What bothered me most is this caring and supportive organization, just didn't call again. Friends that I considered close just cut off communication. One in particular bothered me because I know her entire family, but because I wouldn't read the SGI books she suggested and accept Ikeda all communication stopped. It's been several years since all this happened. I'm comfortable with my decision, but miss the practice and the sense of community. This is a cunning organization and it's important for everyone to come forward and share their story.
Hi, AmusedKY. Welcome, and thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences! The more the merrier, ya know.
I quoted a snippet of your post above, because I wanted to point out that what you experienced, the "shunning," is absolutely the norm for EVERY intolerant organization. If you've got a group saying, "Our way is the only right way," then only those who are "on board" will get the goodies of membership in that community. If you are known to hold un-party-line-ish views or perspectives, you'll be kept at arm's length - while you may still be invited to meetings, once you go, you'll find that few people are interested in talking to you, while they flock like moths to a flame around other members (and especially leaders). We social animals are keenly aware of social status and our place in the community, and being on the chilly outskirts of unpopular-ville is distressing. It is only if you voice the opinions and attitudes that the organization has defined as the "right" ones that you will be truly included as a REAL member.
Take a look at these other comments from escapees from other intolerant faith-based organizations:
"Five years ago I left the UPC after having only been in for four years. I was amazed at how indoctrinated I became in such a short time. I can't begin to fathom what it must be like to leave after having been raised in it, generation after generation. The condemnation, shunning, the unspoken message that a person has been deceived by Satan for leaving. To 'backslide' is to choose to stop living for God, not to choose a different faith. I have struggled with guilt and a sense of having failed God, though He continually is faithfully answering my every prayer." [www.culteducation.com
That ^ is about Pentecostalism, but can you see the parallel? Just substitute "gohonzon" for "god" and "King Devil of the Sixth Heaven" for "Satan" and you'll get what many of us have described!
It shouldn't surprise anyone that the main reason the SGI was able to get into American culture was because its pseudoBuddhism bore so many similarities to the dominant religion, Christianity.
This is a great site, and, again, although it's oriented toward Chrisitanity, you'll see that it fits our former cult just as well: [johnshore.com
“Whenever I’m approached by an evangelist – by a Christian missionary – I know I’m up against someone so obsessed and narrowly focused that it will do me absolutely no good to try and explain or share my own value system. I never want to be rude to them, of course, but never have any idea how to respond to their attempts to convert me; in short order, I inevitably find myself simply feeling embarrassed–first for them, and then for us both. I’m always grateful when such encounters conclude.”
“There are about a million things I’d like to say to Christians, but here’s the first few that come to mind: Please respect my right to be the person I’ve chosen to become. Worship, pray and praise your God all you want–but please leave me, and my laws, and my city, and my school alone. Stop trying to make me, or my children, worship your god. Why do we all have to be Christians? Respect my beliefs; I guarantee they’re every bit as strong as yours. Mostly, please respect my free will. Let me choose if I want to marry someone of my own sex. Let me choose if I want to have an abortion or not. Let me choose to go to hell if that’s where you believe I’m going. I can honestly say that I’d rather go to hell than live the hypocritical life I see so many Christians living.”
“I am a former ‘born again’ Christian. It’s been my personal experience that Christians treat the poor poorly–much like the Pharisees did in the parable of the old woman with the two coins. I found the church to be political to a fault, and its individual members all too happy to judge and look down on others. As a Christian, my own fervor to witness was beyond healthy. My friends would come to me to vent and express emotions, and all I would do is preach to them. I was of no real comfort to them. I never tried to see anything from their perspective.”
See the similarities?? Remember trying to shoehorn a "You should try chanting about that!" into conversations?? *ugh* >eyeroll<
Along the same line of Christians and disappointments, if you want to be dropped by every Christian "friend" in the Church, work, etc., be left a widow by your husband of 27 years.
I will never forget my "friend" of 26 years telling me she needed to leave me to myself (at this sad time), that she didn't know how to help me. [richgelina.blogspot.com
So it's not just Buddhists who check out if that "victory" is too long in coming or appears that it won't happen. Perhaps the problem is basically ALL intolerant religions...?“I have found, sadly, that the front row Christians put on their ‘church faces’ but are the biggest and coldest gossips out there. Especially women. One bit of gossip and they will tear a person in half. The more hurtful the better….but make sure to get that front row or teach a Sunday school class.”
- Pioneers and leaders, I'm looking at YOU!! [www.3threat.net
This next one is long, but I suspect you might be able to relate to it:
Don't you miss who you used to be?
I am not surprised by these questions, knowing full well the world in which I used to live is constructed of persons who are taught to hold each other accountable for a myriad of things: actions, tastes in music, emotions, sexual preferences, interpretations of scripture... and doubts.
While I understand the questioners intent (after all I was guilty of the same), what I find so unappealing is the question itself, (don't even get me started on "Ex-Christians, how can there be such a thing?"). These really aren't genuine questions after all, for a genuine question is not asked with the answer already implied.All that said, I have decided to respond to this rhetorical nonsense in hopes of demonstrating how “myself” is really much better off having left it's delusions behind and how I really don't miss "that self" at all.
Do you miss that self?
No, I do not miss "that self."I do not miss the mind numbingly absurd reality “that self” lived in, the plateau at which that self's intelligence was set, the circular condemnation and double think “that self” endured on a daily basis.
No, I do not miss that self.I do not miss feeling like that self was something bad and that that self could do no good without a supreme deity to guide the way, I do not miss that self second guessing every action, every relationship, every idea,
I do not miss that self.
No, I do not miss that self's lack of responsibility for the earth, that self’s desire for the world to be destroyed and for its people to be condemned, that self’s superiority, naivety and idealism.
I do not miss that self.I do not miss that self’s conversations with the ceiling, that self’s weight of the worlds salvation, that self’s conscious dismissal of science, that self’s ala cart projection of the Bible, that self’s silver platter consumption of truth from the pulpit.
No, I do not miss that self.My self rejoices in reality and embraces humanity.
“That self” can go fuck itself. [testimonials.exchristian.net
Remember: Selfishness is not living as one wishes; it is asking others to live as one wishes.