Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: February 19, 2014 06:50AM

What's scary is that members believe that crap. When I moved to ABQ in 2004, it was with a verbal job offer (I know, I thought - hey, NM!! I don't need a job offer in actual writing); well, the offer was as good as the paper it wasn't written on. I wasn't eligible for unemployment, since I'd voluntarily left my very lucrative job in Baltimore, so I was stuck living on savings and the bit of retirement I'd put away. I got my real estate license just as the market was starting to tank, and I wound up working as an assistant for the meanest RE broker in the city (people rolled their eyes and told me how sorry they felt for me all the freaking time), making 1/3 of what I was making on the east coast. And oh, joy of joys, the Magic Law found me in my misery! I chanted for a better job, and within two weeks, I found one with a big fat pay increase of 50 cents an hour with a very small commission. At least I was working for someone who didn't make me cry when I got home, though, and the cost of living out there was lower than in MD.

But I saw that as an enormous benefit. You couldn't have convinced me that my fervent chanting hadn't made that difference. I did start to see improvements in my life; I met a nice guy (who turned out to be a psycho), got laid off from my swell job after a year, moved to Las Cruces and got work in a couple of call centers there (talk about crying when you get home). But I kept plugging along, thanking the Magic Law for every slight improvement in my life.

I did finally get a decent job (oh, thank you gohonzon) and when the contract ended there, I had a remarkable opportunity to move back east (which of course, I'd been chanting my ass off for).

It took me three-and-a-half years to figure out that there was no magic, and that my life wasn't much different than the life of so many other people. And after nine months of not chanting, it's a hell of a lot better than it was. Maybe because I'm actually doing what I need to do, instead of sitting in front of a Xeroxed piece of paper in a wooden box making wishes.

My mother, who wasn't necessarily the most compassionate person you would ever meet, had a saying . . . "Wish in one hand, shit in the other. See which one fills up first." Some of the best advice I've ever heard.

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Re: SGI cult induced PTSD
Posted by: Spartacus ()
Date: February 19, 2014 09:14AM

One of the things that really reached out and grabbed me from the article [] was the in-depth treatment of cult-induced PTSD. I've suspected for a long time that I might suffer some degree of PTSD from my SGcult experiences, particularly from my first 3 year stint as a senior leader. Before reading this article, I was very shy about mentioning having PTSD, because I didn't develop it from being in a war zone or the like. But now, I see that the possibility of getting PTSD from my particularly intense cult experience is not only possible, but very likely.

Back in the seventies, I had never heard of PTSD. But I always knew that I had suffered through a very intense identity crisis, one fostered by completely losing myself in the role of an Sgcult senior leader. In general, even members both then and now still don't fathom how traumatic and dangerous being absorbed into the cult hive can be. I have rarely ever spoken of my cult driven identity crisis, mainly because most people just wouldn't understand or take my story seriously.

Yet, there in the article, I found example after example that proves to me just how accurate my assessment was/is. I was being controlled on so many levels. Sexual control - I was expected to maintain total sexual abstinence (old timers will remember the dreaded sin of "sansho goma"). Appearance control - had to keep my hair short and no facial hair. Dress control - had to wear whites, TCD (soka-han) uniform and cap, brass band uniforms, tozan suit & hat, conventions shirts, and on and on. Behavior control - displayed robotic emcee facial and vocal modes, and had to act like a jerk to members when directed to. Mind control - chanting endless hours of daimoku. Emotional control - supplanting my lost father with Ikeda as father figure (and master), and my estranged mother relationship with my senior leader as my "mother in faith". Fear as control - the constant fear of what would happen if I went taiten (quit das org). Desire as control - implanting the idea/desire to be a senior leader, opening up yet another world of abuse and agony, while feeding my ego to desire more of the same. And of course, using my hope of ascending the leadership ladder to destroy both my will and my self identity as an individual.

Its no wonder that people don't understand why, when it comes to our SGcult experiences, we cant just "let it go". They really don't (and can't) fathom the depth of intrusion and derision that the SGcult has fostered upon our psyches and souls, and just how long of a climb it is out of the deep pit of black emotions for ex-cult victims. Those who are outside the cult/abuser experience can not possibly understand the ex-cultie's burning mission to help uninformed, uneducated others with both prevention (getting in) and recovery (getting out). People dont realize just how long and difficult the recovery process can be for cult victims. That is why I so appreciate this forum and its fine contributors, which have been so very instrumental in assisting me with my own long recovery from the SGcult.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2014 09:24AM by Spartacus.

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Damn right...
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 19, 2014 10:38AM

Spartacus wrote:


Its no wonder that people don't understand why, when it comes to our SGcult experiences, we cant just "let it go". They really don't (and can't) fathom the depth of intrusion and derision that the SGcult has fostered upon our psyches and souls, and just how long of a climb it is out of the deep pit of black emotions for ex-cult victims. Those who are outside the cult/abuser experience can not possibly understand the ex-cultie's burning mission to help uninformed, uneducated others with both prevention (getting in) and recovery (getting out).

I spent nearly twenty years (!) with a therapist who was very helpful to me in many ways.

I ignored that he was a member of a guru centered group which had been identified as a cult by the old Cult Awareness Network (before Scientology sued CAN out of existence)

The guy was highly recommended by a friend whom I loved and trusted. I was in crisis.

And the guy had been a help. So I thought I could ignore multiple indicators that he was following a strange belief system and persuaded myself it was none of my business what he did in his private life.

Well, years later, I have to admit it was my business. This man was a decades long inmate of a guru centered group that concealed who its guru actually was.

Which meant living a lie.

He believed in a cosmology that was based on an authoritarian rank ordering system of human beings.

And his group and guru blurred the boundaries of the guru role and therapist role.

WHat I did not understand was that this person, while helpful in some ways, accustomed me to permit him to intrude constantly with questions and even subtle sarcasm.

Worst of all, by paying him, I was indirectly supporting his group -- which later went on to pursue a course of action that angered and upset its neighbors.

I left in a fury when he kept pushing the topic of reincarnation.

Only after I left did I realize that to some extent, I had become an inmate of a distorted therapy process.

A friend told me "You were paying this man to be the designated driver and monitor the boundries, just as a surgeon is the one who is supposed to keep his or her hands clean. You cant ask yourself to stay awake during open heart surgery."

So, I was sort of in a para cultic relation with this guy who was not fully grown up because he was a child in relation to his own guru and group -- and in a group that hid its actual beliefs and manner of leadership behind a smiling facade.

People keep wondering why I cannot let it go.

The bummer is - when we are in crisis, at some point we have to, as Bugs Bunny put it, trust someone.

How can one not trust a friend one has been arrested with multiple times as part of the peace movement?

To me, the basics of cult injury are unreciprocated loyalty and...being lied to.

Some groups put a great deal of work into maintaining charming facades.

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A bit of cold comfort...
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 19, 2014 10:49AM

When people just do not understand what we have been through, sometimes all I can do is think to myself, "The only way you might understand is for you to get suckered and betrayed by a cult, or for someone you love to be preyed on by a cult.

"And that is so painful that I'd not wish it on anyone."

Must mention that Rick Ross got into this line of work by accident of sorts. He started out as a social justice activist and worker.

His grandmother was in a nursing home and Rick visited her all the time.

His bubbe told him she was being harassed by Christian fanatics who were targeting the nursing home.

There is something truly nasty when groups go after people whose autonomy is absent or severely compromised -- persons in elder care, young children in school or at camp, persons in prison.

We hear much of freedom of religion; today freedom from religion should also be respected.

Not only should no one be compelled to join an organization; no one should be tricked or duped -- for that too is a form of coercion.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Article 18.
• Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.
• Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.
• (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
• (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: Nichijew ()
Date: February 19, 2014 11:21AM

Brainwashing can cause disordered thinking and disorganized thoughts. According to the DSM 5 guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association under “Post Traumatic Stress Disorders”, subheading, “Brainwashing and Mental Health”, it is stated that brainwashing may lead to acute psychotic reactions mimicking both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. P.E.T. and MRI brain scans have revealed subtle adverse molecular changes in the brains of brainwashed individuals. Brainwashing has thus been proven to alter brain structure and function. Ikedaism and the SGI teachings on M/D also leads to co-dependency and neurosis.

“Your chanting-addict friend reminds me of a former friend of mine who’s heavily involved in SGI. I went on vacation once with her, and another friend of ours who isn’t an SGI member. My SGI friend just became extremely anxious, perhaps from being away from home and in a strange place. We were at this beautiful beach — and all she wanted to do was sit in the motel room, very withdrawn and irritable, curtains drawn, and chant for hours. Our non-SGI friend and I tried to get her to come out and do things with us, and she refused. All she wanted to do was sit in that motel room and chant. She’d come out for meals and that was about it. So, the other girl and I just went out without her and had fun…what were we going to do?” –Tsukimoto

“This is really sad. I talked to a lot of people suffering from anxiety in the course of my healing, I noticed that isolation was a common theme, and I was no stranger to that. I’m very grateful that I had people that were pushing me to get back out into life. There seemed to be a lot of anxious people in SGI and my SGI “mentor” would tell me stories about these various members of the group that I was in and their various conditions — this one has depression, that one has anxiety — and they had been in SGI for years. I said, wow, that’s amazing. If they’ve been chanting all this time why haven’t they gotten better? Her answer: They’re doing it wrong. They don’t attend enough meetings and they’re not chanting with determination to overcome their fundamental darkness.” — Kitty Luv

No. It is because SGI member's heads are split into seven pieces for having a warped faith and lame practice.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: February 19, 2014 08:45PM

Thank you guys for being so articulate about this subject!

I think the whole subject of PTSD is complicated; the commercial I've been seeing lately, with soldiers in wheelchairs, on crutches or other visible physical injuries followed up by a physically healthy guy talking about his invisible injuries really speaks to this topic.

I think it's important that we take ownership of this and acknowledge that this is a "thing." The article strongly suggests that there were probably pre-existing conditions that were exacerbated by membership in the cult, and most of us have given a nod to the fact that sgi hooked us when we were in a state of vulnerability. A number of us have talked about having had dysfunctional childhoods to one degree or another . . . I think that qualifies as a PC.

Maybe that's one of the reasons that we're angry . . . we feel that our trust has been violated; essentially, we've been spiritually date-raped, on a long-term, repeated and consensual basis. And, to my great shame anyway, I enjoyed it and thought it was a good thing. That's part of it, isn't it - how can you cry "rape" when you allowed it to go on for so long and actually got great pleasure from it?

That's just part of how incredibly fucked up the whole thing is. That's part of why I hate them, I want to hurt them and I want to save other people from them. I hate that I feel this way, because I'm not really this angry, confrontational, anger-filled person. The cult experience has changed me, no doubt, and I'm not so sure it's been for the better.

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As long as we dont act on it, feel anger to reclaim it
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 20, 2014 12:09AM

(??) So..perhaps all of us who have been exploited -- we had a lot going for us that our various cults or paracultic therapists (my case) were willing to invest time in us.

None of us were fuck ups. Had we been so, SGI would not have wanted you.

A cult has to find a way to locate vital persons who have boundaries, then find ways to compromise their boundaries so it can take more from that person than the person would have given had he or she possessed both boundaries and...full knowledge of what the group was actually all about.

Often a bad group or fucked up partner will con us to feel shame about our anger or even our mild misgivings.

With our anger misdirected away from them and back to ourselves, our vitality is turned into the equivalent of the immune system attacking its own host.

Meanwhile, the rest of our vitality is misdirected to support the group - vitality used to work overtime for the group, value the group put ourselves down and stifle our own misgivings.

Am starting to suspect that many cults not only have the feature of unreciprocated loyalty, but also have ways to estrange us from our own anger.

A cult or predator who draws us into a cultic relationship usually begins with a narrative, a story that is appealing and trustworthy but not informative about long term consequences. And may be factually false.

I dont know if the rest of this is going to make sense. Am pondering anger and why it is important to feel that anger, not to act upon it, but to reclaim it for ourselves. I suspect many groups fuck us up by turning our anger against us, and often against outsiders.

A mirror reflects visible light away from its surface.

A cult or narcissistic predator may be analogous to this mirror.

A cult will reflect your *valid* anger away from itself and your anger will go back to you (shame for feeling anger at group or guru, shame for having boundaries that feel violated, shame for feeling tired when overworked) anger toward skeptical outsiders, and in some cases anger toward those who are designated scapegoats, anger toward those who have left or been kicked out.

As long as we dont act on anger, I think we must feel that anger in order to reclaim personal vitality that has been estranged from us.

Estranged from us by our being exposed to a group or bad relationship that has parasitized us.

Perhaps the first stage of parasitizing vitality is to find ways to estrange people from the anger function--which is tied to the biological fight flight response.

It may be that a lot of groups (and power hungry people) seek to estrange us from our own vitality, **perhaps because vitality and groundedness/boundaries may go hand in hand in persons who are useful(?)**

(An exploitative group or person will not bother with persons who are angry and not grounded - people like this are not useful. Loose cannons.)

A exploitative person or group will *want* people who have vitalitiy and boundaries - and that means you, by having boundaries will be someone with a conscience, someone who can be guilt tripped if skillfully manipulated.

Repeat, exploitative persons and groups dont want people who have vitality but lack boundaries. Vitality to be useful, has to be contained, paced in its expression and modulated according to circumstances -- that is what groundedness/boundaries are for.

(??) So..perhaps all of us who have been exploited -- we had a lot going for us that our various cults or paracultic therapists (my case) were willing to invest time in us.

A cult has to find a way to locate vital persons who have boundaries, then find ways to compromise their boundaries, convert the boundaries to allow intrusion and get some of the anger turned into self doubt, self recrimination, and then the rest of that vitality, minus the boundary limits is available to the group.

My guess is: take a person who is 100% vital but has boundaries.

Find a way to work things around so they come to fear their own anger. That means anywhere from 10 to 30% of the victims vitality is directed to attack them, and attack their own boundaries-shame about feeling anger at being abused. Shame at feeling reluctant to overwork past one's bedtime. Shame for having boundaries and feeling tired.

That frees up anywhere from 70 to 90% of the vitality to serve not the person but the group. The person is so tangled up with 10 to 30% of their anger attacking them for having boundaries and feeling tired that their boundaries permit intrusion and derision and they give away more time and energy than they otherwise would.

And any anger they feel now gets directed at their own boundaries instead of at the entity violating their boundaries.

When we are grounded and vital, we dont give away more of our vitality than we can sustain--groundedness includes boundaries and being aware of when we are feeling tired and need rest.

So, a person who is bounded/grounded will give away less vitality than someone who has lost sense of his or her boundaries and isnt grounded -- such a person will be a much larger "energy donor" -- give more money, work overtime, sacrifice privacy and home life.

So estranging people from vitality/groundedness is the way to turn them into larger energy donors, vs those who will say no they cant do any more volunteer work for the week.

Anger is biologically tied to our fight/flight response. We cannot get rid of anger and it is also a source of both our energy and our boundaries if we have enjoyed an upbringing that has given us form to contain our vitality.

So, many shitty groups and bad partners will look for ways to estrange us from our anger.

The other vitality fountain is sexuality. And that is another area where guilt is often sown by groups or bad partners. (Shame someone about feeling sexual. Shame them about being "too much" in bed or that what they like is disgusting. when all that person is doing is feeling erotically alive. Someone who wants to weaken you will find some way to guilt you no matter how consensual, empathic and nurturing you in erotic situations.)

* Get us guilty and confused and ashamed about one of our basic human features. Anger.

The covert goal is not to con us to eradicate anger, but get us ashamed of our own vitality in that form -- so as to direct that vitality against us (guilt about feeling justifiably angry at being exploited) -- and instead, directing that vitality against us and away from us and into forms of effort that benefit the group, and at the same time keep you controllable and predictable.

Imagine calling in a plumber to fix your toilet.

The plumber paid by you, claims to have fixed the toilet but what he has done is direct the sewage water away from the pipe that takes it to municipal sewage system.

Instead that fecal water is re-routed into yourhousehold pipes and then spurts out of the kitchen faucet when you turn the faucet to fill your tea kettle.

And when you freak out, the plumber tells you you're too sensitive, you're imagining it all, everyone else things its fine, etc.

Now imagine someone redirecting your vitality in a roughly analogous manner.

Instead of feeling angry at derision and intrusion we get conned. WE are told we were stupid to have put up with it so long, or are just 'too sensitive' or 'making a big deal out of it.

Well, imagine having sewage water pouring out of your kitchen faucet after a supposedly reputable plumber swears he fixed your toilet.

People would empathize.

But when someone does that to our emotions, we are expected to "get over it"?

Here is an article from the New York Times about betrayal. The person who wrote it notes how very little support the larger culture gives to persons who have been betrayed. A betrayal that disrupts our narrative, our sense of place, hits us especially hard.


Hope some of this makes sense. Have not had all my coffee yet.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: February 20, 2014 02:23AM

Thanks for your response corboy - you had to go there with the mirror, though, didn't you? ;-)

That's a powerful article; maybe one reason people are so unsympathetic towards the victim is that it is all-too-easy for someone to suddenly be in the same situation. I remember that shortly before I split up with my (most recent) ex-husband, I found out that he had been spectacularly and serially unfaithful to me throughout the course of our entire relationship. I had so many people ask me, incredulously, how I couldn't have known. At first I kind of beat myself up for being stupid, but then I realized that I had absolutely no reason to be suspicious. His behavior towards me had remained the same throughout, his hours away from the house didn't change - there was simply no basis for being suspicious. And it's easy to anticipate that the offender can change - the best the victim can hope for is to graduate from victim to survivor.

I suspect you're right about the vitality/boundaries theory. I think their most effective tool in getting through them is the appearance of absolute acceptance; those boundaries are there as protection, after all, and the members will never display anything towards you except that acceptance, affection, support, encouragement and all the positive things you can think of. Of course you can let them cross the membrane! Once they're inside, they create all sorts of mischief.

As far as the anger is concerned, I think that when it's constructively directed, there is no more powerful force behind social change. Unless you're good and pissed off about something, you feel no inclination to do anything about something you believe is wrong.

With sgi, though, they provide you with acceptable targets for your anger - the priesthood and enemies of the Lotus Sutra. And they are abstract and vague enough that the anger just becomes sort of generalized.

We get estranged from all feelings that aren't relevant to das org, and made to feel guilty and ashamed for the non-sgi-approved emotions we dared to feel. I would miss the bliss, if I didn't know now how shallow and empty it was.

Corboy, you usually make more sense without coffee than I do after a pot, so don't worry.

Nichijew, your comments are pretty suggestive - makes a body wonder if all that serotonin, dopamine or whatever feel-good chemical floods your brain when you chant doesn't set up a form of addiction.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 20, 2014 08:00AM

Pleasure does not equal consent.

As humans we have nerve endings. If someone who is a skilled emotions technician knows how to diddle our neurological pathways, we feel pleasure tingles and mood exaltation, not because we consented or even enjoyed what was done to us, but merely because our nerve endings were 'hacked' by a very skillful and intrusive person.

Situations like this are usually full of confusion (predators prefer confusion--they use confusion as their hide-out).And as mammals we are, despite our big brains, still neurologically equipped to bond with whoever or whatever is nearby when our pleasure pathways are stimulated consensually or nonconsensually (hacked).

Our primitive brain is used against us.

A long time ago, I heard about this creep who got laid far more often than he deserved to.

This guy figured out how readily many women confuse stress arousal with love.

This was the year that Jaws was a mega-hit. I was told that this bloke exploited his knowledge of the film and took dates to this movie. He would start putting the moves on the girls right during the most suspenseful terrifying parts of the film.

We are mammals and programmed to bond when our neurons are tingled in just the right sequence.

And a lot of entities that talk spirituality and human potential use that against us.

So, exalted moods and erotic release do not prove consent.

Problem is most of us are not told this when we need to learn about it.

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Re: Soka Gakkai International -- SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: February 20, 2014 08:32PM

It is very much a process of seduction, and instead of someone blowing in your ear, they're blowing smoke up . . . well, you know.

From an objective point of view, it's fascinating to observe how animalistic human beings are and how unknowingly we are enslaved by that. Our limbic systems seem to be working against us.

What's equally interesting is that there are individuals who instinctively know how to make use of it. I doubt if the guy in corboy's example went through any kind of analytic process - my bet is that he probably observed the reaction on a subconscious level and went from there. I think that sgi leadership operates on that same level; call them a pack or a tribe, but they all have that animal adaptability and predator/hunter instinct. Rather than using it to bring down dinner, they use it to manipulate to produce the desired result.

Confusion/being off kilter places the intended victim at a disadvantage and if we don't have a clear line of sight to resolving that, those of us that don't have a highly-developed hunter's instinct tend to cling to whatever alpha happens to be nearby.

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