Teen Mom 2 star Leah Messer is reportedly part of a controversial self-help group in California, according to Radar Online. The organization is called Mastery in Transformational Training, and has been accused of being a cult. Messer has made several social media posts recently referencing the group.
On Oct. 7, she posted a photo to Instagram of a group of friends with the caption, “A powerful, strong, trusting force we are! I love each and every single one of you!! You can count on my word! Each one of you have changed my life and we will forever be connected!! I AM A POWERFUL, CONNECTED, INSPIRATIONAL LEADER! I LOVE ALL OF YOU!”
One of the people tagged in the photo posted her own Instagram image that had Messer in it and was captioned “MITT 16 Heaven.” MITT is an acronym for Mastery in Transformational Training.
The training at MITT is based on that of a company called Lifespring, which is owned by John Hanley. The owner of MITT purchased the rights to his trainings from Hanley. Six people died while undergoing Lifespring training, including a man who was convinced to jump into a river even though he couldn’t swim. In another incident, a woman died after suffering an asthma attack and being denied treatment.
Last year, GQ’s Roscrans Baldwin joined MITT and wrote about the details of what the organization does. In one part, he describes a bizarre exercise he underwent. “Lights out, we kneeled on the ground while visualizing ourselves digging through a junkyard. The ‘garbage’ was broken promises: promises that had been made to us by our family and friends; promises we'd made to them and ourselves,” he wrote.
“Meanwhile, the staff played sappy songs by Cat Stevens and Whitney Houston at very loud volume to rock us weepy—they did this frequently to stoke our emotions—and on top of it all, Aunt Lydia would shout, Who promised to love you? Who promised to keep you safe? Maybe you were abused as a child! Maybe you were sexually abused! Who broke their promise to you? Keep digging! Slowly but surely, young women bawled. Old men rocked in place. A personal trainer pounded the floor with clenched fists.”
MITT offers three training sessions. The first is “The Basic Training,” which is a 5-day workshop for $495. The second is “The Advanced Course,” which costs $1,195. The final stage, “The Legacy Program,” is $1,595.