Mahikari Exposed

Fiona's Story

July 2001

I joined Mahikari in 1986, when I was only 21. I got deeply involved very quickly. I was a Hancho (group leader) for many years, and did a lot of service for the Dojo, including producing the monthly Dojo schedules, illustrations for the journal, posters for the Dojo, service at Ceremonies, and of course the ever-present money donations. It wasn't until 2000, 14 years on, that I finally got up the courage to leave. Even then, it took a slide into severe depression and chronic ill health to make me start changing, and months of counselling to help me make the decision.

Like so many others, I was kept in this deceptive group by fear of what would happen to me if I left, and guilt for just about everything. I never felt that I was good enough, that I deserved all the difficult things in my life, that I never did enough for God, was never enthusiastic enough - even when I was dragging my kids to Dojo two or three times a week, I felt that it wasn't enough. I despised myself most of the time. Even after 9 years as a kumite I wrote in my diary that I had no enthusiasm for giving Light or following Mahikari any more, and I didn't know how to regain this enthusiasm. But I was determined to be one of those who 'stuck it out' despite all the 'spiritual opposition', so I didn't even give myself the choice of leaving.

The big mistake I made was that the Light seemed to really work, so I assumed that the rest of the teachings must be true as well - I just accepted the whole lot without question. I felt that the Light was effective (something I no longer believe), but I thought I could only achieve this by wearing Omitama around my neck, and following Divine Teachings to the letter. I now know that Mahikari has no claim on God's energy. I never felt any strong connection or love with God while I was in Mahikari, but as soon as I left, all this changed! Going to therapy for my depression, and reading "Conversations with God" helped me to break away. I finally let myself choose whether to stay in or not, and it was an immediate decision!

In the months after leaving, Steve Hassan's excellent book "Combatting Cult Mind Control" has helped me to understand how this group manipulated me so effectively and for so long. I am positive that the Kenshu courses set up hypnotic states - confusing and strange teachings given when people are sleepy and nodding off is supremely dangerous to their mental health. The fear of leaving Mahikari is maintained on a daily level - it's not just what horrible things will happen to you and your family if you leave the group, but what will happen to you when you take off your Omitama? Most of us had a shower every day or two - every time we took the pendant off, God's Protection was reduced, if not gone. Quick, quick, put it back on again and be safe once more...

I also saw quite a lot of the process involved in creating the Mahikari Australia and Asia Journal, and how much every experience story was edited. Many kumite, including myself, were very upset at the changes to our accounts - the addition of events that had not happened, conclusions that we hadn't come to, removal of facts that weren't approved of by the MAAJ committee, and editing to make stories conform to cult language and stock phrases. This was the standard procedure, and still is to this day.

For anyone who is wondering what to do, whether to keep going or not, let me just say to pay attention to the doubts in your deepest mind, pay attention to the contradictions and confusion in teachings, pay attention to how you're feeling deep down. This group is deceptive and skillfully uses subtle mind control methods. You will only be happier and healthier out of it. No, you are not being disturbed by attaching spirits - you're just thinking for yourself.

Canberra, Australia

Last Modified: Sept 2015