September 28, 2011

What Would Xenu Do?

What are your thoughts on Scientology?

I ask not because I'm interested in joining or anything. I ask because I recently finished a really interesting and slightly terrifying book, Inside Scientology by journalist Janet Reitman. (I mentioned it in a Weeklies installment a while back.) Reitman began her quest with an article commissioned by Rolling Stone. It turned into a five year journey, trying to get to the bottom of the secretive religion. What she found was truly fascinating.

Beyond Tom Cruise and John Travolta is a truly odd belief system rooted in the belief that extra terrestrials sprinkled their knowledge and life force throughout the universe allowing humans to pick them up after they'd achieved a certain amount of enlightenment through techniques such as auditing with special electronic devices called E-meters. And what kind of commitment is required from the subject? Money. Sheer volumes of cash. In fact progress in the religion is accelerated based on the amount of money you put into it.

Now, admittedly I'm not a huge fan or organized religions. And Scientology certainly seems more suspicious to me than most. That said, Scientology - while quirky and a bit scary - isn't all that different from many religions. A guy finds himself with a calling to help mankind and follows it.

So, what do you know about Scientology?

Posted by Chris at September 28, 2011 7:14 AM

Well aside from the fact that you made your post one giant link to the book... ;)

I don't know much of anything about Scientology, what I have heard on the news, etc. has always sort of terrified me that people honestly believe Aliens will help them with enlightenment and tossing money at it will get you high power. But this book does sound interesting.... maybe?

Posted by: Kris at September 28, 2011 9:51 AM

I've heard that once in, it's almost impossible to leave.

Posted by: ann adams at September 28, 2011 12:19 PM

I admit, I know nothing about scientology except what you have told me. I am religious, I attend a large methodist church in the midwest. I have for years and years. Your description of scientology sounds nothing like my church. Just saying that....

Posted by: linda at September 28, 2011 2:01 PM

scary as fuck, is what i think ;)

Posted by: kati at September 28, 2011 4:50 PM

It freaks me out a fair bit, and I don't like that apparently the more money you give the more "secrets' you get. That's nasty. And like linda, my church looks absolutely nothing like that.

Posted by: Heather at September 29, 2011 2:02 AM

I know that L. Ron Hubbard was once quoted as saying, "Want to make a million dollars? Invent a religion," and he did. Based on that alone, I cannot believe that people actually join in and take it seriously. It was a religion/cult based on aliens, founded by a science fiction author! (Plus, it is just plain scary - secretive, powerful, and dangerous.)

Posted by: Tara at September 29, 2011 10:52 AM

My Father-in-law is a Scientologist. If you were to listen only to the media, you would assume he must be a whack job. I know that I was extremely leery of him at first!

Then I thought "Wow..He is the most grounded, rooted-in-reality person that I know."

Then my husband told me that his dad believed that he (his soul.. spirit.. whatever) used to be a commander in some spaceship and OMG. It was hard to take him seriously after that.

Truth be told though? I have known the man for almost 13 years and I love him very much. He IS grounded. He is a wonderful husband, a good dad, and a great Papa! He is successful and truly the happiest person that I know.

He is kind, generous, thoughtful, loving, funny, and a joy to be around. He is the first one to step up when someone needs help with something. He is always ready and willing to give of his time, efforts, love, or money.

He believes in living in the now, and not letting your past dictate your future. He audits people to help them to learn how to do that effectively. He does not believe in Psychiatric medicine AT ALL. (however, when my hubby had to go on meds, he was completely supportive.) He does not run around bashing people on meds. He just believes that there are other ways to deal with mental illness. He told my hubby that he had to do what he felt was best for him and he totally supported him.

He says that he would not be the man he is today without Scientology. He does not talk about the different levels they aim for and the money and the aliens. Nor will he discuss celebrities. He WILL talk about what it has done for him and how it has helped him though, and openly if you ask nicely. :)

While most of the Scientology stuff is out there, and whacky, my FIL is just a normal guy. Well, minus the whole space ship thing. LOL

Could he have achieved this being a Methodist or a part of some other religion? I think so. His goal was just to get a grip on his life and be a better person.

Posted by: jen at September 29, 2011 11:06 AM

When I was an undergrad in Boston, I would hear the Scientologists gearing up for the day. They'd be yelling out over Beacon St from their brownstone windows. Then later, they'd stop people and offer to do free "personality tests" in Kenmore Square. I found them generally unsettling.

Posted by: Sphincter at September 29, 2011 8:50 PM

I have a friend of a friend who got hooked in through "management seminars" her boss forced their office to attend (separate story - he was sued and lost beacuse of this)... She started attending more and more, eventually brought her husband in, they both quit their jobs and moved here to DC to help renovate the Scientology HQ in DC... they got room and board, but no pay as their work went to pay for all of their classes. They lasted about 2 years and then got out...scary.

Posted by: Sue R at September 30, 2011 11:45 AM