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?

3 Comments:

Anonymous CZ said...

I do realise that since Odairisama took over the helm, there has been a change in the style and content of the teachings.

Now, the teachings remind me of a high-schooler's attempt at writing an essay on topics like World peace etc. Most of the time, I'd give him a C- for taste and a B- for content since he does put in some effort to appear sensible and logical as compared to Oshienushisama who does nothing else but recyle, plagiarise and paraphrase. I think anyone of us here would be capable of writing a better piece anytime.

January 17, 2006  
Blogger Darcy said...

They do try to downplay the Baptism of Fire. My husband is still a member and I actually asked him about this upon reading this article. He said, "No one ever said that the Baptism of Fire was going to come in the year 2000. Some members believed that it would because of all the hype surrounding the milliniuem." He then went on to say, "Members believe now that the Baptisim of Fire is preparing itself, because of all the things that have happened since the millenium." (Ex. 911 (in the US), the tsunami, the increase in hurricanes, the heat associated with global warming, the war on terror...) Most members believe now that humans are going to destory themselves, that the Baptism of Fire if going to be more of a nuclear war, rather than a natural disaster that has us all stranded on an island.

January 17, 2006  
Blogger Lara said...

My parents just went to a three day seminar and they were told that their efforts to postpone the BofF were not working, that Keishu would need more donations and more divine service. I think that was what the ultra-secret meeting Asher was talking about was. My parents also came home from dojo this weekend talking about the tornados in Kansas (?) over the weekend that were the worst in like 10 years...kanbu told them the BofF is drawing closer as weather becomes more severe.

April 10, 2006  

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