Author Topic: James Arthur Ray - Angel Valley Resort DeathSweat in Sedona: 3 dead, 20 injured  (Read 190501 times)

Offline educatedindian

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Ray apologized to the families and agreed to small restitution for cost of the trial, but not for wrongdoing. No doubt hoping for lighter sentencing.

Guru apologizes to families of sweat lodge victims
By FELICIA FONSECA | AP – 12 hrs ago PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — A self-help author convicted in the deaths of three people following an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony expressed remorse Thursday, making his first extensive comments in open court before a prosecutor argued he should be locked up for the next nine years and called him a dangerous man.

Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow will determine James Arthur Ray's fate Friday after listening to six days of testimony in a mitigation hearing. The sentencing comes more than two years after Ray led dozens of people in the ceremony near Sedona with a promise that they would experience breakthroughs in their lives.

He was found guilty of three counts of negligent homicide in June following a fourth-month jury trial.

While defense witnesses said Ray is a compassionate man who should get probation and be given a chance to help others through his teachings, prosecutor Sheila Polk argued that his events progressively became more dangerous and that he ignored the sweat lodge participants who were in distress.

She said Ray lacked internal boundaries as she argued for the maximum sentence in the case.

"The idea that this court should balance the value of Mr. Ray's teachings and this opportunity for him to reach people in the future against three deaths is distasteful," she said. "What Mr. Ray did with his power, with the trust placed in him is irreversible to some. Mr. Ray took that authority, that blinding trust that people seemed to have in him and abused it."

Defense attorney Tom Kelly said Ray never forced anything upon the participants who paid around $10,000 apiece for his Spiritual Warrior seminar that culminated with the sweat lodge ceremony, nor did he cause harm to others in prior events.

"To take that self-help industry, spin it into an argument that if you were to grant Mr. Ray probation, that he would go out and speak to people, causing them to harm themselves is nothing more than absurd," Kelly said.

His lack of prior criminal history, good moral character, and the need to care for ailing parents should weigh in favor of probation, Kelly said. If Darrow sentences Ray to prison, Kelly asked that Ray not be required to serve the time until the appeals process plays out. He estimated that could take more than a year.

Ray himself apologized to the families of James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee; Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y; and Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minn. Ray choked up as he waived his right to a restitution hearing and agreed to pay more than $57,000 to the families to reimburse them for costs associated with the trial.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he said. "I don't believe any amount of money can compensate the families for their loss."

He asked for forgiveness in a letter submitted to Darrow shortly after, saying he regrets "all my efforts to help people's lives has caused them so much pain."

Darrow is considering whether civil settlements Ray reached with the families would offset that amount.

Polk questioned Ray's remorse, saying his actions didn't match up with his words. What kind of man disregards human life, ignores cries for help, fails to check on those in distress, and leaves a scene of death and sickness to shower and eat, she asked.

"That is the man before you, the man you will sentence tomorrow," Polk told Darrow.

But Ray's mother, Joyce, said her son was devastated and wanted to help but followed legal advice not to immediately contact the victims' families or send them letters as she suggested. She said she the response ran contrary to his character.

"For them to have lost their lives is sad, so sad, and we're so sorry," she said to the families in the courtroom before returning to her seat near Brown's parents.

Offline AnnOminous

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Self-help guru gets 6 years in sweat lodge deaths
PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) – A self-help author convicted of negligent homicide has been sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $57,000.
Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow handed down the sentence Friday in a central Arizona courtroom.
Ray's motivational mantra drew dozens of people to Sedona in October 2009 where they participated in a sweat lodge ceremony meant to purify their bodies.
The participants began showing signs of distress about halfway through the two-hour ceremony, and three died.
Ray insisted the deaths were a tragic accident. But a jury found him guilty on three counts of negligent homicide, rejecting the more serious charges of manslaughter.
Ray's potential sentence had ranged from probation to nine years in prison.

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Two years. Darrow showed far too much mercy to the narcissistic sociopath and declared the sentences can run concurrently.

Offline SouthwestSkeptic

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A lot of ndnz don't know what to think about this.

I won the JamesRay bet - predicted 2 yrs on the lesser sentence last March. I was never so sad to win a bet before in my life.

The Don't Pay to Pray blog does an excellent summary of this weeks events:

I'm re-posting with permission (Copy-Lefted)

James Arthur Ray: Go to Jail! Go Directly to Jail!

Today is a historic day because James Arthur Ray is the first plastic shame-on to be held accountable for taking human lives in fake ceremonies. Finally, after more than two years, Ray has been sentenced for his negligence that caused the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman.

There’s a lot of mixed emotion in Indian country today. There’s happiness that someone was finally held accountable for perverting our ceremonies, but frustration that the prison term for killing three human beings was so short. Ray was sentenced today to only 2 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $57,514.12. He was given only 2 years for the death of each human being, but is being allowed to serve his sentence concurrently. With time off for ‘good behavior', he may be out of prison in less time than it took to try him.

Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow told the court that he wanted his decision to be based on law, not emotion. Yet, earlier he referred to James Ray as "vile" on an audiotape where he’s barking orders at people gullible enough to believe he had some masterly of what indigenous spiritual practices. The judge made it clear that he intended the sentence to be a deterrent to other frauds seeking to use bogus ceremonies and thought control methods to hustle money from cultural outsiders. Previously, Darrow threw out the defense motion to strike the aggravators that the jury found and stated, "I find that the aggravating circumstance of emotional harm is so strong and such that probation is simply unwarranted in this case.”

While the judge was convinced that it was necessary to punish James Ray for his recklessness, Darrow's concern about the deceased willingness to believe everything Ray claimed also factored into the sentence. Prior to handing down the sentence, the judge wondered out loud why doctors, lawyers, and other educated professional people attending the event did not exhibit any common sense. This seems to indicate that concern over the lack of critical thinking skills on the part of James Ray’s victims may have mitigated his sentence. Judge Darrow admonished Ray saying, "Mr. Ray, when a person has your capabilities to gain people’s trust, there is a large, large responsibility that goes with that trust … They placed their trust and it was violated.” The judge concluded, “a prison sentence is mandated in this case." Yavapai County prosecutor Sheila Polk strongly urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 9 years, 9 months "The defendant led the life of a pretender, and there are predictable consequences when one leads a life of pretense," she argued.

Most of the friends and family members of those who passed in the plastic sweat lodge agreed that it wasn’t about revenge for them; it was all about being accountable. Kirby Brown’s mother’s testimony was both moving and memorable. She testified previously that has come to realize that Kirby should have been more skeptical and has become active in educating the public about the dangers of blind acceptance of those who claim to know something about spirituality. Today, she told the judge, “my heart's been ripped out, my life blown apart.” She strongly criticized the New Age teachings that were promoted by James Ray and the Angel Valley camp and referred to the “horrible fact of Sedona.” Kirby’s mother made a strong statement against those who tried to rationalize her daughter’s needless death as a choice to "transition" and labeled the thinking behind it as “horrifying” and “disturbed.”

Although he wasn’t very convincing, James Ray addressed those in the courtroom and finally expressed remorse for his charlatanism. But instead of forthrightly accepting responsibility for concocting a scam, Ray blamed the deaths on the “arrogance that comes from my industry.” He justified his egotism and arrogance by blaming his behavior on his profession and suggesting that the self-help industry, not his own character flaws, bred ignorance and made him believe his own press.

Since Ray chose not to fight the claims for restitution, the judge ordered him to pay $57,514.12 of the nearly $130,000 the state requested. Most of this will go towards compensating the friends and relatives of those who passed in the bogus sweat lodge for the costs they incurred in coming to the lengthy trial.

While this landmark prison sentence for a plastic is encouraging, people shouldn’t be too confident that this will stop the thousands and thousands of other frauds out there trying to exploit Native American spiritual practices for money. Sadly, this sentence will probably do nothing more than make the existing frauds more cautious and more likely to adopt a “kinder, gentler” approach to the perversion of our sacred rites. There are still thousands of people out there who fraudulently present themselves as “shamans” and "medicine people" and “ascended masters”. The sad reality is that there are more individuals out there determined to sell their own perversions of Native American spiritual practices, to market their twisted and contorted from their own ignorance and arrogance, than any tribe has time or energy to deal with. Someone has already died this year in a bogus vision quest near Sedona, and I doubt that this sentence will do anything to stop the next person from dying in a “kinder, gentler” plastic ceremony run by a more clever huckster with a softer approach to cultural genocide.

Getting James Arthur Ray out of society for two years or less is a good start, but it's only a band-aid solution to the enormous problem of cultural appropriation of indigenous ways of being. Until the root of the problem is addressed, people will continue to be harmed emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually in the many bogus ceremonies offered by frauds who value material wealth over their fellow human beings. The root cause of plastic ceremony deaths are, ignorance, arrogance, deeply instilled racism, white privilege and colonialism. It would be a good thing if James Arthur Ray’s prison sentence served, as Judge Darrow wished, as a deterrent to the plastic medicine people, but experience has taught most Native people that frauds never stop their deceit. Even after being exposed, frauds merely transform themselves into less objectionable versions of themselves. Scam artists become addicted to the easy money and the glory and will do anything to continue their insatiable pursuit of profit and undeserved status. They re-market themselves, fix any flaws in their false persona that gives them away and continue to take people’s money in exchange for spiritual fool’s gold. But these frauds couldn’t make a penny without followers who are all too willing to believe their pretty lies. Until cultural outsiders are willing to take a hard and courageous look at themselves, to look at their privilege and entitlement and their indoctrination from centuries of colonialism, these frauds will continue to seek them out and offer them empty rituals that have no connection to anything spiritual. Those who refuse to look at this reality will continue to risk their welfare and even their lives when they seek arrogantly and out of willful ignorance. I hope the James Ray verdict will be a wake-up call to all those who misappropriate Native spirituality, but I know that all those frauds and exploiters out there will just use this as an opportunity to paint themselves as the opposite of James Ray. Only those with the courage to really look at what is lacking inside them that compels them to seek out Native spirituality as a solution to their affluenza and discontentment with their materialistic society will be safe from the next wave of James Ray wannabes that is surely to come along, dressed in the sheep's clothing of the "kinder, gentler" plastic shaman.


CNN: Sweat lodge leader sentenced to two years in prison

Reuters: Guru gets two years jail for Arizona sweat lodge deaths

The Guardian: Jail for self-help guru James Arthur Ray over sweat lodge deaths

People: James Arthur Ray Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Sweat Lodge Deaths,,20546783,00.html

Associated Press: James Arthur Ray, self-help guru, gets prison time in sweat lodge deaths

CBS: Guru sentenced to 2 years for sweat lodge deaths

UPI: Sweat-lodge operator gets 2 years

Phoenix New Times: James Ray Sentenced to Just Two Years in Prison for Sweat Lodge Deaths

An in-depth article from Self magazine ‘When Self-Help Harms

Dorothy Schley: Colorado Springs Spirituality Examiner
James Arthur Ray sentenced today

Older Posts

Sweat lodge victim's mother laments Ray's charisma

The most racist thing I’ve seen today … I James Ray listened to indigenous people, three need not have died


Video of Judge Darrow giving the sentence
Self-help Guru Gets 2 Yrs. in Sweat Lodge Deaths

ABC 15 Video: Self-help Guru gets 2 years in sweat lodge case (this one shows a bit of the perp walk)

Families Tearfully Tell of Sweat Lodge Deaths

Video of James Ray crying and expressing remorse
Sweat lodge organizer to be sentenced Friday

James Ray, White Shamanism and Death


Native America Calling: Monday, November 14, 2011– What is Sacred?
The term “sacred” is thrown around quite a bit in Indian Country. Sacred lands, sacred ceremonies, sacred objects – sacred this and sacred that. The English definition describes sacred as something holy, blessed or revered. But what is the Native grassroots understanding of this term? Can something that is shared with the public be considered sacred, like our tribal dances or our traditional songs? Once they are revealed, do they lose their power or their sacredness? Is it necessary for the sacred to be shrouded in secrecy? Guests include traditional practitioners Boye Ladd (Ho Chunk) and Gladys Jefferson (Crow).
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Debunking non-NDN bunk, one nut at a time!

Offline Pono Aloha

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$57,000 when he got $30,000 from the three souls who died???? I guess the families can sue now for wrongful death. I hope they get millions.

Offline debbieredbear

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His response is so typically narcissistic. Most of the nuage gurus are very narcissistic, as well as greedy. Wish they would have hit his bank account harder. That's what would have REALLY hurt him. And I had to agree that his business is an industry. Most elf help gurus and nuagers would argue, but it is true. It's how they make monry. Has nothing to do with being spiritual. My prediction: when he gets out, he will do speaking engagements on how prison improved him.

Offline Pono Aloha

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Yes, Debbieredbear! Maybe he will get religion and become a fundamentalist Christian, too. There's a lot of money to be made in that market. (Also, I had to laugh at your typo - "elf help" - that's true, too!)

Offline SouthwestSkeptic

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Natives are speaking out all over turtle island!

Twinkie Wrangler’s Takes

James Arthur Ray: This is NOT What a Spiritual Warrior Looks Like

Picture: James Ray sobbing in court

In the past week, James Arthur Ray has demonstrated to the whole world that he has no right to define what a spiritual warrior is, or to call himself a spiritual warrior. In his desperate attempt to avoid accountability for his reckless actions, he as demonstrated behavior and values that are antithetical to the principles and values of a true spiritual warrior. He spent the last week behaving in a very un-warrior like manner– crying, appealing to emotion, blaming his profession for his megalomania and trying to emotionally manipulate the judge and the survivors of his negligence into allowing him to shirk responsibility for his actions.

Traditional values of a Lakota warrior are: respect, generosity, courage, fortitude, compassion, prayer and wisdom. James Ray exhibited none of these values. He used words like “harmonic” without any understanding of how to struggle towards harmony in a community through generosity and shared power. He preached about living “impeccably” while living only for himself. His prayers were nothing more than theater to trick people into believing he had some spiritual knowledge. He didn’t respect his followers enough or the Lakota people to humbly go to legitimate spiritual elders and ask permission to conduct sacred rites. He claimed to possess the wisdom of all the ancient spiritual giants, but all he could do was regurgitate the vapid works of charlatans like L. Ron Hubbard and Carlos Castaneda.

In indigenous communities, warriors are given a place of honor for their generosity, their leadership, and their bravery.  James Ray holds no honors in any indigenous community. A warrior is honored in indigenous societies for his selfless choice to dedicate himself to the welfare of all his people: his extended family, his clan, and his nation.  A warrior will endure anything if he believes it will create a better future for the generations to come. In contrast, James Ray dedicated himself to a life of ambition and self-aggrandizement. He knew how to manipulate people’s emotions by speaking frequently of helping others, but he lived a life dedicated to justifying the accumulation of much, much more than he needed. This type of selfishness and lack of generosity is the one characteristic that has universal disapproval in indigenous communities.
Ray tried to market identification with indigenous warrior societies while teaching his followers to be the exact opposite of spiritual warriors. Instead of standing up for the principles and values they were raised with, and unflinchingly defending the welfare of all their people, Ray taught his followers to be acquisitive, competitive, and to think only of themselves. He perverted the sweat lodge ceremony into an individual endurance competition and stripped it of any sense of community, compassion or duty to sacrifice for others. He twisted warrior values of bravery, generosity and sacrifice into a Western willingness to conform and to submit to an authority figure in order to gain a personal advantage. Because he knew that he needed to defeat their spirits in order to exploit them completely, Ray conditioned his followers to be the opposite of warriors. He knew that in order to maximize profits, had to diminish any strength his followers could find in unity with or compassion for each other.

Ray’s anti-intellectualism shows contempt towards what is the true essence of a warrior. A warrior is intelligent. He is always clear minded and takes direct action from his wisdom and understanding of the world to protect, women, children, elders and his land. Ray’s teachings taught people to distrust, not only their principles but their intellect as well. This is the opposite of the indigenous concept of a warrior. A warrior always strives to balance wisdom and understanding with compassion for those weaker than himself.  Ray exploited the popular conception of the warrior spirit for profit without any intention of helping others.  A warrior, raised with original instructions, traditional values and principles will naturally seek out environmental and social justice for others and for himself.  Ray sought out wealth and personal glory. These are things that have no value to a true spiritual warrior. Spiritual warriors do not equate material success with spiritual attainment, but Ray made this odious concept central to his teachings.

The warrior spirit isn’t something that you obtain by slapping down a credit card and blindly following the orders of the person who plays the role of an authority the most convincingly. Blind trust is not at all valued in indigenous communities. Every individual is valued for his unique thoughts and way of looking at the world and spiritual leaders do not discourage questioning. Indigenous warriors are judged by their willingness to act on behalf of their people, not on their eloquence or how adamantly they can state their “good intentions”. Intentions carry little weight with indigenous people, because actions mean everything.  Ray offered his followers an easy way to shop-lift the honor earned by a warrior by offering a short cut through “positive thinking” that involved no action, no sacrifice, no discomfort and no threat to the customer’s existing world view.
Because they have been taught love and compassion for their community, warriors make sure that power is shared equally among all. James Ray was all about power. He was addicted to it. He couldn’t get enough of it and he wasn’t at all concerned with sharing it others.  A warrior is defined by his commitment to something outside of himself. James Ray was all about himself, striving only for his own personal aggrandizement.

A warrior needs to display a balance of wisdom, compassion for those less powerful than he and generosity of spirit. Ray taught that “balance is bogus.” A warrior’s commitment to and passion for his people run deep. James Ray’s emotions were shallow. He didn’t feel strongly for any community, so he invented thrill seeking exercises to try to stimulate his own lack of feeling.   Living in undeserved privilege in Beverly Hills, he had no causes for which to struggle. His feigned concern for the environment was only to bait for potential followers.  A true spiritual warrior has a passion for social and environmental justice. He is compelled to take action to make things better for everyone. James Ray lacked a warrior’s sense of inter-connectedness to either the land or the people living on it.

Many Native scholars have written extensively about the humility of individuals who show true spiritual leadership. Those who we honor as spiritual leaders earn our respect through years of sacrifice to the community they were born into. Everyone in the community recognizes their abilities and their accomplishments. If someone is a medicine person or a spiritual elder, there is never any need to advertise on the internet or to go on national television to promote one’s abilities, because he is already known to his community. There is no need to instruct outsiders in the protocol of ceremonies, because this protocol is already known to everyone in the community.

Instead of using his rhetorical skills to inspire people towards generosity, compassion and bravery for their fellow citizens, Ray provided rationalizations for them to relinquish any responsibility to the people around them.  He re-defined self-interest and self-absorption as spiritual evolution. He redefined blind obedience as a path to spiritual enlightenment. He disrespected the individuality and intellect of his followers to an extreme degree because it was a hindrance to his own quest for power over them.
Indigenous warriors serve as an example to the youth on how to deal with colonialism, institutionalized racism and extreme poverty, addiction and lack of opportunity. To date, James Ray had an easy life selling the privileged class the ideas they so desperately wanted to hear. Ray possesses no wisdom or coherent analysis of the society he lived in. His only interest is in finding the easiest way to accumulate wealth and power. He has no compunctions about creating disunity and imbalance by telling the wealthy that they deserved their privileges due to their superior thoughts. He happily reinforces the destructive ideas and values of the status quo — that those trapped in racist institutions deserved to be there due to their inferior thinking.  A person who loves is community doesn’t do this. A spiritual leader doesn’t do this.

Perhaps the greatest show of cowardice is Ray’s ploy to elicit pity from the judge by claiming that Native American inmates were threatening him in the Yavapai county jail and will be “out to get him” in the Arizona correctional facility that will be his new home for the next 2 years. A warrior is direct and honest in his communication. Ray is incorporating racist stereotypes about the “savagery” of Native Americans in institutions to manipulate Judge Darrow into feeling sorry for him. Ray claims that a “Native American” slipped a threatening note under the door. I find it hard to believe that inmates are just allowed to wander around the Yavapai County facility slipping missives to each other. I also noticed that there wasn’t any documentation offered as to all these threats that were allegedly made by Native American inmates.  It seems to me that if Ray were being targeted by a specific inmate population, there would be some documentation of this. Yet, no documentation was admitted into evidence. Don’t correctional facilities keep track of threats? Ray paints a shocking lack of supervision in the Arizona correctional system that is difficult to believe. Furthermore, if there were any threats made at all, it seems more likely that a New Age white person who identifies as “Indian” would be impulsive and daring enough to make a physical threat to a white inmate.  It’s a further indictment of Ray’s lack of character that he would use a racist stereotype in an attempt to mitigate his sentence. A warrior admits his wrong-doings and accepts responsibility for his actions.  He doesn’t use the weaknesses of humanity to his advantage.

James Ray is no spiritual warrior and he was never qualified to talk about what one is.  No warrior would ever engage in such quackery, nor would he hoard all the profits he made from it without sharing it with his extended family, clan, and nation.  No warrior would ever manipulate a “channelor” into suggesting that someone in his community consented to dying in a spiritual ceremony . No warrior would have someone speak so flippantly about those who have passed just to avoid having to make restitution to the surviving relatives.

Picture: Klee Benally stopping and excavator from destroying a sacred place

While all the media attention was on the James Ray trial this year, the social and environmental issues of indigenous people were ignored. Klee Benally, in my opinion, is an example of what a spiritual warrior would look like.  If we lived in a society dominated by indigenous values, Klee Benally would be honored as a warrior. This summer, Benally made a conscious choice to sacrifice his safety for the good of everyone in his tribal nation and 12 other tribal nations. While James Ray was paying attorneys to argue that his victims consented to his depraved lack of concern for their welfare, Benally chained and handcuffed himself  an excavator in an effort to stop it from destroying mountain held sacred to 13 tribes in Arizona. Benally is not living in a Beverly Hills mansion. He doesn’t seek out publicity. He is not a superficial style warrior, like James Arthur Ray.
When you hear him speaking clearly and directly to the officers on the video, you can see that the courage, love and wisdom of this spiritual warrior come from the principles and values instilled in him by both the men and the women in the community in which he is raised. While Benally decided to act on his values, many friends and relatives  from his community stood by him and supported him as he confronted the Forest Service. A true warrior always thinks of the women and elders who made him the person who he is and he always puts them first. He would never use them to get himself out of trouble as James Ray has done.

Klee Benally has no catch words or pricey retreats to sell to anyone. He’ll probably never be on Oprah and he’ll never have thousands of devoted followers. He defined himself by taking a risk to fight against an ecological danger that understood as a threat to his whole community. He didn’t stop to think of his safety, or how to make money from the situation. He didn’t pompously advise anyone to think “positively” about the excavator. He knelt down in front of it and put his body between it and the Forest Service workers and risked his safety to defend what he held sacred. There is nothing James Ray would risk his life for, because he doesn’t hold anything sacred. Ray has no understanding of the concept of sacred other than as a means to manipulate people into paying him for the illusion of an encounter with it.

When a warrior makes a choice to risk his life for something he believes in. The greatness of that gift is based on the greatness of the love that the warrior has for the life that he’s willing to sacrifice. Benally clearly has a great love for the land he holds sacred. In contrast, James Ray risked other people’s lives to trick them into thinking that the symptoms of heat stroke were really a transformative experience.  He loves only the status that material things can bring and seems to have no feeling at all for the people he claims to help. To James Ray, human beings are only a means to an end.

Benally stood up the Forest Service and the corporations behind the Snow bowl who are violating the human rights and religious freedom rights of his people by desecrating this sacred  mountain. James Ray made himself into a corporation and tried to use that as an excuse for his recklessness. A warrior accepts responsibility for his actions. He doesn’t lie. He doesn’t justify. He doesn’t rationalize. He presents himself as what he is: a humble member of the human race.

There are dozens of indigenous environmental struggles going on all over the world.  James Ray could have taught himself and other people about: Yucca Mountain, Dooda Desert Rock, Black Hills, Kanehsatake,  Keweenaw Bay , the battle to stop the Keystone XL pipeline or to preserve any number of sacred sites. The half a million dollars he collected for his impersonation of a warrior would have gone a long way towards educating the public about indigenous environmental concerns. He could have taught about real indigenous struggles, but instead he wove fantastic stories from the most popular misconceptions about indigenous spirituality.  He cherry-picked  ideas about indigenous people from pop culture that challenged no one and sold them using the easiest techniques, copied from others who also lacked the courage to stand up for what is right. There is no integrity in anything Ray did to achieve his success and all the tears and hysterics this week only serve to expose him as the bully and the coward he really is.
Klee Benally will be tried in January. There will be no media circus surrounding this trial. He won’t have high powered attorneys to speak for him. He will stand up to the court with integrity, admit what he did with a clear conscience and accept responsibility for being a warrior for his people. CNN will not find his trial newsworthy enough to cover. James Ray will continue the appeal process. He will continue to refuse to accept responsibility for his actions and as soon as he is released he will re-make himself into another false persona and continue to exploit people’s emotions in order to chase the fast, easy buck.

If anything is to be learned from this tragedy, I hope Indian and non-Indian people will see that they need to have the courage to confront people making boastful claims to spiritual knowledge. If they want to be honored as spiritual leaders, they need to start their spiritual quest with honor. If James Ray were any kind of a man, let alone a warrior, he would have had the courage to go to a legitimate Lakota tribal community and ask what is involved in being entitled to conduct sacred rites such as the sweat lodge and the vision quest. And when he was certainly told that he was not entitled to lead any ceremonies, he would have been man enough to respect the words of the rightful guardians of the ceremonies. A true warrior respects his elders. He willingly admits his shortcomings, his lack of knowledge and accepts being told that there are things he is not entitled to do with humility.  Those who still think the ends justifies the means and are willing to sacrifice integrity and principles to take a short cuts to spiritual warrior status, should stop and consider James Ray’s fate. Every step on a spiritual path must be taken with the courage and humility. James Ray’s break down and loss of control toward the end of the trial should be a wakeup call to all the “seekers” who still think short cuts are justified.  It has been said that being a warrior is learning how to cry, but not in the self-serving way that James Ray was crying this week.

 A warrior knows how to cry for other people because he has compassion, wisdom and understanding . The crying of a real warrior is never for himself.  A warrior’s humility helps him see  beyond his own needs and empowers  him to act honorably towards the common welfare of his community.  The tragic sweat lodge trial is finally over. It’s time to talk about true spiritual warriors who sacrifice for others.  It’s time to forget about James Arthur Ray.

copy lefted and reposted with permission
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Offline Defend the Sacred

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Natives are speaking out all over turtle island!

Twinkie Wrangler’s Takes

James Arthur Ray: This is NOT What a Spiritual Warrior Looks Like

Excellent piece. Thank you.

Offline SouthwestSkeptic

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Iktome Returns Collective weighs in on James Ray with

AZ v James Arthur Ray in 10 minutes: You're No Good!

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Offline SouthwestSkeptic

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Arizona v. James Arthur Ray in 10 minutes

It’s Shake n Bake and I halped!

(Sorry, the first upload was aborted by Youtube and I forgot to post the alternative link – wine and an early Unthanksgiving day celebration might have had something to do with it.)

Here’s a transcript for our ESL friends & peeps with crappy computers:

James Arthur Ray, was a man with aspirations to be the first New Age billionaire.

He managed to kill 3 people in a bastardization of a sweat lodge he concocted from the teachings of various New Age frauds previously exposed.

He was arrested for manslaughter on
February 3, 2010 and held on a 5 million dollar bond he claimed he couldn't pay.

The trial began almost 2 years later, on March 8, 2011

The State's first witness, Jennifer Haley testified that when she left James Shore there was "purple foam coming out of his mouth."

Testifying about one of the other participants who left, Haley testified:  "a cute little like Argentina girl who was hallucinating earlier saying she didn’t want the Indians to get her."

About another participant, Haley testified: "this was girl that was scared of her own shadow she was very quiet and now she’s screaming she wants to have sex with James."

Linda Andressano testified that she did not know why she stayed in the sweat lodge.

Mellissa Phillips testified that James Ray told people that if they needed to defecate they had to do it “in the circle”

Laurie Gennari testified:
"It was an atmosphere of pressure: getting of very little sleep, controlling when our breaks were and controlling our food. It all put me off balance. I didn’t’ have access to my normal processing.

“Everything we did was about getting an order to do something uncomfortable and carrying through and doing it … we were well trained to do as we were told by the end of that week.”
He used the phrase “keep your goggles on” to encourage us to keep ourselves immersed in his teachings and not go back to our old way of thinking.

Dennis Mehravar testified, “When I had a doubt, he proved to me that I was wrong and he was right, so there’s no reason not to trust him.”

Scot Barratt:  James said High achievers make quick decisions and take fast action so I just stepped out of the back of the group and I trotted out of the group and they had 3 people waiting to cut your hair of and I was the first one to do that.

Melinda Martin testified: “I think he's a pervert and he got off on hearing the abuses others suffered when it came to SEX.”

“I was witnessing chaos and vomiting and disorientation all around me and I was told ‘this is normal. This is what happens.’"

Melinda Martin: “One of the medics asked me if this was a mass suicide and I said no, it was a sweat lodge gone wrong.”

Stephen Ray testified that here was another participant that played full on and threw out his shoulder because he cared about his team so much.

Prosecutor: You urinated in the sweat lodge? How did the other participants react to that?

Lou Caci: They said don’t worry about it brother well get through this.

I really don’t know why I went back in. … If any of you have played any organized sports, it’s more of a selfish thing … when you’re injured you want to go back in and support the team.
I wanted to play full on

Lou Caci: “Kirby Brown’s breathing was like when my dad and my brother passed. Her breathing was hard like people who have cancer. I wish I would have done something.”

Dr. Beverly Bunn testified: “You learn through the course of the week that you don’t question Mr. Ray on anything   …things are not optional.”

A woman told James Ray, “I can’t get her to move! She’s not breathing!” and he said “I can’t deal with that right now.”

James Ray said, “This round is now begun, the door is now closed we’ll deal with that at the end of the round.”

Beverly Bun testified that she did not want to shave her head, but she finally gave to pressure in and let them shave her head.

The Prosecution's first strategy was to claim that the waiver's the victim's signed relieved James Ray of any accountability for negligent homicide.

Luis Li continually asked each witness if they signed a waiver and if they had free will to leave the deathlodge--even those who were unconscious.

The prosecution's 2nd strategy was to introduce

Reasonable doubt

The defense blamed the deaths on everything about the sweat lodge EXCEPT the leader of the’sweat lodge’.

Mr. Li objected to .... well basically everything the State said.

And he was fond of showing the jury a big blue book that one day he intended to read.

Throughout the trail, Ms. Polk made every effort to humanize the victims of James Ray's deathlodge.

Kirby Brown’s spirit.

James Shore's heroism and commitment to being a good husband and father.

Liz Neuman's loyalty & willingness to see the good in people.

Then things really got weird.

The folks from Angel Valley began to testify.

Hamilton claimed he could only answer questions about spiritual things. As to the $125K he accepted from Ray even though people got sick previously--you'd have to ask his wife.

Michael Hamilton testified that he met a real Native American at the dumpster at the In&Out burger who taught him how to talk to ants.

Amyra Hamilton defiantly insisted it was all James Ray's fault.

Ted Mercer didn't really seem to understand what happened.

Critter biscuits?

Deb Mercer testified that James Ray said at the end of the ceremony, "I am the alpha and the omega."

Mark Rock caused a delay in the trial because he insisted on giving new testimony he claimed came from...

recovered memories uncovered through past life regression with the folks at Angel Valley.

Sane rational experts also gave testimony that it was more likely than not that the 3 people died of heat stroke.

Nice, reasonable scientists tried to explain scientific certainty to the defense.

Ms. Polk's closing arguments were inspired.

Early in the trail, Ms. Polk told Mr. Kelly: "This isn't gamesmanship ... it's a search for the truth."

Ms. Polk started her remarks by saying, “Three people are dead who should not be dead. Three people have lost loved ones who should not be gone.”

You heard a witness tell you that if not for James Ray's temper, he might have helped people.

James Ray intended that intense searing heat in order to obtain a financial investment from the participants of $10,000.

He controlled when people could talk in the sweat lodge and he even controlled when people could urinate.

The State has clearly proven that BUT FOR the defendant’s conduct, Kirby, James and Liz would not have died.

The defense wants you to ignore they want you to ignore what is right in front of your eyes as the cause of death.

The victims died of extreme heat.

James Ray intended to introduce hellaciously hot heat and steam.

I submit to you that he was aware of that risk.

She walked over to James Arthur Ray, pointed at him and said
The only difference between manslaughter and negligent homicide is the issue of awareness.

Mr. Ray intentionally used heat to create an altered state.

3 people are dead because James Ray consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his conduct would cause death.

James Ray did in fact wear participants down using his words to get them less grounded so they could have that ultimate experience.

Mr. Li's closing arguments consisted of vivid stories designed to take the jury's attention away from his client's hideous behavior.

After 3 full days of theatrics and insisting that James Ray had no duty to help people, the case finally went to the jury.

On June 22, 2011 the jury reached a verdict in less than 9 hours.

Not Guilty on the charge of manslaughter.
But …
Guilty of Negligent Homicide.

Nevertheless, the defense still hoped to sway the judge in the mitigation hearing and get James Ray off with just probation.

Note: At crucial times during the trial, James Ray’s ears would turn bright red. This is called vasodilatation and some people think that the increase in blood flow comes from a kick in adrenalin. It is usually an indicator of embarrassment or the perception of a threat. This type of “ear blushing” is a function of the sympathetic nervous system that Ray has no conscious control over.

That plan didn't work out too well for them.

While everyone but the defense hoped for the maximum prison sentence ...

 Kirby Brown's mother eloquently expressed her grief and rage.

As did Liz Neuman's daughter.

Ginny Brown demanded to know: "Why couldn't he see that it was just too damn hot?"

Despite all the 'spiritual warrior's' sobbing….

James Ray was sentenced to serve 2 years in prison for needlessly taking 3 lives.

For the first time, someone who aspired to be a member of the 1% who used religion to kill was successfully prosecuted.

"Balance is baloney." ~ James Arthur Ray

Think about HOW all this happened.

When what inside you has to die is your conscience, it's time to ...

Take off the goggles!

Never Again!

Don’t pay to pray!

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I'm not a bird, I'm not a plane, I'm super NDN skeptic -
Debunking non-NDN bunk, one nut at a time!

Offline SouthwestSkeptic

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Low bandwidth version of AZ v James Arthur Ray in 10 Minutes available on ISUMA TV
I'm not a bird, I'm not a plane, I'm super NDN skeptic -
Debunking non-NDN bunk, one nut at a time!

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Good Job!