• Edward Cronin

    article brings up twelve tribes, emissaries video that follows contains intensely open-minded open-ended lines of questioning/reasoning. whelp, i’m an atheist, i must admit, but i can get down with their genre of philo still. this article is deceptive af

    • Lana Ishka


  • Redford1

    A very garbled, conflated article. What nonsense people write when they have no experience of the reality. Suggest, as Mr. Berlin does below, you go live there for a week and see for yourself.

  • Redford1

    A very garbled, conflated article. What nonsense people write when they have no experience of the reality.

  • Steven Berlin

    Hi Mike! Somehow I landed on this and read your words. I used to be the Director of the Emissary Community in the Catskills in NY. One day someone came to me and said, “There is a reporter who wants to interview you about the Emissary Community and has a lot of questions.” I went out to meet the fellow. I introduced myself, welcomed him, and asked what he had in mind. He said he had heard (?) a lot of things about the Emissaries, had a lot of questions, and would like to sit down with me and get some answers. I smiled and said that I would not sit down and answer any questions, but I wanted to make him an offer. I told him that he already heard things ( ? ), so that he was coming with preconceived ideas, and I was sure that his questions would be about the things he heard ( which were not necessarily true ). My offer to him was that he stay and live in the community for one week. Make friends with those who lived there, get into some daily work and see what we do and how we do it ( the Spirit of it ! ), come to the services, share Attunement ( vibrational healing similar to Reiki ), and basically experience the rhythm of whats it’s like to live in the community ( have the actual experience of the community’s spirit rather then just formulating an opinion from “things he had heard” ). He refused the offer. I thanked him for stopping by and wished him well. Mike. I’m not a Bible Thumper, but I do remember a line in Job that said, “Who darkeneth council with words without knowledge?” You, like many journalists, darkeneth council with words without knowledge. You use terms like “religious cult”. You find someone who was unhappy , like Nancy, and use their words to define the entire program, etc. What organization on earth doesn’t have a wide range of people who belong to it, and a wide range of opinions and experiences had from being part of something? Actually, you can’t really take either the good or bad comments that people make as
    gospel, but, if your really interested in writing the “Truth” based on facts, you could go and live on Sunrise for a week. Why not go with a clear mind, participate, see what’s really going on, and then write something based on YOUR EXPERIENCE. It would carry a lot more weight!

  • Ana Medina

    I was part of the Emissaries in my 20’s for MANY years. (that was a while ago) They NEVER got money out of me. They never tried to convince me to do anything I did not want to do. It was a big part of my spiritual life at the time. I moved to Colorado recently and attended ARISE festival and Sunrise Ranch. It was a fabulous experience and other than one poorly staffed info tent for the Emissaries, they were not present at all. I had to go out of my way to seek out information about the Sunday service, and there were only a handful of festival attendees there. I enjoyed the service for old time’s sake, and had a hard time finding someone to give me info on other events. It was not at all a “recruiting event” since they seemed to just go about their life and the festival went on without much presence from them. They were great hosts. The land was amazingly fine after al those people had camped there.
    It’s so easy for people to judge and want to make things look much worse than they really are. It is also easy and dramatic (which seems to get lots of attention in this society) to call spiritual groups that do not conform with the norm a “cult”. It’s fear mongering and sad. If people have a poor experience with the Emissaries is because they are not taking full personal responsibility for their own experience and they created the poor experience, which then conveniently blame on the group and call it cultish. Let’s grow up here. The only brain washing here is this article spreading poor facts and fear. I wonder what the underlying motives are of the author to spread such poor information based on so much fear. If I may recommend that people not listen to the voice of fear. If you are interested in Arise, or the Emissaries, go check them out with an open mind (not someone else’s opinion) Your heart will tell you if it is for you or not and if it’s aligned with your principals or not. They don’t bite. If you are susceptible to brain washing or cultish behavior, you have bigger problems that should be addressed. If you read articles like this and jump on the band wagon of fear and negativity and someone’s need to put down an entire group and judge them like that with no real facts other than un-based personal opinion, well, you probably see most any group as a “cult” and live a fear based life. My heart goes out to you.
    You create your experiences every moment, so lets be responsible about what we create!

    • Mike Hardaker

      thanks for the comment. One question you said you lived there for many years in your 20’s however never gave them any money. So you lived for free on their land? How about food, did you grow and harvest your own? What happened come Colorado winters? I went to Arise with an open mind and did not like the energy of the Sunrise Ranch Cult. I practice Reiki, Meditate and in very in tune. Something is and was not right about that place.

      No fear at all, just a knowing I was not supposed to be there. Maybe they just don’t like jews?

  • Mitchell Johnson

    I actually lived at this cult for a while. Most of what is being said here is true. They’ve had opportunities to work the land holistically, to reach out to the larger community and actually provide some good in the world. Instead, they use their pseudospirituality to hide rape and sexual assault, to bleed people’s finances dry so they have no choice but to remain, and to indoctrinate people into avoiding any sort of real social responsibility. And if you aren’t willing to attend their “spiritual education” sessions, they kick you out.

    I was there when they started to transition to this new concert-based model of revenue. They’ve been in the red for years and needed to find a way to keep the doors open. Now they’ve taken hundreds of acres of beautiful Loveland pasture and trampled it into the ground, with no efforts at remediation. Every ticket bought for this event, every room rented from this company, just allows them to keep insulating themselves further and further, attracting unpaid labor to clean and cook. This is a sick organization that needs to be investigated.

    • Jeannie Kezlan

      This is totally untrue……….The land was not trampled and destroyed…After the concert goers left it was as if thousands of people had not been there. I too was connected with the Emissaries for many, many years and was never asked to give one cent of my money or possessions……….Why do you spread such horrid rumors.

      • Mike Hardaker

        Rumors? Did you attend the festival.

        • Jeannie Kezlan

          No Mike,I lived in the valley for 10 years…but many years ago and was associated with The Emissaries. As to the music festival, No I did not attend as I now live in Mexico. But, I was there walking thru the land with old friends a short time after the festival and the reports were very good that the land was taken care of . This was after the first festival and I understand there was also one this year.

  • Douglas Rubel

    Silly article.

    • Mike Hardaker

      Hope you haven’t drank the punch too Douglas

  • Bitse Pookm

    Is it pure silliness if you have seen it happen? People who think a different way as main stream America are made fun of and thought of as weird… I personally call a lot of these people family. If someone wants to live off the grid, I want to learn more. If they want to improve the environment or create a more tranquil way of life, I want to champion them forward. This all being said, if people need to slip you drugs in order for you to feel love and acceptance then get you to do their bidding because they “love” you… You are no longer trapped in a 9-5 job but you are working for someone and this time you haven’t truly made that choice… Doing things that compromise your ethics and your integrity… If you want to go to these concerts, go if you must, but be aware of who touches your water and food… What drugs you buy and be aware of who is sharing them with you… Your choices can be taken from you quickly and then its all about what you can do for them.

  • Aron

    This article is pure silliness. I have spent five weeks over the past few years working as a freelancer at the Ranch. It’s a lovely place full of wonderful people who have never, ever, once attempted to recruit me in any way whatsoever. I have even quipped a few times with them that my wife and I admire their values and lifestyle so much that we have occasionally talked about moving there. A rapacious cult would have jumped all over me for saying something like that but all they have ever said was to thank me for the compliment..
    After having worked closely with them on a regular basis for the past few years, I have nothing but good things to say about edl. They do not proselytize at all (which cannot be said for most mainstream religious groups). You can even drop by and eat lunch in their cafeteria for a donation and see for yourself. Nothing hinky going on here. If someone I cared about wanted to join them, I’d probably say “good for you!”.

    • Mitchell Johnson

      Just wait, Aron. As a freelancer, they will treat you just fine. They don’t show you their true colors until they know they’ve got a strong hold on you. Of course they aren’t going to immediately recruit. They want to keep their core population pure. If you decide to stay for longer, they will watch and see how you contribute, what you say during services, determine whether or not you are a threat, and whether or not you have skills they need to keep the doors open.

      I spent months living there, and its a soft sell at first. Very much “Create your own path” and “Live the life you want to live”. Then, when they realized that because of my gender and sexuality, I was a bit more of a threat to them (and because I didn’t attend every one of their services and jump at the chance to be indoctrinated on my own free will) they gave me an ultimatum: Pay the full price of our “Full Self Emergence” courses and attend them 100%, or we are kicking you out, knowing full well that by working you 50+ hour a week as an unpaid intern, you have no money.” I had to leave. I even asked to have the fees waived or reduced so I could continue to help the community grow, but they just wanted my money and my mind.

      • Mike Hardaker


        Thank you for taking the time to respond to this post with your first hand knowledge of the inner workings of this “organization” i know it must be tough to come out about this, however I personally want to say thank you. I have a good sense of energies and when things are off, needless to say I didn’t vibe well with the CULT..

        And using music as a way to potentially gain new members, yikes. Wish more people were atleast willing to talk about this, could it happen, sure? Is it happening, you better bet, now what can we do to educate people..

        Thanks again

        Mime Hardaker

  • Karen

    I’ve visited sunrise ranch about three times for Sunday service and stayed for attune meant – reiki and lunch walked around the centre talked to people and bought from the gift shop… Clarissa Pinkola Estes lectures there regularly who is a world renowned writer of forward thinking spiritual development… The services the speakers are gently enlightening informative intelligent and beautifully real … Having worked, experienced and lived within with a Ghandi led type community – Sunrise Ranch is nothing more than a divine community a lotus blossoming out of the mud to emit light throughout the world and share a Community Spirit freely. Community which we desperately need globally is gently and lovingly being expressed at Sunrise Ranch … Let it grow as divinely as it has and will continue to as an expression of light and love.

  • The claims that this article is about is ridiculous and barely warrants a response… however, I will let you know… I have lived at Sunrise Ranch, and have supported their mission and vision, and I’m not brainwashed, I was not baited, I was not recruited, and there is no such thing as is mentioned in this article. I have contributed my time and efforts for equal value exchange, and am respected both organizationally, as well as in the community. I suspect that this person, if we do some deeper digging, either was not given a free entry and got mad, or has some other ax to grind… or maybe merely trying to find a target to get some exposure… I’ve found that in this world, if you claim to be a victim of some kind, that’s what your mentality is. How you do anything is how you do everything. This person writing this article is negatively biased, and has some other agenda. Sunrise Ranch is a place that provides you an opportunity to practice universal spirituality, without coercion, and without any organized religion. Just a sharing of ideas around the seven days of creation, and oh, by the way, many of the services incorporates Eastern philosophy and teachings for perspective. I have experienced that they meet people where they are… anyway, I have found that the folks that have left the ranch, just had some conflict with another person there, which is common in life… and instead of working it out, they just left and made disparaging things up to support their sour grapes. People, please, be empowered in your life and stop blaming other people and organizations for your unhappiness!

    • Marcos

      This is BS, Im from California and have been visiting Sunrise for about 2 yrs and never has anyone approched me or try to convert me into a different mine set. I’ve been to service
      many times. The residence there are kind, friendly and enjoy being there. You need to check yourself and get a life!

  • Courtney Ellis

    I just found this article when I googled the ranch for a friend who wants to intern. Umm, I was at Arise last year as a vendor for the Right To Know campaign. I had no idea nor was I ever approached to “talk” or even heard of this cult. I had a blast and enjoyed the music, art, and the people very similar to my experiences following the Dead years ago. Just a whole lotta love and good will. I’m going back again this year AND bringing the whole family. Sorry you had a weird experience but the bottom line is, know who you are and enjoy yourself. No one is going to steal your soul.

  • Joe Clements

    I love at sunrise… This is silly… It’s paradise with spiritual freedom… Much love though

  • Marc Ross

    Did anyone try to “recruit” you? Were you even approached by a single resident of the Sunrise Ranch?

    • Mike Hardaker


      The recruitment table was setup amongst the vendor row next to people selling art, musical instruments and what not. I was approached by numerous Sunrise Ranch citizens, they were easily identified by the wrist bands they were wearing. (having worked numerous music festivals around the country, I always notice the different bands everyone wears as it can easily identify the general public, media, bands, what not.. Sort of like wearing a laminate showing your credentials around your neck.

      I had people come sit in our camp site to “talk” two young men actually sat in our chairs for hours and were there when we returned? Strange..

      Each time I found a nice young women approaching me out of the blue to “talk” I also noticed they had the same wrist bands on that said they were a member of the ranch.

      What finally set me off an made me look into this further was the fact that they were using a chapel on site to host workshops. Chapels are religious correct?

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I just wanted to raise questions..

  • Jordan Baumgardner

    Good lord. Of all the things to worry about, I think a group of nice people with odd beliefs is near the bottom of the list. They never came down but were very welcoming for us to chat with them. If I hadn’t gone looking for them, I never would have known they were there.

  • Mister Whipple


  • Sam

    Sorry you had to deal with that. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Biesty

    Its bad enough when they knock on your door but to be baited in under the guise of a music festival is worse than a time share seminar.

  • Scott