Sep 12, 2017

A Recovering Monk - Digesting My Extended Adolescence

Nitai Joseph
Nitai Joseph
A Recovering Monk - Digesting My Extended Adolescence - Nitai Joseph

Recently, due to this newly released documentary and website created by a second-generation Hare Krishna member, the subject of widespread child abuse within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has been reignited on social media. After seeing some express bewilderment as to how these kinds of abuses can go on within a spiritual community, I’ve decided to offer my analysis on the subject. In doing so, I’ve found a lot of confirmation and insight in Esther Rockett’s blog post titled “Cultivating Sexual Abuse in Religious Communities“, which is in turn based heavily on the work of Father Tom Doyle. 

One reason these recent releases are stirring up discussion is because they show that despite ISKCON’s desire to present child abuse as a (well-documented) stain of the past, the problems continue, although they do seem to be less widespread. 

Please note that of course not all of the components in the following analysis are present in all places or at all times, but they are absolutely not anomalous, either. In fact, many of them stem from core tenets of Gaudiya Vaishnava doctrine and how ISKCON has instituted those tenets from its inception in the 1960s. While I set out to write this solely as an analysis of behaviors and attitudes, I found it impossible to separate those from the theological and philosophical stances of the tradition. For those who can’t understand the framework that has made ISKCON and others such a fertile place for abuse, I offer the following: CONTINUE READING

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