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.

5 Comments:

Blogger Darcy said...

I came to the conclusion that my hard earned money had been wasted fairly quickly. I suppose that is just because I am a bit of a miser as it is. Keishu Okada was never someone I respected…first of all because she is a woman and I don’t feel that women should head religious organizations or government. In my opinion God made men stronger in some areas and women stronger in others. Maybe that’s because of the way I was raised, but that’s my opinion. Men are stronger when it comes to dealing with money and making important decisions. Women can sometimes be indecisive because we see things in shades of grey rather than black and white. However men have their weaknesses as well. For example, when my husband gets sick…I am expected to wait on him hand and foot while he shivers and sniffles in bed…when I am sick on the other hand I am still expected to care for our son and cook and do my other wifely duties. Also, I never really trusted Keishu after it came out about the fight over the secession of Mahikari. For all we know Kotama could have put the other man in charge (forgot his name). It would have been simple for her to lie about the whole thing. There are no witnesses that can attest to the fact that Kotama wanted her to take over for him. After the legal battle was exposed I never really trusted her again and I started just donating to the dojo repairs. I knew the money was flowing back to her and I disliked the fact that she was living like a queen when I had met people who refinanced their homes just so they could attend the opening of Suza back in the 80’s…Keishu was also the one who started referring to herself as God’s representative on earth and later started telling members that she was the only one directly connected to God. I for one never believed that she was the only one who could communicate with God directly. When those teachings made it to the dojo I was livid. I felt as though she had revoked some of the teachings because to my understanding…the pendant I received was supposed to connect me to God…not connect me to her and through her connect me to God. What was even more disturbing was how easily everyone else seemed to accept it. And for those of you who are reading this and thinking…what? We were always told she was God’s representative…in American we receive teachings a lot later. I think that is partially because we were one of the places that Mahikari decided to invade later…and partially because America is a lot less superstitious than other countries like Japan or China…or even Australia…we tend have to see something to believe it. Japanese superstition such as ‘don’t go on the roof above the Goshintai or something bad will happen to you’ is not as easily swallowed here. Or the number 13 is a bad number…black cats are an omen…we are a lot less traditional here.

January 12, 2006  
Anonymous dexter said...

Maybe this is off topic, but I consider it a serious one. Yes, we know that Mahikari has been brainwashing, and we have come to realise may of the facts concerning the sect. Ofcourse it is good to think and warn others about the issues that Mahikari poses as a cult. But, we have two ways to think of this matter. 1. Think about the fallacies that SM promotes, and think in a logical way to understand its pitfalls. This helps in making wiser decisions in future and is a training for logical thinking. 2) Brood over the question of SM. Check the internet for negative statements etc and by the equation of similarities, reject everything of SMs teachings... .The first point I had mentioned about inquisitiveness is overtaken by emotional negativity. On the long run, I believe, this may cause substantial damage to our psycho-emotional abilities. We have a choice to make. Either accept what has happened as a good experience and positively accepting it for our future growth, or being negative and breed negativity. I urge the forumites to think and reflect how he sees the issue. If it is as I had stated in statement 1, fine. If it is 2, then I ask you to reflect who is the real loser, and the real winner?. Have you got peace of mind by leaving the sect after you understand the pitfalls?. No. So I urge everyone to think of the past as a good experience and look forward with enthusiasm!.

January 13, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Dexter,

You have raised an extremely important point here. I totally agree with you about the importance of moving on and recognizing what one has gained from one's experiences. We do lose if we get stuck in negativity. I had intended to get to this topic eventually, but I'm glad you raised it now.

On the surface it is off-topic (not that that matters), but it is also highly relevant to the way I wrote this particular post. You must be very astute!

On one level, I was writing about the way the presence or absence of mind control affects how we perceive the money aspect of Mahikari. But, at the same time, I was trying to do a walk-through of the process and the emotions involved in breaking free from a one bit of mind control...a bit of "on-the-spot" reporting, if you like!

Naturally, that process does produce a lot of negative emotions, so, in this post, I know I did sound quite negative. I don't think it is possible to sidestep the emotional upheaval stage of the process and jump straight to the moving-on stage...is it?

Actually, your current and previous comments contain hints of many well-thought-out concepts and, for me at least, raise questions I'd like to ask you, but this is perhaps not the best place for them. If you have a web-based email account (to protect your privacy), would you mind emailing me directly at some stage?

January 13, 2006  
Anonymous Dexter said...

Dear Anne,
I would be more than gald to mail you directly!. Perhaps I should also tell that there was once a philosopher who also went through the same dilemma as we have to face. Jiddu Krishnamurthy. Perhaps it would also be wise to read how he was transformed when he realised that any organized sect cannot lead one to the spiritual truth. Ofcourse I am not any great admirer of JK (as he was called), but the parallelism strikes me greatly. All of his teachings were based on this great pain that he had to suffer. You can find more of him here
http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/
index.php?page=103&nav=welcome&nid=103
Ofocurse as I said before understanding that there were persons who had to undergo the same turmoil is rather comforting!

January 13, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi again Dexter!

Thank you. I'll look forward to hearing from you. Just click on my profile to find my email address. (Obviously, I won't have your email address until you email me, so you'll have to write first!)

January 13, 2006  

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