Will Hodgkinson on ex-BKs

for ex-BKs to discuss matters related to experiences in BKWSU & after leaving.
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ex-l

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Will Hodgkinson on ex-BKs

Post13 Apr 2015

Family connections are useful in life. Whereas the BKs spent much of their time dividing, separating family members and ruling and exploiting them, I am glad at least the Hodgkinson family remembered that.

On April Fools' Day, Will Hodgkinson, the youngest son of the BKWSU UK PR spin doctor Neville Hodgkinson, was given an article in his Brother's Tom Hodgkinson's magazine/website called 'The Idler' ... to comment on ex-BKs. Unexpected reactions to my family memoir.

Which ex-BK is he referring to ... can you identify yourself?

I actually did go to one of his readings but never asked any question "from the crowd", so it cannot be me unless Will's fabricating a history ... another BK habit.
Most were men and women who entered into the religion in their twenties, became evangelical followers adhering to its strictures of celibacy, meditation and pure living ... only to become disillusioned and blame the BKs for deluding them.

And the lesson is, folks ... it's all good for business. "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about" - Oscar Wilde. If you are in business and making a buck out of it, which most BKs don't, but the Kirpalanis and Hodgkinson do.

Which side are you on?

What I think Will Hodgkinson does not get, is that his experience is not typical of kids growing up under the Brahma Kumaris, that the wealth and education of his parents - wealth and education the Brahma Kumaris discouraged adherents from pursuing - sheltered him; and never having been a BK, or sincere "spiritual seeker" exploited by him ... he doesn't know what he is talking about.

Lucky for him he just wasn't susceptible to their brand of hypnosis and spiritualism and he went off and had a life and family instead.
UNEXPECTED REACTIONS TO MY FAMILY MEMOIR

1 Apr Will Hodgkinson

When Will Hodgkinson published a book which roundly mocked his Father, mother and Brother, he was expecting them to get angry. But in the end hostility came from a different quarter

THERE IS ALWAYS fallout from a memoir. It isn’€™t, however, always the fallout you anticipated.

When I was writing The House Is Full Of Yogis, the story of how in the 1980s we went from being a normal, suburban family from Richmond, Surrey to a bunch of meditating freaks after our Father Nev ate a salmonella-laced coronation chicken, almost died, and had a Damascene revelation in Westminster Abbey that led him to join an Indian spiritual cult called the Brahma Kumaris, I knew it might cause trouble.

Mum, aka Daily Mail journalist Liz Hodgkinson, came across in the book as a money-obsessed harpy whose maternal instincts stretched as far as sticking a frozen pizza in the microwave before lighting a cigarette. I depicted Nev (our Father, who we never called Dad) as a lighter-than-air simpleton, so busy attempting to resemble an odourless gas that he failed to see how being an atheist one moment and a white-clad yogi who lectured his children on the forthcoming apocalypse the next might be a little bit confusing for them. As for my Brother Tom, founder of The Idler, I variously described him as a spinal cord with limbs, a teenage equivalent of the Mekon, and a ******. You can see why they might have had cause for complaint.

Incredibly, none of them found a reason to take legal action, never talk to me again, or even write angry letters to the Guardian. Mum loves any kind of attention, good or bad, so being written about was fine by her. Tom is self-deprecating enough to laugh off any description made of him. But Nev is touchy about the Brahma Kumaris. They are, quite literally, his religion. Yet even he didn’t mind my writing about his forcing me to proclaim my virgin status to a room full of Yogis aged twelve, of turning up at my school to give a lecture on the joys of meditation, of appearing on prime time television to espouse the benefits of celibacy just when I was trying to meet girls for the first time.
“You’€™ve been far more generous to me than I deserved,”€ said Nev, after reading the book. That was as much of an approval as I could have hoped for.

I also imagined the Brahma Kumaris themselves would have something to say about The House Is Full Of Yogis. The book is about the impact this strange Indian group had on our family; about what it was like to have our house invaded by hordes of women and men in white saris and pyjama suits, who told us that evolution was a myth, that we should all be celibate, and that meditating on the infinite nature of the soul is the answer to life’€™s problems. It’€™s hardly an advertisement for the group or its leader, a sagacious but terrifying 95-year-old woman called Dadi Janki.

In the event, they caused me no trouble whatsoever. “Dadi Janki gives you her full blessing,” said Nev. There were a few murmurs about the lack of respect I displayed to my parents from some of the religion’s elderly Indian adherents, but otherwise, nothing but support and good wishes.

There was, however, resistance from a group of people I had not even considered: former Brahma Kumaris. Most were men and women who entered into the religion in their twenties, became evangelical followers adhering to its strictures of celibacy, meditation and pure living, only to become disillusioned and blame the BKs for deluding them.

I was giving a reading when a former BK in the crowd asked: “How do you feel about the Brahma Kumaris breaking up families and setting parents against their children?”

One particularly vociferous former BK accused me of being a mouthpiece for Dadi Janki, surprising given that I described her as looking like the female equivalent of Yoda from Star Wars. Reviews of the book hinted along similar lines. I must be more screwed up than I was letting on. Our parents were terrible people who ignored their children in favour of selfish pursuits. I was making light of my obvious misery.

Former BKs and reviewers who would have liked me to stick the knife into our Father’s religious group missed the point. The House Is Full Of Yogis has a simple message: **** happens. You can either feel sorry for yourself or you can make the most of everything that happens to you, taking what you need and shrugging off what you don’t. Nev’s spiritual awakening gave Tom and me an expanded consciousness and a different take on life, and whether we choose to follow a similar spiritual path or not is up to us. By blaming the BKs for how their lives turned out, those former members were ignoring the essential reality of free will. There are children of BKs who argue they were too young to make their own decisions, but they grew up. In adulthood, nobody can force you into belief.

The family, the only people whose reactions I was worried about, didn’t judge me for The House Is Full Of Yogis, hopefully because I didn’t judge them. Even if I did call Tom a ******.
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Re: Will Hodgkinson on ex-BKs

Post14 Apr 2015

Unfortunately, the other side of the story (the disaffected ex-BK side, which is not one side but many) can’t be ascertained from an interjection at a reading.

If Will is a journalist, he’d know he should go and speak with the various parties to hear what they have to say. What he may not understand is that the BK organisation is very good at public "tolerance", i.e. taking it on the chin in apparent spiritual good humour, but a lot goes on behind the scenes. As an organisation they are disciplined and adherents will speak with one voice, because one of the key Maryadas is to never say anything against the yugya, especially to a non-BK.

But as Tolstoy wrote
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

That is, every BK (current) is practically obliged to publicly be happy ”watching the drama” whereas every ex-BK has, by definition, become unhappy about being a BK and moved on; each will have individual reactions to the BKs. They (ex-BKs) are not a monolithic organisation, they have nothing but their own emotions and rationalisations to answer to and can therefore be happy or unhappy "in their own way”.

Before any self-justifying BK reading this thinks their ”happiness” is superior to an ex-BK's unhappiness, I’d like to clarify.

BKs were unhappy with who they were before they became BKs, or with the world or their place in it, and swapped it for ”a happy family” (some may say they were happy enough before, but obviously felt there was more to be had).

Ex-BKs have taken another step, became unhappy with themselves being BKs or unhappy with the BK world, and swapped it for a newer life, which they may be happy in; but you can be happy about the new life (as BKs say they are) and still express unhappiness about what they were, went through or how they were treated or misled.

As research shows, there can be more difficulty for people realising their post-cult personality after leaving than there is for people to transition from their pre-cult personality into their cult persona/personality.

Will needs to get his journalist hat on and do some serious research rather than sit satisfied in his confirmational bias, relieved that his mater & pater still love him, if he is to understand the BK phenomenon in a broader context.
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Re: Will Hodgkinson on ex-BKs

Post18 Apr 2015

I wrote to editor Tom Hodgkinson of The Idler ... the "literary and philosophical magazine" ... asking him, out of fairness, for the right to a reply.

No response or even acknowledgement yet ...
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Re: Will Hodgkinson on ex-BKs

Post23 May 2015

Still no answer, no acknowledgement whatsoever. What bad manners!

In the meanwhile, Will's article disappears behind a paywall so you have to pay £35 to read it.

If I pay £35, will I get an answer and the right to reply?

Or was it all just about "family business", one hand washing the other, in or out of the BKs?

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... although I think the Hodgkinsons lost a lot to the Kirpalani Klan, they've always had their heads screw on to the extent of getting something back out of it; books for the wife and kid, a beautiful countryside retreat cottage in the grounds of a historic mansion for Nev.

Few Westerns have ever gotten *anything* tangible out of their BK commitment. It's generally an exceptionally one way relationship. Many, many, many have just ended up empty and despondent. Generally, they do their best to improve things ... and then just give up and leave when they finally admit to themselves things just *ain't* going to get better.

It's the way it is because that's the way the Kirpalani Klan likes it, it's the best they can do, and it makes money for them (so why change it).

http://idler.co.uk/article/will-hodgkin ... ly-memoir/
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Re: Will Hodgkinson on ex-BKs

Post24 May 2015

It is true, I did all of those things. I gave my everything and really believed in it all.

That's not really the issue, it's more that vulnerable people are taken advantage of by others within the organisation. Then, when it gets out of hand, the people running the show are completely silent and think that you have Maya (whatever that is!). Things are never really aknowledged or sorted out

I liked Nev, he had a wicked sense of humour.
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Re: Will Hodgkinson on ex-BKs

Post25 May 2015

How or why does he stick it out with them?

Given so much (money) that it's worth it for the retirement home?

I suspect he will be one of the luck few who will receive bespoke care in his old age.

It's like that in pyramid schemes ... a few have to be seen to get rewards in order to keep the many giving and making efforts. However, it's a numbers game, with the many supporting the few and none to support them unless they increase the base of the pyramid to support them, i.e. "Make your subjects ... claim your Kingdom" as the Baba says.

Being "good" ... e.g. sincere, truthful, wise etc ... is not enough is not good.

People like Neville are "icing on a turd" to me. Useful sugarcoating to disguise the read taste. Nothing to make me want to bite into it.

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