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ScientologyThread Started November 6 at 12:56PM
This is a bit of a weird one, and I wondered what believers and non-believers thought of it.
Scientology doesn't seem to involve an actual deity. In many ways, it's reminiscent of odd cults like Heaven's gate, but unlike many such cults it has an incredibly large following, and is very wealthy, and established. It has proper churches, with all the tax benefits that go with that. Part of its success is due to having a high-profile founder, and is supported by many celebrities.
It seems to consist of a mishmash of ideas. Endless reincarnation, but if you progress within Scientology, you'll get the ability to remember past lives. The idea that, without Scientology, the world would somehow end (I'm hazy on that, this is rather a confusing belief system), and counselling which involves using a machine which they claim picks up your thoughts. Military ideas seem prevalent, the top practitioners, known as the 'sea org' wear navy-style uniforms.
Unlike many other religions, in Scientology, the way to enlightenment is through your wallet. You make it up through the various stages of understanding via a series of courses, which all come with a heavy fee. It is estimated that those at the top level will have shelled out over a million dollars on courses and books.
The founder, Ron Hubbard, appears to have started it off the back of responses to his sci-fi novels. I've a vague memory of seeing him interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, once, and saying he saw it as a way to make money, but I could be wrong. Whatever he intended it to be, it's certainly grown.
But it has a dark heart. Since the founder's death, David Miscavige has led the Church (his official title is Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), a corporation that controls the trademarks and copyrights of Dianetics and Scientology) amid controversy about violence and imprisonment of church members.
Ex members definitely talk of this church as a cult, and leaving it certainly seems hard. Ex members claim to have been followed and harassed if they speak out against the church, and there is footage of this happening to prominent members who leave.
One particular ex-member, Mark C. "Marty" Rathbun is a former senior executive of the Church of Scientology who last held the post of Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center (RTC), the organization that is responsible for the protection and enforcement of all Dianetics and Scientology copyrights and trademarks.
As the lead inspector overseeing the Inspector General Network at the international level, his official duties as described by RTC were to investigate and correct "instances in which departure from a standard, policy or ethic could betray an organization?s service to its constituent public"
So, he should know, because he used to be the one who had people tailed and harassed after they left the church. Now, he is being harassed.
What I find so creepy about this is how mainstream this incredibly secretive cult appears to be. It has massive headquarters, and is very savvy to the idea that celebrities generate business. Its prime poster boy, Tom Cruise, had bought his way to the very top, apparently voluntarily.
Ex-members describe the 'brainwashing nature'. You become isolated from your peers. Soon, particularly if you work for the organisation, leaving becomes exceptionally hard because your whole life has become the church. Your friends are there, your family is there, and outside interaction is not encouraged.
For those with regular jobs, who just happen to go to the church, perhaps this side isn't so visible. But one ex-believer talked of the huge amount of money he spent on books and courses, after being reeled in with promises of a path to stardom (wannabe actors are prime targets), and says the brainwashing includes being encouraged to believe that only scientology can save the world.
Whilst the organisation claims that ex church members are bitter liars, beyond these vehement dismissals of any accusations of brutality or pressure within the Church, it is reluctant to allow anyone into its inner sanctum to see that it is as harmless as it claims. It makes many promotional films of its own, glorifying its importance to the world, but rarely do any members talk about it. David Miscavige has given only one or two interviews in the 30 years he has been in charge, and though high profile celebrity members have talked about it, it still seems very secretive for such a large group.
Despite legal action being taken against the church on many occasions, it still holds its own.
If anyone can shed more light on this organisation, maybe they know members of this church, it would be interesting.
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Reply on February 12, 2018 10:37 PM
I think it's clear that anytime people are controlled by others...especially by using an "E-Meter"...
THERE'S DEFINITELY A PROBLEM!
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