(Bit of a long response, but I hope it is OK . . . .)
Greetings, welcome, and I'm glad you are here. Most of all, I'm glad you have found the courage to take the first step in getting away from the Gakkai Cult Org..
I now find that meetings are no longer being scheduled at my place and am no permitted to do the schedule. I was given some lame excuses about it, but it’s pretty plain that I’m being “punished” by being deprived of the opportunity to gain “benefits.” I’m w-a-a-a-y more than five years old, so that seemed really inappropriate, particularly because I wasn’t given the real reasons for being grounded.
This is typical N$A-$GI cult modus operandi manipulation. They basically did the same kind of thing to me, when as a teenager, I handed back my pretty high up "YOUTH!" "leader" position and started resisting their constant pressures and arm twisting to do more and more. Why did I resist? Because, pretty much like you, I didn't like what I was seeing, the way they treated people and the authoritarianism of many of the so-called "leaders" / higher-ups. You are being punished, simply for not towing the line and becoming an unthinking, unquestioning Ikeda-bot (although during my time in, it was more of an expectation to do cult org. "activities" until you became a glazed-eyed-gakkai-somnambulist zombie).
Once a happy (for me) balance was reached, and they saw that it didn't effect me, they then tried to start excluding me from all "YOUTH!" activities. Much to their surprise, this didn't effect me either. I happily took it as a symbolic head nod to cut all the ropes and began to slowly fade away. After a while, it was them (the egotistical, gakkai "leaders"), who came knocking back on my door (home visits), ringing me up on the telephone ("How ya doin'?, "We have an activity coming up . . . . ") and sending me unsolicited letters / post-cards acting like they were my long lost "friends."
My advice = resist. They will (try) to be back, until it becomes crystal clear that you are gone for good (which is all up to your own psychological will power and self control to not give in to their manipulation and fake mystical threats of damnation).
This gave me great pause. One of the reasons I was attracted to SGI in the first place was the absence of clergy and the belief that members came first. My dispute with the leaders was about the treatment that a couple of district members were receiving, so that blew a hole in the members-came-first theory. These were people that weren’t attending meetings but still needed the support of people that they actually believed were friends. That two of the higher-ups came down on me (in the usual, waffle-y way) took the wind out of the sails of the no-clergy idea – obviously they weren’t robe-wearing priests or nuns, but they came off with the same level of authoritarianism. Both of these circumstances are making me take a harder look at my involvement with SGI.
Gakkai Cult Org. "leaders" *ARE* the equivalent of the clergy. In fact, that's why they hated the priesthood so much, because they were the only group of people that they couldn't (doesn't mean they didn't try) manipulate. (Kind of reminds me of the old saying, "It takes one, to know one." In this case, a con-man can clearly see and recognize another con-man.)
. . . . I find that I’m really kind of frightened to turn in my Gohonzon and completely leave the practice.
. . . . but I can’t pinpoint what it is exactly that I’m afraid of. There’s a feeling in the pit of my stomach that something really bad will happen to me; I know that’s the result of superstitious crap, but it’s there nonetheless.
This is pure cult org. fallacious appeal to adverse consequences, to keep you shackled to their psychological threats. [en.wikipedia.org
Time will show you that it is all nonsense. Just be strong and brave.
Also, if you wish, have a look on e-bay. You'll find people getting rid of their cult org. paraphernalia all the time. A quick glance even now, if you go and enter "AUTHENTIC VINTAGE BUTSUDAN COMPLETE- GOHONZON & PRAYER BOOKS- NICHIREN BUDDHISM" into the search box there, will turn up an interesting find. Hardcore brainwashed gakkai cult members will be shocked into superstitious fear by just looking at it and become outraged (a sure sign of intense thought reform).
This is something I would normally sit down and chant about, or seek guidance from a leader. Hah! Instead, I will be carefully storing my Gohonzon and cleaning off what has served as my altar. Going taitan is a big step, and I’m not quite ready to listen to people telling me how horrible my life is going to be . . .
Not having the reflex reaction to go "seek guidance" is a definite sign that you are on the right track and strongly so.
"Taiten" is a meaningless, invented, manipulatively "loaded" cult org. psychological threat label that has just been programmed into your mind.
The gakkai cult is chalk full of doublespeak
and this is yet another example.
The *real* meaning of "Taiten" = escaping from the cult and saving yourself. (The exact opposite
of what they have told you. Always keep this in mind.)
I'm kind of amazed at what a lonely decision this seems to be.
It's only lonely and scary in the beginning. Time eventually fixes all of that, if you stay true to your initial convictions. All of us here are a testament to that.
Good luck, best wishes and stay strong.