Why are you so against Breakthrough and the Momentus series of training?

The authors posted on this web site are not against Breakthrough and its sponsor, ACCD. Many of its goals and practices are helpful. However, we do have serious concerns about certain methods and activities used in the Breakthrough training, especially those which were taken from Large Group Awareness Trainings (LGATs) like Lifespring.

What is wrong with some of the methods used in Breakthrough?

The Breakthrough training requires all participants to sign a "Hold Harmless" statement in which they pledge that they will not hold ACCD and training staff responsible for any "personal, physical, psychological or emotional injuries, distress or death arising from or in any way related to the TRAINING." It specifically states that there are "risks involved in the TRAININGS and activities," not just problems involved in some people's reactions to them. This and other statements by Breakthrough itself implicitly acknowledge that the training is capable of producing such harm in people. Following the medical profession's first guideline, "do no harm," we believe that it is right to oppose activities which can produce such harm. In addition, the training includes forms of psychological manipulation of participants, which are not appropriate because they increase a person's vulnerability while hindering true freedom of response.

Why are you so disturbed about activities just because LGATs use some of them? They are just neutral forms which can be productively used by anyone, Christian or not.

Some are just neutral forms, and we see no problem with these. However, others are not neutral, but can cause psychological or physical harm (as noted above). Some also embody a philosophy which lies at the core of LGATs but not of Christianity; or are physiologically manipulative, which makes participants unduly vulnerable.

Your articles slander Breakthrough's trainers and staff by attacking them. It isn't legal or moral to slander anyone.

Slander (which is actually called libel when it is written) is making false and malicious statements which damage someone's character or reputation. The articles on this site do not attack any individuals and do not make malicious or false statements. In fact, several times the articles note that Breakthrough staff and trainers appear to be people of reputable character and good motives. The problem is not the people, but the script of the training (much of which was imported, perhaps without the knowledge of some trainers, from LGATs). Though trainers may come and go, the script remains. It is not slander to address the nature of certain practices and methods. In fact, addressing issues can yield good results in the area of self improvement trainings like Breakthrough, just as addressing issues can produce productive dialogue and/or changes in other areas such as politics, education and theology. There are anecdotal indications that criticism of Breakthrough (previously named Momentus) training over the last decade has led to helpful changes in the training. For instance, profanity by trainers seems to have been dramatically reduced since early trainings. We hope helpful changes continue to be made which correct some of the problems noted above. We believe that Christian trainings do not need to use manipulative LGAT methods in order to aid Christian character development.

The Bible commands people to reconcile with those they have offended. Why don't you reconcile with Breakthrough trainers?

We don't attack the trainers; we highlight concerns about the methods and script of the training. Some Breakthrough participants or staff seem to think that anyone who criticizes any part of the training is automatically unreconciled with the staff Some people seem to use this idea of being "unreconciled" as a means to squelch all evaluation of Breakthrough methods, no matter how small, well intended or objective they may be. Criticizing elements of the script is not the same as sinning against or offending any particular person. It doesn't need to be reconciled, it needs to be addressed through dialogue. Some of the authors on this web site have had extensive dialogue with Breakthrough staff including founder Dan Tocchini. But just because there isn't agreement on the nature of certain methods doesn't automatically mean that there are personal offenses that must be reconciled by ceasing all evaluation of Breakthrough methods.

Why don't you publish positive testimonies by Breakthrough participants?

Why doesn't the ACCD web site publish negative or ambiguous testimonies? (We'd be happy to print some of theirs if they print some of ours.) The positive testimonies often make valid points. This web site makes available a counterpoint so that potential trainees can have a basis for comparison.

How can you make such broad generalizations?

A "quick Q & A" article by its nature makes generalizations. Other articles on this web site provide detailed evidence to support the summary given here. Please read those articles for detailed information which can guide your conclusions about Breakthrough.

Dr. John Juedes, 2002

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