Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mahikari's "Be like a child"

When I was a child and a teenager, I spent an awful lot of time waiting to be "grown up" so that I would have the right to make my own decisions. I wanted to be able to evaluate information for myself, then choose my own course of action on the basis of what I felt was ethically correct. Eventually, I ran out of patience and just "took" that right, perhaps a few years earlier than the adults around me were willing to "give" me that right.

Then, came along. At , we were told to "be like a child". The idea was that we should listen to the kenshu teachings and simply accept them like a child, without using our adult common-sense to evaluate what we were hearing.

We were also advised to be sunao (obedient), just "like a child". I couldn't help thinking that the kenshu lecturer must have known much better behaved kids than I did! Even so, the subtext was that we should not question what we were told and we should happily do whatever God wanted us to do (whatever Mahikari said God wanted us to do).

, in the revelation entitled The Most Important (Kaname), quotes the Bible on this subject:

Whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God, like a child, shall not enter it at all (Mark 10-15)

Throughout Goseigen, Okada refers to adults as "children" of God a staggering 154 times! There are 25 occurrences of "(true) child of God", 28 occurrences of "(true) children of God", 53 occurrences of "God's children", 6 occurrences of "(God's) chosen children", and a number of other variations on the same theme.

In fact, the main message of Goseigen as a whole would have to be that if we do what God, our parent, wants us to do, he will look after us and give us everything we could possibly want without even asking for it (Ken, Wa, Fu), and if we don't do what God wants we will be "beaten to a pulp". (Ugh!)

I guess this might be an appealing notion to the child-like part of all of long as we feel we are doing sufficiently well at "doing what we are told". Certainly, there was a childish appeal in having all the "answers", rather than having to work out what we thought about all the messily grey areas of the adult world.

In the initial stages, when "doing the right thing" is made to sound quite simple, we could feel happy at the thought that God would protect us and provide for us in return for our efforts. We probably all began to feel somewhat less secure as time went on and we were urged again and again that we had to "redouble our efforts".

In Chapter 3 of Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steve Hassan says:

As we grow, the mind does not erase previous memories: it layers new experiences over them in a very systematic way. It is amazing how easily we can shift back into past memories. For example, try to remember playing with your favorite toy when you were a child, or eating your favorite food. Our memories of childhood form a vast storehouse which can be tapped and exploited by hypnotic techniques. It is not accidental that many destructive cults tell their members to "become like little children." Adults can easily be age-regressed to a time when they had little or no critical faculties. As children, we were helplessly dependent on our parents as the ultimate authority figures.

Well, we were certainly told to be like children. Were we also made to feel like children in other ways?

We were organized into groups, with a group leader (parent figure) to look after us. We were taught that we would receive God's protection if we followed advice from kanbu ("upstream") rather than doing what we thought was best. We were told repeatedly that divine wisdom is superior to human wisdom...implying that we could not trust our own judgment, and therefore we had to rely on "divine wisdom" as interpreted for us by kanbu. In fact, the entire vertical hierarchy of Mahikari put most of us in the "child" position.

After waiting so many years to become an adult, what on earth made me accept being put back in this child role once I was chronologically well and truly an adult? Again I was in a position where I had very little control over my day-to-day life. Most details, like what I ate and where and when I slept, were decided by the person immediately above me in the hierarchy. That really did make me feel like a a naughty child if I secretly did or ate something else. Major decisions, like whether I would go to kunrenbu and where I would be posted after graduation were entirely in the hands of the upstream "adult" figures.

In retrospect, the really bizarre thing is that I never took the injunction to "be like a child" all that seriously. I more or less dismissed it as just a figure of speech. Imagine my surprise when I started to free myself of Mahikari's mind control and, by observing the changes in my personality that took place at that time, I realized that the "be like a child" injunction must have been still affecting me from my subconscious! Suddenly, I started to feel like a real adult for the first time. Suddenly I started interacting with other adults as an equal, rather than taking the "child" position.

PS: Even though Okada urges us to be like children, he then refers to children as examples of ones who understand very little in the revelation entitled The Principle of Selecting God, as follows:

God is concerned for humans since all the wisdom prevailing now is human wisdom or like a child's undeveloped wisdom which cannot even understand the meaning of the KOTODAMA of ERABU.

Perhaps Okada wants to make us dumb...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Are Mahikari lives 'wasted'?

A week or so ago, in "Mahikari money matters", I attempted to write about the sense of horror I experienced when I was breaking free of Mahikari's mind control and realized I had wasted a large chunk of my life on something that is worse than useless. In his comment on that post, Dexter made the important point that we lose all over again if we get stuck in negativity, and we need to realize what positive things we have gained from our experience and move on.

In the above post, I was deliberately writing in an emotional manner to try to portray something of the process of breaking free from mind control. I guess I should now explain the concepts behind a lot of what I wrote then.

Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance is a useful tool to help understand part of the difficulty involved in breaking free of mind control. Festinger summarizes the basic principle as, "If you change a person's behavior, his thought and feelings will change to minimize the dissonance". This theory says that people can tolerate only a certain amount of discrepancy (dissonance) between thoughts, feelings, and actions, and that if one of these three changes, the other two will also change to reduce the tension caused by the dissonance. (Incidentally, I think Mahikari is wittingly or unwittingly applying this theory when kumite are advised to 'just do it and you'll eventually understand'.)

Festinger writes about this principle in action in When Prophecy Fails (1956). The leader of a flying saucer cult claimed to be in mental contact with aliens, and had predicted the end of the world. Followers sold their homes, gave away their money, and, on the predicted date, spent all night on a mountain waiting to be picked up by flying saucers before the flood that was expected to destroy the world the next morning. When nothing at all happened, the leader claimed to have received an update from the aliens, saying that they had noted the faithful vigil of the members and so had decided to spare the earth.

One would think that the failed prediction would have been more than enough for all the members to decide that their leader was wrong. Surprisingly, most members decided to believe the hastily concocted update about the aliens changing their minds. Why? Here's where cognitive dissonance comes in.

Since many members had given away everything due to their belief in the original prediction, and also had experienced the embarrassment of having the rest of the word laugh at them, their behavior amounted to an enormous investment in their beliefs and feelings being true. They now had two options. They could abandon their belief in their leader due to the failure of the prophecy...which would entail feeling enormously stupid, feeling conned, feeling betrayed by someone they trusted, feeling like they'd wasted their assets, and feeling abused, angry, and humiliated. Apparently, those who had been only briefly or superficially involved did cut their losses and run, but for most members, it was much less painful (involved less dissonance) to believe the updated message from their leader than to admit that their behavior had been extremely foolish.

So, what happens when a long-term Mahikari member hears, for example, some fairly damning evidence that severely challenges the credibility of Okada and his supposed revelations from God? I imagine, initially, most kumite would experience at least a degree of uncomfortable doubt. Typical thoughts might be, "What if Okada just made up the 'revelations'? What if I've spent all these years busting a gut for something that is based on a falsehood?" Maybe the entire 'wasted life' of the kumite flashes before his eyes....then, he thinks up some justification to explain away the evidence, or kanbu issue some sort of reassuring cover story...and the kumite can breathe a sigh of relief as the discomfort of the dissonance fades away.

Alternatively, the kumite might pay attention to those doubts and really explore the basis of his Mahikari belief, the history of the organization, accusations of mind control, etc. If so, at some point, he will reach the mind control 'release' point where he suddenly realizes that he has been conned, he has wasted his life, and he has been grievously wronged. Obviously, this moment is extremely painful...painful enough that the flying saucer cult members decided to still trust their leader rather than face going through this moment. (This makes it sound like the flying saucer cult members understood the objective view and made a conscious decision...but of course all this happens with very little, if any, conscious awareness of the process.)

I don't know if I can describe this 'release' point moment sufficiently well for people who have not experienced it to understand the emotions involved (and those of you who have experienced it already understand). For me, there was an enormous sense of horror involved in realizing that my actions, thoughts, and feelings had not been my own...I'd been turned into a puppet with the real me locked up inside it. It felt like the bottom had just dropped out of my life. I couldn't even begin to imagine how I would ever deal with that feeling of horror.

Try imagining that you are in a fairy tale and that you've been under the spell of a wicked witch for many years. This spell controlled your actions, thoughts, and feelings without you even being aware that the 'real you' was being controlled. Suddenly, the spell is broken and you realize that the real you has been made to spend years doing stuff that you would not have chosen to do if the real you had been in control. Life is finite, and half of your life has already passed....years when the real you could have been doing whatever is important to you. By now you could have learnt a profession, developed a satisfying career, built a house, formed many good friendships, contributed something useful to society or science or global prosperity. How dare that wicked witch take away half your life!

In this fairy tale, the witch is wicked and the victim is innocent. The blame clearly lies with the witch, and the victim's sense of self-worth is not affected. Unfortunately, things are less black and white in the real world. Most people are confident that they could never be sucked in by a cult, and blatantly assume that the people who do get recruited by cults are weak or stupid or somehow to blame for being sucked in. Thus, for me, the mind control release point also involved and an enormous sense of shame and embarrassment. How could I have been so-oo stupid as to allow a cult to waste half my life! I felt guilty, too, as if I'd somehow knowingly contributed to that waste.

I've now realized that thousands and thousands of good, strong, intelligent people have been recruited by cults over the years. The blame DOES lie with the cult, not the victim. I must admit, though, I still find it hard to shake off the feeling that my recruitment was at least partly my own fault. (I wonder if that is because Mahikari does train us to always blame ourselves for anything that goes wrong?) Certainly, the dominant feelings at the 'release' point were horror and humiliation...the sense of righteous indignation and anger at what had been done to me came later.

Happily, the story doesn't end there. At the moment of release from mind control, the only thing that registers is the pain....but of course it is also the moment when one's real self is set free. Over the next few days, as I gradually assimilated the shock of the 'release' point, I began to see completely unexpected changes in myself. I didn't recognize myself! At first I wondered if I'd just forgotten what the real me was like before it was pushed into the background by mind I think that the real me had been growing and developing and gaining strength somewhere inside me during all the years it had been hidden. Discovering the 'new' real me, and starting to experience life directly and vividly again, was perhaps the most exhilarating experience of my life! I'm now having a wonderful and busy time...feeling strong, confident, capable, sociable, resourceful, empathetic and, above all, intensely alive.

The thing I don't understand...and perhaps someone else can explain this to that I keep thinking I should still feel rather upset about so much of my life being wasted by mind control, but I'm enjoying getting on with being the new real me too much to bother thinking about it most of the time.

I do, however, feel highly motivated to 'do something' about Mahikari and its mind control for the sake of all the other people who are still affected: for the kids who are born into Mahikari, for the people like ZT and Darcy who have had their families ripped apart because they have broken free from Mahikari, for the people (like me for many years) who have left Mahikari but are still affected adversely by the notions planted in their brains by Mahikari's mind control, and for the long-term full-time members who really have wasted an entire lifetime on the Mahikari fantasy.

I guess the wicked witch analogy I used above applies best to those members who have been active in Mahikari on a full-time basis for many years, although it also applies, to a lesser degree, to kumite who have had ordinary jobs, etc., but have devoted most of their spare time (and spare cash) to Mahikari.

Some of my former friends are now kanbu and have devoted all of their adult lives (so far!) to Mahikari. These are energetic, smart, and idealistic people who could have contributed an awful lot to society in one way or another if they'd not been recruited by Mahikari. These are the people I usually think of when I use the term 'wasted lives'. Imagine how these people will feel if/when they realize that they have been conned! Consider, also, the practical difficulties they would face. Most would be close to unemployable, too old to learn a new career, have families to support, and have no savings to fall back on. They'd also be an emotional mess for months as they struggle to deal with the aftermath of leaving Mahikari. Even so, I do believe that these people have enough integrity that they would leave Mahikari and face all those difficulties if they ever realize that the Mahikari fantasy is not true.

So, did I 'waste half my life' in Mahikari? The short answer is definitely "Yes".

I must admit, however, that I have no idea at all what my life would be like now if I had never come across Mahikari. Perhaps I am, after all, a better person in some ways due to my experiences in Mahikari...I guess I'll never know for sure. Certainly, I think that everything involved in the struggle to break free from Mahikari's mind control has made me a stronger person than I would have been otherwise.

Name-the-group quiz

Here's a post for those former members of Mahikari who like doing quizzes.

All the following quotes are from one particular person who is writing about one particular spiritual group. Who do you think the person is? And which group is he or she writing about?

"If they...challenge their leaders' authority or otherwise fall out of line, they are accused of being influenced by [evil forces]"

"While the story of the [omitted] theology is too involved to detail here, the most important feature of it is that [omitted] is the new Messiah and that his mission is to establish a new 'kingdom' on earth."

"Members believe, as I did, that their donation of time, money, and effort is contributing to the salvation of the world."

"The world's only salvation lies in [omitted] and in the establishment of a theocratic form of government."

"I was told to save my questions till after the lecture. I was always told, 'That is a very good question. Hold onto it because it will be answered in the next lecture.' Again and again I was told not to judge what I was hearing until I had heard it all. Meanwhile, I was listening to an enormous amount of material about mankind, history, the purpose of creation, the spiritual world versus the physical world, and so forth, much of which presumed acceptance of what had been said earlier."

"'Oh, please don't go!' several people pleaded. 'Tomorrow [Day 3 of the lectures] is the most important day!'"

"[He] prayed a very emotional prayer about how we were all God's lost children and needed to be open-minded to follow what God wanted in our lives. On and on he went, praying that all mankind would stop living such selfish materialistic lives and return to Him. He apologized over and over for all the times in history that God called people to do His will and was forsaken. He pledged himself to a higher level of commitment and dedication. His sincerity was overpowering."

"Had God been preparing me throughout my life for the mission of setting up the Kingdom of Heaven on earth?"

"I could later intervene on my parents' behalf and save them spiritually."

"He said, 'Stop thinking from fallen man's viewpoint. Think about God's viewpoint. He wants to see his creation restored to His original ideal--the Garden of Eden. That's all that matters!'"

"He said the final world war would be fought....and that if members of the movement didn't work hard enough, incredible suffering would result."

"I was elated at the thought that I was 'chosen' by God and that my life's path was now on the only 'true track'."

"[omitted] knew how to cultivate their disciples to be loyal and well disciplined. Members of the core leadership were trained to follow his orders without question or hesitation."

"Since we thought saving the world from evil and establishing God's kingdom on earth was the most important effort on earth, we didn't look at it as 'real' lying....we were giving people the opportunity to help the Messiah create the Garden of Eden on earth."

"I actually believed that spiritual entities were all around me, waiting to invade and possess me. Staying focused on [omitted] was the only way to ward off the evil spirits."

"As former members [of this group], they should have been miserable and guilt-ridden. They weren't. They were very happy that they were out and free to lead their lives as they were doing. All this was very perplexing."

So...what's the group? And who wrote the above quoted material?

If you enjoy entering quizzes, you may use the comment function below to tell us your answers. (Sorry...the only prize is the satisfaction of trying, and maybe getting the answers right!) Or, if you prefer to keep your guesses to yourselves, just come back soon to see if you guessed correctly. I'll post the answers as a comment below in a couple of days.

Friday, January 20, 2006




『えっ、 そんなにあるの?』と私も正直のところびっくりしました。でも、初級研修を受けてしまうと、あとに引けなくなるんです。真光ってお金のかかるところだな あ、と思うと、即、「それはお金に執着するからだ」、と習ったばかりの教えで自己叱咤してしまいます。「各自の気持ちで相応に」という言葉にすがっていくのですが、これがまたやっかいな表現。マインド・コントロールが進むにつれ、徐々に奉納金額も「自ら」増やしていってしまうのです。

「これから、人類に今まで明かされていなかった正法をお伝えします。 ............... 今までの先入観を捨てて聞いてください。茶碗に古いお茶がはいっていると、新しいお茶は外にこぼれてしまいます。まず古いお茶を捨てて空にすることがたいせつです。また、茶碗は急須よりも下に置かないとお茶 ははいっていきませんよね。....... 」     
そう言われて、まじめに自分の心をそういうふうに準備してしまいます。教義を聞いていて、『そうかなあ? 本当かなあ?』と思っても、それ以上追求せずに、習った通りにやってみることになります。

*奉納によって経済的に浄まる ー経済的禊ぎを自ら積極的にすることになり、あがないがそれだけ少なくなる
*奉納で感謝の気持ちを表す ー「心で感謝』では足りない
*いったん神に差し出したお金の使われ方に疑問や口出しはしない ー「神のものだから」ということで、一般信者から切り離し、教団の思うままに使えて、収支は公開しない




「世の終末と火の洗礼が迫っている、一刻も早く世界総本山建立を」と声を大にして叫んだ岡田良一。 「急げ! 間に合わんぞ!」と、神よりお叱りを受けた、と して信者をせかしました。その岡田の死後、甲子(恵珠)は世界真光文明教団より分派して崇教を設立。岡田の総本山への願望を引き継いで、信者に最大限の奉 納を要求。もちろん、「金を出せ、金を出せ」、と、文字通り連呼した訳ではありません。心のひだに巧みに入り込んでくる上記の思考誘導基盤が出来ていますから、それを利用しつづければよいのです。「一刻も早い主座建立」は教団の最優先の目標でした。戦時中の標語をもじって、「ほしがりません、ス座ができるまでは」などという標語までありました。

『神殿なんか建ててどうするの?人類救済のほうが大切なのでは?』と最初思っていた私でしたが、 主の神と岡田との「契約」である主座建立が叶わなければ真光の業も取り上げられてしまうと信者は脅され、また、主座は地上天国化のために必要、それだけみ光が強くなって人救いの力が増す、とか、神がユダヤの民に神殿造りを要求した話、ユダヤ民族の放浪・迫害の歴史とその原因、等を聞かされ、やがて 『それ で人類が救われるのなら』と本気で「思わされ」て、この熱気の渦に巻き込まれ、相当多額のお金を奉納しました。





総本山完成後間もなく甲子は岡田のための奥津城建設を発表。『えっ! また建物なの? それに岡田は総本山建立のあとには世界各国に本山建設を、と言ってたのに、なんで人間を讃える建造物にすりかえてしまうの?』と疑問に思ったことでした。(おっと失礼、岡田は「人間」ではなくて、「神」にまつりあげられたのでしたっけ。そういえば彼自身も自分のことを神格化してました。)『終 末・世紀末思想」にあおられて、「人類救済は今をおいて他にない」とせかされて、「地上天国」の夢に踊らされて、熱い期待を寄せて奉納に頑張った信者たち。総本山へのその努力のあとで、気概の方も、財布の方も、くたびれてしまっているのに、無茶な話だと思いましたが、口には出せません。でも、それ以後、私は奉納はほどほどにするようになりました。本当は奥津城のための奉納なんて一切したくなかったけど、周囲に合わせて、時々出しました。


これから百年先,千年先までも『光神殿」が永遠にかがやきますことが取りも直さず人類の弥栄えを約束することになる訳でございます。 ーーー平成4年(1992)8月号




1999 年、何も起こりませんでした。今20006年。崇教では、甲子(教え主)が人類のために主の神に祈って、詫びているから、神が火の洗礼を延ばしているのだ と、まことしやかに言っているのでしようか。新たな時期を設定して信者の不安をあおり、今も多額の奉納を促しているのでしょうか。SFの好きな信者なら、 UFOが出現して浄まった信者のみ引き上げてくれると解釈できるような教示を出しているのでしょうか。 

総本山完成後、21年以上になり ます。地上が『エデンの園」に向かっている気配はありません。それどころか、真光そのものが様々な問題を含み、また問題を引き起こしています。真光で 「健・和・冨 」を達成した、と言える信者、良き見本になれる人、何人いるのでしょうか。あそこで「真光の業」と称しているものは実は....という時代が来るかもしれ ません。「真光」が「魔ヒカリ」に名実ともになってしまわないように祈ります。


ーーーー 火の鳥phoenix3000,

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Baptism by Fire updates please!

Since I've been out of Mahikari for many years at this stage, I don't have first-hand knowledge of what notions Mahikari leaders encourage these days on the subject of the Baptism by Fire. Are there any former members out there who have left Mahikari recently who can tell me how teachings on this subject are handled these days?

The pro-Mahikari material on the Internet does not mention the Baptism by Fire. Is this because these teachings are downplayed these days even within the organization? Or is this just the public face of Mahikari? The Cooperating with other religions post shows that Mahikari publicists are not above writing promotional material that is in clear contradiction to Okada's original teachings. Are Mahikari leaders starting to change what is taught within Mahikari, or are these deliberate lies designed to make Mahikari seem more palatable to potential recruits?

In the years before Suza was built, there was enormous emphasis on preparing "seed people" for the Baptism by Fire that we were taught would usher in the "Age of the Holy Century of the New and True Civilization". A major motivator for building Suza itself was that building it would lessen the severity of the unspecified cataclysmic events that would occur during the Baptism by Fire. The change in the "divine plan" and the coming cataclysms were a major underpinning of Mahikari doctrine.

In those days, Mahikari leaders urged all kumite to prepare emergency kits containing the items needed to take care of omitama, as well as water, survival ration-type food, and survival items such as torches, pocket knives, basic cooking implements, and all-weather clothes. Those of us who had Goshintai also needed emergency packs to take care of so-called divine articles.

I read somewhere recently that a Mahikari spokesperson had denied that Mahikari is an apocalyptic group. He admitted that, at one time, some kumite had prepared emergency kits, but this person denied that this was a general practice encouraged by Mahikari. I beg to differ. I recall specific teachings from Keishu Okada (perhaps in one of her monthly ceremony speeches?) urging that kumite prepare in this way, and most of the more dedicated kumite at my dojo did in fact prepare such a kit.

I even remember a nightmare I had at that time. In the dream, I was living on a fairly flat Pacific island and had Goshintai. We received warning that a tidal wave which would sweep across the entire island was heading towards us. I was frantically trying to organize enough waterproof material to wrap Goshintai in so that it wouldn't become wet. I was going to tie it to me so it wouldn't be swept away and try to cling on to the roof of the building...

In Goseigen, Okada talks about the "twenty-first holy century", but I don't recall anything specific about the year 2000. The timeline for the Baptism by Fire was always vague (which is always a smart move with predictions). My impression was that it would be within my lifetime, with an increase in the number of natural disasters towards the end of the twentieth century, and with the peak of the Baptism by Fire sometime in the early part of the twenty-first century.

Can anyone fill me in on specific teachings from Keishu Okada in the years immediately preceding the year 2000? I was no longer a member by then, so I have no idea if that year was given any special significance within Mahikari. By then, was there still talk concerning a Baptism by Fire? Was it supposed to intensify after the year 2000?

Was there a change in Keishu Okada's teachings after the year 2000? Did she perhaps claim that God had changed his "divine plan" because Suza had been built, or because kumite had made so much sincere effort in their "divine service"?

I'd really like to know if the Baptism by Fire notion has been gradually de-emphasized in the current Mahikari culture, or is it just omitted from publicity material?

Partly, I'm just naturally curious. However, there are also more serious implications.

Okada's original teachings placed enormous emphasis on the Baptism by Fire notion. If this notion is now disappearing from the Mahikari culture, then someone is changing teachings which Okada claimed were revealed directly by God. Personally, of course, I don't believe these teachings and don't care if anyone changes them. However, if someone is starting to change Mahikari doctrine, then its no longer logical to claim that the other teachings are the "voice of God".

Or, if Mahikari still does place as much emphasis on the Baptism by Fire as it used to, shouldn't that notion be mentioned somewhere in Mahikari's publicly available material? Of course, "millennium cults" are rather out of favor these days, so it would be tempting to omit this notion from recruitment material.

So, can anyone please set the record straight? Exactly what is the current position of Mahikari on the subject of the Baptism by Fire?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mahikari money matters

I've already commented several times in earlier articles that the most insidious thing about mind control is that you never know it is there until it is gone. Each time I write that, it strikes me as only logical to wonder just how much of the Mahikari mind-set is still sitting in my subconscious and affecting what I think and how I feel.

The classic silly question to ask a cult member is, "Have you been brain-washed?" The answer will always be, "No. Of course not!" The only reason I am capable of wondering if I'm still affected by mind control is that I've experienced getting rid of at least some of it.

I've experienced the surprise of suddenly seeing something from a previously unimaginable perspective. I've experienced the horror of realizing how much my emotions and personality had still been skewed, and how much my life had been impaired, by doctrines that I thought I had rejected years before. I also experienced the unexpected joy of suddenly regaining the real me...the real me that I didn't know I had lost...and realizing how enormously strong and confident the real me had become.

I've also become very determined. First of all, I "wasted" 10 years of my life on something that is not what it pretends to be. I'm sure many of you have also felt the sense of humiliation that comes from realizing that Mahikari deceived you, and that you were tricked into wasting your time, energy, and sincerity. Then, despite leaving Mahikari and rejecting its teachings, most of the rest of what should have been the most productive years of my life have been less productive than they might have been, simply because I didn't realize I was still being affected by Mahikari's mind control. That is the part I cannot ignore...particularly when I consider how many other former members may still be affected in a similar way. I now feel very determined indeed to make sure the years I have left count for something.

So, what has this got to do with Mahikari and money? It seems I've just uncovered yet another corner of my mind that was not yet free of mind control.

At this stage, I think I must have read almost all the Mahikari-related information available on the Internet, and that includes plenty of comments/questions/accusations concerning money...the donation system, availability of financial records, amounts of money channeled to Japan, etc. To me, none of this seemed all that important. All religions involve donations...right? Donations are given to God...right? Sure, we all knew God didn't actually get the money, but any religious organization needs money donations in order to keep functioning. So, since I believed in the worth of Mahikari at the time, I was happy to help support it with donations. Since I no longer believe Mahikari, I now regret giving it that money, but that doesn't mean Mahikari was at fault for encouraging donations...does it? That is pretty much how I thought about donations until a few days ago.

Similarly, I had read a fair bit about money matters in relation to other cults and mind control. When I think of cults, the image that springs to mind is of a fat, smiling guru with a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce, a palatial house, adoring underpaid (or unpaid) servants, and legions of duped cult members who revere him sufficiently to sign over their bank accounts. A lot of the information I read about other cults did remind me of Mahikari (and helped me to break free of those parts of Mahikari's mind control), but I failed to see any real similarities between Keishu Okada and the above stereotype of a cult leader.

Keishu Okada was always portrayed as warm, humble, and sincere. We were told how she was kept busy day and night with divine service, and often had only a few hours sleep. Since kumite regarded her as almost god-like, it seemed fair enough that they would want her to have the best of everything to help her get on with her divine work...the enormous house, the formal black car, the expensive kimonos, and the small army of elite doshis who acted as bodyguards, secretaries, house-keepers, and goodness knows what else.

I've been pondering all this ever since I read ZT's comments about Keishu Okada's extravagant lifestyle in "Why I speak out" (on the Remembering blog about a week ago).

We can look at other cult leaders and see them for what they are...leaders with a taste for luxury, a lust for power, and no scruples about deceiving and manipulating their members (or, just maybe, an enormous capacity for self-deception). It now occurs to me, rather belatedly, that people who have never been touched by Mahikari mind control probably see Keishu Okada's lifestyle (supported by Mahikari's donation system) in exactly the same way...and perhaps I should, too.

Which means...what? Half of my life was stolen by someone's money-making scam? I must confess that I'm finding it really hard to truly believe that. It would make me feel even more humiliated and violated than I do already.

And you know what? I think mind control continues to work precisely because it is more comfortable to continue to believe the deception than it is to admit that one has been deceived by something that is so unscrupulous.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

What does amatsu norigoto do?

In a couple of comments on earlier posts, Darcy has said that she thinks amatsu norigoto helps induce the sort of trance-like state in which we are more inclined to believe what we hear without conscious evaluation.

Chanting is one of the things Steve Hassan says can produce a receptive, trance-like state (altered state), but I think he is referring to chanting that is continued for significantly longer than a minute or so. Even so, my feeling is that amatsu norigoto does have some significance in terms of mind control. Does anyone have any ideas on the real role of this chant and its effect on kumite?

Once people have been Mahikari members for while, I suspect that chanting (or simply hearing) amatsu norigoto once is probably sufficient to trigger an altered state. Darcy reported experimenting with giving okiyome both with and without chanting amatsu norigoto first, and reported a difference in the perceived strength of the okiyome.

One incident at the time of my initial contact with Mahikari has always puzzled me. I'd heard about Mahikari when on vacation, and been given the phone number of a kumite who lived in my hometown, but I had never been to a dojo or seen anyone giving okiyome or heard amatsu norigoto. I went to visit the kumite and asked to receive okiyome. She explained the procedure for giving and receiving okiyome, including that she would chant a prayer, then hold her hand in front of my forehead.

So, I closed my eyes and waited to see what would happen. Within moments of the kumite starting amatsu norigoto, I felt myself enter a trance-like state (something I recognized from earlier experiments with various self-healing techniques). This surprised me greatly, because I was sure I remembered her saying that giving okiyome started after the chanting. In any case, I decided I must have misunderstood the procedure and that she had started giving okiyome to my forehead as soon as she started chanting. Afterwards, I made some comment to that effect, and the kumite assured me that she had of course started giving okiyome after she finished amatsu norigoto.

This incident was one of the most crucial in terms of me deciding to join Mahikari. I had expected to feel an effect from okiyome, and so perhaps might have considered that to be just the power of suggestion, but I had not expected to feel anything in response to amatsu norigoto. As you would expect, the kumite then explained the notion of kotodama and told me that amatsu norigoto has the power to purify and protect. I was very impressed!

Now, of course, I'm disinclined to believe the Mahikari explanation for the effect I felt in response to amatsu norigoto, so what is going on here? Does this chant in fact have some sort of power? Is there some validity to the notion of kotodama after all? Is there something about that syncopated rhythm that is typically used to chant it that induces an altered state?

Amatsu norigoto is certainly used a lot within Mahikari. Even though the chant itself is short, one hears it almost constantly at a dojo as kumite begin giving okiyome, as people purify towels, flowers, food, etc., as part of ceremonies, and before study periods and meetings. If this chant does induce a mental state that facilitates mind control, then finding out what amatsu norigoto actually does, and how it does it, might be the key to understanding our indocrination.

Can anyone suggest an explanation for me experiencing a very unexpected effect from amatsu norigoto?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mahikari skin "cleansings"

Did any of you have skin "cleansings" when you were kumite? I did see some, but I didn't ever have one myself, so this is something I don't know much about.

I'm hoping someone reading this can provide some information about the sort of skin conditions (regarded as a cleansing) that some kumite experience. Are these like skin conditions experienced by non-members? I had the impression that these cleansings were different from eczema, for example. Did anyone ever get a medical diagnosis (or similar) of a skin cleansing?

I started vaguely wondering about skin cleansings the other day when I was writing about colds, flu, and other common ailments in the posts concerning okiyome. It occurred to me then that the skin conditions experienced by kumite were rarely (if ever?) seen in non-members, and that these conditions were perhaps somehow induced by Mahikari.

I think I only ever saw one or two ordinary kumite with a skin cleansing, but people training to become doshis (kunrensei) seemed particularly prone. Mahikari doctrine says that really toxic substances can only be safely eliminated through the skin, so I think we assumed that these cleansings were produced by the purification experienced during intense training.

At kunrenbu, the kunrensei who had skin cleansings lived in separate quarters and were not allowed any contact with the other trainees. They followed different schedules and were rarely even seen. I originally assumed (was told?) that this isolation was because the skin conditions were contagious. Were they? Does anyone know?

Later on, it was implied (we were told?) that these skin cleansings would clear up as soon as the kunrensei changed their sonen (attitudes). This doesn't seem to fit that well with the notion that the cleansings were contagious. Did anyone observe any connection between a skin cleansing disappearing and a change in sonen? (Of course, it would be difficult to be sure if one caused the other...)

Apparently, the Moonies separate new rectruits into "sheep" and "goats"....people who follow and people who tend to question, respectively. Perhaps the kunrensei with skin cleansings were kept separate for a similar reason, rather than due to any fear of physical contagion. I don't know. It's just a thought.

From time to time there were other "visitors" (kanbu) living in the isolation quarters. One in particular was a fairly high-level kanbu who did not have a skin cleansing. We were told that person was there for "retraining". These people spent a lot of time working in the yoko garden.

Anyway, I'm hoping someone can share more information about skin cleansings, mainly because of a comment Steve Hassan made when talking about his notion that cult indocrination attempts to suppress and destroy a person's authentic identity. He says that the indocrination is never completely successful and that, over time, the authentic, pre-cult self seeks ways to regain its freedom. He says that one strategy of the authentic identity is creating illnesses, such as skin problems, asthma, or severe allergic reactions that give the cult member an excuse to sleep and take some time off. (Page 188 of Releasing the Bonds.)

You've guessed it! I'm now wondering if skin cleansings result from the stress caused by a crisis of faith when a kumite really wants out but doesn't quite dare to leave Mahikari. Some of the kunrensei who spent several months in the isolation section of kunrenbu did eventually rejoin their fellow trainees, complete their training, and graduate from kunrenbu. Some, however, returned home. We assumed these people would either come back to kunrenbu once they recovered from the skin cleansing, or continue Mahikari activities as ordinary kumite.

At this stage, I can't help wondering if these people actually left Mahikari altogether at that time, but if they did, we were never told so.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Why do ex-members speak out against Mahikari?

A few days ago, a former member of Sukyo Mahikari posted an article in defense of Mahikari on The Mahikari Project Blog Site. Even though I agree with very little that this person wrote, it did strike me as very fair-minded for a former member to go to so much trouble.

Since this person felt that various criticisms s/he had read were groundless, s/he assumed (logically enough, I suppose) that the people who publicly criticize Mahikari are being unfair and must be doing so due to personal grievances. S/he says, "If someone doesn't want to be involved with them anymore, that’s fine, but there’s no need to try to smear them."

This person is not the only one to make such assumptions. Several pro-Mahikari sites suggest that criticism of Mahikari is motivated by personal grudges, thereby implying that there are no legitimate reasons for the criticism. I very much doubt if any current members of Mahikari are reading this blog, but if you are a member, please read to the bottom of this post and find out what we say about why we are speaking out publicly.

Actually, I'll not presume to speak for anyone else. Darcy, who speaks to junior high kids about her experiences in Mahikari, and Steve, from the Mahikari Exposed site, have both visited this blog and posted comments on previous topics. If you two happen to see this post and are willing to tell us your reasons for speaking out, could you please send your comments? Perhaps others of you are also speaking out elsewhere...I'd like to hear from you, too.

Okay, firstly, I honestly have no grudge or grievance at all against any of the kanbu or kumite I knew when I was a kumite. Many of them are (or were, I suppose!) good friends. I hate to think that they probably feel puzzled, betrayed, and saddened by the way I am trying to counteract all their efforts to promote Mahikari. I'm sure they don't thank me for it, but these friends are part of the reason I do speak out.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll realize that I do believe that Mahikari has a mind control effect, and I see all kanbu and kumite (except perhaps Okada and the current top leaders) as victims (and unwitting perpetrators) of this, just as much as I was. Hopefully something I say will cut through the mind control enough to start some of these people thinking analytically about their experiences and beliefs.

Unfortunately, the effects of this mind control don't seem to miraculously vanish as soon as one leaves Mahikari, or even as soon as one consciously rejects its teachings (at least, in my case they didn't). Pro-Mahikari sites say that members are free to leave at any time, and they droves. From what I observed when I was a member, I'd guess that there are something like 100 times more ex-members than current members. I wonder how many of these are still affected, perhaps without them realizing it, by doctrines that got embedded in their subconscious minds during their time in Mahikari? Again, I hope that some of the things said on this blog site, by me and by other contributors, will help any former members who are still dealing with the aftermath of Mahikari.

Incidentally, the former member who wrote in support of Mahikari on the Mahikari Project blog questioned the validity of the mind control notion. Perhaps many of you do, too. For a long time, I didn't take the notion seriously, and tended to think that "mind control" was just a dramatic term for ordinary persuasion, with psychological factors like peer pressure, the influence of authority figures, and the desire to belong thrown in. I don't want to go into this topic now...I'll get to it in another post sometime soon. I only mention it here to explain why I now feel obligated to speak out publicly.

Before I believed that Mahikari has a mind control effect, I was quite content to leave Mahikari behind, get on with my life, and respect the right of other people to believe whatever they want (as long as it does not infringe upon other peoples' rights). I believed that kumite are sincerely trying to help other people and make the world a better place...and I still think they are sincere about that.

I now see mind control as being very real, and as being one of the most insidious forms of human rights abuse simply because the victim is unaware that he or she is being controlled by anything other than his or her own self. It's a bit of a Catch-22, because I don't think anyone ever knows that control is there until it is gone. Since I feel I'm now getting at least some understanding of this process...and since I'm just as inclined to want to help make the world a better place as I was when I was a kumite...I obviously have to speak out against Mahikari.