Accusing Our Community of Being a Cult
Why in an investigation regarding sexual misconduct, would AOB feel compelled to give a sociological evaluation of the organization as a whole, calling it a cult?
AOB claims that the reporters
“experiences conform to what authoritative sources list as characteristics of cults and how people are impacted in cult-like organizations.” The authoritative source they quote is an Integrative Psychology Magazine 2015 article titled “Recovery from church, institutional, and cult abuse”.
By whose standard is this an authoritative source and what is this opinion doing in an investigation of sexual misconduct?
Waxing Philosophical Regarding Celibacy of Spiritual Teachers
Page 51 (7.5 A. Allegations), AOB states:
“Spiritual leaders’ practice of celibacy offers benefits for the communities they serve. When a spiritual leader is celibate, they are free to redirect their time and sexual vitality toward nurturing the development of their students and toward service in general. By remaining celibate, they also free their students (and everyone else) from the potential frustration, disappointment, fear, clinging projections, jealousy, etc. that often attend sexual involvement.”
What is AOB doing here? Lecturing the readers on what the benefits are of celibacy of spiritual leaders are? Is AOB saying spiritual leaders cannot be married and still be spiritual leaders? Who is AOB to opine whether a spiritual leader should be celibate or not? This is outside of their scope of looking into the claims they were presented with. It comes off as haughty and demonstrates a bias in their analysis of the information they were presented.
Lecturing Us About Our Values
AOB continues by saying:
“As indicated in Section 7.2.3, allegations about Yogi Bhajan’s behavior include many activities that, if true, would violate the Sikh ethical standards he preached and that are clearly delineated in Vow #14 of the Sikh vows. This vow promises celibacy before marriage and prohibits sex out of wedlock.”
Here AOB presumes to lecture our community on what our ethical standards are. Again, this is beyond the scope of what they were hired to do and is presumptuous and disrespectful.
In conclusion, the report states:
“We offer a few additional questions for consideration: How could the voices of multiple women who allege sexual misconduct and abuse of power at the hands of Yogi Bhajan go unheeded for such a long time in a community rooted in compassion?”
First of all, this question itself assumes the behavior actually happened.
Second, if there was supposedly a “code of silence” amongst the staff and they kept all of this a secret, then how would the community be unheeding them?
Third, claiming that it was “unheeded for such a long time in a community rooted in compassion” is patronizing and insinuates that our community knew about these supposed behaviors, ignored them and in doing so were not compassionate. This is offensive and once again shows a large bias against not only the supporters, but others in the community, who also have only just recently heard of these claims.
These “questions for consideration” from AOB are insulting. None of the claims in the report were proven and in fact, they were not even investigated to determine if they actually did happen.
The report goes on to say:
”Is such secrecy beneficial to the overall goals of3HO/ Sikh Dharma? Going forward, can the community rally around Yogi Bhajan’s own advice to “Follow the teachings, not the teacher? Finally, we understand that accepting the findings of this report, that is, the likelihood that Yogi Bhajan engaged in sexual misconduct, will continue to be difficult for some individuals in the community. Nonetheless, we respectfully suggest that reconciling with this likely truth and the damage it has done to some of its own may be a way for 3HO/Sikh Dharma to move forward.”
This is disrespectful accusing our community of keeping secrets and using a statement by Yogi Bhajan to lecture us. Suggesting “reconciling with this likely truth”, is mind-boggling advice from an organization who bungled this report in so many ways, as were have been detailed out in this document.