Journeys: Jethro Cadbury

Date: May 17, 2003
Email: None

I was asked on an internet forum which is an exers forum (not F7) the following question and decided to use my answer as a basis for my journey which I have not done up to now. I hope someone finds it useful.

"What was the basis or foundation of the cult? To have kept you there for so long, I can imagine how difficult it must have been to change your views on it."

Ok I'll try and answer as concisely as possible.

The basis was that to experience God or The Truth, you needed to be shown how. And the experience of God can only be shown by a living teacher (master) who is the living lord. This is exactly how I was introduced to it.

When 'initiated' into this experience, you are shown four techniques of 'going inside' (meditation). Actually what is shown is four meditation techniques which, I later found out, are shown by loads of groups, not necessarily religious/spiritual.

I had never meditated before and had no contact with the various other groups that were around at the time(early 70s).

Well, the meditation 'worked' for me. I started having experiences and totally believed that Maharaji (Prem Rawat) was responsible for these experiences. I believed that he was 'the living lord'. So I gave my life to this person and his 'work'.

I suppose I was a bit like a Jehovah's Witness. I only worked so that money could be sent to him and his organisation. I only mixed with non-premies for the purpose of propagation (after all they didn't 'know' the Truth and I did (oy vey!!, what a responsibility!)).

This went on through the 70s and into the 80s when I began to notice things in the organisation that I couldn't gel with. For instance all the literature/movies/videos that were produced in the 70s and early 80 we were told to either destroy or 'hand in'. I could not understand this and told myself that this was an aberration in the organisation and not Prem Rawat, who in fact had ordered them destroyed or handed in. We were also told that we were no longer allowed to discuss our experience with anyone. Only Prem Rawat or his appointees could speak about this. So I more or less stopped speaking. I was told that that which is most important and precious to me, I was not allowed to speak about. So I guess from that point, since I couldn't speak about it, I began to THINK about it (oh yes in this cult 'thinking' is frowned upon as the mind is our enemy).

I was really stuck in a dilemma. Here I was, knowing that God Himself was on Earth, and I wasn’t allowed to speak about it AND I could not stand his organisation. This was mainly because of the demeaning way people were treated by those running the organisation.

All I know is that from about 1985-1996, I felt really isolated, then one day I found myself saying to someone "don't go and see Maharaji”. I totally shocked myself. (It would be like a Christian Fundie saying that Jesus is Satan!) and was sure that I would be sent some hellish place or even be destroyed. So, metaphorically speaking, I closed my eyes tight and waited for the lightning to strike, and after sometime when I saw that there was no lightning, I slowly opened my eyes and saw that there was nothing there that could hurt me. In fact it was a beautiful day. (That took me about 4 or 5 years.)

During that time I tried to open myself to other beliefs and nearly became, Bahai, a Muslim, a religious Jew (again!), a Jehovah's Witness, but I just couldn’t hack any of them. Without discussing here their various belief systems, I saw the same pattern in organised religion as I had seen in my own little cult.

In 1997 I finally admitted to myself that I was an ex-er. The good part was when I admitted it to everyone else as well. It wasn’t as hard as one might think.

Now at the age of 55, I am feeling myself again after nearly 30 years and the only rule I try and follow ‘religiously’ is “To thine own self be true”.

What a cult like this does is destroy a person’s belief in their own innate goodness. I feel like I was ‘spiritually raped’ and have had over half my life stolen from me. I have never damaged myself physically, but seriously considered suicide as I saw no way out.

I had some counselling / therapy and am happy to say that I am no longer on anti-depressants (which I was prescribed for four years). I still have my ups and downs, just like anyone else does.

As Joe Cocker said in that lovely song from the film “An officer and a gentleman”, I am just really glad to be here (alive) today. And I really mean that. Jethro (formerly Eddie Fisher)

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