In 2016, CNN Films released a documentary entitled “Enlighten Us,” which followed James Ray’s attempted comeback after his short imprisonment for negligent homicide. That conviction was the result of the deaths of 3 people at Ray’s Spiritual Warrior personal development retreat in Sedona, Arizona, in 2009. The film features interviews with survivors as well as James Ray as he attempted to rebuild his personal development business.
Jean discusses what always frustrated her about the film, particularly how it left out the voices of victims’ families as well as context about James Ray’s prior knowledge of how dangerous his event was.
Along with the perspectives and wisdom of Dr. Christine Whelan and Dr. Doyle, this episode examines what James Ray’s evolving efforts to return to guru-hood reveal about the current state of the broader self-help world.
Also mentioned in this Episode:
Enlighten Us documentary by CNN Films
In Enlighten Us, Disgraced Guru Fails to Find Redemption article by Matt Stroud for The Verge
“Tragedy in Sedona” by Connie Joy
Self-help Books and the Quest for Self-control in the United States 1950-2000 Dr. Christine Whelan’s Doctoral Dissertation
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Read the memoir “This Sweet Life: how we lived after Kirby died” by Jean and her mom, Ginny Brown
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