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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The true believer model

"To some extent there is a bit of complicity on the part of the leaders. Most have been practicing for a long time, and in that course of time they have become "indoctrinated" into the way of thinking of SGI. Take the money handling issue for example, to a very senior member the level of trust of the higher-ups is so great that they may actually become insulted when questioned about what NSA/SGI does with the money. They truly believe it is being funneled into building community centers, colleges, etc. That is what makes things so shady because the very people you would look to as watchdogs of your interests are fully bought-into the dogma. I have sat at planning meetings in which a member's concern is repeated by a district or chapter leader and the hombu folks merely shot glances of bemusement or eye-winks at one another and moved onto the next topic. I guess they felt they were acting in "enlightened self-interest" at those times. 

To some extent I agree with Anticult. The "True Believer" model is the most efficient and to some extent mitigates the question of leadership motivations since for the most part, there is the assumption that bad behavior never elevates itself to the level of the higher leadership involvement. 

The True Believer model means that if a member questions ANYTHING about how SGI is run, leaders question your faith in Buddhism. "Why did we lose our community center?", "Why do we have to have women's division meetings in February?", "What happens to the money I donated?" and "Why can't SGI's finances be independently audited?" are taken as "I don't really believe in this Buddhism." The questions DON'T mean that a person doesn't believe in Buddhism...they are totally SEPARATE from the doctrines of Buddhism. The senior leadership has just chosen to cut off all debate by saying that apples are really oranges. I know members who call this "the wall," as in you might as well be talking to the wall. 

It would be like a Catholic saying "I think Father Joe is using the collection money to buy whiskey!" -- and being told, "If you can say things like that, you obviously don't believe in Jesus Christ!" -- Tsukimoto

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