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Sat Jan 19, 2019, 03:55 PM

A woman who grew up in same "high demand closed group" as Tulsi Gabbard (aka, CULT) explains what

it was like to grow up in the Science of Identity Foundation.


https://medium.com/lalitamann/an-insiders-perspective-on-tulsi-gabbard-and-her-guru-e2650f0d09

I also remember Chris Butler held this larger than life presence in my childhood. Everything I did I had to think about how it benefitted him. He was my parents spiritual master and they looked to him for guidance on everything, from what to eat, to how to raise their children, and they did it all without question. When I talk to people about the lack of questioning, they find that aspect odd. It is odd, but to put it into perspective, I was raised to believe Chris Butler was Godís voice on earth, and if you questioned him or offended him in any way, you were effectively offending God, and because we believed in reincarnation, that meant that you would be reborn as the lowest lifeform imaginable and then have to spend eonís working your way back into Godís good graces. So questioning the leader was spiritual suicide, which was seen as worse than death. So no-one questioned. Chris Butler also would ridicule the intelligence of anyone he didnít like, belittling anyone he felt was questioning his authority even slightly. He demanded the utmost dedication and loyalty from his followers and if he didnít get it, the punishments were swift and severe. I remember hearing stories of people who were told they werenít allowed to eat because they didnít make food to his liking, who were not allowed to sleep because there was a light making a buzzing noise in the house, and the follower didnít have the foresight to fix the issue ahead of time.

Literally everything we did had to go through Chris. If you wanted to work outside of the group, you had to ask his permission. No-one could get married without his consent. From the late 80's all of us kids were removed from public schools because he didnít want them influencing our minds away from our service to him. So from that point we were home schooled, until there were schools established in the Philippines. After that all the children were sent to the boarding schools there for intensive schooling. From the small pieces of information that made it out of the schools to me, a lot of the kids were traumatised by the environment, as it was almost prison like. Classes were on hygiene and cooking and all the ways that they would need to serve Chris Butler best. Itís only speculation, but I am certain that this was because places like the US and Australia had standards of education that the home schools has to meet, and they just werenít. They could avoid scrutiny by having the kids in boarding schools in the Philippines. I canít even imagine how dreadful it was for my friends who got sent there. I was lucky to avoid it. I didnít avoid the lack of schooling though, and by the time I officially left the Science of Identity Foundation in 1997, just before I turned 20, I had only received up to a 5th grade education.

From a young child I remember one of the main features of my life was the lectures that were sent to us via tape for us to listen to. Basically these were 1 hour long sessions of Chris talking about his beliefs Ė how evil and out of control gay people were, how women were inferior and sub human and should be controlled by their husbands, how messed up and evil the outside world was, and how his relationship with God was so special, only he could lead you back to Godhead (Heaven) and that he had so much control over his existence on earth, he could choose the moment of his death. We worshipped him, loved him even. Another part of his teachings was that all life is an illusion, and because of that all relationships were an illusion. We were encouraged to not invest in any relationships other than with him, so we were in effect isolated from our parents who did their best to not love us as per his recommendation, and instead looked at him like a surrogate father/messiah figure. He was this imposing force in our life that we werenít supposed to offend, which is frankly terrifying when youíre a small child. I remember having many nightmareís and a condition called sleep paralysis which can be brought on in times of great stress. My sister developed stress induced epilepsy during the time when we were supposed to be taken out of school. For my parents part, they did try to keep us in school for as long as they could, but when Chris heard parents were resisting him, his directive was clear Ė get them out or else. Every time my parents would try to take us to school, my sister would become hysterical and then she started having seizures. That was the power he had over us.

I really wanted to paint this picture of my childhood, because Tulsi Gabbard grew up in the same group that I did. She was subjected to the same environment I was. Sheís still surrounded by this group and calls Chris Butler her guru. This is why the increased interest and her rise to power concerns me so greatly. I want to be very clear, I have no issue with Tulsi, as far as I am concerned, sheís as much a victim as I am, more so because she was groomed from an early age specifically for the path she is now on. What I am concerned about is the control I know Chris Butler has over her, the influence he has over her ability to make decisions, decisions that could become law and impact a whole lot of people. I know what an abusive, mysogynistic, homophobic, germophobic, narcissitic nightmare Chris Butler is. And I know what kind of relationship he has with Tulsi.

SNIP

Tulsi Gabbard is in the same position, only the stakes are higher. Not only would she lose support for the position she holds, but she would lose her family, all of her friends, and this messiah/father figure if she opposed Chris Butler. She would be outcast from the only existence she has ever known. Thatís a hugely powerful reason to continue to please Chris Butler without question.

SNIP

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Reply A woman who grew up in same "high demand closed group" as Tulsi Gabbard (aka, CULT) explains what (Original post)
pnwmom Jan 2019 OP
Roland99 Jan 2019 #1
murielm99 Jan 2019 #2
Karadeniz Jan 2019 #5
Hekate Jan 2019 #3
fleabiscuit Jan 2019 #4
uponit7771 Jan 2019 #6
Cha Jan 2019 #7
WhiskeyWulf Jan 2019 #8
pnwmom Jan 2019 #9

Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2019, 03:58 PM

1. Article excerpt...

I grew up in what is now termed a High Demand, Closed Group. Most people know them as cults, but personally I detest the term cult because it usually conjures images of Kool Aid and terrible TV shows featuring Kevin Bacon. Thatís not what I grew up in. Instead a High Demand Closed Group is a group that has isolated itself from mainstream life and lives by the demanding and usually arbitrary rules set by the leader of the group. The leader is usually a charasmatic personality who encourages their followers to treat them as some sort of Messiah. The entire group dynamic is centred around gaining favour of the leader, who uses this dynamic in a controlling and abusive manner. In many of these groups the leader uses their position to manipulate their followers into performing sexual acts against their will, or in others, the relationship becomes emotionally abusive, where the leader verbally or physically attacks their followers, doling out increasingly severe punishments including sleep deprivation, starvation and physical self harm. The latter is the type of group that I grew up in.
The group I was involved in is called The Science of Identity Foundation, and it was started by a man called Chris Butler, who has variously been known as Siddhaswarupananda, Srila Prabhupada or Jagad Guru. His ďphilosophyĒ is a mishmash of Buddism, Vaishnava Hinduism and Christianity. Thereís around 1,000 or so followers across Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and the US. Chris Butler himself was born in Hawaii and from what Iíve been able to glean from my research, was a college drop out who started a small group in the mid 60's.

When the Hare Krishna movement started gaining traction in Hawaii during this time, he found it difficult to find new followers and instead of competing with the Hare Krishna movement, decided to take his current followers, along with a $20,000 donation, and join the Hare Krishnaís instead. During his tenure with the Hare Krishna movement, he struggled often with the leadership of the group (AC Bhaktivedante Swami who was his initiating spiritual master), and was repeatedly reprimanded by Bhaktivedante for publishing booklets expounding Chris's own philisophical views. This was heavily frowned upon, and when he refused to curtail his actions, he was sent away to a small temple in New Zealand. It was during this time that he met a fellow Hare Krishna by the initiated name of Tusta Krishna Swami. They became close friends and when the relationship between Butler and AC Bhaktivedante Swami further fractured in the late 1970's he and Tusta founded their own small group, bought a farm in Australia and all of his new followers left New Zealand for Australia around 1980Ė1981. My parents were amongst them.

I remember very clearly the plane ride to Australia, the mix of excitement and fear.

I also remember Chris Butler held this larger than life presence in my childhood. Everything I did I had to think about how it benefitted him. He was my parents spiritual master and they looked to him for guidance on everything, from what to eat, to how to raise their children, and they did it all without question. When I talk to people about the lack of questioning, they find that aspect odd. It is odd, but to put it into perspective, I was raised to believe Chris Butler was Godís voice on earth, and if you questioned him or offended him in any way, you were effectively offending God, and because we believed in reincarnation, that meant that you would be reborn as the lowest lifeform imaginable and then have to spend eonís working your way back into Godís good graces. So questioning the leader was spiritual suicide, which was seen as worse than death. So no-one questioned. Chris Butler also would ridicule the intelligence of anyone he didnít like, belittling anyone he felt was questioning his authority even slightly. He demanded the utmost dedication and loyalty from his followers and if he didnít get it, the punishments were swift and severe. I remember hearing stories of people who were told they werenít allowed to eat because they didnít make food to his liking, who were not allowed to sleep because there was a light making a buzzing noise in the house, and the follower didnít have the foresight to fix the issue ahead of time.

Literally everything we did had to go through Chris. If you wanted to work outside of the group, you had to ask his permission. No-one could get married without his consent. From the late 80's all of us kids were removed from public schools because he didnít want them influencing our minds away from our service to him. So from that point we were home schooled, until there were schools established in the Philippines. After that all the children were sent to the boarding schools there for intensive schooling. From the small pieces of information that made it out of the schools to me, a lot of the kids were traumatised by the environment, as it was almost prison like. Classes were on hygiene and cooking and all the ways that they would need to serve Chris Butler best. Itís only speculation, but I am certain that this was because places like the US and Australia had standards of education that the home schools has to meet, and they just werenít. They could avoid scrutiny by having the kids in boarding schools in the Philippines. I canít even imagine how dreadful it was for my friends who got sent there. I was lucky to avoid it. I didnít avoid the lack of schooling though, and by the time I officially left the Science of Identity Foundation in 1997, just before I turned 20, I had only received up to a 5th grade education.

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Response to Roland99 (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 19, 2019, 04:15 PM

2. She might not want to call it a cult,

but that is what it is.

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Response to Roland99 (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 19, 2019, 06:58 PM

5. Cult

The trump movement is often called a cult. I thought that was overstating things, but her description of the followers' unquestioning acquiescence and faith in the leader...who would've believed our society had so many zombies. Some psychologist should write a curriculum to help youth become more independent thinkers.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2019, 04:33 PM

3. This is horrifying. Bookmark for link.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2019, 06:04 PM

4. Wow. Thanks for that. nt

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Sat Jan 19, 2019, 07:28 PM

6. Sounds like FAUX news sans Shepherd Smith

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2019, 12:39 AM

7. More red flags..

Mahalo, pnwmom

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2019, 01:06 AM

8. This is interesting.

I have a special interest in cults, & I hadn't heard of this group before.
This is the DU member formerly known as WhiskeyWulf.

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Response to WhiskeyWulf (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 21, 2019, 01:38 AM

9. According to the article, there are around 1,000 followers scattered around Australia,

New Zealand, the Philippines, and the U.S.

They're probably concentrated in Hawaii, so most of us haven't been in contact with them.

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