In writing our personal accounts about our years with the Gentle Wind Project,
we are reminded of a quote by E. L. Doctorow . . .
“When ideas go unexamined and unchallenged for a long enough time, certain things happen.
They become mythological, and they become very, very powerful.
They create conformity. They intimidate.”
Leaders of organizations such as GWP, who have never been examined and challenged, come to believe in a distorted reality – that they can do and say whatever they want. Being challenged is a new reality for the GWP leaders, one they are inexperienced to deal correctly with. So what did this self-proclaimed “highly evolved world-healing organization” do when faced with questioning and criticism? They attempted to use legal means as a form of intimidation to censor the freedom of speech of former members (and anyone else questioning their practices), who, in telling their personal stories, for the first time, provided an examination of hitherto unchallenged ideas and activities of the GWP organization and its leaders.
GWP leader, John D. Miller, and his five housemates -- Mary E. Miller, Carol R. Miller (John Miller's legal wife), Shelly Miller, Pam Ranheim, and Joan Carreiro (Mary Miller's sister) -- were the plaintiffs (please see Insiders' Stories for other names used by these individuals). All plaintiffs were, until recently, Board Members of GWP. As per Gentle Wind's 2003 IRS Form 990 each of them received a salary increase in that year -- from $52,839 in 2002 to $71,799 per person, in addition to paid food and living expenses.
The plaintiffs, who, as of September 2006,* resided in GWP's Durham, NH residence (a luxury property that was titled privately to these individuals for many years -- purportedly due to a "scrivener's error" -- until Feb 2004, when it was suddenly transferred to the "Gentle Wind Project"), and in Kittery, ME (where GWP property was sold in November 2005 to Mary Ann Hale and Richard Hanelius, both associates of the Millers), and, until November 2003, in Melbourne Beach, Florida, hired Verrill & Dana law firm, Portland, ME, to file a lawsuit in Maine District (Federal) Court (which was dismissed), and then a new lawsuit in Maine Superior Court (also now dismissed) against former GWP members and others who dared to speak their minds about personal experiences with GWP and what they believed to be happening with GWP.
*GWP Address Update:According to the newest design for the Millers' GWP website, their contact address is now in Starks, Nevada, though the Millers' most recent lawsuit listed a Portsmouth, NH post office box, and they are now living in MA. The latest names used by GWP leaders to market their wares: Family Systems Research Group / FSRG / IChing Systems.
As described on this page, the Maine Attorney General's lawsuit against GWP resulted in a signed Consent Decree with GWP's leaders that required the "nonprofit" to give up all business and assets. Additional terms of the AG's Consent Decree prohibit GWP from operating in the state of Maine, and the GWP leaders from running any other nonprofit in Maine.
After reading what the GWP leaders have to say, we suggest that you do your own research about each of GWP's statements, talk to people outside of the Gentle Wind group,
and then decide for yourself what makes sense.
(NB: GWP removed a large amount of information from their website www.gentlewindproject.org, as well as removing their entire website "Eye of the Sky" www.eyeofthesky.org; however some of their statements about us and others are included in our Counterclaims. and Statement and in our Motion for Summary Judgmentand Statement of Material Facts included with Federal lawsuit documents below. In addition, versions of websites that change or disappear from the internet can sometimes be found on archival websites, such as the Way Back Machine: http://www.archive.org/index.php.)
Former Cult Members' Stories of Recovery from Gentle Wind Project
How Former Members Withstood a Lawsuit and Secured a Victory for Free Speech
New Notices . . . To Followers of the Millers: We've heard some very strange and outrageous tall tales, apparently spun by Mary and John Miller to discredit/demonize former followers and Maine's Attorney General. Examples:
Tall Tale #1)[A male whistleblower is] "in prison for a very long time for hacking into the Jimmy Fund" -- FALSE Call or email us to verify that we're here where we've always been and have never been incarcerated. This would be funny except that some followers believe it.
Tall Tale #2) [A female whistleblower] "drowned an elderly woman, covered up the crime, and then took her money" -- FALSE If you are a follower of the Millers and believe this, you may want to consider some psychological help, but not from the Millers.
Tale Tale #3) "Maine's Attorney General was relieved of her [his] job after this internet smear campaign" [Millers' gobbledygook for their fraud and con schemes] -- FALSE Steven Rowe, Maine's AG, and Carolyn Silsby, the Assistant AG who, on behalf of the state of Maine, conducted the multiyear investigation into the illegal activities of Gentle Wind and the Millers; sued the Millers and their GWP for fraudulent practices; and banned them from any future activities in Maine, have continued successfully in their positions (Rowe's term ended Jan 09). Just call the Maine AG. Fact checking is important when dealing with cults.
Tale Tale #4)"Two disgruntled former members who will remain nameless, have and continue to launch relentless, baseless attacks against [GWP} . . .Use their considerable wealth and political connections to intimidate, threaten, harass. . . extortion, bribery, hacking, wiretapping,physical violence. . . ." -- FALSE Most people understand that cult leaders fling out desperate and amazing fabrications to demonize whistleblowers. This laughable defamation is a classic example. For the Millers' full rant, see PDF below)
SeeGWP Connectionsfor Life-Insights - FSRG- I Ching Systems - Global Info Systemsand more Miller enterprises. The tricks and scams keep coming and changing their stripes; but one thing is certain. . .it's still the same con game. See YouTube of Mary Miller where she sports new age workshop garb for aging gurus and allows herself to be called "doctor" with no credentials.
(Groups that,"Us[e] litigation like a weapon against perceived enemies...")"Former GWP members...not only walked away in triumph, but also logged another legal victory for freedom of speech on the Internet...."Cult News
Wind of Changes, this public service website, is offered by former
"instrument keepers" of the Gentle Wind Project (ex-members)
to former and present followers and current "instrument keepers,"
as an alternative viewpoint to the GWP leaders' self-promotion, claims, and publicity.
These detailed accounts of manipulation by GWP leaders -- who claim(ed) to have
exclusive connections with the "spirit world" -- in the day-to-day lives of followers,
and the subtleties of how commitment to the group happened, should also be helpful
to families and friends of present members who are looking for answers, and
to anyone searching for more information about the group.
If you, or someone you know, are considering a personal commitment to GWP/FSRG/I-Ching Systems/etc. – by attending an "open house" or seminar, requesting a "telepathic healing," or using or purchasing a “healing instrument" - you can now read the actual experiences of former members in A Husband's Perspective and Insiders' Stories and judge their stories for yourself . . .before getting involved.
Here you will find highly personal accounts combined with vivid examples from 17-year members, former "healing instrument keepers" and former Board Members of GWP.
In spite of the hurt and personal losses experienced during their involvement in the GWP cult, these former members offer a very hopeful message of enthusiastic and grateful reconnection with the wider world following their recovery from GWP. By relating to these positive and poignant stories, present GWP members may come to believe that they, too, can find fulfilling lives after releasing themselves from GWP's bonds.
News Report: KOLO-8 TV, Reno NV produced a News Report about gwp. We assume from the report that the central figure in the story - a Sparks NV school teacher who alledgedly used "healing instruments" on her students in the classroom-is a gwp follower. After being put out of business by Maine's Attorney General, the Millers revamped their gwp website, listing a Sparks NV address, though they are probably living in MA.
* NB: If you, or someone you know, purchased products from the Millers after the Attorney General's restitution period ended, you might wish to seek advice from Maine or NH's Attorney Generals or with your own state's Attorney General.
Plaintiffs' [Attorneys'] Motion for Leave to Withdraw...........
Verrill Dana attorneys James Goggin, Daniel Rosenthal, and Suzannah Pogue "move to withdraw from representation" of the plaintiffs on grounds of "deliberately disregard[ing] . . . expenses or fees.
Notice of Appearances pro se for plaintiffs John Miller, Mary Miller
Carol Miller, Shelly Miller, Pam Ranheim, Joan Carreiro.....................
The Miller's Motion [to exclude mention in front of a jury of the Attorney
General's Lawsuit against GWP or mention of the AG's Consent Decree]:
Our response: Memorandum in Opposition to Motion to Exclude the Consent Decree:
"Plaintiffs' [the Millers, Carreiro, and Ranheim] admissions [in the Attorney General's
Consent Decree] are directly related and, therefore, highly relevant to their claims...and [Defendants'] Counterclaims....the prejudicial effect of highly probative evidence is not grounds for exclusion...."
Our Motion and Supplemental Motion to Exclude Certain of the Plaintiffs (the Millers' )
Trial Exhibits: Principally on grounds of hearsay, Rule 403, relevance...
And, preceding the AG's Consent Decree, posted above. . .
You are welcome to ask us questions about stories/fabrications you might have heard or read about
ex-followers of GWP, or other critics, on the Gentle Wind websites or directly from the GWP/FSRG/etc leaders, followers, and "instrument keepers." Since we anticipated these reactions from the GWP leaders, we aren't surprised at their allegations and misinformation. It was predictable and is a universal reaction from leaders of these types of groups and their followers.
The most obvious examples of this predictability were the lawsuits filed by GWP and its leaders against critics. (Scroll to bottom of this page to read the gwp state lawsuit.)
For more discussions we have listed many useful books on ourResourcespage,
including the new and highly recommended
Take Back Your Life: Recovery from Cults and Abusive Relationshipsby Lalich and Tobias.
As Jonathan Swift stated long ago:"It is useless to attempt to reason a man [or woman]
out of a thing he [or she] was never reasoned into."
"In the entire history of man, no one has ever been brainwashed and realized, or believed, that he had been brainwashed. Those who have been brainwashed will usually passionately defend their manipulators, claiming they have simply been 'shown the light' . . . or have been transformed in miraculous ways." -- The Battle for Your Mind
"Just as most soldiers believe bullets will hit only others, not themselves, most citizens like
to think that their own minds and thought processes are invulnerable.
'Other people can be manipulated, but not me,' they declare." -- Margaret Singer, Ph.D
FORUMS by GWP former and present members:
For personal opinions, giving a look at present and past members' beliefs:
Described as "A resource for people to discuss their experiences, share evidence, and raise public awareness about GWP." Read these postings from objective readers, ex-members, gwp leaders & followers.
Read letters, poetry, criticism, and testimonies from people who consider themselves victims of GWP and also from present GWP followers on two different GWP Rip-Off sites.
3) ClickHERE for GWP'sConference Forum and HERE for GWP's own Instrument Keepers' Forum. (NB: As of April 2006, the latter seems to have been removed from the Internet.)
GWP's own Forums. You could try applying for membership; however,
they are, and have been, closed to any reading or posting.
Extra Background & News Coverage
GWP's / the Millers et al Lawsuit Against Former Members
was Dismissed from Federal Court
AND . . . GWP / the Millers et al filed yet another lawsuit in Maine State Court
Dear Friends and Visitors,
On January 3, 2006 we received the long-awaited news that Senior District Judge Gene Carter granted our Motion for Summary Judgment on the Gentle Wind Project’s RICO (racketeering) claim - the only Federal claim that remained in GWP/the Millers' convoluted lawsuit against us:
The Federal Court decision -Judgments entered for Defendants (us) and against Plaintiffs
(Plaintiffs = GWP leaders: John “Tubby” Miller, Mary “Moe” Miller, Carol “Max” Miller, Shelbourne “Shelly” Miller, Pam Ranheim, Joan Carreiro, and Gentle Wind Project, Durham NH and Kittery ME) - is a positive outcome for anyone interested in the preservation of free speech on the Internet.
Judge Carter further ordered that GWP's lawsuit Counts III through VII against us (the state claims, such as defamation) also be dismissed from Federal Court.
Our other original co-defendants included Rick Ross of Cult Education Institute; Steve Gamble of Equilibra; Ivan Fraser of The Truth Campaign; and Steve Hassan of Freedom of Mind.
GWP/the Millers et al Maine State Court lawsuit:On 1-10-06 the Millers et al, and their lawyers, "came back," and re-filed their lawsuit (minus the dismissed Federal claims) in Maine state court against Jim Bergin, Judy Garvey, and also, oddly, against Ian Mander, Editor of New Zealand Cult List. As described at the top of this page, that lawsuit is also now dismissed, marking the end of GWP's relentless attempts to silence former members and critics and force removal of this website.
We filed our Answer andCounterclaims,including defamation, against GWP, the Millers et al. GWP's lawsuit, and our Counterclaims, were assigned to Maine Superior Court Justice G. Arthur Brennan of York County Maine Superior Court (Alfred, ME) and a Maine jury trial was scheduled for December 2006. Shortly before this happened, the Millers wanted out and victory was secured by Jim Bergin and Judy Garvey. Thus, the website you are reading still exists.
Rather than filing Motions for Dismissal or Summary Judgment to end the Miller’s new Maine State lawsuit, it was important for us to go to trial since there were contested facts. A few examples. . .
The Millers et al contended that Judy and Jim defamed them by reporting – in their personal stories about 17 years as followers, "instrument keepers,” and board members of the Millers' GWP that there was group sexual activity (called "energy work") among the leaders and female followers and that followers were told that this "energy work" would bring in designs for new GWP "healing instruments" from the "spirit world" to the GWP leader, John "Tubby" Miller. The Millers et al each denied, under oath during depositions, that group sexual activity of any kind took place among GWP leaders and an inner group of followers.
The Millers et al also deny that Gentle Wind Project is a cult, and they claim in their promotional material that they have "clinical research" on the effectiveness of their "healing instruments" and that this "research" meets scientific standards. Based on our years of association with GWP we disagree with the Millers, and have also shown how the GWP so-called research is anecdotal and/or conducted by GWP believers / “instrument keepers.” This is described in Insiders' Stories and A Husband's Perspective.
If the purpose of the Millers' Federal/State lawsuit was to silence us and others, it was a misuse of the judicial system requiring large amounts of their donors' money to pay their lawyers. As Carl Starrett, Esq., moderator of the Gentle Wind Victims’ Forum stated,
"GWP must have spent several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees
[in their Federal Court lawsuit alone] and they came up empty."
In addition to the correct application of the Federal law for us, the defendants, Judge Carter's U.S. District Court Order was an extremely important decision for anyone who believes in an individual's right to speak freely about personal experiences, and to share information of public importance through the Internet without fear of being intimidated, sued, silenced, and harmed financially.
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School,
called the Federal decision, "An important victory for free expression on the Internet."
(For a link to The Berkman Center's story, and for other news, see "Important Updates," below.)
We are very grateful for the support and encouragement – from a wide variety of individuals and institutions, including the pro bono assistance by the Berkman Center – that we have received throughout this process.
Jim Bergin and Judy Garvey
More Newspaper, Lawsuit Updates, and GWP Information
(While we are grateful for publicity about the difficulties we have had in struggling for the right to tell our personal stories, we regret that there were inaccuracies in this article. These are explained in our Letter to the Editor)
"'Cult Activity’ Article Missed the Mark"
To the Editor,
"We wish to correct some misinformation in the article "Nonprofit Accused of Cult Activity" (Portsmouth Herald, 7-23-04). In our personal stories on www.windofchanges.org we do not allege child neglect, extortion, or misappropriation of funds by Gentle Wind Project. This information actually comes from Gentle Wind who claim in their lawsuit that this is what we said. They are using what some might call a "straw man argument” – turning words around and then arguing against the new statement. Unfortunately, the reporter for this story took her information from the Gentle Wind websites or sources rather than quoting from our stories.
"In addition, Garvey was briefly part of the GWP group sexual activity in the early years of her involvement with the group only, not up until four years ago. This is completely inaccurate and does not reflect our personal stories or our conversation with the reporter.
"The information presented about Gentle Wind Project in the Portsmouth Herald article sounds more like an infomercial for Gentle Wind products as opposed to investigative reporting. If you wish to provide accuracy for your readers, we would suggest further research into: costs ("donations") for Gentle Wind's so-called "healing" instruments; real data -- outside of Gentle Wind created data -- showing efficacy of their products based on objective scientific studies; personal stories from victims and donors who have lost large sums of their personal income in the purchases of GWP products; and a discussion of the unsubstantiated claims made by GW. All of this is already available on our website.
"Thank you for printing this statement so that the inaccuracies in your article can be corrected."
Jim Bergin and Judy Garvey
If you are interested in how the GWP leaders spent your "donations," click on the files below for their IRS nonprofit Form 990s. You can also read
"An Opinion on the GWP Accounts"by clicking here:
Or, for a first-hand account of GWP finances as experienced by an ex-member, read A Husband's Perspectiveon this site, where GWP's use
of "contributed" money is described in detail.
To read the Millers/GWP's Maine State Court Complaint, please click here:
What did the Millers and other GWP leaders accuse us of?
Producing the website you are presently reading and
speaking and writing publicly about our opinions
and personal experiences with GWP.
How to Access GWP Federal & Maine State Court Lawsuit Documents
Space here doesn't allow for posting the many Federal Court documents from GWP's convoluted, and now dismissed, U.S. District Court lawsuit. However, we have learned that the first 98 Federal Court documents are being hosted in a free Docket Sheet Directory. The documents that led to GWP's dismissal from Federal Court are at the top of this website page.
Court documents in GWP's Federal lawsuit are public information and are also available
The information within the Wind of Changes website is being provided to offer accounts to the public of former members’ personal experiences with the Gentle Wind Project leaders.
All the information about the Gentle Wind Project, or other groups or individuals mentioned or included on this website, must be evaluated and judged by each reader, through a process of individual and independent reading and thought. Except for the Gentle Wind Project and its leaders and affiliates, the mention and/or inclusion of any other group on this website does not define it as a "cult" and/or any individual mentioned as either harmful and/or destructive.
The Gentle Wind Project’s own official website, which reflects their views, is at www.gentlewindproject.org; however, their website was completely altered after the Consent Decree the GWP leaders signed with the Maine Attorney General, and, as of July 2008, was removed from the Internet entirely. A second GWP website www.eyeofthesky.org, was removed by GWP during September 2004. (Versions of websites that change or disappear from the Internet can sometimes be found on archival websites, such as the Way Back Machine: http://www.archive.org/index.php.)
Wind of Changes does not necessarily endorse or support any of the views expressed within the books, website links, and outside opinions listed on each page of this website. They are provided only for the convenience of researchers and those concerned with learning more.
We stand by every word we have written about our 17 years with GWP.
(our wording is on this website)
It is all true, based on our personal experiences.
. . . . "The lawsuits including The 'Gentle Wind Project,' led by John and Mary Miller filed against RI over the past few years afford a window into the world of groups called 'cults,' operating within the United States. . . . ."