l like hearing deconversion stories. Deconversion, as I've noted, is as natural as conversion.
Here's a tale that came to me in an email message. Jesse was pleased to let me share it with others. Thanks, Jesse. I've added a few explanations of unfamiliar terms [in brackets].
Since your blog is the go-to place for anti-Radha Soami Satsang Beas stuff I thought I'd share this with you, you fuckadilly pigfuck. (I'm kidding. That's an insulting and hilarious line directed at you from a hater who left a comment on your I Hate Church of the Churchless site.)
Anyway, I'm not sure how to articulate this but I'll try.
Earlier today a friend and I went to the local Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB) meeting in Minnesota. I'd decided to donate two boxes of RSSB books which I had already read. I never thought anything about donating the books since I'd been collecting free books and magazines for years.
Though I hadn't attended satsang [meeting of RSSB devotees] in a long time, I thought this practice was still kosher and encouraged since giving free shit to people -- ESPECIALLY free RSSB propaganda -- couldn't be wrong.
Or could it? Needless to say I was mistaken.
With arms full of boxes of books I approached the local RSSB chapter secretary and asked where I could put the books. She as well as another local satsangi [RSSB initiate] simultaneously replied "Donating books has become a big problem. A really big problem."
I asked "Why? I've been getting free books for years." "Well, we have to ship them back to Fayetteville (or some other town?), and also since the books are already so cheap we can't just give them away."
This sent me into severe aggravation for whatever reason. I said, "So the Guru needs more money?"
I think they are so used to everyone agreeing with them about everything that my taunting actually shocked them. Both the secretary and the other guy started rattling off more excuses as to why giving away free books was not halal [permissible] and they advised that I "give them to Half Price Books (local used book store) but.."
This was my favorite part. "Don't accept any money for them because it sort of goes against the vows you've taken." Interesting.
RSSB vows as I remember: Meditation, clean moral life, no drugs or alcohol, no meat, do seva [volunteer work], give charity (which was code for giving to the Guru). Can someone explain how selling a book that is unclean for redistribution in a sacred RSSB hotel satsang is against the vows?
I think you could imagine the faces and tones that were projecting from these people was all the more convincing of their complete brainwashing, but no words could describe it. As I was leaving I told them that I didn't believe in those vows. One of them sort of rolled his eyes in that "Let's not waste our energy on this non-believer" way that they do so well.
I left and decided that, unless I'm going with a friend or something, there will be no more satsangs and maybe I'll take Baba Ji's [the Guru's] advice that has been passed around recently and I'll burn the books. It could be the great cleansing ritual that I've needed for a long time.
I've been straddling the line for years and that pushed me over the edge. It's a strange feeling to admit that I was part of a weird cult and it's slightly scary to think of how I will fill the gaps that blind faith had been filling. Maybe the metaphor would read like I've grown out of my Guru will save me security blanket.
Thanks for keeping the Church of the Churchless going for all these years. I've come back to it many times for inspiration and to open my eyes. I think you and some of your frequent contributers like Tara and more recently the articles by Waking Now have been a lifesaver.
That may be literal. Somehow I suspect that this fear and guilt I've felt for so long is rooted in Radha Soami Satsang Beas. We'll see how I do without it.
Take Care, Jesse
I'm confident you'll do just fine, Jesse. Absolutely fine.
Truth, meaning, well-being, happiness -- these don't reside within the confines of any organized religion, spiritual faith, or mystic practice. The dogmatic boundaries people put around reality aren't real.