Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Discussion of the children's schools in the UK.
Witness
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Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:55 pm

Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby Witness » Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:27 pm

Lets face it. This forum, the survival of its link on the Wikipedia page, the Channel Four Documentary, Clara Salaman's book and the reviews of it are all a great victory for us SES and St. James survivors. They tried to stop us achieving justice, they tried to suffocate us, they tried to cheat us - they failed.

And yet, SES apologists respond to Clara's book in a typically manipulative way. I keep hearing the Mantra: "Yes it was wrong what we did but that all happened in the 1980s" / "Why are you so attached to the past?" / "Everything has changed" / "surrender your negativity" / "LIVE IN THE PRESENT."

I find this all quite infuriating. I don't feel it in the past at all. I feel the past right here and now, it makes me passionate and angry and I will not suppress my emotion about it. These feelings are genuine and positive and very much in the present. The SES use of language and the SES structures are all still being used - it evidently has not changed. Maybe there isn't any more beating and there is less mental torture at St James, but mind control is still at the heart of SES. And the mind control was what caused the beating and mental torture in the first place. So for legal reasons the schools may have reformed, but think of the thousands of families around the globe that are living in hell because of SES mind control.

My deepest concern is that in focusing on the book, and whether or not St. James has broken with the past, a smokescreen will protect the rest of SES. Think of the children, exactly the same as we were, whose mothers now come home from Philosophy group with a glazed look in their eyes when once there was.. a mother. Think of the father who is as monstrous as an alcoholic, terrifying his family because SES has taught him to feel, and use, his male power. Imagine SES involvement in already difficult relations between step-parents of step-children. We simply must not let SES wriggle out of this by saying everything is different now in the 'New' School and that Clara's book, and our feelings, and the 'Old' School are all in the past. Mind control is mind control. Simple as that. We will have blood on our hands if we allow the abuse to simply go behind closed doors, from a new squeaky clean St. James to the hell of the SES family home. We must not let SES hide behind the Old St. James school.

Take a look at these 2 reviews of Clara's book on Amazon below. Neither reviewer had made an Amazon review before, which always increases the likelihood that the reviewer is moved to write because of an agenda, usually internet sabotage. Both use the classic SES mind control technique of arguing that the wrongdoing is in the past, things have changed, and the present is beautiful if you're in SES:

3.0 out of 5 stars If your going to tell the story, tell the WHOLE story...., 11 Aug 2009
By Meenakshi Iyer "Meenapixi" - See all my reviews
I just left the school she talked about in her book this year, 2009, and I feel like a mature, well-rounded, confident young woman ready to face the world with the good and the bad. The book was moving, and I even shed a tear or two at the experiences the author has gone through, but what saddens me is that this book tells only of the past history of this institution. In its present day it provides academic, emotional and physical support and IF the pupils WANT then spiritual support. It is not a "cult" school anymore and I have never felt it was in my 14 years attending.

I am no judge on the past history of the school and its teachers, because I wasn't there, but if a story such as this is published it should tell the WHOLE story past and present. I would hate to think that people would read this book and judge the school based on it when it is a far-cry from the type of school explained in this book. Our sports days were cancelled consecutivly twice because there were predictions of rain and it didn't even rain! The school cares nothing more than for the well-being of its pupils now and I don't think I would have emerged with the confidence and moral grounding that I have now without the guidance of my school. I think its great that Ms. Salaman has channeled her sad memories of the school in such a creative outlet, but people should know that this book talks mainly of a past ghost that no longer exists and one that I hope all the ex-pupils of that generation from the school can successfully exorcise those ghosts from their pasts.


And also:


1.0 out of 5 stars A VERY DISAPPOINTING READ, 17 Aug 2009
By The Good Reader (London, England) - See all my reviews
`Shame on You' by Clara Salaman is a work of fiction, which is how it should be read, and how it should be reviewed. The narrative consists of two interwoven storylines, past and present, both with the same central character. The storyline, set in the past, focussing on Caroline Stern's time as a pupil at St. Augustine's, is, of the two, far better written. It has colour, texture and real attention to detail - it springs off the page. The storyline set 26 years later, is dull and cliched in comparison with a self-obsessed central character that is neither likeable nor interesting. Frustratingly, the emotional dynamics between Caroline and her parents, both in the past and the present, remain virtualy untouched throughout. To dig under the skin of that relationship, really fleshing the characters out, seeing how they work, would have been challenging to write but would have made 'Shame On You' a thought provoking, and therefore far more enjoyable, read. Very disappointing.



So, my dear fellow survivors, I think its up to us to counter these kinds of arguments.

deep silent complete
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Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby deep silent complete » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:08 am

Witness wrote:I find this all quite infuriating. I don't feel it in the past at all. I feel the past right here and now, it makes me passionate and angry and I will not suppress my emotion about it. These feelings are genuine and positive and very much in the present.


What, exactly, would you like to happen? Granted you're pissed off about it and I'm sure you suffered badly at the hands of several teachers in the past, but I'm not sure how much longer this can be dragged out. There have been formal apologies, there's been an inquiry, by the sounds of it you'd like working voodoo dolls of the teachers to be made and handed out to all affected students.

I've been lurking on this place for a long time. The height of this forum's activity was round 2005/2006 when communication between teachers and former pupils reached its zenith. It seems a lot of good work has been put in and people are genuinely making efforts to move on. You may well be scarred but I'm not sure exactly where you'd like to take this next. So what, some people wrote negative reviews on Amazon. Maybe you should track them down and show them videos of board dusters being flung at you in stop-motion video with appropriate graphs of their parabolas from launch point to cranium. You're on the internet - the world's biggest medium for debate and disagreement - you will not make everyone see your point of view no matter how troubling it is to you. A lot of people here have developed and moved on - I suggest you try to do so yourself.

ConcernedMum
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Location: Ireland

Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby ConcernedMum » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:32 am

deep silent complete wrote:
Witness wrote:I find this all quite infuriating. I don't feel it in the past at all. I feel the past right here and now, it makes me passionate and angry and I will not suppress my emotion about it. These feelings are genuine and positive and very much in the present.


What, exactly, would you like to happen? Granted you're pissed off about it and I'm sure you suffered badly at the hands of several teachers in the past, but I'm not sure how much longer this can be dragged out. There have been formal apologies, there's been an inquiry, by the sounds of it you'd like working voodoo dolls of the teachers to be made and handed out to all affected students.

I've been lurking on this place for a long time. The height of this forum's activity was round 2005/2006 when communication between teachers and former pupils reached its zenith. It seems a lot of good work has been put in and people are genuinely making efforts to move on. You may well be scarred but I'm not sure exactly where you'd like to take this next. So what, some people wrote negative reviews on Amazon. Maybe you should track them down and show them videos of board dusters being flung at you in stop-motion video with appropriate graphs of their parabolas from launch point to cranium. You're on the internet - the world's biggest medium for debate and disagreement - you will not make everyone see your point of view no matter how troubling it is to you. A lot of people here have developed and moved on - I suggest you try to do so yourself.


You've been lurking for a long time and you chose this post to enter the discussion comparing the abuse suffered to board dusters being thrown at pupils?
How constructive, wise and compassionate of you.

I agree with you when you say that whether on the Internet or elsewhere, you will never have everyone seeing things the same way. The existence of Scientology and the SES is proof that people will believe anything and allow themselves to be treated very badly by others.

Witness
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:55 pm

Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby Witness » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:15 am

deep silent complete wrote:
Witness wrote:I find this all quite infuriating. I don't feel it in the past at all. I feel the past right here and now, it makes me passionate and angry and I will not suppress my emotion about it. These feelings are genuine and positive and very much in the present.


What, exactly, would you like to happen?

A lot of people here have developed and moved on - I suggest you try to do so yourself.


You've just proved my point: SES is a dangerous mind control cult that destroys lives and it is using the Old Regime at St James as a sacrificial lamb with which to keep on going. PR men like David Boddy and Jeremy Sinclair may try to spin criticism away by saying all the wrongdoing was in the Old Regime at St James, but they will fail miserably. SES hasn't changed at all. Believe me, the internet will continue to warn people about the dangers of SES. SES simply will not survive by saying 'we had a little issue with our day school 20 years ago but all that is in the past.' You're in a mind control cult. You're destroying families. You're destroying the minds of children. Shame on you, indeed.

So, "deep silent complete" (sic)...... Here's some Philosophy for you:

We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again

Change it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fall that's all
But the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
And I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
For I know that the hypnotized never lie

Do ya?


There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now the parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQUAxN9S ... re=related

deep silent complete
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Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby deep silent complete » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:11 pm

ConcernedMum wrote:How constructive, wise and compassionate of you.


Thanks, I do try.

ConcernedMum wrote:The existence of Scientology and the SES is proof that people will believe anything and allow themselves to be treated very badly by others.


Scientology and the SES are no more ridiculous than Christianity or Judaism. Out of all the SES people I knew as a teenager at St James, I could count on one hand the amount that actually agreed with it and liked it. Most of the kids entered the SES through parental pressure, and they all couldn't stand it. The problem, as I saw it, was with the parents railroading their kids into joining the school. As my time matured at St James, the 'abuse' I saw in the 80s and 90s was defenestrated and had calmed down a lot by the time I'd left.

Witness wrote:SES hasn't changed at all. Believe me, the internet will continue to warn people about the dangers of SES. SES simply will not survive by saying 'we had a little issue with our day school 20 years ago but all that is in the past.' You're in a mind control cult. You're destroying families. You're destroying the minds of children. Shame on you, indeed.


Just in case you were insinuating it [I'm not sure if you are], I'm not in the SES and never have been. You still haven't answered my initial point on exactly what penance you'd like the school to pay after what's already happened in the last few years. It seems you're recommending an internet crusade against the SES which won't accomplish much in the real world, though it may prove therapeutic on some level for those involved.

Witness
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Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:55 pm

Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby Witness » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:42 pm

Read my post again as you've got the wrong end of the stick. Look closely: I never wrote anything like St. James must pay penance.

We on this message board will continue to make the public aware that SES is a mind control cult that ruins lives. The criminal abuse at St James was just one example of what SES causes. SES hasn't changed, and it is continuing to ruin lives . It is an outrageous lie when SES claims the criminal abuse at St James was just an aberration in the past and that SES has gone through some kind of reform and everything is rosy now. The cult caused the abuse, the cult carries on. The mind control and abuse may well have moved from the St James school to SES members' bedrooms and living rooms and kitchens, but it is still abuse. We'll continue warning people about the cult, and it will continue to lose members. Penance would be an utter waste of time, but thanks for the suggestion.

Goblinboy
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Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby Goblinboy » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:13 pm

deep silent complete wrote:(says some stuff about the children's school in London)


Same argument, and similar tone to the poster known as Anti-SES. Similar ability to go off on a tangent from the topic.

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Free Thinker
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Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby Free Thinker » Thu Aug 20, 2009 4:43 am

deep silent complete wrote:Scientology and the SES are no more ridiculous than Christianity or Judaism.



Really? You are going to compare them? Really?

I was never at St. James or St. Vedast, living in the US, but somehow I've managed to find compassion and empathy with the members here who suffered terribly at the hands of those schools and would like formal recognition and acknowledgment, from current school heads as well as past teachers, of all of the horrors that went on there, a clear apology from those who perpetrated the acts as well as those in charge when it happened, and a clear definition of why those types of punishments are no longer in use at those schools (and not because it was outlawed in '96.) That hasn't happened. If you have actually lurked here, I'm not sure how you've managed to miss this, or to miss seeing the half-hearted explanations, silence from a variety of adults involved, and "I'm sorry you thought we abused you" types of apologies from people like Mr. Boddy.

As for your "comparison", the secrecy, money, and power involved in Scientology and the SES are quite different from more mainstream religions. The texts used in Christianity and Judaism are publicly available and widely commented and discussed. You cannot read texts from the SES unless you are a member, and there is no clear definition of what happens in Scientology unless you also join. What is an audit? A session conducted by an auditor. Who is an auditor? A person who conducts an audit. Thanks so much for that great explanation, Scientology PR people!

I could go on and on about how they are different but I don't have the time or energy right now.

Witness
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Exit counseling

Postby Witness » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:40 am

I note that Clara's mother and at least one contributor to this forum have left SES as a consequence of Shame on You. There'll surely be a surge in resignations from SES in the wake of the book. I think we have a responsibility to look after the potential escapees, many of whom will be feeling deeply anxious, frightened of the outside world and disappointed with themselves for not having seen the truth years ago and for having been duped in the first place. As we've all seen many times before, feelings like this can cause distress and sometimes breakdown.

There must be a siege mentality at SES right now and I wouldn't be surprised if they hold a damage-limitation conference. Look out for unusual trips by your SES friends and family to the temples at Waterperry, Nanpantan, Sarum Chase etc. Members may be led to believe they are again under attack from misguided people who don't realise everything has changed at 'New' SES. If members are feeling worried and attacked, it is only natural that they will run to their Leader for emotional support, which he will be delighted to provide.

Has exit counselling > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exit_counseling < been discussed in this forum before? I haven't seen it here but please let me know if it has been discussed already. I think its really worth us discussing and researching it. The point is, us escapees are understandably angry and critical at the ongoing dishonesty and hypocrisy of SES, and want to stop other people -especially children- being hurt by the cult in the future. But our attitude may not encourage members to follow us to safety. They may feel that in our anger we are against them personally. This would play into the hands of SES itself. We must show potential escapees that we care about their mental health and that we (no matter what SES tries to make them believe) are not against them personally, we're not challenging or criticising them as individuals. After all, we're the lucky ones - they are still trapped, they are the victims and we have escaped.

There are several books to help people who may be thinking of leaving or who are having a trial break. The books also help us escapees to help more people to escape. One is Take Back Your Life: Recovering From Cults & Abusive Relationships by Janja Lalich. Another is Cults in Our Midst: The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace by Margaret Thaler Singer. Another is Combating Cult Mind Control: The Number 1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults by Steven Hassan.

Don't be put off by Hassan's populist title. It makes an extremely important point that we ought to take note of. Up until the 1980s some mental healthcare professionals used deprogramming > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deprogramming < to make victims break free of mind control. But it was a hostile method and used the same mind control techniques that cults use, but in reverse. While it is temping for us to scream and shout at current members, it is worth thinking how similar that would be to the deprogramming techniques of the 1980s. It puts cult members' defences up and doesn't work.

In the 1990s a far more dovish method was developed, which respected and understood the initial interest the cult member had in the organization. It simply showed the cult member piles of documentation and witness testimony (such as this forum does in the 2000s) and allowed the member to make up his or her own choice. It never, never, allowed the cult member to be made to feel stupid or wicked. This stopped the cult member becoming defensive and running back to their Leader.

I know when one looks at an Amazon page for a book, the website recommends other books on similar subjects. If there are any Amazon experts out there, it would be great if you could link and recommend the three books I've mentioned in connection to Clara Salaman's, so that people buy Shame on You and then have a way forward into e.g. Steven Hassan's exit counselling self help book. If they read Salaman's book with nowhere else to turn, its quite possible that in the emotional turmoil they'll retreat deeper into the cult.

Let's not let that happen.

ConcernedMum
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Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby ConcernedMum » Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:42 am

Good post Witness.
I have personal experience of getting involved in a group that gave me much, but ultimately I don't know if what they are teaching is in line with what they purport to be about and my involvement ended up with me compromising on my values (and being a bit of a pain in the bum to my friends in presuming to be on a better path, ha!).

The thing with all these groups is that there is always something useful in them - otherwise people would never get involved. And very nice people tend to be attracted to them - ones who are interested in deeper questions which don't get touched on much in general conversations. The thing i've found is that the more conversant you are with your own take on things, the more comfortable you are having those kind of conversations with everyone - it doesn't have to be limited to those 'good' company people. Everyone is good company if you have the right approach and respect everyone for where they are coming from.

Mindfulness is an incredibly useful tool, I have found, when used with kindness and not used to beat others on the head about, for example, using 'live in the moment' to avoid responsibility for what you have done and shift the blame on to the other person. Notwithstanding that living in the moment can be incredibly true and useful.

It is possible to use what you have learned in those groups to keep on giving in your life, but without compromising on your other values and not take on the deception, secrecy and lies that come with the good stuff, and then to form real and enriched connections with anyone, not just the approved 'group'.

ses-surviver
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Location: London

Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby ses-surviver » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:45 pm

Goblinboy wrote:
deep silent complete wrote:(says some stuff about the children's school in London)


Same argument, and similar tone to the poster known as Anti-SES.

LOL! definately not the same person.
Goblinboy wrote:Similar ability to go off on a tangent from the topic.

not unlike many posters here

Witness
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:55 pm

Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby Witness » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:23 am

ConcernedMum wrote:Good post Witness.
I have personal experience of getting involved in a group that gave me much, but ultimately I don't know if what they are teaching is in line with what they purport to be about and my involvement ended up with me compromising on my values (and being a bit of a pain in the bum to my friends in presuming to be on a better path, ha!).


What group was that?

ConcernedMum wrote:The thing with all these groups is that there is always something useful in them - otherwise people would never get involved. And very nice people tend to be attracted to them - ones who are interested in deeper questions which don't get touched on much in general conversations.


I agree. This point informs my understanding of SES. Personally I doubt there was ever a concious strategy by most of the the leadership and members to establish mind control techniques and elitism and the power structure and its corollary of abuse. The abuse came from the power structure and the ideological zeal which comes from the ego trip at the heart of all these movements. I think that like Communism and even Neo Conservativism, there are plenty of people who sign up at the beginning because they really believe they are on a righteous path. Then eventually they find themselves involved with an evil regime and have trouble admitting it. And yes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

So we've got to be very wary of alienating potential SES escapees by attacking their moral fibre or their intelligence. Many simply won't agree that they are involved in something sinister and destructive. Even when they see the proof we show them, they really won't like being made to feel stupid when they were sure they had set out to do something good... or even deep, silent and complete ;-)

None of them will ever have 'surrendered' entirely natural ego responses such as pride and shame, and we have to be mindful of that. On the contrary, we could praise their good intentions and offer our sympathy for them being caught up in an organization and an ideology that has run away with itself and is causing mass suffering.

ses-surviver
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Location: London

Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby ses-surviver » Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:12 pm

Witness wrote:So we've got to be very wary of alienating potential SES escapees by attacking their moral fibre or their intelligence. Many simply won't agree that they are involved in something sinister and destructive. Even when they see the proof we show them, they really won't like being made to feel stupid when they were sure they had set out to do something good... or even deep, silent and complete ;-)

True, most of us were smart and pretty moral individuals from before we signed up. ... and probably pretty obediant individuals too.

I believed and still do beleive a lot of the actual teaching. What I had a hard time accepting was having very little free-time of my own, the alienation from family of friends simply because they lived hundreds of miles away and I didn't have the opportunity to spend enough time with them on a frequent enough basis. Twenty years or so ago even making phone calls cost a lot (relatively) more than they do today.

I'm really not convinced that many of the duties and activities were of any spiritual benefit to myself, yet they certainly helped to maintain the organisation and in retrospect I feel that the SES as an organisation has gone down the route of being an end in itself. I'm sure a lot of that came from Maclaren and the other senior SES people rather than from HH. An organisation with a looser, 'lighter touch' with regards to the student and one that was less obsessed with maintaining its property portfolio would have less need of an army of workers that would have be kept in line, using what you refere to as mind-control techniques.

Tootsie
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Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby Tootsie » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:06 pm

Serving the Absolute = Cheap labour for SES I worked for 14 years and my wages came to nothing. What would the unions think? Exploitation, or I got what I deserved for being so gullible.

ConcernedMum
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Re: Clara Salaman / Live in the present

Postby ConcernedMum » Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:52 pm

Witness wrote:
What group was that?



FWBO! (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order) Quite honestly I don't see them quite in the same camp as the SES. Involvement is much looser and there is no pressure to become more involved if you don't want to. Ultimately I left because I did not trust that the Founder's take on buddhism was necessarily true to buddhism and included some of his own cultural baggage and as he set up a separate organisation that had little contact with other buddhist organisations and prohibited involvement by those committed to the organisation from involvement with other buddhist organisations, I thought there was an unhealthy isolationism. Also the founder's sexual involvement with young men who regarded him as their teacher on the basis that this was good for them spiritually always sounded suspect to me but ultimately how am I to know? I didn't like the denial that went on in the organisation about it and the effects of it were visible throughout the organisation in the personal relationships. Questions were often turned back on the questionner rather than acknowledging that there were questions to be answered. And they had funny ideas about gender politics aswell, men being closer to the angels than women dontchaknow :-)

The similarities with the SES were in the group dynamics, the gender politics (though less restrictive than the SES), a slight defensiveness and lack of capacity to stand outside the organisation and be 'self-aware' of the organisation as organisation and that maybe it carried more of the stamp of one individual, the Founder, in its 'buddhism' than was admitted. I think that has changed quite a bit since in the FWBO. Interestingly MacLaren and Sangarakshita are of a similar vintage and maybe are products of their english upbringing.

The differences were that they have never been secretive in the slightest about what they are at. The controversial text on women and men is published in a book and all the Founder's texts are published and openly available.

It did mean that my "group-think" senses were heightened so I copped on very quickly when I saw them at work in the SES members I met and I recognised the psychological tricks of defensiveness and turning the question back on the questionner rather than answering the question instantly - which saved my child from suffering longer than he had already.

So for that and for much else I am grateful to the FWBO. Including teaching me to meditate.
But if you are compromising on other basic values, that conflict will cause you problems for sure. And clearly if you are a child who is subjected to it, especially when it is mixed with secrecy and heavy-handed (and abusive) control, there are different issues.

I think when an individual (who joined as an adult) leaves such a group, anger is natural and its hard not being close to people who you were previously close to. But it passes and there's no point in having regrets. My belief is that being true to your core values will take you to much more interesting places. There are LOTS of lovely people out and about :-)


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