Why are ex-members poor sources of true information on Scientology?

Ex-members, called apostates, are an acknowledged phenomenon with known, predictable patterns, as documented by sociologists and religious scholars. To quote just one, Bryan Wilson, Ph.D. of Oxford University in the United Kingdom:

“The apostate is generally in need of self-justification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past, to excuse his former affiliations, and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates. Not uncommonly the apostate learnt to rehearse an “atrocity story” to explain how, by manipulation, trickery, coercion, or deceit, he was induced to join or remain within an organization that he now forswears and condemns. Apostates, sensationalized by the press, have sometimes sought to make a profit from accounts of their experiences in stories sold to newspapers….”

“Academics have come to recognize the ‘atrocity story’ as a distinctive genre of the apostate and have even come to regard it as a recognizable category of phenomena.”

This happens with other groups as well and even in marriages or broken friendships. The one who leaves sometimes goes a long way to explain how bad the relationship was or tries to justify that he abandoned his friends. This is a social mechanism and sometimes quite fantastic to listen to, but not a good measure to find the truth.
Some former members might complain about “bad experiences” they had or claim to have had. So, obviously they decided not to do something about it and left the organization. Maybe it was not the right thing for them. Just as most other religious organizations Scientology does not hold members who do not want to be members. Scientology practices do not work properly if done under pressure or false premises. So who wants to go, should leave or help to remedy perceived wrongs. Ex-members who try to make a living as “experts” on the faith they abandoned are clearly not neutral and not a good source for anything related.

An unbeatable way to find out something about Scientology is to go to a local church or mission and look around, get a tour and get informed. You can also go to a library and get a Scientology book. A pretty comprehensive book is one called “What is Scientology?” which tells about the Scientology belief and the organization structure (the book is also online since more than 10 years here).

There are also 18 basic books of L. Ron Hubbard in which he describes his findings and works in chronological order. Last but not least there are plenty of websites with free books or excerpts of Scientology material which the Church has put out over the last years. If you are more interested what the Church of Scientology, the organization, does and supports, you should have a look at the Church’s website.

DOCUMENTATION:
Bryan Wilson: Apostates and New Religious Movements
Kliever: The Reliability of Apostate Testimony About New Religious Movements
What is Scientology? Book online
Scientology Handbook online

Scientology Awesomeness! More Than 2,500 people attend Grand Opening of the Church of Scientology Portland

Here is the press release and several awesome photos:

NEW IDEAL CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY BLOOMS IN THE CITY OF ROSES

02-Scientology-Portland-Ribbon-PullOn Saturday, May 11, the Church of Scientology Portland celebrated the grand opening of their new home in the city’s historic downtown quarter. More than 2,500 Scientologists and guests joined city and state dignitaries for the dedication ceremony.

The Church’s new home occupies the renowned Sherlock Building on the corner of Third Avenue and Oak Street. Originally erected in 1893, the landmark has long been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Sherlock Building is recognized as among the most noteworthy late-19th century structures in Portland and the preeminent example of Sullivanesque-style architecture in Oregon.

The Church undertook the restoration of this Portland classic to preserve its heritage well into the next century, including full seismic reinforcement of all seven stories. The building now houses all facilities of a Scientology Ideal Organization (Ideal Org), providing the complete range of religious services to a rapidly growing congregation. The Church further serves as a center for members of all other faiths to collaborate for community betterment across the Willamette Valley.

Portland itself holds a notable place in Scientology history as the site of the 1985 Scientology Religious Freedom Crusade. In a movement that inspired not only Portlanders but also religious advocates world over, tens of thousands of Scientologists united in the city. For some 60 days, they assembled for peaceful marches, concerts and candlelight vigils, which culminated with a landmark legal victory for religious freedom in America.

In recognition of Portland’s new Church, Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, led the dedication. His inaugural address spoke to the history of Scientology in Portland and specifically the events surrounding a first Scientology Freedom Crusade of 1985:

“Portland was our test,” Mr. Miscavige explained. “It was a test of our resolve, our fortitude and determination to avert a grave assault on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. So when you look at where we stand today, remember it was all because our voices were heard 28 years ago.”

“In that respect,” he added, “your destiny has always foretold of the day when this Church would become a testament to what originally drew so many thousands to these streets. Namely, that our inherent right to spiritual salvation is intrinsically linked to tolerance, brotherhood and the right of every faith to champion the divinity of humankind. That this Church further stands for drug-free, crime-free, literate, moral and happy lives, is only the beginning; for with a hard-won right of religious freedom comes your responsibility to deliver that long sought goal of total freedom. And so I ask that you now extend your help to all who would dream of such a freedom, so they, too, may realize their destiny.”03-Scientology-Portland-Ribbon-Pull-2

Welcoming the new Church were Cornelius City Manager and former Mayor of Beaverton, Mr. Rob Drake; Executive Director of the Portland Marathon, Mr. Les Smith; Chair of the Inter-Religious Action Network of Washington County, Ms. Annie Heart; and Host for the national “Voice of Freedom” television and radio programs, Reverend Jim Nicholls.

In his address, Cornelius City Manager Mr. Rob Drake said: “The Church of Scientology has come to the table time and again for our community. Though downtown Portland has long been your home, your Church has always reached far beyond its boundaries in the name of help. And with your expansive new Church we dedicate here today, I know that this help will extend even further.”

Mr. Les Smith of the Portland Marathon recognized the Church’s Volunteer Ministers and their dedication to the city’s signature event: “Our American culture is based on the spirit of volunteerism. And it is with that same spirit that your volunteers have been showing up at our event for the last twenty years. By being here as long as they have, with their experience and with their understanding of our aims, they are invaluable. So as part of your celebration today, I want to acknowledge your dedicated corps: the world-famed Scientology Volunteer Ministers.”

Ms. Annie Heart, Chair of the Inter-Religious Action Network, spoke to the Church’s long-standing and indiscriminate work on behalf of residents across the state: “You have been a vital partner and leader in the inter-religious community. So thank you to everyone for being here, and for serving our county-wide cities and fostering partnerships and peace throughout our beautiful state of Oregon.”

Reverend Jim Nicholls, host of the national “Voice of Freedom” TV and radio broadcasts, honored Scientologists and addressed all present when proclaiming: “I hope you realize just how brightly the torch of Scientology blazes. I am convinced there is no religion and no organization in the world today that has done more for the fight for our religious freedom rights than the Church of Scientology.”

___________________

17-Scientology-Portland-Building-ChapelThe new 69,000-square-foot Ideal Org provides residents of the Willamette Valley with an introduction to Dianetics and Scientology, beginning with the Public Information Center. Its displays, containing more than 500 films, present the beliefs and practices of the Scientology religion and the life and legacy of Founder L. Ron Hubbard. The Information Center also offers a detailed overview of the many Church-sponsored humanitarian programs—including a worldwide human rights education initiative; an equally far-reaching drug education, prevention and rehabilitation program; a global network of literacy and learning centers; and the Scientology Volunteer Minister program, now comprising the world’s largest independent relief force. The Center is open morning to night for visitors to tour at their leisure and return as often as they wish.

The Church’s Chapel provides for Scientology congregational gatherings, including Sunday Services, Weddings and Naming Ceremonies—as well as a host of community-wide events open to members of all denominations. The new Church further includes multiple seminar rooms and classrooms, in addition to dozens of auditing rooms for Scientology auditing(spiritual counseling).

___________________

The Church of Scientology Portland is the third new Ideal Org to open in 2013, following Pretoria, South Africa, on February 23 and Cambridge in Ontario, Canada, on February 9. A parade of Ideal Orgs opened through the previous year: Padova, Italy (October 27); Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel (August 21); Los Gatos, California (July 28); Buffalo, New York (June 30); Phoenix, Arizona (June 23); Denver, Colorado (June 16); Stevens Creek in San Jose, California (June 9); Orange County, California (June 2); Greater Cincinnati, Ohio (February 25); Sacramento, California (January 28); and Hamburg, Germany (January 21).

Through the coming year, more than a dozen new Ideal Orgs are scheduled to open in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, England, South and North America.

___________________

12-Scientology-Portland-Building-Exterior-DuskIdeal Orgs reflect the fulfillment of Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s vision for the religion. They not only provide the ideal facilities to service Scientologists on their ascent to greater states of spiritual awareness and freedom, they are also designed to serve as a home for the entire community and a meeting ground of cooperative effort to uplift citizens of all denominations.

Other new Ideal Orgs opened in recent years include Seattle, Washington; Los Angeles, Inglewood, Sacramento and San Francisco, California; Dallas, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; Tampa, Florida; as well as Quebec City, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; London, Brussels, Moscow, Berlin, Madrid and Rome in Europe; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Melbourne, Australia. For a complete list of new Churches of Scientology, visit Scientology.org.

_________________

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

March 13: L. Ron Hubbard’s Birthday!

In Commemoration of the man who got it all started!
lrhbirthday
“For nearly a quarter of a century, I have been engaged in the investigation of the fundamentals of life, the material universe and human behavior. Such an adventure leads one down many highways, through many byroads, into many back alleys of uncertainty, through many strata of life…” – L. Ron Hubbard

http://www.lronhubbardprofile.org/

Awesome: Endnotes do not save ‘Going Clear’

What a nice surprise in the Washington Post! 

Endnotes do not save ‘Going Clear’

Friday, January 25, 2:58 PM

Lisa Miller’s Jan. 20 review [“ There are fads and cults. Then there’s Scientology ,” Outlook] of Lawrence Wright’s book “ Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief ” decried bias against religious minorities, yet Wright’s book represents exactly that. Forty pages of endnotes may have impressed Miller, but what they refer to are a collection of stale, unfounded tabloid stories, decades-old false allegations and rank speculation mostly sourced to a handful of bitter individuals kicked out of the church a decade or more ago.

The Church of Scientology has identified more than 200 errors so far in the book, ranging from the wrong year for the marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to the erroneous claim that the church owns a bank and schools in Clearwater, Fla., a claim Wright could have at least attempted to verify via public records. Wright also regurgitates news clippings without mentioning that the claims were later recanted — some under oath — or tossed out during judicial proceedings. So much for “endnotes.”

Miller’s review also failed to note that Wright’s United Kingdom and Canadian publishers chose not to publish the book, which speaks to the quality of his facts, allegations and sources. If a book tells the truth, would any publisher worry?

Millions of Scientologists around the world embrace the religion. Their experiences of happier and more fulfilling lives fuel the church’s international expansion, and our humanitarian programs help thousands daily. Since Wright began his research, we have opened 30 churches worldwide, a dozen in 2012 alone, and a National Affairs Office a half-mile from The Post. Those facts were not in Mr. Wright’s book or his endnotes.

Karin Pouw,
Los Angeles
The writer is director of public affairs for the Church of Scientology

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

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

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.

 

  • What is this blog?

    I am running a website, ScientologyMyths.info which deals with critical questions about Scientology.
    So naturally I am into finding answers to the questions that are constantly being asked all over the internet about Scientology, Scientologists, the Church, L. Ron Hubbard and the Church's leader, David Miscavige. I want to find answers from independent sources, not only Church of Scientology owned sites or anti-Scientology hate sites. So what's left? Court documents, photos and other reliable sources. Help me find stuff and ask whatever you want. Thanks!

    The easiest way to shoot a question over to me is to click here.

    Or search below.
  • Archives

  • Religion Photo Feed

    Walpole St Peter, Norfolk

    IMG_4749

    Borgund Stave Church Norway.

    More Photos