wimpville; where real men cry, eat quiche, are in touch with their inner child, and have an over abundance/tolerance for male bashing and female domination. To counteract the guilt and the remorse this causes, men turn to perverted groups that espouse a "New Warrior" ethic. They gather and sit around yelling at the moon, while all the male TV anchors are killed off by a brazen Madison Avenue. They allow overly aggressive businessmen to teach them that brotherhood can ONLY exist inside a For-Profit Organization, and not where they are. The go-nowhere American Men's Movement is pathetic, in part, because it is using the wrong templates for its play book, and using the wrong literature and authors for its leadership. It's time for men to grow up, to stop listening to their 'child' and other fools, and just get real; be men. Move out of Wimpville and take back the throne, be Kings, or serve them. Start by reading the Classics and the exploits of the great leaders through history, a history - by the way - dominated by MEN.


Hi there Hugo,

Just ran into your blog today. Your summary of the men's movement is a good one. I'm a recovering Evangelical and recovering pastor (i.e., I now sell insurance and attend Bedside Baptist. I enjoy the ministry of my Great Comfortor.). I'm also a mankind project initiate and very much function in the mytho-poetic stream described above--Jung and all. Of late I have gotten involved with a group called Marked Men For Christ out of Colorado. It was founded a few years ago by a Catholic priest and a Catholic layman who wanted to do some things that MKP does, but with a more Christ-centered focus. To date around 1100 men have gone through their weekend and the numbers are quickly moving up and to the right. I'm just wondering if you are familar with the group and what your take is on them. I have found them to have taken some of the best parts of the MKP new warrior training (though in somewhat muted forms) and added some new things that I've never seen in a men's experience before. Just wondering if you are familiar with them and what your take is from an academic perspective.


The men's movement is morphing into more shapes than anybody can meaningfully catalogue. The information presented here, in this blog post, is outdated.

The only usefully templated 'analysis' presently underway, comes from the MRA philosophers in their various think-tanks.


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To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness.


Check out David Deida. There are also the PUA goons. Why don't the Freemasons get a mention?

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Craig L. Gross

I am not sure how you can call this a "cult". Every man I have been associated with in Marked Men for Christ have been genuine, caring, prayer-full, generous, unashamed of the Gospel, and into not only the Word of God, but also into evangelizing without reservation.
I attended Marked Men For Christ and was apprehensive about attending. However, ever since attending, which was 3 months ago, I have had a personal revival in my prayer life and study of the Word.
What can be wrong with facing up to the 5 major issues that confront men today? These are men who shun porn, drinking, worldly living and so on.
I was saved 37 years ago and have studied at three Bible Colleges, taught in a Bible School, been on various mission trips and sing in our worship team and choir - and in my 37 years I have not met as many men in one place who had this passion for the Lord Jesus Christ. Please tell me who is angry? Who is deceived here? I have benefited greatly from this ministry and now....it is on to Phase 2! God Bless you richly. Craig Gross, Oldsmar, Florida


The Mankind Project has denied it is a cult. But it often exhibits cult-like tendencies and can be catagorized as a Large Group Awareness Training (like EST or the Forum) and infact employs many of the same techniques.  

1. They lack adequate participant-selection criteria.

(as demonstrated in the Scinto case they often seek out 12 steppers or traumatized individuals who may respond in negative ways to the training.)  

2. They lack reliable norms, supervision, and adequate training for leaders.

(a man can go through the weekend and then take a 4 week Guts training process which is a highly tramatizing psycho-drama process. Many men then having paid for the training feel that it is their right to experiment on other men dragging them through this process with little or no understanding of psychology.) 

3. They lack clearly defined 

(Because the groups are unsupervised by a professional psychologist the boundaries are pretty blurry in these groups and as said many men to self aggrandize seek to "lead" the process.) 

4. They sometimes foster pseudoauthenticity and pseudoreality.

(for sure. The psychologist Louis Von Franz once stated that true integration work can not be done in groups because people will admit their shadow falsely. They will conjure a persona for power or to be viewed as enlightened. They also have a "core" set of beliefs that become the dogma of the group. Questioning the dogma is met with shaming.)

5. They sometimes foster inappropriate patterns of relationships.

(The boundaries are blurred - this suits many men because the can then manipulate and exploit others. And in a very unconcious way - and then they will blame the victim for "not taking care of themselves")

6. They sometimes ignore the necessity and utility of ego defenses.

"Your in your head" is often the shaming remark - or a man may have another ego defense - all ego defenses must be destroyed according to MKP to find the "sacred masculine". But when certain ego defenses are destroyed I have seen men so traumatized that they are no longer able to function at all") 

7. They sometimes teach the covert value of total exposure instead of valuing personal differences.

(individual differences are not respected. There is certainly an extroverted prejudise in this work - but also the misappropriation of Carl Jung's ideas are an insult as Jung valued differences and the individuation process.)

8. They sometimes foster impulsive personality styles and behavioral strategies.

(yes, I have seen men shout and scream in inappriate public non-MKP events and value it as "expression". Perhaps it is but at everyone elses expense.)

9. They sometimes devalue critical thinking in favor of "experiencing" without self-analysis or reflection.

(the statement "your in your head" i mentioned earlier is often used to shame men from critical thinking and self analysis - they want a "passionate" cure. But this often results in group conformity)

10. They sometimes ignore stated goals, misrepresent their actual techniques, and obfuscate their real agenda.

(yes, often toxic leaders emerge - I would say in half the groups- whose real goals are power and prestige and not helping others. They will say they are going to do one thing to make you feel safe and then preceed to some extreemly traumatizing fascilitation.) 

11. They sometimes focus too much on structural self-awareness techniques and misplace the goal of democratic education; as a result participants may learn more about themselves and less about group process.

(I don't know what this means) 

12. They pay inadequate attention to decisions regarding time limitations. This may lead to increased pressure on some participants to unconsciously "fabricate" a cure.

(yes and mrn fabricate a cure all the time in MKP. This is one of the worst tendencies because men are expected to follow a cookie cutter form of pop-psychology and are expected to be happy about it)

13. They fail to adequately consider the "psychonoxious" or deleterious effects of group participation (or] adverse countertransference reactions.

Yes. Often men will transfer onto a leader or "the group" or "the work" or MKP as a whole. This transference comes from the need many have to be reparented. But then other men will provide a counter-transference shaming abusing exploiting and commanding. Even mild forms of this can be harmful and destabalizing to a man who is already struggling with trauma issues)

And such groups were determined to be dangerous when: 

1. Leaders had rigid, unbending beliefs about what participants should experience and believe, how they should behave in the group. and when they should change.

Yes - warrior speak  

2. Leaders had no sense of differential diagnosis and assessment skills, valued  cathartic emotional breakthroughs as the ultimate therapeutic experience, and sadistically pressed to create or force a breakthrough in every participant.

Yes - both on the weekend - which was not so bad - but when in the igroups it was very dangerous. 

3. Leaders had an evangelical system of belief that was the one single pathway to salvation.

They were evangelical - and this occured often enough - other groups were not so rigid.) 

4. Leaders were true believers and sealed their doctrine off from discomforting data or disquieting results and tended to discount a poor result by, "blaming the victim."

For sure men have killed themselves (before the Scinto incident) but also men have (as I and others I know) have become so traumatized by the work that we could no longer function in life and sought out extensive psychotherapy afterwords. The true danger in MKP is the attitude of "hurry up and heal" meaning if you show any evidence of trauma crying, fear etc. It means you need more work and they will provide it. When I was there some groups were voluntary but others shamed, hazed, and abused traumatized men to "cure" them. This was the most sadistic aspects of MKP. Because the mrn who really needed true love and support were given abuse and they were told it was "love" - really sick.

In my opinion MKP exhibits all four of these danger signs.

Now MKP is not ALL bad in fact some igroups were healthier than others and through their own trial and errors discovered they did not like the abusive things they saw going on and changed.

But this WAS in half the groups I witnessed and a participated in many groups in a 4 year period.

But it would help if MKP would come out and OWN their shadow and admit that ALL of the above did occur. The fact that MKP has not publicly recognized that these abuses and tendencies have occured at one time or another means I WILL NEVER advise ANYONE to attend their trainings.

That said I really wish there was a men's group out their that valued spirituality, depth, soul, diversity, without falling into all the abusive pitfalls. I do not even "fault" these men because most fell into a group mindset and were not so in touch with themselves and were more in touch with "who they were suppose to be"

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