Monday, April 17, 2006

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)

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