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...


Blogger Darcy said...

This was something about Mahikari that was hard for me to digest. The rebel in me wanted to use this particular teaching as toilet paper. I was constantly being told by Kanbu to be sonao. For me the hardest part of being a Mahikari member was following the instructions of another human being, who in my opinion was of the same level as me. I guess the Scorpio in me would sometimes take over. Scorpios are only happy when they are in complete control of their lives, again one of those damned water sign traits. I was always getting myself in trouble due to my tendency of expressing my opinion whether the people around me like it or not. In the end the ‘be like a child’ philosophy really cripples a person’s way of thinking. I often found myself wondering if some Kanbu actually took that phrase literally with the way some of them behaved…like children who want attention.

January 30, 2006  

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