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.


Blogger CZ said...

Hi Anne,
I went to read up on the article as well. I think the writer is quite ill-informed about how SM works. I've also written an articel regarding this in my blog. I've put my blog up again under the original address.

January 02, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi CZ!

CZ talks about why he speaks out against Mahikari in the latest post on his own blog. His blog is here.

January 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But maybe, even the top guys in SM as well as the founder himself..were under mind control!...mind control through a feedback by a system of thought that was as a result of the post war society and the poor undesrtanding of advanced concepts in science like quantum mechanics and the like!...a system brainwashing people and they inturn through feedback, nurturing the system!....

January 03, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

I too have considered the possibility that Okada himself may have been a victim of mind control, but I don't imagine it is possible to find out for sure at this stage.

It sounds like you have an interesting theory there, but I don't understand quite what you mean by the "system of thought that was the result of post war society". Could you please spell your theory out in more detail? (Be as detailed as you like...if it's too long for a comment, I could post it as a main topic.)

Steve Hassan has a theory that some cult leaders who use mind control are not deliberately doing so. These are the leaders who were victims of mind control themselves when they were members of other cults before they resigned and started their own cult. Hassan suggests that these leaders would have learnt which control techniques worked best from their own experience in their former cults, and that they simply re-created what seemed to work best when they started their own cults.

Since Okada was originally a member (and kanbu) of SKK, it is possible that he simply copied what seemed to work best in SKK, without being aware that mind control was involved. Certainly, there are marked similarities between the two groups, so perhaps we should consider this possibility.

January 03, 2006  
Anonymous Steve said...

I would have thought in principle, that mind conditioning is a fact of life. After all the brain is like any organ of the body, needs to be worked, stretched and developed to be healthy.

The issue with religious cults like Mahikari, is the subtle range of conditioning methods they have developed over a long time to maintain a control of their dogma, public relations and ultimately their membership.

The key issue is basic - reward and punishment.

If a persons involvement in a sect or cult makes them feel good and they see purpose in what they do, then it is a positive experience for them.
The control comes into play when a reward is offered...... like a place in heaven or a chance to erase all the negative karma of this life and all past lives including ancestors.....the condition is: The only way to achieve this state, is to raise the hand, give light and obediently follow the tenets of the Mahikari.

The introduction of the Mahikari belief that we all have negative karma hanging off us and need to be purified, can be a strong incentive for members to be enthusiastic participants if they choose to believe it. Mahikari claim they can give you the power to wash away the dirt clinging to the soul and elevate your ancestors spirits out of the fiery pits of hell to a nicer place.

Any free thinker can recognise the karma example I've mentioned is typical of a religion creating a problem and giving the solution to the problem.

What happens when the Mahikari experience starts to sour over a period of time and a member reaches a crisis of belief in the sect? This situation is inevitable in fact, exit rates in Mahikari are very high.

The responsibility of the crisis is more than likely turned onto the member, and the guilt triggers are activated. After all according to Mahikari it has a mandate from the supreme god to purity the world, its source is impeccable.
The guilt triggers can be: The person is not trying hard enough, they are not purified enough, they are being influenced by negative forces, teachings are being misunderstood etc etc.
Naturally people want to feel good about what they are doing, so can either choose to ignore the crisis and continue, immersed in the sense of belonging.

Or on the other hand, they could choose a very risky path, find out why a crisis has occurred and deal with it. The result could lead to them leaving the fold and exploring a wider range of information and experiences concerning the sect which is outside the sects control. It is understandable that a range of emotions could be invoked, a sense of betrayal, anger, embarrassment, and wasted time to name a few. Alternatively, there can be a sense of relief, renewed interest in self determination, a desire to help others rediscover themselves, free from the controlling mechanisms of the sect .

So where does mind conditioning come into this discussion? Well we can be lazy and accept the dogma of a religion as the only way to conduct ourselves. Or take the initiative and rediscover the natural brilliance we are all born with, by reconditioning our own minds in non secular ways that can remove the blockages, or stuck states. Conditioning ourselves to take charge of our destiny first hand, rather than living in the shadow of the second hand accounts of others.

January 03, 2006  
Anonymous Darcy said...

Wow, where do I begin? Well, this is probably rather presumptuous of me, but…I would be willing to suggest that if L. Morrision is a former member of Sukyo Mahikari at all, that he/she has just recently departed the organization. He/she is probably also still struggling with how to reject the teachings. At least I hope. This, again, is probably also presumptuous of me, but I would also be willing to suggest that perhaps L. Morrison is not a former member at all, but rather a kumite who is trying to strengthen the image of Mahikari through a faux letter. I guess that pretty much sums up my opinion of Mahikari. I don’t trust the organization, nor do I trust anyone who supports it. Obviously the people who are unknowledgable enough to support it, clearly haven’t gone into as much depth when it comes researchiong the past of the organization as much as the former members who, “have an axe to grind.” But…what can we expect? To do research would be a spirit disturbance and a cause for major concern. I won’t be able to put this as elegantly as Anne, Steve, or CZ, but I will try to express my opnion with as much tact as I can possibly muster. I am youth minister…that is basically exactly what it sounds like…I minister to the youth. I travel to schools and speak with students and educate them on the effects of cults on the minds of human beings. I believe that in order to protect children from those sorts of organizations, we must first enstill a confidence within them and show them that it is alright to be different and not “fit in” to something. I think the main reasons cults are able to recruit so many people is because they prey on the weak minded and the unconfident. They look for the people who are ill and need hope, they look for the outcasts who don’t feel like they have a place, they look for the person who is religiously conflicted, they look for the innocent child who wants to believe in magic and miracles, and they look for the person who simply wants to make the world a better place. Then they prey on those weaknesses. I was none of those things, I fancied myself a pretty strong and intellegent individual, someone who was not easily manipulated or fooled, and yet I was just as easily sucked in as everyone else. What does that say to me? That says to me, that these organizations know exactly what they are doing. Maybe not the members who welcome you in and convience you of their teachings through their sincerity. Those people truly want to help the world and make things better…but the ones at the top of the todumpole, who knows the teachings are all false and just want to control and promote their cause (AKA Ms. Okada)…those people know exactly what they are doing. They must be stopped. They must not be allowed to prosper. Ms. Okada lives like a queen, while many member of Mahikari (like myself at one time) were savings pennies just to make the montly donations. I have no grievances against any Kumite or Kanbu leaders…in fact, one day when their minds are no longer cloudy and hazy I would love to re-kendal some of those old friendships, however, I do have a personal grievance and a downright dislike for Ms. Okada and all the other higherups who know the truth and won’t expose it. The lies burried within the sinews of Mahikari are so thick and distorted…I don’t even know how they keep them all straight. Let alone how some members, knowing these things can continue participating in Mahikari. Let’s examine some of those lies shall we?

1. Members tell you that relgion is unimportant and that okiyome is the only thing that matters. If you become enlightended enough to take secondary kenshu, you will find out that Mahikari members are God’s chosen seed people and that all others will need to take a pilgrimage to Suza, repent, and become Mahikari members to even be considered for salvation from the Baptisim of Fire. Secondary Kenshu also says that all other religions are useless and have lost their powers on this earth…what kind of religiously bias garbage is that? Relgion doesn’t matter. *rolling eyes* And they have the audacity to try and say that religion doesn’t matter and that continuation of those practices are alright.
2. Kotama Okada’s past is covered in lies. Mahikari denies that he was involved in the Rape of Nanking, they deny he was a member of the SKK, they deny he was removed from the organization for sexual assault, they deny that he stole most of his teachings from the SKK, they deny that Keishu Okada was at one time Kotama’s concubine, they deny everything that fact says about Kotama’s past. So what was Kotama doing in those early years? I would be interested to know. Because according to Mahikari he has no past.
3. All donations are transferred back to Keishu Okada in Japan. She lives a lavish lifesytle, which obviously costs a lot of money. Members who question where their hard earned money is going are labeled as spiritually disturbed.
4. Mahikari is extremely antisemetic. Their entire premiss is based on the fact that they are God’s chosen people because the Jews failed to build Solomon’s Temple and enshrine Su-God. They believe that the Jews are deserving of everything that has happened to them throughout history. They say that Hitler was a tool of God. They place all the blame on the Jews and none of the blame on Hitler (where the blame clearly needs to be directed). All of this and yet they lie and say that they are not antisemetic. Just because they don’t come right out and say, “Hey, we hate Jews!” Doesn’t mean they are not antisemetic. Mel Gibson was labeled antisemtic when the Passion of the Christ was released and he didn’t have half the (pardon my foul language) balls to say all the things that Mahikari says. How any self-respecting Jewish individual can be a part of these practices is beyond me. Mahikari essentially says that the Jews are damned unless they become Kumite. (If you are Jewish or were once Jewish and a Mahikari member, I would love to hear your reasons for staying and accepting the divine teachings.)

The list continues on and on, but I think I’ve made my point. Wouldn't want to grind my axe…I guess some people like being lied to. It must be easier than having to face the truth and see what is really going on in front of you; that the life you've been living and the beliefs you've followed are all lies. I write and I speak out because I know the truth now. After years of wasting my life and being disillusioned I finally see the truth. It took a long time and a lot of talking with God, but I finally asked Him to cover my eyes so that my heart could see that in the end only He means anything. Mahikari has stolen years of so many peoples lives and tons of their money serving a false prophet and messiah…and it still has it’s claws in my family and my husband, not to mention, many of my friends. I will not stop, I will not back down until one day it is gone and those people are finally spirirtually free and independent. Until then you can expect me to be grinding my axe until kingdom come. So get used to it.

January 04, 2006  
Anonymous steve said... the last paragraph of my comment above, I meant to say 'secular', not 'non secular'.

January 04, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Who cares about "elegance" when you've got go girl!

As you suggest, the letter in defence of Mahikari may have been written by a kumite posing as a former member, but it doesn't make much difference if it was. Either way, it prompted me to write about why I speak out against Mahikari, which in turn lead to very valuable comments from you, CZ, "anonymous" and it's all good!

Incidentally, just by chance, I came across a few pertinent points last night in Steve Hassan's Releasing the Bonds, pages 169-170.

He says, One of the most common disinformation tactics used by cults is a logical fallacy known as the "straw man," where a person weakens his opponent's position by misrepresenting his arguments and attacking an indefensible "straw man," rather than addressing the real issues. The former (or current?) member over-simplifies and distorts what has been said about a possible common and hidden force behind both Mahikari and Aum, and implies we have accused Mahikari of some direct connection with Aum and perhaps even involvement in the sarin gas attacks. A "straw man"? Strike one.

Further down the page, Hassan says, Cult propagandists love to try to convince members that "mind control is not recognized by mental health professionals. Hassan then cites various references that do show professional support for the notion of mind control. Strike 2.

On the next page, Hassan says, A popular argument among cult defenders is that the testimony of former members, or "apostates," should not be considered reliable, because such people may have been prejudiced by their departure from the group. Sound familiar? (...perhaps we should call ourselves the Axe-grinders Club!) Strike 3.

January 04, 2006  
Anonymous Steve said...

I like the way you guys are using the expression 'Axes to Grind' . When Mahikari used that expression to suggest we former members had an hidden motive to speak against the Mahikari establishment. I doubled over with mirth at the time (grin). Dear oh dear........Talk about the 'pot calling the kettle black'.

I think we have coined an alternative meaning here, 'Axes to Grind' meaning - 'sharpen the axe' ! A 'sharp' axe is definitely more efficient to cut through the layers of Mahikari rhetoric to expose the truth behind the smiling facade. The joke is on them really, Mahikari is so steeped with secrecy it will collapse under its own weight eventually.
Talking about collapse, I heard they had to replace the roof on Suza, can anyone confirm?

January 05, 2006  
Blogger CZ said...

The last time I was there, Suza was undergoing major renovation works. The entire roof was covered with scarfoldings, even the huge red peach was covered. Well... I'm not sure how Oshienushisama and Odairisama are maintaining the buildings, but I sure know how they are maintaining themselves.

January 05, 2006  
Anonymous dexter said...

Dairi" originally indicated the imperial palace in Kyoto. Odairisama consists of a couple of dolls that represent an emperor and an empress. In western Japan, the emperor is formally placed on the left (or on the right as you face), while the opposite arrangement is common in eastern Japan. Today it is more likely that the odairisama is displayed in the eastern Japan style.

January 06, 2006  
Blogger Anne said...

Speaking of Odairisama, can anyone tell me what his original name is? I'd already left Mahikari ar the time he was appointed, and I'm quite curious to know who he is.

I've heard he too was adopted, and now uses the name Okada. I'd really prefer not to use the "Odairisama" title for him, but I don't know what else to call him. Okada Jr.?

The websites I've looked at don't give an ordinary name for him, and I've not been able to find a picture, either.

January 07, 2006  
Anonymous KitKat said...

My comment about the whole 'axe grinding' issue : I only stay involved in online discussions and other activities against Mahikari to help others (hmmm, is that altruism?). I don't enjoy it. It gives me nightmares still. I feel bad about the people I got to join Mahkari who are still there - this is my way of making amends, helping people who are leaving, or thinking of joining, to make better decisions and feel less fearful.

I know that my activies won't 'bring Mahikari down', and I'm not out for personal revenge - I want to help people as much as I did when I was a kumite, but this time it's anchored in the REAL world.

It's VITAL that us ex-members maintain a public voice against Mahikari, simply because otherwise what would we have? An organisation that does whatever it likes, often hurting people in the process, with ex-members who just 'fade away' and don't say anything? We learnt the hard way, we've been there. We have a DUTY to say what we know, what we experienced, so that people can make informed decisions. We would be negligent otherwise.

When I joined, there wasn't a critical public voice against Mahikari anywhere. I didn't have access to another view — and I probably wouldn't have joined if I'd been able to talk to ex-members. I don't have a personal grudge against the members at my old Dojo - I'm even still friends with a few of them. But I have grave concerns about the activities and teachings of Mahikari as an organisation, and will continue to write about the problems I perceive in this group, and help anyone who is suffering as a result of involvement. I hardly think that qualifies as 'axe-grinding', or negates my views or activities.

January 08, 2006  
Blogger Joe said...

Took me awhile to get around to this one, and I doubt that I will add much new, but here goes...

I post to bring out the truth. I post not because I felt like I was controlled, but because I WAS LIED TO...

I was convinced to join by a friend. I read the information, and much of it had a "common sense" appeal. However, there was much that was excluded, and now, as has been documented, much of the information available WAS ALL A LIE.

I personally believe that the organization is practicing in the OCCULT. So I also post because I want this to be a warning to anyone considering joining to step back...


April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it

February 18, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Good day, I am looking for help. My mother resently lost her omitama or it was taken from her. Do not know which one, but not it seems like she has become depressed I am looking for some information to get her out of this organisation called Maharikari, and we do not knw where to start.

June 14, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just ask your mother to read everything she can find that has been written by ex-members about all the deception in what Mahikari teaches. Perhaps go to the oldest posts in this blog and just start reading. Also, click on Home at the bottom of this page, then look for the links to other websites to see other very useful sites. Seeing proof of deliberate Mahikari deception is the best way to free anyone from belief in Mahikari.

June 14, 2012  

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