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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: June 06, 2013 08:43AM

I apologize for probably over-posting; this is still a new situation for me, so every step seems like a big one and there aren't really any other folks out there who really understand what the issues can be. I really want these people to just leave me alone . . . I sent the following email to the people I've heard from today:

Ladies -

I was quite specific in my resignation email that I did not wish to discuss SGI matters, and I am asking that that request be honored.

After having had building doubts about the organization for months now, recent events have provided me with the clarity I needed to make my decision to leave the organization. I have no regrets or "given up." My conscience will no longer allow me to remain in an organization where respect for other people is conditional, people are denied support because they don't meet certain parameters and I am chided for standing up for people who are being treated as secondary to the politics of the group. I could go on with further reasons for my departure, but know that those reasons would fall on deafened ears.

I am a Buddhist and will be for as long as I have breath. I've studied enough other sutra teachings to realize that Buddhism is secondary to the organization here. I do not wish to be a part of that any longer.

Please - do NOT contact me again. Under no circumstances, do I wish to be contacted about anything to do with SGI. I don't know how I can possibly put it any more clearly than that. I don't wish to be unpleasant, but continuing harassment is illegal. If you wish to protect the organization from an embarrassing legal situation, you will call off everyone else as well. I am in touch with those I wish to be in touch with (and, frankly, who those people are is not your concern - I won't subject them to harassment as well). And if you're as concerned about slander as you should be, you should know that whatever idle comments might be made regarding this situation more than likely will get back to me.

I'm taiten and will remain proudly so. There is a full and rich world out here, where good and bad things happen to people every day, and hours of daimoku play no part. I am eagerly taking the first "step into my bright future," and know that I'm doing so with the courage and determination that any human being needs and innately possesses.

I don't know if it will make any difference to these idiots. I just want them to leave me the hell alone! I know it's been less than a week since I left, but please . . . somebody tell me that they'll give up at some point!

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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: Hitch ()
Date: June 06, 2013 01:20PM

Meh, just stand your ground and they shall eventually fade away. They may pop up from time to time in the future, but just stand your ground and be firm. Your email was very diplomatic and crystal clear. Just remember, "Taiten" means the opposite of cult doublespeak --> it means you've finally broken the shackles (a critical step that many are never able to reach).


Just stumbled across this all - []. Hardcore (unfortunately early) Dear Leader emulation behavioral pattern indoctrination. Get a load of the tie, shoes, everything. Can nobody see what they are doing to this poor boy? Very sad.

Ikeda, pseudo-buddhist CULT.

- Hitch

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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: June 06, 2013 02:12PM


I may mention a restraining order just to give their chain a jiggle . . . most of them don't know any better anyway. It won't make a whit of difference to them; they will sigh about my delusions and just get in touch with me next May to see if I've come to my senses, want to kiss and make up, and remind that it's time for me to make a great cause by forking my dollars over.
meh, if you are in the US, under US law, you can *leave* any religious organization unilaterally - meaning that you make the decision, you don't need the organization's permission, and there's nothing the leaders can do about it. Here are a couple of sources - they're talking about Mormonism, but the same principles and precedents apply to any and every religious organization:



Each of those sites has a lot of useful information - feel free to nose around in there.

Long story short: IF you send the SGI a letter stating that you are notifying them of your resignation and that you no longer give them permission to keep your personal information on file, they HAVE to remove all records with your name on them. They MUST remove you from their records. The sample letter tells them that you expect to receive a letter confirming that your personal information has been removed, and that this is the only contact you will accept from the organization. If anyone contacts you or passes around your personal information, you will be within your legal rights to hire a lawyer and seek damages. See the precedent of these cases:

Legal Precedent
There is one case in particular that has clearly established in case law a right that most of us believe we had all along: the right to simply resign from a church. A second case is important to establish the church's vulnerability to lawsuits when they refuse to honor resignations.

Final decision by the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, January 1989
Marian Guinn, a member of the Church of Christ of Collinsville, OK, hand delivered her resignation to the minister after he told her he was going to excommunicate her for fornication. The minister refused to honor the resignation, went ahead with the 'excommunication' and then announced it from the pulpit. Guinn sued and was awarded $390,000. On appeal the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that Guinn's resignation was effective immediately and that anything the church or the minister did after the minister received Guinn's resignation was tortable. In other words, she could sue for anything they did after she resigned. The court ruled that with her resignation Guinn withdrew her consent to being treated as a member and she withdrew her consent to being subject to church discipline.

Of extra importance is the fact that the court ruled that the right to freedom of religion also includes the right to unilaterally resign from a church.

In several subsequent court cases the Mormon church has agreed to the principles established in Guinn. They have not even attempted to argue that the principles do not apply to them.

In 1985 the Mormon church 'excommunicated' Norman Hancock AFTER he submitted a letter of resignation to the church. Hancock filed an $18 million lawsuit against the church, saying a person has a right to voluntarily resign from a church. The suit was settled out of court and the settlement was sealed. An account on line reports that Hancock filed the suit himself, without the aid of a lawyer, after studying the Guinn case. The same account says that church lawyers started discussing with Hancock just how much money he wanted, but he told them he didn't want their money, that what he wanted was to have his name cleared. Church representatives agreed to change the records such that there would no longer be any record of an 'excommunication': the records would show that he resigned (that he asked for 'name removal').

The Hancock case shows that the church is willing to settle out of court when someone sues because the church 'excommunicates' them after they've resigned their membership. There were some defamation issues in the Hancock case that do not apply to most other cases, however.

The Guinn and Hancock cases were the end of the era when the church told members that there was no way to stop being a member except by excommunication. The church began having a process it calls 'name removal'. However, the church still tells bishops and stake presidents that a member who is 'transgressing' should not be allowed to resign, that "name removal should not be used as a substitute for church discipline". If you've paid attention to the Guinn case, you already know that the church is wrong about that and they can be sued for 'excommunicating' someone who already resigned. At church headquarters they know this very well and they will usually put a quick halt to 'discipline' proceedings if they find out that the former members knows what his or her rights are.

The sample resignation letter available on this site, through the wording that is used, lets the church know that the person who sent it in knows what his or her rights are. Only rarely do they threaten to 'excommunicate' people who've used that letter. Even in cases of blatant 'transgression' the church usually just lets people go. []
What this means for you as a former SGI member is that the SGI cannot demand that you return your gohonzon as a condition of acknowledging your resignation. If they ask for it back, you can of course tell them that they can buy it off you for, say, $40 or $50 if they like, but since you *paid* for it, you're certainly not going to give it to them for free just because they asked!

I sent my resignation letter in April - I have not yet received my confirmation letter, so I'm about to send a follow up letter reminding them that they have to do as I say. Or else. Here's my quandary - my former best friend, a Japanese ex-pat, is still "in." We were close for, like, 3.5 years - while her convicted felon of a husband was in prison for robbery. As soon as he got out, she disappeared. Her husband was very jealous, you see, and deeply resented our family for having helped her while he was chilling in the big house. Suck it up, dickwad! Should have thought about that BEFORE you were committing crimes! When he got sent up that time (I learned later it was his SECOND felony conviction), their daughter was just 2 years old. While he was out after that prison term, she had another baby - when their infant son was only 6 months old, he participated in two rather outrageous jewelry store robberies with a gang, and now he's in prison for the rest of his life. Well, since then, I've seen her 3 times (he got his sentence last April, but he'd been in custody since 2010), and this last time, she told me that my membership card had "REMOVED" on it. Well, if she still has it, it's not removed, is it? I'm going to have to nail her to the wall on this, perhaps ask her to give it to ME since it's MY personal information and the SGI is no longer allowed to hold it. I'll let you know how that goes.

If you are interested in taking this step, address your letter to:

SGI-USA Membership Department
National Headquarters
606 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: June 06, 2013 07:27PM

TaP, thank you so much! This is very helpful information - I do want to cross my t's and dot my i's on this. I had the membership box when I sent my resignation email and removed my card . . . that didn't feel right, so I returned it before I handed the box over. I figured they had my contact info anyway. Maybe I'm being petty, but I really want them to have to take every little step necessary to remove me from their systems; I have no illusions that they give a rat's patoot about me as an individual, but they damn-skippy sure care about their numbers. I don't want to be folded into their fudged 12 million members (I thought about that number, and realized that my district has about 50 cards in their infamous box; there were never had more than 10 or 12 members at any meeting - using that math, I'd estimate that there are fewer than 3 million active members - pretty pitiful).

There's another member that went taiten a couple of months before I did, although she didn't take any formal actions as I did . . . I've made her aware of this website, and will make her aware of her rights here. Personally, I think it's important to be abundantly clear about leaving the organization; it leaves no room for misunderstanding, and it may be a little demoralizing for the rah-rah zombies to know that people are leaving with no intention of coming back. I doubt if it would ever be enough to undermine most of the long-time members, but the newer members who aren't fully indoctrinated yet might start wondering. Not that it would be published anywhere, but sgi does have its share of gossips. I'll make sure that all of my local leaders receive a copy of my official-official letter.

On the positive side, I see membership in my chapter (or whatever the hell it is these days) as fairly static. Da Org, in theory, is being a little more circumspect about handing out gohonzons - a couple of leaders are now supposed to go to your home to check and see if you have a respectful enough place to hang your paper. The standards are pretty low; a woman in another district who was living in a basement with three cats and boxes to the ceiling cleared a space off a piece of furniture passed inspection, but at least one person I know found that to be highly intrusive and said "no thanks." On the other hand, it's another psychological ploy . . . are you good enough to have a gohonzon? Oh, hooray, you are - you are special! Nothing like making a club seem a bit exclusive to make some people want to join it.

I'll get my letter off to the Kalifornia Klub House and the leaders today. Maybe they'll ignore it and sgi can provide a comfortable retirement! That would be freaking hilarious.

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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: June 06, 2013 08:41PM

I'm providing the following for anyone else who decided that they are going to formally resign. I've adapted one of the letters that TaP was kind enough to provide. I didn't have physical addresses for the leaders, but I scanned the letter (with my signature), so they're now on the same legal notice that the organization is. Please feel free to copy, cannibalize, bastardize, whatever . . . I really encourage (in a real-world way) anyone who hasn't taken this step to do so, even if you've been away from the organization for awhile. Numbers speak and even if they only serve to demoralize a few people and cause some doubts on their end, we're performing a service.

June 6, 2013

SGI-USA Membership Department
National Headquarters
606 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is my formal resignation from the Soka Gakkai International and any related affiliates. It is effective as of the date of this letter. I hereby withdraw my consent to being regarded as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to organization rules, policies, beliefs and "discipline." As I am no longer a member, I want my name permanently and completely removed from all records of the organization. I also hereby cancel my subscriptions, and receipt of such (in either hard copy or electronic format) will be considered unwanted contact. There will be a grace period of ten (10) days to allow for removal from subscription lists.

I have given this matter considerable thought. I understand what you consider the seriousness and consequences of my actions.

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any waiting periods. I will not be dissuaded, and I am not going to change my mind.

I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect.

As of the date of this letter, the only contact I require from the organization is a letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member.

My resignation is not based on a personality conflict with any member or leader, but completely grounded in recruitment methods, widely-spread disinformation about Buddhism, the near-deification of Mr. Ikeda and the organizationally-sanctioned behavior of leadership towards members.

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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: June 07, 2013 12:23AM


I don't want to be folded into their fudged 12 million members (I thought about that number, and realized that my district has about 50 cards in their infamous box; there were never had more than 10 or 12 members at any meeting - using that math, I'd estimate that there are fewer than 3 million active members - pretty pitiful).
That's exactly the point - unless you demand that they remove your information, they will continue to count you as a member. That's what the Mormon church does as well - once you're in their system, they keep you there until they calculate that you've reached your 110th (some sources say 120th) birthday! Even if everyone knows you've joined a different religion! They, of course, explain it as their being so very concerned about you and wanting to make sure that, if you come back, they're ready to welcome you. My ass! It's just how they keep their numbers up! The Mormons likewise only have a small fraction active out of the huge numbers they claim. The SGI makes similar kindly comments about the "importance" of the membership cards - it's actually an archaic and backward system because they don't like the way things have been going. "If we only turn back the clock and do what we used to do, we'll have more members!" Some in the Catholic Church lament the decline in Catholics as being the result of modernistic architecture, if you can believe that! As if simply returning to Gothic and Romanesque will cause people to start scurrying into their churches the way they did when the Church threatened to torture and kill them if they didn't! HA!

In fact, at a Soka Spirit meeting up in LA somewhere, the national YWD leader spoke. She said, "In my 20 years of practice, I have helped FOUR HUNDRED PEOPLE get gohonzon!" (applause) "Do you know how many of them are still practicing? TWO." (very small applause)

I think that's closer to reality than your (generous) estimate.

Da Org, in theory, is being a little more circumspect about handing out gohonzons - a couple of leaders are now supposed to go to your home to check and see if you have a respectful enough place to hang your paper.
When I joined back in 1987, that was the standard protocol.

Your letter is good. Mine used the same basic chassis, but here it is - as you can see, I'm a bit more verbal:

SGI-USA Membership Department March 25, 2013
National Headquarters
606 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Dear SGI-USA Membership Department:

I hereby resign my membership in the SGI-USA, effective immediately, and request you to remove my name and that of my minor children permanently from your membership records. Your receipt of this letter acknowledges my notification that I no longer give my permission for SGI-USA to keep my personal information or that of my children on file at any SGI-USA location anywhere. I hereby withdraw my consent to being treated as a member and I withdraw my consent to being subject to SGI-USA rules, policies, beliefs and 'discipline' (if any). As I am no longer a member, I require that my name and those of my children be permanently and completely removed from the membership rolls of the SGI-USA.

The SGI-USA is no longer permitted to use my personal information or that of my children for any purpose or in any capacity.

I wish no further contact from representatives of your organization except to confirm that our names have been removed from your records throughout the SGI-USA organization. I expect to receive that confirmation within a reasonably short time.

My name: (my real name)
My children’s names: (my children's real names)

I received my gohonzon in Minneapolis, MN, in August of 1987. I served as YWD group/district/chapter/headquarters leader in Minneapolis, MN.

I practiced in St. Thomas, USVI, from 1992-1995.

I exchanged my gohonzon in either Lawrence, KS, or Topeka, KS, in 1995.

I practiced in Raleigh, NC, from 1995-2001. My children received membership there in 2000.

I practiced with Olive District in Vista, CA, from 2001 until I stopped attending meetings in about 2008. My last district leaders were Oliana Lutu-Topley and David Topley.

My resignation should be processed immediately, without any 'waiting periods'. I am not going to be dissuaded and I am not going to change my mind. There will be no discussion of this. This is my decision alone and the SGI-USA’s only course of action is to accept and respect my decision.

I expect this matter to be handled promptly, with respect and with full confidentiality. This is my official resignation.
After today, the only contact I want from the SGI-USA is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the SGI-USA and that the SGI-USA has removed ALL of my personal information and that of my children from its records systems. The SGI-USA is no longer permitted to use my name or my children’s names for any purpose whatsoever.
After much study, I arrived at the conclusion that what the SGI-USA is promoting is a significantly inferior deviation from the Buddha’s teachings. For example, SGI-USA members often hear about first President Makiguchi’s statement that “Buddhism is win or lose.” That Nichiren Daishonin wrote, ““Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat, while secular authority is based on the principle of reward and punishment. For this reason, a Buddha is looked up to as the Hero of the World, while a king is called the one who rules at his will.” Second President Josei Toda said, “Society revolves around reputation. Governments concern themselves with what is right and wrong. But in Buddhism, the criteria is victory or defeat.”

Take a look at what the Buddha said, according to the Dhammapada:

Winning gives birth to hostility. Losing, one lies down in pain. The calmed lie down with ease, having set winning and losing aside.

THIS is the correct Buddhist attitude. Everyone in the SGI-USA has it wrong, as they fail to recognize that “win or lose” is an expression of attachment, for all they acknowledge that attachments are the cause of suffering. Chanting for whatever you want or to attain a certain outcome is another expression of attachment; it is elevating the attachment to a priority. Where is the understanding that circumstances are to be accepted, that there is no need to bend reality to your will?

The SGI-USA is promoting voodoo Buddhism under a cult of authoritarianism. One of the last events that culminated in my finally giving up childish magical thinking and imagining that Nam myoho renge kyo had special power involved two gohonzons I bought off eBay. These are both old – over 100 years each – and are a different kind of gohonzon than the SGI-USA promotes as its devotional object.

(These images printed on the letter: [], [])

As you can see, they’re very beautiful, and they look wonderful on the tall wall in my vaulted stairway. The problem, apparently, was that they were from a different Nichiren sect and were, thus, technically “heretical objects.” Different leaders tried to convince me to first not buy them, and then to get rid of them.

The last leader to attempt to dictate my décor was Junko Cohenour. I asked her why I shouldn’t have these and display them if I wished, and she was unable to explain, finally declaring that I should chant until I agreed with her! Two weeks later, she collapsed and never regained consciousness. She died.

That should be the end, an unfortunate circumstance, and, of course, it’s very sad that she died so suddenly and so relatively young. What bothers me is that, if it had instead been *me* who died, she and the other leaders would have been wagging their heads and tongues, offering me up as needed as a cautionary tale about the dire calamities that await anyone who disobeys SGI-USA leaders’ orders. I’d certainly seen this happen often enough with SGI-USA leaders while I was a leader. But because she was a high-ranking leader, it apparently never occurred to anyone to suggest that perhaps she met her untimely end by presenting her own opinion as official Buddhist doctrine. Would that be a despicable thing to say? Perhaps SGI-USA leaders should think twice about exploiting others’ misfortunes to try and claim points for their opinions and for the purpose of manipulating and controlling the members.

The other issue I wish to bring to your attention is the rank hypocrisy in the SGI-USA’s rhetoric about being the “most ideal family-like organization”. From the SGI-USA’s District Leaders Handbook:

The SGI is like a family, a living body in which each person is all-important. Although we should be well organized, the members should not be made to feel regimented or restricted.

That’s funny! Really, it is! I moved around several times while I was a member, and every time, I found that those who remained behind wanted *nothing* further to do with me. Once I was no longer around to do things for the organization and its leaders, nobody cared about anything that might happen to me. It was quite shocking, the disconnect between the organizational rhetoric and leaders/members’ behavior.

Here’s a news flash: Requiring the members to meet in small groups in somebody’s home does not make it “family-like.” When I stopped attending meetings, nobody contacted me except to invite me to a Womens Division General Meeting (how predictable). Several times I ran into members I knew well; they ignored me. Didn’t even say hello.

An intolerant organization divides the world into “us” and “them”, and severely criticizes anyone who leaves. Typically, an intolerant organization will forbid (to whatever degree and through whatever means) members from associating with apostates. This is exactly what I experienced when I left the “ideal family-like organization” of the SGI-USA. It’s quite a dysfunctional family, to tell the truth, but typical of every other intolerant religion and organization. No different from most Christian churches, truth be told.

For example, my last women’s division district leader, Oliana Lutu-Topley, used to tell everyone at the meetings, from time to time, in hushed, reverent tones, how “ohana” in her home culture (Hawaiian) means “no one is left behind.” And that was how she understood the SGI-USA’s directives about member care. Guess who never even called me once after I stopped attending meetings? That’s right, Mrs. “No one is left behind.” I guess if you aren’t showing up to make the meetings a success, you don’t count as a person. This letter, by the way, is my first official notice to the SGI-USA of my leaving. For the last five years, I have simply not been attending any SGI meetings.

Finally, the cult of Daisaku Ikeda is quite disgusting. As is the lack of financial transparency within the Gakkai. The way the SGI-USA pays for things to be named after Ikeda is appalling. What a colossal ego! That is one insecure, pathetic individual. I will leave you with a concept from the real Buddha:
"Don't blindly believe what I say. Don't believe me because others convince you of my words. Don't believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don't rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don't infer or be deceived by appearances."
"Do not give up your authority and follow blindly the will of others. This way will lead to only delusion."
"Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself give up the bad and embrace the good." – from the Kalama Sutra
Nichiren Daishonin would have done better if he’d understood the peacefulness and magnanimity, as well as the fundamental respect for everyone, of the Buddha, instead of relying on his own hateful intolerance, competitive nature, and desire for the spotlight. The SGI-USA would do better to study more of the Buddha’s teachings and less of Nichiren Daishonin’s writings. And to get rid of the cult of Ikeda entirely. His poetry is *terrible*, his photos are pedestrian and dull, his posturing and grandstanding are offensive and repellent, and the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Exhibit is a joke - more like "One of these things is not like the others!" Do you really think anyone would put Daisaku Ikeda, who has done *nothing* but amass an obscene fortune, into the same category as Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? The way Ikeda at the very minimum allows so many monuments with his name on them to be placed on display worldwide demonstrates a truly breathtaking hubris. The whole scenario is revolting. He should be embarrassed. A REAL Buddhist would not stand for it.

Also, the way Daisaku Ikeda's effectively anonymous son Hiromasa is being shoved into the spotlight tells me that this callow youth, who hasn't actually accomplished *anything* on his own, is being positioned to take over the International President-ship once Daisaku kicks the bucket. To take over what has already become a hereditary dynasty rather than what the gullible and easily deceived members think is a leadership position earned by merit. It's just gross.

Thank you for your attention. I await your confirmation of the removal of my name and my children’s names from all the SGI-USA’s organizational records. And the SGI-USA had better not have any of my husband’s personal information on file, as he never gave permission to the SGI-USA to keep his personal information on file!

Yours most sincerely,

(my name and address)
I don't think I told you, but back in about 2008, I think it was, they were rolling out the membership card campaign (it had started the year before, I think, but they were updating it). As a district leader, I was in the meeting, which featured a spokesman from national HQ. He announced that the new policy was to make out a membership card for each member - AND a membership card for every person in the member's household (family members, even roommates)! I thought this was ridiculous - just a way to pad the membership rolls, right? He said it was "to make sure we provide the best care for each member and the utmost consideration for the people in their homes" or some such. So I stood up and said that my husband, who is NOT a member and never has been, does not want a membership card made out for him - he has top secret security clearance with the government and does not want organizations he does not belong to keeping his personal information on file.

National HQ Dickwad answers, "We have plenty of members with top secret security clearance, and they don't have a problem with the membership cards."

Me: "My husband is not a member. Why don't we have an 'opt in' system where we ASK PEOPLE FIRST if they're okay with us having their personal information on file?"

Him: "The policy is to make out a membership card for each member and a membership card for every person in that member's household."

Boy was I steamed! After, my MD chapter leader took me aside and assured me that no membership card would be made for my husband, but the damage was done. What a bunch of jackasses! When I spoke to someone I was still in contact in North Carolina, she said that, when they rolled out the membership cards there, they didn't include that "members of the household" angle - she agreed that sounded just bizarre. I wonder whose bright idea the "maximize membership cards" campaign was LOL!!

Why not restrict the membership cards to...oh, I dunno...ACTUAL MEMBERS, or, better yet, ACTIVE MEMBERS??

Also, on the subject, I remember back in Minneapolis at one of my first leaders' meetings, where this YWD chapter leader I knew was talking about subscriptions. Back then, the "rhythm" was that you as the "sponsor" would buy a month of World Tribune (then $4) for your "shakubuku" when they received their gohonzon. The new member was supposed to take over the subscription. But what was happening was that they weren't, and the organization would not allow the subscription to be canceled! The total number of subscriptions could never go down - that was FORBIDDEN! - so what happened was that the sponsors were being increasingly burdened with these extra subscriptions! She said, "Having to pay for 10 or 12 World Tribune subscriptions a month really makes me think twice about doing shakubuku, because I don't want to be stuck with another unwanted subscription payment each month!" Can you imagine?? I'm sure they can get away with that nonsense in Japan, but they dropped the "can't cancel subscriptions" "rhythm" shortly thereafter.

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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: June 07, 2013 12:29AM

Actually, I think the leadership card campaign was in 2007, in the fall (August?). No earlier than 2006.

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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: June 07, 2013 12:38AM

Oh, one more thing - when I got back together with my former best friend earlier this year, I was *shocked* to hear that the WD District leader named above, Oliana, had DIED!! She was younger than I am! So much for the "protection" of the gohonzon, eh? And her only daughter had added to the illegitimate child she had just before I stopped going to meetings - I guess she now has THREE illegitimate children.

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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: meh ()
Date: June 07, 2013 01:09AM

I signed on in the fall of 2006, and the membership cards were in place then - I remember filling one out. I mentioned somewhere that I practiced in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, El Paso, Reading and the greater Philly area, and I never heard of making out cards for the family! That's absolutely outrageous; my atheist son would disown me!

Your letter is wonderful . . . I especially like the quotes about not believing everything you've been told or have read; that's something that I've always believed. That such a beautiful philosophy has been so twisted and perverted by these aforementioned dickwads defies the considerable number of adjectives available. I honestly believe that the majority of people have absolutely no idea of how conditioned they are; I think most of them started out like I did, a little bit lonely, searching for a spiritual connection that resonated and looking for like-minded individuals who could sit down and have a semi-intelligent conversation. If you're open-minded in a certain way, you see the dubious logic as kind of making sense, and the members around you are so enthusiastic and encouraging with their experiences, you really kind of buy into it. I never got the ikeda-worship thing, and zombies in the video audiences were creepy; the viewers in the kaikan were really no better. Do you really think that the fearless leader can hear you chanting with him? All that gushy rah-rah stuff always was a bit off-putting.

And you're dead on at what your treatment would have been had you been Oliana, you would have been an example of the dire results of leaving the practice. And it can be even worse, if you're a faithful member who contracts a deadly disease and doesn't recover. A very dear friend in ABQ was diagnosed with lung cancer, and she turned into a daimoku machine. Leaders and members were at her house every day, chanting with her and offering support and encouragement. As she deteriorated, the visits were fewer and fewer, until I was calling people begging them to go visit my dear girl (by that time, I was in Las Cruces, about a 4.5 hour drive away). I came up when I could, but that wasn't often. She wound up in hospice, and I was able to visit her two days before she died; there were a couple of members there, but they were conspicuously outnumbered by non-members. We did have a memorial service for her at the center, but I think that was only because her boyfriend demanded it. She had served the organization for decades, but when she wasn't going to become a happy little success story for the weird tribune, they kicked her to the curb. Bastards. During her early phases of treatment, she wrote a beautiful letter to the revered prez, in which she wrote that even though her faith was a little shaky from time to time, her practice was strong and she knew she would "win." She never even got a form letter back, from this pompous jackass who professes to care for every individual member. I really should have quit then, but was still stuck in the mud.

I thought about expanding my letter to include some of that, but I think it would've fallen on deafened ears (and I'm carefully using the word "deafened" here).

Funny, TaP - a very good friend of mine was practicing in St. Thomas during the same time you were; she eventually moved to Culebra and then to the Reading PA area, where I started practicing with her. She's one of those people whose friendship I'm trying to retain - she's still a member and totally in thrall, but she has a number of non-sgi friends, so she's getting used to the idea that I'm now in that camp.

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Re: On Leaving SGI
Posted by: TaitenAndProud ()
Date: June 07, 2013 03:26AM


And it can be even worse, if you're a faithful member who contracts a deadly disease and doesn't recover. A very dear friend in ABQ was diagnosed with lung cancer, and she turned into a daimoku machine. Leaders and members were at her house every day, chanting with her and offering support and encouragement. As she deteriorated, the visits were fewer and fewer...

No surprises there. The whole "win with daimoku" ends up being horribly dysfunctional and destructive, as your example, above, illustrates. Either you "win" (somehow attain the desired outcome, through whatever means) or you get shunned. No "failures" allowed! And we need that "victory" within a certain timeframe - we're on a schedule here, people!!

A particularly appalling case that I've mentioned on the main SGI board involves a boy, a "fortune baby," who was my son's age. Beautiful, athletic, gifted boy - when he started taking gymnastics lessons, they immediately put him on their travel squad, because he had such an amazing ability to perceive how to do a stunt - his reflexes and coordination were amazing, from a very young age. He was the youngest on their performance team by several years. Anyhow, his mom got into this "feng shui" stuff (while still a devout Ikedabot, mind you) and was taking him and his older brother with her to a "feng shui" conference. Long story short - they were attempting to close a large iron gate at the driveway, and it hadn't been installed properly - all 500 lbs of wrought iron fell on this boy, crushing his spine! "Fortunately", his mom had cell phone reception despite it being out in the middle of nowhere, and "fortunately", there was an ambulance within a mile. They came and got him, airlifted him, surgery yadda yadda yadda. After a month or two in the hospital, he came home - and the 3-hour Saturday morning daimoku tosos for his "complete recovery" started. As with your friend, the attendance gradually dwindled until finally it was just his mom chanting.

But here's the thing. What message is that little boy getting from all these adults chanting balls to the wall for him to be...different from how he now is? Is he getting the message that, now that he's paralyzed, he can still have a full and happy life? Or is he getting the message that it's NOT OKAY to be paralyzed? That there's something wrong with his mom's faith that her desperate daimoku can't "fix" her son? That everybody regards him as "broken"?

I found it all quite horrifying, actually. If people had wanted to chant for him, they could have done so. Privately. Without anyone but the Gohonzon knowing - know what I mean? To put on that circus right in front of this poor boy who's adjusting to being crippled, right there in his own living room, was just obscene.

And, for the record, he is permanently paralyzed. Legs atrophied to toothpicks. He can barely hobble around; he usually uses a scooter. Him ending up in a wheelchair is only a matter of time. Instead of chanting for him to get "fixed," wouldn't it have been more humane, more human, and, yes, more Buddhist, to accept him as he was, and then, in the future, if his circumstances/condition changed, accept him as he would be at that point, too?

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