A Sad Story of Tabloid Journalism

I am not saying something new when referring to tabloids as offensive to logical minds. But recently another magazine has joined the crowd of mind-boggling, hair-raising and nausea-inducing “news” magazines: Vanity Fair. Calling Maureen Orth’s recent Vanity Fair story about the Church of Scientology a “piece of trash” is actually an understatement. Even trash is more useful than Orth’s delusional rendition of the truth. The amount of unverified and misrepresented data in this article hits a new low in current journalism. And it is not a surprise to find out that it was completely based on the usual anti-Scientologist crowd a la Rathbun and Headley. Not one person presented in the story was actually talked to.  Headley, who just lost a second time in court against the Church and is notorious for changing his story as it suits him, is the grand “source” for Mrs. Orth. This journalist is a lost cause.

To save Vanity Fair, write to its editor at letters@vf.com . There might be some hope that they come to their senses. But we have to tell them about the erosion of quality that is happening right under their eyes.

The Church of Scientology issued a statement on the article. It is very well worth reading:

http://www.scientologynews.org/statements/csi-responds-to-vanity-fair.html

- L

ARTICLE OF THE MONTH: WHAT IS NARCONON?

Article: An International Drug Rehabilitation Program Saving Lives
(Text from: http://www.scientology.org/narconon)

Global drug abuse has led to what can inarguably be described as a world awash in blood and human misery.

In reply stands Narconon (meaning “no drugs”), the drug rehabilitation and prevention program founded in 1966 and based on the discoveries of L. Ron Hubbard.

The Narconon program not only addresses the mental and physical debilitation precipitated by drug abuse, but also the reasons why an individual turns to drugs in the first place.

As a result, the Narconon success rate is not merely the world’s highest, it is four times better than international averages.

But with drug abuse now ruining 200 million lives worldwide, the battle to eradicate abuse must also include prevention. To that end, Narconon graduates and volunteers conduct one of the most effective drug awareness programs on Earth. To date, it has provided more than 17 million young people with the facts about drug abuse.

Scientologists helped sponsor the creation of Narconon Arrowhead. Established in 2001, this is the premier facility of the Narconon network. It stands amidst 216 acres of woodland on the shores of Lake Eufaula in southeastern Oklahoma. In addition to being the world’s largest residential facility of its kind, Narconon Arrowhead also serves as the international training center for drug rehabilitation specialists. Since opening its doors, it has provided on-site internships for professionals from 13 nations and 43 US states.

Today, the worldwide Narconon drug rehabilitation and prevention network comprises more than 180 centers and groups across 47 nations—double the number of a decade ago.

More on Narconon.org:

Support from the Church of Scientology and Its Membership

L. Ron Hubbard, who developed the drug rehabilitation methodology which the Narconon Program utilizes, was also the founder of the Scientology religion. While the Narconon program is a purely secular program which is open to members of all faiths, it has enjoyed the support of the Church of Scientology and individual Scientologists since its beginnings.

In 1966, when Arizona State Prison inmate William Benitez wrote L. Ron Hubbard asking for help, it was Scientologist volunteers who helped him to set up the original Narconon courses inside the prison.

In fact, the majority of new Narconon facilities established since that time have been made possible by the volunteer and financial support given by Scientologists.

It is an important part of the Scientology religion’s social mission to reduce the suffering and degradation caused by alcohol and drug abuse on a worldwide scope. Scientology churches join churches of other faiths in seeking to improve living conditions as well as the social and moral environments in which we live. As part of this mission, Churches of Scientology actively encourage their members to support the Narconon program, by helping to open new centers for drug rehabilitation or drug education and by volunteering their time to assist existing Narconon programs.

Therefore, it is common to find Scientologists from all walks of life volunteering to help the Narconon organization by conducting fundraising drives, establishing new centers and making its solutions known to people in need.

The Narconon program brings new solutions to the field of drug rehabilitation and education to all peoples of the world. Scientology Churches and Scientologists are proud to support this program.

More exciting facts:

Narconon and David Love

I just updated ScientologyMyths.info with some new information about Narconon. Check it out! 

Here is one of the articles (or, rather, creative copypasta, but hey, information is information!)

Facts: Narconon Controversy – Agent Provocateur David Love

Here are some interesting facts about the recent (August 2012) allegations against a Narconon facility in Canadian (Oklahoma), Narconon Arrowhead. It is from various letters to the media that were posted on media websites (e.g. Tampa Bay Times). All of the letters were sent by the Church of Scientology International.

Bottom Line: The current media attention on Narconon is generated by the same group of anti-Scientologists and their hangers. One of them is David Love, who I think is an agent provocateur.

See yourself:

David Love is an anti-Narconon extremist who has been trying to generate anti-Narconon and anti-Scientology in the press in recent weeks. Yesterday, he posted the following boast on a message board used by members of the cyber hate group Anonymous“Just spent over an hour with Investigative Reporter in Florida. NBC Rock Center this Thursday at 10:00 PM should be very good, but this reporter in Florida has ‘balls of steel’ and will not be intimidated whatsoever…the shit-storm clouds are about to open in multiple directions this Thursday – this Friday – and next Monday.” 

While we find the posting offensive, we also disagree with his characterization as a reporter of any metal would investigate sources who are vehemtly opposed to natural, legal, law abiding and well accepted practices of drug rehabilitation and discover how and why he must support drug proliferation.

Since you have become part of his “agenda”, it is important for you to report to your readers the facts about your source. David Love has engaged in a public relations smear campaign against Narconon since
leaving the program in Canada in October 2009. He has never been to Narconon Oklahoma and has no knowledge about it. He has bragged that he stole thousands of confidential documents from Narconon in Quebec. He has suggested in writing to counsel for Narconon that he is willing to cease his prodding of “numerous government and private investigations” into Narconon in exchange for payment.

In particular, Mr. Love sent Narconon and a Church of Scientology attorney an email stating:“I have a short window of opportunity to discuss a comfortable mediation concerning the numerous government and private investigations into matters before your organization. . .If . . .you are willing to sit down with my lawyer and I, it is possible that the issues at hand could be resolved amicably.”

This email was preceded by Love’s August 31, 2010 written extortionate demand to Narconon for $255,000.00. Narconon did not pay the demand. You are seeing the result. Earlier this summer, David Love flew to Belfast, Ireland, and posted a video recently expressing his hate for the Scientology religion: http://www.you tube.com/watch?v=hcoo6vGnosU

Recently, Mr. Love covertly went into a Church of Scientology in New York, illegally recording (without consent) an interview where a private Church staff member was attempting to assist him—the video reflects clearly his religious bias and his attempt— and failure—to bait the Church member into saying something Love believed to be negative. Carrying on with his harassment of Scientologists, he posted this recording on You Tube, as you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsgjaWHWfFU

Love’s recent correspondence to counsel strongly suggests that Love’s motives are not pure and that there is a financial gain to his using the Times to generate negative media about Narconon. It should be evident to any impartial media source that David Love has an agenda which goes well beyond contributing to improving drug rehabilitation in America.

He has partnered with members of Anonymous, he has partnered with antireligionists who wish to harm the Church; he is called an anti-Scientologist by media as you can see here: “Anti-Scientology activist Will Visit Oklahoma’s Narconon Arrowhead” (http://thislandpress.com/roundups/anti-scientology-activiston-his-wayto-oklahomas-narconon-arrowhead/): “A Canadian activist who told The Village Voice, ‘I think I have Scientology by the balls,’ is focusing his attention on the religious group’s flagship drug treatment center in Oklahoma. Narconon Arrowhead, located in the small town of Canadian—near McAlester in southeastern Oklahoma…”

In contradiction to any current claims Mr. Love makes, he previously lauded the Narconon program and credited it for saving his life. David Love’s daughter, Amber Wold writes that at the time she brought Love to Narconon in 2008, he was in bad shape:

“When my father contacted me in 2008 saying he needed my help as he was living on the streets and had no where to turn. David was in trouble with the law and had been arrested in November 2008 for Possession of Stolen Property in excess of $5,000 as well as Possession of Stolen Property under $5000 and Break and Entry. He was hooked on Heroin as well as other drugs and said he had been in the hospital because he had overdosed. He was on a waiting list for a treatment program in BC but really needed my help. I told him everything about Narconon and how they had helped me and I said I would talk with the Management and see what I could do for him.” 

The evidence of his convictions are public record. Do your homework before you publish his lies. His daughter arranged for Love to be brought to Narconon Trois Rivieres in Canada.

She describes the results as follows: “When my father graduated from the Narconon Program in April 2009 he gave an amazing speech singing praise of Narconon and how the Program helped him. My father David believed in the program so much so that he became a staff member at the Narconon Facility in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.”

You can see this video of David Love on how the Narconon program helped him, here:

BAM! Another liar bites the dust

Go make babies!

Marc and Claire Headley

On 24 July 2012 Marc and Claire Headley (whoismarcheadley.com) lost their appeal in a “forced labor” case against the Church of Scientology.

The Headleys had left the Sea Organization in 2005 and went their way until running out of money. So in 2009 they re-defined their so far fond memories about their time in the Sea Org for the purpose to get some money from the Church. The first instance already took them apart in 2010 and on 24 July 2012 Ninth Cicruit Court of Appeal decided again on it. Key quotes from the judgement:

- The Sea Organization is a religious order, participation in it is voluntary and those who want to leave can do so easily.

“The Sea Org is an elite religious order of the Church and acts as Scientology’s evangelical wing. The Sea Org demands much of its members, renders strict discipline, imposes stringent ethical and lifestyle constraints, and goes to great efforts to retain clergy and to preserve the integrity of the ministry.” (page 8398)

- Nothing and nobody forced the Headley’s to join, participate and stay in the Sea Organization. To the contrary, the Headley’s testified under oath that they enjoyed it and wanted to be there.

” Rather, the record overwhelmingly shows that the Headleys joined and voluntarily worked for the Sea Org because they believed that it was the right thing to do, because they enjoyed it, and because they thought that by working they were honoring the commitment that they each made and to which they adhered.” (page 8408)

- The Headleys could have left whenever they wanted to but did not.

“We emphasize that the Headleys had innumerable opportunities to leave the defendants. They lived outside of the Base and had access to vehicles, phones, and the Internet. They traveled away from the Base often. The security that they decry afforded them a multitude of opportunities to leave, as hundreds of other Sea Org members had done-whatever their commitments and whatever they may have been told regarding the permissibility of leaving. … They did not take any of their many opportunities to leave until 2005 and chose instead to stay with the defendants and to continue providing their ministerial services. They have not established a genuine issue of fact regarding whether they were victims of forced-labor violations.” (page 8410)

But they first chose to stay and then – as the last of numerous violations of agreed-upon moral codes – took a hike instead of leaving like anyone else would.

“Sea Org members learn that strict discipline is central to preserving the integrity of Scientology’s ministry. If a member fails to meet Scientology’s ethical standards, he may be disciplined with verbal warnings or rebukes, loss of privileges, removal from a post, diminution of responsibilities, manual labor, or expulsion. Sea Org members also participate in religious training and practices, including “confessionals.” In a confessional, a member confesses transgressions and may then be absolved or disciplined.

This demanding, ascetic life is not for everyone-and is not even for many of those who go through the Sea Org’s extensive training and preparation. A member may formally withdraw his vows and leave the ministry through a process called “routing out.” Routing out allows a member to remain a Scientologist in good standing. The process involves filling out a form and normally includes participating in Scientology ethics programs. Routing out can take weeks or months. During that time members are excused from their posts but are expected to continue serving the Church by performing chores.” (page 8399)

What, no Suppressive Person declare for those leaving the Sea Org? Exactly. Luckily the court cleared that up too. And what about the people that “blow”?

“Some Scientologists leave the Sea Org without routing out – a practice known as “blowing” – but the Sea Org discourages members from doing so. When a member leaves without routing out, other members may band together to try to locate that member and attempt to persuade him to return to the Sea Org. Scientologists believe that such an effort-known as a “blow drill” – is integral to their efforts to clear the planet and to help their members (even departed ones) achieve salvation. So important is this to the Church that a blown member may be disciplined if he returns or may be declared a “suppressive person.” Being so declared is akin to being excommunicated or shunned, and can cause blown members to lose contact with Scientologist family or friends.” (page 8400)

Obviously. If a friend of yours goes missing you would go looking for her too, right?

And in the end this turned out to be one of those sad “apostate” stories: The Headley’s enjoyed their stay and work in the Sea Organization and only after they had repeatedly betrayed and lied to their former friends they found something “wrong” about it.

- L

PS: The full decision for download here.

PPS: Update on ScientologyMyths.info

What is silent birth?

Geez, I don’t know why “Silent Birth” is being talked about so much these days but I wanted to take the chance to repost the FAQ on the subject:

Silent birth is all about providing the best possible environment for the birthing mother and her new baby. Its origins can be found in L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and are firmly rooted in a fundamental and abiding principle that women, particularly expectant mothers, be given the utmost in care and respect. 

A silent birth is labor and delivery done in a calm and loving environment and with no spoken words by anyone attending. Chatty doctors and nurses, shouts to “PUSH, PUSH” and loud or laughing remarks to “encourage” are the types of things that are meant to be avoided.

As L. Ron Hubbard wrote:

“Everyone must learn to say nothing within the expectant mother’s hearing during labor and delivery. Particularly during birth, absolute silence must be maintained and the more gentle the delivery, the better.”

The point of silent birth is NO WORDS. It does not mean a mother cannot make any sound during childbirth. It is doubtful that any woman could give birth without making any noise at all.

The principle behind not speaking during childbirth is delineated in Dianetics and to fully understand why, one should read the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. But to provide a brief explanation, L. Ron Hubbard discovered the hidden source of nightmares, unreasonable fears, upsets, insecurity and psychosomatic illness—the reactive mind. This part of the mind records all perceptions during times of pain and unconsciousness—which childbirth is for both mother and child. And words, in particular, spoken during these moments, can have an adverse effect on one later in life.

Mothers naturally want to give their baby the best start in life and thus keep the birth as quiet and peaceful as possible. That being said, a woman’s choice for her delivery is completely up to her and her doctor. There is no requirement to adhere to any specific routine. Just like care is taken in all other aspects of labor and birth, a woman and her doctor or midwife and any others present work out how to communicate without words.

Doctors respect the right of a mother to choose her birthing experience. Silent birth is not a medical model but a religious and philosophical approach based on L. Ron Hubbard’s research into the mind and spirit.

However, since the research, findings and practice of silent birth were first announced by Mr. Hubbard in the 1951 text entitled Child Dianetics, this method has been corroborated and applied by doctors, nurses and midwives world over.

The Church has no policy against the use of medicines to help a person with a physical situation and these principles do not preclude a mother from receiving any medical procedure needed to safely deliver the baby, including Caesarean section. These are medical decisions and these, too, are between the mother and her doctor.

I saw an accurate media report today – What is Scientology?

No shit, really! The Los Angeles Times this morning came out with a great interview called “What is Scientology?” And guess what? They actually answer the question!

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-what-is-scientology-20120712,0,2872139,full.story

Ok, without the help of Laurie they probably had not gotten the point. But it’s a start.

- L

Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2012:

What is Scientology? A Scientologist offers her point of view
July 12, 2012, 7:00 a.m.

The tabloids tell us that Scientology was at the root of the breakup between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. If the “sources” fueling the entertainment media’s frenzied coverage of the divorce are correct, Holmes realized Suri was reaching an age where her religious instruction would begin in earnest, and could not bear it. Neither Cruise nor Holmes nor their representatives are confirming any of this.

Regardless, the rumors and related coverage raise the question: What is Scientology?

Critics portray Scientology as a cultish religion brought to the masses via science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, one that allegedly encourages its members to part with the contents of their wallets in order to achieve higher levels of spiritual awareness.

But what about the other side? There are plenty of people who believe Scientology has helped them achieve great personal fulfillment and happiness — and no shortage of celebrities who say Scientology gave them the emotional foundation they needed to withstand the rigors of Hollywood.

We asked Laurie Hamilton, a second-generation Scientologist and ordained Scientology minister who does consulting work, to talk about her experiences with Scientology and to offer readers a primer on it from her point of view. She declined to reveal specifics about where she lives or works for fear that some clients might hold her beliefs against her.

What follows is an edited transcript of an interview conducted via email at Hamilton’s request because she wanted black-and-white clarity to her answers.
What is the reaction within the Scientology community to the Cruise/Holmes breakup?

That’s a little like asking what the reaction is in the Catholic community. Catholics as individuals may have opinions, and may know that Katie is Catholic, but I doubt that as a “community” they have an opinion.  Scientologists are nothing if not individualistic.

My own personal reaction to the break up was threefold. As a fan:  “Bummer — they looked really happy together.” As someone over halfway through the 37th year of my first and only marriage: “Wonder why they couldn’t make it work?” As a Scientologist: “Oh, great. Here comes all the BS, prejudice and ill-informed commentary again.”

Does Scientology consider itself a religion?

Yes. We believe in a god and in a supernatural origin of the cosmos — and that by doing Scientology, we can regain our direct awareness of the ultimate truths of things for ourselves.

What is Scientology? (Admittedly, this is tough to answer in brief. But we’re trying to give readers a primer on its basics.)

Scientology is a religion. It is a philosophy. It is a way of life. It is a hella-big toolbox full of ways to deal with life, success, failure, and life’s vicissitudes. It approaches life and living from the idea that there are root causes and mechanisms for all natural, spiritual and human events, issues and states of affairs. Scientologists as a whole tend to agree that L. Ron Hubbard (whom we refer to almost exclusively simply as “Ron,”) had a unique insight and a particular knack for figuring out these root causes and using them to develop a useful methodology for dealing with life, preparing for the hereafter, and achieving mental and spiritual clarity, strength and equilibrium.

What Scientologists are trying to do by way of their study and use of the subject, and by being counseled according to its methods, is to become more themselves, jettison mental and spiritual junk that they have accumulated over time, and to become happier and more effective in their lives so that they can retain mental and spiritual clarity and grow as individuals — not backslide and fall back into traps and misery that they knew before, and which is all-too-commonly the human lot.

We take the view that we are not bodies or minds, but that we are spiritual beings who have bodies and minds, and that the hierarchy is: Spirit is greater than mind is greater than body. This is a natural outgrowth of the idea that the physical universe is here only because we (spiritual beings in general, including you) are here, rather than the other way around. Theoretically, you and I are the ultimate cause of everything, though we have fooled ourselves over time into believing that we are not, that it is all being done to us, that the universe is the ultimate reality and we are just muddling through.

Can you talk about the role of Hubbard’s teachings to today’s Scientologists?

Part of being a Scientologist is the agreement held in common with other Scientologists that Ron had it right, that as to Scientology we will do it the way he said and not some other way, and that we won’t try to develop or change Scientology to be different or “better,” but we will adhere to Ron’s teachings on the subject.

Scientology is the body of thought as contained in Ron’s dozens of books, hundreds of lectures and tens of thousands of individual bulletins and letters respecting technical theories and procedures and organizational policies. Scientologists are people who take these writings as authoritative, and whose life experience is that they have found a way to a better life through Scientology.

You take issue with the portrayal of Scientologists as blind followers or believers.

A prime principle in Scientology is Ron’s statement on personal integrity, “What is true for you is what you have observed yourself. And when you lose that, you have lost everything.” — L. Ron Hubbard. That prime principle is one reason why you find Scientologists to be perfectly happy to disagree with each other about nearly anything. It reminds me of the Jewish tradition of healthy debate.

The Church of Scientology is the way we keep everything organized and preserve the fidelity and the practice of Ron’s writings so that we can spread the word, and not fall victim to gradual changes, and therefore losses in effectiveness, in using the techniques he developed.

Can you discuss Scientologists’ opposition to drugs?

Part and parcel of our principles is that psychoactive drugs are bad for you and limit your spiritual growth. Abuse of them can physically damage your nervous and endocrine systems, and this physical damage can make it so that you can’t benefit from our practices anymore. You’re just too damaged for them to work. So we like to speak out against the abuse of both recreational and “medicinal” psychoactive drugs.

Name three of the most basic beliefs in Scientology. What do members have to believe in, in order to be Scientologists?

There is no belief, per se, in Scientology, because folks are asked to come to experience and therefore know things, but not to believe them until they have observed them. However, some basic principles are:

You are a spirit (we use the word “thetan” to refer to your spiritual self), who has a mind and a body. You are eternal. This is not your first corporeal life, and is unlikely to be your last. You are basically good. When you behave badly, it is due to having the wrong answers about how to solve your problems, and/or because you have strayed from healthy and constructive purposes. Having done bad, one tends to limit and punish oneself in ways that can do lasting damage. Some of Scientology’s techniques are aimed at unraveling self-inflicted damage.

What is ARC?

Understanding can actually be broken down into elements of Affinity (liking or willingness to be near), Reality (sameness, accuracy or agreement with a referent) and Communication (the exchange of unaltered information). The increase of these factors increases understanding, life, “love,” vitality, success, camaraderie, emotional state, etc. The decrease of these factors decreases the foregoing. The decrease of one of these elements with regard to a particular person, activity, thing or subject, will reduce the other two elements. So you hear Scientologists talk about ARC — and when they do so, they are referencing understanding, friendship, cooperativeness, etc. It’s a little like “Shalom” or “Aloha” as a word. It multitasks.

What are three of the most commonly held mistaken beliefs about Scientology?

1) The belief that Scientology or Scientologists are odd, secretive, “different” in some way, or that their exposure to Scientology causes them to view the world through a filter, etc. We’re regular folks.

2) That we have something against medicine or doctors. We are some medicine-takin’, doctor-goin’ fools, with respect to anything that might be a physical ailment, and for which there is some known/approved medical treatment/remedy. Yeah, some of us think herbs, vitamins, chiropractors are a good first line of defense, but when a dog rips a hole in my hand, you will find me in the ER getting stitched up, and then at the pharmacy filling my scrip. Further, I may seek an “assist” from a Scientologist friend to help me not be bogged down by trauma or “phantom” pains from the bite. Or, I might just see the doc and get the antibiotics and leave it at that.

3) I gotta say, I recently read an article which named Tom Cruise as the “No. 2 or 3 ranking” Scientologist. What? He’s not even a Scientology staffer or anything like that. How’s he gonna have a “rank?” He’s a private Scientologist like me — except I’ve BEEN on staff, and he never has, to my knowledge. This is all tied up in this weird idea that Scientology or Scientologists or the Church of Scientology somehow have some say in what high-profile Scientologists do with their lives, how they behave, what kinds of things they say, who they hang out with, what projects they pursue, etc. Hogwash.

Critics of Scientology bring up unusual topics such as Xenu and thetans and aliens …

You are a thetan. I am a thetan. Think of it as “soul” or “spirit” or “identity.” We have our minds and our bodies, but we are not these things. We don’t have mass or motion or wavelength or a position in time or space. We can perceive, and we can imagine/decide/postulate things. As such, it’s not useful to try to think of the real “you,” in measurable material terms. There is a general view among Scientologists that people’s personal histories predate the very existence of the material universe as such, and that had we not been here already, matter, energy, space and time would not be here. That view naturally subsumes the idea of ancient and future civilizations rising and falling over time, and the potential of intelligent life in more than one place in the universe. We do not otherwise take “aliens,” etc. into account in our daily thinking or Scientology practice. The vast, vast majority of Scientologists have never even heard of such things, except in the context of “how did we arrive at the state of affairs of human society today?”

Ron put forth some early theories as to how intelligent life might have happened to arise on this particular planet, and these theories [take] into account the possibility that you and I existed for a very long time before Earth was habitable and that the presence of water, carbon compounds, and the resulting evolution of life here provided an opportunity for you and I to be alive here rather than somewhere else.

The idea of the existence of timeless, deathless spiritual beings necessarily assumes that we exist independent of the state of affairs on this speck of rock at the edge of the Milky Way. It also implies that  it would be rather conceited of man to think himself the only intelligent life in the universe. We think of ourselves (many Scientologists do — if they have experience, recollection or perception they see as supporting the view) as spiritual beings who preexisted this planet, and we may not be alone in the universe. Scary, no?

Do you think Scientology is secretive?

No. The Masons are secretive. The CIA is secretive. Anonymous is secretive.  We’re a bunch of folks studying stuff you can access on the shelves of any library in Los Angeles.

Critics say the highest levels of Scientology are only available to those who pay large sums of money to access it. Is that true?

It is true that the very top levels are reserved for people who are ready for them. Access to very advanced principles can be either useless or upsetting to people who can’t digest them. As a person who has done most of them, I can tell you they are as controversial (from the point of view I had going in) as recipes in a cookbook. They are ways to look at, and to do things which leave one with a forever-improved outlook on life and existence in general.

Some people pay handsomely once they are at that level. I didn’t. I exchanged my labors and some little (not a lot of) money as well. Were I not giving something for what I got, there would have been no building to do it in, and nobody to do it. So I’m cool with that. I and my family are persons of very modest means. So were most of the people who were on the upper levels at the same time I was. And yet, there we were. I met John Travolta one day while I was there. Another time, I bumped into Kirstie Alley in an elevator. Sure there were well-off people there, and I suspect they were donating a good deal more than I was — because it was easy for them to do so, and they didn’t mind. I pinched my pennies and did the same stuff they were doing right alongside them. Anyone who really wants to do it can do it.

What do you say to ex-members who refer to Scientology as a cult?

I say “Good job of self-justification, jerk.” Apostates have to denigrate that which they formerly held dear. It’s a human psychological necessity.

Critics say some people join Scientology and become completely absorbed in it.

Adherents to a cohesive “theory of life” that helps them to define not only who they are, but who their friends and not-friends are, and how life works, and the reasons for everything, may get eyeball-deep in it because it is working for them. They may join the most hard-core adherents in a total dedication to the cause.

Some religions have monks and such who dedicate themselves to all-religion-all-the-time. Scientology has a small order of deeply dedicated staffers, adults only, which does not admit all comers. It’s called the “Sea Org,” (short for sea organization) because it began at sea as Ron’s crew on a boat manned by his closest supporters. The vast majority of Scientologists are grocers, mechanics, secretaries, baristas, cabbies and the like.

What are two or three things you would like people to know about Scientology?

1) Scientology is not “weird.” It is logically and internally consistent, and answers a lot of questions and solves a lot of problems. It’s not a plot, conspiracy or cabal, we don’t want any members who don’t want to be members, we don’t want to brainwash you or your kids, and we are not trying to take over the world. We would like less war, less insanity, less criminality; people who are free, kind to their fellow man, and not suffering from the psychic wounds that make some seem evil or without hope. We want people to be able to rise through their own accomplishments, and without harming others along the way.

2) Scientologists are not “weird.” We’re ordinary folks who do ordinary things — with a little more insight, success, and a little less upset than before we had Scientology, we like to think.

3) It’s not about power, and it’s not about money. No one in Scientology profits from it. We do insist that if anyone wants our help, that they earn it with work, or with some material contribution that we can use to keep the lights on, pay the rent, keep a roof over the staff’s heads, pay our “supervisors” (think teachers), counselors, clergy, etc., maintain our cars and vans, mow the lawns, provide private spaces for counseling and quiet, orderly rooms and texts, etc. for training, chapels for services and ceremonies, get the word out, etc. We don’t pass a contribution plate at services. We only ask those who are actually getting something to give anything. Everyone else is allowed to hang around to their heart’s content for no exchange at all.

 

Grand Openings Galore!

Today the Church of Scientology Buffalo will re-open as an Ideal Organization. In case you missed it, there have been Grand Openings of Ideal Churches of Scientology every week for the last month and there is no sign that the series of Grand Openings will stop any time soon:

Church of Scientology Orange County (Santa Ana, California)
Church of Scientology Stevens Creek (San Jose, California)
Church of Scientology Denver (Colorado)
Church of Scientology Phoenix (Arizona)

coming up today: Church of Scientology Buffalo, New York!


(Buffalo News, 30 June 2012)

PS: If you lose track where the new Churches are, check out the Global Locator on Scientology.org. Very handy!

PS2: Press release on Buffalo Grand Opening: http://www.scientologynews.org/press-releases/grand-opening-scientology-ideal-organization-buffalo-new-york.html

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    Pingvallakirkja  (Church) at Þingvellir National Park , South West Iceland - July 2012

    Bone and skull

    Bihać

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