Interesting Religious Sects Japanese Golf Religion Part 2

About the religious sect known as Perfect Liberty Kyodan, history, size, and tradition of the Japanese Golf Religion.

JAPANESE GOLF RELIGION

Practices and Beliefs: Although most religions are secretive about borrowing doctrine from older denominations, the Patriarch cheerfully admits that most PL teachings are found in older faiths, primarily Shinto and Omotokyo.

The PL motto is Life Is Art. Followers believe that man's every act, from cradle to grave, is artistic self-expression; therefore, members practice every "art" from writing poetry to playing baseball or golf.

"Golf may not be a spiritual act, but why should it not have a spiritual implication?" one member asked. "When work becomes worship, religion is truly lived. Where art is expressed in total life, God is truly recognized."

The Liberty in PL's name represents freedom from suffering, conflict, and hostility. PL also preaches liberty to be oneself, but members must first know the rules before they can bend them. Members are guided by philosophies which teach them to efface their egos, practice individuality, and follow their hunches. The church also espouses 21 Basic Principles, committing each member to "get up pleasantly in the morning," live in harmony with his spouse, "not even to think of cheating or being unfair," "not complain about food," and "not be boisterous."

Daily 5:00 A.M. worship services remind members of their artistic obligations. If a member forgets those obligations, life is no longer artistic, and evil will befall him. Misfortunes such as sickness or divorce are considered warnings from God and are therefore blessings in disguise.

Because the violation of God's law causes illness, PL hospital patients are treated both spiritually and physically. Physicians pray with their patients, and each patient must complete a computerized questionnaire to determine the spiritual cause of his illness. Similar questionnaires are sent to 5,000 healthy members each month to avert illness before it occurs.

PL is one of the strictest exacters of money in Japanese religion. Before a convert joins, he must pay for his Believer's Handbook, his badge, and a six-month subscription to the PL magazine. Furthermore, members put daily "love of ferings" in "treasure bags" set aside for the purpose. The money is relinquished to the church in a monthly "thanksgiving" service.

The Patriarch lives a life of comfort, supported by treasure-bag donations. Nevertheless, he earns his keep. Any believer who has a problem of any kind is entitled to personal counsel from the Patriarch. And Miki's devotion has earned Japan's respect. He was elected chairman of Japan's League of New Religions.

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