Friday, April 21, 2006

Streets of Heaven

Asher told me to look at the lyrics to this song and put it up as a commemoration to my sister. I am going to put up a real photo of her because I want you all to see who she was. I don’t know how long I will be able to keep it online before my parents find out and ask me to remove it, but for now here is my little sis…














Please read the song and leave a comment if you feel the need. I am an agnostic, but when my sister was sick this captures the emotions my family and I was feeling.

Streets of Heaven

Hello God, it's me again. 2:00 a.m., Room 304.
Visiting hours are over, time for our bedside tug of war.
This sleeping child between us may not make it through the night.
I'm fighting back the tears as she fights for her life.

Well, it must be kind of crowded,On the streets of Heaven.
So tell me: what do you need her for?
Don't you know one day she'll be your little girl forever.
But right now I need her so much more.
She's much too young to be on her own:Barely just turned seven.
So who will hold her hand when she crosses the streets of Heaven?

Tell me God, do you remember the wishes that she made,
As she blew out the candles on her last birthday cake?
She wants to ride a pony when she'd big enough.
She wants to marry her Daddy when she's all grown up.

Well, it must be kind of crowded,On the streets of Heaven.
So tell me: what do you need her for?
Don't you know one day she'll be your little girl forever.
But right now I need her so much more.
She's much too young to be on her own:Barely just turned seven.
So who will hold her hand when she crosses the streets of Heaven?

Lord, don't you know she's my angel
You got plenty of your own
And I know you hold a place for her
But she's already got a home
Well I don't know if you're listening
But praying is all that's left to do
So I ask you Lord have mercy, you lost a son once too

And it must be kind of crowded,
On the streets of Heaven.
So tell me: what do you need her for?
Don't you know one day she'll be your little girl forever.
But right now I need her so much more.
Lord, I know once you've made up your mind,
There's no use in begging
So if you take her with you today, will you make sure she looks both ways,
And would you hold her hand when she crosses the streets of Heaven.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Omitama



So there I was…I knew what Sukyo Mahikari had done to me and my family, but I didn’t know how to begin an attack. My efforts would have to be subtle because anything outlandish and bold would immediately be considered spiritual disturbance in the eyes of kumite. Sho-Cho had suggested writing, but I wasn’t ready to write about this just yet; I wouldn’t know how to begin. I finally came to the conclusion that the first step would be to renounce my faith publicly and leave Mahikari…not because of the impact it would have on my family and other members I knew, but because in my mind that was the only way I would be able to rid myself of Mahikari completely. I was scared that if I did not rid myself of the pendant and the doctrine that I might lose my nerve and buckle under the fear. The fear was something fresh in my mind. As a kumite we were warned about leaving Mahikari, told that our connection to God would be cut off, etc…what if Kanbu were telling the truth? I had to get rid of the pendant and fast, once that was gone there was no going back.

When my family and I arrived at the dojo for ceremony that month I did not remove my shoes or wash my hands before stepping onto the carpet…instead I walked past the sink, past the shoe rack, past the sign in area and right up to the Doshi. I took the pendant off over my head and extended it to him, “You can have this back. I don’t want it anymore.” The expressions on the faces of Kumite around were ones of shock and horror. My parents were on my heals in a second, pulling me off the carpeted area and back onto the tile. My pendant was still extended to the Doshi.

“What has gotten into you?” My mother asked, horrified.

“I don’t want to be a member anymore, Mom.” I could hear the shakiness in my voice, I hardly believed the words I had just uttered.

“What do you mean?” She asked, “Let’s go outside and talk about this.”

“There’s nothing to talk about.” I said trying to steady myself, “I have made my decision. Please understand and support me.”

“She’s disturbed.” My father said, walking up to me and placing his hand on my shoulder, “Lara, just receive light…I am sure that once you-“

“No!” I shouted, “You’re not listening to me.” With that I dropped my pendant, intentionally on the floor. All the Kumite in the room lunged forward, but then stopped them selves, seeming to remember that they were not allowed to handle someone else’s pendant. The omitama hit the floor and all eyes were on me. They were looks of shock, horror, anger, and disgust all mixed into one. At the moment I saw Asher walk in with his parents and sister. He looked at me with dark slanted eyes…I expected to see support or understanding, but sadly there was no comfort to be found. I shrugged off my parents hands.

The Doshi walked up to the pendant, said a little prayer and then picked up the locket, “I will be going to Japan next week to visit Suza…I will take the omitama to remedy this accident.”

At that point I started to cry. I felt like I was in a crowded room, screaming at the top of my lungs, and no one was listening…no one even looked up. I ran out of the dojo and into the parking lot. I plopped down on a curb and began to sob. No one came out to soothe me…not even Asher. I felt alone in the world. I rode the bus back to my home and later on that evening my father entered the room. The light entering my pitch black room made my eyes water as I made out his silhouette, “Doshi is taking your pendant to Japan…you got lucky this time, next time you will have to take it yourself.”

I ignored him.

“Lara, this is merely a spirit disturbance. You need to go receive light more. The Doshi said that it is this angry spirit that is making you behave this way.”

I still ignored him.

When the Doshi brought my pendant back to the house, my parents called me downstairs. When he extended the pendant to me, I did not say the Amatasu or any other prayer; I merely snatched the box from his hands. I didn’t know why I was being so rude, I knew he had the best of intentions at heart, but I was just so disgusted with the whole matter that I could not even feign gratitude. After that I walked to my room and dropped the pendant in the waste basket…but after a few minutes I took it out and set it back on it’s shelf. I was afraid of this. I knew that I had to get rid of it or it would be harder…the pendant sat on my shelf for months; by then Asher had come to see the truth and moved out of his parent’s home…but I still lacked the strength to throw away the omitama. To be honest with you, it still sits on that shelf to this very day, waiting to either meet its doom or be put back on. I wish I could say I am as strong as I try to pretend to be, but I’m not. I hope someday I will be.


Field of Innocence
By: Evanescence

http://www.evanescence-lyrics.com/evanescence-fields-of-innocence.html

I still remember the world
From the eyes of a child
Slowly those feelings
Were clouded by what I know now

Where has my heart gone?
An uneven trade for the real world
Oh I...I want to go back to
Believing in everything and knowing nothing at all

I still remember the sun
Always warm on my back
Somehow it seems colder now!

Where has my heart gone?
Trapped in the eyes of a stranger
Oh why...I want to go back to
Believing in everything and knowing nothing at all

Where has my heart gone?
An uneven trade for the real world
Oh I...I want to go back to
Believing in everything and knowing nothing at all


(Art by Jessica Galbreth)

Monday, April 17, 2006

False Prophets















Everybody’s Fool

Perfect by nature
Icons of self-indulgence
Just what we all need
More lies about a world that never was and never will be
Have you no shame?
Don’t you see me?
You know you’ve got everybody fooled

Look, here she comes now
Bow down and stare in wonder
Oh, how we love you
No flaws when you’re pretending

But now I know she never was and never will be
You don’t know how you’ve betrayed me
And somehow you’ve got everybody fooled

Without the mask
Where will you hide?
Cant’ find yourself
Lost in your lies

I know the truth now
I know who you are
And I don’t love you anymore

By: Evanescence Listen to the Song:

http://www.evanescence-lyrics.com/evanescence-everybodys-fool.html

When you listen closely to false prophets you will realize that they’re not interested in your worshipping God as much as they’re interested in you worshipping them, as if they’re the only direct available line to God. They direct all prayers, all scripture readings and most certainly all scripture interpretations. Forget what you’ve always believed about God’s laws and commandments. The false prophet will tell you that they and only they know the truth about what God intended and what He has in store, which is why they are worthy of your slavish obedience. According to their convenient prophecies, which they claim just happen to come from God, following even their most insane orders is your only hope for salvation.

To make sure that no one can possibly talk you any sense into you or point out their inevitable contradictions, false prophets will almost always start isolating you from your friends, family, coworkers, and everyone else who knows and cares about you. Often with carefully selected out-of-context scripture quotations, they will portray anyone who criticizes them or questions their motives as being evil. It’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black and a truly godless act to make you choose between one person and all these other people who’ve always loved you and wanted the best for you. But the only way the false prophet can take hold is in a vacuum where no other information but the prophet’s is allowed inside.

Many false prophets will also find countless ways to separate you from your money at every possible opportunity. On the grandest scale, they’ll demand that their followers take a vow of poverty and give up all their worldly possessions, invariable to the prophet themselves, because let’s face it; God has no use for money. The psychology is simple: not only are most false prophets in it for the money, the power, or both, but they also know the less their followers have, the needier, more dependant, and less self-confident they’ll be.

False prophets tend to make up their own rules for their own behavior at their own narcissistic whim, having nothing to do with God’s rules whatsoever, but then cite a message from God as their excuse when the need arises, as if God bends the rules sometimes for their personal convenience. False prophets have used the message from God excuse for everything from adultery to murder to mass suicide, telling us nothing about God and everything about how low false prophets will really stoop in their obsessive need for power and determination to extinguish the true light of the loving, uniting, pacifistic God who created us.

You’ll never hear a false prophet admit to the possibility of being wrong. Their prophecies will tend to be so vague that they could apply to almost anything, or they will claim that any that appear to be inaccurate are the fault of the interpreter. And anyone who accuses them of doing something wrong, or God forbid, illegal, is tragically, unfairly persecuting them, giving them the opportunity to be both felons and martyrs. Matthew 7:15 states, “Beware of false prophets.” Be clear of who they are and what they are after. Here are some of the indications that will help you spot a false prophet.

• Any prophet who feels that your adoration should be equally divided between them and God is a false prophet.

• Any prophet, who claims to have a closer relationship with God than you do, or to be more special in His eyes than you, is a false prophet.

• Any prophet who claims that you need him/her to communicate with God is a false prophet.

• Any prophet who insists that you embrace the prophet’s thoughts and opinions rather than forming your own is a false prophet.

• Any prophet, whose power demands that you isolate yourself from those who have loved, supported, and been honest with you is a false prophet.

• Any prophet who asks that you jeopardize or sacrifice your stability or your financial security, especially in the form or a “donation” to the prophet or his or her “church”, or whatever the organization is called is a false prophet.

• Any prophet, who tells you that only they know what God has in store for you, your future, or for the future or humankind, is a false prophet.

• Any prophet who believes that anyone who criticizes or disagrees with him/her is evil or deserving of retribution is a false prophet.

• Any prophet whose only goal is accumulating adoring followers more for the prophet than for God is a false prophet.

• Any prophet who believes that he/she is exempt from the laws of God and society and is somehow in a position of divine immunity from consequence is a false prophet.

• Any prophet who claims to be infallible is a false prophet.

• Any prophet who financially gains from his/her gift without seeing to it that worthy causes and less fortunate are enriched as well by those financial gains is a false prophet. Selfish, ingratitude and any other form of arrogance, financial or otherwise, toward the very people the prophet is here to serve is a guarantee that either the God-given gift will vanish or that there was never a God-given gift to begin with.

To really understand the sincere genuinely gifted prophet, it makes all the difference in the world to really understand where the information comes from. The more mysterious, mystical, and exclusive a prophet’s source the more mysterious, mystical, and illusive the prophet is likely to seem. The far more interesting truth is that genuine prophets are simply tapping onto an infinite wealth of facts to which every one of us has had access since eternity began and will have access again when we’re back home with God.

(Art by Jessica Galbreth)

Memories



After I read everything I could I was mentally exhausted from all that I had absorbed. I called Asher and told him about David. He didn’t want to believe it, but agreed to do some research of his own concerning Mahikari. I lay down on my bed, crying. I didn’t know exactly what I was crying about. All I knew was that I felt like I had been betrayed, like there was a piece of me missing. I had been so faithful in my devotion to Mahikari and yet it was all for nothing. I felt like I had wasted all 15 years of my life.

I closed my eyes and started reminiscing on all my years in Mahikari. It was as though my diary had fallen open, pages flipping, stopping on an entry here or there. It stopped on one entry…an entry a few years ago. I didn’t want to think about it, but my mind was already pulling me under, forcing me to look at it.

I saw a little girl with blonde hair and endlessly dancing green eyes. I heard her little laugh, saw her smile. No…I didn’t want to think about Erica, but the images of my baby sister swirled around in my head…too painful to bear, but too beautiful to push away all at the same time.

Before I knew it I was back in the dojo again…sitting in the hallway as my parents spoke with the Kanbu. Erica was playing in the nursery with the other kids.

I heard my mother’s voice shaking as she spoke, “She has cancer…osteosarcoma…bone cancer.”

“We’re sorry to hear that, Beth. What are your plans as far as treatment goes?”

A tall man with brown hair said.

My mother shrugged, “I don’t know. I was hoping I could come and ask for your suggestion.”

She glanced at my father for support.

An Asian lady smiled at them, “The honest truth, Beth, Brian, look at your child. Does she look ill to you? Does she show any signs of sickness? Would you have even known about this if you hadn’t taken her to the doctor for a check up?”

My father shook his head, “No…she looks perfectly healthy.”

The Asian woman continued, “She has been receiving okiyome her entire life, she is a strong child…the reason she shows no sign of sickness is because she is a child of light. Doctor’s sometimes make a diagnosis out to be worse than it is in order to make money. Take my advice, offer Erica okiyome and see if she improves…if her condition worsens then take her to the doctor and see about chemotherapy. I am sure it is nothing to worry about. Medication, especially such potent medicine in a small child…it’s just like poison. The Goseigen warns us about using man-made medicine. Why do you think their hair falls out when they receive chemo? Because their bodies are rejecting the treatment, it is not meant to be inside the body. She is clearly suffering from terrible karma from a past life…she must compensate through this suffering. Triple your divine service and make sure you offer a significant donation.”

Another memory.

Erica crying, too weak to stand. The cancer had spread by the time we realized how bad it was. Erica was never much of a complainer, but had she been more of a complainer maybe my parents would have taken her to the doctor. Even at her tender age, she still believed the teachings; saying things to me like, “Sissy, its okay…mama says light is going to make me better.”

When we took her to the doctor he said that in the early stages something could have been done…in the very least Erica’s life could have been prolonged. Now he gave her a 5% chance of survival. My parents continued to go to dojo, both of them missing work to make sure they were on their knees offering okiyome and receiving okiyome, trying to erase their sins and impurities. All we could do now was wait for Erica to pass, as Kanbu had decided with a 5% survival chance that chemo would be a waste and only cause the spirit trauma. Su-God clearly wanted Erica and who were they to deny Him what He wanted?

Erica died at the age of 9 on August 13th 2002. She would be 13 now, finishing her last year in middle school. My brother Connor, Erica’s twin, has not been the same since she died; he always says he feels like something is missing...that psychic bond that twins share. My sister died because Mahikari did not think chemotherapy was a good idea and because my parents believed them.

After Erica passed I often heard whispers about how my parents had clearly not donated enough time, money, and effort to the center. In the minds of kumite Erica was dead because of our family’s sins and impurities. My parents threw themselves into the teachings even more after that. Determined that what happened to Erica would never happen to any of their other children. God had made an example out of Erica, but they had gotten the hint now. Despite my anger I too threw myself deeper into the teachings, more afraid of the consequences of my negative karma than ever before.

When my brother Connor turned 10 a few months later, the first thing he did was take Primary Kenshu because my parents said that we needed more Mahikari members in our family in order to protect ourselves. I pulled myself out of my reverie. It was all clear to me now…my sister was dead because of some cult’s money making scam…because they would rather my parents donate that money to their organization rather than spend it on chemotherapy.

The anger inside of me was like a tornado. I went into Erica’s room; it was the same as it had been before she died…a child’s room. An innocent room with stuffed animals and a vanity with play make-up. I lay down on her little bed, my feet draping over the edge. I grabbed her blanket (her Bobo) and held it to my chest, breathing in her scent that still remained on it. Something had to be done…I didn’t know what and I didn’t know how, but I was going to make sure that Erica had compensation. My first instinct was to turn in my omitama and abandon Mahikari for good, but that would not make a loud enough sound. I needed to do something bigger.

But what?

(Art by Nene Thomas)

Truth



The next day I traveled to Los Angeles to meet with Sho-Cho David. The bus ride seemed to drag on forever, but when I reached the street in south LA I was more anxious than relieved. I wanted so badly for all of this to be lies. I wanted the Sho-Cho to tell me that everything published on the internet was nonsense. My hand shook as I lifted my hand to push the door bell, but before I could the door jerked open. There was Sho-Cho David, looking down at me with sad brown eyes. His gray hair was disheveled and he wore a plaid shirt and jeans; nothing like his usual dress shirt and slacks that I had always seen him in.

“Hello, Lara.” He said quietly, “Come in. Have a seat.”

I walked through the door and glanced around his home. It was a small house; the living room was about the size of my bedroom at home. Clearly he hadn’t invested the little bit of money he had made while working as a Sho-Cho. The sofa was a dingy old green material, which had newspaper sprawled all over it. I moved the papers aside and slumped down on the cushion. Sho-Cho lit his pipe and sat across from me in an old wicker rocking chair.

“So…what have you come to talk to me about?” Sho-Cho asked, “Have they sunk so low as to send you children here to persuade me to come back?”

I narrowed my eyes in confusion, “No…no, Sho-Cho, they don’t know I’m here. I skipped school to come and visit you of my own accord.” He leaned back in his chair, taking a few puff off his pipe, “So then…what brings you here, Lara?”

I didn’t know how to ask him. What if my assumptions about him were wrong, or worse, what they were completely right? What if Mahikari was nothing but nonsensical nonsense? I finally found the words to use. I cleared my throat, “Sho-Cho, why did you leave?” I asked bluntly.

He didn’t seem surprised by the question, “Didn’t you hear? I transferred to Texas? Isn’t that the story going around?” I nodded, “Yes…but you’re not in Texas, you’re here and I want to know why.”

The room feel silent for a moment, but it was the longest moment of my life. It was as though Sho-Cho was taking his time to choose his words carefully. When he finally did speak, my heart leapt into my throat.

“I left, Lara, because my heart was no longer in it.” He replied, “There’s too much deception…too much deceit.” He crossed his legs.

“What do you mean?” I asked, pretending to be stupid.

“Lara, don’t play games. I know why you’re here…why your eyes are so red rimmed.” He set his pipe down on the coffee table and leaned towards me, “You know, don’t you, Lara? You know and you wanted me to confirm your suspicions…well, let me tell you. It’s all true. Every last word of it. I left because I found out and I could no longer lead people down that path knowing that it was bullshit.”

I winced when he cursed. He was far from the once spiritual man I had known. He was something else entirely, filled with resentment and hate for our organization. I swallowed with some difficulty, “Sho-Cho-“

“Call me David, Lara. David is fine.”

“David,” I corrected myself, “Why…why all the lies? Why would someone want to do this to people?” I asked with a shaky voice.

“Money, Lara.” He replied, “Plain and simple. Money. It’s the one thing that drives man to lie, cheat, steal, and scheme in order to obtain it.” He paused, “Osh--Keishu is rich, as was Kotama before he passed, as will be Odairi when Keishu dies. Kotama invented these teachings, claiming them to be of God, but actually they were nothing more than the fabrications from his own imaginations. I tried to tell the Kanbu but they’re so damn brainwashed. They can’t see it, and even if they could they wouldn’t want to. Ignorance is bliss, Lara. They would rather live in their fantasy world than face the fact that they have been lied to. Human beings are too prideful to admit when they’ve been duped.”

“Why doesn’t Keishu tell the truth?” I asked, “She must know that she’s not God’s representative on Earth…Odarisama must know the truth as well…there’s no way you could be in the top position and not know.”

“They know, they just don’t care; greed has blinded them.” David said, “Why tell the truth when they can continue to rack in the money when poor idiots like us believe their garbage?”

I sat in silence, my world was crumbling down. I felt broken. Hopeless. Tangled.

“What can we do about it?”

“Nothing…” David replied, “No matter what you do people will be stubborn and think that it is a test of God or find some other reason to justify it. Trust me, there’s no point.”

“I won’t accept that.” I looked him in the eyes, “I won’t allow these lies to keep circulating.”

David nodded, “You were always were stubborn.” He rose from his chair and walked into a back room, when he returned he had a binder in his hands. He extended it towards me, “Here…if you want to know the truth you’re going to need to read this.”

“What is it?” I asked, taking it.

“It’s a book, written by a man named Gary Greenwood. He used to be the second in command of the Sukyo Mahikari Australia Oceania sector. He left the organization and wrote down his experiences. Everything in there is true; the man did extensive research after he left. Mahikari makes him out to be crazy, they say he lost his mind after those Mahikari Tai members died in that crash way back when, maybe he did, but the point is that this book is the closest thing to the truth that you can find; that and a website called Mahikari Exposed. Read those through and through, and once you’re knowledgeable, then make your move. Acts that are run off pure emotion alone are irrational and you’ll never reach anyone that way.” He said.

“What should I do once I’m done reading this?” I asked.

“You used to write some of our speeches for the monthly ceremonies…you’re a brilliant writer. I suggest you use your God-given gift to counteract their lies against God.”

I nodded, “Yeah…I’ll do that.” I rose from my chair and shook his hand, “Thank you so much Sho—I mean, David.”

He smiled, “Rip ‘em a new one.”

The truth was bittersweet. I was happy that I knew the truth, but at the same time saddened because my bubble had been popped. I was angry that I had been a puppet for Mahikari, pushing their propaganda and harming other people in the process. I now had to concentrate on putting right what I had done wrong. So many children in Mahikari Tai had looked up to me and I was telling them false teachings. The guilt was excruciating. I felt like a fool. When I got home I read everything I could find, not just the recommended reading from David. It took me a few hours to read Greenwood’s book and a few more hours to read Mahikari Exposed. Once I had torn through all of that I was angry…angry that I had been lied to and even angrier that I had believed it. Keishu’s mask had been ripped off. When I was a child I had looked up to her, wanted to be her. She was the epitome of perfection in my eyes. Not anymore. Her mask had been removed and I could now see her for what she really was; a thief, a whore, and a liar.

An Ode to Keishu

You’re the coolest person that I have ever seen
So perfect with your pretty face on the TV screen
Well, You’re a God I know it how you stand above them all
You are my perfect person and I’d hate to see you fall.

I want someone to believe in
Yeah, well don’t we all?
Cause in this life of imperfection, we need someone who won’t fall
You got it, you got it, you got it all
You got it, you got it, you got it all

Got magazine today that was full of you
Shocked to read the words they said
Tell me they’re not true
Add you to my fallen list
One more has hit the ground
The fault was mine I held you too high
Your only way was down

I want someone to believe in
Yeah, well don’t we all?
Cause in this life of imperfection, we need someone who won’t fall
You got it, you got it, you got it all
You got it, you got it, you got it all

I can’t deny this need inside
I have to find the perfect One
Well I wonder if behind my need
There might just be a reason

Is my life just one big searching for the one I can adore?
It never works and I’m just left here wanting more
Could it be this hunger’s there to drive me to the One?
Whose worthy of all worship Will my searching then be done?

I want someone to believe in
Yeah, well don’t we all?
Cause in this life of imperfection, we need someone who won’t fall
You got it, you got it, you got it all
You got it, you got it, you got it all

My whole life Keishu had been my perfect person, the one who could never fall. She was my guarantee, my connection to God, the one person who knew what the future held in store. Now she was nothing. I felt like my eyes had been open, like I had awoken from a deep sleep. I was a part of the battle now; and I was determined to win. It was time to put my childish beliefs and fantasies aside and concentrate on helping the people who were still locked in Mahikari’s trance.

(Art by Nene Thomas)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Deception



We moved from Vancouver, Canada that same year and I joined Mahikari Tai when we moved to California. Shortly after, I met Asher Jiro Kennedy, a Japanese boy who was to become my best friend forever. From the time we were 11 years old we were inseparable; like two peas in a pod. The fact that we were the opposite sex never occurred to either of us; we were soul mates, friend to the end. Our whole lives Asher and I believed the teachings of Mahikari…well, despite the occasional doubt once in a while. However, 99% of the time I would say that we believed whole-heartedly in the teachings; that is until he met Kara. Kara was a girl who went to our school, Catholic and very spiritual, but with a wild side. She and Asher were like magnets with complementary polarities. I can’t deny that I was jealous at first, he was my friend and suddenly he was ditching me for Kara, but I had boyfriends too and I had done the same to him many times.

It wasn’t until Kara and Ash started talking about religion that he came crawling back to me. He told me that she was constantly trying to make him doubt the teachings we had been taught. She was reading information off the internet, which was strictly forbidden within our religion. She was telling him foolish things like, Oshienushisama and our founder, Kotama Okada, were involved sexually, Kotama plagiarized the teachings when he was a member of a group called the SKK, Oshienushisama was using our donations for various business ventures, the list of allegations went on and on.


I was shocked and angered by the allegations his girlfriend was trying to put in his head. “She’s obviously very spiritually disturbed. Asher, you need to get away from her. She will only slow down your spiritual purification.” I told him.

“It’s not that easy, Lara, I love her…or at least I think I do.”

I could see this was going to be harder than I thought. “Fine, I’ll read up on this stuff and see if there is any merit to what she’s saying.”

Asher left and it was then that I started doing my own research. What I found was shocking and crimpling all at the same time. The internet was littered with documents and accusations about the history of our organization, our founder, and all of our activities. It couldn’t be true…and yet there was so much proof that indicated that it was all factual.

No wonder they had fought so hard to ensure that we didn’t look at the internet. It was as though my world came crashing down. If Mahikari was wrong, then what was right? My salvation wasn’t secured…my pendant was useless…everything I had believed was nothing but lies.


When Asher called to talk about what I had found I couldn’t talk to him. I was too emotionally exhausted. I stayed in my room, crying my eyes out, trying to make sense in my jumbled and confused head. Clearly I was spiritually disturbed; that was why I had read those things and the spirit inside of me was punishing me for it.

The next morning I told my mother that I was sick and needed to stay home.

She agreed and that day I traveled by bus to the center. When I arrived I went through the motions, washing my hands, removing my shoes, borrowing a pair of the lender socks, bowing before the shrine, bowing, clapping…praying. I prayed that it was all lies and that everything was still as it should be. When I received okiyome I felt tears running down my cheeks. The woman offering me light must have thought that I was either moved by the act or disturbed. When it came time for me to return the favor I told her I needed to leave.

I didn’t deserve to radiate the light of God. I was an abomination in His eyes.

When I got home I contemplated suicide, but then I remembered what the teachings had said about going through with such an act…if my cord to God wasn’t severed already, it would be once I was dead. Instead I walked to the beach, to a spot where Ash and I used to go to think and talk. The sun was setting and the sea threw its reflection back up at it. I slumped down in the sand, removing my shoes and gazing at the ocean, it was then that I felt a hand on my shoulder.

The touch started me, but when I looked up to see Asian eyes looking down at me, I relaxed. “Ash.” I said in a shaky voice, tears welling up.

He narrowed his eyes at me, puzzled, “Lara, what’s wrong?”

I just hugged him, burying my face in his shoulder. I couldn’t speak.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” He said gently, “What’s wrong, LJ?”

“It’s true, Ash, it’s all true.” I sobbed. “What is?” He asked in a soothing voice, “What are you talking about?”

“All the things that Kara said about Mahikari…it’s true, Ash…it’s all true.”

“Lara, you’re scaring me.” He said, “Maybe you have a disturbed spirit…you shouldn’t have read that stuff. Let me give you okiyome,” He clapped and started chanting the Amatsu, “Goku bi jiso gin gin-“

“Asher, stop it!” I shouted at him, “I’m not crazy…it’s all true. Look at it for yourself.” I continued to cry.

“How do you know?” Asher replied, “How can you be sure?”

“I don’t know for sure, but I can’t see any other explanation.”

“Let’s go talk to the Doshi.” He suggested.

“No…there’s only one person I am going to talk to about this.”

“Who?” Asher asked. “Sho-cho David.” I said with conviction.

“Sho-cho David…but he hasn’t been to the dojo in months…he got transferred to the Texas dojo.”

Asher looked me in the eye, the sun danced off his face, casting strange shadows.

Sho-cho David had just stopped coming to the dojo. No one knew what happened to him and no one cared to discuss it…the rumor had been that he had transferred to a dojo in Houston, Texas, but I knew differently.

“No…I heard my parents talking. He’s still here in California…he quit, Asher. He returned his omitama and Goseigen and quit.” I sniffled.

“Are you sure?” Asher asked, “Why would the Kanbu lie to us?”

“Because they’re trying to cover it up!” I shouted, “Don’t you see, Asher? If they lied about everything else, why wouldn’t they lie about Sho-Cho David?”

“No.” Asher said, shaking his head, “It’s not true.” He rose to his feet. I just looked up at him, my mascara and eyeliner running down my face, “It is true, Asher…if you don’t know it now you will soon enough.” The last few words came out a choke.

“I won’t believe it.” Asher said strongly.

“You already do, Ash, or you wouldn’t still be standing here.”


He seized me by the shoulders and shook me, “No, the only reason I am still here is because you’re my best friend and I love you…if you have a spirit disturbance we’ll help you, we’ll get rid of it, just come to the dojo you’ll see, Lara.”

I laughed a humorless laugh, “No Ash, this isn’t fixable. Once you know the truth you can’t go back. You can’t pretend that nothing happened…that you don’t know.”

It had started to get dark by then. Asher took me by the hands and pulled me to my feet, I sunk in the sand a bit and almost lost my balance, “Then talk to Sho-Cho David if it’ll make you feel better, but I know he’s going to tell you that you’re just overacting.”

“I hope so, Asher.” But in my heart and head I knew the opposite. Things were too tangled to ever be the same again.

(Art by Nene Thomas)

Tangled Prologue



My name is Lara I’m not the type of person who does this. Ordinarily I would just dust the dirt off my feet and move on with my life. I’m not one to sit and linger over the past and wonder if I made a mistake. Mistakes are only made by imperfect people and I was a kumite; chosen by God to fulfill His mission. I had immunity. I was going to be saved from the Baptism of Fire. My family and I had already successfully made it through Kenshu, received the holy pendant (omitama), and now our position in the next divine civilization was secured. We were all connected to God through Oshienushisama and nothing else mattered. Sukyo Mahikari had opened the doors for us and revealed mysteries that I had once thought impossible. When I joined Mahikari I was 10 years old, the minimum age requirement. I don’t remember much about it except that after the three day Kenshu class was over I was given my omitama, told I could now radiate the light of God, and my salvation was secure. My parents were so proud of me; I was the first of my siblings to receive my omitama. I was daddy’s little angel. Numb, deaf, and blind to anything that was against Mahikari and its teachings. My parents were the same way, believing all of the divine teachings without question or doubt. You learn from your parents, you believe what they teach you is right. I trusted their judgment as a child, but as an adult I now see that they are just as blind as the others who follow Mahikari.

I guess you could say I'm not my daddy's little girl anymore. Not by a long shot. More of a shell of the person I was before. I have gone through a metamorphosis; a change. I am going to take this time to explain why I am the way I am, why I think the way I do, and why I am no longer the innocent, naive girl I was before discovering the truth about Mahikari. I am doing this because the people who spread these lies must be stopped. So...if you want to know the truth keep reading. It's a pretty tangled story, but if you can stomach it you'll come out stronger and wiser than before.

(Art by Nene Thomas)