by James C. Stephens


Monday, February 26, 1979

Jamesinfrontoftemple

Russ Isobe (Brass Band), Jim Jay (District Leader), James Stephens, and Bruce Barnes (my best man) doing some type of activity at Myohoji Temple around the time of the New York Convention in 1976..

Last night Russ Dilando, Jim Jay, and Paul Diamond called me to enlist my support for their Monday morning speech at the staff’s weekly meeting. (North American Headquarters Staff Meeting in Santa Monica on 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica).

Immediately after Mr. Williams finished morning Gongyo,  Jim Jay went to the front and asked for people’s attention. He said he wanted to say a few words regarding Mr. Williams recent visit to Seattle. First he asked if any one minded him talking. They said nothing. I said, please speak. Everyone looked at me. No loyalty to Jim from anyone in the organization even though he worked there for three years. Mr. Williams asked if he could talk, no one said anything. I’m sure they fear for their jobs.

He (Jim Jay) talked of what happened when he asked Mr. Williams about his salary. He said he wasn’t going to tell him and would not and that it was none of his business. He (Jim Jay) said that he was on staff for three years.


Notes: The notes above are all I recorded at the time. Here’s what I remember about the event.  Jim Jay was my leader for a time in Sepulveda Chapter as was Russ Dilando. Paul Diamond was one of my members. Chico Olivera another member of Sepulveda Chapter was there as well.

File3382

Sue Bennett, Sue Nigh, Chico Olivera, Paul Diamond, Paul Wilkes, Purdy Tapola, Gary Shelton, Dave Creek, Larry,  (That’s all I remember–Sepulveda Chapter)

We were all Youth Division leaders and very zealous radical students who went after our practice with everything we had. Most of us attended California State University Northridge.  As for the event at the Headquarters, everyone there (probably 80 staff) knew us all very well. We were fixtures at the Headquarters, leaders in Brass Band, leaders in the Youth Division, all graduates of the NSA Study Academy,  pulled Toban duty at the North American Headquarters, Santa Monica Headquarters, Malibu Training Center,  Myohoji Temple, helped build the Malibu Center, the Santa Monica Headquarters, members of the Soka Group, Traffic Control Division, Stage Crew at various conventions. In other words, we were not just troublemakers, we were zealous for kosenrufu and concerned about the direction of the movement. We had invested our lives fully. Held meetings six to seven times a week, on Friday’s we had discussion meetings which started at 7:00 pm and if there were no guests, we’d go to the streets and do shakubuku til we found them, invite them to our meetings and had meetings sometimes until 1:00 am.

So, when everyone in the room started swearing (I won’t repeat the words), others were saying “let them speak.” Probably Gary Curtis who had been a part of the Berkeley Free Speech movement in the 60’s. Finally, Jim Jay got up and started asking where all of our money was going? We wanted accountability.  After Jim finished up his short message, we realized we had been stonewalled,  got the message, and left, and went our separate ways.

Brad Nixon

Brad Nixon, SGI Organization Department Chief (screen capture from his son’s film about his life- Bladfold).

About three hours later, I received a call from Brad Nixon, former Seattle Headquarters Chief, who  was now working at the North American Headquarters in Santa Monica as the head of the organization department, who was a friend and said to me, “Jim, you better lay low.”  I asked, “Why?” He responded, “When I was going out to lunch I heard two men behind me, ‘Let’s go get our 357 magnums and blow these guys away.'”  Needless to say, I laid low. I failed to mention that I lived just across the street about three doors down from the North American Headquarters in Santa Monica.  It didn’t lessen our zeal for reform, but only fueled it. I won’t mention their names here, but will say that years later, I did confront one of them and he said, “Yes, I did say that and was very angry. My wife always said that I needed to get my anger problem under control and at one point held that 357 magnum up to my head and said I’d better. I have ever sense.”

We all get angry over things that threaten us and I hold no malice toward either one of them. Glad they didn’t go through with their threats, but I was always a bit on edge whenever I’d go to the Headquarters or General meetings.

Just watched Brad Nixon’s son’s film about his father’s life. I am very troubled by his passing. Our path’s crossed when he came down to Los Angeles for that once last chance. His warning did save my life and the lives of my family. Tough film. Very well done.

Brad Nixon. Bladfold, A Film about Brad Nixon

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Comments
  1. NeoLotus says:

    Wow! I commented on another blog post and thought to mention Brad Nixon but didn’t. And then I find this. I knew him. I was there, in Seattle in 1968 when he put Seattle on the map of NSA. I was 9 yrs old at the time. Later, he gave me Vol. I of the Complete Works of Daisaku Ikeda in 1973. I still have it. I saw Brad briefly when he was in Los Angeles. I had moved there in 1976. Apparently I saw him and had my own misgivings about the organization a lot sooner than I thought if he left L.A. in late ’79. I eventually left the organization myself in 1982. I’m glad I found your blog and this video. Thank you for posting.

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