ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari attacks

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ex-l

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ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari attacks

Post04 May 2017

ex-BK Stephen Finch has committed suicide in prison. Stephen, we reported earlier, was arrested and charged for setting fire to a Brahma Kumari shop in Essex, England. During the court proceedings, it was said that "a nurse assessed Mr Finch’s mental health and although he did not display any symptoms of a severe mental health problem, Mr Finch expressed some paranoid and delusional thoughts about the Brahma Kumaris".

The nurse had some concerns about his risk of suicide and self-harm and completed a warning form. Stephen had been previously diagnosed with chronic generalised anxiety disorder. She noted that Mr Finch showed no signs of anxiety or depression and she found no evidence of serious mental health problems. Mr Finch said he occasionally had difficulty sleeping due to ruminating about the Brahma Kumaris.

At about 4.55am on 23 May, the night patrol officer found Mr Finch hanged in his cell.

According to the official investigation,
After Mr Finch died, staff found letters to his parents and partner, his last will and testament and a letter to staff. In the letters, Mr Finch said he was ending his life to escape the Brahma Kumaris. He thanked prison staff for their kindness and support and said that they were not responsible for his death.

Mr Finch was sentenced to five years in prison for racially/religiously aggravated criminal damage and had been in prison for 16 months at the time.

In HMP Wayland, Stephen was assessed by a nurse who recorded that he had no thoughts of suicide or self-harm but that he continued to have some social problems because he had been brainwashed by the Brahma Kumaris.

She recorded that Mr Finch had no current symptoms of depression or anxiety, or of a serious mental illness. He was a popular prisoner who other prisoners sought out for advice, and had talked positively about his family and looked forward to their visits.

He hanged himself with a sheet tied around his neck and to the window bars.

From the official report.
After Mr Finch’s death, staff found a last will and testament (dated 30 April 2016) and four letters in his cell. One letter was for his partner, two were for his parents, and one was for the officers working on his wing (dated 2 May 2016).

Mr Finch wrote to his parents that he could no longer cope with continued [...] attacks by the Brahma Kumaris and had decided to take control by ending his life. Mr Finch wrote that prison staff had treated him with kindness and respect and were not responsible for his death.

n the letter to staff, Mr Finch apologised for what he had left them to deal with and thanked them for the kindness and respect they had shown to him. Mr Finch wrote that he wanted to make it clear that his treatment in prison had nothing to do with his decision to end his life.
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch ends his life to escape Brahma Kumar

Post04 May 2017

After Stephen's arrest, I attempt to make contact with him through the official system as I feared something like this might happen. Unfortunately, due to the usual official or legal restrictions and disinterest, it was not possible. Nor was it possible to have any request passed on to legal representation or family.

One observation stands out to me and it is the diagnosis of "apparently paranoid and delusional thoughts about the Brahma Kumaris", the kind of diagnosis likely to be made by someone unaware of the nature of BKism, that is to say, explaining BKs and what it teaches, how it effects one might sound like "paranoid and delusional thoughts" but actually within BKism is perfectly accurate and well reasoned.

In the report it says, "physical attacks by Brahma Kumaris".

I suspect this is an error due to the above and it was originally, "psychic attacks by Brahma Kumaris" which may or may not be true ... but is certainly a commonplace report from many ex-BKs. From a purely secular point of view, it would sound paranid ... from a spiritualist point of view such as the one the Brahma Kumaris promote, it would be entirely possible rational.

I always thought the Brahma Kumaris could have handled this case in a far more spiritual manner forgiving Stephen for what they know BKs and ex-BKs go through, and ultimately not seeking to press charges.

Arson, however. is seen as a serious offence and it is likely that he would have still received a punishment, where what he really needed was post-cult help and therapy.

Likely though it would have at least led to a greater leniancy from the court which might have led Stephen to be alive today.

Stictly speaking, Brahma Kumarism is supposed to avoid recruiting individuals with history of mental illnesses although this is widely ignored. Many would see a degree of mental illness being a requirement to bein sucked into BKism. Indeed, the BKs even target people suffering from depression claiming their meditaiton to be cure.
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch ends his life to escape Brahma Kumar

Post04 May 2017

I didn’t know the man, but I can imagine what he went through.

I doubt this will make the BK ”Transitions” column, nor even be mentioned except, if i know BK culture, as sly gossip between the few who knew him.

Very very sad.
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post04 May 2017

At the time, the BKs responded to the press, here.

Wasn't Maureen Goodman party to the child sex abuse cover up? I imagine she'd be the last person Stephen would have wanted to see. Perhaps Steve Willis in Essex would have had better insight to why?

Maureen's been around BKism long enough to know what goes on, although many would question her twitchy connection with reality. May be they should have held some kind of inqest of their own and published their findings?

Finch had sprayed the word 'evil' across the BKs' shop front window on October 19, before the arson attack.
Maureen Goodman, programme director at the Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University's north-west London HQ, told the Standard she did not know why Finch had targeted the organisation, which she said had "benefited hundreds of people in the community helping people to have great peace of mind".

"We honestly don't know what happened that he then had this idea to target us," she added. "We hope we can reach out to him in the future."
[Finch] said he found some [BKs] to be "intimidating and bullying" and resolved to take retribution.

"He thought the movement had ruined his life and he wanted to hit back," said the appeal judge.

It began when he smashed a window and sprayed the word 'evil' at the meditation centre, which is also a charity shop and a bookshop, in October 2014. He then targeted a house, owned by a group member, in Brentwood, spraying the property and a car with paint. On Boxing Day, he went back to the shop and set it alight, causing £25,000 worth of damage.

And in January, he returned to the house in Kelvedon Hatch and used accelerant to start a fire in the doorway. Smoke damage was done to every room and some of the owner's personal belongings were destroyed, costing £80,000 to rectify.

Finch, of Thetford, Norfolk, told a probation officer he felt he had betrayed God, leading to years of nightmares, anxiety and stress. He deeply regretted his conduct.
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Mr Green

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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post04 May 2017

Poor Stephen. I knew him quite well for a while. I shared a 'bhavan' with him and one other Brother.

He was a very active and dedicated member and a lovely intelligent soft gentle powerful person.

This is a very sad thing for me to read, I drove him home when he finally decided to leave the Chelmsford centre.

This really is a terribly sad thing to read about. I feel I know what it's all about.

I am shocked, terribly, by this sad news.

RIP Stephen
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post05 May 2017

Maureen Goodman is a liar, she was well aware of the extreme bullying that went on at the Chelmsford centre. I personally made them aware of it.

I told them it was up to them to police their own senior members. Otherwise people unfit to care for vulnerable people are given free reign to do what they want. Believing they are God's instruments.

Steve Wills is unfit to be in a position of responsibility and is still running the Chelmsford branch. He abused many people there myself included. The BKs gave me money hoping I would keep quiet. I am sickened by this.
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post06 May 2017

Photo of Stephen Finch here

ex-l wrote:Wasn't Maureen Goodman party to the child sex abuse cover up?

2. Mr Green wrote :Maureen Goodman is a liar, she was well aware of the extreme bullying that went on at the Chelmsford centre. I personally made them aware of it.

Very few senior BKs, in my experience maybe 5%, see the world as it is and people as they are, who are what I’d call sensible and responsible adults.

Most live in a bubble of wishful thinking and make-believe.
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GuptaRati 6666

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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post06 May 2017

It seems that Stephen's demise was most likely due to meta-physical attacks and not physical attacks; attacks, which were targeted at the core of his soul than at his body. At their most basic or elemental levels our Brother Stephen, may he make a peaceful transition, was bombarded with razing thoughts of guilt, a guilt greater than one any lokik court of law can ever understand.

He could have been haunted or tortured by negative thoughts of BKs focused at him and he must have had no means to protect himself from such negative thoughts. He might have been receiving thoughts that he destroyed God's property and would have a pay dearly for his acts. I can empathize with some of his feelings though I have never felt enraged to use physical or spiritual violence against the BKs or have thoughts of vengeance.

Quite a sad day in this world when an institution professing to be God's creation would not make an effort to prevent the destruction of others, whom they have exploited, physically and spiritually.
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post06 May 2017

Gupta, When a person suicides, it is moot to speculate what was going on in their mind.

Leave aside the supernatural. Was he feeling guilt? Maybe.
Was it that he got caught and now had a criminal record to add to his list of woes that was the last straw? Maybe.
Was he feeling that the revenge / retaliation he took only made the disruption to his life’s journey that began with his involvement with the BKs even worse?
Was it that his act, a cry of protest, was not only was ignored but punished?
Was he alone, lonely, desolate?
Any combination of, or none of, the above?
We can never know.

I know of Buddhists, Christians, Atheists, Muslims who’ve suicided. Each one is an individual act with its own story which is rarely fully known.

What we can know in this case is that there is a long history of such tragedies connected to the BKs. They form a pattern that can tell us something about the beliefs and the effects of those beliefs on the hearts and minds of different kinds of personalities that come into contact with a singular entity at the centre of that pattern, called the BKs.

I suggest Gupta that you look at how your mindset has been shaped by the BK language and formulations, and how even though you have accomodated it into your paradigm or personal philosophy, you may empathise with others who could want to be free of it completely but lack the tools to do that.

The entrapment built into Brahma Kumarism could be seen as a kind of malarial infection many can never be rid of, a recurring torment of a feverish nightmare that visits you in the long lonely hours on your bed, like Captain Willard after his encounter with Colonel Kurtz in ”Heart of Darkness/ Apocalypse Now . ”The horror, the horror”.
APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
Roger Ebert, November 28, 1999

Francis Ford Coppola's film "Apocalypse Now" was inspired by Heart of Darkness, a novel by Joseph Conrad about a European named Kurtz who penetrated to the farthest reaches of the Congo and established himself like a god. A boat sets out to find him, and on the journey the narrator gradually loses confidence in orderly civilization; he is oppressed by the great weight of the jungle all around him, a pitiless testing ground in which each living thing tries every day not to be eaten.

What is found at the end of the journey is not Kurtz so much as what Kurtz found: that all of our days and ways are a fragile structure perched uneasily atop the hungry jaws of nature that will thoughtlessly devour us. A happy life is a daily reprieve from this knowledge.

A week ago I was in Calcutta, where I saw mile upon square mile of squatter camps in which hundreds of thousands live generation after generation in leaky huts of plastic, cardboard and scrap metal, in poverty so absolute it is impossible to see any hope of escape. I do not mean to equate the misery of those hopeless people with a movie; that would be indecent. But I was deeply shaken by what I saw, and realized how precious and precarious is a happy life.

And in such a mood I watched "Apocalypse Now” ...

... Another crucial element in the ending is the photojournalist (Dennis Hopper) who has somehow found Kurtz's camp and stayed there, stoned, as a witness. He blathers to Willard that Kurtz is "a poet-warrior in the classic sense" and "we're all his children." In the photographer's spaced-out ravings we hear disconnected snatches of the poetry he must have heard Kurtz reciting: If you can keep your head when all about you . . . I should have been a pair of ragged claws, scuttling across the floor of a silent sea. . . ." The photographer is the guide, the clown, the fool, providing the balance between Willard and Kurtz.

In any event, seen again now at a distance of 20 years, "Apocalypse Now" is more clearly than ever one of the key films of the century. Other important films such as "Platoon," "The Deer Hunter," "Full Metal Jacket" and "Casualties of War" take their own approaches to Vietnam. Once at the Hawaii Film Festival I saw five North Vietnamese films about the war. (They never mentioned "America," only "the enemy," and one director told me, "It is all the same--we have been invaded by China, France, the U.S. . . .") But "Apocalypse Now" is the best Vietnam film, one of the greatest of all films, because it pushes beyond the others, into the dark places of the soul. It is not about war so much as about how war reveals truths we would be happy never to discover.

In a way I cannot quite explain, my thoughts since Calcutta prepared me to understand the horror that Kurtz found. If we are lucky, we spend our lives in a fool's paradise, never knowing how close we skirt the abyss. What drives Kurtz mad is his discovery of this.
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post06 May 2017

Pink,

I must disagree with you on my speculation and the supernatural aspects. You have your opinions and I have mine. I am not going to debate you on your opinions, even when they seem personal attacks directed at me. I can assure you that I also empathize with those who would like to rid themselves completely of the BK philosophy. For myself, I have carefully examined my interactions with the BKs at very fundamental levels.

I'll tell you this I am not the BK sympathizer that you may feel and think that I am. The BKs did not introduce me to Eastern philosophy concepts; those concepts were already in my soul from past lives. It is not necessary for you to accept the concepts of past lives for me to believe in them. Nor Pink, I do not have to follow all that you posit on this website and dump all of the BK hay into the fire. Brother, I will live my truths without delusions.

The supernatural has been a part of me before I ever came into this current life and I AM NOT going to dismiss it because you Pink says it should be dismissed. Who are you, Brother? A neo-BK! One way to appreciate the way some ex-Bks have managed to overcome BK trauma is to watch the Japanese masterpiece: Red Beard or Sho Kushugi's film: Ninja Assassins. Eric Van Los Bader's classic novel: The White Ninja or Shiro Ninja is excellent reading. Ironically, I was reading Shiro Ninja when the BKs dumped me.

Pink, thank you for responding to my post.
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post06 May 2017

GuptaRati 6666 wrote:One way to appreciate the way some ex-Bks have managed to overcome BK trauma is to watch the Japanese masterpiece: Red Beard or Sho Kushugi's film: Ninja Assassins.

Just as an aside, related to earlier discussion we had, I read a reference book about Chinese martial sources and it said that Bodhidharma, the founder of Asian martial arts and Zen Buddhism, was described in the classical Chinese literature "as a 'blue-eyed, red-bearded barbarian'. For the Chinese 'barbarian' did not necessarily mean 'uncultured' but simply 'not-Chinese'".

The only aspect above I am uncomfortable with is the conflation of the BK god spirit as "god" re property etc, however, I understand it as a strength of reaction from BKs thinking 'as if' the property is "god's".

I never met Steve Willis ... how personally and financially involved is he in the Chelmsford/Essex BK centre and Inner Space shop?

Is it another "Hansa Raval" scenario where one person *is* the centre and there is a confusion of personal and corporate finances? Does he rather than the BKs own Inner Space shop? Was it attack on him rather than the BKs in general?

From Stephen's report,
Mr Finch told the community nurse that he had joined the Brahma Kumaris (a religious movement that teaches a form of meditation) 20 years earlier, but now believed that they were subversive and brainwashed members.

I've spoken to the local paper and they may be following up on the story. I'll be interested to see if the London Evening Standard will pick up on Marueen Goodman's 'corporate dishonesty' to them, and I am contacting the Ombudsman regarding my concerns over the handling of his case.

Very possibly what the nurse ... who I am suspect would be entirely out of their depth regarding spiritual issues and lacking in time to explore them ... described as "deluded and paranoid thoughts about the BKs" were not "deluded and paranoid thoughts" at all. I suspect a few of us reading them would quietly suspect them to perfectly likely and real.

The attack on the BK Steve Willis's shop and the branding of it as "Evil" I can understand, although not condone or consider to be 'good strategy'. The attack on the woman's houses I do not, and I'd like to be able to speak to the family about it. Clearly Stephen was under a lot of pent up stress and it caused him to act irrationally.

I am also very concermed about the use of laws which were created with the intention of protecting vulnerable minority community from irrational attacks against them, as I do not see his reactions as being complete irrational or unreasoned. The effect of them was to make his punishment more severe that otherwise it would have been and, presumably, it would have weighed upon him in prison.

The BKs do destroy lives. They and Steve Willis very probably did have a lasting adverse effect upon his. In this case, I'd say very much what he needed was the right kind of spiritual help is detaching and protecting himself from BKism. The last thing he would have need is Maureen Goodman and the BKs turning up at his door encouraging him to "have more Yoga" to fix his problems.

I also think that the practise and training one receives in BKism creates a highly functional mask that can hide all sort of neuroses and psychoses. I would not expect a prison nurse to have the time to get beyond that mask and to understand the esoteric elements of spirtuality and psychicism.

Was he under psychic attacks, or was it all just personal projections? Are psychic attacks real? I would say excluding any metaphysical possibilities, having someone hate you or be very angry with you is at times palpable (so intense as to seem almost tangible). I suppose that would depend on how "spiritual" and balanced Steve Willis and the BK spooks are.
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post07 May 2017

GuptaRati 6666 wrote:I must disagree with you on my speculation and the supernatural aspects. You have your opinions and I have mine

You accept that what you presented is speculation and opinion. I agree. The two essential points I made were:
    1. "... it is moot to speculate ”
    2. "We can never know."

Do you agree? Or do you think opinion and speculation on this can ever get us to conclusively knowing?

I apologise for making it seem directed at you. When I said that "your mindset has been shaped by the BK language and formulations, and how even though you have accomodated it into your paradigm or personal philosophy ...”. Instead of ”your mindset”, I should have said "all of us have had our mindset shaped by BK ...”. Instead of "even though you have accomodated it into your paradigm or personal philosophy” I should have said ”even though we have each accomodated it into our paradigm ...” [and survived]. My wording and my examples were an attempt to show that we don't need to go beyond the basics into supernatural speculations when looking at how what BKs teach can ”haunt” a person and drive them to certain actions.

Sure the BK experience is one factor, but why haven’t we all gone down that road? Because of many other factors. There seems to be, from the reports here, other things that drove Finch to where he ended up, and likely others we don’t know - upbringing, family, finances ..?

I do not say ”dismiss” the supernatural, I am saying, as I have said to ex-l and others whenever it comes up on forum, let’s deal with the definite, with what presents in the here and now, which is more than enough for us to be getting on with.

To introduce spooks etc as explanations, even just speculating, is, IMO, letting the BKs off the hook because it makes them "foolish” victims of these ”spooks" as much as Stephen Finch was. I think they are far more culpable than that. The BKs are free-willed thinking individuals who have made conscious choices.

BTW I have seen Red Beard and think it's a great film - I love Kurosawa’s work. Got lectured by Dadi Janki in London for going to see Rashomon at the BFI when I was ”under” her there. Water off a duck’s back. A few years later she advised me that I should feel more guilt! WTF?
ex-l wrote:Very possibly what the nurse ... described as "deluded and paranoid thoughts about the BKs" were not "deluded and paranoid thoughts" at all. I suspect a few of us reading them would quietly suspect them to perfectly likely and real.

Indeed. And your point may imply that the nurse and the legal system should be examining whether the "delusional and paranoid thoughts” were his alone or part of what the BKs themselves think, so they are not a mere ”meditation/positive thinking” school. The reality of those thoughts for ex-BK Stephen Finch were merely the flip side of the coin called BK Stephen Finch, the same ideas. To stretch the metaphor, don't we all just become ”coins" in the pocket of the BKWSU? Low denomination coins are left by the wayside if they fall, not worth looking back at let alone bending over to pick up.
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Re: ex-BK Stephen Finch: suicide to escape Brahma Kumari att

Post07 May 2017

Pink,

Thank you. A applaud the efforts of you, Ex-I, and others in helping yourselves heal and helping other heal from the wounds from walking through the BK gauntlet. I also applaud you for being proactive in countering efforts by the BKs to destroy the skeletons in their closets and sanitize their dirty laundry.

I am shamanistic and have been that way even before my BK experience. Though the god-spirit had no problems with me, many BK mortals were never comfortable with the shamanistic energies associated with me.

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