My Short thoughts on Brandon Broadwater’s “Higher Laws-The answer to everything” seminar in the order they come to me. It is a hard post to do because I typically like to only portray the best in people, but I felt that for me personally, due to the polarizing effect it has had on some of my friends that I needed to write this, if only for myself. Normally I like to start with what I love about something, because of the aftertaste of this event, I felt I should start with what I was concerned about.
These are some of the things that bothered me about an otherwise incredible seminar.
First, Brandon Broadwater is LDS but he normally holds his workshops over the Sabbath. It is hard for me personally to trust someone who doesn’t live up to one of their core religious beliefs, though I was willing to give him the benefit of a doubt because I would hope someone would do the same for me. After hearing about how principled he was all weekend, this fact really says a lot to me.
Second, he was selling his ‘whole Brandon Broadwater Higher Laws seminar” package from the very start. The ‘whole package’ costs about 12k dollars or 80 dollars a week for three years. You have to go to St. George Utah to go to the seminars, and they are spaced over three years. He started by soft selling us in the first hour, to medium selling to the hard sell which happened the last day just before lunch (which he kept making later and later). This is a normal technique for the ‘get rich’ industry but caught me off guard because he talked about veiled gospel principles the whole time which I admit “lulled me off into a sense of false security”.
Third, he spends a lot of time on the importance of being teachable and humble, but he is constantly telling stories that show us how smart he is and ‘how much the Universe trusts him because he uses his knowledge righteously’ (and he routinely schedules his seminars on the Sabbath). I too do not live what I know, so I wasn’t bothered by this at first.
Four, he was constantly requiring the audience to repeat things he said, jump up and yell, raise their hands and say ‘yes’. My friend asked me why he needed so many affirmations that we think was he was saying was great (he was constantly telling us how great the stuff he was telling us was). I assume he was trying to increase our learning by making us move our bodies, but the whole process felt fake and forced.
Five, Brandon Broadwater took a long time to get to the point but I admit I was willing to go for the ride because he was very entertaining
Six Brandon Broadwater would quote scriptures and Neal A Maxwell a lot but slightly change the quote to support his claim that ‘valiant people who continue to strive will become prosperous physically, emotionally, and financially-clearly tying righteousness to wealth. He spent a long time on this idea-that those who really ‘strive’ become valiant and will be rewarded with wealth. Neal A. Maxwell’s quote actually says in context that being valiant leads to a consecrated life, not wealth.
Seven Brandon Broadwater consistently referred to God as “The Universe” which to me is akin to “The Statue” or “The Tree” just because the ‘Universe’ is bigger doesn’t mean it is more appropriate. I assume that Brandon was trying appeal to the masses but considering the nature of his workshop I think he would have been more aligned with his principles if he had of referred to our Heavenly Father as at least the “Creator”.
Eight Brandon Broadwater had a habit of letting us out for meals later and later each day. The first day we ate lunch around 12:45, the second day 2:30 and the last day my pregnant sister came home around 3:30 (I didn’t stick around for the 3rd day). Dinner times were likewise pushed to very late hours and the event went late into the night (from about 9-10 every night). Not only did this make attendants tired and less clear headed, but it also left little to no room for discussing things with my spouse.
Nine: Right after lunch on the first day we were told to sit beside a new partner preferably someone we didn’t know. I didn’t like this (and so I ignored it most of the time) because I like discussing things with someone I know, it helps me go deeper and really check the things I was hearing. The few times I did pick a new partner, I found myself either having a superficial discussion, or I would ask them about how they were feeling about the event ect. . .
Ten: Brandon wisely stopped what he was sharing and often asked us to discuss what we were hearing with our partners (usually someone we didn’t really know). Unfortunately, these discussions always took place with very very very loud music playing in the background. I really didn’t get much out of these ‘discussions’ because of that, and left me feeling slightly ’empty’.
Eleven: On the second night, after a very long day Brandon Broadwater led us through a ‘meditation’ type experience. He turned off the lights, told us to get comfortable for the next activity that would last about 50 minutes. He then started getting us to relax, meditate and other ‘meditation’ type activities. About half way through the meditation he started to paint a picture of how awful our life would be if we followed our ‘hyena’ self by ignoring all that we learned in the workshop. Basically our life was going to be hell, our family would hate us, we would stink at our job, people would avoid us and basically we would be miserable. The music he used was anxious, intense, dark pounding music-pounding like war music. Brandon then changed the music to be soft uplifting music as he then walked us through how our life would be if we followed the ‘Lion’ within and proceeded to get and follow higher learning. We would be rich, our kids would be happy, our marriage amazing and everyone would love us. In this amazing time of our life he told us to pinpoint the time in our life that caused this amazing change in our lives. This change all began (so the voice told us) because of this event that we were currently at. He then pulled us out of the meditation with a rousing “You did it. It was all because of YOU!!!”. Beyond the obvious upselling he was trying to set the groundwork for, I was concerned about the fact that he did this activity at the end of the day when people were so tired, that he used music to play with our emotions. I saw more than a few people wiping away their tears at the end. This was the highlight of the weekend for a few people. One even went home and read Alma’s account of facing what was in store for him if he didn’t repent. I also noticed a lot of wide eyes and discerning expressions as people left the room.
I was grateful for the activity because during the Hyena scene I sat up and asked my husband quietly “Do you really think that this tool or activity could lead someone to Christ?” A few of the attendee’s were obviously not LDS and I was open to different tools being used to teach truth. As I seriously pondered this with the dark scary music blaring in my ear I realized for the first time that I did not feel the Holy Ghost there. I didn’t feel dark, or like the event was evil (though some of the people who attended did), but I did noticeably feel the lack of the spirit. I realized then, that though I enjoyed all that I was learning and hearing (so much so that I didn’t even feel hungry until he told us it was lunch time) that I didn’t enjoy that exhilarating feeling I get when I am being taught by the spirit. Even when Brandon was able to pull a heart-wrenching story out of a few of the participants (stories that made me cry) I still felt a lack of the spirit-it was as if he was using the adversaries tools to do what he thought was good and righteous. That meditation help me view the whole weekend in a different way. I don’t think the adversary cares really what side of the war you are fighting, as long as you are using his tools, he is winning.
Twelve: Brandon Broadwater called this event “High Laws Seminar-The answer to everything”. I found this slightly disturbing since he was LDS and knew that the real answer to everything was Faith in Christ. Only once was Christ mentioned while I was there and that was in a very detached way and only briefly. From the beginning, Brandon Broadwater kept saying that his seminar was better than the other ‘money making’ seminars because they only focused on the money side of life. Brandon would then assert that his seminar was all encompassing and was the ‘whole enchilada’. That bugged me because he and I both know that as good as his stuff is, unless he is teaching the gospel, it is not and can not be ‘the whole enchilada’.
Lastly, at least for now, and perhaps the most disturbing thing I noticed at this event was that there were at least 4 single, older ladies who all struggled to make ends meet. By the end of the third day, I know at least two of these ladies ended up signing up for his 12k dollar seminar package, paying 80 dollars a week. These two ladies did not have time to ponder this decision, they were both lonely and vulnerable. Brandon Broadwater kept saying “you can tell something is real by their results”, if this is true, persuading, allowing two old ladies to sign up for something they might not even live to attend is not good fruits. To their credit, the contract did say that nobody owed anything if they pass (I assume that means die) and that they had three business days to cancel their contract. Thankfully, after a concerned friend called to let them know of that clause they gratefully canceled their contract (which only could be done with a letter in writing to head quarters).
Now that it is time to write what I like about this seminar, I find myself feeling tired. The reality of what I have written, all those little things that were not in themselves bad, put together make the whole event seem worse than I felt it was at the time. At the time, until the meditation, I was enjoying myself. I wrote pages and pages of quotes, and had a few ‘ahah’ moments (but not spiritual ‘ahah’. Some of his material was amazing. At one time, just before the meditation, I was strongly encouraging my husband to go to his next seminars even though I was sure they would be expensive. I didn’t mind the price because I thought the quality of most of the material was amazing and Brandon Broadwater was a masterful presenter.
After the meditation I only went for an hour the next day. Brandon Broadwater was talking about relationships. He was doing a great job and his content was awesome. Half the room was empty (probably because of the meditation) and he was hilarious. I tried to enjoy myself, and when Brandon made a joke specifically for my benefit I tried to smile. I left before the ‘big sell’-which lasted an hour around lunch and resulted in many sign ups. It was hard to take anything he said seriously, and even if he was sharing 90 % truth and great material, I felt a little like I had been tricked into eating a bit of dog poop.