Saturday, May 17, 2008

Letter from Andrea

I recently left Sukyo Mahikari because I found it disempowering, fear-based, and sexist. For years I had feelings that it was this way, but I kept saying to myself "well, I like the light so I'll just focus on that and ignore the 'human' stuff." Eventually, however, the "human stuff" became too big to ignore anymore.

What really helped me turn that corner was reading the Conversations with God series by Neale Donald Walsch, which by contrast was totally empowering for me. Those books helped me understand that I was giving away my power by being "obedient" to others higher up in the hierarchy and also to my husband, who was abusing this power and thus mentally abusing me. (Since Mahikari constantly preaches being obedient to your husband because he's the "upstream" of the family, I let him run rough-shod over me for many years until it nearly destroyed me and I finally came to my senses.) I came to understand at a deep level that God helps those who help themselves. We have the power and responsibility to co-create our own reality. We can either step into that and create a wonderful future for ourselves in the way we want, or we can stay stuck and blame a stagnant or unhappy life on all our bad karma or our family's bad karma, or thoughts like "things will be this way as long as it's God's will." If that were true, God wouldn't have given us brains and free will to make decisions for ourselves and to co-create our lives. With Mahikari's focus on "being obedient," it discourages anyone from using his/her brains and free will. So I must ask - if we are only to be obedient, why in fact did God give us brains and free will?

The books also helped me understand how fear-based Mahikari is, and how it uses fear to pull people in more deeply to the organization. This became really clear to me when I told my father, who is also a member, that I planned to leave after a year's worth of careful and private reflection on the matter. He called me twice in the following two weeks to tell me I was making a mistake (I'm 35 years old, had been a member for 12 years, and a Secondary member for 10 of those years) and basically betraying the family. Later he said that "I guess your mom and I will just have to fend for ourselves" and "hopefully God will take care of us anyway." A person's relationship with God is so intensely personal and it's no one else's business. So this reaction really blew me away. But it also made me realize how much fear is used.

Finally as to my comment that Mahikari is sexist, I am a highly successful career woman who has worked her whole life in the public sector, in public service. I have no maternal instincts! Which to me now only means it's not my path this time around. Yet I believe I'm still making a contribution to society. I definitely got the vibe from other members that there's something wrong with me because I'm not having babies or trying to have babies. And the double standards always bothered me - i.e. a male Tai-Cho can serve in that role even if he has a family. A female Tai-Cho has to resign the role if she marries (or maybe it's if she has children? Either way the idea is that the female has to take care of the male in terms of looking after his needs, cooking, cleaning etc. but I didn't ever feel the converse was expected.)

When I talked to the Kanbu to arrange a time to return my Omitama, he asked me lots of questions about whether or not I had really thought about this. We had a long conversation about it. I told him I thought I was on a good path that definitely involved God although not any organized religion, and that frankly I didn't feel the need for an organization to connect me with God since we are all connected automatically, and the connection deepens if we intend it - which I do. I felt very loving as I was saying all this. It was a nice conversation.

I ended up being a bit late to the dojo and called to let the Kanbu know I was running late. When I arrived, I was asked if I would receive #8. I declined. Then the Kanbu asked me to say a prayer with him, and motioned me up to the altar. He motioned that I kneel on the pad right in front of the altar. Then he did the 2 bows/3 claps whole routine with me following along. I was shocked, thinking "didn't he hear anything I said in our phone conversation?" He prayed out loud for the salvation of my soul, sins and impurities of my family, etc. It was so tasteless! At the end he said that now we were going to say the Amatsu Norigoto prayer so if I remembered it I should say it too. I remembered it, but remained silent.

Then we went to the Omitama changing booth. After I removed the Omitama, the Kanbu asked if I felt any different. I said no. He said that sometimes people "feel like they're losing an old friend." Then he asked me how long I had been a Secondary member, how much light I had received lately (I live in a state with no dojo and only a few members), etc. He was obviously gauging how "disturbed" I was. Then he said that when I had called earlier in the evening (to say I was running late) he had hoped that I was calling to tell him I had changed my mind about returning the Omitama. And he said that it would be at the dojo for a year so I could get it back if I wanted. He also said that there would be a Kenshu in September and would I attend? I declined. And finally he said that oftentimes people reconsider and decide to come back to Mahikari.

When I left the dojo, I realized deeply what a goofed up place this is. I found the Kanbu's comments condescending and missionary-like. "I know better than you, and some day you'll come to your senses you poor wayward soul". Of course when I told my father that I returned the Omitama later that day he was clearly ticked off that I had "betrayed the family". But any member reading this would probably say that I'm just "disturbed" and need to receive light more.

How is any of this "of God"???
-Andrea

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea, I am proud you got away from Mahikari's toxic influence!!! What is most disturbing about this so-called "spiritual" movement is the hypocrisy of Mahikari's teachings. I no doubt believe that adult members join because they want to make the world a better place or are seeking some spiritual guidance. (Poor children of members have no choice!!!) However, after Mahikari indoctrinates you, your mind is MUSH. And while Mahikari talks about being "god-centered" and "generating positive thoughts", many of its members are the most judgemental and hypocritical people I have ever encountered.

I know one very wealthy member who, contray to "loving others", is the most negative and condescending person I've ever met. He despises poor people and views giving back as doing service at the Center, which according to Mahikari's messed up belief system will not only help others but ultimately help himself. How about using some of that money to save some LIVES???? Another senior member, who preaches ENVIRONMENTALISM to everyone around him, is an amateur race car driver who specializes in long distance races (burning race fuel for fun!!!) and is very promscuious, sleeping around with dozens of women. How is that being "spirtual pure" of body and saving the environment????!!! And yet, this member judges others as being not at the same *elevated* spiritual level as him! Somehow these folks and many others in Mahikari know how to maintain a sense of self-superiority while doing whatever the hell the please while hiding under the Mahikari name. I figure the biggest hypocrites are male members, as this so-called religion (CULT!!! actually) is designed to cater to their needs. . .

PEOPLE NEED TO WAKE UP AND SEE MAHIKARI FOR WHAT IT IS. . .a pyramid scheme and a cult that at the basis is just a way to get at your money while giving you peace of mind to do whatever hell you please!!!

May 18, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Anne,

I have been and still am a member for the last 10 years of my youth and have been an active member. I still do the Light as I have actually seen benefits from it happening. But last few years I have been extremely doubtful about the aims of the organization and the organizational structure. Before seeking out for info on the internet did a lot of talking with former members, members who have rejoined the organization and the staff. Somehow I have not got very convincing answers but still the methods used in answering might seem very convincing for a current member.

This issue that I have is practically everyone I know is with the organization. My family (all members) my extended family (cousins aunts uncles) In last 10 years being a member of the MYG (Mahikari Youth Group) most of my close friends are K.K (KamiKumite). It seems to be a great loss to get alienated from all of them so I am still hanging on.
I just wanted to know as to how hard has getting out been for some of the ex-members who contribute to this blog.

Thanks
- Random

May 27, 2008  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Random,

Leaving was hard for me, and for some others I've spoken to, particularly those who had been KK for a long time. Perhaps it is not so hard for some people.

I can see that you are in a difficult position though. Hopefully you can keep on being friends with some of your KK friends even if you do leave Mahikari...and you can start making some non-KK friends too. How will your family react?

If you want to chat some more, you can email me if you want.

Anne

May 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Random.It is extremely hard to leave. I was a member for over 20 years. In addition to that I was staff, and resigned after many years. I don't think anyone thought I was leaving. I just stopped showing up.

I did feel a loss of community, no one wanted to talk to me. The few that did only talked to me so they could get me back. I was waiting to be "punished" for leaving. But guess what. Nothing happen, and its been two years now.

The thing about staying in communication with members, is they are always trying to get you back into the organization. That is what makes it so difficult. If you decide to leave, you will need to be prepared for that. And if they still want to be "your friend", any thing you say will be "reported." After all they are trying to save your soul, and will pray for you to overcome "your disturbance."

If your family is truly practicing the teachings,there should not be a problem in leaving, as they will have unconditional love for you.

A new,, exciting and guilt free life awaits you.

May 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Random,
I feel for you as you're in a really difficult situation. As I mentioned it was difficult for me to leave with the pressure from my father, but I had gotten to the point where the idea of staying in seemed less appealing than the challenges I thought I would face in getting out. After talking at length with a friend who left shortly before me, I decided to read what was on the internet since I had previously avoided it (as kanbu tell members to stay away from it). Boy was it an eye-opener - the blogs and All the Emperor's Men by Garry Greenwood (I read that whole thing in 2 days!) I guess that was the last straw...it was after the reading that I knew I was making the right decision to leave.

And now that I'm out, I feel so free from the guilt and fear. It's truly liberating. And yes, nothing terrible has happened to me either...The only thing that has happened is that I feel stronger and happier from not carrying around all that heavy baggage. I send lots of love to you as you make whatever decision is best for you.
-Andrea

May 27, 2008  
Anonymous butterfly said...

First of all, congratulations Andrea on making the break from SM. By the sounds of things you seem to be adjusting back to a guilt free life. Isnt it just glorious to wake up and know you are no longer a human “doing” what Sukyo Mahikari wants you to do, but rather just a human “being” who you want to be without all SM’s belief’s, rules and regulations. Welcome back to a loving world.

Anonymous, I too left over 2 years ago and keep in touch with some former KK. Fortunately they never mention SM to me and are very aware of my stance – I have made it pretty clear to them that SM is stagnant and is going nowhere fast! Sadly, they hold strongly to the belief that if you are no longer in SM then you must be “spiritually disturbed. Honestly, if you asked anyone outside SM what “spiritually disturbed” means, (as I have) they say “what????” I mean, when a KK says the reason her child cant get to the centre to receive Light/attend Monthly Ceremony etc is because they have “spiritual disturbance” – now this really beggars belief! Maybe that child “knows” its all “crap” and has done kenshu and received and given Light dutifully but then realizes one day he/she feels something is not quite right. SM has the answer – just be “sunao” – obedient. Perhaps this is where Random is at in her life. Being true to oneself is being a spiritual warrior and yes it does take inner strength to walk your talk. Just ask yourself, would any kind and loving God want his child to be fearful? Of course not, God wants his children to be joyful, loving and at peace. Tell me why SM is so focused on promoting the KK’s sins and impurities – so it can disempower you!

I offer you the following from Marieanne Williamson’s book A Return to Love.
I understand Nelson Mandela quoted this in his inaugural speech.

It’s Okay to Shine

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented,
fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
We are a child of God. Our playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
Wont feel insecure around us.
We are meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us.
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
liberates others.”


FYI – the following are my contributions to Anne’s blog over the last two years. Anne does such a great job in presenting objective perspectives – by shooting down their so called “Truths” – thank you Anne!

Disempowerment to Empowerment
26 April 2006
http://anne987.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_archive.html

Awaken to True Gratitude
4 May, 2006
http://anne987.blogspot.com/2006_05_01_archive.html

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave when first we Practise to deceive
7 April 2007
http://anne987.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html


Remember, the only person I can change is myself. Keep your light shining!

Blessings
butterfly

May 28, 2008  
Anonymous Karen said...

Hi Anne,

I am really new at this blogging stuff and don't really know how it works. I posted as anonymous, and decided that I don't want to be anonymous anymore. I decided that I did nothing wrong in joining Sukyo Mahikari and have nothing to hide. After 20 years I need to heal, so I decided that I would write about it. I created a blog today, and if you or anyone else is interested in reading it, I can be found at http://dancinghighintheuniverse.blogspot.com/
Thanks for you posts, they have been very helpful.
Karen

May 28, 2008  
Blogger Anne said...

Hi Karen,

Well done...that's wonderful news!! I'll go and look at your blog right now.

Writing about it does help the healing process a lot. So does talking/communicating about it with others.

I've been delighted to see the amount of mutual support being offered in the comments resulting from Andrea's letter. People who leave Mahikari often do not have anyone who can understand, particularly if most family members and friends are KK, as in Random's case, so I think this support is very important.

As always, if anyone wishes to write their story and email it to me, I'll happily post it on this blog. Anonymous is fine (but please use a pseudonym so we can call you something other than "anonymous"), or your real name if you prefer.

Anne

May 28, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Random . . . your situation is difficult. I too have seen many amazing things as the result of giving light and the majority of my social life has been centered on "The Dojo" since 1986.

Over the years I've had many friends leave, return the omitama and quit coming to the center. My attitude was always "Oh, they'll come back . . . the light is too wonderful to give up, they're just taking some time off" I tried to be careful not to push them, but realize in retrospect that my attitude was condescending and disrespectful. I am thankful in retrospect that those friends have apparently not held it against me.

Leaving the social group you identify with, the people you like, doing things you like to do is probably the most difficult thing.

In the beginning our local group was about 40 people who were all connected to each other through just a couple of people who had received omitama early in 1986. They came back here and offered all their friends this amazing light energy. When I found out I didn't have to be an enlightened soul to radiate this highest level golden light I was amazed. Just wear the omitama and raise your hand. Many of us took kenshu and came back to do the same. None of us had any experience with SM as an organization, but we all enjoyed the Light and each others company. Several members offered their homes one night a week for Light. We were all new and excited.

Several months later the organization sent us a doshi and a goshintai and told us to get a space. Some quit immediately. (I guess they were disturbed by negative spirits attached to their astral bodies.) Most of us were excited. We had a place other than our homes to give light . . . what a relief!

We did it all together. We would have picnics and hayrides and parties. Every Sunday all the members would get together for opening ceremony and light exchange and the doshi would teach us something new. Wonderful! Kenshu meant we'd all get together afterwards and have good food and drinks and games with people we liked. Totally social and a great time.

Over the years we'd get new kambu and different "teachings" and new buchos and new ways of doing things. Sukyo Mahikari, not giving light, became the thing. People would leave as new people joined . . . the membership numbers stayed stable but the persons were different. Today I believe there is only one from our original group who is still active. For me, the experience was about doing things with people I liked. The teachings could be found anyplace, but the group was most important. I don't go to the center anymore.

In your case, I'd recommend developing some acquaintances/buddies/friends outside of the Center with whom you don't share your religious practice. I know this flies in the face of the evangelistic teachings of SM, but otherwise you ARE Sukyo Mahikari.

If you question the organization, good. You are best served in this life by questioning the organizational structure and functioning of any group you join.

SM is apparently Shinto in organization and structure. The Creator's spiritual line is the Japanese Imperial Family (Sumera Mikoto) who are the Spiritual Leaders of the world. You are where and who you are because of your personal and ancestral and spiritual line karma, so deal with it. You can only change your condition by erasing karma (check out Bhuddism). The Universe can be envisioned for instructional purposes as a pyramid (see Theosophy) and you exist simultaneously/vibrationally in the realm of spirit, mind and body (see just about any metaphysical teaching).

SM is not a "bad" or "evil" organization. It is an organization made up mostly of people who want to be in the "Right Religion". I've found this to be true of all people who are seriously involved in a religion or practice. It's a human thing.

As a general principle: If you have serious reservations about the organization, any organization, I can only encourage you to not support it passively, actively or financially. It's not spiritually, mentally or physically good for you to do that, and the damage becomes deeper the longer it is done.

You'll be fine.

May 29, 2008  
Blogger Madman said...

Just making an effort to make myself understandable here:

Re-reading my previous comment, ending in "you'll be fine." I see that I've wandered over the face of the past 20 years. Realize I'm attempting a bit of humor/irony there. . . I don't have the awareness to know what the life after life really is . . . only what my take on the teaching in question is. "Inside joke" as it were. So, Random, unless your family is totally blinded by their agreements of what is real to not see you as an individual, they'll get over it relatively soon if you fall away. Remember, it's supposed to be a practice, not a belief system or religion. Have some confidence in their love . . . the loving response will take some time to evolve and appear in some cases.

May 29, 2008  
Blogger Madman said...

Reading Andrea's post. I'd guess maybe your father is worried that he will not have an ancestor's tablet when he dies. Encourage him that it is better for him not to be attached but rather to go on with his training directly. Might not like that though. He'll get over your change of heart soon enough I imagine. I remember shidobucho saying once that Sukyo Mahikari doesn't want zealots.

May 30, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. It reminds me of my days in Sukyo Mahikari. I really bought it and let the fear seap in... but when I had no more voice, I needed to reclaim myself.

You should have just flushed the omitama down the toilet like I did. I took that little peice of paper out and told it very strongly that it has NO CONTROL over my life... and flushed it down the toilet. Honestly I felt a cold chill go down my spine, then a GIANT load off my shoulders and nothing "bad" happened to me. I didn't feel like facing the kumite or doshi's to get "approval for my choice" by returning the omitama. I just threw it away.

July 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I just put my omitama on hot coals on the BBQ and watched it sizzle into ashes...that feeling of freedom has stayed with me since.

August 04, 2008  

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