T Nation

Scientology: Digging the Dirt


#1

I have recently been more interested in learning about Scientology. I want to know what the motivation is. I want to know what people see in it that makes them so passionate about it.

Speaking of it, when I hear Scientologists speak, they speak about 'it', but fail to describe what 'it' is. What is the 'it' in scientology?
L Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer and then made a religion. But it seems less like a religion and more like an 'organization', like Masons with a twist.
They claim they have all the answers, but I wonder to what questions.

Here is the worlds most popular scientologist. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Tom Cruise:


#2

Forced Abortions:


#3

L ron hubbarb when he recieved an award for his writing said we will never get rich writing science fiction so he wrote a religion and got rich


#4

The oldest and most successful confidence game in the world.

Can't call it the oldest profession, at least the practitioners of that provide a useful service.


#5

I think I've noticed your argumentative and disruptive behaviour in the group before. I think you need to have your preclear auditing done again because the E-Meter indicates you're still struggling with engrams.


#6

It's dangerous.


#7

Sounds like you know a lot. What do you know? Let's see if we can get these nut jobs to follow us around.

What I want to know is what the appeal is. I just don't see what's appealing about it. This 'auditing' is 'confession' with recordings and cameras and a lie detector and no absolution.
I feel I understand why former members are reluctant to reveal it's secrets. The make your life hell because they have all your information. You're not allowed to talk to your family unless they too are scientologists. You're not allowed to search out anti-scientology stuff on the internet. You're not allowed to leave, you have to basically escape, according to former members. It's a frightening cult. It seems to me very fragile. They are so afraid of being exposed that they will do almost anything to stop it. There's a good documentary on the BBC about it.
They are terrified of counter information.


#8

It's a classic cult that uses classic cult techniques to get ideological conformity. They always encourage members to cut themselves off from their families and current friends who are portrayed as disruptive elements in their lives who won't understand the real you and the new community.

They then use humiliation in front of the new community and threats of ostracization and punishments to get conformity. It's extraordinary the extents that weak and stupid people will go to - see Jonestown for example. They prey on the weak and lonely of course which is another trait of the cult. Terrorists use the same techniques to get children to blow themselves up.

During the Iran / Iraq War the Iranians would train children to walk across minefields to clear them for the troops. And the Palestinians in the territories have used them; Afghan and Pakistani Taliban; Iraqi al Qaeda affiliated groups and others.


#9

SM has recommended a book before called the "True Believer" by Eric Hoffer. I think quite a few of their quirks are straight out of the Hoffer play book.

I think I watched the BBC documentary that Pat mentioned. It is the first time I have seen a BBC presenter get uncontrollably upset due to interference. The Westboro baptist church were more open to scrutiny than the Scientologists.


#10

Part of any cult's appeal is that part of what they initially say makes sense; and the part that makes sense "strikes a chord" with some people. (Meets some need; and/or addresses some question; and/or appeals to guilt; and/or looks like a way to make the world better; and/or looks like a way to make oneself better; etc.)

I don't know enough about Scientology to know what part of what they initially say makes sense. From what I remember reading and hearing about it: my impression is they appeal to people's desire for self-improvement; and they start off with positive-thinking type stuff that makes sense to some extent.

(I am pretty sure they don't recruit people by saying, "Hey, join us and be a whack-job.")

EDITED


#11

Sounds like Jehovah's Witnesses, they encourage shunning a family member if they choose to leave.
I don't think any religion can be considered loving when they encourage something like that.


#12

Maybe that's really the distinction between a cult and a religion. In a cult, you are not free to seek information, you are not free to leave. In a religion, you are free to seek information and leave anytime you want.
Leaving anytime you want is rather important. If you are not there of your own freewill, then your faith is not real, it's imposed.
The more I hear about scientology, the more grotesque it appears to me. To hear Tom Cruise talk like that, makes me think he has lost his mind. But I think he really likes it. He may not be free to leave, but it doesn't sound like he ever wants to.
I guess it feeds his overly large ego. Making him think, where ever he goes, he's always the smartest man in the room. After all, he has all the answers. To what I don't know, but he has all the answers, nonetheless.


#13

Yeah, but when they go off on this Zenu and the body theatans crap... Well I guess anythings possible.
I guess the question is, does it do harm? Based on what I have seen, yes. If you believe you have all the answers and you really don't, that's doing you harm. It splits families, they harass critics, and they don't let you challenge ideas. The last part is the dangerous one. You have to be able to challenge ideas. The truth has to be able to stand up to scrutiny.


#14

Scientology has some of the best lawyers in the religion business and the good sense to have operated in international waters. Hubbard knew how to run a good cult.

Otherwise they are just another group of people swindling other people out of their money by convincing them to believe in nonsense.


#15

Well...

On a positive note; as a "Sci-Fi Junky"...I saw "Edge of Tomorrow" again this weekend (and loved it!); and within the past month I watched "Minority Report" and "Oblivion" again.

(Hey...I guess I like Tom Cruise Movies!)

Carry on!

Mufasa


#16

It looks like you only have to believe nonsense until you sign up, then they have you by the balls and it doesn't matter what you believe.
The extortion part is another scary part. Even if you believe in the ideals of the "church", why would you sign up with the organization? After all the extortion is well documented. Reminds me of the song "Hotel California".


#17

I would recommend reading "Operation Clambake" at http://www.xenu.net/

They have all the super-secret levels for your reading pleasure, obtained after various lawsuits and posted on foreign servers beyond the reach of Court order.


#18

I read "Going Clear" by Lawrence Wright after reading this WSJ book review. It was a good read. Incidentally, I picked it up just before spending a week in the hospital with my daughter, right across the street from the main Scientology building here on Sunset Blvd. I had a view of their building from her room. CREEPY.

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#19

No religion likes its believers to question dogma too hard. Some will say that they encourage their followers to "seek the truth" and "ask questions", but only if their seeking and questioning leads them back to the dogma. Name me one religion in which heresy is tolerated.


#20


Chortle chortle.