I grew up in the Brahma Kumaris and went on a regular pilgrimage to India as a child.
Some background of their teachings:
They teach 7 main lessons
They have God, soul, karma, reincarnation, a 5,000 year world cycle that repeats identically every 5,000 years. They have 4 major ages - Golden, Silver, Copper and Iron - then they have the confluence age, which is the present time, where the Iron Age (Hell) meets the Golden Age (Heaven). It is the time of change, purification and work so that you will be one of the privileged few that will go into the Golden Age.
Here are some links about the organisation and to those that have left:
what is it about the christian school you don't like?
Church everyday for 45 minutes. On Sunday, church is one and a half hour. Almost everyone is hypocrite. They go by the rules, and never by heart and mind. In science, teachers get emotional and open the bible. Kids are being brainwashed in front of my eyes. It is funny that I haven't actually met anyone that I would really call a "true friend" in this BIG community, and I am sure the main reason is their belief system. They blocked almost all websites, including all the blog websites and facebook. They give the same advice to every student, which is always related to God, Jesus. There are so many things.. So many that limits imagination, and supports dogmas. So many things, so many stupid minds and shallow ideas... I am very disappointed in humanity, because I have been living here every single day and night. In a way I'm glad that I learned the right way, which is atheism. But, I also think MY life would have been better and with less hatred if I never came here.
so true = you have a good point there. Sad that we can't change this.
Aria, You have an interesting story and your childhood sounds healthy. You have been at a christian high school for two years and you store, "I started to hate religion and religious people."
Can you describe what you heard or saw or felt that caused you to change your mind?
For me it was when I realized religion was not protecting me and my children, but in fact enabled abuse.
I don't have a NEED to believe in something in order to be happy or, simply live. Religion is alive because people have the NEED to believe. Just like the need to use the bathroom or eat. Belief is a need as well. I think it is sort of not cool to just not believe in a religion or something because it has bad effects on you. That means you never actually believed it anyway. You use it as a source to live life. But you should have found that source yourself, instead of following someone else' sources that are ridiculous...
Sorry, Aria, I didn't realize Alice asked the same question.
Your decision is a sound one; I respect your decision. There is no dogma, litany, creed, or scripture to atheism, just the realization that god does not exist. No lightening bolt will smite you dead, no stories of hell and damnation to worry about, no need to feel guilty for Jesus' sacrifice, no redemption.
We are alive, we are in the here and now, we can learn from the past and imagine a preferred future. We can make mistakes and life usually hands out consequences ... I can't eat another piece of chocolate because if I do my diabetes will give me a solid kick. Obedience for obedience sake has no place. We have information and knowledge and through our own brains and discover right from wrong as a function of growing up.
When I look to others for definition of right and wrong I discover I have all that I need to be the authority.
I missed the community, music, pot luck dinners, and retreats, however, I have all those things by creating a community that I enjoy and who enjoy being with me. So, life is better for me and for my happiness.
May you experience safety with good and trusted friends, and have a good life.
Thanks for all the insights.
What about recruiting new group members?
Were there proactive strategies like the JW? Did they just passively wait for new members to show up?
What was the composition of the group, did it attract both males and females? Old or young?
Did people decide to join or were there some kind of experiences like an accident or bereavement instigating people to join?
I don't have any figures on who attended - it was mainly women in their late 20's - 50's - with men at the same age - although younger men didn't seem to stay long, whereas women would be promoted and stay longer in general. The system preferred women as leaders.
It is a meditation centre for peace - and so most people would come because they wanted to learn to meditation and have a peaceful experience.
They have ongoing classes, programs and retreats to encourage membership.