Let's put it all out in the open...

What really goes down at Gratitude Training? 
Rituals, brainwashing, manipulations, isolations?

Did you find this site by typing in 'Gratitude Training Cult' into Google? Great! Thank you for doing your research. Since our entire curriculum is founded in supporting people to exercise critical thinking, you are already ahead of the curve!

We are aware that there are a few people - some that have actually completed a training with us and others that have not - who had an adverse experience of the Gratitude Training and has utilized cult forums on the internet to share this experience. 

Their 'testimonials', even if only a handful, show up at the top of search engines. Therefore, we feel it is our duty to respond to a simple question: Is Gratitude Training a cult?

Excerpts from Jo Englesson's Facebook Live show. The founder of Gratitude Training talks about Cults vs Communities and addresses the question: Is Gratitude Training a cult?

To view the full 30 minute show click here.

"I think we have all gotten a lesson in the era of "Fake News" that it is up to us as leaders to find the heartfelt answer for ourselves through critical thinking and research.

Who do you trust? A family member/good friend or a stranger?"

- Jo Englesson (Gratitude Training Founder)

Well, the answer is decide! 

The term "cult" is confusing because it is ambiguous — infused with a variety of meanings depending on who uses it — and for which purpose it is used. The usage of the term will often tell you more about the beliefs of the person using it than those being described by it. Not all groups that could in one way or another be defined, sociologically, as cults are necessarily destructive. For instance, not every high-demand group requires its members to cut off normal contact with friends and family. A good initial check is to ask, how does Gratitude Training impact a person’s health, wealth and/or personal relationships?

Depending on the definition of the one using the word, Gratitude Training may or may not be a cult. The vision of all those who are drawn to Gratitude Training are similar. The diehards outside the company are said to be a “part of the Gratitude Community”. The diehards inside the company are said to be a “part of Gratitude Training and Jo Englesson's vision”. Their symbols are different but their devotion to the cause is the same: to make a profound difference in the world.

If we neutrally look upon the word “cult” we can simply recognize that there is a deep faith...something irrational that all those who believe in the trainings share. And, we’d be right. Jo Englesson, Gratitude Training, the employees and loyal graduates all exist to push the boundaries. They all fancy a good revolution.

Just because Gratitude Training’s “why” is so clear does not mean that everyone is drawn to it. Some people like us and some people don’t. Some people embrace us and some people are repelled by us. But, it cannot be denied we stand for something: Love and Gratitude for all.

I am committed to creating a world that is peaceful, joyous, and filled with gratitude. A world where my son & daughter will grow up excited to be alive and be a contribution to their surrounding. Today our world looks different than what my vision holds. We have shootings, terror attacks, and wars. We are living in a very uncertain political environment - here in the U.S. and in other countries as well.  

Let's work together to begin a movement where we become the catalysts for change to occur. We all have everything it takes to transform our lives and, as a result the world. Everything we do matters, we all matter. The fundamental idea is to begin to operate from: "The way I am and what I do will have a profound impact everywhere."  

The tools provided at the Gratitude Training will empower individuals to be leaders, not followers. Our training heavily emphasize critical thinking and what we call "out of the box" thinking. The training asks you to find your answers within rather than "planting" an ideology or belief.

In a modern sense the Gratitude Training is a cult as it questions the status quo and pushes the buttons of societal conformity, all with a commitment to generate peace, harmony and love.

My invitation is not to "join us.". My invitation to you is simply: "do the training."


- Jo Englesson

10 reasons you may label Gratitude Training as a Cult

1. Own language  - effective communication
2. Common object or goal - world peace
3. Group of like minded individuals
4. Do things to shatter stories of what's "the norm"
5. Community-oriented
6. Shared values connected to love and unity
7. Believe some live life on automatic and others as intentional creators

8. Graduates want to be in service to new students

9. Graduates want to enroll everyone they know to do the training
10. We hug each other...a lot



Read the reviews written by graduates of the Gratitude Training. A few are negative yet hundreds are exceptionally positive.

Let's face it, unhappy customers are usually the most vocal in their criticism on the internet. Happy customers  talk to their family and friends. 

What is a Cult...really?
reproduced from

How is the word "cult" defined?


Webster's Dictionary defines a cult as:

1. A formal religious veneration

2. A system of religious beliefs and rituals also its body of adherents;

3. A religion regarded as "unorthodox or spurious.";

4. A system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator;

5. a: A great devotion to a person, idea, thing; esp.: such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad, b: A usually small circle of persons united by devotion or allegiance to an artistic or intellectual movement or figure.


This definition obviously could include everything from Barbie collectors to old "Deadheads," "Trekkies" to diehard Elvis fans. American history might also include within such a definition the devoted followers of Mary Baker Eddy the founder of Christian Science, or the Mormons united through their devotion to Joseph Smith. Both these religious groups were once largely regarded as "unorthodox or spurious." However, the most important concern today is not simply who might be somewhat "cultic" in their devotion now or historically, but what groups might represent potential problems regarding personal or public safety. That is, groups that are potentially unsafe and/or destructive.


Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who wrote the definitive book about thought reform (often called "brainwashing") also wrote a paper about cult formation. Lifton defined a cult as having the following three characteristics:

  1. A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power.

  2. A process [is in use] call[ed] coercive persuasion or thought reform.

  3. Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

Don't some groups once seen as "cults" often move more into the mainstream, becoming generally respected sects or religions?


Yes. There are certainly examples of groups that were once perhaps thought of as "cults" that have evolved into relatively mainstream sects or religions. Such examples as the Seventh Day Adventists once led by Ellen White, or the Mormons, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

But it is also important to note that some groups, which may have once been labeled as "cults" continue to be controversial due to their unsafe or destructive practices. Two examples of groups that continue to be problematic and often destructive are the former Russellites, now known as "Jehovah's Witnesses," that once prohibited organ transplants and still expects its members to refuse blood transfusions, which has resulted in numerous deaths. And the Christian Scientists founded by Mary Baker Eddy who often reject medical treatment, again resulting in the loss of life. Some groups may say they have renounced unsafe or destructive practices, only to be exposed later as guilty of the same extremes and abuses.

Can hate groups or political extremists be somewhat "cultic"?


Yes. Many anti-government extremists such as the so-called "militias" and hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, racist skinheads, some radical anti-abortion groups, the "Christian Identity" movement and often violent gangs, share many of the same characteristics as destructive cults; such as a "we they" mentality, black and white thinking and/or unreasonable fears about the outside world. And radical anti-government extremists and hate groups have at times isolated themselves in compounds or remote settings not unlike the Waco Davidians or Jim Jones' People's Temple.


It is important to note that historically there have also been many radical left-wing political groups such as the SLA that abducted Patty Hearst, or the National Labor Federation founded by Gino Perente, which exhibit these same cultic tendencies.

More recently the right-wing followers of Lyndon LaRouche appear to have obsessive, cult-like devotion to their leader and some have referred to this group as a "political cult".


Can some multi-level-marketing and commercial schemes be seen as somewhat cultic?


Yes, some commercially motivated groups stress total commitment, avoid answering critical questions and seem to employ "cult like" manipulative techniques to achieve what can be seen as undue influence. Though most lack the intense focus upon a central leader like a classic cult, I have received repeated complaints about alleged abuse within some commercial groups.

People considering multi-level-marketing need to research a company thoroughly and ask tough questions.

  1. Is the company about selling a product or selling its system of distribution? This can often be seen by the emphasis it places upon the importance of recruitment.

  2. What amount of the company's income is derived from promotional tools and/or percentages paid up the chain of distribution, as opposed to product sales?

  3. What is the actual net monthly income for the average distributor and the the typical number of hours devoted to achieve that income?


These are important common sense questions that should be clearly answered and objectively proven before becoming involved with any marketing and/or commercial sales group.

Are all so-called "cults" unsafe and destructive?


No. Just because a group is "cultic" and its adherents are focused on unusual leaders and/or ideas is no reason to call them unsafe or destructive. There are groups centered on seemingly strange spiritualists, radical political concepts, the supposed power of crystals, UFO's, witchcraft or "Satanism," that may appear eccentric, but most often don't harm anyone. An unsafe or destructive group is not defined by what it believes, but by what it does. That is, the behavior that causes harm and injury to the members of the group and/or others in society.

Do you ever find that complaints you receive about a group or person are false and/or unfounded?


Yes, there have been times that families have over-reacted to a group or situation that later proved to be benign and/or not dangerous or destructive. This has often occurred regarding claims about "Satanism" and/or so-called "Satanic ritual abuse". Such claims have often been based upon supposed "recovered or repressed memories" gathered through therapy sessions. This is a controversial practice and/or process that relies upon a theory, which has been increasingly rejected as unscientific and unproven in the courts and also rejected by many mental health professionals.

Again, it is crucial to understand that behavior is the issue and not belief. When those concerned about someone's group involvement find clearly destructive behavior, this is an issue for legitimate concern. But when a group is simply perceived as strange, eccentric and/or even personally repugnant, such as some adherents to "Satanism," this does not mean the group is destructive. Satanists, just as Christians, Jews and Moslems, have religious rights that are constitutionally protected. I have rarely found that the claims of horrific acts attributed to "Satanic" conspiracies can be objectively proven. And those destructive acts that were proven were rather examples of isolated and atypical groups. This has been substantiated again and again by law-enforcement reports and numerous studies.