There were also a number of others who couldn't function normally in everyday life, if they missed their morning (especially) or evening gongyo; they'd have fits of anxiety attacks until they performed their daily ritual to release the tension and just be able to cope.
That raises an interesting question. Consider a craftsman whose only tool is a hammer, to him everything looks like a nail.
My point is that I wonder how many of those very dependent people (dependent upon the magic chant) believed they had other ways to deal with life? Not many I'm sure. When you put it in the perspective of a person who is fully unable to cope with the challenges of life, chanting may be the only way to cope with it at all? In cases of people with very low self esteem, chanting may be all they can muster up.
Years ago I read a book called "The unheavenly city" by Edwin Bamfield (sp?) that discussed poverty and those people trapped in poverty. His position was that for the most part, the people mired in poverty lacked a "future sense" and because of that, they lived on a very short action-reward timeline. Doing Gongyo and chanting for six hours, a person can then pat themselves on the back and say to themselves "Gee, I've moved closer to fixing all of those bad problems in my life.."
I recall during my time in the Gakkai, then NSA and then SGI, one thing was for sure that the membership had a very large number of dysfunctional people within it. As a matter of fact, to some extent anyone who was able to cope with life beyond simply sitting and chanting usually ended up being made into Hancho, District chief or some such thing. Being able to visualize the road ahead and plan, make course changes and remove obstacles (beyond hoping they would just go away) was a key trait for a successful district chief.
The Cult advocated challenging your life's problems, but it fell short of really helping people change their Karma in order to suit its own selfish ends ("build those human pyramids and adore the man-god Daisaku!", "Chant chant chant").
I guess, if a person chooses to sit and chant rather than face life, at least they are being kept busy :-).