Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Exposing Scientology

I finally managed to sit down and read the long--but very worthwhile--New Yorker article on Paul Haggis and the "church" of scientology. It's a very interesting article, and it does what a lot of good journalism does--you'd recognize it if we really had such a thing as good journalism on a regular basis anymore--and allows the subjects in question to hang themselves with their own words. Every time "church" officials try to deflect accusations, they only come across as more evil, bigger liars, and more dangerous.

I remember the first time I had heard of scientology. It was the mid-eighties, and that cheesy commercial for L. Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics was on TV constantly. A man came to talk to my Sunday School class about scientology, and warn us about the dangers of getting mixed up with these people. He talked about audits, about what recruiters would say to you and how they would pitch the whole thing, and how hard it was to get away from these people once you'd started the journey. In the New Yorker piece, author Lawrence Wright talks a bit about people who have had to escape the reeducation centers and camps by, for example, driving a car through a fence. The man who spoke to my class said he was lucky enough to escape by--"like in an old prison movie," he said--hiding in the laundry and getting out of the laundry van when he was miles away. He talked to about how people from the "church" try to find you afterwards, too. I remember walking away and thinking that these were some pretty scary people.

Frankly, nothing's ever dissuaded me from the opinion that the "church" of scientology is an organization of scary people. And for every story I hear--as in the New Yorker piece--about reeducation camps and physical abuse and brainwashing and child labor and human trafficking and what I can only describe as the essential murder of Lisa McPherson, there are more that people don't even mention. I'm kind of surprised the article didn't go into things that are well-documented, such as Operation Snow White, the infiltration of the government in order to remove all negative mentions of L. Ron Hubbard and the "church," or Operation Freakout, the "church"'s attempt to drive an author insane or to imprison her on false charges of terrorist threats (whichever was easier).

Hell, Wikipedia has an entire page on scientology controversies.

Scientology would be utterly ridiculous if it weren't for the scary adherents who do their best to make sure that their cult operates in shadowy secrecy while being classified as a tax-exempt religion. These people are deluded. They are dangerous. And it's good to know that the FBI is investigating these claims of human trafficking. This is the work of a deluded, bigoted, self-loathing hack author who made up lies about himself, pulled doctrine and cosmology out of his ass, and spent years at sea with an army of teenage boys. And there are people willing to kill to protect it.

Scary shit, man. Religion is bullshit; scientology is the most bullshit of the bullshit.


The Frog Queen said...

Well written post. I too found that article interesting and informative. I used to live out where the were headquartered....we told scary stories about that as kids. I had no idea that they might be based in fact.

Sometimes monster are real :)


Kal said...

I thought that article was terrific too. I remember the series Martin Bashir did for Nightline a few years ago where the 'spokesperson', when called on their bullshit, walked out of the interview rather than talk about Xenu and the other crap that is really just a smokescreen for this cult. They make Jim Jones looks sane. They are also so deliberate with their evil. They know EXACTLY what they are doing. There is no mental illness at the top of that organization. It's all about having power over weak minded people. Tom Cruise is just the kind of human garbage that would be involved in this stuff too. You know that the death of John Travolta's son can be traced back to Scientology and their ideas about psychiatry and drugs that would have actually helped his son from having the seizures that killed him. And that is the least amount of blood that they have on their hands. Fuck Scientology. I wish we really had a 'V' to take them down for good. As it is I will enjoy the 'Southpark' episode that told the truth about this cult better than most anyone has ever done.

Dr. Monkey said...

I haven't read the article yet but from what I've read and seen about Scientology, you're right, it's the nuttiest of all nutty religions.

Hobgoblin238 said...

Tell me about it. I was in the Jehovah's witness cult for 16 years. I know a thing or two about cults.

Drake said...

I remember reading a story about how L Ron bragged to his fellow SF writers that he was going to start his own religon because that's where the money was.
I've heard many scary stories about this cult and who they hunt and recruit for their ranks.
I think they had a rule called "article 45" or something like that, where the 45 is code for gun and it was how they dealt with "traitors" to the church.
I don't usually judge people for what they believe in but with this cult i do.

Allen L. said...

I've been following the exploits of Xenu for years now. There are some great sites out there you should check out. exscientologykids.org is run by Miscavige's niece for kids that are trying to get out or are out.
And ex-Scientology honcho Mark Rathbun who blew the cult a few years ago has a terrific blog: http://markrathbun.wordpress.com/
There are so many others but I think you will dig Rathbun's blog.

Anonymous said...

Back in the 80's I worked at a Disney event, the debut of Lady and the Tramp on video I think. Anyway, the guy that got me the job warned me about all the scientologists at Disney Home Video and sure enough I got hit up by a couple of idiots. I kinda forgot about until I heard Disney was keeping fingerprint info on people who go to their parks which I doubt is connected but seemed insidious and scientology-like at the time.

Johnny Yen said...

Haven't had a chance to read the article, but I do know that an old acquaintance's parents left Scientology, and were pursued for years by Scientologists trying to persuade them to return. If you ever read Eric Hofer's book "The True Believer," he points out that this is the hallmark of true believers-- that they feel a need to reinforce their own beliefs by persuading others to join them, and that those who give up those beliefs are a threat to the emotional and mental house of cards that they've constructed.