Liz Neuman is Third Sweat Lodge Victim to Die of Heat and Stupidity

The Arizona Sweat Lodge Body Count has climbed by one. Liz Neuman was a devoted follower of James Ray, the self-help flim-flam artist who was paid almost a half-million bucks to bake 60 people to near-death in a home made oven in the Arizona desert.

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And when Liz wasn’t buying fraudulent seminars and training sessions from James Ray, she was peddling Herbalife which utilizes a multi-level marketing scheme. Her online Meetup profile ironically said:

One of my favorite sayings is “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?“. I believe a positive attitude, low glycemic diet, regular exercise and quality supplements are key in today’s world for optimum health and fitness.

I feel healthy and strong every day. I am focused on improving my level of fitness and reducing my body fat to the healthy range a woman (18-22%)

She is even quoted on James Ray’s homepage here:

“I immediately began to attract many goals and dreams into my life that I used to think were impossible. I was able to walk away from a job that no longer served me and focus my attention on a business I am passionate about.”
—Liz Neuman
Prior Lake, MN

Here death was reported at the AP here:

A Minnesota woman who was hospitalized with damage to multiple organs after she was overcome in an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony died Saturday, sheriff’s officials said.

The death of 49-year-old Liz Neuman brings the total number of deaths from the Oct. 8 incident at a resort near Sedona to three. Authorities are treating the deaths as homicides, but no charges have been filed.

Neuman was among more than 50 people crowded inside the sweat lodge run by self-help guru James Arthur Ray. An emergency call two hours after they entered the lodge reported two people not breathing.

Twenty-one people were taken to area hospitals with illnesses ranging from dehydration to kidney failure. Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee died upon arrival at a hospital.

No one else remains hospitalized.

Neuman was among Ray’s earliest followers and had attended dozens of his events. According to Ray’s Web site, Neuman was the leader of the Minneapolis-area “Journey Expansion Team.”

Ray had rented the Angel Valley Retreat Center for his five-day “Spiritual Warrior” event that culminated in the sweat lodge ceremony. Participants paid between $9,000 and $10,000 to attend the retreat near Sedona, a resort town 115 miles north of Phoenix that draws many in the New Age spiritual movement.

Liz Neuman died attempting to create new neural pathways in her otherwise empty noggin. James Ray’s mind control techniques include mass starvation, physical stress and other motivational sessions which simulate a spiritual reaction. But no one in their right mind should have thought it was a good idea to climb into a home made oven. She didn’t take care of her body, so now she’s not living anywhere.

And James Earle Ray only killed one guy. This James Ray is up to three now. And he is still walking around as a free man. Previous posts are here and here.

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37 comments on “Liz Neuman is Third Sweat Lodge Victim to Die of Heat and Stupidity
  1. Pat,

    How can you judge & insult people you do not know and you are probably thinking very easily.

    People are always looking for a way to find fullfillment in their lives and to improve their lives. Whether it is thru organize religion or following a self help activist like James Ray. There is nothing wrong with that. The wrong was done when James Ray led people who trusted & admire him into a death box and then left them to die. If any judging and condemning needs to be done it should be James Ray on the block not his victims.

    Liz was a beautiful, sweet, loving woman. She made everyone she came in contact with welcome & accepted. I would never use the word stupid to describe her. If anything she was too trusting and I will never consider that a fault. And you know what is funny, despite your small, close, asinine mind, Liz would have never said anything negative and insulting about you no metter what you said about her. And she would not do or say anything to make your family feel worse during a time of tragedy. But that is what makes her the better person. But I have no problem calling you a dumb ass idiot who in my mind is in the same category as James Ray, taking a tragedy and turning it into a way for you to spout your evil. ANd if you could find a way to make a big profitt out of it like James Ray I am sure you would.

  2. Nora,
    Yes, of course people look for spirituality. It is in human nature to do so. But it is wrong to spend a fortune on finding it through charlatons and frauds, especially when there is ample proof of fraudulent activity, as is with James Ray. Make no mistake, he is to blame for the deaths of the three victims of the desert easy bake oven.

    You dare ask me, whom you don’t know, how I judge anyone? And you call me evil and accuse me of wishing to make a profit equal to that of James Ray? How do you justify such accusations given your creed that no one is to ever be judged?

  3. Pat, thank you. Thru your bad example, you have given me a new appreciation for not only Liz, but all the wonderful people in my life. Your small and petty mind has reminded me that I am truly blessed to be surrounded by people who do not and would not lower themselves to this level.

    My people would not be so cowardly as to attack the victims – especially dead victims – of any tragedy under any circumstances. My people would never bully and abuse people who were grieving the tragic loss of a loved one. My people would and are doing whatever necessary to stop the one who caused such a tragedy and make sure it never happens again. My people would and have offered their love, their prayers, their kindness, and their compassion. My people would and are part of the solution, not part of the problem. Yes, I am truly blessed.

    I hope and pray that you will use this occasion to do some real soul searching, and ask yourself if this is really the kind of person you want to be. You could use this blog for good, rather than spewing hatefulness and hurtfulness. You could be a champion for all that is honorable and noble, and actually help make the world a better place. Or you can wallow in mediocrity with the masses.

    It’s your call, Pat. Good luck and God bless.

  4. “My people would and are doing whatever necessary to stop the one who caused such a tragedy and make sure it never happens again. My people would and have offered their love, their prayers, their kindness, and their compassion. My people would and are part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
    Too little, too late. The solution would be to have tried to dissuade her from staying involved with this farce.
    BUT, I agree with: “Liz was a grown woman. Just how do you expect others to stop her?”

  5. Cordo, yes, I agree with you to some extent… but if we had been able to save Liz, what about everyone else? That would only have been a solution for Liz. It would not have stopped Jimmie Ray, who would still have been out there doing what he does and other people would still be victims. Jimmie Ray is the root of the problem, and it’s Jimmie Ray that must be stopped. Likewise, by stopping Jimmie Ray, we would save everyone. Alas, too little too late for Liz now, but we can prevent further tragedies. And, unfortunately, that’s the nature of the beast: It’s not until a tragedy occurs that we even know what needs to be done. No one, including Liz, attended this retreat thinking that their life was in danger. And if someone did know, they are equally responsible for the resulting deaths.

  6. Lily and Cordo,

    You are right that Liz was a grown woman and there was little that could be done to dissuade her- as non-family. Family would have more pull to cut off funding or make more demands that she not engage in this activity. In a way I liken her tragic demise to that of a chronic drug addict. No one can stop them either, and sometimes its too late.

    One big difference is that there are drug counseling programs in place to deal with addicts. Proven twelve step programs, even for the family if the addict chooses not to get counseling have worked well too in understanding addictive behavior.

    But nothing like this exists for people that believe in cults. Well, there are facilities that specialize in deprogramming for victims of cults and help to integrate victims and families back together. But its not readily available like drug programs are. And because those programs are pretty rare, I really can’t say how effective those programs are.

    Lily you are right that all the blame is on James Ray. I hope to God he goes away for a long long time. I hope he can never peddle his pack of lies again. But if he goes away, another charismatic charlaton will take his place.

    But people like James Ray can’t exist without people like Liz Neuman. Liz is gone, but more people are going to fall prey to the James Rays of the world.

    True, no one expected to die from using a sweat lodge. But that wasn’t the point where the victims were harmed. I argue they were harmed by the entire scope of lies and the financial cost of James Ray’s teachings.

  7. Pat,

    Well it has been approx. 14 days since I last read or responded to this blog. I am not surprised to find that you have ignored my attempts to kindly ask for removal for the sake of the family members that are grieving.

    Lets see since my last response, my Aunt went through an autopsy, travel home, memorial services and funeral service, cremated and buried. All the while her family has remained strong, unified, and are working through the grieving process.

    Unfortunately this grieving is accompanied by moments of pure anger and outrage over the ridiculous comments and opinions being broadcast through the media and other public forums such as this blog.

    I will be the first to tell you that I am not going to stoop down to the low levels of communication that you and others have gone back and forth with. Again I truly believe in the Freedom of Speech, but with that freedom should come a sense of respect. I will not begin to share my assumption of your background or upbringing, however please let me share that I do have a distinct God -given ability to read and understand people, their character or lack-thereof. I truly believe that “The fool opens his mouth and removes all doubt” of his or her own ignorance and arrogance. It is amazing to sit back and read the viscious and hateful words being thrown around so loosely in this blog. My personal observation and opinion for what its worth, is that this entire conversation is a pointless opportunity to share ones own narrow-minded opinion. My beliefs also remind me of those who “Toot their own horns, that sound as tinkling cymbals.”

    So please by all means continue to share your hurtful opinions AKA: Freedom of Speech (may I remind you that I served Honorably in the Marine Corps, 2 deployments in Iraq, and my reasoning was that I was doing my part to defend this country and take a stand for the very right of Freedom of Speech, which you are so easily abusing). Again my personal choice of exercising this freedom is to show much discernment and concern for who will hear or read my message and the impact it will have, for good or bad. Again you seemingly show no concern or even recognize the severity of your words to those affected. Perhaps if you did, you would refrain from broadcasting your opinions filled with hate all over the internet for the entire world to see.

    So may I repeat that I will no longer ask for you to end the spread of your hateful and vindictive messages. But please be reminded that there are grieving people, and your words only add to the pain of this moment.

    You are not helping anyone in this world with spreading your opinion of my aunt, or of this tragic event. You however are creating a hostile forum of communication, and are showing utter disrespect for the deceased and their surviving family members.

    As mentioned by others before informed, intelligent, and reasonable people will reserve their true opinons and comments. They will respect the feelings and thoughts of others, they will not be so quick to respond to tragic events with anger and vengance, but will be slow to anger.

    I am a firm believer that God will have his vengance on all the false prophets and teachers out there that have lied and manipulated people into following their perverted ways. God’s wrath is way worse than the most hurtful and vile words or actions that any of us can dish out in this life.

    In closing of my response this time, please allow me to share a Scripture verse that helps to guide my speech when speaking to others. Please realize that I again belief in freedom of speech, and also believe that God has given us liberty of free choice; to choose our own words and form our own opinions, but in the end, God is ultimately in control, he sits on high, as the one true Judge, and make no mistake his rulings and judgement are final! Nothing you or I can say to each other matters compared to his WORD and his LAWS.

    Colossians 4:6
    Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

    Again I dare not make assumptions or judge you Pat, but I do reason and kindly ask that you consider my careful choice of words and conversation, and perhaps you can be considerate and kind enough to show compassion for those grieving to refrain from spreading further hate and discord, and allow for true justice and judgement to come forth in this terrible situation.

    The world is full of enough hate and pain, it is time that we all choose to lay aside our own pride, refrain from stating our own opinions and judgement of others, and choose to be wise and keep our often foolish opinions to ourselves.

    All this to say, my Aunt Liz, did make a decision to put confidence in a person who proved to be a liar, and it cost her dearly, but please remember that God is so good to us, that even in our failures he gains the glory, and we are forgiven through him. My Aunt Liz is in Heaven with God, away from all the pain and misery of this world.
    Because God is so great My Aunt is victorious in Him, and every mistake she made here on earth is no more!

    My prayer is that you will see the grace and truth that I have shared, I am just a messenger, and I only ask that you consider how your words and actions can either bring peace and healing to this situation or it can continue to sow pain and discord.

    Goodnight Pat!

  8. Josh,
    Truly, I am sorry about your family’s loss. This post is not about your dead aunt, but about a deceiver who is still on the loose. And its about people who are foolish enough to believe such deceivers. Your aunt was one of these unfortunate souls. These are facts. Sorry if you don’t like to hear them. But since you like to quote the bible, here:

    Mark 13:5-6 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.

    The pain of your loss will fade with time. But warnings of unaffected level headed people must remain so that others don’t fall victim to similar confidence scams and new age doctrine. I have no feelings of hatred toward your late aunt. Given the results of the evidence at hand, my statements about the foolishness of your aunt is only mere fact, not an emotional assessment.

    You may tell me all you want to keep an “open mind” about what happened. Oddly enough, those were most likely the first words Liz heard when presented with the lies that led to her demise. “Its okay. New age spirituality is awesome. Just keep an open mind.”

  9. Josh, you sought this type of forum, and you read it. If you don’t want to read opinions that you don’t agree with then DON’T LOOK FOR THEM and DON’T READ THEM. It’s a little like a car accident, isn’t it?
    Josh said, “Please be aware that the family has retained an attorney and is monitoring all media on Liz’s death”.
    Bitch up and bury your head in the sand. If you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. That’s my motto. I value myself, so I don’t seek out hurtful things.

  10. L = Long
    G = Gruesome
    A = Awful
    T = Trials.
    Con-men of this ilk have all kinds of deceptive trickeries, slick campaign and flashy lures. All though people certainly have the right to free assembly, these old fashioned con-scheme impinges
    on the participant’s civil liberties. I am sure that they were not told they would be subjected to psychological and physical torture. Although the blog is informative, please be kinder to those who fell prey to trickeries.

  11. Josh, I really appreciate all the support, but Pat is completely uninformed and full of hate. Just read his “About” page. He’ll do literally anything to invoke that kind of response. Your time and energy are better spent elsewhere.

  12. Top News Send to a Friend Printable View
    Motivational speaker charged in sweat lodge deaths
    From Associated Press
    February 03, 2010 10:16 PM EST

    FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities have charged motivational speaker James Arthur Ray with three counts of manslaughter for deaths that happened after a sweat lodge ceremony he led in northern Arizona last year.

    Ray was arrested Wednesday afternoon at his attorney’s office in Prescott on an indictment and was to be booked into the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde, sheriff’s officials said. His bond is set at $5 million.

    The Oct. 8 sweat lodge ceremony was intended to be the highlight of Ray’s five-day “Spiritual Warrior” event at a retreat he rented just outside Sedona. He told participants, who paid more than $9,000 each to attend, that it would be one of the most intense experiences of their lives.

    About halfway through the two-hour ceremony, some began feeling ill, vomiting and collapsing inside the 415-square-foot structure. Despite that, Ray urged participants to push past their physical weaknesses and chided those who wanted to leave, authorities and participants have said.

    Two people — Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee — passed out inside the sweat lodge and died that night at a hospital. Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minn., slipped into a coma and died a week later. Eighteen others were hospitalized.

    One participant, Beverley Bunn, previously told The Associated Press that Ray did nothing to help the sick. Ray’s attorneys have countered that he took all necessary safety precautions and wasn’t aware of any medical problems until the ceremony was over.

    He declined to speak with authorities that night, on the advice of his attorneys, public records have shown.

    Authorities said they quickly determined the deaths were not accidental and focused their investigation on Ray. They conducted hundreds of interviews that reached into Ray’s past events, including one in which a man fell unconscious during a 2005 sweat lodge ceremony at the same retreat near Sedona.

    The self-help superstar who teaches people about financial and spiritual wealth uses free seminars to recruit followers to more expensive events. His company, James Ray International, is based in Carlsbad, Ca.

    Ray’s representatives have said there was no way Ray could have predicted the night’s tragic events. Had he heard any pleas for help inside the pitch-black sweat lodge, he would have stopped the ceremony immediately, Ray’s attorneys said.

    Documents released in the investigation showed that some people lost consciousness and others suffered broken bones at past Ray-led events and that Ray largely ignored medical problems that arose.

    In the weeks after the deaths, lawsuits accused Ray and the owners of the Angel Valley Retreat Center where the sweat lodge was held of negligence and fraud. Ray’s publisher postponed two book releases, and Ray canceled his appearances amid heavy criticism from survivors.

    Amayra Hamilton, one of the Angel Valley owners, has said the staff had minimal contact with Ray over the seven years he held sweat lodges there, and that other groups had used the same lodge for ceremonies without any problems.

    Bunn said she believes the “Spiritual Warrior” events should be called off indefinitely.

    “It frightens me that I didn’t stand back a little more,” she said.

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