Reflections on Eromain's Child Abuse Correspondence

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saraquel

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Reflections on Eromain's Child Abuse Correspondence

Post14 Dec 2008

I have just read the whole of Eromain's submission re Child Protection (except for one or two minor bits regarding emails to centres worldwide). It makes salutary reading, and I would like to express my thanks and support to E for continuing to press for action as long as he did.

When I left Gyan I had come to the end of my personal, eleven year journey with BK Raj Yoga. I realised that there was nothing further for me to learn from being in the BKs and that I needed to go out into the world in order to continue. This happened over a period of about 18 months and without actually reflecting on the organisation itself, I left. It was not a bitter parting full of recriminations, but quite a civilised one. I left intact the flavour of my previous relationship with the Seniors and the organisation as a whole.

I then spent a further 18 very lonely months relentlessly putting it behind me and refusing to think about it at all – a discipline I had learned par excellence, in Gyan. I moved on, having only reflected on my experience of the past eleven years within the context of the experience itself – if that makes sense. What I mean is that I had reflected on my experiences whilst still within the organisation, but I did not reflect on them again, from the outside, looking in. And, basically – there it had remained, pretty well untouched for over 15 years.

I had heard of and always wanted to read T’s letter, but never had the opportunity, so when I found that it was the starting point of E’s story, I was very pleased. As I read it, I began to see it, not from the point of view of being inside the organisation, but from the standpoint of someone outside the organisation. I found that there were conflicts of opinion going on within me – the interpretation that I would have given it, and the interpretation that I now gave it.

If I was to change the name and say that T was discussing his upbringing in another cult (the BKs fulfil the definition of a cult) or a fundamentalist Christian Church – what would I think? I would be horrified that a child was coerced into limiting his/her horizons and truncating his/her choices and denied the information/ability to make judgements for themselves later in life as well as have his/her emotional relationships with parents marginalised and damaged. In short, I would call it an intellectual and emotional abuse of power, and my reaction to that when I come across it now, is unfailingly, anger.

Undoubtedly, any child brought up in any strongly religious household of any denomination, is subject to these abuses, which are not deemed to be abuses by those within the religion, rather they are seen as aspects of salvation.

This subjective minefield is always difficult, and what can I say about it, that philosophers down the ages have not already picked apart endlessly without resolution. So I’m not going to make this aspect the central point of my discussion, because what I perceive as insidious and ominous about E’s interaction is not whether what the BKs believe is the ‘Real Truth’, but rather, what I perceive that E himself is addressing – accountability and what happens to the checks and balances of power within organisations/religions/cults which believe they have God on Their Side.

Anyone who is interested in history can follow the unfolding story of democracy from the 50 year experiment in Athens, through to the current day. Contrary to what it seems some people believe, it is not just a voting system that makes a democracy. One cannot impose it from the outside on cultures who are not structured either socially or intellectually/emotionally to receive it. Hence, I believe, the chaotic situation in Iraq and most of Africa.

I’m not a classical historian and do not know what lay behind the original attempt at a working form of a democracy in Athens, but I do have some background in how it developed in Britain over the past 1300 or so, years. The democracy we currently enjoy, has taken at least that long to develop and it has its origins in the need for accountability and the placing of checks and balances on power and those who wield it. (Anyone who is interested may like to get hold of a copy of the BBC TV series ‘Monarchy’, narrated by Richard Starkey which deals very well with this topic.)

There are no cults and very few religions that I am aware of that are democracies (perhaps the Quakers?) – even religions such as Buddhism, that do not have an all powerful God, are autocracies. But where you have an all powerful God, there is unfailingly, a set of people who are its hierarchy of representatives. In the case of the BKs, the Seniors are at the apex of the pyramid.

Power is then centralised both within the individual/s at the top of that hierarchy and also within the structure and rules of the organisation itself. Very similar to the Fiefdoms and Kingdoms of the past, against whose rulers, generations of individuals found it necessary to enact checks and balances and develop democracy.

Here, I am not saying that the BKs should be democratic. I am using democracy to illustrate how people have thought it essential to regulate the use of power, and how that has changed our perceptions and our lives. We all like living in democracies – I doubt that there would be any Seniors willing to go and live in countries currently under dictatorships.

I think it is important to realise not only what constitutes power, but that the nature of power, any power, is such that it needs checks and balances if it is not to distort and maim too seriously.

I remember being very taken aback at the sometimes complete disregard which the London Seniors had for the laws and social rules of the country they were living in. Whether that was tax evasion, or misrepresentation of themselves to the public in what was termed service. This sense of being above the law and beholden only to their god rang alarm bells for me even then (I should note that I did not do or say anything about it however).

But the attitude of being above the law, is the attitude of being above checks and balances and accountability. It shows a complete lack of understanding of what power is, and what inherent dangers there are within it. The fact that abuse is done with good intentions is in fact totally irrelevant and should never be accepted as mitigating where checks and balances have been ignored or thought irrelevant. The road to hell is paved with good intentions ... What ensures that actions coming out of power bases are least detrimental to others, is an acknowledgement of the role and necessity of accountability and a willingness to have ones actions scrutinised by others.

Undoubtedly, the imposition of accountability and checks and balances on power and those that wield it, is irksome to them. What is the current preoccupation with spin, except a way of trying to evade accountability (very successful it is too), and that is why, IMO we should continue to resist spin in every possible way. It should be irksome – that is what it is designed to be. To give/leave people with power, without also implementing accountability, is as irresponsible as giving a 17 year old the keys to a Ferrari. What those wielding power often fail to realise, is that accountability keeps them safe from the corrupting influence of power itself.

Internally, what acts as a screen behind which it is possible for them to evade accountability is the confusion within the BK organisation between the notion of being a family and the reality of being a large public organisation. I was increasingly surprised at Es restraint as time went on. I felt that he was being treated very much as an ex family member – a child who could be fobbed off or punished by ostracism – whereas in fact, he was addressing the public organisation (as he repeatedly pointed out), and his requests should have been treated as if they had come from someone like the Charities Commission (to whom I would probably have sent a copy of the report).

This confusion allows things such as the sexual abuse in question to fall conveniently between the two world views – acknowledged but hushed up by the family so that no-one in the outside world needs to know. But you should not have all the advantages of being a public organisation (the foundation for ‘service’) without accepting the responsibilities that go with it – policies and procedures for the protection of your members.

So the lack of willingness to engage with Eromain's correspondence and the implicit assumption that it was none of Eromain's business, is, in my opinion the source of the danger: To wield power without regard to the nature of power and how it influences and manipulates both thought and action. Not implementing a child protection policy is simply one instance of the problem. There are many more.

Saraquel
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leela

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Re: Reflections on E's Child Abuse Correspondence

Post15 Dec 2008

Thank you to Saraquel for a highly articulate, intelligent, and insightful post about these ongoing issues.

I, too, have been revisiting my BK life after a little over 10 years outside. My first reaction to this longstanding matter was a superficial one, namely that E and a few others had chips on their shoulders and had found a convenient issue with which to pursue the BKs for their own personal agenda. After re-reading much of the correspondence and some soul-searching of my own, I now come to the same conclusions as Saraquel.

Looking back on my years in various centers, I can think of many instances of a "lost childhood," where a teenager's passage to healthy adulthood was severly curtailed and family relationships undermined. It saddens me deeply today to think of the loss and struggles that befell those youngsters in what I now see, with an outsider mindset, is rightly termed abuse. I must also acknowledge my collusion with the unchecked power system that thought it was delivering salvation.

When I first arrived in Gyan, completely besotted with the whole package, I was in awe of Eromain. He was a star that I looked up to, and I sought his advice on a couple of occasions, although I am sure he would not remember me. I was deeply shaken when he left Gyan, and the "fallen angel" labeling that was so prevalent simply caused me to redouble my efforts to be pukka and avoid the same fate.

Undoubtedly, these unexamined memories colored my perception and initial reaction to Eromain's tireless persistence in this case. Into the "subjective minefield" of the insider mindset, the outsider mindset, and whether salvation or damnation is being delivered, I would add the further complication of the individual's personal perception of the moment. Yes, it would seem to be beyond resolution on the surface.

Inwardly, however, I feel some resolution. Or maybe it is dissolution. A little more of the BK-built mindset and the unexamined memories are brought to the surface to be dissolved. I don't mean to detract from the seriousness of the issues of power and abuse by making this about me. But I do want to thank Saraquel for a stunning piece of writing that nudged me in the right direction. And to Eromain, if you ever revisit these boards, thank you to you too for your tireless efforts to serve the BK youth that unintentionally served in a different way. The picture we see, grave as it may be, can be so much bigger than we know.

Leela
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ex-l

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Re: Reflections on Eromain's Child Abuse Correspondence

Post19 Sep 2009

Adopted from an article written by Anne Edelstam about her experience with Maud Pison ... how far is it from many kids experiences with the Brahma Kumaris ... and how much do we know what goes on in India and elsewhere?
Anne Edelstam wrote:CHILDREN IN CULTS

In order to understand the problems children in cults may experience, it is important to analyse how their parents operate. Children usually get involved in cults because their parents belong to one, although some might get involved in a cult through some other family member, a teacher, a coach or whoever might have an influence upon them. The parents who are members of a cult are themselves manipulated and mentally controlled by their leader or guru.

MENTAL MANIPULATION IN A DESTRUCTIVE CULT

It can be difficult to understand how a person’s mind and thoughts can change so much. We are usually not educated to believe that ALL of us can be so easily manipulated. We like to think of ourselves as immune to manipulation, especially those among us who have an academic background, as I have, and who are thus used to analyse and to think critically. However, it is conceited to think that we are always governed by our thoughts. Actually, it is quite the opposite. Humans ALWAYS have feelings but usually we don’t let them govern our thoughts. However we can all of us become confronted with problems (death, divorce, disease…) when we momentarily become vulnerable. In such times, it is easy to let our emotions guide our thoughts instead of the opposite.

A cult leader, through systematic mental manipulation, is able to put an individual in such a stressful situation that he cannot use his mind correctly anymore. This stress or psychosis makes the cult member:

    Mentally unstable
    Psychotic
    Emotionally unstable
    Cognitively unstable
This stress leads to a chemical reaction in the brain that then starts to produce endorphins, or "happy hormones" that calm down the individual. But as soon as the stress diminishes, the member experiences abstinence problems. The member then becomes nervous, scared, anguished, irritable, sleepless and finally depressed and neurotic. In order to ease his pain, the member goes back to the group. This syndrome is called the Sisyphus syndrome (after the Greek god).

Another way for the member to numb himself is to meditate for hours, alternatively pray, say a mantra, talk in tongues. This syndrome is called "the empty room syndrome", i.e. no brains no pain. The member becomes also exhausted mentally and physically. Thus, the individual has become totally pacified. He is now his own slave. The cult leader manipulates him easily.

CHILDREN IN CULTS

After having manipulated the parents into "robot like" individuals ... the leader hopes to be able to clone "robot babies".

The parents are, in all different cults that I’ve encountered, infantilised by the leader. I was told, along with the other adherents, that I should "become a child of God ... and that I should abdicate my role as an authority and as an example for my children. The leader was our parent and thus the parent of our children; she used to tell us that we were totally useless as parents and that without her they would have become misfits and would even have died of some horrible desease that she used to invent. As a mother, I "unconsciously homosexualised" them, among others, I was told! Instead of helping the parents and especially the mothers to become strong, loving parents, she destroyed our egos and "kidnapped" our children.

The children growing up in cults don’t have any real parents. They belong to the leader and to its ideology. They are modeled to become ideal robots. It’s unfortunatly a phenomenon that is used by most tyrants, and gurus are nothing but tyrants.

They are deprived of their:

    Parents
    Extended family (that is not part of the cult)
    Mother tongue
    Nationality
    Country
    Existence (for those who are never registered)
    Name (often the leader gives them a name different from their parents).
In several cults the children don’t get enough sleep either. They are awakened at night along with their parents to pray, read a mantra, clean or whatever excuses the leader might find to awaken them. Children who don’t get enough sleep don’t grow as well as others. They also become irritated and slow. They also get infections easier, which in some cases can even be deadly. In several cults, medicine and doctors are forbidden. The members shall get well by healing, prayers or homemade herbs. Several unexplainable infant deaths have been reported from cults.

My children weren’t allowed to attend nursery school. They would supposedly have died of all the "negative vibrations" present in the school. Being deprived of peers, living in the country, we surrounded ourselves with animals. Fortunatly we left the group when time came to going to school, but with no prior communication with others, it was a hard task to get back to normal life, especially for my eldest son who had to repeat his first year.

If the children are allowed to attend the communal school, they consider themselves different than the other schoolchildren; they belong to an "elite" with "the true message". They are constantly afraid also, as they have learned that society is evil. So instead of making friends in school, they become isolated which may lead to psychosis and even suicidal behaviour. We all know how important it is for children to "fit in" and make friends in school.

These children don’t either have any motivation to study, as the world "will anyways collapse" and their leader become its True Master! The leader talked of the creation of a "New World" where only a few, i.e. her followers, would survive and they would reign ...

The language is also a problem: one and the same word means something different in the cult and in the society. Each cult creates its own "language" to distinguish itself and its members from the "outside" world. Thus The leader talked about "ufos", "vibes", "new world", "listen to God" etc, all concepts that only her adherents knew of, in order to create a closed mini-society.

The language codes also make the members confused and hypnotised. Keeping in mind that their brains should function as little as possible, to make them concentrate on trivial things is a way to numb their minds in order to manipulate them. It is difficult for small children to understand the difference between the same word being used differently in school and in the cult.

The children belonging to cults have to learn early on to fool the teachers, to manipulate them and to lie. They are taught in the cult, that it is okay to do so in the "evil world of school". Thus they aren’t even ashamed of what they are doing. They are already being drilled to believe that the leader’s "law" is above society’s law. They are trained to become small criminals. Let us not forget that these destructive cults are fraudulent, they very seldom pay their taxes, they destroy people’s lives, they use individuals as slaves, they often sexually abuse their followers, just to take a few examples from my experience as a counselor and as a victim of all these offenses and more so.

Several cults have their own schools where they can indoctrinate the children as they wish. These schools are supposed to follow the school plan but, as the teachers belong to the group, they can indoctrinate the children as they wish. Then there are all the children that have been sent abroad to the cults’ schools where nobody checks them, as in India or in Africa. These children grow up in an environment where they have hardly any access to a normal life and to societal norms. If they manage to get out of the cult after schooling, they have to relearn nearly everything about how our society at large functions and the norms prevalent in a democratic society, where choices are part of everyday life, based on personal experience, taste, but also on what most of us have learned to be a correct way of behaving.

For the cult-children who are going to public schools the result is:

    Isolation, as they are not allowed to get friends outside of the cult
    Language barrier: different definitions of the same word
    Deceit: they are taught by the cult leader to cheat
    No study motivation (the world as we know it will anyhow dissapear)
    Fear of demons/negative vibrations/spirits.
Teenagers:

What happens then with rebellious teenagers in a cult? When the hormones are in turmoil and they’re supposed to rebel? Against whom should they rebel? Their parents are infantilised; they are themselves like small children. The leader being the Parent. If they do rebel, there are camps in several cults where they are drilled into becoming obedient servants.

The teenagers growing sexuality is another problem. In some cults, the children are taught early on to have intercourse with their parents, with the leader or with each other. There have been several pedophile scandals within cults. In other cults, sexuality is a totally forbidden area. Either way it is going to create problems for the young cult member.

The cult-teenager has learned to live in two cultures. In "society" where he doesn’t have to say the truth at all or respect its rules as they are undermined by the cult-leader, and in the cult where everything is strictly regulated from the way he should dress, eat, sleep, to whom he should talk to and what he is allowed to say. The youth thus lives in a fusion with the leader, in a sort of incestuous relationship. The leader is like the overwhelming mother figure that doesn’t allow the member any freedom. The Father figure, present in most families, is non-existent. The triangle: Father, mother, child is erased in a totalitarian group. The child is entirely in the hands of the guru. The only thing he can do is either to deny his aggressiveness or to identify himself with the aggressor (the Stockholm syndrome).

The youth’s total dependence and love to the leader makes him experience a trauma like the one of an incestuous trauma independently if it has truly occurred or not. The teenagers in a cult:

    Cannot rebel
    They experience an incestuous relationship with the leader
    They are infantilised: they are thus prohibited the normal growing up procedure
Every day life in a cult implies hard work often even for small children; with lots of work, little sleep and food, there is no time left to play. The children must early on be indoctrinated and drilled so that their personalities cannot develop and so that they learn humility. Otherwise they are severely punished. The parents think that it is for their best as their fear of eternal death or exclusion is greater than the revulsion of punishing their children. They are taught that it is a necessity in order to reach the ultimate goal: to create a new world at the image of the leader and his ideology.

In some groups the children are taught to be self-critical and "confess" publicly. Children are also encouraged to accuse other children. The informer system is excellent to use to manipulate and control the members. They are even taught to accuse their own parents and sometimes to punish them. They thus become the parents’ parent.

Within the totalitarian groups or cults there exits:

    Systematised violence
    Punishments
    Self-criticism
    False accusations
Conclusion

A totalitarian movement, or a cult, hinders the child to develop into a fully responsible adult and citizen. The cult denies the child’s right to his identity, his personality, a structure, an intellect and a critical thinking.

The guru creates a fictive or virtual world in which the child is locked into as if it lived in a videogame where the leader decides all the rules. The child becomes robotized and cannot move without the cult as a prothesis. If he one day dares to leave the cult, he has no identity, no past of his own and is more or less stateless.

It is very difficult for a child who has grown up in this weird, close, manipulative cult-world to become a normal citizen again. What is considered right and wrong for most of us isn’t at all that obvious for a former cult-member. After having been taught that the world is black and white, it is difficult to learn how to choose. The brain has to start to work again. However, the brain is like a muscle and, even after years of slumbering, it can be trained to think critically again. But, for a child that has grown up in a cult, he has to relearn almost from scratch what our democratic societies stand for, basic human rights, womens’ and childrens’ rights, morals, just to mention some basic rules.

Trust is another problem for the former member. After years of indoctrination that the world outside the cult is "evil", after having been tricked by the cult-leader, the former member must learn to trust himself, to trust society and to trust other people.

Having myself had the experience with a totalitarian cult, where also several teenagers were involved, having had my own children in a cult although young when we left, and having been counseling many others, I know how terribly destructive a manipulative cult is for everyone involved and especially for those who’ve had no prior experience of living a "normal life". I do believe however, that it is an experience that can be turned into a learning-experience if the former adherent can be helped to understand the manipulative techniques behind this very insidious way of terrorising it’s members, to accept to go forward in life and not to become bitter and angered, to learn again to trust in oneself and in one’s own judgment.

I do believe though that it should be a basic right for every child to grow up protected from such abuses. Children have no religious or political ideas of their own. They should be allowed to be just children and have a normal schooling at least. I am therefore not an adherent of confessional schools in any form.

I think that religion or belief should be a private matter and that children when old enough to understand what it is all about should be allowed to choose if they want to belong to their parents religion, or to another, or to no religion at all. I think that the schools, within the framework of the history classes for example, should teach all the major religions, their rituals, beliefs etc. as well as talk about the existence of manipulative groups such as the ones I, and thousands of others, have encountered.

Written by Anne Edelstam March 2005
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alladin

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Hurts to admit our Spiritual Family is a cult

Post19 Sep 2009

Excellent article, thanks!

Has she mentioned anywhere what cult had she become victim of?

Whenever I read this kind of stuff, characteristics and definitions of sects ... how to recognize one, the effects it has on the individual, the typical indoctrination and methods used for brain washing members and controlling them, the blinkers I allowed the BKs to put around my eyes, fall apart and develop holes.

I can start seeing and admitting what I did not want nor dared to ... The BKs are a cult and I spend a good part of my life in it! :shock:

Luckily, as I wrote earlier and this lady author confirms, there are lessons we learnt through such a despicable experience. And like aloe, it soothes the ego a bit, when it starts to burn and we play the song of "What a fool! How come I have been had? I should have known better, I wasted so much time ..."
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ex-l

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Re: Hurts to admit our Spiritual Family is a cult

Post20 Sep 2009

alladin wrote:Whenever I read this kind of stuff ... the blinkers I allowed the BKs to put around my eyes, fall apart and develop holes

It is regarding Maud Pison, the founder of the 'Institut de Recherches Psychanalytiques', which I had never heard of. The Institute for Psychoanalytic Research, also known as the "Reincarnation of the Virgin of the Apocalypse". Her sidekick Jean-Pierre Galiano was apparently the reincarnation of Christ.

Like you say, I am always amazed at how similar the cultic model of social and mind control is. You could almost imagine that they all go to the same basic "School for Gurus and Cult Leaders" before starting their sects or ... if you prefer the spiritualist model ... there are a load of predator spooks running the same trick on humanity all over the world. Just tuning their system to suit whatever local conditioning exits.

One guru is a re-incarnated Christ, another is re-incarnated Krishna. Honestly, what is the difference? They all pull the same, or similar, strings.
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alladin

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Originality

Post20 Sep 2009

Yes :D, once again you put the finger on the wound: it seems that they all come from the same mould! Is there a factory up there somewhere on some astral plan? They appeal to the same type of people, leveraging on the same type of weaknesses adepts have.

Nothing new, like the BKs say. And they all claim to be trademarked and more original, better truth dispenser, most ancient etc ... than anybody else! What seems like a circus/carnival -like extravaganza to outsiders, seems acceptable and holy to their followers.

For example, decorated stages and rituals they perform and note that you will be blacklisted if you disapprove and frown upon them. Worse if you do not attend, just look like as eccentric as these:

http://achristian.files.wordpress.com/2 ... al_460.jpg
http://www.etoday.ru/uploads/2008/02/04 ... ival01.jpg

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