Date: July 28, 2007 06:54PM
Sorry, I really do just have to reply to this.
Please remember that Sonoma, as a place, is not representative of the rest of the world, and things which happen in the groups there may be isolated incidents and specific groups (i.e., geographic groups in, say, Subud) may have a certain amount of freedom to choose their own materials and read what they want. It's only when they take those views OUTSIDE their groups which they experience fierce repression.
Let me explain. I used to own the vast majority of those books you mentioned. It didn't make me a Satanist, I was just interested in occultism and saw it as an expression of open-mindedness. In Subud, even if you're brought up in it, you can't join in their ritual worship (The "latihan," training, sacred dance, whatever) until you're in your mid to late teens. (It's usually 17 but I was 16). When I was actively recruited into the group by my mother and people I'd long trusted, I was in a very bad emotional place. I'd just dropped out of university (that in itself is a long story), and I was really bad emotionally.
My teenage interest in occultism, albeit perfectly passive, was completely used against me and utterly destroyed me in the end. I was repeatedly coerced into believing that this was the work of "lower forces" in me, which took over my heart and mind. Called the Nafsu, these "forces" are seen as being very real in Subud. Any interest in ANYTHING other than the word of Bapak (though mainstream religions ARE allowed) is termed mixing, and is a sure sign you're well under the influence of the Nafsu.
Of course, I was only into tarot, kaballah, etc., because I was curious, intelligent, and open-minded - I genuinely WANTED to recover, to be spiritual, to be "good." The thought of being possessed by the Nafsu was pretty horrifying. Subud is polarized - there are factions of ultra-conservative, rigidly brainwashed and obsessive followers of Bapak constantly fighting with the dope-smoking Sufis who came in it through Bennett & Gurdjieff. But even beyond this, there ARE rules, and what is an acceptable amount of in-fighting amongst the 1st & 2nd generations of Coombe Springers and baby boomers is ABSOLUTELY NOT tolerated in anyone under the age of about 45. So here we have 3G, which is me and my "friends," who feel this intense pressure to be absolutely perfect. No you must NOT pass go, you will NOT get out of jail free, you will NOT collect £200 etc. (My apologies for being excessively British... that was a reference to Monopoly, in case anyone missed it).
3G, et al, have to be absolutely ideal. "We" are CONSTANTLY told that "we" have a gift which the older generations (whether they're fighting amongst themselves or not) have had to utterly, utterly work for, sweat for, bleed for etc... that their hard work is just simply paving the way for us, and we're walking down the road of life pain-free, without voice, without reason, without any life of our own.
You want power to have your own voice? You have to play the game. If you don't show up to Latihan twice a week, attend every Kejiwaan day, go along to congresses, "test" all your most deepest personal problems (which means confessing every secret thought and trauma and have elder members "ask God" [i.e., engage in a spiritual panel vote] what to do with you), then you'll never be respected. Even if you DO all the above things, if someone else's parent has a problem with your parent, you won't get anywhere anyway.
There is no secrets, no privacy. EVERYONE in Subud in this country knows my name; if I give my father's name, they will be, "Ahh..." There are at least 20 or 30 families just in this country alone where everyone will know every deep down trauma I've been through in my life.
This will be hard for anyone not in Subud to understand, unless you've also been in a group where you were of the inferior generation.
Current Subud members are likely to throw a hissy if they read this. Denial is a very powerful thing. It's certainly protected me for seven years.
P.S., every national and international congress does sound very similar to an LGAT without credit cards. The love-bombing, the exposure, the removal of autonomy, the accusations of Nafsu-control, the "genuine help", the experiences of "crisis," the feeling of just being one of a gene pool of youth, of my own mother loving me no more than she loves my friends or whatever, the suffocating pressure, the abuse, the control, the.... arrrghhh....
The point is that I don't think it matters whether a few members in some drugged-up corner of California are involved in occultism or ritual sex or whatever (sorry to anyone who has experienced ritual sex, I'm not trying to undermine it), but the fact is that it doesn't matter - Subud is painful and dangerous and destructive just because, as Corboy said elsewhere, groups like these attract a large number of emotionally vulnerable and volatile people, whose experiences become WORSE not better throughout their long and painful involvements with these groups. Whether there is a "Satanic" element or not is of no consequence - even if there was, it would be a tiny minority - Subud as a culture treats that sort of thing very strictly, and with a great amount of humiliation and pain for anyone caught with a book on Witchcraft or Tarot (I have some really messed up stories there... but I can't share right now, nor does it really matter anyway).
This cuold be me. Another 2G or 3G child growing up in Subud may love it, have never experienced any abuse, may have really felt a lot of incredible support. Maybe I was just unlucky. Maybe my own group were just imbalanced. Maybe I'm being too kind. Maybe I'm being too unkind. Maybe this is just the Nafsu taking me over... I don't KNOW. How can you make rational decisions in the wake of this? The tragedy is not some conspiracy, it's just the fact that it EXISTS, and people are messed up just because it DOES exist. That is the awful thing here. That is the true tragedy of cults - the alienation and loneliness, the psychological barrier which forms between "out" and "in."
This has become rather long and emotionally charged. I apologise. It's more like the bursting of a psychological blister, and not targeted at anything or anyone. Hmm.
Rant over. Sorry...