The Rise and Fall of Zen Gardner

People who follow the so-called ‘alternative media’ know Zen Gardner and his popular eponymous website. From the site’s beginning, it  attracted a loyal readership and fan base. When I first happened upon Zen’s site back in 2012, I was immediately drawn to it. I was impressed with the elegant design and  the articles.

The articles were drawn from a broad range of writers, bloggers, vloggers, and free thinkers. Most of them took an unconventional perspective on the issues facing our planet and species and were edgy enough so that the site couldn’t be dismissed as New Age escapism.

I really liked the streamlined design, with a bare minimum of advertising and  click bait. Many of the writers whose articles I read stretched my mind and enlarged my view on world events. During the first couple of years I visited the site, I wasn’t even aware that there was a person named ‘Zen Gardner.’  He didn’t post his own articles at that time and I thought the name of the website was just a homage to Zen Buddhism.

However, by late 2014 and into  2015, a noticeable shift began to occur. First, the website  underwent a dramatic redesign. The streamlined design was jettisoned in favor of one with far more advertising; furthermore, the advertising was sponsored by that evil Israeli-run company, Taboola,  After reading through the list of articles on the home page, readers were confronted with a TMZ-esque smorgasbord of celebrity gossip stories. To see this advertising on Zen’s site was jarring, and I was shocked to see that few of his readers objected to it in the forum section.

The next major shift to occur was the appearance of Zen Gardner himself from ‘out of the shadows,’ so to speak. Suddenly, his articles were at the top of the homepage, and he began to write prolifically. Although many of his supposed fans in the forum were effusive in their praise of his writing ability, I never thought much of it. All of the articles were a rehash of the same theme: ‘the shift of the ages is occurring, we are ‘riding the waves’ of seismic change, hold on to your hat, stay centered, blah, blah, blah. ‘The content was uninspiring, derivative, and repetitive. The writing itself was of poor quality, though again few, if any, of the readers seemed to notice. Zen also started doing dozens of interviews, all of which were of course posted on the top menu bar. When I first heard his voice, I had an uncomfortable feeling. His voice just didn’t resonate with me; it was high-pitched- almost feminine- and didn’t sound like an enlightened man in his late 60s.

Next, the content of the aggregated articles changed markedly. The hard, edgy content of the previous years was replaced by hundreds of gloppy, syrupy, new-agey fluff pieces. Most of the newer articles  focused on how to meditate and what foods to eat. Linked videos of George Carlin and Bill Hicks appeared almost daily, apparently to attract hipsters.

The appearance of in-your-face advertising and  new age writing, coupled with  the  deliberate cultivation of the cult around ‘Zen Gardner’ set off alarm bells in my mind. I sensed something very wrong was happening and surmised that perhaps the site, and its founder, had been co-opted by Intelligence. Here and there, a few thought-provoking articles still appeared, but the new direction was clear.

When I read Zen’s revelations last month about his time spent in a pedophile cult, I was shocked and disturbed, as was everyone. I read his utterly unconvincing explanations for this episode of his life. I also followed the subsequent articles he wrote where he attempted to douse the flames and claim that those who were exposing him were merely on a witch hunt  and should examine their own skeletons instead of lambasting him. To see so many of his groupie fans defending and coddling him, including Jon Rappaoport, was disheartening and disgusting.

There is much food for thought here in this sad drama and some hard lessons to be learned for everyone who participates in the alternative media, whether as a producer or consumer. Was ‘Zen Gardner’ , aka Don Ferguson, a CIA plant who was set up from the beginning to fail, and bring his followers down with him?  I think it’s quite possible. In fact, until I see a more plausible explanation, that is the one I am going with.

It’s also a possibility that he began with good intentions but was turned to the dark side by the powers-that-be. As I have shown above, it’s quite easy to trace the arc of the site’s downward spiral and see when and how it lost its way.

For those of us who wade daily into the realm of truth-seeking, we need to be ever on -guard. Those who at first glance appear to be on our side often turn out to be gatekeepers, shills, double agents, spooks, and monsters. We must use our intuition at all times and bring people to task when they fail to live up to their rhetoric. We have seen so many big names come crashing down in the last few years: Alex Jones, Joe Rogan, Mark Dice, Jesse Ventura, Gerald Celente, Jeff Rense, Jeff C, and many, many more have been exposed. Zen Gardner has now joined this infamous club of shame. We should have seen it coming.




13 thoughts on “The Rise and Fall of Zen Gardner”

  1. As a truth seeker I found Zen’s articles inspiring. His articles spoke the truth to me. I do have the gift of hearing the truth. It was given to me because I asked from the depth of my being for discernment. I also understand what forgiveness is. The articles I have read written by Zen had no connection to his sinful nature from the past. I miss his website. Let the first one who has never sinned throw the first stone. He is a child of God as we all are. He overcame the darkness that had been in his life. He was sharing good vibrations to all that were listening. I am very sad not to be able to read his thoughts regarding the truth. He is a messenger for the truth.

    1. I agree with Cheryl: Zen Gardner is a kind-hearted man who helped me heal from my traumatic life experiences in the past. His writing was inspiring, and healing, as were many of the articles he posted. Back in the day we called the “Children of God” people “Jesus freaks”: they looked like hippies, but got high on Jesus instead of psychedelics and pot. Calling it a “pedophile cult” is a stretch: while there was improper/criminal sexual abuse happening within the cult, I have seen no evidence proving Zen/Don was involved. His story makes sense: he discovered what was happening, and subsequently got his family out of the cult, which took a long time because they were spread all over the world, and he didn’t have much money to help excise his family from the cult. IF he had been guilty, a man of Zen’s intelligence would have created a fake bio to cover-up his crimes. Since he was innocent, however, he didn’t think he needed to obfuscate his past, rather he wanted to forget about it. Zen never knew how popular his website would get, and had no way of foreseeing how he would be persecuted in the future for not revealing his past. Until I see some PROOF, I consider Zen Gardner innocent. All the people who turned on him, people he supported by posting their work on his popular website – they are the ones who are likely working for the evil entity – not Zen.

  2. I began to suspect he might be CIA because he let slip in some interview that he’d lived in Iran at some point in his past. This set alarm bells ringing because it didn’t really align with the persona that he’d so carefully cultivated and presented to the world. There are so many infiltrators into the alternative and truth scene – I agree that intuition is very important when sifting the wheat from the chaff.

  3. That was a good catch, Prudence. I remember hearing him discuss his time in Iran, but I didn’t think to make the CIA connection. Now, it seems so obvious.

  4. It’s so confusing and disappointing to hear about Zen’s past. Its hard to reconcile the wisdom he conveyed in his writings with his past. His website and his articles where some of the most insightful spiritual pieces i have ever found. His articles only ever conveyed compassion and insight. The website was a great inspiration and will be sadly missed.

  5. Well said. I don’t know Zen Gardner, but I listen to Max Igan, which is where I heard about this scandal. I appreciate an intelligent assessment and truthful description of events that are now twisted in sensationalized stories that are difficult to weed through and not worth the time and focus. Thank you for breaking it down.

  6. And are we to question you too? Who knows what the truth is? Diversion everywhere.
    Me, Ima sovereign Soul, I’ll read and make my own mind up, I don’t need an ex-pat to tell me who to believe, or not to believe, including ex-pats,

    1. Of course you should question me. You should question everybody you read and use your discrimination. Although the truth is often difficult to discover, it is not an impossible task to find it. We just have to persevere.

  7. Actually, the truth is often spoken by almost all in alternative media. However the core is often coated in lies and distractions, similar to that of a sugared almond. The truth has always been hidden in plain sight, and that’s how the puppeteers mastermind the game. A very dangerous game for hardcore truth seekers who step outside the grid without a map. Truth can be seen by design, via its own transparency, and by those who continually do inner work to remove the layers of accumulated BS that distorts life and perception. Truth is found by the brave of heart, and can only be understood by steady of mind. To truly see and understand reality, one must take an arduous walk through corridors of the heart and mind, whilst tearing down compartmentalised walls, allowing the fragments to merge.

  8. ..good comments, all of them..and all bear truth, in varying degrees. For me…I liked his writing but it was by no means ‘unique’…and I was becoming very suspicious of his lifestyle and the slickness of his site…as well as the ads. Greed is palpable

    For me, personally…it was the fact that he was ‘forced’ to come out with the truth about his past…not because of ‘guilt’ or ‘remorse. ‘Don’ was told in no uncertain terms…’tell your readers or I shall…so that infers, there had been some negotiations on the TRUTH…prior. Negotiation on T-R-U-T-H…what the??

    When if he had done this revelation with some humility, and honesty… willingly, then…’that’ is a ‘horse of a different colour’.

    Sure, he’d have lost some readers but most, would, I believe have been empathetic…if he had indeed ‘suffered’. It was not ‘he’ who suffered but innocent children…think about that.

    However….his total…insincerity, deflection of the importance of this fact and uber short, ‘blame game’, just sickened me.

    All culminating in ‘I’m gettin’ outta Dodge’ approach was not only, dishonest and quite frankly, gutless…

    IMHO he missed a major opportunity…on oh, so many levels. The man was, by his own, reluctant admission, Head of the PR for COG for 2 years…

    Which literally, means…HE…had the reigns on a great deal of power in that sick cult. There was MUCH that he could have done…he didn’t.

    ‘The proof is in the pudding’ they say….’done & dusted’. Max Igan is another shill…just so you are aware…ditto Ole Dammegard, Ken O’Keefe or as I say it ‘O’Thief’ but it’s actually(Nichols) and many more…wanna be ‘luminaries’ in the so called Truth movement. Watch where yer steppin’ folks…

  9. …ooops and apologies, I’ve got a sore finger…that should have read ‘Head of PR for COG for 27 years…TWENTY SEVEN YEARS…give that some thought too…please. Belle

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