Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: anna7 ()
Date: July 24, 2018 08:00PM

Hello I am looking for ex-subud members who would maybe be interested in forming a group online where we can share and exchange our stories, positive and negative.

I can give some information about myself. I was born into Subud so I am 2nd generation. And I suffered extreme trauma that has damaged my life in many ways. The trauma was directly related to having been a Subud member and having believed in everything Bapak said. I do not wish to frame Subud as being a terrible cult but I also need validation and a reminder that what happened was indeed wrong. I know things could and should have been done to prevent it. It is a personal wish that this information should be made more public and their should be a discussion about it.

In light of the next Subud World Congress which is taking a place in a few days, I think a good first step would be to get in contact with other ex-subud members and share our stories.

Please PM me if you are interested.


Re: Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 26, 2018 07:57AM

Dear Anna7. Welcome to CEI message board. There are some
discussions of Subud here. How to find these earlier discussions is go to the Search Ares and select all dates so your query covers the 16 years of all message board discussion. People born into Subud families report having borne a great deal of pain. What added to it was being heavily acculturated that any complaint, no matter how bad the situation was wrong, evidence of weakness or ingratitude. All very convenient for bullies and snobbish cults such as Subud.

Re: Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: nigel ()
Date: November 20, 2018 11:16PM

Hi Anna, Can tell you about what happened to my father if you want. He had just tried the latihan and it led directly to his death at 39 years old with 6 children.The story must say something about Subud as Bapak (and Bennett) were there at Coombe when it happened.
Best Wishes

Nigel Ross

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2018 11:20PM by nigel.

Re: Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: anna7 ()
Date: November 21, 2018 01:49AM

dear nigel

thank you for your post. I will send you a pm.

Re: Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: lisanneissweet ()
Date: April 09, 2019 10:29AM

Hi folks,
I am an ex Subud member too. We were in Subud for 10 yrs in Australia ( 1974 to 1984)and know all the foundational older members. I am so glad we finally were able to break free from this very destructive and dangerous cult. Please feel free to PM me for any info. Cheers Lisanne

Re: Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: Jupiter ()
Date: June 19, 2020 05:11AM

I haven't checked this site in a very long time so I apologise for how long it's taken me to reply.

I left Subud almost 14 years ago, and there are still ways which that experience has caused me long-term damage.

Subud members passionately deny it's a cult. It's taken me such a long time to understand the exhausting mindset of members. They'll say things like, "we're not a cult because we don't have consensus on anything," whilst failing to understand that there is almost complete consensus on the idea that Subud can't be a cult because there is no consensus! It takes very little effort to conceal another relentless logic flaw ("there are no rules, but men and women do latihan separately. There are no rules, but women must wear skirts to latihan. There are no rules, but eating refined sugar puts you under the influence of nafsu. There are no rules, but God told the helpers to tell you that you're in the wrong job / degree program / relationship. You don't have to change your name and convert to Islam, but many people choose to.").

The psychologist Janja Lalich wrote a book on Bounded Choice, and I believe this is absolutely true of Subud. It's not that anyone is necessarily forced to do anything. It's just that all the options for doing anything else get slowly removed, until we elect to do what was expected of us all along, and believe it was our choice. Worse still, the entire narrative structure of Subud is designed to make us lose faith in our own decision-making. We come to believe we're under the influence of 'lower' forces, and so cannot trust our own hearts and minds. So we consciously surrender our desires and intellectual rigour, and leave our decision-making in the hands of God, helpers, or random luck.

The most tragic thing about Subud is that the narrative is so destructive that it becomes like a healthy immune system attacking itself. We attack any shred of doubt, hope, desire, longing, anger, or injustice as it arises in ourselves. We don't need external people to control us because we become self-policing. We don't need to be yelled at to become pure, because we yell at our own lack of purity. There is an endless confession culture, particularly through testing, but we want to participate in it. So we end up making all of these dysfunctional, illogical choices and watch our lives fall apart over and over, whilst feeling confused and trying to find the lesson God is trying to teach. We look at all the loss and tragedy and wonder what microscopic thing we did wrong, or what we are supposed to learn, or when this perfect path we are on will finally make sense. When it never does, we keep blaming ourselves and striving harder to figure out what we did wrong.

I used to find it infuriating, but now I see it as a tragedy. People have died in Subud by ending up in places where they never should have been.

Subud is entirely self-policing now. I think it is a cult, but it's a very different sort of cult to many. It's full of well-meaning wealthy intellectuals and creatives who are just lost, and this lostness manifests in all sorts of ways. Many of those ways can be quite beautiful and positive. Others are chaotic and unintentionally self-destructive. Some are flatly, utterly abusive, but the abusiveness becomes hidden and publicly disavowed. Survivors and dissenting voices are not believed because there is this idea that we are all on an individual path, and so our experiences are our own.

I grew up being told that I had "consented" to every experience on this earth long before I was born. That my parents weren't my real parents, but only my spiritual caretakers. My parents didn't even choose my name. They had no connection to me, no protective instinct. They weren't interested in helping me to thrive, they assumed I'd just take care of myself. The levels of emotional neglect can be astonishing -- love is just a distant feeling, and we often grow up feeling completely alone in the world. This makes us desperate to please a confusing and contradictory God in lieu of pleasing our confusing and contradictory parents.

Maybe the emotional neglect of children is far, far worse in Subud than in more stereotypical cults. At least in the burlap sackcloth style of cult, someone might notice if you're missing from bible study. But in Subud it is the very idea of an individual journey -- that specific story that makes most members convinced it's not a cult -- which stops anyone from intervening or even noticing when something's going wrong. Actually, no, that's pretty standard cult behaviour, isn't it. Sadly this all too often turns into physical neglect and abuse.

Subud is just... sad. I'm not even angry at it anymore. I'm just heartbroken for all the lives that have been diverted and destroyed.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/19/2020 05:24AM by Jupiter.

Re: Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: SubudLies ()
Date: October 30, 2020 02:26AM

I couldn't have said it better than @Jupiter.
I was born into subud. One parent heavily involved with this group, and still is. For decades. The other parent not in subud but complicit in abuse and neglect.
It has been a revelation that this group is indeed a bona fide cult. Having been born into it, I was brainwashed early to believe there was nothing unhealthy or odd about how these people operate.
The neglect of children by the lost souls who come into this cult is tragic and very real. I believe that by and large, the people who join into this cult are simply lost. They have been abused as children and cannot love in healthy ways. Or they were abused by a prior religion and are looking for a haven.
I have crystal clear memories from childhood of witnessing these people. Even as a young child, I felt angry at being sidelined for this cult. It was a particular slap in the face to be told I was responsible for everything in my life, and that I had chosen my parents. I am so grateful to be far away from these people. They are truly lost.

Re: Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: lisanneissweet ()
Date: April 08, 2021 08:06AM

Hi Jupiter,
It's so lovely to see you here again. I remember your previous posts and final farewell. I often wondered how you were doing. Thanks for this detailed and informative post. I came into Subud from a Roman Catholic background and the simplicity of Subuds ethos greatly attracted me after RC's ritualism and remoteness and the painful experiences that religion had caused me. Subud seemed to have all the answers. Personal contact with God, spiritual experiences and a loving supportive community. Even it seemed a question and answer section ie 'testing' that seemed infallible! At the end of 8 long years with another two of painful withdrawals Subud had shattered all my dreams. The latihan or spiritual exercise that was Bapaks supposed "contact" with Almighty God and which I had put all my faith and security in had dismally failed me in every way. The people had disappointed me and the teachings had so locked up my brain I was a mess. There was no way out except to talk to my father in heaven which in desperation I did. This father I believed I was talking to was my physical father who had passed away 4 yrs previously and whom I believed (still using my default as a Roman Catholic) was in heaven.
That little talk changed my life and set me on a path I have never looked back from. In that talk I poured out my heart, regrets and all my confusion to my father. Little did I realize that my father in heaven did most certainly hear but it was the big boss, our heavenly father who was really listening! Wow how could I have known!
I went to the empty RC Church the next day, sat in the back and cried out in my mind "Where are you God?" in desperation! So clearly do I remember this plea! I left the RC Church that day not knowing what to do or where to go. I had 4 little children and a husband whacked out on drugs and doing all sorts of crazy stuff as a result of Subud beliefs and pushing me to the brink of leaving him.
I did end up leaving him briefly but we reconciled. This was a "Subud" marriage ordained by "testing". The most important decisions of my life up to that point had been guided not by "thinking' and considering carefully and wisely in consultation with older or more experienced or qualified persons my decisions but by an esoteric practice called 'testing" which you would probably be aware of no doubt.
This testing had had devastating results on my life as we wandered here and there all over the place merely being guided by "testing'.I was at the mercy of it and also at the mercy of my husband's "authority". In Sudud's heavily based Islamic teachings the husband ruled the household. This influence became even more pronounced when one "became" or converted to Islam as we had early on.
Subud Muslims were different from your ordinary Muslim though. It was more a cultural thing where you took on the beliefs, kept the annual Ramadhan or part thereof but the spiritual side (prayers ect) was mainly kept through practising the latihan. Women wore long dresses etc and the men ruled their families absolutely though this was tempered to some degree by western influences in western countries. This led to a lot of abuses I think and in my case certainly.
Christianity freed me from this oppression and imbalance as it showed me that although there is an established order within God's house and family, persons are accountable for their behaviour according to set standards. Abuses of these set standards of behaviour disqualify people automatically. It disqualifies them in all sorts of ways such as in leadership, authority or relationship both personally and in.a group setting. It's not like there are people roaming around like policeman enforcing these standards. It doesn't work like that in Christianity. Yes you can have organized churches and denominations but when it comes down to it, it is your life and the fruit ( love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control ect Galatians 5:22-23)it brings forth that is the proof God is truly in your life, a sobering thought and a very accountable and trustworthy principle.
Christianity works by the Spirit of God ( true love ie the love of God) and God's Word ( the written Word of God ie the Bible). And the mediator between God and man in Christianity is the man Jesus Christ and not Bapak! Christian faith and practice is based on a personal relationship initiated by belief in Christ as the spotless sinless Son of God and his once for all time sacrifice and death on the Cross for your sins and his victorious resurrection and now present rule and reign over this earth and in the heart of every believer. This set me free entirely.
Bapak set himself up virtually as Jesus Christ. He taught he himself was the fulfillment of a perfect human being. He taught Jesus was the seed, Muhammad the boy and he himself was the complete man. The 'Nafsu'(or lower forces) Bapak taught have an equivalent in Christianity known as the carnal or flesh nature. Many of Bapaks teachings have a Christian equivalent which does make it appear in effect a counterfeit of true Christianity to any well studied Christian. The latihan replaces the sacrifice of Christ for sins as Subud people believe and were taught by Bapak that it is the 'latihan' that is cleansing and purifying them into ' perfect human beings. Christians believe however and are taught by the bible that Christs sacrifice or blood has paid for all our sins and continues to pay for our sins as each believer in heartfelt conviction and repentance for sin turn to God through Christ for forgiveness and cleansing on an ongoing basis. Sin is something they are shown in themselves by Gods Spirit or that they see in the Word as they measure their actions by the standards set there in the Bible. Christians believe in 'Justification by Faith' which means Christ's righteousness is given to them and covers their sin as they by faith accept and believe in him and his sacrifice for their sin.

It's so true what you say about Subud's denial they have no teachings when they absolutely do! Bapak had many many teachings and talks which were collated into endless tapes and booklets which many devout followers listened to diligently and followed particularly in the earlier days. These words of Bapaks were Subud peoples ' spiritual food' so to speak just like the bible is a Christians spiritual food or nourishment. However this mantra of "no teachings" comes from the Muslim connection here I believe.I was told Bapak had to be very careful living in.a Muslim country that he did not appear to be teaching contradictory teachings to Islam. This would have got him into trouble I was told with the religious and civil authorities there in Indonesia.
Anyway that's enough for now,
Love,blessings and peace to you Jupiter,
From Lisanneissweet

Re: Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: Ralph ()
Date: February 25, 2022 06:15AM

What made you leave

Re: Looking for ex-subud members
Posted by: Ed Jones ()
Date: March 12, 2022 09:31PM

I joined SUBUD when I was a music student in Manchester around 1961. There was a cafe called "The Seven Circles underneath the subud centre which drew in many of my fellow students. Some changed their names according to the "rebirth" idea, but I did not, although I found the Latihan quite therapeutic.
There were books available and the ideas were frankly racist, with blacks being identified with the "lower forces"
It's all nonsense and I'm now an atheist/humanist.

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