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By: Raheem Hosseini December 19, There had to be more than of them, all sorts, not 95670 man looking for love and marriage at attention so much as listlessly wanging there, like underfed POWs too exhausted to protest this latest indignity. Bob avoided looking directly at the withered army. To drop trou inside a hotel by the Oakland International Airport in front of an egalitarian group of strangers? This weekend had already been unpleasant.

Now it was scary. He reluctantly climbed out of his trousers. Tubes of Halloween makeup made the rounds. Drums thrummed. The man in charge told the disrobed horde to paint each other for war and chant tribal gobbledygook. Then he ordered his volunteers to bring up the blindfolded nonbelievers from the basement. Founder and CEO A. According to Sterling, men are only capable of rage and fear, and must be unconditionally loved and obeyed. And after two straight days of mansplaining how relationships worked better in the caveman days, Sterling cranks the knob to weird. Men strip naked and work themselves into a lather.

Women curl into fetal balls and cry themselves hoarse. The whole thing is exploitative, coercive, even cult- like. While the of men who stick with Sterling after their weekends has dwindled down to fewer than 40 members across Northern California, that may not matter to the aging guru. Now 77, Sterling still draws hundreds to his pricey weekend retreats and pockets the proceeds thanks to an entirely volunteer labor force. As for the people below, it can be a different story. Meanwhile, hustlers like Sterling have never done better.

Haley shut her eyes and pretended to sleep for the six-hour red-eye ride to Los Angeles. The guys all chipped in. She would leave tonight. She would finally understand. It seemed harmless at the time—a bunch of guys hanging out once a week to play cards and shoot the breeze. But the weekly bonding sessions soon subsumed their lives. Phil ed on first. Phil had already left for Oakland. She parked outside a rundown hotel near the airport.

Inside, she saw shirtless men, panting and oozing weird body paint. They were all keyed up. Women in black evinced 95670 man looking for love and marriage faces and moved like chess pieces. An hour passed without explanation.

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Finally, the doors of the conference room swung open, releasing a rank odor. She followed the other wives and well-wishers inside to find a couple hundred men piled onto bleachers stacked against the walls. They were bare-chested and sweating. There was her husband. She looked away. A low rumble filled the room as Justin Sterling appeared. He said something into his microphone heet, then left.

He made no speech. The big moment already happened behind closed doors. Instead of diplomas, the new Sterling men got nuts, the metal kind, 2-inch bolts spooled around necklaces, clunky metaphors for their reclaimed manhood. The Sterling wives grinned like jackals. Best sex they would ever have. She and Phil drove home separately. There was no second honeymoon.

Phil had always been grounded, family-minded, Haley says. But there was a chink in his armor, an exploitable vulnerability. They made him feel like he belonged. Phil now had his brothers. He asked for a divorce. The other Sterling husbands interceded.

Divorce is for quitters. Phil returned, but only after Haley agreed to his terms: He wanted 95670 man looking for love and marriage say over all their decisions. A month passed. Phil still spurned sobriety. He continued to ghost his.

Bills went unpaid. Only his fellow Sterling men mattered. The other Sterling husbands said Phil learned the wrong lessons from the weekend. The other Sterling wives told Haley she needed to do her weekend, so that man and wife could finally be on the same. How does he make a good man turn up the contrast on his darker traits, she wondered. And will the same thing happen to her? They arrived in Los Angeles around 2 a. Around noon, she walked into a much nicer venue than where her husband spent his weekend. The poker-faced women in black were everywhere.

No one smiled. Their shtick vibed grim and avant garde.

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She followed a line into a room divided by a folding wall. Forty-five minutes later, the wall receded. The recruits migrated. Four female volunteers took flanking positions by the stage and sound equipment. They wore heets and pointed video cameras. But nothing happened. That nothing expanded for two hours. The recruits stewed. This was part of it, someone grumbled. She guessed half the room was skeptical.

Women griped, but no one walked. Plus, the sponsors had dropped them off, so how would they get home? After an interminable wait, a ish woman dressed in business attire strode to the front and robotically welcomed them. She instructed everyone to surrender their cellphones and outlawed food, even gum or mints, while the retreat was in session.

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There would be a single meal break during an unspecified hour. The woman gave the same spiel each morning. Hunger, isolation, deprivation—these became the underpinnings of the weekend. And then she introduced Justin Sterling. According to earlier reporting and a background check, Sterling was born Arthur Kasarjian, circain Brookline, Mass. By the s, he had landed on the warm West Coast and settled in loosey-goosey San Francisco.

In a profileDetails Magazine reported that Kasarjian was convicted of grand theft and impersonation around that time, snagging three years on probation. Bad start in the counterculture capital. Tinsel Town cold-shouldered Artie K. A federal arrest warrant issued in Los Angeles in belied a third reinvention. The Sterling Institute of Relationship was born two years later. According to cult specialist Ross and former Mercury News reporter Sarah Lubman, Kasarjian got the idea from a self-help seminar he attended years earlier.

EST revolved around the bombastic personality of its founder, Werner Erhard, a former Philadelphia car salesman who deserted his wife and four children, teutonized his given name and remade himself out West as a General Patton for personal epiphanies. The struggling actor created the biggest role of his life. He charged women for the privilege of his advice, then moved onto men. The Sterling Institute formally incorporated in It became a road show, packing hotel conference rooms across the country.

The 5-foot-7 Sterling stomped across stages in raised black boots. For the women, it was to love and obey. His audiences sometimes pushed back. By the second day, people were so starved for silver linings that Pyrrhic wisdom felt like real epiphanies. He paired off his crowds and had them role-play angry outbursts. The men mostly 95670 man looking for love and marriage imaginary wives, 95670 man looking for love and marriage Bob, who did his weekend in The women vented mostly at unavailable husbands, remembered Haley, who went this year.

Ribald sex talks occurred. Attendees were kept awake and ordered to take cold showers. Sterling talked and talked and talked. He pitted the men against each other, having them compete to remain in his inner circle, Bob said. Only at that point does he challenge them to get naked. Ross said this process has many names—coercive persuasion, established influence techniques, thought reform, even brainwashing. When I started doing these seminars, it was not with the intention of starting a cult. But just like his mentor Erhard, who also went through nasty divorces, Sterling blew up his own marriages by practicing what he preached.

His first wife accused him of domestic violence and divorced him. His second wife took out a temporary domestic violence restraining order against him in Alameda County incourt records show. And was just a narcissistic, self-obsessed jerk.

He sure is rich, though. This includes a swanky estate in the East Bay enclave of Piedmont, another residence in the Oakland hills, a trio of condominiums in Rancho Mirage and another in New York. All together those teams are comprised of 39 members, Hill says.

Alan Hill phoned his daughter, then his ex-wife, and said the words.

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