I have to be careful because I love weekends like this (est, Forum, etc), and the personal exploration - but I hate being ripped off by anything "gimmicky"."
I would be very careful with Landmark/EST - I mean, it definitely has an effect on people's psyche, so there is a moment of self-experience it delivers, but their courses have a very noticeable problem with the differentiation between what is "helpful coaching" and what is "actual real-life manipulation to make you behave in a way that benefits Landmark economically".
This distinction gets more and more erased the more the course moves on.
When you go along, you enter a state of mind in which you basically do anything Landmark/the "Forum Leader" says without thinking twice about it.
What's promised to you is that you "can get everything you want out of life through your participation in the Landmark Forum", and all your "second thoughts" are is just something that's holding you back.
It's a pretty intricate setup in which you overcome your boundaries by overcoming your resistance against being a Landmark advertizement robot person
All your critical thoughts toward what Landmark is doing are continuously reflected back to you as what your problem is
It's "introversion" instead of "debate", all the way.
Everything that can be interpreted as a psychological benefits is super-glued into giving up criticism to Landmark's way of getting your friends, family and work colleagues into the guest even to reg them.
So if you don't watch out you will end up letting Landmark turn your friends&family into a group of people who constantly try to "share the possibility they got out of Landmark with you". Hard to render what that means exactly using normal English.
I have not done anything in Scientology, but I think that in terms of "giving a commercial organization the permission to manipulate your personality" and "creating the impression you are doing one thing while you are in fact doing another thing"
the two are probably very comparable.
Landmark Education also has volunteer programs, (e.g. the so-called "Assist Program") in which you are tricked into working for free while they promise you "breakthroughs", in fact, most of its operations are based on volunteer work this way.
I think there must be some similarity between this and the EPF and other work programs that Scientology has.
Like Scientology, Landmark Education is also an onion - nobody really knows what goes on in its core, for example, how much Werner Erhard REALLY still involved.
My own testimonial of it is that it manipulates people and is potentially dangerous to people's mental health as it
instigates a very specific kind of conformity.
As an organization it does seem a lot less extreme than Scientology, albeit having similar tendencies.