Mahikari Exposed

Emotional Control in Mahikari

by Fiona
September 2001, last updated July 2011

  1. Introduction
  2. Behaviour Control
  3. Information Control
  4. Thought Control
  5. Emotional Control <

Emotional Control

The use of phobias is a strong one, and it influences cult members hugely, discouraging them from leaving the group. Before we get into the BITE Mind Control Model points, I would like to include some quotes from Steve Hassan's book Combatting Cult Mind Control, which explain some of the deep psychological and emotional issues involved in cult-induced phobias.

"The structure of a phobia involves several internal components which interact and cause a vicious cycle. These components include worrisome thoughts, negative internal images, and feelings of dread and being out of control.

"In some cults, members are systematically made to be phobic about ever leaving the group. Today's cults know how to effectively implant vivid negative images deep within members' unconscious minds, making it impossible for the member to even conceive of ever being happy and successful outside of the group.

"Members are programmed either overtly or subtly to believe that if they ever leave, they will die of some horrible disease, be hit by a car, be killed in a plane crash, or perhaps even cause the death of loved ones." [Steve Hassan, Combatting Cult Mind Control, pg 45]

"In many ways, cult-induced phobias are so cleverly created and implanted that people don't even know they exist. Members are so conditioned to suppress their real selves that they aren't even aware of their desire to leave. They think they are so happy in the group that they would never want to leave. Such people can't generate positive images of themselves after leaving the group." [Ibid, pg 46]

This describes exactly the experience that I had. The only way I could deal with being in Mahikari, and cope with what was expected of me, was to not give myself any choice about leaving. I was petrified of what would happen if I left, and so I didn't allow myself to even consider it. As far as I was concerned, I would always be a member.

To everyone else, including my husband and family, I would say how happy I was within the group, and that it was wonderful, and all the other things I had to say to project a positive image of the group. But within myself I knew that I was not comfortable with much of what the group did and said, and that I didn't feel that I was being truthful or a good example. I found the teachings contradictory and frightening. I was trapped.

1. Manipulate and narrow the range of a person's feelings.

"Always smiling Yokoshi" is the catch-cry of Mahikari Centres. Yokoshi means "sunny, bright, yang, positive". Members are also called Yokoshi, and they are supposed to be grateful for anything and everything, and never angry, jealous, critical, or upset. Members are constantly reminded to view all the events of their lives with Mahikari-coloured glasses, focussing on God's Will.

"It is good to be awake, it is good to be asleep and it is good to be living. All is good. How gracious it is that nothing bad exists."

"Shallow is the heart which makes judgments of good or bad. It is like a shallow river where many ripples of problems always appear."

"When one regards illnesses and misfortunes as bad phenomena, he has already forgotten the Principle of MISOGI (the cleansing of one's spiritual contamination) which is brought about by the Great Love of God."

[Norigoto [Prayer Book] Yoshi Ashi - Good and Bad, pg 177 (verses 115-3 - 115-5)]

"God wishes that people throughout the world today live a life that is pure, cheerful, righteous and obedient to Him. Being pure, cheerful, righteous and obedient to Su God will be of great help in perfecting the character. The more pure, cheerful, righteous and obedient people are, the more loving and harmonious society will become.

"When you pray with a sonen (innermost attitude) that is pure, cheerful, righteous and obedient to Su God, the True Righteous God will answer your prayers. When you pray with a negative, unrighteous sonen, and evil deity will answer instead. People manipulated by evil deities will come to the wrong decisions.

(MAAJ Vol 15 No 4 April 1997)

2. Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault, never the leader's or the group's.

This point is extremely valid in Mahikari. If things are going well in a member's life, it can be directly attributed to their Divine Service, God's Light, putting teachings into practice and so on. However, if the member is having troubles, difficult times, doubts, or serious physical problems, it is due to their negative karma, accumulated toxins, sins and impurities, their negative sonen [innermost attitude], and/or spirit disturbance.

3. Excessive use of guilt - Identity guilt

Guilt of many and varied types is used by Mahikari to gain influence over its members.

  1. Who you are (not living up to your potential)

    "If the suffering from disease, poverty or discord continues for a long time in your life, you should realise that it is a sign of much spiritual impurity.

    "If disease, poverty, conflict or disaster linger on, you shall understand that it is proof of your living in pseudo-truth [Shin-nyo] and the adverse way [Gyakuho]."

    [Norigoto [Prayer Book] Mahikari no Waza, pg 132 (verses 87-5 and 87-6)]

    "Isn't it an unavoidable duty for each human being to dedicate his faith and gratitude to God not only for himself but also for others' salvation?

    "If you don't appreciate that this is a pleasure, it might be that you received the Divine teachings with an egocentric attitude, or perhaps you haven't practiced the Divine teachings with a sunao [obedient] attitude after being initiated."

    [Mahikari Primary Kenshu Reference Textbook, pg 81]

    "If Divine Grace (goshintoku) remains minimal, one should realize that it is proof of his lack of truthfulness (Makoto) towards God."

    [Norigoto Erabigo to Kumite - Chosen Children and Kumite, pg 174 (verse 112-6)]

    "If one does not awaken the people in this world to the Art of God's True Light, Mahikari-no-Waza, he will wind up being regarded by God as the one who is committing the sin of idleness."

    [Norigoto Inori - Prayer, pg 180 (verse 116-4)]

  2. Your family

    All things are in balance, according to Mahikari teachings. For example, a man and woman can only marry if their 'amounts' of negative and positive karma are balanced. From this, a member can conclude that if their partner is against Mahikari, or abuses them, or isn't interested in serving God (and therefore of a low spiritual level), they must be at the same level. Members then feel it is their duty to save their family, and offer even more service to God and the Dojo so that they can save their family members.

    Some Mahikari teachings talk about how at the very least you should be able to bring your family members to join Mahikari. Other teachings talk about how having one Mahikari member in a family is 'enough' to save the family. These types of confusing and contradictory statements are very frequent in Mahikari teachings.

    "Without this spiritual path, I could not master the way of saving my family in this lifetime."

    [Norigotoshu, Kansha Ho-on - Recompense in Gratitude to God, pg 155 (verse 102-3)]

    "The family which consists of the souls with much impurity shall eventually sink and that of pure souls shall, sooner or later, live in the heights.

    "How pathetic it is that one thoughtlessly and even knowingly accumulates impurity in his family, eventually resulting in forceful compensation."

    [Norigotoshu, Ohoharahi - The Great Fire of Cleansing to Develop the Positive Spirit, pg 201 (verses 130-3, 130-4)]

    Your guardian spirit is also one of your family (ancestors), and if you are of a high spiritual level, then you get a higher level guardian spirit who can see further into the future and help you more. Conversely, if you drop to a lower spiritual level, you will be assigned a low level guardian spirit, who is only a bit higher than you.

  3. Your past

    "This is what I teach at the beginning of primary kenshu, namely, 'As regards Mahikari no Waza, the sonen (innermost attitude) of the receiver accounts for 70% and that of the giver (of True Light), 30%.' ... What it means is that even though I receive the same power and distribute it equally to people, depending on a person's sonen, God does not permit the same result to everyone.

    "The reason for this is that human beings cannot perceive the 'special relationships' [that have existed] since the Age of the Gods. If it were only the sins of this life, they could be disclosed by confiding or confessing. However, matters such as having violated the laws of the realm of spirit while in the realm of spirit are far from observable. Needless to say, ordinary people can hardly ever know what sort of sins and impurities they have accumulated or what their ancestors have done against the Righteous Gods, who are to appear at this time.

    "Also, even if people do find out about such things, there is nothing they can do.... After all, the problem of sins and impurities cannot be removed without Baptism by the Holy Spirit of Fire of God, that is, True Light."

    [Teachings of Sukuinushisama, The True Nature of Miracles and how repentance of the Soul should be, given on 8 July 1989, MAAJ Vol 7 No 8 August 1989]

  4. Your affiliations

    Members are encouraged to help all people, of whatever 'level', but to make friends with those of a 'high level'.

    "The friends who keep company with you by maintaining selfish love and lowly ego will sooner or later go away from your family."

    [Norigotoshu, Kekkon o Iwaite - Celebrating a Marriage, pg 297 (verse 188-2)]

  5. Your thoughts, feelings, actions

    Members are reminded time and time again that attaching spirits can make you see, think, and do anything they like. It becomes harder to trust your own thoughts, feelings, and actions, and the member can start to feel that they are engaged in a constant internal battle, unsure of which of their thoughts are their own, and which ones are the whisperings of nasty spirits...

    The thought that God is watching absolutely everything you do is also inhibiting. When I attended Group Leader training we were told that when we die, one of the first things we would get to see was a movie of everything in our life... every action, every private moment, every righteous deed, every snide comment. This teaching caused much nervous joking amongst the Group Leaders, but we were all uneasy. Personally, this teaching made me feel very insecure and anxious.

    "There are people who claim that they do not know whether God exists or not, and thus act selfishly. However, the Parent God sees through everything and anything, down to the finest detail.

    "No matter what you hear or do, as long as you do not forget the fact that 'the Parent God is watching', you can overcome all suffering and pain.

    "It is extremely important to have the way of thinking, 'to be permitted to live with Su no Ohomikamisama, the Creator of Heaven and earth."

    [Teachings of Oshienushisama, The Sonen of Total Devotion to God, given on 8 July 1989, MAAJ Vol 7 No 8 August 1989]

    "I keep apologizing for myself for I have unknowingly contaminated my own God-related sacred soul."

    [Norigotoshu, Waga Kokoro - My Heart, pg 243 (verse 154-4)]

    "One can change into God or beast at his will. Frightening is the freedom which allows one to have kind of thought in a moment."

    "Pitiful is the one who cannot attain the spiritual realization to close the gap between God and himself before repeatedly receiving God's testing (Kami-dameshi) and sifting (Kami-burui)."

    [Norigotoshu, Waga Kokoro - My Heart, pg 249 (verses 158-4, 158-5)]

  6. Social & Historical guilt

    According to Mahikari teachings, mankind has inherited many sins and impurities. A major one is the ancient sin from locking the Righteous Gods behind the Rock Door of Heaven.

    "Humankind has sins and impurities which are common to all. There is the serious sin of not having praised and promoted a God-centred world...and producing instead, a world in which practices and laws prevail that are contrary to those of God... Even though this was in accordance with the plan of God, it just has to be apologised for."

    "There is another sin which is common to all humankind. It is that of having forgotten the heart of offering gratitude for all the creatures created by God."

    "Therefore, people must awaken to their sin and impurity as soon as possible and apologise for everything there is to apologise for. To offer apology means to repay one's debt of gratitude...Simply to say, "I'm sorry" cannot be regarded as offering apology."

    [Teachings of Sukuinushisama, "How going-towards-God based on the righteous path should be", MAAJ Vol 13 No 8, August 1995, pg 8]

    "Mankind shall perish eternally unless they apologize for their sin of placing curses on Su-no-kami by using the Sakaki plant to maintain the Age of Separation against God's Will (Sakagi) and by throwing roasted beans to prevent His appearance."

    [Norigoto [Prayer Book] Inori - Prayer, pg 179 (verse 116-1)]

4. Excessive use of fear

  1. Fear of thinking independently

    Members are frequently told about how attaching spirits can make then see, think, and say anything - after this treatment, it is not surprising that many members grow to doubt their own independent thoughts.

  2. Fear of the "outside" world and enemies

    All other religions labelled as "pseudo-truth", all other ways labelled "back the front way". Again, there are many examples of this attitude throughout the Mahikari teachings.

    The main enemies of Mahikari are invisible ones - the Water-lineage Gods, who are currently being replaced by the Fire-lineage Gods. There are also spirits who are trying to get revenge on members, or stop the group's righteous activities. Anything which makes activities difficult for the group are generally referred to as being 'spiritual opposition". Earth-bound spirits can cause accidents, and attaching spirits can make you see, hear, say things. There is also group spirit disturbance, where a whole nationality will disturb another group - this is used to explain the continuing problems in Northern Ireland, for example.

  3. Fear of losing one's "salvation"

    "Today God does not need those souls who cannot keep up with the progress of the divine plan and who are useless for the construction of the new Spiritual Civilization. (Do not be conceited just because you are Japanese or Jewish.) It is the divine will that such useless souls will be erased from existence by the baptism with fire. The divine plan is that only souls who have been sufficiently purified will be permitted to remain on earth as tanebito (seed people)."

    [Sunkyo (Great Guideposts on the Path of Divine Wisdom), by Sukuinushisama, The Descent of Holy Spirits, pg 16]

    "All shall be perished if they live only with pseudo-true teachings. The great arrangement shall start in order to unite the world, which has been separated into fragments."

    [Goseigen [The Holy Words], Dreams in Life, English pg 174]

    "Therefore today's mankind which is heading towards the major peak cannot be complacent or at ease. I hope you will choose your future path knowing full well that if you become slack, 'the cart of your life' that you are pulling (uphill) will immediately roll back and end up turning over with a big crash, making everything in vain."

    [Extract from Teachings of Sukuinushisama, Arrival of the Age of Major Compensation - Cleaning and the Path to become Seed People & Let us thoroughly enjoy cleaning" August 1987, MAAJ Vol 6, No 10, October 1987, pg 8]

  4. Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by group

    This is a very real fear, and is even maintained on a daily basis whenever a member takes off their Pendant, Omitama (for a shower etc). Since the Omitama gives the member God's protection, when they remove it, they are not protected to the same degree. Members who have their Omitama off for some reason generally feel very tense and anxious. I would sometimes need to leave my Omitama at home if I was buying a bra (so I could try on different types), or going swimming, or having an x-ray, and it was always an anxious time.

    People who had an Omitama accident (dropping their Omitama, or getting it on the bedding, or a chair etc) were pitied and viewed with mild disdain, as they obviously had more sins and impurities than other members who hadn't received such a warning.

    "By receiving Omitama not only do we receive protection from God at each moment of our life, we are even allowed to save the lives of others."

    "Always wear Omitama around your neck even when sleeping, in the toilet, or exercising - except when completely impossible."

    [Mahikari Primary Kenshu Reference Textbook, pg 70, 71]

  5. Fear of disapproval

    Another big one. The staff at a Dojo can be supportive, but I have also had experiences where they are personally abusive, critical, and unhelpful, saying such things as "You obviously don't have a proper grasp of Divine Teachings if you're upset about that." Other members also act as a monitoring and influential group within the Mahikari centre. Situations where someone made a mistake or voiced opinions which were against the staff or teachings could be used against them. If someone made a mistake, doing something impolite to God although they didn't realise it, then they would be told this was evidence of their deep sins and impurities, and they would be encouraged to offer donations and more service to God in apology.

5. Extremes of emotional highs and lows.

The extreme lows for Mahikari members often occur through spirit investigation, when the attached spirit 'takes over' the member's body, and gives vent to a range of deep emotions, including yelling, weeping, shaking, anger, fear, revenge, and despair. These sessions can last for up to half an hour at times, and leave the member extremely wrung out. In general they are not very frequent events.

The teachings delivered at Monthly Ceremonies can frequently be very strict and frightening. Members are generally encouraged to view all of their life through 'spiritual eyes', and interpret everything through Mahikari's world view. This can lead to very distorted ways of managing their own life, with a great deal of fear.

"I felt a deep emotional pain that I could not fathom, and thought that perhaps I was feeling such emotion because God wanted me to reflect on my own actions."

[ "Salvation from practising teachings" by LH, MAAJ Vol 17, No 1, January 1999, pg 13]

The extreme highs tend to occur during united chanting at ceremonies, hearing inspirational experience stories, at the Omitama-receiving ceremony at the end of Kenshu (Initiation Course), special events like Land Purification Ceremonies, Anniversary Ceremonies, group meetings, and other times when group members are doing something together.

Many members also experience 'spiritual highs' when they are giving or receiving True Light. These experiences often serve to maintain a member's commitment to the organisation despite their misgivings and doubts.

6. Ritual and often public confession of "sins".

Members' experience stories are read out by them in front of the congregation at ceremonies. This is often a very emotional situation, as the experience story tends to be about something difficult or emotional, and the member is typically revealing their innermost and 'incorrect' thoughts and attitudes, and then explaining what things changed to help them awaken to the reality of Mahikari. The member is generally very nervous about offering such an experience story, as they have been told that God is watching them closely at this time, they have to speak in public, which is a huge fear for many people, and that they have to bare their soul to a huge room full of people.

7. Phobia indoctrination: programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.

  1. No happiness or fulfillment "outside" of the group

    If the only path to happiness is through serving God and giving True Light, how can you possibly be anything but a damned soul if you leave? The general attitude to people who have received Light (or even attended Kenshu) and then do not take up the great opportunity offered to them (to become more involved and devoted) is that they were given their chance, and 'Oh well', they have missed out.

  2. Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: "hell"; "demon possession"; "incurable diseases"; "accidents"; "suicide"; "insanity"; "10,000 reincarnations", etc.

    Another young woman who decided to leave the group was told by the Centre Chief that 'People often get cancer when they leave Mahikari, you know.' There are umpteen examples of this. The general theory is that ex-members will have a few years of 'good karma' up their sleeves, which will help them go OK in normal society for a while, but then bad things will start to happen. The huge joy and relief on leaving is also attributed to the rejoicing of the person's attaching spirits, who have finally achieved their wicked goal of driving the person away from the one true righteous path of Mahikari.

  3. Shunning of leave takers. Fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family.

    This happens all the time, and happened to me. I lost all friends within Mahikari, apart from two close friends. A woman who recently left Mahikari didn't even know that I had left a year earlier - members who leave are not discussed openly at the Dojo, if at all. I had one member completely ignore me when we met in public - but this was somewhat unusual. Mostly members are civil to ex-members, but Mahikari is not discussed.

  4. Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the group's perspective, people who leave are: "weak"; "undisciplined"; "unspiritual"; "worldly"; "brainwashed by family, counsellors"; seduced by money, sex, rock and roll.

    From the group's perspective, members who leave have been controlled and manipulated by evil gods and spirits, and are egocentric, materialistic, and doomed to a whole host of dreadful things. God's protection is withdrawn, as are the benefits from having received Light.

Last Modified: 15 June 2010