One of the most painful things for me was realizing that I really had no real friends within the org.
I likewise found this deeply painful, and embarrassing, too. A combination of "How could I have been so wrong about them?" and "What's wrong with me that I wasn't able to cultivate a more meaningful friendship, despite all my altruistic efforts?"
I found my SGI friends to have been almost uniformly "takers." They wanted stuff from me - emotional support, actions, tasks, activities - and so long as I was there to do them, they "played friendly." But when things changed - when I graduated from YWD HQ leader to just plain WD member (!) and wanted a more mutual relationship, one where I could expect to get at least *some* of my needs met (or even voice my own opinion in a conversation!), I was either frozen out or outright attacked when I did the basic things of maintaining a friendship (like making a phone call)! It was horrible!
I remember one YWD, the Chapter YWD leader who took over from me as YWD HQ leader after I moved away (and then was promoted to Territory YWD leader, a newly created position, which "proved" that I was a terrific leader because you always want the leaders you raised to surpass your top leadership position yadda yadda yadda), was supposedly a pretty close friend. Well, some months before I and my new husband left, she went and got certification (hahaha) for "Rolfing." And she thought I should get "Rolfed." And she let me know that I should get "Rolfed." Well, I'd moved away to go to a distant university, and had totally embraced the "starving student" lifestyle, as we were both starving students. My SGI "friend" kept telling me I should get the 10-session series of "Rolfing" for $85 per session - $850. I finally told her that I could sell my car to raise the $850 for "Rolfing," which I was surviving just fine without, which would leave me unable to get to classes, which was my purpose in moving away - to get that degree. So I could either choose to pursue my degree as planned, or I could derail my plans so that she could get my $850. And, of course, I would need to get my ass back to Minnesota (I was in the US VI) for the "treatments", naturally. Just so she could get a few hundred dollars more. Even though my complying with her suggestions would basically ruin my life. She didn't CARE!!
I also pointed out that, if she and her fellow "Rolfers" truly cared for the health and well-being of others, as they claimed, they would offer their "services" on a sliding scale, so that even poor people, who arguably are the most in need, could be "helped." She said that, if people didn't pay full price, they wouldn't "appreciate it." I pointed out that, when something actually WORKS, it doesn't matter whether people "appreciate it" or not - babies who need antibiotics benefit from them even though they don't "appreciate it", and comatose people benefit from medical treatments without enough awareness to "appreciate it." I pointed out that, if people had to "appreciate it" for it to work, then that was acknowledging that it was nothing more than the placebo effect and depended on people deluding themselves that it was something it wasn't. She didn't like that very much, as you might imagine O_O
SOOO many stories of shabby treatment and callous disregard from my so-called "friends" in "the most ideal family-like organization in the world." Ugh. I don't even like to think about it. It's just icky.
The fact that we can meet and hang out here, in virtual space, is a terrible threat to all the religions. Teh intarblaags is the unforeseen fatal threat to religions - it carries the double whammy of freely-available information from all sides (not just the cult's own propaganda) AND the opportunity to meet and form valuable relationships with like-minded individuals. This is why so many religions (including the SGI) discourage internet activity. We can become friends and enjoy our mutual interests despite being so physically far apart that we will likely never see each other's face. Religions have long held society hostage by threatening people who weren't willing to join with social ostracization. Now, the Christian church finds that its threats that apostates will be social outcasts are increasingly toothless - there are enough other religions (for those who feel they need one) and non-religious people within society that the person who is contemplating leaving the church knows that there are plenty of other opportunities for him to socialize. Being an apostate is no longer a scarlet letter; religions typically have such small memberships that all they can do is to try to manipulate/coerce their memberships into being isolated from society. Besides, within Christianity (as within Nichiren Buddhism), the various sects are so antagonistic that they'll eagerly accept, if not lure, other sects' (former) members. And the SGI does this just as much as any sect of Christianity does (or tries) - from their cultspeak private language to the demonization of those who don't fall into lockstep (see "taiten members" and "danto/Temple members" for examples) to the various activities that appear weird and offputting to non-members, it all serves to isolate the individual so that he will be more likely to fear leaving. Which, of course, benefits the organization. NOT the individual.