Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: tsukimoto ()
Date: July 07, 2010 10:38PM

Like Rothaus, I can relate to both Wakatta and Dragon14's statements. I did appreciate, and benefit from the study meetings that we used to have -- the ones where we did serious study. That leader who ran them was a gifted teacher. He could make complex concepts clear, without dumbing them down.

Shakabuku campaigns and some of the bigger rah-rah-rah activities just felt wrong to me, even in the early days. I kept thinking, "This is like a high-school pep rally! I didn't even like those when I was in high school. What's this got to do with Buddhism?"

I keep remembering something that Blue Lady said...that no matter how much she did in SGI, she was always made to feel that it was never enough. I felt that way when I was in SGI. It felt like something was very wrong, but like Dragon, I just kept pushing. I thought that it was my fault, that I just wasn't understanding something, that I lacked faith, that I was just unwilling to give. I didn't know that other people felt the same way!

Recently, I've been reading Carolyn Jessop's book "Triumph," about her experiences in the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. (FLDS) She grew up in this polygamist cult, not knowing any other life. At eighteen, she was forced to marry one of the leaders, Merril Jessop -- and join his household, which included four other wives and multiple children.

Certainly the FLDS is very unlike SGI in many ways -- yet there are some similarities. Carolyn Jessop writes of how the FLDS women were guilt-tripped for not doing more -- and not doing it perfectly. Never mind that most women had large families, and that many also had to teach or work in family businesses to help support all those kids. No matter how much they did, there was always more that they coulda, shoulda, woulda done.

FLDS leaders also scolded women who weren't smiling. No matter how difficult their lives were -- too many children, abusive husbands -- women were supposed to look happy all the time. They were members of this elite, saved group -- how dare they be unhappy about anything, ever? If a woman was unhappy, she must be lacking faith! Reminds me of being reminded at SGI meetings -- leaders wanted us to act lively, enthusiastic, happy at meetings, especially if guests were there. We had to show how great it was to be a member of our special group! We were not to be discouraged...we should always be optimistic that we could break through any difficulty with SGI!

Like SGI, the FLDS is led by one, all-powerful man, whom nobody can question. FLDS members believe that Warren Jeffs can say whether they are saved or not...SGI teaches that members can only become enlightened through accepting Daisaku Ikeda as a mentor.

Strange how cult leaders end up doing a lot of the same things --even if their religion is outwardly so different!

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: chloe ()
Date: July 08, 2010 01:39AM

Hi! I can't tell you how much I appriciate this forum! Even though I am a relativly new member(since August 09) I am really wanting to get out. Like many here I was going tough times when I joined, I just lost a friend, didn't get along with my parents who wanted me to be Catholic, and didn't have a job, when I met another person who I found out was a Buddhist.
I was drawn to Buddhism after I took a World Religion Course so I decided to go to the meeting. At the meeting everyone was so nice and accepting and I really liked the chanting, they also insisted that chanting didn't work by magic and it was a form of meditation(I later found out that yes, people r4eally do think of chanting as a form of magic) I ended up getting my Gohonzon latter that year. Anyway as time went on I started to feel weird. There was little to no talk about actual Buddhism, whenver I brought up hey lets talk about the actual Lotus Sutra besides just saying its cause and effect, the 4 noble truthes, 8 fopld path, they would just dismiss me.
They always talk about the same things during meetings Nam yo ho Renge Kyo intro to SGI(every week from the same paper-they always have the same members, why be so redudant), and during discussions they would get mad when I questioned things...for instance the discussion was on how we should respect everyones beliefs(which sounds good) I would say well about about people in hate groups, bigots, ect and the people in my group would just give me a dirty look, it was like everyone was just supposed to have the same opinion.
I still liked going cuz I felt the people were really nice and accepting and well I liked the chanting eve though I knew it really wasn't doing anything, to me it was just meditation. Then came the time when my friend took me to a community center and we had to watch a video on Ikeda...I took an instant dislike to him and felt kind of sick when everyone was singing his praises. To me he seemed arrogant and full of platitudes. Soon afterwords I heard about Rock the Era and was excited because my friend was telling me that there was different groups like art, photography and documentry, dance, peace group, ect. I was r4eally excited to be alb e to work on something I was interested.

Well, when I went to the first meeting it was another Ikeda love fest with skits aboutg Ikeda, How Nam yo ho Renge Kyo can solve anything, then we finally went in groups....When I got with the doc group, i founjd it we were supposed to be making infomercials, ads and taking pictures and doing interviews for the rock the era festivle in July! Here I thought this was going to be something benefical for people that wanted to do their hobby, not a way to pimp Rock the Era! The real outrage for me was hearing about the King, Ghandi, Ikeda exhibit...Ghandi and King werfe great men who did so much for hiumankind! What in the world has Ikeda done! I serioulsy wanted to protest the exhibit! I decided to research Ikeda more and found the Rick Ross site and foudn out a whole bunch of disturbing crap about SGI and Ikeda...When I told my friend that I REALLY am disturbed she just said show me the site I am not afraid when I did she said that they were just a bunch of disgruntled memebers and most of the stuff was during the split when there was a lot of confusion.. Whoo! I actually have Alot more but I am sure I am boring everyone and my fingers are tired!


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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: overthetop ()
Date: July 08, 2010 07:55AM

Another thing that scared me away from SGI is the similarities with the Mormon (LDS) church.

Growing up in a Mormon community I always knew something was wrong, and to see the same
things in the SGI was just another warning sign for me.

Very strange indeed.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: evergreen ()
Date: July 08, 2010 11:23AM

I posted back when I got back from my conference for Second Generation Adults who had grown up in cults. It didn't matter who was there, bible-based, eastern-basted, there were so many similarities. The similarities stregnthened the bond I felt with the other participants. None of us felt right or that we fit in while growing up in our cults. Having the choice as an adult to leave was a very powerful choice. Most fortune babies that I grew up who left did so quickly and quietly. Don't think they sought therapy or other ex cult members. My journey has been very much about getting support from those who care or understand, SGI ex members, or not.Its gotten so that I can look back and see how powerful this process of separation has been. I was in the dark until my twenties and then stayed off and on again in my thirties. So the ten years in between questioning and knowing I had to leave were difficult to say the least. So being at the conference to see the similarities between our groups was one thing, and the process of empowerment which led us to leave each of our groups was awesome to watch,

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Rothaus ()
Date: July 09, 2010 03:08AM

When I told my friend that I REALLY am disturbed she just said show me the site I am not afraid when I did she said that they were just a bunch of disgruntled memebers and most of the stuff was during the split when there was a lot of confusion..

Well most of us here left after the split. But yes, after the split SGI showed a new face which was Ikeda all the way ... actually they did what they accused the priesthood of - worship of a person.
Anyway it would be strange thing for a staunch believer in Ikedaism to admit being in a cult. An adict would never admit having a problem. SGI has cultish behavior towrds the inside i.e. fear tactics being used and telling peopel to be part of a chosen group and an external side being intolerant otwards other faiths. As if true religious dialogue would be carried out poeple form the outside, people who have their own firm religious believe would find some things in SGI disturbing.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2010 03:30AM by Rothaus.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: July 09, 2010 04:45AM

To whom it may concern:

dsm has been banned from this message board.

Rick Ross

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Rothaus ()
Date: July 09, 2010 04:53AM

who was DSM?

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: overthetop ()
Date: July 09, 2010 05:49AM

I grew up in a Mormon community as a non-Mormon, which I think has really helped me to see what the SGI is all about.

Some similarities I noticed that bothered me were the activities that take up all of the member's time.
Also, giving experiences in SGI is just like the Mormons "bearing their testimony."

It was all too weird for me, the Mormons and the SGI.
This is another reason that this is a huge healing experience for me.

I grew up an outsider in a cult-like community (95% of the population was Mormon.)
Later in life, I join SGI, a cult, because I feel this overwhelming need to belong to a group.
One glaring reason I needed SGI is because the experience of belonging to a group was denied in childhood and my young adult life.
They really got me with the is all so painfully obvious to me right now.

I am learning so much about myself and my past through this experience.
It is really painful sometimes, but I am glad that I will be done with the SGI soon.

I am reading the Lotus Sutra at the moment.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: Sparky ()
Date: July 09, 2010 06:08AM

who was DSM?

dsm was seemingly a disruptive presence on many threads. I found dsm's posts (as he/she got further along into posting) to be over the top and at times frightening and was concerned about answering them or voicing my opinion as dsm was very combative and almost paranoid in accusing some members of using multiple monikers on this site, which you know is grounds for getting terminated here.

If rrmoderator posted his "dsm banned" message then that means that dsm posted on this thread on SGI.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2010 06:29AM by Sparky.

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Re: Former SGI members
Posted by: DrJesusEsq ()
Date: July 09, 2010 06:35AM


Here is what I would tell your friend: Of course we are disgruntled members! We gave our lives and hearts to an organization that we believed in, only to be disappointed again and again until we said enough is enough!

Also, I found it interesting that she referred back to the split. I joined long after the split happened, wondering who are these Nichiren Shoshu and why should we hate them? I don't like them as well, but I never saw Ikeda as any better. He talks so much about humanism and freedom, yet even in the organization there is no such thing as dissension on many issues. Of course, when there is a huge "festival" going on, everyone HAS to participate.

I was recently asked by a WD if I wanted to go to RTE, even when I was polite enough to say I'll think about it, she got really angry at me for not saying yes.

Of course, I always get annoyed by the same Intro to Buddhism lecture, but it is only there for the new guests. They need as much Ikeda-fodder as they can get.

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