Thursday, March 30, 2006

Super Adventure Club

Here's a great post about the parallels between the "Super Adventure Club" featured in the episode that presumably killed of the Chef character on "South Park" and real-life Scientology.

Buying A Bridge

Here's a great article by Mark Ebner, who spent 11 days undercover while going through Scientology's "tech" and "purif" in 1996, spending nearly $3,000 on audits in under two weeks before leaving.

I attended one last Scientology function, called Auditor's Day '95, which, in short, resembled a Nuremberg rally for the '90s. No brown shirts present per se, but the lockstep uniformity of 5,000 Scientologists packing the Shrine Auditorium applauding to a slide projection of Herr Hubbard sent a chill up my spine as cold as the one I felt when I saw those children lining up for liquids at the Purification Center.

Warning: the article contains one of the more disturbing photographs of Lisa McPherson after her death. It's not for the weak hearted.

The First Church of Xenu

Though still under construction, a new satirical website, touting "The First Church of Xenu," is now online.

We, the true aliens of the Confederacy, supprt our wrongly imprisioned Dark Lord. As we speak our teams, comprised of millions of the best scientific minds that the Confederacy has to offer, are working on a way to disable the force-field to Xenu's cage. The rebirth of our Master is at hand. We will crush all who oppose us. Our number is many, our power is great. Soon the world will know the truth about our Dark Lord and Master.

Hail Xenu indeed.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ignorance Is Bliss?

Once again furthering the tired argument that the beliefs of Scientology should not be mocked beyond those of any other religions simply because the "church" is in its infancy, columnist Brian Hennigan writes in the Scotsman:

Scientologists do have good reason though to be sensitive. For some reason or other Scientology is routinely attacked as a cult or quack religion whose only divine mission is the emptying of its members' pockets. Those who get past the "personality tests" that are used to recruit members are always described by the Church's detractors as being "brain-washed" and/or subject to devious mind-control techniques.

Every year millions of Scientologists buy chocolate eggs and give them to children in memory of their religion's founder and his rise from the dead. Oh sorry, that's Christianity.

Flippantly likening the techniques and doctrines of Scientology to the practices of Christianity while assuming that critics attack one while accept the other, Hennigan is revealing his massive ignorance and his obvious lack of research outside of viewing a 24-minute cartoon. He nonetheless feels comfortable commenting on the subject, something no professional journalist should do. While the "Trapped in the Closet" episode of "South Park" mocked the stories about Xenu and aliens, had Mr. Hennigan bothered to do his homework on the matter before writing such ill-informed drivel such as the following:

And that is my point. The method of attack against scientology is basically to identify the more outlandish beliefs and activities and use these to undermine the whole enterprise. In much the same way that someone could attack Christians for actually believing that several thousand years ago someone got a big boat and rounded up a pair of every animal - have you ever tried to lasso one squirrel let alone two? - and put to sea until a dove came along with a twig to give the flood all-clear.

he might have discovered a thing or two about "the method of attack against Scientology" that, in fact, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with objections to to any of their beliefs or superstitions. He later continues, ironically:

The point is that Scientologists should surely be judged on what they do and not what they believe. And it's difficult to see what they are doing that is so terribly bad.

Ironic because what Scientologists do is exactly what has earned them so many critics. Sure, many people, like myself, may have a hard time buying a story that an evil galactic dark lord named Xenu horded the surplus population of the universe around volcanoes on Earth and turned them into Thetans with nuclear bombs who now infect the bodies of humans, but it's hardly the single basis for their criticism. Besides, it's not "difficult" in the slightest to see what's so bad about the "church." It's just plain lazy. Anyone with an internet connection and thirty minutes of spare time - something one can fairly assume a responsible journalist might find necessary to spend before writing with authority on any subject, let alone one that defends a dangerous cult - can find out the basic human rights abuses of which Scientology is guilty.

If taking money from the gullible is a crime then the people that run the lottery should be on trial, as well as anyone who sells make-up to spotty oiks on the grounds that it will help them look like Jennifer Lopez. And unlike some religions, Scientology doesn't have followers decapitating people on prime-time television or bombing abortion clinics.

Perhaps not, but part of the reason why this site was even started was for the sake of people like Mr. Hennigan, so here's just a crash course in why Scientology is a lot more than just a harmless little scam that doesn't hurt anybody.

Let's start at the beginning: founded by a megalomaniacal madman who'd been ruled mentally unstable by a qualified physician, with such charming character traits as misogyny, racism and delusional beliefs about his own mediocre accomplishments specifically for the purpose of making money. Described by his own son as a pathological liar, nearly every detail he had ever boasted about his life while he was living has been proven to be false. See Bare Faced Messiah. No need to read the entire text if you haven't the time. Merely skimming a few chapters is enough to leave you itchy.

Fair Game: Read all about this lovely policy here. If you can't be bothered, here's a precis: "church" members are allowed to utilize any means available to destroy Scientology's critics personally, professionally and financially. Current members claim the policy was discontinued in 1967, though memos from Hubbard indicate that his intention was to have it removed from any "church" documents to avoid public embarrassment, but make it clear that the policy was to continue in practice.

Bad medicine: Scientology's "Purification Rundown" claims to rid the body of toxins and involves high doses of niacin and long sessions in saunas, both of which have been proven to be harmful to the human body. They are peddling a junk science made up by Hubbard, a man with no medical training, as cure-alls for ailments raning from cancer to schizophrenia.

The war on psychiatry: Members with bonafide psychological troubles are encouraged to trust in Scientology's treatments, many of which have no medical basis whatsoever, in favor of soliciting the advice and care of a trained mental health professional, sometimes resulting in disastrous consequences.

Abuse of members: There are simply too many to list here. Here's a good starting point, where you can read all about the "Sea Org" and its practices and methods for dealing with anyone who has joined, signing a billion year commitment of service, who does not toe the line.

Harrassment of critics, police, investigators or anyone who questions any of their methods: Again, too many to mention in this space, but there's enough bandwidth on the internet for all of them. Here are some accounts of some of the brutal, even life-threatening, things that have happened to anyone who has questioned the leadership of the "church." There are also enough links there to keep a person occupied with reading for hours. Some of the stories you will read will make you sick, so be warned.

Finally, if this doesn't make you sick, I'd have to question whether you even possess a human conscience. If you were to even bring up any of the names of the people mentioned at that site to a Scientologist, they would immediately feign ignorance or unleash a torrent of abuse. That is what Scientology does. What it doesn't outright deny, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, it attempts to silence, often using sinister and abusive tacticts.

I don't care about Xenu. I don't care if they believe the Easter Bunny is the prophet returned. What I do care about is who they harm, and even worse, that they do so only for money. That and that alone is the basis for the time I invest in this site.

Still want to argue it isn't hurting anybody? Be my guest. It's your right. But if you ever decide you want to find out more, I invite you to enter any Scientology center and innocently ask your hosts about Xenu to experience some of this abuse yourself. You might not be as forgiving.

The "Church" Losing Money?

If it's true, this is somewhat good news:

Hollywood is reportedly pinning its hopes on James Packer to pull the Church of Scientology out of financial distress.

Heading the charge is celebrity Scientologist Tom Cruise, who has been grooming Packer to give his money - and now the proceeds of Kerry's empire - to the church, the New York Post has reported. Scientology is having difficulty attracting new members thanks to a growing celebrity trend towards Kabbalah, the religion favoured by Madonna and - ironically - Packer's girl Erica Baxter.

And without new, wealthy recruits, cash flow is an issue, the paper reported.

Somewhat, in the sense that it's not necessarily a good thing that people are jumping ship from one cult in exchange for another, but if the "Church" is having cashflow and recruiting problems, it's definitely a good omen that is hopefully a signal for the beginning of their demise. I'm willing to wager that the public antics last summer of Tom Cruise played a big part in delivering the sort of bad press that is the cause of their current problems.