Getting Clear of Dodgy Gurus (My Experience with John de Ruiter)

Kephas's picture

Average: 4.7 (15 votes)

Hi everyone

I recently completed a book covering my two years following Canadian guru John de Ruiter. I hope to publish later this year or early 2012.

A bit about myself. I was raised an atheist and never had much interest in “spirituality”—much less gurus—especially when as a teenager my stepfather joined the Rajneesh community and came back glassy-eyed and dressed in maroon. In my early twenties, however, I developed an interest in occultism and traveled around the world, mostly in Latin America where I apprenticed under a shaman. I have published several books between 1999 and the present, under various different names, and in the past few years my interests as a writer have moved more and more into psychology.

I first heard about de Ruiter in 2008 and was skeptical. Immediately after, I had a powerful, seemingly paranormal dream experience of/with him, and soon after that he came to London, where I was living at the time. I attended a meeting, was convinced at once that he was “the real deal,” and became a devout follower (though I never moved to Edmonton). I moved to Canada to live with a woman whom I later married, the same person who had first told me about de Ruiter, and was still a devout follower of his teachings.

Long story short, after two years trying to live his teachings and turn myself into the perfect de Ruiter clone, some outside interventions lead me to look more closely at my blind devotion to this man, and also at the man himself and his behind the scenes antics. I eventually came to realize—through talking to as many people as I could, including people who had known him in the past—that, although de Ruiter was not a con-man and seemed to genuinely believe in his status as a “living embodiment of truth,” he was a deeply deluded individual who was creating a kind of psychic dependency among his followers, and as such, leading them into slavery, not freedom.

That’s a very rough summation, by way of introduction. The reason I came to this forum is because I’d like to make contact with the people who are the potential audience for my book, it being one thing of value that has come out of all this. I now see that I went into de Ruiter’s community (and entered his reality tunnel) as an “undercover agent,” a method journalist who needed to find out how cults really work, and so had to succumb to cult mentality myself. At least, that’s how I prefer to look at it now, because it was an extremely educational experience, and it did give me a much deeper understanding, not only of how personality cults work, but of my own susceptibility to idealize external figures and hand over my power to define what’s true, for me, to another person. It’s that same tendency, which I now think exists in all of us, which allows cults to come about.

Kephas's picture

I couldn't quite fit everything in, so here's the rest;

My process isn’t yet over, because not just writing but publishing the book is all part of it, of my catharsis and de-programming. One of the hardest parts of it has been not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, not to become cynical or embittered about spiritual truths and teachers. When we succumb to a guru or charismatic personality, it’s like when we fall in love: we are hooking into someone (or letting them hook into us) with a very deep part of us. So no matter how much we may come to our senses and see the person we gave ourselves to as unworthy, there usually remains a deeper part of us that is still holding on, that simply won’t listen to “reason” or common sense. In the same way, if we end up hating the person we were once in love with, we remain bound to them by that hatred (which is really just love turned sour). I think there’s a deep emotional and psychological need in all of us that responds to gurus, or anyone we choose to give ourselves to in a compulsive and un-thought-out way, and that need is like a wound that has to be tended if we are ever going to be free of the harmful influence of others. In that sense, falling for a “cult” or idealized guru figure (like falling in love with the “wrong” person) can be a liberating, psychologically healing process. For me I think it has been—or is slowly becoming—but only so far as I am willing to recognize my own responsibility for being duped, instead of taking the easier route of blaming the guru (or the wife), and assuming the role of victim.

Anyway, that’s my story, or rather a glimpse into it. What I’d really like to know is what others think and to get a clearer sense of my readership for this book. I would like very much for it to reach its proper audience, after all the work—the pain and humiliation, and the satisfaction of realization—that has gone into it. I’d also like to hear of anyone else’s impressions of de Ruiter, or of the ways in which you have come to know yourselves better by falling under the spell of untrustworthy teachers, etc.

There’s a saying that a people gets the government it deserves. Perhaps the same may be true of followers and gurus…? Symptoms aren’t the disease—but they can point the way to a diagnosis.



The truth that will set us free is usually the truth that we don't want to hear.

Kephas | Sat, 10/29/2011 - 05:34
no body's picture

Love is never the problem

I am grateful for how you seem to take partial responsibility for your experience.
The cult argument is such a weak one from my perspective. People throw it around to any gathering of like minded people. It really distorts when there is a cult that could be dangerous.
Society is a cult. People are blind to how they are influenced by the media etc. and think they have freedom of choice as they move automatically through the world doing exactly what everyone else is doing.
Then a teacher like John comes around and offers an alternative to the zombie life and people jump up accusingly. It has happened historically time and again. Do we not learn from the many that have been murdered in the name of truth.
Sound advice would be to take it or leave it.
Creating a fuss against someone is simply wrong unless they are actually doing harm. And I do not mean hurt feelings.
You can always tell slander(I do not necessarily mean you but others opinions) by the very low vibration of the statements. Falling back on insults because there is no foot holding to stand on.
I just don't get it.
Don't take this personally but this whole forum on John right up to the person who posted the very biased biography is from the start created with ill intent and I had to speak up about that.

no body | Thu, 12/01/2011 - 18:45
Isayah's picture

Danger Danger

I have an employee that is ever on the brink of dismissal due to a large part in how his following of JDR's 'teachings' affect negatively on his work performance, interpersonal relationships, and inability to follow sensible and logical directions at the workplace. He is now attending his first trip to the 'Institute' in Edmonton, and we hope he returns with his sensibility intact and feet firmly re-planted on ground....or he will be the mastermind of his own demise (aka. terminated).

JDR is unequivocally DANGEROUS because his synergy of delusion and charisma is the perfect feast for weakened, confused, or damaged souls.

The danger lies in how he is able to cause these individuals to lose friends, strain relationships, or even to lose their jobs, for the sake of seeking the 'truth' at all costs.

I live this everyday and have done all I can to help my employee, short of organizing an intervention. You can not help those that won't help themselves, especially if they insist that they have no problem. This almost sounds like someone with a substance dependency, but in this case, it is a 'spiritual' dependency.

While JDR enjoys the high life and the trappings of being worshipped, he leaves a path of further-broken individuals, lost even deeper than they once were.....alone, without meaningful attachments, and rejecting all that is spiritually good that is around them.

Isayah | Fri, 04/06/2012 - 07:58
Isayah's picture


....this employee is lost to JDR.

Upon returning from Edmonton, he resigned. The only thing 'spiritual' about this entire 3 year ordeal, was that 'it was meant to be' for him to eventually either quit or be terminated.

The 'safety' of a hundred like-minded strangers, was more of a draw than the 'threat' of cautions from all those close to him who were looking out for his best interests. Shame.

Just like clock-work, he has managed to repeat history yet again: by self-sabotaging potentially good friendships, a place of employment that he loves, never resolving critical family issues that are the crux of his needy 'searching'.....all the while, declaring to himself that his sad failures are a victory, essentially wearing scars as trophies.

Sadly, this sums up this individual:

"A fool despises good counsel, but a wise man takes it to heart". - Confucious

Isayah | Wed, 05/02/2012 - 07:33
david's picture

I agree

Hi Jason, this was an incredible text you wrote and I can relate to your insight about de Ruiter. I attended a few stasangs of him and apart of his special performance (the gazing in the eyes, the robot movement and so on), I found his "philosophy" quite confused and artificial. I was always puzzled by the fact that there are people who buy his words. Truth is so simple (not simplistic as some Neo Advaitans tend to believe) that sometimes even the mind can't relate to it but there is something in the heart, some intuition-based compass, that signals you that what you hear is probable as depicting reality. This strong sensation that was very strong with Osho, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Krishnamurti and others was never there when I heard the words of de Ruiter.

AS you wrote yourself, recognizing that de Reuiter is bogus does not mean that all the other gurus and teachers are bogus and does not imply to abandon the use of support of external gurus (as some rush to argue). On the contrary, growing from the realization that your guru is false, gives you tools to identify the real ones.

I would recommend you to post this text as a pro/con opinion in his guru profile here ( so that others can benefit from your experience and conclusions.

I'm curious to hear more of your experiences with him.

david | Sat, 10/29/2011 - 08:46
Kephas's picture


Hi David

that's quite a freaky avatar you have there.

OK I have posted something at the JdR page, thanks for the tip. I may add to the bio later on also.

I'll definitely share more about JdR here over the next few days and weeks, as well as let you know when the book's out.

I much appreciate the interest.


The truth that will set us free is usually the truth that we don't want to hear.

Kephas | Sat, 10/29/2011 - 11:19
avi's picture

I could never understand the

I could never understand the appeal of this man. Could never relate to his talks.

avi | Thu, 11/03/2011 - 19:32
Kephas's picture

energy blast

did you ever listen in person; it makes all the difference...

Kephas | Sat, 11/05/2011 - 01:26
avi's picture

I did several times, and

I did several times, and indeed it made all the difference: my doubts were clear, I was now convinced that what he says has nothing to do with reality, that it hasn't got that spark, that unique and inexplicable footprint that says this is true even if I don't understand it.

avi | Wed, 11/09/2011 - 18:30
Isha's picture

Priests are also gurus

People have many problems with gurus, being refused to be treated and acknowledged abused infront of all the other aspirants many by the aspirants themselves and the big men runing the affairs of the guru abuse the poor person ignored in the face of death with kundalini syndrome.
There are also priest like Augustine Vallooran at the the Divine Rrtreat Center who abuse women and children. These are the same as 'gurus! in India'. This place is another Sodom and Gomorrah. Good looking people are abused verbally and sexually by flamboyant flirty priests.
Also, the 'child slave trade' is rampant in orphanages and 'ashrams' like these where children are sold off and the priests live off 'suckers' who suck them rather than believe in God and give money lifelong for the free salve child in there home rather than be parent to the child and use the money for their upbringing and education etc. Abused in all sorts of ways trapped with no where to go or turn to is a very sad. This priest abused me in front of all the other 'brain washed' people the very first time I discovered this place in Kerala.

Isha | Thu, 11/01/2012 - 17:27
marianvq's picture

a story around John de Ruiter

This is narrativa that tells my story and the conduct of John de Ruiter:

marianvq | Thu, 06/27/2013 - 15:10