Scientology. Dianetics. L. Ron Hubbard. Church, Religion. Cult. Interesting words, interesting guy, interesting organization. But not for the reasons they specify. Let me say at the top of these words, Scientology is stupid. End of story. It was made up by a science fiction writer using pop psychology to make money and avoid taxes. Now, let's talk about that....
There was a recent documentary released: "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief " (2015) Preview.
But I kid Tom Cruz. Speaking of him, why is he such an advocate? Because he found some of the pop psych teachings useful as they would be, even without Scientology. Also because of their "auditing" where the individuals bares their soul, opening them up for a kind of emotional blackmail. And it's been reported by those who should know, that his audit info went straight to the top of the chain.
There have been plenty making fun of it's ridiculousness, including as recent as the April 4, 2015 Saturday Night Live show where they made a pseudo 1990 music video by the "Church of Neurotology" ("Neurotology Music Video - SNL"), an obvious spoof of Scientology.
I do seriously hope someone is studying Scientology and Dianetics for its theistic relevance.
It was an attempt superficially to produce a scientific religion. And for that I give it praise in the premise. Except, that wasn't the original intent. The original intent was to make money, to avoid taxes, to gain protections that so called "true" religions have, as if there is a true religion or a religion based in truth and not fantasy and conjecture, hearsay and wish fulfillment. But hey, that's another blog for another time.
Eventually, L. Ron Hubbard started to believe his own nonsense. That was when things started to deteriorate. Then he died and pretty much Satan personified took over the faux religion, and given religious status by the US Government after its employees were litigiously bullied into it.
When I was a kid back in the 1960s, I loved science fiction. I read everything I could get my hands on. I read some Hubbard too, but more Heinlein, more Asimov, more Bradbury. The better writers. Years later I read Isaac Asimov's first autobiography, "In Memory, Yet Green" which I titled my first sold short horror\sci fi story after as "In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear" published in 1990.
Now consider, you've known this guy, this science fiction writer for years. Then he comes up with a concept, "Dianetics" where he states that when you are a fetus, well, in Asimov's 1979 autobiography he says this about Hubbard's jaunt into Dianetics and religion:
"On April 6, I received the news from L. Sprague de Camp that Campbell and his wife had separated and that Dona had moved in with George O. Smith. Apparently Campbells overwhelming involvement with dianetics had been the last straw for Dona."
"On the thirteenth, Sprague and I went over the new May 1950, Astounding [magazine], which, with great fanfare, ran L. Ron Hubbard's 16,000-word article "Dianetics"."
"Apparently, Hubbard was maintaining that all human beings had their thinking mechanisms distorted by impressions received in the fetal stage. The fetus could hear, be aware, and misunderstand all that took place, and these misunderstandings produced all the wrongheadedness that plagued the human species. If each individual could be taken back, mentally, to the fetal stage by having "auditors" question them, and if all the misinterpreted impressions were erased, that individual would become "clear" and a very superior human being. Neight Sprague nor I were in the least impressed. I considered it gibberish."
"Then back to New York, and on April 14, I visited Campbell. He would talk of nothing by dianetics. I didn't argue much; I just remained impervious and said I didn't believe it. Finally Campbell said, half in anger half in jest, "Damn it, Asimov, you have a built in doubter." "Thank goodness I do, Mr. Campbell," I said."
"Hubert Rogers, the illustrator, was with us and he amused me enormously by telling Campbell calmly that he thought Hubbard' was a faker and that dianetics was nonsense. I kept my mouth shut, since Rogers clearly needed no help." August 29, 1950, page 602.
"Campbell also told me that he had broken with Hubbard and was out of the dianetics movement. That didn't surprise me, really. I knew Campbell and I knew Hubbard, and no movement can have two Messiahs." May 28, 1951, page 625.
Certainly not proof of anything, but definitely gives insight to how the people who knew Hubbard all the way back in the 1950s viewed him and how they seemed to come to believe that Dianetics, the foundation for Scientology, was complete and utter nonsense. Not to mention, these "friends" of his, fellow writers anyway, were just idiots. Some of them, like Asimov, had brains the size of basketballs, metaphorically speaking. If he thought dianetics was nonsense, we really should listen to him..
In 1985 I was walking through downtown Tacoma. A nicely dressed, nice looking young guy and girl had clipboards in front of a place that said Dianetics on its large glass windows. They were stopping people to talk to them. The girl wanted to talk to me about Dianetics but I said, "No thanks, I know what you are doing and what this is about. I recently graduated with a university degree in psychology."
She smiled, pleased and said, "Oh, then you know exactly what we're doing!" I chuckled and said, "Oh yes, I know exactly what's going on with all this." She gave me an odd sideways look, as if I knew something and she didn't. And I did. And, she didn't. I was in a hurry or I might have chatted her up about it though I'm pretty sure it would have been useless in trying to turn the advocate of what was essentially a cult.
I had massive experience in that with the early 70s "Jesus Freaks". "Can I give you my Testament about how I found Our Lord Jesus Christ." Uh, no... thanks. After about a hundred of those, they got pretty tiring and all sounded pretty much the same.
First of all. who joins a "church" invented by an ex science fiction writer? Aren't you kind of asking for it at that point? Do you even have a brain?
That included an ignorant and young John Travolta, before "Welcome back Kotter". Well, he was a smart and talented guy. But he didn't need Dianetics. He just needed confidence and a clear vision of attaining his goals. After getting involved with Dianetics, and some basic pop psychology, he was off. But he was talented and had charisma and was going to make it regardless.
Getting back to my thoughts on someone studying all this.
Basically, L. Ron Hubbard (called by followers, "LRH") figured religion out. He reduced and synthesized it into Scientology. As ridiculous as it is, people bought into it. As ridiculous as Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, and so on are, as ridiculous as all of those are, people still buy into the grand nonsense and people still find something in it that helps them through. But the theistic elements aren't really necessary at all.
When I was getting my degree in psychology we had to study group therapy. Everyone had to do it in order to get their degree. I was against it. But we were told you had to go through it to get your degree. So, I gritted my teeth and persevered through it. , and I'm glad I did. The interesting and useful thing as it turns out, about group therapy is that in a group, people simply sharing and monitoring the discussion and talking about themselves and their issues, itself has a therapeutic, healing effect. You don't even need a leader, or a trained therapist.
Think about that for a minute. And think about all the money wasted in therapy and the time wasted in things like EST or Dianetics and Scientology. Or religion for that matter. Most of religion is people's attraction to the familiar and ritual. See, we're all a little OCD. It's in our nature and is a protective mechanism. People who have extreme cases of it, have simply got caught in a loop they have trouble breaking out of.
Now that isn't to say that some people don't need a lot of help by a professional therapist at times. But for most people with general issues or even worse issues, up to a certain point, simply getting into a group and sharing with others who will focus on your issue, and give you their best and honest help, sharing similar issues with you, will itself alone actually help you out.
Think about it for a minute longer. What is "community" all about?
People getting together and being... together. It has a therapeutic, healing effect. Focus on trouble issues and it helps with that. Have a little more knowledge about it and some basic therapeutic psychological tools and you can help someone who is really having trouble. Get a degree in it and some "practice", and you can help someone with serious issues.
So why wouldn't something like Scientology work? How could it not? Even if much of it is insane. Because Hubbard most surely was insane in one sense or another, at one time or another and certainly toward the end.
You can tell just by watching the guy (Hubbard) in videos he made, that he was a slippery, kind of sleazy character. A story teller and in the end, a charismatic charlatan. Asimov noted how charismatic he was in his book and how Hubbard spoke eloquently and engagingly. Just want a cult follower needs.
Now that doesn't mean that Scientologists who spent their entire life in it, didn't get help from being in it. That's part of the insidious thing about it which also crosses over into issues related to a fear of leaving it. But they could have gotten that same help in some other form, where people had even a little knowledge of some basic tools in psychology.
Add to that, Scientology's efforts against you if you do leave, to discredit you, cut you off from loved ones who are still on the inside and allegedly according to some personal testimonies, kill you or simply make you "disappear".
Or how they will hound you with their insidious "Squirrel Buster" squads (a name they give to those who leave). They harass you until you can't take it and if you do anything against them, as in the case of at lesat one person, YOU are the one to go to jail for it. Again, they now have the protection of being a (faux) religious organization, something that should never have happened.
And so that also points out the same actually about at least some (if not all) religions, doesn't it?
I do believe by studying the mechanisms and processes of Scientology, we could all possibly learn a lot about the dynamics of religious and magical thinking. Is Scientology really that more ridiculous than Mohammed being teleported to another city in the ancient desert? Or Jesus rising from the dead or himself having raised the dead, or turned water into fine wine, or having walked on water? Or Moses parting the Red Sea with a wave of his hand?
Or that idiot, confidence artist, Joseph Smith's Mormon religion which was at least based on a religion albeit a subversion of it. To be fair, Mormon's at least have some useful beliefs, like storing food for emergencies. But they have so many other ridiculous beliefs, they almost counter Scientology for which is the most ridiculous system. I'd give it to Scientology on this one however.
Scientology is a prime example we can use to study and better understand religion in general without the garb of historical and metaphysical baggage. Hubbard was a kind of genius and if we would only devalue Scientology and remove its religious status, studying it as we dismantle it,, humankind could learn a lot of useful things and then further and more quickly see the dismantling of religions overall simply through the course of the evolution of modern thought.
I've seen several documentaries and news reports on Scientology, Dianetics and the great grand loon, L. Ron Hubbard himself. Like BBCs John Sweeney's "Panorama". Or an actor's video on YouTube, "Scientology: Jason Beghe Interview". But the best one I've seen is 2015's "Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief". There is also an article on Huffington Post about it. Back in 2007 had an interesting piece on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Obermann.
The evidence is overwhelming and why it's not in the courts to dismantle Scientology, well, up to this point that has been an exercise in futility.
Watch the documentary.
You'll see what I'm talking about, and hopefully, what I'm referring to about the whittled down version of religion we see in Scientology. No they are not the same and I'm sure this may offend the religious as their religion isn't some fake new age nonsense. However....
Anyway, be careful if you do watch the documentary.
I've just really been discussing one thing here. We need to study Scientology for how it relates to religions, cults and the mind sets of people believing in things that no one should rationally be believing in. Especially when there are better and more tested methods based in science out there, available and proven.
The trouble with that is the community element is usually missing, along with the other things churches have that therapy does not. But there are now new "churches", available. That is to say, new communities of atheists who may be the ones in the end to finally fix what is wrong with religions and the tax free church system of fraud on the American tax payer. This was recently explored in a CNN report on atheism.
By the way, did you catch my reference above to Scientology having actually co-opted the American governmental department of the Internal Revenue Service.
Who EVER gets the best of the IRS? Obviously, Scientology did in forcing them into giving them religious tax exempt status, something that should never have happened, gave them extensive protections, helped to legitimize them worldwide and was a travesty perpetrated upon the American people and the people of the entire world.
Scientology in the end has turned into a scary entity.
If it can kowtow the IRS to giving it tax exempt church status, only because IRS agents were sued personally into being afraid, what else can it do? Ex members are afraid, some fearing for their very lives.
Scientology was founded and based upon a desire to make money off of people who don't know any better and therefore it has grown into an insane clown chorus of abuse and fraud.
How could it have ever been otherwise?
I didn't really want to get into the ugly, evil aspects of Scientology or its leader after LRH, David Miscavige (who sounds like one scary SOB), but we need the US Government to rescind Scientology's tax exempt and religious status and then label it as the scary $3+ billion multi-national abusive company that it really is.
Watch the documentary. It will unnerve you to know what has and is really going on.