Steven Hassan on Huffington Post

Have you been reading any of the articles about the current schizm in Sikh Dharma? If so, what’s your response as a 2nd generation adult?

Here is the op-ed piece by cult recovery expert, Steven Hassan. From there, is a link to a piece in the Santa Fe Reporter. The Eugene Register Guard also has a slew of articles. Below is the comment I left for Steven Hassan at the Huffington Post. I hope he reads it.

I’m often left with feelings of dismay and anger that, although there is word slowly making it to the public that 3HO/Sikh Dharma/Kundalini Yoga is a cult, perhaps now and imploding cult, but a de-facto cult nonetheless, no article has, to date brought up the experiences of those of us who were raised in it, shuttled about, and never even given the choice to “join or not”. These articles, over and over, simply express your own schadenfreud for the business-side of 3HO’s troubles, and the unfolding drama among its 1st generation baby-boomer converts. Not one mention of Sikh Dharma Foreign Education. Not one mention of GNFC School, or GRD Academy. One mention of Miri Piri Academy, that mentions it is a “training camp”. It is not a training camp. It is a boarding school located in India which runs ten months out of the year. To call it a camp is completely misleading.

This implosion is yet another indicator of the 1st generation’s callousness toward their 2nd generation – their children – and the 1st gens. willingness to suspend parental duties to please their guru, Yogi Bhajan. It is safe for me to say that 100% of us feel betrayed and abandoned. Perhaps those 2nd generationers who have remained in the Sikh Dharma community are experiencing this sense of betrayal differently, and probably cling to the faith even more. I still have a sense of comraderie with them – because we have all shared the same experiences as children. It hurts me to imagine them hurting over the things we did not start, and that we did not ask for.

So, enough of the schadenfrued. Enough of quoting Kamall Rose Kaur, who I am beginning to think is the leader of “the exes cult”. Enough of the fanatics who railroad blogs and forums as a soapbox to preach their version of what “true Sikhsim” is.

If any of us 2nd generation are to participate in the dialogue, it will only be after we are recognized as autonomous individuals, not as puppets. Sherri has asked me to go on the record if she is to write an article about the schools in India. Does she have zero clue about what it means to recover from an upbringing in an abusive cult? Steven Hassan’s approach is also problematic. What he seems to not understand is that the more one tries to “bust” a cult, the more divisive you are, and therefore the more futile it is. No one who is in a cult will ever admit that it is a cult! And the world will always have cults. One only realizes something is a cult after one has left – and then, the process of transition is extremely perilous and traumatic, that to have the cult-busters banging down your door to rally around their cause feels like just another version of thought reform.

6 Replies to “Steven Hassan on Huffington Post”

  1. I appreciate your comments and wrote something on the huffpost. I invite you to be in touch with me so we can talk. The next few weeks are very difficult, but after Labor Day would work. I humbly invite you to read Combatting Cult Mind Control and you will understand more of my perspective as an ex-moonie. I would also invite you to communicate with second generation folks from other cults. There are sites and blogs for ex- moonies, scientology and more. Compare notes, you will find it fruitful, I think.

    My office number is on my web site.

    Steve Hassan

  2. 2nd Generation testimony trumps all other testimony of survivors from YBism. At the Wacko World of Yogi Bhajan we have been gathering testimony for our online books for many years. A few but not many 2nd Generation X-YBers have contributed. We want your stories and they can be shared anonymously.

    As for newspapers, they want us to come out with our real names. Only Gursant Singh and I are out at the moment and involved in the activism of helping journalists. Since I have been feeding the various journalists all their data, I have gotten over-exposed in their prose. Never noticed, however, any XYBer doing anything I might request of them so if I run a cult, I am a failure.

  3. I don't understand the reporters' parameters for using legal names and "being out" — I read the paper every day, what about all the thousands of investigative journalism in which a source is anonymous. I won't give up my privacy to a journalist who has not examined the consequences of coming out openly against any group that causes harm to its children in this way. They need to examine the causality of the fear and the deeply embedded anxiety which is associated with any individual born and raised in a cult.

    Kamalla, thank you for speaking up for yourself. I do want to continue to emphasize that the many 2nd generationers who have since left often times feel at odds with the ex-3HO group of the 1st generation.

    I hope that my blog, with all my ranting aside, can illuminate the differences, but also clarify the similarities between us.

  4. Glad I am not the only one who thinks Kamalla Rose Kaur is running an exes cult. The Wacko World of Ex-3hOers. I get some good history and links on the site I might not get anywhere else, but it is a serious cult. How many years have they been together? 10 years now?

  5. Thanks for commenting. In all fairness and honesty, I was writing out of anger and frustration, about never having a place at the table. And while I don't particularly fall in line with the 1st gen. ex-3HOers, I shouldn't have used the word Cult in regards to Kamalla. To any survivor of a cult, I realize it can be an injurious word.

    I think my feelings around the 1st gen ex-3HOers centers around the feeling of being 'trotted out', just as we were as kids growing up, and my own mis-trust over it.

    But, you know, I don't come across many 2nd generationers who speak up openly and honestly about their experiences, or who fight for that place at the table. If we allow ourselves to be trotted out one way or another, it makes no difference whether we are in 3HO or out of 3HO.

    Wacko World site, albiet a useful tool, can be a spiral, or perhaps a less useful place for commiseration. But I don't think it's a cult.

    My apologies to Kamalla for the injurious blast of misdirected frustration. Sincerely, Kelly.

Comments are closed when a post is over 30 days old.