Believing in & coming to love things one has suffered for

for ex-BKs to discuss matters related to experiences in BKWSU & after leaving.
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Believing in & coming to love things one has suffered for

Post23 Mar 2014

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We, the inner circle of the BKWSU, and many Western BKs know now without doubt that the god man or god spirit of the Brahma Kumaris made several failed predictions of the End of the World, a event known within the BKWSU as "Destruction" but manipulatively presented as "Transformation" to outsiders. After each failure, the Brahmakumari leadership re-invented its beliefs and has since become engaged in hiding and covering up said failures, so much the activity of doing so - and the justification of their guru's or god spirit's failures - has become a defining factor of the cult.

Coming to believe a big lie for a small incentive, and adopting to defend it, is in no ways new or unique in history ... but how it happens is proven scientifically.
“When cognitive dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance”.

- Leon Festinger
Brahma Kumaris adherents do not only actively avoid situations and information that would likely increase the dissonance between their beliefs and reality, their leadership invests considerable time, energy and resources making sure it does not happen, or attempting to pre-empting from happening by making sure that their adherents are indoctrinated with disabling responses to them in advance.

Such responses are not so much beliefs as reflexes have now become key identifiers of their religions.

- ex-l

In the USA, a Chicago housewife called Dorothy Martin (1900–1992) started to experiment in spiritualism just as Lekhraj Kirpalani did and with automatic writing, as he did. Ultimately, the "messages" she was to reveal claimed that the world would end in a great flood before dawn on December 21, 1954. (The BKs had had their second failure of Destruction in 1950, completely hidden from all newcomers in the West until revealed here, the first being WWII. Like the BKs, Martin's group called "the Seekers" believed a huge flood would destroy civilisation).

Martin, again like Lekhraj Kirpalani, took on an alias and was soon surrounded by a group of fervent believers who had taken strong behavioral steps to indicate their degree of commitment to her and her beliefs. They left jobs, college, and spouses, and gave away money and possessions in preparation for the End of the World and - just like the early Brahma Kumaris - their group's exclusive salvation from it as "true believers".

When the prediction failed, like Lekhraj Kirpalani, she left her home town and reinvented herself

What makes this case interesting is that it was studied as it happened by Leon Festinger (1919 – 1989), an American social psychologist, best known for cognitive dissonance and social comparison theory. Festinger and his colleagues thought that such a case would lead to the arousal of psychological dissonance when the prophecy failed as altering the belief would be difficult, as - like the early Brahma Kumari cult called Om Mandli - Martin and her group were committed to them at a considerable expense to maintain them.

Another option, they believed, would be for the cult to enlist social support for their beliefs. As Festinger wrote, "If more and more people can be persuaded that the system of belief is correct, then clearly it must after all be correct."

The Brahma Kumaris have never given an honest account of their religion's history and remain in dissonance or denial about it what experiences and transformations it underwent at each failure; WWII, 1950, 1976 ... etc. Festinger and his colleagues, however, were able to infiltrated the group and record the sequence of events as they happened.
    Prior to December 20. The group shuns publicity. Interviews are given only grudgingly. Access to their guru's house is only provided to those who can convince the group that they are true believers. The group evolves a belief system —provided by the automatic writing — to explain the details of their Destruction, the reason for its occurrence, and the manner in which the group would be saved from the disaster.

    December 20. The group expects a visitor from outer space to call upon them at midnight and to escort them to a waiting spacecraft. As instructed, the group goes to great lengths to remove all metallic items from their persons. As midnight approaches, zippers, bra straps, and other objects are discarded. The group waits.

    12:05 A.M., December 21. No visitor. Someone in the group notices that another clock in the room shows 11:55. The group agrees that it is not yet midnight.

    12:10 A.M. The second clock strikes midnight. Still no visitor. The group sits in stunned silence. The cataclysm itself is no more than seven hours away.

    4:00 A.M. The group has been sitting in stunned silence. A few attempts at finding explanations have failed. Keech begins to cry.

    4:45 A.M. Another message by automatic writing is sent to Keech. It states, in effect, that the God of Earth has decided to spare the planet from destruction. The cataclysm has been called off: "The little group, sitting all night long, had spread so much light that God had saved the world from destruction."

    Afternoon, December 21. Newspapers are called; interviews are sought. In a reversal of its previous distaste for publicity, the group begins an urgent campaign to spread its message to as broad an audience as possible.

From this study, Festinger developed the social psychology theory of 'Cognitive Dissonance' which has since lead to the concept of 'Effort justification'. Effort Justification is people's tendency to attribute a greater value (greater than the objective value) to an outcome they had to put effort into acquiring or achieving.

In short, people believe in and come to love thing they have made renunciations or had to suffer for. It has little to nothing to do with the actual beliefs, individuals or activities involved. Or, conversely, manage to encourage individuals to give normal, healthy and desirable things up and make their lives tough, and for a certain proportion of individuals it will encourage them to believe more regardless of how illogical or insane the beliefs are.

Festinger stated that five conditions must be present if someone is to become a more fervent believer after a failure or disconfirmation:
    A belief must be held with deep conviction and it must have some relevance to action, that is, to what the believer does or how he or she behaves.

    The person holding the belief must have committed himself to it; that is, for the sake of his belief, he must have taken some important action that is difficult to undo. In general, the more important such actions are, and the more difficult they are to undo, the greater is the individual's commitment to the belief.

    The belief must be sufficiently specific and sufficiently concerned with the real world so that events may unequivocally refute the belief.

    Such undeniable disconfirmatory evidence must occur and must be recognized by the individual holding the belief.

    The individual believer must have social support. It is unlikely that one isolated believer could withstand the kind of disconfirming evidence that has been specified. If, however, the believer is a member of a group of convinced persons who can support one another, the belief may be maintained and the believers may attempt to proselytize or persuade nonmembers that the belief is correct.

E. Aronson and J Mills then applied Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance to the observation that when people experience a great deal of trouble or pain attaining something, they tend to value it more than if they had no trouble attaining it ('The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group'. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59, 177-181).
The results to their study were consistent with their hypothesis: participants who underwent a severe initiation to join a group expressed more liking toward the group than participants who underwent a mild or no initiation.

They reasoned that the severity of the initiation created dissonance between the cognition that one experienced the unpleasantness of the initiation in order to gain admission to the group and the cognition that there are things that one does not like about the group. To resolve this dissonance, participants could either downplay the unpleasantness of the initiation or exaggerate their fondness of the group. The more severe the initiation, however, the more difficult it is to convince oneself that it was not unpleasant. Thus, participants who experienced the severe initiation resolved their cognitive dissonance by expressing more liking for the group than participants who experienced a mild or no initiation.

This article is a classic in social psychology because it challenged behaviorism and the notion that people are motivated solely by reward and punishment. It used controlled experimental procedures and provided evidence in support of the influential theory of cognitive dissonance.

As with the Brahma Kumaris, Martin's group also reinvented itself and its beliefs and started to engage in enthusiastic efforts to convert others in order to reduce the magnitude of their dissonance following disconfirmation or failure. She disappeared into the mountains of Peru and returned as "Sister Thedra" finally dying in 1992 aged 92 in Sedona, Arizona, home to a thriving New Age tourist industry. She too had cast scientists as "luciferic". They too wrote enthusiastically to the President and important people.

Unlike Lekhraj Kirpalani, Dorothy Martin was placed under psychiatric care and faced charges of contributing to the delinquency of minors after a police investigation showed that children of the neighbourhood who had talked to her had become worried and trouble sleeping afterward.

From: 'When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World', a classic work of social psychology by Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter which studied the Apocalyptic cult and its coping mechanisms after the event did not occur, and other sources. Festinger’s phrase has since become part of our cultural understanding, but in 1957 when he published 'A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance', it was a revolutionary theory that went onto to influence the study not only of psychology, but politics, economics, and other fields.

But not the so called Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University "faculty" it would seem.

One typical Brahmakumari "yukti" or mental device is to state their god spirit does not make errors per drama but that all faults are due to low quality of human souls and those who reject it and the religion because of the anomalies are weak, impure, incorrect or error. In this manner, any individuals unable to stomach the dissonances are described as "failures" ... or, literally exploding "weak bricks" unable to cope with the pressures of the most supreme religion.

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