What do graduates of CMA’s Elite Development course get to enjoy? What “divine bliss” do they experience? Besides their color-coded lanyards, certificates, lighter bank balances and of course seeing “proof of God”?
Well, CMA spare no expense by celebrating their student body’s achievement with a fireworks display on Heavenly Mountain; where chairman Christopher Hartnett lives close to the CMA chapel.
New graduates, CMA higher-ups, and Elite weekend helpers attend the displays together. Notably, I don’t have any photos of MJD himself enjoying the show.
For some reason attendees often wear glowing neon rings and other light-up adornments while watching the fireworks arc high into the nighttime sky.
No graduate photos arm-in-arm with their revered MJD, smiling proudly. No groupshot of happy graduates shared to promote CMA’s “world renowned secret knowledge” lectures.
Fireworks are not just for celebrating at Elite weekends, they appear to be brought out at other times when Hartnett and company desire.
Though enjoyed by those in attendance, these events are appropriately suited to the fatuous and wasteful Elite Development courses.
Since around 2020 these firework displays seem to be the only occasions where photos/videos are permitted by CMA. It was not always like this. Though rare, photos before 2020 included joyous moments at graduation ceremonies, gatherings at the chapel and receiving certificates from MJD:
But firework photos are more shareable than photos like these. Everyone understands and knows fireworks. Firework photos and videos attract fewer questions than photos of a man wearing a garland of flowers, surrounded by admirers whom he hands certificates to inside a golden chapel.
The fireworks used are clearly powerful, expensive and numerous and give a considerable display, necessitating CMA to have a “fireworks clean-up” team ready. The wider Heavenly Mountain community advertises itself as a place of ‘peace’ and “rejuvenating tranquility”. The impact on surrounding homes can’t be ignored.
‘Magic’, “angel celebrations”, “gratitude fireworks” are some of the words CMA people use to describe the displays.
Do nearby Heavenly Mountain residents get to enjoy the show too or are they negatively impacted?
Audri and James (Jim) Lanford were a married couple, Heavenly Mountain residents and influential higher-ups in CMA before their untimely deaths on 30 May 2018. I haven’t mentioned them before, so today I’m examining their CMA links and the uncommon circumstances of their deaths.
Indulge me writing some background information before relevance to CMA is more obvious. This turned out as my longest post so far.
Click here if you wish to jump to the deaths section.
Audri has been a pioneer in the fields of nutritional supplements, digital marketing, crowdfunding, going paperless, and has built more than a dozen entrepreneurial businesses, including an Inc. 500 company.
KillerStartups.com describes Audri and her husband Jim as: “A husband/wife team with killer credentials. Basically, they’re… two super smart humans who have a lot of experience with small business.”
Audri appears to have been the most important of the pair and obtained a Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford. Jim is said to have made software for the “Spartan 1 Space Shuttle Ground Station” but I haven’t been able to verify that.
They both had history in scientific research and technical writing:
Their first business was Micro Dynamics in 1985, an early document digitalization service. After that in 1994 came NETrageous the first of a sucession of various digital marketing companies.
By the late-90s they were mainly known for founding scambusters.org, self-described as “the #1 publication on Internet fraud“. Over the years Audri was quoted many times in reports warning about scams, for example:
By now, the Lanford’s scientific background was replaced by the profit motive and expertise in marketing, advertising, publishing and mailing lists, all centered on the increasing popularity of the Internet.
It’s sad their knowledge of scams came in useful years later, when they took on influential but chiefly background roles in a scam church.
This is well illustrated and explained in these pages from a 39-page “New Special Confidential Report” direct marketing pamphlet the Lanfords published in 1998:
I don’t know if CMA chairman Christopher Hartnett ever read a Lanford sales pitch but it perfectly illustrates the kind of humbug they put out. I can imagine Hartnett reading it, nodding his head saying “We need this”. The excessive length and detail, references to “exponential growth” and teleconferences would’ve attracted Hartnett like a fish to water.
The dubious use of the word “confidential” is of course an old lowbrow marketing technique, just like MJD promoting his “secret knowledge” in teleseminars. The word ‘secret’ appears in the 272-page PDF 54 times.
The practical and theoretical knowledge they had in scams and marketing were unfortunately perfect skillsets for creating and promoting just the kind of unethical business scambusters.org had worked against for many years. Their fate was sealed once they entered the orbit of MJD and Hartnett keen to grow CMA. The Lanfords must have known CMA and MJD were full of lies and baseless claims to catch susceptible people. But it’s easy to convince yourself you’re doing something good if it’s making you money.
Ironically the Lanfords said Scambusters was “a service that helps individuals and small businesses protect themselves from Internet scams, viruses, and hoaxes“. Who’d have predicted in their last act before their death, they would be aiding a hoaxer who says he can protect people from biological viruses?
It’s a shame the Lanfords ended up helping to create a bogus church, and shilling snake-oil health supplements for Master John Douglas. I don’t know when or how they met MJD but certainly it was by 2012 and likely via a longer friendship with Christopher Hartnett.
Here are the Lanfords socializing at a 2015 Thanksgiving dinner in the company of MJD, Hartnett and some other core CMA associates:
Nor can I answer for sure how the Lanfords and Hartnett met but there are strong clues it was thanks to a mutual interest in transcendental meditation (TM).
This is evidenced in a study Audri contributed to Dec 1982 – Jan 1983 which sought to confirm TM meditation has detectable global effects. E.g. “simultaneous rise in stock indices in all countries” and “increased calming influence in the world’s trouble spots”. Similiar to a “world consciousness shift” CMA claimed MJD caused on 10 February 2018, though of course the truth was he did nothing.
The study was “The influence of the Maharishi technology of the Unified Field on world events and global social indicators: the effects of the taste of utopia assembly“. Details in this PDF for the interested reader. Relevant extracts:
Clear evidence as early as 1982 Audri was using her scientific skills for the benefit of Hartnett’s idol Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and was even considered one of the most experienced “Maharishi Effect” researchers around. The experiment took place in Fairfield, Iowa – a place Hartnett knew well having attended the Maharishi International University there.
Australian Digestive Excellence
This is an exploration of the “nutritional supplements” mentioned on Audri’s LinkedIn, the most public of the Lanfords’ CMA association.
Audri and Jim had no experience in health and nutrition but that didn’t stop them from forming the Boone-registered Excellent Purity Corp with a certain “John Douglas” of Australia. He and themselves were listed as executives.
Excellent Purity’s only product was the Australian Digestive Excellence (ADE) supplement and probiotic capsules. A “unique, proprietary blend of special herbs designed to promote your digestive health”.
Probiotics are live microorganisms promoted with claims that they provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora.
Although numerous claimed benefits are marketed towards using consumer probiotic products, such as reducing gastrointestinal discomfort, improving immune health, relieving constipation, or avoiding the common cold, such claims are not supported by scientific evidence, and are prohibited as deceptive advertising in the United States by the Federal Trade Commission.
CMA and ADE occasionally shared each other’s posts. But what exactly does ADE have to do with CMA or MJD? Well, their improbable claim is MJD was the formulator of ADE:
“Designed and perfected in Australia for over 17 years.” 17 years! This must have been MJD’s hobby when he wasn’t busy being a “world renowned theologian, prophetic minister, spiritual healer and extraordinary teacher”. It went on sale in 2016 but in USA only.
Strangely, on ADE’s social media and website there is not a single quote from MJD. Did ADE feel endorsement from a man who pretended to communicate with angels to kill viruses might hurt their business? Doubly strange considering he’s a director of the parent company.
And MJD himself was lowkey about his miracle concoction that boasted “results so astoundingly successful that it was his dream to share his formula with the world”. I can find only this tiny photo of MJD pictured with the product:
To reiterate: this man supposedly spent 17 years perfecting this product, capable of relieving all manner of conditions digestive and non-digestive. And once it was finally produced for the benefit of the world, he’s happy to be photographed in this single low quality picture in which he’s not even looking at the camera. Even for MJD this is laughable.
Most of the promo was rooted in Audri Lanford’s old-fashioned marketing and copywriting spiel. She wrote an excessively long ADE “report” document in the same style as her 1990s example I shared above. It’s too long to include here in full but can be read on archive.org. Audri uses every trick in her book to convince readers to buy an ADE package for $149 (!):
It ends with a CMA-like disclaimer “You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.” But at least ADE had a money-back guarantee – something the Master Angels never offer!
ADE wasn’t the only “health” product sold by CMA or MJD’s old site spirit-repair.com but it was by far the most promoted.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the ADE story is a December 2017 interview Audri and MJD did with Jeff Rense, a radio host I’d never heard of. His website is one of the worst I’ve ever seen and I don’t just mean the design. Dodgy health products, ads and conspiracy theories clutter every part of the screen. Anyone interested can search for it.
The interview is essentially a 46-minute promotion of ADE but what’s new is we get to hear MJD speaking about something besides angels, “the truth of matter” and the usual nonsense. What MJD doesn’t say is significant: no mention of CMA or his “powers”. But even in absence of those fairytales, not once does Rense challenge his guests’ wild claims about ADE, but is wholeheartedly enthusiastic about it.
The interview is worth listening to for MJD’s circuitous origin story of the ADE formula and to hear the general backslapping of three people trying to sell a product which does nothing.
MJD’s story would have more credibilty if he said he woke up in Lilliput whereupon he received from the Wizard of Oz the keys to Fort Knox where a flying carpet took him to Atlantis to discover Australian Digestive Excellence springing from geysers.
It’s available in an unlisted video on the official ADE YouTube channel (clips follow):
Rense: Australian Digestive Excellence … I never thought I’d see a product like this, it’s really brilliant …
Rense: … John by sound of your accent you’re not in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
MJD: No I actually am … I have some business interests now in this wonderful land of yours and I think I’m an adopted son by now.
Audri: The story really starts with John and some of the background of how he got involved, he’s the brilliant person behind the formulation.
MJD: Oh thank you Audri (laughs)
Rense: … the formulation I would call probably as unique as it can get.
“Business interests”? I guess that’s how he’s referring to the Church of Master Angels. At no point in this interview does “John” think it’s worth mentioning he can commune with angels and thereby kill viruses and all manner of diseases in the body, including the digestive system. Audri says John is the “brilliant” person behind ADE but the origin story given by MJD contradicts that:
MJD: I’m not a qualified healthcare professional by any means, um, I came about this formula from a magical experience I had in my mid-20s … I was working for a large transportation company at a very young age. 9 black coffees a day, working 12-15 hours a day trying to make my name. I had haemorrhage in my stomach lining and also developed Crohn’s disease.
Rense: Sounds like mass ulceration … wore away from the stress and acid.
MJD: Totally right. A lot of people have that weakness … including the tone of the intestine that no-one, even professionals talk about. And these are the secrets I found from this wonderful person who treated me.
[Talk about his treatment in hospital, vets and prednisone.]
MJD: I came across a friend who had been seeing some naturopath that was well-liked. This person ended up being one of those great visionaries you meet, with a deep spiritual connection to the whole plant kingdom. He’d been trained in herbal medicine before World War 2. He said to me “I’ll make you a formula that will not just bring you back but give you vitality and help you build up the blood you lost … I know exactly what you need.”
MJD: … From the first day Jeff, I just felt this change in my stomach, torso, well-being. Even my brain and nerves felt better … I recovered wonderfully. I could tolerate things I couldn’t tolerate. I thought this guy’s onto something, this should really be known about.
MJD: I decided to leave my job at that time. The rat race wasn’t for me. I ended up working as his receptionist. That’s when Doctor Ted’s magic opened up for me. I saw people with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, IBS, discomfort, everything, coming in using the supplements for a couple of weeks, coming back for their follow-up; Jeff they were well. They were literally happy, well and telling me how good they felt …
MJD: I kept this in my mind for all those years then many years later other business interests brought me to the United States, this magnificent country of yours I love. I was walking along Santa Monica pier with Audri Lanford and had one of those intuitive moments: the world needs to know this, the US needs to have this.
MJD: … All sorts of people are treating intestinal disorders with diets. When you talk to people they’re not really well. They feel better because they’re not eating much. Anyone whose clothes start hanging off them feels better.
Rense: That’s true.
“Not a qualified health professional” but typically he speaks at length like he knows better than anyone else. We get some MJD biographical details more down to earth compared to what CMA gives us. But is any of it true?
Turns out MJD wasn’t actually the original formulator, but a mysterious “Doctor Ted” was. Ted short for Theodore of course. Who is “Dr Ted”? Did he really exist or has MJD conjured an amalgamation of himself and a person he wishes he was? Is there a part of Christopher Hartnett in “Ted”? Certainly MJD is a fantasist. The formulator of ADE is as nebulous as ever.
ADE marketing didn’t mention Dr Ted once, instead pushing the unlikely idea “John” spent 17 years developing it and having “remarkable results with his clients”, falsely implying he was a health practitioner.
Much like how MJD shifts responsibility for his fake healings onto imaginary angels, he shifts responsibility for ADE’s creation to an imaginary doctor. In his mind he can’t be held ultimately liable for anything. Like Hartnett, he has no personal responsibilty.
“Anyone whose clothes start hanging off them feels better“. What.
Later, MJD talks about ADE’s connection with a familiar topic, killing parasites:
Dr Ted revealed to me the parasite problem is bigger than we all know. There are literally millions not discovered. He used the formula that we’ve included in our mixture that was very powerful across the whole spectrum of parasites … this three, four herb mix is very powerful to kill pretty much every nematode.
I had first hand experience way back then watching people prescribed the parasite herb for conditions like MS and Parkinson’s. I saw these people coming off interferon therapy, I saw their lesions go after 6 months. I saw all kinds of arresting of the progression of those conditions by having the parasites killed in their body.
So Dr Ted revealed a lot of interesting truths to me that no other practitioner was privy to at the time …. he understood ulcerative colitis always had a parasitic component. As did Crohn’s and IBS.
The food practices we have, the corporatization of food lends it to that.
MJD has assigned to “Dr Ted” and his magical herbs the same abilities and insights he himself pretends he has thanks to the “Master Angels”. The talk of nematodes and parasites unknown to science would be rehashed in 2020 for his coronavirus lies. But in this interview, MJD keeps to himself all the talk about angels and his “complete clairvoyant activation”. Incredibly, he doesn’t think it relevant or that Rense, a conspiracy theorist, would be interested to know his guest possesses the very same powers as the herbs thanks to his “higher faculties of remote scanning”!
MJD is using the “Dr Ted” character as an earthly stand-in for himself. The herbs and formulas are the equivalent of MJD’s angelic superpowers. Like his MJD/CMA-guise he’s presenting himself as communicator and owner of secret knowledge and special powers to cure all manner of issues. But it’s even more unbelievable here: herbs curing MS and Parkinson’s!?
MJD’s central fantasy is converted to a different lie better suited to selling a health drink to a non-CMA audience. Baseless, egotistical claptrap spoken by a shyster who knows he won’t be challenged on it. And at no point does Audri speak up about this nonsense.
MJD: I’m talking about things like chamomile which is known to be a mucas smoother and strengthener of the sympathetic nervous system.
We have licorice root which is again an adaptogen that strengthens the cells of the intestine lining.
Marshmallow root that builds up the mucas lining. We have withania ashwagandha which is an ancient Indian herb which Ted used to give me. Once I took ashwagandha I had this incredible increase in presence and brain power because those intestinal nerves really got jacked up and stronger.
Wikipedia on ‘adaptogens’:
The term is currently not accepted in pharmacological, physiological, or mainstream clinical practices in the European Union as it requires further studies and more data. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2013 to a Washington-based company for illegal advertising and false health claims concerning use of the word “adaptogen” for one of its products.
Although thought to be useful as a medicinal herb in Ayurveda and sold in many countries as a dietary supplement, there is insufficient scientific evidence that it is safe or effective for treating any disease.
MJD makes the unbelievable claim his “brain power” increased thanks to this herb “jacking up” his intestines, and implies ADE will do the same. Again, Audri remains silent.
In my final clip Audri indirectly provides an explanation why CMA’s Elite course states “no pork, no shellfish”:
Audri: So many people think “Oh there’s no way I can have parasites …” The answer is if you have a dog, if you’ve ever eaten pork, shellfish, there’s so many ways in day to day living you can get all of these things.
Jeff: Cat box in the house, that’s another one.
Audri: We hope all our listeners here are interested in making a difference in your life and getting back your life. So we’re so happy to be here and get to share this info.
MJD: Thank you Jeff, you’re a man too of my own heart, I really love the work you do and I’ve been following you for a number of years, thank you for the service you give to everyone.
Jeff: Thank you John that’s very kind of you.
Despite MJD earlier saying there’s no need to cut out certain foods from your diet, pork and shellfish must be an exception due to their high risk of “parasites”. MJD and Audri missed a golden marketing tie-in by not making ADE consumption compulsory for Elite application.
At no point do they simply say don’t eat undercooked food.
International orders for ADE finally became available for Australia, New Zealand and Canada in late 2019, just months before production ceased without explanation. Prices of remaining stock were promptly cut from $49.97 to $10 per bottle. On CMA’s site the price was now just $5.
Perhaps ADE ended because its purpose overlapped with CMA’s magical “food repair disks” which “help God kill the unseen animals in food”:
It’s curious the shutdown was met with indifference, for a supposedly amazing product. Almost as if the product was without merit and nobody bought it.
Australian Digestive Excellence was a failure.
30 May 2018 deaths
On 30 May 2018 Audri and Jim were found dead among the debris of their destroyed home by emergency services responding to a 911 call of an explosion.
Their house was less than 2000ft from the CMA chapel which chairman Christopher Hartnett lives close to.
After an investigation by Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and other departments and agencies, the timeline of events was detailed in a June 4 press release.
Midday on May 30, the Lanfords discovered a landslide had occured to the immediate rear of their property affecting their liquid petroleum gas tank regulator.
Around 2:30pm a strong gas smell was detected in the vicinity of their house. At 4:30pm Jim phoned Suburban Propane and they assisted him in turning off the supply to the tank. Also around this time the Lanfords ventilated the house in an effort to remove the fumes.
Around 5:08pm the power to a backup water heater was switched on.
At 5:11pm 911 received a call from an area resident. Per Watauga Democrat, June 1:
Caller: The house exploded. I’m still trying to determine if anybody is home.
Dispatch: The entire house … like it was an explosion?
Caller: Yeah, a large portion of it exploded. It smells kind of like fireworks to be honest with you.
The caller said he didn’t see a fire but there was extensive damage.
At 5:15pm emergency responders were sent to the scene where they remained until the evening. The bodies of Audri and Jim were found amongst the rubble of their home.
Sheriff Len Hagaman’s press release continued:
“Due to the complexity of the investigation, unstable conditions, and complications of severe weather; the investigation was lengthy. There have been many theories and much speculation about how this tragedy occurred. The above listed timeline was established based on the evidence and facts uncovered during the investigation.”