Rebutting the Nichiren Shoshu Priesthood's Condemnation of the Soka Gakkai's Conferral of the Gohonzon 
The following is a point-by-point rebuttal to charges made by the Nichiren Shoshu priesthood in a document they published called NST News, Special Issue: Soka Gakkai Announces Issuance of Counterfeit Gohonzons, in which the priesthood argues that the Gakkai does not have the right to confer the Gohonzon on its members. Any special brackets "{}" include text we have added for clarity, based upon the full text of the NST document. "NST" is the acronym for the religious corporation "Nichiren Shoshu Temples" in the United States. 
NST allegation #1 

{Gohonzon issued by the SGI are counterfeit because} they have not been authorized by the high priest. 

One should never worship anything as a Gohonzon that has not been authorized as such by the High Priest, who has inherited the Heritage of the Law, even if it was inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin himself, or even if it is a mandala transcribed by Nikko Shonin or any of the successive High Priests. This has been a basic tenet of Nichiren Shoshu for seven hundred years (NST News, Special Issue, p. 3-4). 

Rebuttal to allegation #1 

(i) Nichiren Daishonin, in a letter known as "The Real Aspect of the Gohonzon," writes:

"Never seek this Gohonzon outside yourself. The Gohonzon exists only within the mortal flesh of us ordinary people who embrace the Lotus Sutra and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.... The Gohonzon is found in faith alone. As the sutra states, 'Only with faith can one enter Buddhahood.'" 
MW-1, p. 213
Here, the Daishonin teaches us that it is our faith that taps the Gohonzon's power, and that the locus of that power is within us. If we believe in the Daishonin's words, how can we accept the idea that anyone, by virtue of his or her assumed religious authority, can "switch on" or" switch off" the power of the Gohonzon? Yet Nikken would have us believe he possesses such power. 

According to the above NST statement, the authority of the high priest alone gives the Gohonzon its power. Even Gohonzon inscribed by Nichiren Daishonin himself, the priesthood asserts, have power only by dint of Nikken's permission. Are we therefore supposed to believe that the Dai-Gohonzon, which the Daishonin bestowed upon all humanity, has power only by virtue of Nikken's authority? What would Nichiren Daishonin think of this statement? 

(ii) The Gohonzon issued by the SGI will be reproduced from a Gohonzon transcribed by Nichikan, the 26th high priest of Taiseki-ji, based upon the Dai-Gohonzon. In terms of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, it is obviously a valid object of worship. 

(iii) The Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon for all people throughout the world. This is exemplified in the Daishonin's words, 

"Showing profound compassion for those ignorant of the gem of ichinen sanzen, the True Buddha wrapped it within the single phrase Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, with which he then adorned the necks of those living in the Latter Day." 
MW-1, p. 82 
Especially for those who sincerely sought to practice his teachings, the Daishonin spared nothing of himself to inscribe the Gohonzon. He wrote to Abutsu-bo, a sincere elderly believer in Sado, saying, 
"Faith like yours is so extremely rare that I will inscribe the Treasure Tower especially for you." 
MW-l, p. 30
Nowhere in the Gosho does the Daishonin state that we need permission from a high priest to tap the unlimited powers of the Buddha and the Law embodied in the Gohonzon or to benefit from our practice. The Daishonin himself states, 
"Whether or not your prayer is answered depends upon your faith; [if it is not,] the fault in no way lies with me, Nichiren." 
MW-5, p. 305 
The Daishonin here admonishes us to depend on no one not even the Daishonin himself and nothing other than our faith to answer our prayers. As he wrote: 
"Faith alone is what really matters. No matter how earnestly Nichiren prays for you, if you lack faith, it will be like trying to set fire to wet tinder. Spur yourself to muster the power of faith." MW-1, p. 246 
(iv) In the past, many branch temples of Nichiren Shoshu reproduced and issued Gohonzon on their own without the high priest's permission. [See "A Historical Perspective on the Transcription of the Gohonzon,"] If the priesthood continues to insist that the SGI's Gohonzon are counterfeit because they are not authorized by the high priest, it would have to deny its own recorded history. Examining this history, it becomes apparent that the absolute, exclusive authority over the Gohonzon by the high priest is a "basic tenet" that exists exclusively in the imagination of the present-day priesthood.
 

 
 
All material is from the booklet Reaffirming Our Right to Happiness, issued by SGI-USA, and used without permission.