I am a Brazilian fortune baby and reading the text named "The definitive analysis on why SGI is a cult", some cult education forum posts and some reports on this sub hit me really hard. I felt relieved to find out how many things that bothered me since I was a teenager were all written there and here. Therefore, I decided to share some of my personal experiences as a person who was born in BSGI (Brazil SGI). There are many things that I want to write, so it might be a little bit long. Please bear in mind that there might be some English errors.
I am part of a huge family whose most part of members are in BSGI. I believe my father's family is one of the most traditional family of practicioners in my city.
Since I was a child, both of my parents have worked, and when they were not working, they were taking part in SGI meetings or visiting other members. On many occasions, my mother would take me to some of the meetings.
When I was around 6 or 7 years old, they made me enter in a BSGI musical group in which I hated to take part, so I dropped out. But when I turned 11 they made me enter in another musical group, in which I stayed until I was 18.
During my life as a kid and teenager, I can't remember my parents giving me any kind of practical life advice or pushing me towards something, excepting for chanting, taking part of SGI activities and anything related to it. I can say that we actually haven't had a close relationship, especially with my father, who would barely talk and during any type of family conflict he would just refrain himself as much as he could.
They would even make me skip school tests to take part in SGI festivals.
While I didn't really enjoy taking part in the SGI meetings, during my teens, I dedicated most of my weekends to my musical group. I liked playing my instrument, but I disliked the dialogue part of the rehearsals. Whenever I felt unmotivated, my parents would tell me to chant a lot and say that taking part of SGI activities was a training to my life and, by doing it, I would be accumulating 'good fortune'. So I believed them and kept forcing myself to attend the rehearsals.
Also, during that time, I felt a kind of a void inside me. I felt an agony with no apparent reason. Because of that, I would chant a lot. During high school I chanted at least 1 hour a day.
When I was 17 I entered in University, but my grade performance was really poor and I couldn't reconcile the musical group rehearsals with my studies. At that time I was already highly unmotivated to go the musical group meetings, so when I turned 18, I decided to drop out the musical group, against my parents's will, and dedicate myself to my studies.
During my third year of University, my sister started to show some really abusive behavior, verbally and physically, especially to my mother. She would call her all kinds of names, and there were sometimes where she would destroy some furniture at home. Once, I tried to intervene and she became physically violent towards me. That situation was like hell and I was near a mental breakdown.
Seeing how my father reacted to this situation was painful. He resisted to aknowledge that there was some serious issue there. He looked for excuses like, "maybe she has a thyroid problem" or "everybody loses the control of themselves sometimes" and so on. It was unbeliavable how he would refuse to address a serious issue that was occuring inside his own family. Yet, he was the one who most chanted in my family.
At that time, I would really believe in how chanting would make one a better person and lead one to the right choices and path in life ( like I was taught ). But seeing my father, a person who chanted during his entire life, lacking basic common sense and lucidity expected from any adult person, I just came to the conclusion that that practice simply doesn't work.
I also read somewhere in this sub that the level of mental disorders of SGI members is really high. Whether this is true or not, from my experience, I think this is highly plausible. Apart from myself and my sister, I have cousins, who are also fortune babies, that had serious anxiety issues. I have never asked them directly about it, so I don't know the details.
Finally, I would like to make a list of some of the most bizarre things I saw in the organization during all the years I was an active member:
- Children were told to, whenever they were going through difficult situations, act as how Sensei would act.
- People saying that only after making bigger donations(Kofu) to SGI one would be able to change their financial situation.
- A leader once said proudly in a speech that he was firsly a Sensei disciple, and secondly a buddhist.
- People would write reports to Sensei (houkokusho) about some difficult situation in their lifes and how they are chanting and trying to change that. Then, they were told that Sensei would read every single one of those reports. Next, they would all receive the same standardized reply ("I am aware of everything, I send you my best regards"), be deeply moved by it and brag on how Sensei was great.
- During a meeting, a guy scolded other guys because they were wearing shorts and that would be disrespectful if Sensei were on the meeting.
- Warcries like : "Sensei, kosen rufu is my life !"
- A woman saying that the reason why Japan is such a great country is because of SGI.
- My father saying that he truly believed that the only way Brazil would develop as a country would be through "Human Revolution" and "Kosen Rufu".
I am pretty sure that there are many other items I could include in this list, but I think it is already long enough. The worst part is that, at the end, they will just say "follow the Law, not the person".
Well, that's it. Just wanted to share some experiences. Thanks for reading.