For fellow ex-gakkai cult members who are looking for a way out or are already out, I came across this [www.cultclinic.org
] and found it to be quite insightful and highly accurate. (Keep in mind, I can't personally speak for the actual group behind it, but their website is an excellent source of information and it is listed in the resources section of this Rick Ross Cult Education website, as well).
In particular, I really like the section on "How to avoid getting into a cult" (the critical thinking portion is gold):
"Learn to cope with stress. When stress is getting the best of us, we are more likely to be seduced by someone selling happiness. If you are having difficulty coping, seek help from reputable, trustworthy persons.
Common sources of stress include:
Conflict with and tensions within the family such as parents’ marital problems, domestic violence, alcohol and/or drug abuse by a family member.
Confusion about values and goals.
Physical illness of self, family member, or other loved one
Transitions- for example, moving, changing schools, jobs
Death of loved one
Disillusionment regarding religion or people you once respected
Never be afraid to question other people.
Always be wary of anyone who tries to prevent you from questioning.
Protect your freedom and autonomy.
Learn to recognize common cult-recruitment tactics and situations, beware of:
People who are excessively or inappropriately friendly; there are few genuine instant friendships.
People who are very persistent in trying to get you to join, and won’t take no for answer.
People with invitations to free meals, lectures, and workshops
People who demand secrecy from you.
People who make you feel like there’s something wrong with you if you’re not interested in joining.
People with simplistic answers or solutions to complex world problems.
People who demand secrecy from you
People who try to play on your guilt; you don’t always have to reciprocate a kindness, especially when it may have been a way to manipulate you
People who are vague or evasive. If they are hiding something, it’s usually because they don’t want you to know the real answer.
People who claim to be just like you, so you feel you have a lot in common.
People who confidently promise that they can help you solve your problems, especially when they know little about you
People, who make grand claims about how their group can save mankind, help you achieve enlightenment or show the road to happiness.
People who always seem happy
People who claim they or their group is really special, even the most special
People who promise quick solutions to difficult problems
People who put down reason and critical thinking, and tell you not to ask questions about the group - just open your mind to it.
Ten Steps to Critical Thinking
1.RECOGNIZETHE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "A DEMAND" AND "A REQUEST"
Situations that seem to demand that you act in a certain way.
2. REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN SAY, "NO"
3. RECOGNIZE FALSE DILEMMAS
Always add "None of the above" to any multiple choice before deciding.
4. SLEEP ON IT
Recognize pressure to decide quickly. Don’t act under stress.
5. LOOK FOR THE HIDDEN AGENDA
What is really being said? What is NOT being said? To whom, by whom, and why is it being said?
6. LOOK FOR LOGICAL FALLACIES
Trust your feelings when things you are being told don't make sense.
7. KNOW WHAT GROUP OR BELIEF A PERSON REPRESENTS
Ask blunt questions and don’t accept vague answers.
8. RECOGNIZE FLATTERY
When receiving lots of compliments, question whether there may be a hidden agenda.
9. ASK QUESTIONS
Challenge authority’s claims.
10. RETAIN YOUR SELF-WORTH
Don’t be afraid to be different."
And the section on "Cult Prevention":
"Teach those you care about that cults are still a problem, that even those who are quite bright and accomplished get pulled in, and how to ask the right questions about an organization in order to make a truly educated decision before getting involved.
Don’t assume only certain people you know are vulnerable. Share what you know with all who will listen.
Remind people of the rights they have which no person or group has the right to take away:
the right to question
the right to doubt
the right to move about freely
the right to define for yourself if you are inherently good or bad
the right to formulate your own life’s goals
the right to decide with whom to spend time
the right to assert your own power in every situation"
Something like the above information would have definitely helped me when I was fighting my way out. On that note, this excerpt would have really hit home with me back when I was confused and on the way out:
"Techniques of undue influence (thought reform)
GROUP PRESSURE and "LOVE BOMBING" discourages doubts and reinforces the need to belong through the use of child - like games, singing, hugging, touching, or flattery.
ISOLATION\SEPARATION creates inability or lack of desire to verify information provided by the group with reality.THOUGHT-STOPPING TECHNIQUES introduce recruit to meditating, chanting, and repetitious activities which, when used excessively, induce a state of high suggestibility and dependency on the group.
FEAR and GUILT induced by eliciting confessions to produce intimacy and to reveal fears and secrets, to create emotional vulnerability by overt and covert threats, as well as alternation of punishment and reward.
SLEEP DEPRIVATION encouraged under the guise of spiritual exercises, necessary training, or urgent projects.
SENSORY OVERLOAD forces acceptance of complex new doctrine, goals, and definitions to replace old values by expecting recruit to assimilate masses of information quickly with little opportunity for critical examination."
The $oka gakkai cult meets all of the above, especially the bolded
, from my time in, because I experienced all
of those listed. Here is further evidence of the bolded
]. (Excerpt from YouTube clip: "This was my first time attending a Buddhist conferrence, and it litterally blew me away. I can not stress this enough. It was during this chant (which lasted hours) that I realized I would dedicate my life to realizing the great vow of Kosen Rufu.
(Note: Laughing at 2:30 as they "get out of rhythm", silly, weird - brainwashed - conversation at 4:45 min. mark.)
Warning: the YouTube clip can potentially bring flashbacks to any ex-gakkai cult members who have been out for a long time. I can see them sitting on the edge of their seats, legs pressed together, hands cupped in front of their mouths / noses, juzu-bead rubbing, head bobbing up-n-down, and intense staring / focusing on the magic paper in the magic box ......