Wednesday October 29, 2003

The Church of $cientology

Category: You Live & Learn | 10 Comments | Posted 0:24

Right, since I havenít done a proper ďLive & LearnĒ entry for a while, I thought I would do one about the Church of $cientology (Co$ hereafter). I know most people have vague ideas that they're "bad", but few know exactly why... and a lot fall into the "religious freedom" trap which in relation to Co$ is downright ridiculous. I'd think most of you have come across the Co$ at some point in your lives - most probably in the shape of their "Oxford Capacity Analysis", a personality test they distribute and use to lure people into the Sect.

Iíve been very strongly anti-Co$ for years, and itís become kinda topical now because one of the charities (H.E.L.P.) Michael Jackson supports with his What More Can I Give project has ties with the Co$, something I find extremely disturbing. I did a presentation in my French class about them years ago, so I will translate and update that for this entry. If you want more info about the Co$ I suggest you visit Operation Clambake, probably the most comprehensive anti-Co$ site on the Web.

PS - H.E.L.P. has now been removed from the list of supported charities on the WMCIG site.

What is it all about?

Right, so to start off I will give you a short introduction into the mysteries of the Co$... let's start with its founder, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, born in 1911. An absolutely mediocre person, a mythomaniac, and pretty much a failure in life (biograpy here). In 1947 he declared "If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." So he did. After writing a couple of science fiction books (without much success btw), he writes "Dianetics" in 1950. This book and the ideas described therein lie at the basis of $cientology, altho at the time of writing the book, there is no mention of a religion at all.

So let's have a look at the guy's ideas - superficially or we'd be here all day, but you should know that much of what you are reading here you aren't allowed to know it until you've paid lots of money and gone through extensive brainwashing. But of course it is all available on the Internet (something the Co$ don't like and have repeatedly been trying to prevent).

Right, our origins according to Hubbard: 75 million years ago, the evil prince Xenu came to our planet from a far away galaxy, known as Teegeeack, to solve the overpopulation problems on his planet. He brought the souls of many of his subjects. These are called "thetans" and are, basically, clams. So he deposits these clams in some volcanoes in Hawaii and Las Palmas and spreads them in the atmosphere with the help of Hydrogen bombs.

Help is at hand - from the Co$ of course!

So what happens next is that the thetans take over our (humans') bodies. There are good and bad thetans, and of course it is our duty to fight the bad ones. This is done, of course, with the help of $cientology!

The methods employed are taken from psychoanalysis, but of course adapted to suit the needs of the Co$. It goes like this: we have all suffered "engrams" - traumatic experiences from previous lives that we have buried in our unconscious. These are stored in our reactive mind. It's these engrams (the 'psychoses' of psychoanalysis) which make our thetans evil and turn them into body-thetans.

Now the Co$ offers so-called "audits" where the patient recovers these memories and confesses his or her mistakes. They often make use of an "electrometer" - some kind of lie detector which in fact measures how much a patient is sweating. These E-meters are also sold to Co$ members at exorbitant rates.

I don't want to go into too much detail, but basically, a member will go through different stages - first he becomes a "Clear", then an OT (Operating Thetan). He will then fulfill intergalactic missions and will one day reach divinity. There are different OT stages, the highest is OT8. Getting there costs approx. $300,000.

Ok, let's take a few minutes to have a look at some of the repulsive stuff that goes on inside the Co$...

Rehabilitation Project Force.

RPF in short. These are kinda the goulags of the Co$, for $cientologist with "low ethics". To end up there, all you need to do is doubt Hubbard's ideas, commit a professional mistake, not make enough progress during the audits etc... at the RPF you'll find extremely long working days, little sleep, you'll live off leftovers, you're not allowed to talk, and absolute obedience is required. You're not allowed to walk - you must run at all times. This can go on for several years! But that's not all, there's also the "Running Program", which basically consists of you running around a pole or a tree for 8-12hrs a day.

Lisa McPherson died of neglect in 1995: when she was finally transferred to a hospital, she weighed 49kg (108lbs) for 1.75m. She suffered from coronary thrombosis triggered by severe dehydration and forced bedrest, evidence of violence and abrasions as well as insect bites (cockroaches etc). The Lisa McPherson case is one of the most shocking and most widely known - you can find more info here.

Co$ and the "SP"

SP are "suppressive persons" - basically any enemy to the "church". Militant ex-scientologists, journalists that are too investigative, sceptic lawyers... the list is long. These people keep being threatened, followed, often sued. The Co$ spends approximately $200m a year in legal costs - not aiming to win, but just to exasperate their enemies.

Here's an extract from the Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin 7 oct 1962 (retranslated from French, sorry): "The suppr. person can be deprived of their possessions, and hurt by any means, by any Scientologist without them suffering any disciplinary action from the Co$. You are allowed to deceive a SP, sue them, or lie to them, or destroy them."

The children of the Co$

Children in the Co$ are said to be of feable productivity, therefore it isn't highly regarded if parents give them too much attention. $cientology also encourages abortion and prohibits members of their Sea Org (the Co$ elite, a maritime organisation) to procreate. The Co$ child nurseries are in a shocking state: scarcely furnished rooms, no toys, no books, smelly & disgusting urinals, kids that no one takes care of...

$cientology - a religion or a sect?

You can address the issue of the Co$ from so many different points of view and probably discuss it for hours. One of the most interesting aspects is that of its status as a religion.
What does this status give the organisation?

  • Exempt from taxes in numerous countries

  • The right to visit the sick, which are easy targets

  • An easy defence strategy: religious persecution
In the United States and many other countries, $cientology is indeed recognised as a religion. In Germany it isn't, where in January 1991 the Administrative Court of Hamburg ruled that the Co$ was to be recognised as a commercial organisation. Consequently, the Co$ have undertaken many attacks against Germany, notably comparing the treatment they received to the persecution of the Jewish people during the Nazi period.
It is striking however that in South America, where religious organisations are not allowed to own land, the Co$ is registered as a "philosophic society".

As a general rule, the case is quite complicated. The commercial status of the Co$ is pretty obvious. However, as Scott McGlare (an online critic of the Church) points out, the followers of the Church are of good faith and do indeed believe what they are being told. For them, $cientology is indeed a religion. And in fact, a mistake that is made all too often is taking action against the members of the Church - they are singled out and therefore driven even further into the arms of the Sect.

The Co$ and their famous members

I believe that it is important here to say a word or two about the celebrity members of the Co$. There are quite a few - Tom Cruise, Juliette Lewis, Presley mum and daughter, John Travolta to name but a few - and of course they seem to legitimate the Church (and that is their role) - after all they are not poor lost souls who run to Co$ centres because no one loves them. Now obviously these people don't receive the same treatment as the common follower. They do contribute to the Church as far as I know (and I suppose they do so because they believe in it?), but they of course receive preferential treatment and would never end up at an RPF. A complete list and FAQ about Co$ celebrities here.

Taking action

It's true that it is difficult to legally define the Co$ as a commercial organisation. However, once you inform yourself about the methods employed by the Church, you can't help but get infuriated. It is actually quite surprising that this information, freely available on the Internet, is not more widely known, and that not more people take action. It's true that the Co$ tends to intimidate their enemies, but they cannot be all that powerful - they are said to have 40,000-100,000 members (these are numbers from 1998, am too lazy to look up more recent ones, but they'd rather have shrunk than increased).

But even if there was no way of denying the Co$ their religious status, that would still not give them the right to violate human rights and abuse their members. It's hard to say how many Co$ members act out of conviction and how many do it for profit. It does seem in fact that most of those who harrass others do so because they truly believe they are saving the planet, even if this seems absurd to us.
However, even this good faith does not permit them to do anything they please: in the US for instance, you are free to believe whatever you wish, but not to practice whatever you wish. So even as a religion, the Co$ can be held responsible for their actions.

The Co$ lose a lot of the lawsuits they start or that others initiate against them. The problem is that there are not enough, and that most people (deliberately?) ignore what is going on. The Co$ profits from people's ignorance and often works under different names (as seen with the H.E.L.P. charity, or the fairly well known Narconon drug program). Which is why people must be informed above all, again and again. Those who know how $cientology works will not fall for their tricks!


Do people really believe this Xenu story?!

Posted by: squiZZle at October 29, 2003 01:16 AM

I assume they do. At the end of the day it ain't THAT much more incredible than the Earth being created in 7 days.

Posted by: Clarissa at October 29, 2003 01:18 AM

yes, but the difference there is that no-one really believes in the 7 days thingy any more, they acknowledge evolution, but they still claim that a god must exist to have the stuff together to make the big bang.

Posted by: squiZZle at October 29, 2003 01:24 AM

All scientologists should be lynched! Chop their heads. It puts a bad name to religion. How disgusting!

You know what Michael's like. He's probably not even aware of WHAT he's supporting. lol. He's two busy wearing Rock With you boots and mismatching belts and looking damn fine on TV!

Posted by: Jess at October 29, 2003 01:26 AM

Hm yeah @ squiZZ, but people still don't back away from it.
AND there are still people who DO believe in Creationism... maybe a minority within Christianity, but probably more people than believe in bloody Co$.

LMAO @ Jess. Yeah let's kill them all. Or let's kill the ones that make money off the weakness of others.

Posted by: Clarissa at October 29, 2003 01:29 AM

Why has it been removed? Was it removed after you wrote this?

Posted by: The BML at October 29, 2003 10:26 AM

"PS - H.E.L.P. has now been removed from the list of supported charities on the WMCIG site."

WAM's so powerful.

Posted by: Jar Jar at October 29, 2003 11:01 AM

LMAO no, I obviously didn't find out myself. Roger Friedman wrote about it.

Posted by: Clarissa at October 29, 2003 12:23 PM

I just realised that 'incredible' is the opposite of 'credible'


Posted by: The BML at October 29, 2003 04:48 PM

Posted by: Clarissa at October 29, 2003 04:59 PM